Exercise: why it’s essential


It is a scientific fact that exercise is good for our health. Modern lifestyles have made it more essential. Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises the risk of heart disease and other health related issues, such as stroke and diabetes. It’s becoming more common due to the rise in obesity rates amongst adults.  It’s anticipated it could overtake smoking as the leading risk factor for heart disease. The best antidote is exercise and the adoption of healthier eating habits.

Why we all need to move

The term metabolic syndrome dates back to at least the 1950’s, but entered common usage in the 1970’s to describe various risk factors associated with diabetes. Occurring when a range of metabolic risk factors such as obesity and insulin resistance merge, common warning signs include:

  • A large waistline (abdominal obesity) or having an “apple shape”
  • Elevated waistline circumference:
    • For Men – greater than 40in (102cm)
    • For Women – greater than 35in (88cm)
  • A low HDL (“good”) cholesterol level
  • High blood pressure: if the pressure rises and stays high over a time, this can damage the heart
  • High blood sugar, which can be an early sign of diabetes

The excess fat around the stomach makes for a greater risk of heart disease than fat stored elsewhere in the body, such as the hips and thighs, so watch out for where you tend to carry excess weight.

A simple solution

Increased risk of metabolic syndrome is closely linked to being overweight, obesity and a lack of physical activity. In all cases an examination of your diet will be recommended, as in the first instance curtailing further weight gain will be a critical starting point that will also help in any exercise initiative. In simple terms if you are in a high-risk category you will need to eat smarter and start to move more. It will still be possible to delay, fight or even prevent metabolic syndrome through a healthier lifestyle, with exercise forming an essential element of any new routine.

NOTE: before starting any new exercise routine it is recommended you seek professional advice, which might include consulting a personal trainer and booking a physical check-up with your physician.

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           About the author

Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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