Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Nov 2018 11:53:00


I dn today’s stressful times and era of lifestyle diseases ruling the roost, the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle couldn’t have been more stressed upon. And to ingrain this message in our minds, a recent study conducted on 1,22,007 patients, found that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease. We spoke to experts for their verdict... Senior author of the study, Dr Wael Jaber who called the results “extremely surprising” said, “Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker.

We’ve never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this.” According to him, being unfit should be treated almost as a disease which has a medicine called exercise.

The researchers have always been concerned that “ultra” exercisers might be at a higher risk of death, but the study found that not to be the case. Comparing those with a sedentary lifestyle to the top exercise performers, the risk associated with death is 500 per cent higher and comparing somebody who doesn’t exercise much to somebody who exercises regularly showed a risk 390 per cent higher.

Ou r bodie s are not meant to b e sedentary

Dr Narayan Gadkar, cardiologist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, agrees with the study but has his share of reservations.“While being physically inactive is harmful, extreme exercising isn’t good either

. Also, you can’t actually compare being sedentary to being worse than smoking, blood pressure and diabetes. You can’t extrapolate it that way, as the subjects for measuring lack of exercise and those with the above diseases are not the same. Another thing, people shouldn’t take the wrong message that if one is exercising, one can afford to smoke.” he reasons out.

Having said that, a normal person is supposed to exercise for survival, even if one doesn’t smoke or have blood pressure or diabetes. Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary. Brisk walking for 45 minutes, five days a week is a must, over and above that is even better.

Majority of people are physically inactive

Do our experts agree with the findings of the study? Dr Pradeep Gadge, chief diabetologist, Gadge Diabetes Centre, who agrees with the study, isn’t surprised by it as he expected this. “Sitting has already been dubbed as the new smoking. People hardly exercise.

Out of say, a thousand patients that I’ve seen, there are only two to three, who exercise regularly. Whether it’s people in IT, other corporate jobs, homemakers or even the medical community, are guilty of being physically inactive,” he laments. These days, he sees people from the IT industry, having problems like blood pressure and diabetes starting in the 25-30 age group.

Whereas those with other sedentary jobs and lifestyle face these diseases in the 35-40 age group itself.

No culture of exercising in our country

Exercising regularly keeps metabolism in check and controls oxidative stress, which serves as the base for most lifestyle diseases, opines Dr Rajendra Kesarwani, chest physician, SRV Mamata Hospital, who also agrees with the study. “People need to exercise irrespective of whether they smoke, have blood pressure and diabetes or not. Unfortunately, there’s no culture of exercising in our country.

India is a hot seat with the highest numbers for diabetes, hypertension and obesity,” he warns.

Eve n normal individuals must exercise

People often assume that if they don’t have any vices or lifestyle diseases, it’s not necessary for them to exercise. How far from the truth are they? Dr Gadge says that just because they don’t indulge in any vices or have lifestyle diseases, doesn’t mean they don’t need to exercise. They’re inviting these problems by doing so. People wait for health problems to occur and then they think of getting fit.They forget prevention is better than cure.

Lack of disease isn’t equal to being healthy

People often have a perception that lack of diseases equals to being healthy. They therefore, assume that a blood report means a fitness report. All parameters in the blood report are normal translates to all parameters in fitness report must be normal. However, this is not true, says Swapneel Hazare, founder and owner of SHIELD.

He adds that if one doesn’t exercise regularly, obesity is not far away, which associated with a multitude of problems like increased risk of heart disease, stroke, gallstones, sleep apnea, reproductive problems, certain cancers, etc.