You know that if you sit around too much, your chances of bending over and touching your toes are about as good as winning the Mega Millions jackpot. (The odds on Jan. 5 this year were 1 in 302.5 million.) And if you’re not pruning the
dogwood out back or doing the downward dog, your pups aren’t moving in the right direction either!
Around 50 million of YOU are profoundly sedentary. You have sitting jobs, participate in no regular program of physical activity and generally don’t do much that’s demanding around the house or yard. That accounts, at least in part, for the fact that more than a third of American adults are obese (one in six, or 17 percent, of kids 12-19 are, too).
But having trouble bending and stretching isn’t the only way a sedentary lifestyle affects your flexibility. Turns out being sedentary is directly related to another major health problem: metabolic inflexibility. That’s what happens inside your cells — especially muscle and fat cells — when you are overweight, sedentary and eat high-fat, processed-carb meals.
Metabolic inflexibility means that your body has a hard time switching fuel sources the way it needs to, from using carbs to using fat (fatty acids). That’s probably because you’re supplying your body with an excess of those two energy
sources and not spending as much energy as the fuel you consume could support.
That disrupts the glucose-managing powers of insulin and weakens your muscles’ ability to power you. You develop elevated triglycerides, insulin resistance, elevated glucose levels and Type 2 diabetes.
Metabolic flexibility, on the other hand, happens when you supply your body with a healthy balance of unprocessed carbs (in veggies, fruits and whole grains), in proportion to the demands of your physical activity. Then your cells can choose to burn carbs or fats as they need them.
But how do you restore metabolic flexibility if you’re obese, overweight or have insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes?
EXERCISE. And we’re not talking Dwayne Johnson exercise, merely getting up and moving around more. Boosting your burn rate of lipids and carbs allows your cells to build healthy muscle and control glucose levels. The ongoing Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS) that started in 1970 and includes more than 80,000 patients has found that poor fitness level accounts for about 16 percent of all participants’ death. And how did the researchers get to that figure? By determining how many deaths could have been avoided if folks had walked for just 30 minutes a day! Thirty minutes! That’s all. Not even enough to qualify for the minimal fitness routine that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:
—At least 150 minutes weekly of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (20 or more minutes a day), or 75 minutes weekly of vigorous-intensity activity, or an equivalent combo. Plus: Musclestrengthening activities two or more days a week.
—Benefits increase with increasing activity to 300 minutes weekly (40 or more minutes a day) of moderateintensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent combo.
Need more incentive? ACLS also found that moderately fit men lived six years longer than unfit men. And women who were very fit were 55 percent less likely to die from breast cancer than women who were not in good shape.
If you want to make sure your body is metabolically flexible, so that your muscles work well and your internal organs function properly, adopt a diet that provides you with the fuel your cells want: lean proteins, 100 percent whole grains
and 7 to 9 servings of produce daily.
Then get moving: Start by walking 20 minutes a day (your goal is 10,000 steps daily) or take a yoga class. Stretch bands are great for underused muscles. The rewards are real, from metabolic flexibility to muscle flexibility. You’ll increase
your self-confidence and achieve a younger RealAge.
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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.
© 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
This column is sponsored by your local choice for healthy lifestyle products -Nutter's Bulk and Natural Foods
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