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Exercise Column

Beat your genetics

Beat your genetics - the more you exercise the better your chances in preventing or reversing metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors, including elevated triglycerides, excess body weight, high blood pressure, high fasting blood glucose levels, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). The presence of three or more of these factors increases your chances of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Now, there is more research to lead to hope in the fight against these degenerative diseases and the debilitating factors related to them. A study published in the July 2005 issue of the American Heart Association's journal Circulation found that the higher the fitness level of an individual the lower the likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome.

The researchers followed over 10,000 men and women over a twenty-year period and found that the risk of metabolic syndrome was 26% lower for men who were moderately fit and 53% lower for those who were highly fit, when compared to those in the lowest fitness category. In women, fitness also significantly lowered the risk of metabolic syndrome by 20% and 63% for moderately and highly fit participants, respectively compared to those in the lowest fitness category.

While genetics contribute both to fitness and disease development, research has that thata proper and exercise andexercise can counteract many of the debilitating effects of a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits.To attain the moderate fitness level of the Circulation study you need cardiovascular exercise perform cardiovascularexercise the equivalent of 30-40 minutes of brisk walking five days per week. To achieve the highest levels of fitness needed to most dramatically reduce your chances of developing or reversing the risk factors involved with metabolic syndrome you need to engage in vigorous jogging, biking, or swimming for 20-30 minutes a day for three to five days per week.

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 10.02.05