UNC Health Talk

Keep Moving – You Were Born to Do It!

Post by David Tsai, M.D. of Rex Primary Care of Holly Springs. Dr. Tsai is a physician with Rex Primary Care of Holly Springs with a focus on primary care and sports medicine.

If I told you I had a treatment that could not only extend your life, but it improves your relationships and sex-life and helps you remember where you left your keys – how interested would you be in taking it?

It also benefits children. The earlier it’s provided to children, the greater benefit to them later as an adult.

Newton’s Law of Inertia states – ‘A body at rest remains at rest and a body in motion remains in motion.’ Knowing what we know now as it relates to the human body – ‘a body at rest leads to a premature permanent rest – in a grave! A body in motion helps it remain in motion, and out of a grave prematurely.’

Physical inactivity is the 3rd leading cause of preventable premature death behind smoking and poor nutrition.
Studies show that the benefits of regular exercise also include:

  • Reduces the risk of dying from heart disease.
  • Reduces the risk of stroke
  • Reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • Helps reduce blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure
  • Reduces the risk of developing colon cancer
  • Helps control weight and prevent obesity
  • Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints
  • Helps older adults prevent fall and hip fractures
  • Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction
  • Reduces the risk of dementia (by 6 fold in one recent study)

Children who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults. Approximately 25 percent of obese preschool children remain obese as adults, compared to approximately 50 percent of obese 6-year olds, and 80 percent of obese 10- to 14-year olds. Exercise is one of the main interventions to prevent this from happening.

If you have not been exercising and plan to, do you need clearance before starting?
There is general consensus that a screening medical evaluation prior to exercise is not necessary for asymptomatic patients (ie. no exertional chest pain, shortness of breath, etc) at low risk for coronary heart disease. However, many clinicians perform periodic exercise ECG tests in asymptomatic individuals with multiple cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, smoking, diabetes, and a history of premature myocardial infarction or sudden cardiac death in a first-degree relative under age 60.

How much exercise is sufficient to gain benefits?

Studies recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity (ie. walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity weekly for all adults. However, in one large prospective cohort study, even individuals who engaged in brief physical activity (15 minutes daily or 90 minutes weekly) had a 14 percent reduction in all-cause mortality and a three year longer life expectancy compared to those who were inactive.

Exercise – it’s what you were born to do!