Fight Metabolic Syndrome with Fitness
Metabolic syndrome is a fairly recent development in our culture resulting from being overweight and inactive. Metabolic syndrome is no small problem when 47 million Americans find themselves in its clutches. And if you’re over 60, your chances of developing metabolic syndrome are 4 in 10.
The dangerous factors that comprise metabolic syndrome significantly increase your risk for blood clotting, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
In fact, if you have three or more of these risk factors, you probably have metabolic syndrome right now:
- A large waistline
- High triglyceride levels
- Low HDL cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Elevated fasting blood sugar (indicates prediabetes—an early sign of type 2 diabetes)
Don’t Look for Symptoms!
If you think you’re safe from metabolic syndrome because “you feel fine,” think again! Other than a large waist, there are often no other visible or perceivable symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome.
So let’s cut to the chase. If you have or develop metabolic syndrome, then here’s what you have to look forward to:
- A life that revolves around doctor visits and lots of expensive medications with nasty side effects.
- Probable complications involving coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and its associated problems.
- An ever-decreasing mobility preventing you from being able to play with your grandchildren, socialize with your friends, or travel.
- A life filled with “can’t-dos” (“I can’t do this.” “I can’t do that.”).
I hope that kind of future troubles you, because you don’t have to live that way. Your life doesn’t have to take that route. But in order to avoid that path of disaster, you need to take a different one now!
Metabolic syndrome is the result of being overweight and inactive. It’s as simple as that. If that’s you right now…if you don’t exercise 3 times a week…if you have a job sitting down all day…if you consume more calories than you burn…you must make significant changes in your lifestyle to halt metabolic syndrome in its tracks.
The longer a person remains inactive, the heavier they get; the stiffer and sorer their joints; the harder activity becomes; the more embarrassed they become about being seen in public. You can begin putting an end to this vicious cycle now, but you must make changes.
Medical professionals tell us that even a modest weight loss of just 5-10 percent of total body weight will impact insulin resistance and blood pressure. To naturally lose weight, you need a two-pronged approach of a healthy diet and exercise. Let’s focus on exercise in this article.
Getting and Staying Fit
The human body is designed for mobility, strength, agility, and grace. You were created to be active. Perhaps you have an aversion to exercise because of a bad experience or some misconceptions:
- You over-did it in the past and hurt yourself.
- You see other sleek, muscular bodies and become disillusioned and depressed about your own body.
- You’ve tried exercising in the past and didn’t enjoy it.
- You think you don’t have time for exercise.
- You can’t afford a gym membership or expensive equipment at home.
- You’ve given up, “What’s the use?”
Whatever you do, don’t give up. You are worth it!
We could cite countless studies and examples on the benefits of exercise, but here’s one that may really encourage you.
A Duke University study found that moderate exercise at moderate intensity (e.g., walking briskly for 3 miles, 4 days per week, or 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week) can significantly reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome! The key is consistency.
- Check with your physician before beginning an exercise program.
- Find an exercise that you enjoy (or can learn to enjoy).
- Start out very slowly and work up gradually if you are unaccustomed to exercise.
- Warm up before and cool down after exercising.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Set a timer on your watch or phone to track your time.
- Decide to build exercise into your life to the extent that you miss it when you can’t exercise.
Regular physical activity lowers: blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels. Furthermore, consistent moderate exercise also increases: flexibility, energy, mobility, and countless other health measures.
If you are overwhelmed by the idea of beginning an exercise regimen or simply don’t know where to start, then use a handy tool like this below to chart your progress.
My Personal Exercise Plan (PEP):
(Example: Walk briskly 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.)
Or, if you are savvy with a smart phone, download a free or low-cost app for tracking distance, time, calories burned, elevation gain, and other helpful and fun measures. (I use Endomondo. Others include: BIDMC Pedometer, MapMyWalk, Walkmeter GPS Pedometer, RunKeeper, and The Moves.)
Decide today to put an exercise plan into action and look forward to a life:
- Of mobility, fun and adventure
- Playing with your grandchildren
- Getting out with your friends
- Unencumbered with medications and numerous health restrictions
What quality of life do you want? Don’t let metabolic syndrome take you down. You can beat it! The choice is yours. Act now and begin exercising your body your way to amazing and vibrant health!
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