About 20 percent of people in Western countries develop metabolic syndrome – several metabolic diseases occur at the same time – which dramatically increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Internist Renate Hagenauer of the Rohrbach Clinic explains: “Symptoms include overweight with fatty deposits, especially in the abdominal area, high blood pressure with values of 130/85, fasting blood glucose of 100 mg / dl and altered lipid metabolism. Here the body does not. it can no longer use enough fat in the blood, excess fat is not broken down, cholesterol and neutral fats are concentrated in the blood and triglycerides are high and HDL cholesterol levels are quite low “.
Metabolic syndrome mainly affects women and men over the age of 60, but the number of children and young people affected is also increasing. The reasons for this are often poor nutrition and little exercise.
“We know that targeted exercise in combination with reduced consumption of saturated fatty acids strengthens the cardiovascular system and metabolism and reduces the risk of vascular disease,” says Hagenauer: “Sports activities reduce the percentage of body fat, fat cells they become smaller and muscle mass accumulates positively influences the general metabolism. This leads to an improvement in the control of blood glucose and blood pressure “.
Therapeutic successes with physical activity
Drug treatment of those affected is often not even necessary. The optimal therapy for metabolic syndrome is moderate intensity training. Ideally, at least 30 minutes of physical activity should be in the daily schedule to lower blood lipids, lose excess weight, and build muscle.
“Particularly good results are obtained when those affected manage to increase their energy expenditure from 1000 to 1200 kilocalories and thus achieve a weekly energy expenditure of around 2500 kilocalories,” explains Renate Fuchs, physiotherapist at the Rohrbach Clinic. “Physical therapy contributes significantly to the reduction of triglycerides, hypertension and waist circumference. According to one study, 30 percent showed fewer than three risk factors for metabolic syndrome after 20 weeks, “says the expert.
Fuchs points out that while any physical activity is better than none, ideally endurance and strength training should be combined. This helps balance glucose and lipid metabolism. And exercise has a positive effect on insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, cells cannot process the energy ingested by food. That is why, according to Fuchs, it is considered the “root of the metabolic syndrome”.
Regular strength training can also counteract the loss of muscle mass that occurs as a result of the aging process, but also as a consequence of prolonged physical inactivity and which is favored by many chronic diseases. “Two efficient strength training units per week, each with eight to ten repetitions per strengthening exercise, plus resistance training, are essential to really reduce body fat percentage in the long run,” says the physical therapist. The minimum amount of exercise should be 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week. The half hour can also be divided into three times ten minutes. Or 20 minutes of more intense activity three days a week.