Health Alert

Sitting All Day as Bad as Little Exercise

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Sitting all day may significantly boost the risk of lifestyle-related disease even if one adds a regular dose of moderate or vigorous exercise, Is too much sitting as bad as too little exercise?
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The health benefits of pulse-quickening physical activity are beyond dispute — it helps ward off cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, among other problems.

But recent scientific findings also suggest that prolonged bouts of immobility while resting on one’s rear end may be independently linked to these same conditions.

“Sedentary time should be defined as muscular inactivity rather than the absence of exercise,” concluded a team of Swedish researchers. “We need to consider that we are dealing with two distinct behaviours and their effects,” they reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine .

Led by Elin Ekblom-Bak of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the scientists proposed a new “paradigm of inactivity physiology,” and urged fellow researchers to rethink the definition of a sedentary lifestyle.

They point to a recent study of Australian adults showing that each daily one-hour increase in sitting time while watching television upped the rate of metabolic syndrome in women by 26 percent — regardless of the amount of moderate-to-intensive exercise performed.

Thirty minutes of daily physical exercise decreased the risk by about the same percentage, suggesting that being a couch potato can cancel out the benefits of hitting treadmill or biking, for example. Metabolic syndrome is defined as the presence of three or more factors including high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high cholesterol or insulin resistance. New research is required to see if there is a causal link between being sedentary and these conditions and, if so, how it works, the researchers said.

One candidate is lipoprotein lipase, or LPL, an enzyme that plays a crucial role in breaking down fat within the body into useable forms. Recent research has shown that LPL activity was significantly lower in rats with restrained muscle activity — as low as one tenth of the levels of rats allowed to walk about.

The LPL level during such activity “was not significantly different from that of rats exposed to higher levels of exercise,” the scientists reported. “This stresses the importance of local muscle contraction per se, rather than the intensity of the contraction.”

These studies suggest that people should not only exercise frequently, but avoid sitting in one place for too long, they said.

Climbing stairs rather than using an elevator, taking five-minute breaks from a desk job, and walking when possible to do errands rather than driving were all recommended.

Source: The Times Of India

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Chocolet is Good for Heart

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Had a heart attack? Eating chocolate twice a week could save your life
Eat up: But only dark chocolate, not high-fat high-sugar milk chocolate, showed tangible benefits

Heart attack survivors who snack on chocolate at least twice a week could slash their risk of dying from heart disease.
New research shows chocolate-loving victims are nearly 70 per cent less likely to die from cardiac problems than those who rarely eat the confectionery.
Even a weekly chocolate treat can help, almost halving the risk of death from heart problems, researchers found.
The latest findings, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, are the latest in a long line of studies highlighting the health benefits of chocolate, especially dark chocolate.
Previous investigations have found dark chocolate, which is rich in disease-busting antioxidants called flavonoids, can lower the risk of blood clots, protect against bowel cancer and even help prevent premature births.
Antioxidants are compounds that protect against so-called free radicals, molecules which accumulate in the body and damage cells.
Every year, around 270,000 people in Britain suffer a heart attack, and coronary disease remains Britain’s biggest killer.
About a third die before reaching hospital, often because they have delayed seeking help.
If someone is lucky enough to survive a heart attack, they can still be left with severe damage that drastically increases their risk of dying from cardiac problems in the future.
But the latest research, by experts at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden,  indicates snacking on chocolate could be the perfect remedy.
They tracked 1,169 patients aged between 45 and 70 who had been admitted to hospital with a heart attack between 1992 and 1994.
Each one was quizzed on dietary habits, including how much chocolate they ate.
All the patients were then followed up for the best part of a decade.
The results showed those eating a few chunks of chocolate twice a week or more were 66 per cent less likely to die from cardiac disease than non-eaters.
Chocolate once a week reduced the risk by almost half and even an occasional treat – once a month or less – had a small benefit, cutting the risk by 27 per cent.
But other sweets were no help at all.
In a report on their findings, the researchers said: ‘The health effects of chocolate have been of great interest in recent years. But we know of no other studies assessing the possible effects of chocolate on post-heart attack prognosis.
‘We found it had a strong inverse association with subsequent cardiac mortality.’

owever, it’s unlikely that indulging in high-fat milk chocolate – the most popular type in the UK – will have the same advantages.
Ellen Mason, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘We need to interpret this study with caution as it’s based on decade old events, and our diagnosis and treatment of heart attacks have moved on considerably since that time.
‘Being high in sugar and saturated fat, chocolate is unlikely to prove a miracle solution for heart disease.

‘Dark chocolate does contain anti-oxidants, but we can all get the beneficial effects of anti-oxidants by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and should keep chocolate as an occasional treat in a healthy, balanced diet.’

Source: Mail OnLine. 14th. Aug.2009

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