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Porky pooches and lack of exercise - what does it take to get you moving?

Tuesday 5 July, 2011 by Melissa

If you, like me, love a good story with a cute animal involved then no doubt you would have read (and been flabbergasted by) the recent article about Sampson the Labrador.

The portly, porky, pooch is more than double his ideal weight and on track to have some major health issues.

Newspaper readers were outraged by the apparent cruelty of Sampson's enormous girth - especially since he was almost too big to fit into a local pound.

So if we adopt that attitude towards our pets, why don't we always have that same attitude towards our own health?

Are we being cruel to ourselves or to our families if we are overweight?

More importantly, are we heightening our risk of cancer by downing too many doughnuts, chomping on chips and quaffing fizzy, sugar-laden drinks?

While the answers to the first and second question are open to philosophical discussion, the answer to the third is a resounding yes.

Cancer Council Victoria's own research through a project called Health 2020 has found a strong link between waist measurement and some cancers.

A waist measurement of over 100cm for men and 85cm for women was found to increase the risk of some cancers of the oesophagus, uterus, bowel, postmenopausal breast cancer and aggressive prostate cancer.

This ongoing study has also revealed a widening waistline was a strong indicator of risk of myeloid leukaemia.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist (or a veterinarian) to work out that a healthy lifestyle is the key to lowering the risks of many health-related issues including cancer.

While it is winter, and let's face it, it can be hard to find the motivation to get off the couch and get moving - there are some great tips to staying motivated and exercising - even if there's a blizzard outside.

We recommend walking or cycling to work and then taking the stairs once you get there instead of the lift to your office, doing vigorous housework like vacuuming or mowing the lawns or getting involved in a team sport.

The Mayo Clinic in America also gives some helpful tips to staying motivated including setting realistic goals for yourself, squeezing in quick walks during the day if you're busy at work and driving less and walking more.

If you need proof that staying active keeps down the pounds - just look at Sampson the Labrador now - his walking, along with a special diet has seen him whittle down some of his poochie pounds and he's well on the way to a bright and healthy future - something we can all aspire to.



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