A Healthy Dose of Physical Activity

Remember that one time?  I told you that I wrote an article for my Professional Practice?  Here it is.  Hopefully my Lemons readers will like it.  It’s nothing too brilliant but it will tide you over until this Thursday.  Which, by the way, is a very special day and I’ve a post to prove it.

With locked elbows, Darcy uneasily shifted her body weight on the faux leather exam table.  Her dangling legs had recently come to an abrupt stop from swinging impatiently once the doctor had entered the room.  Now they were hanging motionless and anxious to walk Darcy out to her car which was conveniently stationed at the first non-handicap parking spot.  She had waited a whole 53 seconds for the space and even celebrated by whispering, “Oh Yea” when she spotted the white reverse lights coming from the car exiting the two lines before her.  Now the only thing between her and the 18-second walk out to it was her doctors’ famous last words, “You need get more exercise.”

Suggestions to limit sedentary lifestyles should never be taken lightly, but often, they are.  Maybe if the doctor had said, “Darcy, you should garden” or “Try walking Baxter more,” she may have been more receptive.  For some reason, the word, “exercise” made Darcy picture herself in workout clothes (that had somehow managed to get tighter since the last time she had them on) exerting the same amount of energy attempting to move the clock hands telepathically, as she was on the gym treadmill.  Exercise, physical activity, working out or whatever you want to call it is any “bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles and such movement results in an expenditure of energy.”  Therefore Darcy could technically meet the doctors’ request wearing her street clothes, in a stairwell, taking two steps at a time.  She could take a bike ride with her husband after dinner, make a habit of walking around the block while she waited for her daughter’s dance lesson to dismiss, or maybe vacuum the house more than once a week (if she was really ambitious, the stairs.)

It should come as no surprise that using physical activity to stay within a healthy weight range will decrease an individual’s likelihood to develop a host of health complications, especially those that have been linked to having excess body fat.  Some may argue that heredity plays too big of a role in genetically predisposing us to certain illnesses, but doctors continue to encourage “exercise” as a way to stack the deck in your favor because it retards tumor development, lowers insulin levels, and improves the immune response in addition to the more obvious reason (assisting with weight maintenance to avoid a high body mass and excess body fat.)  Exercise lowers the likelihood that you will develop metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and even certain types of cancers that have been linked to excessive body weight.

Large studies in the US have confirmed a direct correlation between physical inactivity and higher overall cancer incidences; breast, colon, endometrial, and prostate cancers to be specific.  One study, for example, suggests that women who are physically active have a 20 to 40 percent reduced risk of developing endometrial cancer (with the greatest reduction in the risk amongst those with the highest levels of physical activity.)  London researchers found that women with BMIs fewer than 25 appear to receive a greater level of cancer protection.  But a different study, presented at a 2010 American Association of Cancer Research, found that it doesn’t matter what the someone weighs.  The likelihood of developing cancer will be lessened from exercising for at least 150 minutes a week; (a widely suggested amount) also equating to, “30 minutes…5 days a week.”  Until there is a “magic” pill for staying healthy, patients like Darcy can expect to be prescribed a healthy dose of physical activity whenever possible.

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One Response to A Healthy Dose of Physical Activity

  1. Aunt mae says:

    Good advice. Thanks

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