In Part 1 we were introduced to the serious impact our lifestyle choices can have on our health and wellbeing. Here we look at further serious symptoms but also ways of aiding and preventing…

Osteoporosis is characterized as a low bone mineral density (BMD) that has many serious health risks.

Weight bearing exercises such as running, tennis, or basketball have been shown to increase BMD therefore reducing the risk of osteoporosis, or injury related to this disease. Not only does exercise increase BMD, it also increases stability and balance which can decrease the chance of falling which is a primary risk related to osteoporosis as fractures are much more likely to occur in patients with a low BMD.

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Hypertension can either be an intrinsic factor such as genetics or extrinsic due to some onset of stress, diet or sedentary lifestyle.

A blood pressure reading of resting values over 140 mmHg for systolic and 90 mmHg for diastolic is considered hypertension. High blood pressure can be a contributing factor for many health issues including heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, chronic heart failure (CHF), and kidney disease.

Many people who are obese or diabetic will also have high blood pressure

And the primary prevention of blood pressure in those cases is to treat the particular disease as needed, and that will lower the values of blood pressure in many situations. In saying this, hypertension is a very common risk factor for many diseases and treating blood pressure values specifically could reduce symptoms and manage said disease.

In addition to exercise, which has been proven to lower blood pressure, a dietary decrease of sodium and increase in potassium has also been observed to assist in lowering hypertension.

Have you noticed an ongoing theme in this article?

It seems as though many of these diseases are interlinked with one or more risk factors, and every single one is able to be prevented or reduced by exercise! The age old cliché seems to be true then; exercise does seem to be the best medicine!

lifestyle related diseases_2

So what does this look like in changing from a sedentary to active lifestyle?

The first step is to make sure that you can safely participate in an exercise program by getting permission from your physician. Once that has been attained, ACSM recommends and has seen improvements in weight loss and all of these risk factors with moderate intensity, aerobic, weight bearing exercises such as running, walking or biking occurring for at least 150-300 minutes per week.

However, if you have been cleared to exercise at a more intense level, improvements have been seen at achieving 75 minutes per week of aerobic activity. Keep in mind that some days you might not want to run as hard, and a combination of the intensities can be utilized to participate in exercise for a duration of in between 75 and 150 minutes.

Intensity is usually gauged by a percentage of your maximal heart rate (HRmax) which can be predicted by the following equation; 208 -.7(AGE). Typically, 40-60% of your HRmax is categorized as moderate intensity, and 60-90% is vigorous. Therefore if your HR falls in between one of those blocks during physical activity, you are exercising at that approximate intensity.

Additionally, for some people, 150 minutes a week may be too much to handle immediately. For this reason, start slow with 10-15 minute exercise bouts and work your way up to the recommendations.

Bottom line

Sedentary lifestyles are directly related to numerous risk factors and causes of diseases that have a high mortality rate. Exercises such as walking, running, biking, or any repetitive, weight bearing activity have been proven to decrease and control risk factors for all of them.

What more do you need to know to want to start making a change?

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