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Why do people develop health issues despite exercising?
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Why do people develop health issues despite exercising?

Exercise is just one aspect of healthy living. Various other factors contribute to the onset of health conditions that need to be addressed to improve overall well-being

Health conditions can develop due to factors like unhealthy habits, improper nutrition and poor stress management. However, exercise can delay the onset of such conditions

While we usually associate general good health and well-being with people who exercise regularly, there are those who develop certain lifestyle conditions — such as diabetes, hypertension or thyroid issues — despite being engaged in regular workouts. The situation is discouraging, to say the least, as the premise is that exercise will keep such conditions at bay.

However, experts point out that there are many other factors that contribute to people developing such ailments — nutrition, social habits and genetic predisposition being some of the major ones.

Why do health conditions develop despite exercising?

Exercising is just one part of healthy living. Other than regular workouts, factors like the environment matter. For instance, if you stay in a place where the air quality is poor, exercising may not yield positive results. Working out in polluted air may even be harmful to your health.

People may also develop health conditions due to their food habits. For instance, if their carbohydrate intake is high despite exercising, they’re at increased risk of developing diabetes. “Even if an individual has been exercising for years, social habits like alcohol consumption and binge eating or drinking will lead to such conditions,” says Ashutosh Gundewar, a strength and conditioning coach from Bangalore.

Not being able to handle stress is another reason for the onset of lifestyle-related health conditions. A holistic approach is essential for handling stress. It can be through working out in a good environment and breathing good air, besides getting other stress-inducing factors under control.

Genetics can also cause people to develop such conditions. “If one is genetically predisposed, they’ll develop these conditions sooner or later. However, exercise helps delay their onset,” says Prashant Singh Shakya, exercise physiologist and sports scientist at Grand Slam Fitness and Fit India Trust, Delhi.

People working night shifts or experiencing sleep disturbances can face health issues even if they exercise regularly. This happens due to a disruption in the circadian rhythm, which affects their sleep-wake cycle and makes them susceptible to such ailments. The body isn’t designed to stay awake throughout the night. While night shift workers get acclimatized to a set routine over time, it disrupts the production and release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, potentially affecting their mental health as well.

Exercise is just a part of being healthy

Any measure you take to improve your lifestyle reduces the risk of health conditions. These issues don’t appear out of the blue; they result from months or years of neglect or unhealthy practices.

Exercise can create specific adaptations. When you do cardiovascular exercises, you are stressing the body to adapt to a heavier cardio load; the same goes for weight training. As your muscles grow, your blood sugar levels stabilize because the muscles need to utilize carbohydrates or sugars from the blood for energy.

However, one should not assume that just exercising will keep health conditions at bay. They can result from several triggers, including unhealthy habits that you’re not aware of or eating out on a regular basis.

Exercises for health issues: Type and intensity matter

Exercise can help prevent or treat lifestyle-related health issues if you choose the correct type, frequency and intensity. Experts advise against sticking to one type of physical activity. “Exercise has a positive side as it helps you manage these conditions. For instance, if you develop cardiovascular issues or high blood pressure and you start doing your workouts and focusing on your diet, you are trying to minimize the effects of such conditions. They can go away or stay with you. But now you have better chances of living healthily,” says Gundewar.

“Those dealing with certain health conditions need to customize their exercises with the help of a certified fitness trainer or relevant professional. They will help you plan your exercises based on your goal,” says Shakya. For instance, people with diabetes need to do strength training as it increases insulin sensitivity. Focusing on other exercise modalities like cardio won’t help them; rather, it will increase the risk of hypoglycemia.

“Exercising, especially weight training, regulates hormones, increases muscle mass and improves joint function. You’re training your immune system, and your body is getting stronger. A strong immune system makes you better equipped to deal with other health conditions,” adds Gundewar.

Takeaways

  • Exercise is just one element of being healthy. Other factors, such as the environment, nutrition and social habits, also contribute to health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, thyroid issues, etc.
  • Regular exercise will delay the onset of such conditions, provided you select the right type, frequency and intensity.

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