The following facts and statements provide a glimpse at the negative impact that lack of exercise and poor nutrition have on us.
According to the American Heart Association, physical inactivity is the primary cause of heart disease.
A classic study on the improvement in longevity through regular lifetime physical activity, showed that physical fitness and exercise can reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, some cancers, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and obesity.
An American Cancer Society study on breast cancer found that although any physical activity appeared to have some benefit, a 30 percent reduction in breast cancer rate occurred in women whose exercise was the equivalent of swimming, running, or jogging at least six hours a week.
The University of Utah and Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, found that men and women lowered their risk of colorectal cancer with exercise, and that vigorous exercise provided the greatest benefit. Men and women who exercised the equivalent of jogging five or more hours a week lowered their risk 40 to 50 percent.
A follow-up to a Harvard study found that the women in a group with diabetes who exercised at least four hours a week, were 40 percent less likely to develop heart disease. Other studies have found similar trends for men.
Dr. Lakatta, MD, senior investigative chief, Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science at the National Institute on Aging says, “Emerging scientific evidence suggests that people who exercise regularly not only live longer, they live better. Studies also show that exercise can promote psychological well-being and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.”
In his book “Spark”, the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr. Raty tells us that exercise is the best defense against mood disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.
Director of the National Institute on Aging, Richard J. Hodes, MD says, “Cardiovascular disease is also a major cause of disability, limiting the activity and eroding the quality of life of millions of older people each year.”
The National Institutes of Health reports that hypertension is one of the possible outcomes of poor nutrition. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is called the silent killer, because it frequently remains undetected and thus untreated until damage to the body has been done. Eating too much junk food, fried food, salt, sugar, dairy products, caffeine and refined food can cause hypertension.
Poor nutrition can lead to high cholesterol, which is a primary contributor to heart disease. High fat diets are common in the United States and Canada. The National Institutes of Health reports that more than 500,000 people in the United States die each year due to heart disease, which can be caused by a high fat diet. High cholesterol foods contain a large amount of saturated fat. Examples include ice cream, eggs, cheese, butter and beef.
Diabetes also can be linked to poor nutrition. Some forms of the disease can result from consuming a sugar and fat-laden diet, leading to overweight. According to the National Institute of Health, about 8 percent of the American population has diabetes.
A stroke that is caused by plaque that builds up in a blood vessel, then breaks free as a clot that travels to your brain and creates a blockage can be linked to poor nutrition. Strokes damage the brain and impair functioning, sometimes leading to death. Foods high in salt, fat and cholesterol increase your risk for stroke.
According to the National Institute of Health, poor nutrition can lead to gout. With gout, uric acid buildup results in the formation of crystals in your joints. The painful swelling associated with gout can lead to permanent joint damage. A diet that is high in fat or cholesterol can cause gout. Some seafood–sardines, mussels, oysters and scallops–as well as red meat, poultry, pork, butter, whole milk, ice cream and cheese can increase the amount of uric acid in your body, causing gout.
According to the National Institutes of Health, several types of cancer, including bladder, colon and breast cancers, may be partially caused by poor dietary habits. Limit your intake of foods that contains refined sugars, nitrates and hydrogenated oils, including hot dogs, processed meats, bacon, doughnuts and french fries.
What exercise will you get today and what good food will you eat?