As a family physician in Vancouver, Ali Ghahary not only evaluates and treats patients with everyday common health issues, but also counsels patients on the importance of physical activity, putting an emphasis on the important role it plays in attaining optimal health.
The city of Vancouver is known as being one of the most illustrious outdoor regions in Canada, with plenty of easy access and available transportation to several parks, beaches and hiking spots around the Lower Mainland, including but not limited to Stanley Park, False Creek, English Bay, and the Grouse Grind – also commonly referred to as the “Stairmaster of Mother Nature” – a physically challenging 2.9 kilometre trail up Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver.
There are over 220 parks and beaches in Vancouver, so it goes without saying that Vancouver residents have an abundance of options when it comes to keeping physically fit. If outdoor activity isn’t something you are fond of, there are also several community centres or gyms to join, or you can even implement physical activity in your home by doing yoga or lifting weights. That being said, while research has shown Vancouverites to be much more physically active than those in other Canadian cities and Provinces, many individuals have a BMI over 30 (which is considered obese or overweight), and as many as 85% of Canadians still, unfortunately, do not meet the required guidelines of physical activity, which is 150 minutes of moderate-level exercise each week, or 30 minutes per day.
Dr. Ali Ghahary encourages patients to stay as active as possible. Individuals who are inactive can develop serious health complications including an increased risk of coronary heart disease and increased blood pressure levels (also known as hypertension.) Being immobile also increases the risk of developing adult-onset Type II diabetes, making you resistant to insulin, as well as stiff joints, poor posture, and osteoporosis, which can cause bones to fracture easily. Other risks of physical inactivity include mental illness such as depression and anxiety, as well as an increased risk of being diagnosed with certain cancers such as colon cancer and breast cancer. Canadians who keep fit on a regular basis have reported decreased stress levels, decreased blood pressure levels, and weight loss or improvement in weight management.