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Is exercise necessary to live a long life? Family history of good health without exercise

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Cardiologist
Practicing since : 1981
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Hello. At 56 I am perhaps overly concerned about all the talk in the media of the medical profession about physical exercise. My own grandmother lived to almost 100 and never knew the word "exercise" or extensive physical exertion of any kind! And until the last couple of years of her life her cardiovascular system was fine. How do we put all this into perspective in our generation in western society where perhaps we have use ways of "compensating" for the lack of vigorous physical movement of our ancestors especially if we otherwise have a normal range cardiovascular system?
My grandfather who lived to be 92 was an avid walker and swimmer even in his 80s and yet died from congestive heart failure.
Thank you.
Posted Sat, 11 Aug 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
 
 
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 2 hours later
Hi there,

For the purpose of keeping your heart healthy the exercise word to mean heavy exertion will be inappropriate. What is needed is activity which increases your heart rate by 20% for about 40 minutes a day. That would mean brisk walking for 40 minutes at the rate of about 3.5 miles/hour. Well that much 'exercise' the generation you are talking about was a routine necessity. I am glad that your grandmother lived to be 100, are you sure she was not performing this much exercise routinely while looking after her family. In any case, emphasis only to exercise is perhaps misplaced as you rightly say. If you have genes that lead to increase in cholesterol or make you prone to Diabetes, more harm is done to your cardiovascular system. Your point about media's obsession is well taken. Let me recount for you the risk factors for coronary artery disease about which we know (there may be a dozen others about which we do not know), perhaps that will put your point in perspective.
A: MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS
Diabetes +/-
Hypertension
Smoking
Stress
Obesity and Sedentary Life Style
High Bad Cholesterol and Lipid Component
Total Cholesterol above 190 mg%, LDL above 130 mg%, VLDL above 40 mg%,
Triglycerides above 150 mg%, Apolipoprotein B above reference value
Low Good Cholesterol and Lipid Component:
Apolipoprotein a below reference range for the lab and
HDL below 40 mg% for man & and 50 mg% for woman
B: NON MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS
Family History 0f Coronary Heart Disease
Increasing age
Being a Man (as opposed to women) till the age 45

It was pleasing to read a different type of question. Thanks for writing. If you a query I shall be happy to answer.

Regards.

With Best Wishes
Dr Anil Grover,
Medical Specialist & Cardiologist
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is exercise necessary to live a long life? Family history of good health without exercise 7 hours later
Thank you, Dr. XXXXXXX We are so bombarded by the media doctors who do not even emphasize that their favorite villain, sedentary life, is only one of the risk factors. They make it seem as if it is the overriding one that would drive everyone crazy about just one factor as compared to others.

On the other hand you may be right that my grandmother did "exercise" in her daily routine. Yet her husband who lived to 92 loved walking and swimming yet suffered congestive heart failure.

Personally I do not smoke or consume much alcohol, and I am trying to lose weight and restricting my diet to fruits, vegetables, fish, (eliminating the canned oil) chicken and beans and grains despite the temptation to go back to all the easily gratifying foods. On the other hand, at 56 I am not losing weight fast enough (it's hard to get off the mayonnaise, tehini, catchup) and shoul be riding my stationary bike more often. But my glucose has improved alot to 106, cholesterol down into the 190s, and the fatty liver issue has not reappeared.

So I appreciate your perspectives and insights very much.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 8 hours later
Hi there,

Thanks for your reply and kind words you have for me. I appreciate that.

If your cholesterol and sugar are back to normal and you are not loosing weight. There is no cause for concern if you continue with light exercises you are doing for you are burning fat and lean body mass essentially of protein is increasing. And, frankly there is limit for each one of us to achieve a particular body mass index..depending upon peptin like hormonal balance determined by genetics. Loosing beyond that would mean starving ourselves from essential nutrients. So, contentment is virtue here. Yes, certain precautions are necessary: Fish and chicken if roasted is not bad, red meat is; eggs are not bad so long as you discard the yellow of it (even when preparing mayonnaise).
Your father could be having any of other risk factors then lack of exercise or obesity. Certainly, you are not blaming exercise as a cause for his death, you were making point about the hype. Am I right?

Regards.


With Best Wishes
Dr Anil Grover,
Medical Specialist & Cardiologist
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is exercise necessary to live a long life? Family history of good health without exercise 11 minutes later
Oh, no, not at all. I simply meant that there was a certain irony in the fact that he suffered from congestive heart failure although for 35 years he walked regularly and swam. However, there is hardly a "slim" person in my immediate family (of Russian Jewish origin). Not my mother and her siblings, not her late mother, not her sister or daughters or me and my brother or father!
However, I have become strongly conscious of the undeniable "trends" that regular western foods lead to in people with my kind of background and personal issues of tending towards high glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure etc.
Right now I am enjoying some flavored baked salmon an steam cauliflower and broccoli, so I am soothing my conscience. ;-)
 
 
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 4 minutes later
Thanks a lot.
It was a pleasure interacting with you.
Have a nice evening.
With Best Wishes
Dr Anil Grover,
Medical Specialist & Cardiologist
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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