Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Be active, get out and walk!

One fundamental core to Unicity's philosophy to optimal health is exercise. We all know the health benefits to our bodies as a result of good cardiovascular exercise. This was reinforced by a very recent study published online (meaning ahead of the print version) from the journal Circulation (h/t Science Daily).

In this study, the authors took a group of overweight cardiac rehabilitation patients and randomized them to two groups. One group was to burn (through exercise, namely walking) 3000-3500 calories per week, while the other group was to do the standard rehab exercise regime of 700-800 calories weekly.

"After five months, compared to the group doing traditional rehabilitation, patients in the high-calorie-burning group had:

• significantly greater improvement in 10 heart risk factors, including insulin sensitivity (a hallmark of the metabolic syndrome), total cholesterol and the total cholesterol/good cholesterol ratio, blood pressure, and cardio-respiratory fitness; and

• a greater average reduction in weight (18 vs. 8 pounds), body fat, (13 vs. 6 pounds) and waistlines (2.7 vs. 2 inches).

Researchers said all of these changes were statistically significant."

Here is a money quote from one of the authors of the study, “The higher-caloric exercise, consisting of almost daily long-distance walking, resulted in double the weight loss and a greater fat mass loss than standard cardiac rehabilitation exercise,” said Philip A. Ades, M.D., lead author of the study and professor of medicine and director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington. “And probably most importantly, these patients improved their insulin sensitivity to a greater degree.”

This study highlights the fact that you don't need to hire a personal trainer or get a subscription to the gym. You can simply walk and walk far to achieve positive results. With spring weather here and with summer just around the corner - now is a great time to get started. Pick someone to walk with you. Often you have greater motivation to exercise if you have a partner. Get out and get consistent and reap the benefits you deserve!

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