Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that Kentuckians, in general, are not getting enough daily exercise, and one local doctor is offering some ways to change that without hitting the gym.
Dr. Mirza Ahmed, an Interventional Cardiologist at Baptist Health said, from a cardiac perspective, adults should strive for 150 minutes of physical activity per week, as the lack of physical activity can lead to poor heart condition.
“If you find yourself out of breath after a short walk, that is a sign there is a problem,” Dr. Ahmed said.
Rather than at the gym, Dr. Ahmed said that activity can involve simple changes to your daily life such as taking the stairs when possible, parking farther away from your destination when going shopping, or dancing to your favorite music.
“These are all small changes we can incorporate into our lives that over time will help prevent major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes,” Dr. Ahmed said.
In addition, Dr. Ahmed said people may change up things to make their television viewing time less sedentary by adding a step stool or stationary bike near the TV room to use while watching their favorite shows.
“Even modified lower level exercises are beneficial,” Dr. Ahmed said noting that three of four days of such exercise per week can begin to reverse poor heart condition.
“It is going to go a long way,” Dr. Ahmed said adding this may also improve gastrointestinal health.
According to the CDC report, 32.2 person of all Kentuckian stated they had performed no exercise in the last month. Only Mississippi with 33 percent, and Arkansas with 32.5 fell below Kentucky.
As a result of that inactivity, $117 billion has been spent on necessary healthcare costs, according to the CDC.
“Unfortunately, these statistics speak to a public health crisis that our community here in Kentucky faces,” Dr. Ahmed stated.
“These statistics show there is a larger need for societal change to make exercise a priority in our community,” he said.
In addition to changing personal habits, Dr. Ahmed is urging residents to make it more of a community priority by advocating for more walkable cities.
“We should demand sidewalks and biking lane to make physical activity an integral part of our daily lives,” Dr. Ahmed stated. “Our neighborhoods need to be safe to allow people to feel comfortable being outdoors.”
Dr. Ahmed said even with greater access, many people still blame their lack of exercise on a lack of time.
“Each adult should consider this a ‘prescription’ from their doctor, just as important as their prescriptions for medications,” Dr. Ahmed said.