Five Ways Inactivity is Dangerous to the Body

When we think about health, we often talk about the importance of exercise, but we rarely talk about the dangers of inactivity. If people understood how dangerous inactivity truly is, they would be more inclined to stay active. Inactivity is a major problem facing modern society. The World Health Organization estimates that 2 million people die every year from conditions related to inactivity. It’s important to try and stay active throughout your entire life.

Here are five dangerous conditions you can develop due to inactivity:


High blood pressure is a serious medical condition that often leads to other problems. Since your heart is working harder with high blood pressure, you are increasing your chances of arteries failing, which in turn can lead to a number of problems. Conditions related to hypertension include heart attacks, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, erectile dysfunction, memory loss and much more. Inactivity promotes high blood pressure, so be sure to get up and move around a little bit every now and then.

Heart Disease

When you are inactive, your chance of developing heart disease goes up. This is due to two reasons: one is hypertension, and the other is cholesterol levels. People who are inactive are more likely to have high cholesterol levels. As cholesterol builds up in your arteries, your heart has to work harder to pump blood. If you exercise, you can lower your LDL cholesterol levels while also increasing your HDL (or good cholesterol) levels, which can actually help your body against heart disease.

Risk of Obesity

It makes sense that if you are inactive you are more likely to gain weight. However, the World Health Organization shows that those who are inactive are twice as likely to become obese. Obesity is defined as an individual with a BMI of over 30. People who are obese are more susceptible to developing heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and sleep apnea. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine and fight obesity.

Adult Onset Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult onset diabetes. People who have type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin or become insulin resistant. Adult onset diabetes is more likely to develop in someone who is both overweight and inactive, so be sure to get some activity in every day. There are many factors that contribute to type 2 diabetes, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you are worried that you are at risk.


The good thing about being inactive is that it’s a simple fix. Unlike genetic factors or gender, people who are inactive simply have to start moving! The Centers for Disease Control recommends that an individual gets 150 minutes of cardio a week, so take a 30 minute walk every day during your lunch break or after work and you’ll be in good shape.


5 Tips for a Healthy Holiday

The holiday season is joyous, hopefully filled with lots of time with family and friends, as well as great food and maybe even a present or two. However, the holidays aren’t all gingerbread and candy canes; usually the holidays bring a spike in accidents and trips to the hospital. If you want to avoid the potential accidents this holiday season, here are five tips to help you have a safe and happy holiday season.

1)      Find a way to de-stress

The holidays involve a lot of activity. Whether it’s positive like being with friends and family or frustrating like shopping and visits from the in-laws (just kidding!), activity can raise blood pressure and stress levels. Even if you don’t consciously feel stressed, your body might believe you’re in stress mode. It’s important, therefore, to find a way to relax. Talk to family members, go to a quiet place, and give yourself plenty of sleep to lower your body’s tension.

2)      Dress appropriately

Weather is one of the biggest causes of accidents, but a factor people don’t often pay enough attention to how they dress for the weather. The winter months, particularly in Texas, can be unpredictable. It’s important to dress versatile to keep warm. Wear layers so you can adapt to changes in the weather and transitions from inside to outside.

3)      Give yourself plenty of time

We’re always in a rush around the holidays. Traveling, shopping, cooking meals, cleaning the house—it’s all about activity! When there’s so much to do, we tend to rush to get it all finished, but the more we rush the greater the chance we make mistakes or cause accidents. Whatever you’re doing, make sure you have plenty of time. This can be a challenge, but not rushing through activities gives you a great chance of making it through the holidays happy and healthy!

4)      Drink safely

Toasting the holidays is common during this time of year, but it’s important to make sure that you follow the law and drink safely. If you plan on drinking with friends or family, call a cab or plan to stay where you are. Also, even if you haven’t been drinking, always be on the lookout for unsafe drivers. Stay clear of people weaving and driving recklessly.

5)      Stay active

With the weather chilly outside and the temptation of great food and company inside, it’s easy to fall out of our exercise routines, but it’s just as important as ever! Take a walk after holiday meals if the weather permits, or head to the gym. Even walking around the mall to return or finding holiday deals will make some difference. Just make sure you don’t stay completely sedentary this holiday!

Whatever you do this holiday season, we hope that you have a safe and happy holiday. Spend time with your family and enjoy your good health!


Can You Exercise Too Much? Two New Studies

Note-Before you go any further into this reading, we need to make one thing clear: exercise is a vital component of staying healthy. The CDC estimates that 80% of adults do not get enough exercise. Do not take this blog post as a way to get out of your 2.5 hours of exercise each week!

Now, the news: researchers at the Karolinksa University Hospital and the German Cancer Research Center have published two studies that show too much exercise may not be healthy for your heart. The study proves that the adage “too much of a good thing” holds true, even for exercise.

The first study published by Dr. Nikola Drca from the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm found that “men who exercised for more than five hours per week when they were 30 years old had a significantly higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation later in life compared with men who exercised less.” However, the study also showed that adults who rode their bicycle or walked had a significantly lower risk of atrial fibrillation.

The second study, conducted by Dr. Ute Mons from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, indicated that both those who participated in daily “strenuous” physical activity had increased risk of suffering a fatal cardiovascular event. The study also showed that individuals who participated in no to little physical activity also had a chance of dying from cardiovascular complications.

Since both of these studies relied on self-reported results, doctors caution not to read into the results as conclusive. However, some researchers think that these possible results may open up the door to further research into the causality between excessive exercise and cardiovascular diseases.

If you have questions about your exercise regimen, you can always talk to the physicians at MSCI. Our Irving, Texas-based clinic is staffed with knowledgeable physicians that specialize in a variety of medicine, including cardiology and physical medicine.


Chronic Hyperglycemia May Blunt Response to Exercise

Although aerobic exercise generally improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes, this may not be true for patients with chronic hyperglycemia, according to a new study published online July 1 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“A subgroup of diabetic patients may exist who respond poorly to aerobic-exercise intervention with respect to their improvements in glycemic control,” lead author Thomas P.J. Solomon, PhD, from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, told Medscape Medical News in an email. The study showed that the “‘metabolic nonresponders’ were type 2 diabetic patients with high pretraining HbA1c and 2-hour [oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)] levels,” he explained.

However, “overall, exercise does help glycemic control, and we are certainly not proposing otherwise,” he stressed, adding that this research simply highlights the importance of individualized therapy.

“Optimizing glucose-lowering treatment prior to initiation of an exercise program may maximize the clinical benefit in such patients,” he speculates. “However, detailed randomized controlled trials using such strategies will be required to confirm [this].”

Exercise Effects on Glycemic Control

Although randomized trials have shown that aerobic exercise improves glycemic control in type 2 diabetes, “anecdotally, our clinical peers have often commented that their poorly controlled diabetic patients often did not respond to a prescription of exercise,” Dr. Solomon noted.

To investigate this, they enrolled 46 men and 59 women who were overweight or obese (mean body mass index [BMI], 33) and had a mean age of 61 years (range, 32 – 77). About half (56 subjects) had impaired glucose tolerance and half (49 subjects) had had type 2 diabetes for a mean of 4.8 years. The patients were receiving metformin, possibly with glucagonlike peptide 1 (GLP-1) analogs, sulfonylureas, or dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, and had reasonable but widely varying glucose control, according to Dr. Solomon.

At baseline, patients with type 2 diabetes had a 2-hour OGTT glucose level of 14.4 mmol/L and an HbA1c of 6.6%. For patients with impaired glucose tolerance, these values were 8.0 mmol/L and 5.5%, respectively.

The patients performed 45 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity supervised exercise by walking on a treadmill or using a stationary bicycle, 5 days a week, for 12 to 16 weeks.
After following this regimen, the patients lost a mean of 4.6 kg (ranging from gaining 6 kg to losing 22 kg). The mean whole-body fat, aerobic fitness, fasting plasma glucose, and 2-hour OGTT glucose levels were all significantly improved.

Glucose Higher Than 13.1 mmol/L, HbA1c Above 6.2% Predicts Poor Response

However, the researchers found a U-shaped relationship between baseline 2-hour OGTT glucose level and the change in this value after the training program. Patients with pretraining 2-hour OGTT glucose values above 13.1 mmol/L had smaller improvements in this measure after the exercise program.
Similarly, they found a U-shaped relationship between baseline HbA1c levels and the change in HbA1c after the exercise program. An initial HbA1c value above 6.2% predicted a smaller improvement in this measure after the exercise intervention.

Patients with the highest baseline HbA1c levels did not augment their fitness levels (VO2max) as much as patients with the lowest HbA1c levels.

Thus, exercise-induced improvements may depend on the patient’s initial glycemic control, the authors summarize.

“Because chronic hyperglycemia (HbA1c > 6.2%; glucose >13.1 mmol/L) potentially predicts a poor therapeutic effect of aerobic exercise on glycemic control and fitness, using exercise to treat patients with poorly controlled [type 2 diabetes mellitus] may have limited chances of a successful outcome,” they conclude.
This research was funded by a Paul Langerhans program grant from the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes and was supported by grants from the National Institute of Health and a Clinical and Translational Science Award. The authors have reported no relevant financial relationships.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 1, 2013


Outdoor Exercise

Ready to move your exercise routine outdoors? As the temperature climbs, so does your risk of suffering from a heat-related illness. Review the list below to stay safe as the mercury rises:

• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water the day before, the day of, and after your workout.

• Avoid exercising between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the hottest period of the day.

• Wear a hat and sunglasses to reduce exposure to the sun.

• Be aware of the symptoms of a heat-related illness and take immediate precautions if you begin to feel faint, dizzy, nauseated, are sweating heavily, or experiencing a weak or rapid heartbeat.


Three Common Exercise Excuses and How to Beat Them

We all have our reasons for not working out, yet excuses only prevent us from being happy and healthy. Here are some of the most common excuses and ways to overcome them. Remember, no one ever regrets a workout!
Too tired – The first and most common reason to avoid regular exercise evaporates as soon as you push through it the first time. Multiple studies have shown regular physical activity can improve energy.
Too busy – Another popular excuse, it’s an easy out to cite scheduling conflicts before shrugging off the gym, but according to the American Heart Association, only 75 minutes of weekly vigorous exercise is needed to improve your health.

Not motivated – Possibly the most difficult excuse to overcome, there are several ways to jumpstart motivation. One of the best is to post a goal using social media. No one likes falling short in front of others, so commit publicly to hold yourself accountable.