At the end of an office visit, I sometimes like to pull out my prescription pad and write two simple words of advice for my patient to follow:
To help you to lose weight and lower your risk of heart disease, it turns out that the simple act of just getting up and moving around on a regular basis can potentially be as effective as hitting the gym. A recent study from the European Heart Journal found that people who take more breaks throughout the day have smaller waists. Perhaps a more interesting result is that the study participants lowered their levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker linked to heart disease. This study of almost 4800 people found that as individuals became less and less physically active, their levels of C-reactive protein continued to increase -- and the study doesn't mention what happened to participant levels for bad cholesterol and blood sugar.
Many people sit for hours on end in front of a computer screen while at work, and then go home -- where they sit for hours on end in front of a computer screen.
But what about the hour you spent on the elliptical machine or treadmill at the gym? Does that spurt of activity, which meets current exercise recommendations, undo the impact of the other 23 hours of inactivity during the day? Unfortunately, not.
It appears that unused muscles that remain inactive while sitting, lounging, or even "surfing," change in subtle ways. Those changes can impact your overall metabolic profile, and potentially affect your risk factors for heart disease. Going to the gym is obviously better than ordering another slice of cheesecake, but ideally, we should all be active people who exercise, instead of being sedentary people who exercise. There's a difference.
What can you do to get off your seat during an otherwise sedentary day? Try these activity breaks:
? Take a quick walk to the water fountain at least once an hour. ? Drop by your colleague's desk for a face-to-face conversation, instead of just sending another e-mail. ? Move around during the commercials while watching television.
Do you face long periods of inactivity every day? What strategies help you to increase your overall activity level during the day? Share what works for you with the community!
Another thing that one can do to decrease your risk of heart disease, is flossing, toothpicking, and keeping your gums healthy by massaging them with your toothbrush. I feel it is important for Medical Doctors to communicate the importance of this to their patients. It is all about the oral-systemic connection. My goal is to bridge the gap between Medical Doctors and Dentists. I have been a Dental Hygienist for 14 years and I am very passionate about educating. For some reason people don't think that their mouth is as important as the rest of their body. Having an infection in your mouth is just as serious as an infection in your body. Disease in the mouth increases your chances of heart disease, diabetes, pre-term/low birth weigh babies and pnemonia. Bleeding gums IS an infection and for some reason, people are accepting of this bleeding and don't take action to get rid of it, other than visiting the dentist every year or 6months. Now if there was bleeding on your hand or in your body, they immediately go to the doctor and get medications to help treat the infection. Is it possible to have all medical/dental professionals work together? I would appreciate your comments on this!
Dr. Beckerman, I really like your "Getup!" blog above.
Reading it reminds me of this Guy I know who works at our local Grocery store. This Guy is in his 50's and he is NATURALLY ACTIVE (if that makes any sense. ) Let me explain.
You should see this guy move stocking the shelves! He is always moving at full tilt boogie. He walks fast. He moves his arms so fast stocking the shelves. Blam! blam! blam! blam! Done. Then he speeds off and gets another load. My eyes can hardly keep up with him. If you blink... he's gone!
This is being naturally active like I heard talked about in longevity studies, and this guy fits the description perfect. I know it has to benefit his cardiovascular health.
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