The busy lives that we live today may make carving out time for exercise challenging. But what if I told you not exercising may have the same consequences as being overweight on our body? We have long known the adverse implications of having an elevated body mass index on the cardiovascular system including development of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, heart failure, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death. However, recent research has shed light on the benefits of exercise not only on overweight individuals but on the full spectrum of weight balance. Research in Netherlands was conducted on 5,344 middle-age and older individuals who reported their body mass index and exercise habits as well as the development of cardiovascular disease and stroke during the study period. What was discovered was that exercise negated the opposing effects of obesity on heart disease, and further extrapolation determined that inactivity and obesity might have similar effects on cardiovascular disease. The study has its limitations, however overall message cannot be ignored.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days a week or 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity 3 days per week in addition to moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days a week. One of the factors that can limit access to exercise is the financial commitment to a gym. However, there are plenty of videos available for free that can allow one to exercise at the comfort of one’s home. Exercising is not only healthy for the body, it also releases endorphins which allow for a better psychological health lending towards efficient mood-balance.
One cannot discount the benefits of exercise on overall health. As a busy physician I do make a conscious effort to dedicate time to my body. I truly believe the key to our health is in our own hands. No one else can do what I can do for my body and the responsibility also solely falls in my court. Exercise should be considered as an investment in our health and ourselves. If we want to do everything possible to live a healthy life for as long as we can, it is time we start to move, and push our bodies and ourselves. Finally, it is time we start to redefine what exercise means to us individually.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on March 4, 2017.