The month of February was all about emphasizing the importance of heart health, preventing heart disease and maintaining good lifestyle factors. Physical activity for both kids and adults is very important and has many benefits – one of which is preventing obesity. Here is more information about this important topic along with some tips on staying active, at all ages.
An Epidemic: Obesity is an epidemic in this country. I see several patients a day struggling with this growing condition. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey last year, the rate of obese adults was close to forty percent. Hispanics and Non-Hispanic blacks are affected the most. Pediatric obesity affects many children, making it the most common chronic disease of childhood. That is astonishing!
Unhealthy Effects: Chronic obesity can lead to morbidity and mortality later in life. A sedentary lifestyle and engaging in unhealthy eating regimens can lead to excess belly and body fat, decrease good cholesterol levels (HDL), and elevated triglyceride levels. Obesity can also affect’s an individual’s self esteem and social well being.
Importance of Physical Activity: I was honored to speak at and participate in the Sweat for Smiles Namaste & Play Yoga Party benefitting KaBOOM! This is an incredible organization that builds safe playgrounds for ALL kids. Organizations like KABOOM ensure that children will have the opportunity and the space to increase their regular physical activity and help lower the risk of obesity. Why is it so important to lead a healthy lifestyle and maintain a good body weight for each individual?
Obesity Can Lead To Increased Rates Of:
- Diabetes Type 2
- Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke
- Arthritis with and without inflammation like Osteoarthritis and Gout
- Hip fracture
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Psychological consequences especially in children and adolescents. Childhood obesity can affect a child’s physical health, social and emotional well being and self esteem.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Council of Exercise (ACE) encourage and recommend at least 60 minutes daily of moderate intensity activity or active play. It does not have to be completed at one time. Several hours is better if it is possible. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise each week.
Benefits of Exercise:
- Boosts HDL or good cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides
- Increase energy levels
- Helps improve heart health by allowing better oxygen delivery and decreasing blood pressure
- Promoting better blood flow resulting in anti oxidant effects
- Improves brain health and memory
- Promotes weight loss or weight maintenance
- Maintains strong bones and muscles
- Increases endorphins ( chemicals/hormones produced by the brain and pituitary gland that can ignite positive feelings of well being)
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Can help your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels, increase endorphins production to help produce positive feelings (reduce stress and anxiety)
- Helps individuals be more social by connecting with friends and family
Have Fun While Exercising:
- Try something new like a dance, kickboxing, or Zumba class.
- I often have dance parties at home with my child after school to decompress from the day! Crank up the music!
- Lately, I have been experimenting with jump roping to kickstart my mornings!
- Sign up for race with your son, daughter, niece or nephew. New York Road Runners (NYRR) have kids races all year or have your child join the last mile of a race with you.
- Organize a hiking trip outside your home or at a local park or indoor rock climbing.
- Run up the stairs of your building or outdoors and pretend you are Rocky!
- Walk around all over city or your town instead of taking a bus or car.
- Check out the local YMCA for Gymnastics or swimming.
- One of my favorite activities to do with my daughter is to figure skate. This sport includes dancing, strengthening , meditation and cardio rolled up in one activity.
Although February is over, let’s keep the notion of maintaining good heart health practices front and center in our minds. LET’S ALL GET MOVING!
Dr. Maggie Cadet, MD.
Rheumatologist in NYC @drmaggiecadet maggiecadetmd.com