Most people are aware by now that the lack of physical activity that plagues the globe is directly related to the increase in obesity. Obesity has been linked to health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In 2009, 200 million people were estimated to have type 2 diabetes. According to a recent study, the lack of exercise that is related to the development of obesity may also be contributing to the development of type 2 diabetes.
This study used healthy men who lead active lifestyles but did not participate in any regularly scheduled activity. This more accurately mirrors the general population. They were asked to reduce their physical activity for just 14 days. The reduction in this short period of time revealed an increase in central adiposity (belly fat) and an increase in insulin resistance. Both centrally located belly fat and insulin resistance have been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. Of course, there are many intricate signals the body receives that play a role in this cascade, but basically lack of exercise leads to an increase in central belly fat, which leads to insulin resistance and finally type 2 diabetes.
It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that healthy adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week and children get 60 minutes per day. It is not a novel concept that exercise is important to a healthy lifestyle, but now it may be vital to the prevention of chronic diseases. Please consult your physician before starting any new physical activity regimen.
Need more reasons to get moving? Here are four more reasons to start exercising:
1. Lowers anxiety levels. Recent research followed nearly 3,000 patients who experienced anxiety along with their chronic illnesses. Those who participated in exercise programs fared better than their more sluggish peers. Though any amount of exercise was helpful, workout sessions lasting longer than half an hour were best at decreasing anxiety symptoms.
2. Lowers risk of heart disease. New research shows that a key consideration when examining mortality is your fitness level. The researchers examined coronary artery disease patients and something called VO2 peak, which is the maximum capacity of your body to use oxygen during exercise; this marker ultimately shows the fitness of a person. If your body’s ability to use oxygen when exercising is poor, you are more at risk for death if you suffer from coronary artery disease.
3. Reduces depression symptoms. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a protein that protects neurons from damage caused by stress. Exercise helps your body naturally produce more BDNF. BDNF plays an important role in brain development and help neurons grow and develop. Exercise is a potent stimulus that quickly increases BDNF expression in your brain, which is one reason why exercise is a powerful natural antidepressant.
4. Helps keep dementia at bay. A new study suggests that moderate physical activity performed in midlife or later may help protect the nervous system and reduce the risk of MCI. It’s a scientific fact that exercise increases blood flow to the brain. So it’s not a stretch to think that a physical workout may not only help the body stay young, but also the mind.