Can just a few pounds make a huge difference?

The Physicians’ Health Study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA) reveals that as little as seven extra pounds combined with little or no exercise can significantly increase your risk of heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest.

  • Regardless of the level of activity, higher body mass index equates to higher heart failure risk.
  • Even modestly overweight men had increased heart risk—a risk that increased with excess pounds.
  • Every 7 pounds of excess weight equated to a 11% increased heart risk in the 20 year study—1 kg/m2 increase in BMI, men over 5’10” tall in a multivariate analysis.
  • Overweight study participants had a 49% heart failure increase.
  • Obese study participants had a 180% heart failure increase.
  • 18% reduction in heart failure risk in active men—with one to three times per month of physical activity.
  • 36% reduction in heart failure in higher activity men—those with five to seven times per week of physical activity.

A higher BMI increased heart failure risk in both active and inactive men, the “beneficial effect of vigorous physical activity in reducing the risk of heart failure was observed in lean, overweight and also obese men.”  The American Heart Association says: Healthy adults ages 18-65 should get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days per week.

  • Couch potatoes—physically inactive people—are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.
  • Two-thirds of Americans have excess body weight—and about only 30% exercise regularly.
  • 660,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
  • 80% of men and 75% of women aged 65 and older diagnosed with heart failure die within eight years.
  • Too much belly fat ups risk for other health problems: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
  • Women with excess body fat are at higher risk of heart disease — even if they don’t have other risk factors.

Even just walking 30 minutes a day can . . .

  • Reduce coronary heart disease risk
  • Reduce the risk on non-insulin dependant [Type 2] diabetes
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Maintain body weight and reduce your risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well-being
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer

Even a minimum duration of 10 min, high intensity exercise at an anaerobic or lactate threshold production level increases circulating  Growth Hormone in adults.  Increasing Growth Hormone results in enhanced production of Thyroid Hormone and Testosterone, with improved vessel elasticity.  The risk of death was reduced by 50% with an improved exercise capacity attained of just  30 minutes per session, 5-6 days per week.   And even if  30 minutes was too much , splitting the routine into 10-15 minute segments (morning/evening) gives the same benefit.

Even reducing your weight just a few pounds or exercising even ten minutes a day can have a huge impact.  For more information regarding high intensity exercise check out the article on “Exercise as if your life depended upon it!

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