Navigating Healthcare – Patient Safety and Personal Healthcare Management

Exercise is just Part of the Answer

Posted in Healthcare Information, Nutrition, Preventative Healthcare by drnic on February 16, 2009

There is a lot of advice in the media suggesting that with just 20 – 30 minutes of exercise per day all your troubles will be over and everyone would move into the realms of healthy  living, with no long term disease issues……this feels a lot like the old Snake Oil problems in the wild west many years ago.

One size fits all – doesn’t

The difficulty with this and the problems of selling this message are covered in this NY Times article “Does Exercise Really Keep Us Healthy?” that points out that while 20 – 30 minutes of exercise does reduce diabetic risk and improve Osteoporosis (bone loss) it will not provide sustained weight loss or blood pressure reduction on its own.

To be clear – exercise has many benefits and changing from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one will help in *all* cases but it needs to be part of a complete program that includes weights and most importantly diet. The population in general east too much and if you have ever bothered to find out what your meals contain in the way fo calories you’d know for yourself. Calories are as a good an indicator as any and you’d be shocked at what’s in most fast foods especially when stacked up against what consumption level you should be at for your sex, age, and height. Even worse if you should be reducing this to effect some level of weight reduction.

The difficulty, Dr. Blair says, is that it’s much easier to eat 1,000 calories than to burn off 1,000 calories with exercise. As he relates, “An old football coach used to say, ‘I have all my assistants running five miles a day, but they eat 10 miles a day.

And there you have it – exercise and diet. It sounds simple but its not because if it were we would all be svelte specimens living into our 80’s with few health problems and the health bill for our nation would be a much smaller proportion than the current 16% of our GDP


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