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Reversing Metabolic Syndrome: One Thing You can Implement Today

exercise metabolic health Aug 09, 2023

You may have heard the term ‘metabolic syndrome’ used here and there, but have no idea what it is. Essentially, when we hear ‘syndrome’ we know it’s usually just a collection of symptoms. In this case, metabolic syndrome according to the Mayo Clinic is a collection of five different symptoms: increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Each of these can lead to an increased rate of stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. And as we look around us today, unfortunately, we see the rates of these continuing to increase, despite all of the medications out there that folks are on.

Why? Most people want the magic pill or surgery rather than changing their lifestyle to reverse these dis-eases. Others are severely restricting their caloric intake or over-exercising and overdoing cardio to expend more calories, resulting in muscle loss and elevated levels of stress. It’s clear that these paths are not working.

A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders determined that only 12% of American adults are metabolically healthy. That means that seven out of eight adults have three or more of the following:

  • A waistline of 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men

  • Fasting glucose above 100 mg/dL

  • HDL cholesterol less than 40 mg/dL

  • Triglycerides above 150 mg/dL

  • High blood pressure (130/85 or higher)

So, what is one thing we can do today to help?

One of the best places to focus is on reducing your blood glucose levels so that your body doesn’t need to produce as much insulin. Insulin after all, is our fat-storing hormone. There are many ways to reduce glucose and a simple way you can start is by increasing lean MUSCLE.

Our muscle mass is a metabolic organ, and endocrine organ. It is responsible for more than 80 percent of glucose disposal. Our muscles can literally suck glucose out of the blood so you don’t need as much insulin. Remember, when there is too much glucose in our blood, and our cells are already full or have become insulin resistant, where does that glucose go? Into our fat cells of course, especially if there isn’t enough muscle mass to absorb it.

Our muscles also store important amino acids that help secure metabolic performance and support healthy aging. In addition, muscles secrete something called mitokines, which modulate our immune response and inflammation by broadcasting mitochondrial pro-longevity signals. Long-story short, muscle mass is pretty much our key to longevity.

One simple thing you can do every day to start to build muscle is to do a few pushups and squats before you shower. Seriously.

Everyone showers regularly (hopefully) and most of us find a shower enjoyable. Reward yourself with your shower after you get five pushups in. That’s it, start with five.

Then increase it to 10. A couple of weeks later, you can add 10 tricep dips. Maybe even 10 squats. Again, it only takes a few minutes and this becomes a new healthy habit you can add to your day. When you get in the shower, you feel strong and even more energized.

Naturally, you can also start resistance training a few days a week, but that can seem like a lot if you do not already have a consistent exercise routine. Start simple. Five pushups. On your knees if needed. And love yourself for what you are doing for your health.

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