Are you sitting down? Because I don’t recommend it. Last week I attended the Canadian Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention and I found two things particularly interesting. But, you could sum up most of the conference in 4 words.
Sit Less. Move More.
A few other interesting facts that were highlighted more than once. First, every speaker said that Cardiac Rehab wasn’t a responsible way to deliver health prevention and treatment. You might think that is unusual, isn’t cardiac rehab supposed to help prevent people from having another heart attack?
Yes, that is correct, cardiac rehab is meant to keep people out of the hospital and stay healthy after a cardiac event. No one was suggesting that rehab wasn’t valuable. What they were saying is that now that our lifestyle is slowly killing us, we need to take the cardiac part out of cardiac rehab and focus on multidimensional rehab. Almost everyone that has a need for cardiac rehab now has metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, maybe cancer, joint replacement, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and so on.
What does that have to do with you?
In most circumstances these are all preventable. If you don’t know how or are worried about any of these talk to your doctor. Want to prevent them? That is what I do.
Second, we need to talk about moving
It was suggested that we have a huge amount of research on the science of disease and little in the science of health. I would suggest that we do have a lot of research in the science of health it is just not explained in plain language so that people can apply that knowledge.
One speaker, Dr Ross Arena, from the Applied Health Sciences Program at the University of Illinois, Chicago had some great ideas about getting people moving. He promoted the idea of healthy living medicine, instead of only sick care. He thought that the mainstream standard of medicine should be to PREVENT lifestyle diseases.
How? In easy attainable ways. Remember in my last Food Fact, I said that government diet and fitness recommendations were designed to make it easy for people, not give them the best information because it might be too intimidating. That never helps anyone. Let’s get a few things straight. Exercise is medicine, it helps everyone. It is the great equalizer, everyone benefits. Small changes can have BIG benefits.
We all know the standard guidelines, get 150 minutes of exercise a week, it is not that hard. It only seems like a lot. But more exercise is better. So is less.
We tend to think of exercise like an on or off switch. I am exercising or I am not. I am doing enough or I am not. Maybe you should consider getting a dimmer switch. Sometimes I need to turn it up and sometimes doing a little is enough. It is not all or nothing.
If you are not currently exercising, getting 150 minutes a week or the recommended 10,000 steps might sound like climbing Everest. However, any of these changes will make a difference.
- Sit less – Something is better than nothing. If you simply sit less you will be healthier. Sitting kills.
- Walk – For every 1,000 extra steps you add to your day you reduce the stress on your heart. Every 1,000 steps. Start small, but start.
- Exercise – More is better. Exercise is medicine, get your daily dose.
We need to immerse ourselves in a culture of health and wellness. To improve our health span and reduce our risk of disease. If you want to know if you are doing enough ask yourself (or test yourself) Is my training program improving my fitness? I can help you do that too.
You can also start with My Life Check.
Dr. Arena and I agree on this, every doctor should be rating their patients health as a risk factor for disease. Preventable diseases. You have the power to make a difference.
Change your mind, change your health,
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