Move it and you’ll live longer

By Dr. THOMAS KAISER

Dear Reader, I am sure you have noticed that there is a lot of controversy in modern medicine.

We all get confused when new studies come along that show exactly the opposite of what we have believed so firmly before. So I have good news for you today – all medical experts agree that smoking is very bad for you. It causes many cancers, heart disease and impotence. In other words, don’t smoke if you want to live a long and healthy life.

The other medical issue on which you will find all experts united in their support is exercise – yes, it is very good for you. Do it every day!

I don’t mean you have to get involved in competitive and intensive exercise. Stick to relaxing sports that make you pleasantly tired, but not completely exhausted. Medical research shows that regular physical exercise, such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, aerobics, golf, gym classes, weight work outs, tennis, squash and many other sports are extremely healthy. They help to manage your weight and prevent heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancers and depression.

Recently, studies have shown that even patients who have recently suffered a heart attack, or with heart failure, benefit a lot from exercising in moderation. So, next time you’re at a dinner party and someone tells you the story of his grandfather, who lived to 95 despite smoking and never jogging at any point in his life, you can answer with a merciful smile: “He would have lived to 120 if he had not smoked and had exercised regularly.”

Your Dr. Thomas Kaiser

Get fitter and healthier

Over the next few months we will be supplying you with easy workouts that you can practise while walking and tasty low-fat meal suggestions to enjoy after you exercise. This week’s walk is the ‘easy heart health and recovery walk’. This can be done daily or used as a recovery day for those alternating with other walking workouts. As well as building long-term health and wellbeing, this walk is associated with increased longevity and decreased risk of hip fracture in those over 60 years old.

How to do the health workout:

• Start at an easy pace for five to 10 minutes.

• Stop and do a stretching and flexibility routine for five minutes.

• Continue, walking at a pace that brings your heart rate up from 50 to 60 per cent of your maximum heart rate.

• Now you should be at a comfortable pace where you can carry on a full conversation, although you may be breathing harder than usual.

• Walk for 30 to 60 minutes.

• End with five minutes of gentle stretching and flexibility exercises

REMEMBER: medical studies have shown that walking for between 30 and 60 minutes a day reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes type II and gall bladder disease.

Healthy eating

It is estimated that one in three deaths from coronary heart disease (CHD) is due to an unhealthy diet. Losing excess weight by following a low fat, low-calorie diet can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as half for those who are obese.

Aim to eat oily fish (e.g. salmon, herrings, sardines, mackerel) two or three times per week, as research shows this significantly reduces the risk of dying after a heart attack or stroke. Try to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day as these contain fibre, vitamins, minerals and important antioxidants, which can lower the risk of CHD considerably.

Reduce salt intake by avoiding obviously salty foods and adding less salt during cooking or at the table. Research shows that cutting back on salt helps to reduce the risk of CHD and you can always obtain flavour from herbs, spices and black pepper instead of salt – it’s just a matter of getting used to the idea.

Interesting new research also shows that those who drink tea are 50 per cent less likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a fatal heart attack than non tea-drinkers. Tea is a rich source of protective antioxidant flavonoids – the other main dietary sources are onions and apples. Also, research has indicated that taking high doses of vitamin E supplements can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by up to 75 per cent.

Those who have a high intake of vitamin C (including the use of supplements) also have up to 25 per cent less chance of suffering from heart disease. It is also important to exercise regularly, keep alcohol within safe limits and stop smoking.

Always consult your doctor before undertaking

any new diet or exercise regime.

• Get your weight and pressure checked regularly at your local pharmacy and send us your Move it! experience to moveit@algarveresident.com. Watch out for our pedometer offer coming soon!