Dubai Sports City Leads on Fitness
Fitness experts from Dubai Sports City have drawn up a simple but effective exercise program for overweight teenagers across the United Arab Emirates that will increase their fitness levels and help prevent diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.
The move follows World Diabetes Day and new US research that suggests aerobic exercise alone (even without associated weight loss) could help protect adolescents, who do no physical activity, from developing weight-related illnesses such as diabetes.
A simple example of a program designed by Andy Russell, the high performance coordinator at Dubai Sports City, involves 30 minutes of exercise, four times per week, and can be done inside or outside, without the need of any specialist equipment. It includes two minutes each of jumping jacks, push-ups (on the toes or knees), squats, sit-ups, and shadow boxing, with each set of exercises repeated three times to meet the 30-minute target.
As Russell explains, "teenagers who find it difficult to exercise can do this simple program without the need for membership to an expensive gym or trainer. The exercises are designed to raise the heart rate and if done as recommended, will increase cardio fitness levels and build strength simultaneously.
"It is important for teenagers to build exercise into their daily schedule, to help protect themselves from developing weight-related illnesses such as diabetes in the future. Weight gain is a growing health concern in the UAE, which has the second highest rate of obesity in the world, and it is important for youngsters to be aware of the dangers of being sedentary and overweight."
The US study, published in the November edition of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), examined the effects of a 12-week aerobic exercise program that included four 30-minute workouts¨per week.
During the physical activity the participants, some of whom were lean and others overweight, had to increase their heart rate to at least 70% of its maximum capacity by working out on a treadmill, elliptical, or bicycle.
Results show that no weight loss occurred in any participants. However fitness levels increased by an average of 15%, and both liver and peripheral insulin sensitivity were higher after the exercise program in all participants.
Improving sensitivity to insulin is essential to stave off obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes, because insulin is the hormone, produced in the pancreas, which permits glucose to enter the cells and be used for energy, or stored for future use by the body.
Senior Researcher Dr Agneta Sunehag, from Baylor College of Medicine in the USA explains "most studies include both diet and exercise interventions, which makes it difficult to determine which intervention is most effective and best accepted by adolescents.
"Our findings show that exercise alone can increase fitness and improve insulin sensitivity, making aerobic programs like the one used in the study a potential tool for preventing obesity-related illnesses."
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