Thursday, September 20, 2007

Be active.

This should really be obvious. Being active promotes health.

We have looked before here about at insulin resistance. It is not really a good thing:

Insulin resistance is the condition in which normal amounts of insulin are inadequate to produce a normal insulin response from fat, muscle and liver cells. Insulin resistance in fat cells results in hydrolysis of stored triglycerides, which elevates free fatty acids in the blood plasma. Insulin resistance in muscle reduces glucose uptake whereas insulin resistance in liver reduces glucose storage, with both effects serving to elevate blood glucose. High plasma levels of insulin and glucose due to insulin resistance often lead to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Mark Sisson's diabetes post explains how eating too much sugar and exercising too little leads via insulin resistance to diabetes.

when we eat too many carbohydrates, the pancreas pumps out insulin exactly as the DNA blueprint tell it to (hooray pancreas!), but if the liver and muscle cells are already filled with glycogen, those cells start to become resistant to the call of insulin. The insulin “receptor sites” on the surface of those cells start to decrease in number as well as in efficiency. The term is called “down regulation.” Since the glucose can’t get into the muscle or liver cells, it remains in the bloodstream. Now the pancreas senses there’s still too much toxic glucose in the blood, so it frantically pumps out even more insulin, which causes the insulin receptors on the surface of those cells to become even more resistant, because excess insulin is also toxic! Eventually, the insulin helps the glucose finds it way into your fat cells, where it is stored as fat. Again – because it bears repeating – it’s not fat that gets stored in your fat cells – it’s sugar.

Over time, as we continue to eat high carbohydrate diets and exercise less, the degree of insulin insensitivity increases. Unless we take dramatic steps to reduce carbohydrate intake and increase exercise, we develop several problems that only get worse over time – and the drugs don’t fix it.

A new study however suggests that activity of any kind can help to improve insulin sensitivity, even among people with abdominal obesity.

"Total physical activity is the key determinant of insulin sensitivity," he said. "What we would say from this is even if you have an office job, if you sit around a lot of the day, if you then go out and increase your total activity by doing a period of swimming or cycling, that's good, as long as you get your total activity up, you have a positive association with insulin sensitivity."

Increasing total activity by other means, such as taking the stairs when possible or walking to work can also significantly reduce the risk of insulin resistance and associated cardiovascular risk, he added.

And the benefit was apparent regardless of central adiposity, which is considered a driver of insulin resistance.

The message is clear - be active! Move - you are not supposed to sit around doing nothing, you need to be in motion.

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