Research tracking 1,097 people with cardiovascular disease over a 10-year period found that those who exercised regularly were half as likely to develop the Metabolic Syndrome compared to those who were inactive, even though they were of similar body weight.1
Having the Metabolic Syndrome puts one at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. You probably have the syndrome if you have three or more of the following risk factors: abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, or low high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) levels.
In the 10-year study, the regular exercisers also had a 60% lower risk of becoming insulin resistant (another precursor to Type 2 diabetes) compared to the inactive patients, reported the scientists at University Medical Center Utrecht, in the Netherlands.
30 minutes or more of brisk walking
The 1,097 people in the study, predominately male, averaged 58 years at the start of the study. All had a history of heart disease, but not Type 2 diabetes. The regular exercisers, about 20% of the group, averaged more than 30 minutes of brisk walking every day.
It is vital, concluded lead investigator Dr. Beate G. Brower and colleagues, to be physically active at least 30 minutes every day. “Patients with manifest arterial disease who are physically active are less likely to have the Metabolic Syndrome and insulin resistance than physically inactive patients, independent of weight loss.”
Research on men at the Pritikin Longevity Center echoed these conclusions. Drs. Christian Roberts and James Barnard at UCLA followed 31 overweight men, ages 46 to 76, during their three-week stay at Pritikin. Half had the Metabolic Syndrome; the other half had Type 2 diabetes, or both diabetes and the syndrome.2
Reversal of syndrome, Type 2 diabetes
Three weeks at Pritikin reversed the clinical diagnosis of the Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 diabetes in about 50% of the men, and the results were all the more impressive because the men had yet to shed a lot of weight. On average, they had lost just 6 to 10 pounds. They were still, in effect, overweight. Yet they had improved virtually all factors that lead to heart disease and diabetes, including decreasing LDL bad cholesterol by 26%, increasing nitric oxide production, and reducing oxidative stress.
Exercise for heart attack patients
So hang in there with your daily exercise program and your heart-healthy Pritikin eating. Don’t let that bathroom scale discourage you. Even if weight loss happens slowly, getting healthy happens quickly and profoundly, and can save your life.