Physical activity or exercise can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Most importantly, regular activity can improve your quality of life.
A minimum of 30 minutes a day can allow you to enjoy these benefits.
Benefits of regular physical activity
If you are regularly physically active, you may:
reduce your risk of a heart attack
manage your weight better
have a lower blood cholesterol level
lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers
have lower blood pressure
have stronger bones, muscles and joints and lower risk of developing osteoporosis
lower your risk of falls
recover better from periods of hospitalisation or bed rest
feel better – with more energy, a better mood, feel more relaxed and sleep better.
A healthier state of mind
A number of studies have found that exercise helps depression. There are many views as to how exercise helps people with depression:
Exercise may block negative thoughts or distract you from daily worries.
Exercising with others provides an opportunity for increased social contact.
Increased fitness may lift your mood and improve your sleep patterns.
Exercise may also change levels of chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones.
Aim for at least 30 minutes a day
To maintain health and reduce your risk of health problems, health professionals and researchers recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
Physical activity guidelines
Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines state that:
Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
Do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.
Ways to increase physical activity
Increases in daily activity can come from small changes made throughout your day, such as walking or cycling instead of using the car, getting off a tram, train or bus a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way, or walking the children to school.
See your doctor first
It is a good idea to see your doctor before starting your physical activity program if:
you are aged over 45 years
physical activity causes pain in your chest
you often faint or have spells of severe dizziness
moderate physical activity makes you very breathless
you are at a higher risk of heart disease
you think you might have heart disease or you have heart problems
you are pregnant.
Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or ‘safety net’ to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you.
https://moreliaclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/FINAL-MORELIA-LOGO1.png00adminhttps://moreliaclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/FINAL-MORELIA-LOGO1.pngadmin2021-06-28 19:58:282021-06-28 19:58:30how much physical activity do you need?
Following a plant-based diet is becoming increasingly popular. While this is widely regarded as a healthful choice, many myths abound. In this edition of Medical Myths, we dig into the details.
Until fairly recently, vegetarianism was generally considered a fringe lifestyle choice in the United States, and veganism even more so. Anything on the fringes of society tends to inadvertently encourage myths and misconceptions.
Also, deciding to avoid animal products sparks rage in some people. This anger manifests for a range of reasons, which are beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that if a sizable group of the population is against something, conditions are ripe for myths and half-truths.
1. Plant-based diets are always healthful
In recent decades, an increasing number of studies have demonstrated links between red meat consumption and poorer health outcomes. For instance, processed and red meat intake is associated with colon cancer, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
This might suggest that a diet without meat is better for the body. But, just as not all meat is red, not all vegetarian or vegan diets are healthful.
To use an extreme example, if an individual only ate potato chips, they would be vegan, but certainly not brimming with vitality, energy, and health.
As with any other diet, it depends entirely on what an individual consumes.
Additionally, lean white meat and fish are not associated with the same health issues as processed and red meats.
And certain meat substitute products can be high in salt.
2. Vegetarianism guarantees weight loss
Sadly, no. As the section above makes clear, not all vegetarian and vegan diets are equally healthful. It is incredibly easy to consume thousands of calories each day without any of them being associated with animals.
The key to weight loss is a healthful diet and regular exercise, and neither requires the avoidance of animal products.
It is still worth noting, though, the evidence that following a plant-based diet is associated with weight loss. For instance, a review published in Translational Psychiatry
“We found robust evidence for short- to moderate-term beneficial effects of plant-based diets versus conventional diets on weight status, energy metabolism, and systemic inflammation.”
This finding held true for healthy participants, people with obesity, and individuals with type 2 diabetes.
To give another example, another review, published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, looked at the impact of plant-based diets on people with diabetes. Among other benefits, the authors found that these diets were associated with a “significant improvement” in weight.
3. Vegetarians and vegans cannot get enough protein
This is perhaps the most common of all the myths that we cover today. But it is still a myth. In the world of food, protein abounds.
For people who eat them, dairy products and eggs are high in protein. Vegans also have an array of options, including seitan, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, many types of bean, spelt, spirulina, quinoa, oats, wild rice, seeds, and nuts.
Even some vegetables contain protein, including spinach, asparagus, broccoli, artichokes, potatoes, peas, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes.
4. You can’t build muscle without meat
This myth follows on from the protein myth above. In short, the most important nutrient for building muscle is protein, which can easily be found in abundance beyond the animal kingdom.
5. Dairy is essential for strong bones
Dairy is not essential for strong bones, but calcium is. In fact, calcium is important for a number of bodily functions, including maintaining blood pressure, muscle contraction, transmitting signals along nerves, and blood clotting.
Vegans, therefore, need to ensure that they take in enough calcium from plant-based sources.
As with protein, there are plenty of places to pick up calcium, including soy-based foods, beans, lentils, peas, spinach, turnips, figs, flax, chia, sesame seeds, seaweed, and some nuts — almonds, in particular.
6. You cannot get B12 from a vegetarian diet
This is a myth. While vegans often take B12 supplements to ensure that they have adequate levels, vegetarians have a wealth of other options.
Vegetarians can derive B12 from eggs and milk products, including cheese.
Meanwhile, a range of vegan-friendly foods are fortified with B12, including some cereals, tofu, nondairy milks, and spreads.
B12: An interesting aside
Cows need B12, too, and they rely on gut bacteria to produce it.
To produce B12, gut bacteria need cobalt, which a cow normally derives from grazing. However, many cows destined to become meat only spend the beginning of their lives in pasture before being brought inside where they are fed on grain.
Because of this unnatural diet, their gut bacteria are starved of cobalt and cannot produce B12.
But the cow still needs B12 to thrive, so farmers must provide them with either cobalt or B12 supplements.
So even a staunch, dyed-in-the-wool red meat fanatic is likely to derive their B12 from supplements — but in their case, it’s via a cow.
7. Soy increases the risk of breast cancer
As it stands, there is no convincing evidence that eating soy-based foods increases the risk of breast cancer in humans.
This misunderstanding might stem from earlier studies in rodents. Scientists showed that when these animals received large amounts of soy compounds called isoflavones, they were more likely to develop breast cancer. However, humans process soy differently from rodents.
A study published in February 2020 searched for associations between soy, dairy intake, and breast cancer risk. The scientists had followed 52,795 cancer-free women in the U.S. for an average of 7.9 years.
They found no clear association between soy intake and breast cancer, but they did identify a link between dairy milk and breast cancer.
However, the full picture is, perhaps, slightly more complex. Some women use soy-based supplements as a natural alternative to hormone therapy during menopause. One large study investigated whether these supplements might be associated with breast cancer risk.
The researchers found “no association between past use of soy supplements and breast cancer.” But, they also found that taking soy supplements, for some women, might increase the risk of breast cancer, particularly for those with a family history.
Overall, as the American Cancer Society explain:
“The evidence does not point to any dangers from eating soy in people, and the health benefits appear to outweigh any potential risk. In fact, there is growing evidence that eating traditional soy foods may lower the risk of breast cancer, especially among Asian women.”
8. Pregnant people need meat and dairy
During pregnancy, it is important to take in all the nutrients that a growing baby needs. But, as we have seen along the way, plant-based foods can provide the vast majority of them.
Someone who is vegetarian or vegan may need to do a little extra planning to be sure that have enough nutrients, especially at the beginning of pregnancy.
As we mentioned above, it is important to ensure an adequate intake of vitamin B12, through supplements or fortified foods, and this is especially true during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The American Dietetic Association recommend vitamin B12 supplementation throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding for people with vegan or vegetarian diets.
As the authors of a review of research about plant-based diets during pregnancy explain, “The available evidence shows that well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets may be considered safe during pregnancy and lactation, but they require a strong awareness for a balanced intake of key nutrients.”
https://moreliaclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/FINAL-MORELIA-LOGO1.png00adminhttps://moreliaclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/FINAL-MORELIA-LOGO1.pngadmin2021-06-21 18:20:382021-06-21 18:20:40Medical myths: Vegetarian and vegan diets
Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. With type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood. You can also have prediabetes. This means that your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Having prediabetes puts you at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious problems. It can damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes can also cause heart disease, stroke and even the need to remove a limb. Pregnant women can also get diabetes, called gestational diabetes.
Blood tests can show if you have diabetes. One type of test, the A1C, can also check on how you are managing your diabetes. Exercise, weight control and sticking to your meal plan can help control your diabetes. You should also monitor your blood glucose level and take medicine if prescribed.
How can I prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes?
If you are at risk for diabetes, you may be able to prevent or delay getting it. Most of the things that you need to do involve having a healthier lifestyle. So if you make these changes, you will get other health benefits as well. You may lower your risk of other diseases, and you will probably feel better and have more energy. The changes are:
Losing weight and keeping it off. Weight control is an important part of diabetes prevention. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 10% of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose between 10 to 20 pounds. And once you lose the weight, it is important that you don’t gain it back.
Following a healthy eating plan. It is important to reduce the amount of calories you eat and drink each day, so you can lose weight and keep it off. To do that, your diet should include smaller portions and less fat and sugar. You should also eat a variety of foods from each food group, including plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also a good idea to limit red meat, and avoid processed meats.
Get regular exercise. Exercise has many health benefits, including helping you to lose weight and lower your blood sugar levels. These both lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional to figure out which types of exercise are best for you. You can start slowly and work up to your goal.
Don’t smoke. Smoking can contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. If you already smoke, try to quit.
Talk to your health care provider to see whether there is anything else you can do to delay or to prevent type 2 diabetes. If you are at high risk, your provider may suggest that you take one of a few types of diabetes medicines.