Every single step that you take physically-walk, run or jog adds upon your benefit of a healthy life. Time and again insistence on doing activity and exercise whenever time permits-in the form of taking the stairs by avoiding the escalator, parking the car further away from the parking lot or walking while talking over the phone-has been displayed. If you are one of those who gives excuses in the form of lack of time we have various studies showing that doing even 10 minutes of exercise every day or short bouts of exercise through the day-in the form of even 2 min sessions-have tremendous potential to decrease the risk of health-related diseases and overweight-related issues. I am sure that we can all find 10 minutes in 24 hours! We have been recommended to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five time a week and not even 50% of us comply with this. But, rise in obesity and overweight statistics are never on the downside too. The world is moving towards an obesity epidemic and if we don’t do something sooner to stop it, we would be at a point of no-return in a while.
While we desperately try to utilize every opportunity available to stay healthy and reduce risk of diseases there are some who live a carefree life unbothered about anything until the ultimatum strikes. A new research shows that obese individuals who commute by car have a 32% increased risk of death compared to those who commute by cycle or walk. Its absurd to ask someone who travels 50 kms up and down to work to ride a bicycle or walk! Remember, we are practical. All that the study is trying to show is the positive impact that exercising can have on the body and beyond this, the negative impact that staying sedentary can have on our health.
There have been previous studies that proved that commuting by cycle or walking decreased the risk of death by as much as 50% compared to community by car. There have also been studies on school students showing that walking to school decreased the risk of obesity compared to travelling by school bus/van (for an elaborate explanation on this please visit www.firsteatright.com). A new study tried to understand the effects of commuting by car to work on 1,63,149 men and women aged between 37 and 73 years of which 50% of them were females. Obesity is defined as a BMI greater than 30. The study participants were classified into four different groups-car commuters, walking and cycling (active-mixed), cycling-only and walking-only. As the study period proceeded some 2,425 participants died and 7,973 developed heart disease. While those having a healthy body weight and doing mixed active commuting (cycling and walking) remained unaffected by health risks greatly those commuting by car and suffering from obesity were at a 32% increased risk of premature death, at a double risk of heart disease mortality and 59% increased risk of non-fatal heart disease. Also, obese people who were active commuters were at the same risk of death possibility as normal-weighted people who were active commuters too. But, the risk of suffering from heart disease was 82% in active commuters with obesity compared to those with a healthy body weight. This shows that irrespective of your weight there is a definite chance of reaping benefits when you exercise regularly-only the percentage varies depending on your weight issues.
The study is a sure indicator that people with obesity or overweight can benefit from lower mortality risks when they engage in physical activity regularly. Active commuting is an excellent way to stay in shape and reach benefits-it requires no additional efforts and can be implemented well within your available time. It only helps to increase your overall physical activity level and reap greater benefits. Do some sit ups whenever you get time, get up and walk every once an hour, take an activity break from your schedule to go for a quick walk and stretch your hands and legs often to keep them flexible.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.