Study finds shocking link between exercise and heart disease

Study finds shocking link between exercise and heart disease

It amazes me that people can lead lazy, sedentary lives, and then think that working up a lather in the gym is going to suddenly make them healthy and fit. It just doesn’t work that way. And a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine proves just that. The researchers found that no amount of exercise can offset the negative effects of being too inactive.

In fact, for every extra hour that you sit on your hind parts watching the boob tube, your risk of developing metabolic syndrome rises an extra 26 percent. That part is the no-brainer. Here’s what’s likely to shock people:

You face the same risks of heart disease and diabetes whether you exercise or not

That’s because being inactive for extended periods of time causes chemical reactions in the body that can’t be solved by going to the gym five times a week.

The researchers concluded: “In the future, the focus in clinical practice and guidelines should not only be to promote and prescribe exercise, but also to encourage people to maintain their intermittent levels of daily activities [that involve movement].”

That’s the same advice I’ve been giving you for decades now—and that most of my colleagues have ridiculed me for. I always knew the science would catch up…eventually.

The bottom line is that it’s important to stay active. After all, muscles function with a use-it-or-lose-it mentality. But you don’t need to pay pricy gym memberships to get the benefits of some healthy activity.

The point is not to increase your amount of stressful exercise, but to cut down on the amount of inactivity. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away in the parking lot. Take up doubles tennis, or take a dance lesson.

Or, you could engage in my all-time favorite activity…sex. If the results of a recent study in the American Journal of Cardiology hold true…

Having sex twice a week is about the best thing you can do for your heart

Scientists at the New England Research Institute in Massachusetts studied more than 1,000 men between 40 and 70 years old over a 16-year period as a part of the Massachusetts Male Ageing Study. After quizzing the men on how frequently they had sex, the researches tested them for signs of heart disease. Sure enough, the men who were getting lucky at least twice a week were 45 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who only had sex once a month.

Sounds like a win-win to me, but there are a few things I need to point out about this study. The first is that it’s based on a questionnaire—and let’s be honest here. How many men are going to admit that their red-hot love life has seen better days? But even if you give these men the benefit of the doubt, it’s hard to ignore the chicken-or-the-egg phenomenon with a study like this one: Does regular sex lead to a healthy heart, or do people who have healthier hearts have sex more often? I tend to think that the answer to both questions is yes.

Clearly, if you’re not healthy enough to have sex, you won’t be able to cash in on its benefits. But if you ARE healthy enough to have sex, there’s no doubt that the benefits extend beyond immediate gratification. It starts with a healthier heart—and it keeps adding up from there. If you need more reasons to have sex on a regular basis, try these on for size…

5 surprising benefits of sex

1. Sex strengthens your immune system. Boosting your bedroom performance can improve your immune system by increasing levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that helps protect you from colds and infections.

2. Sex relieves pain. Your body releases the hormone oxytocin during sex, which has been shown to be a powerful pain reliever. You know what that means…Next time your wife uses a headache as an excuse to avoid sex, tell her you’ve got the cure!

3. Sex improves your sleep. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, don’t take a Tylenol PM, take a romp with your wife. Turns out that yet another benefit of oxytocin is that it promotes sleep.

4. Sex reduces your risk of prostate cancer. Men who ejaculate at least five times a week—with or without a partner—are less likely to develop prostate cancer, according to the Nation Cancer Institute.

5. Sex helps you live longer. One study found that men who have an orgasm at least twice a week are half as likely to die as those who only had an orgasm once a month. That could be because sex increases your levels of the hormone DHEA, which can boost your immune system, repair damaged tissue, improve your memory, and work as an antidepressant—all factors that could lead to a longer lifespan.

I know what some of you are thinking: You’d have more sex if you could…but what if you can’t? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Stay tuned for next month’s issue, where I’ll share some of the best-kept secrets for getting back in the saddle again. Trust me. If you only read one issue, this should be the one.