Aside

The Healthy Bear on the Value of Exercise

Hey there Guys,

Today I wanted to share an article I saw in a recent issue of The Guardian. In this article
It’s not obesity that’s killing us – it’s the lack of exercise“, Sarah Warwick discusses how the obsession of weight loss has directed many people away from healthy lifestyle habits due to failure, frustration and lack of good information to help guide us.

Obesity isn’t what’s robbing us of good health and life. Using data from the Cooper Centre Longitudinal Study exercise scientist Steven Blair and his colleagues have established that you can be fat and fit. It is better to be overweight and active than normal weight and sedentary in terms of risk of mortality, the research has shown.

Blair calls physical inactivity the biggest public health problem of the 21st century. Yet instead of paying attention to our sedentary lifestyles, we keep on focusing on fatness.

For anyone who is overweight a trip to the doctor can be an embarrassing and sometimes degrading event with many practitioners so laser focused on the scales that they forget there are plenty of other healthy interventions that, when done on a regular basis, make physical weight a non issue.

Forget berating young and old for their eating habits and what the scales are saying, and give them the much more appealing solution that physical activity is the way to a longer, healthier life.

If you offered people a drug that would confer these benefits with no side-effects, you would be trampled in the rush. A pill that promised the same effect as just 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity each day would make headlines around the world. Yet because it’s not a new miracle cure on the market, and it’s not a mythical superfood, it’s not news at all

We often forget the benefit and positive effects regular movement can have on the body, well beyond just the burning of fat. Take for example some of the following benefits:

  • Reducing risks of heart disease including reducing cholesterol, bad fats and blood pressure
  • Increased feelings of well-being and happiness
  • Reduced risk of diabetes
  • Improved sleep
  • Improvement in sex life
  • Increased flexibility in joints, increased ease of movement and, when well chosen, some reduction in joint pain.

The trick is to find a form of exercise that you enjoy that is going to be able to included in your regular lifestyle.

For anyone over 85kg or have had a back injury I do not recommend high impact exercise like jogging. This places a lot of strain on the knees, ankles and lower spine that can lead to pain.

Good thing is that there are lots of great low impact exercise choices.

Walking, swimming and water aerobics are all fantastic low impact choices.

Gentle weights and circuit work is a fantastic way to increase muscle mass and really get the heart racing.

If you are keen, cycling can be a fantastic choice. Depending on where you live, cycling is a great way to start the day on your journey to work. Melbourne for example has many great cycle paths. Check out this article I wrote on how to pick a bike if you have a bad back.

Outside of formal exercise be sure to get up and move frequently through your day. Simple things like walking to the shops rather than driving, parking your car in the far sections of car parks or my favourite, getting off one stop early on public transport, increase incidental exercise though the day.

The key to increasing health and feelings of well being is to keep moving. Remember the actions you take today are what makes the difference to the quality of your life when you are older.

Should you have a check up with your doctor before exercise?
Click here to check if you may benefit from a health check before you start.

Yours in good health.

Dr George

PS. Please help share the healthy word by sharing the article with your friends. One simple way is to hit the “like” button below.
Any questions or comments? Please feel free to drop me a message in the comments below.