Incorporating healthy lifestyle habits is essential to preventing Metabolic Syndrome. Those already diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome can dramatically reduce their risks of developing heart disease and diabetes. Losing only 5%-7% of your body weight can help reduce insulin levels, which in turn reduces the risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes. Exercise improves blood flow and strengthens the heart, helping ward off heart disease and stroke. If you’re not sure which exercises are right for you then consider the answers to some commonly asked questions:
Interval Training or Steady Paced Training?
Research shows that sufficient exercise at a moderate pace (70-80% of your maximum heart rate) or at an interval training pace (alternating spurts of high heart rate at 90% followed by low heart rate of at least 70%) can help with weight loss. Weight loss will reduce your risks, but it is not the only aspect to consider. Those who do interval training experience greater improvement in blood sugar control, insulin response and overall “good” cholesterol which are all important factors when exercising to prevent or control Metabolic Syndrome.
Vigorous or Moderate Activity?
Studies have shown, vigorous activity reduces the risk of Metabolic Syndrome by one-third in both males and females. Vigorous activity is defined as at least 2.5 hours a week of activities like walking a 15-minute mile, playing doubles tennis or 2 hours a week of jogging, running or cycling. By contrast, moderate activity has not shown any improvement in women and very little improvement in men. An example of moderate activity is a daily walk of 3 miles in one hour.
Is Resistance Training Important?
In your fight against Metabolic Syndrome it is essential to include some resistance training to build muscle mass. Overall cardiovascular fitness is very important for weight control, blood flow and heart health, but fat loss and muscle gain play a greater role in reducing the symptoms associated with Metabolic Syndrome.
While any level of physical activity is better than none, when it specifically comes to Metabolic Syndrome, research suggests that more intense physical activity produces the greatest improvement. Anyone contemplating a regular exercise regimen should ease into their routine, beginning with 10 minutes a day of moderate exercise and light resistance training and increasing gradually over time to more vigorous activities. If your health prevents you from participating in vigorous physical activity, do not get discouraged. While lower levels of activity might not produce the same results as quickly, they will help you move in the right direction.
If you are overwhelmed by the idea of beginning an exercise regimen or simply don’t know where to start, please book a consultation with a Certified Exercise Specialist and one of our kinesiologists can help to develop an appropriate individualized exercise program.