Dr. Weeks’ Comment: use it or lose it. Our body is a glorious life-support system, intricate and glorious – we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made – but if you don’t USE it, you LOSE it! So get up and walk or dance or skip!
Some Exercise Is Better Than None: More Is Better to Reduce Heart Disease Risk
ScienceDaily (Aug. 1, 2011) — Even small amounts of physical activity will help reduce heart disease risk, and the benefit increases as the amount of activity increases, according to a quantitative review reported in Circulation, journal of the American Heart Association.
People who engaged in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity leisure activity had a 14 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to those who reported no exercise or physical activity. At higher levels of activity, the relative risk of CHD was progressively lower. Researchers found that even people who got below the United States guidelines for physical activity, which recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise per week, had a lower risk of CHD than those who had no activity.”The overall findings of the study corroborate federal guidelines — even a little bit of exercise is good, but more is better — 150 minutes of exercise per week is beneficial, 300 minutes per week will give even more benefits,” said Jacob Sattelmair, ScD, of the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Sattelmair said this work differs from previous reviews of studies examining physical activity and heart disease risk because it included quantitative assessments of the amount of physical activity a person may need to reduce their risk as well as the magnitude of benefit. In a meta-analysis, researchers examined more than 3,000 studies of physical activity and heart disease, and included 33 of them in their analysis. Among those, nine measured leisure activity quantitatively.
“Early studies broke people into groups such as active and sedentary. More recent studies have begun to assess the actual amount of physical activity people are getting and how that relates to their risk of heart disease.”
The study also notes a significant interaction by gender, as these results were stronger in women than in men.
- Jacob Sattelmair, Jeremy Pertman, Eric L. Ding, Harold W. Kohl III, William Haskell, and I-Min Lee. Dose Response Between Physical Activity and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Meta-Analysis. Circulation, August 1 2011 DOI:
Even With Regular Exercise, People With Inactive Lifestyles More at Risk for Chronic Diseases
ScienceDaily (Aug. 1, 2011) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of Americans have inactive lifestyles (they take fewer than 5,000 steps a day) and 75 percent do not meet the weekly exercise recommendations (150 minutes of moderate activity each week and muscle-strengthening activity twice a week) to maintain good health. After reviewing recent literature, University of Missouri researchers contend that physical inactivity is the primary cause of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease and that even people who set aside time for exercise regularly but are otherwise sedentary, may not be active enough to combat these diseases. Inactivity, in addition to the availability of high-caloric food has led to an increased rate of metabolic dysfunction in Americans.
In a recent study, John Thyfault, assistant professor in the departments of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and Internal Medicine, found that negative physiological changes associated with a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, occur in people who transition from high amounts of activity (greater than 10,000 steps a day) to inactivity (fewer than 5,000 steps each day).”If people spend the majority of their time sitting, even with regular periods of exercise, they are still at greater risk for chronic diseases,” Thyfault said. “If people can add some regular movement into their routines throughout the day, they will feel better and be less susceptible to health problems. In the long term, they may not see big changes in the mirror, but they will prevent further weight gain.”
According to Scott Rector, assistant professor in the departments of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and Internal Medicine, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a relatively new epidemic related to the recent increase in obesity and physical inactivity rates. The disease, which is the most common chronic liver condition among U.S. adults, occurs when excess fat accumulates in the liver. This change disrupts glucose regulation and contributes to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. NAFLD progresses more rapidly in young people than in adults and has become more common in children.
“Everyone should try to take at least 10,000 steps a day,” Rector said. “It doesn’t have to happen all at once, but 500 to 1,000 steps every few hours is a good goal. Small changes can increase the number of steps people take in their daily routines. Changes might include taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to a coworker’s office rather than calling, or planning time for short walks throughout the day.”
Rector said research shows that more active kids are less likely to have fatty liver disease. If doctors and parents intervene and compel children to exercise and lose weight, it will lower their body fat and provide long-term health benefits if they sustain those lifestyle changes.
Thyfault is researching inactivity as it relates to type 2 diabetes and obesity. Rector is examining the relationship between inactivity and NAFLD. Their review articles will be published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. The Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology is jointly administered by MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, College of Human Environmental Sciences and School of Medicine. Both researchers have joint appointments in the Department of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine.