By Anna Redman
Next time you feel like kicking of your shoes and heading for the sofa instead of the gym, think again. Statistics Canada reports suggest that only 15 per cent of Canadians get enough weekly exercise, meaning 85 per cent of people can’t call on this superhero fix when they need it. Here are 16 reasons to get your sweat on today!
Duelling With Diabetes
Skip The Run Around
We all appreciate choices. Customizing anything, from your salad to your wardrobe to your workout routine, makes you feel in control, and capable of selecting the perfect fit. So if you’ve tried to hide your hatred of running but loathe every pavement-pounding second, then switch to brisk walking — don’t worry, it won’t compromise your results. Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a six-year study and ultimately concluded that walking was just as good as running (sometimes better!) as long as you burned the same number of calories (totally possible, it just takes longer!). Getting speedy with your stroll was found to reduce the risk of heart disease by nine per cent and diabetes by an impressive 12.3 per cent. Surprisingly, a runner’s risk reduction was found to be less significant, with heart disease coming in at 4.5 per cent and diabetes taking a drop of 12.1.
A Winning Combo
If you’re looking to lose a little weight, why not get another helping of health while you’re at it? A study published in The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that while the health lover’s trio of diet, aerobic, and resistance exercise training can be modestly effective in dropping that dreaded number on the scale, its true power lies in fighting diabetes, reducing your risk by an impressive 56 per cent.
Walk It Off
Take the stairs, park in the farthest space, or skip the email and visit a colleague’s desk — why? These are all easy opportunities to walk, and walking could just be your saving grace. Finnish researchers found that these under-utilized steps can encourage your body to use its insulin in a more effective way, upping the number of receptors and moving blood sugar into your cells, more efficiently, for improved energy and nutrition. Less-productive insulin will not only be a drain on your energy levels, but it can also cause serious health problems, including diabetes.
Join The Muscle Movement
Do you even lift? If the answer’s “no,” it’s time to reconsider skipping that strength training. A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that regular resistance workouts can put a serious dent in your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. After following almost 10,000 women over the course of eight years, researchers found that for every hour of strength training we do, our risk of type 2 diabetes dwindles by about 14 per cent, and if you increase your lifting to 150 minutes per week, that threat drops by another 26 per cent! If your exercise ambition is truly soaring, try the ultimate combo: one hour of muscle-making exercises combined with 150 minutes of aerobic activity over the course of a week to drop that dreadful diabetes risk by 66 per cent!