Posts Tagged ‘walking’

A Walk A Day, and Not An Apple, Keeps the Doctor Away

February 10, 2015

The baby boomers have arrived in large numbers. They are taking responsibility for their health and are eager to stay well and out of the doctor’s office. This blog will discuss the importance of exercise, even walking, to make you healthy and well. This blog will emphasize exercise and not weight loss as the road to good health and longevity.

A brisk 20 minute walk each day could be enough to reduce your risk of early death. A study of over 334,000 European men and women found that twice as many deaths may be attributable to lack of physical activity compared with the number of deaths attributable to obesity, but that just a modest increase in physical activity could have significant health benefits.
Physical inactivity has been consistently associated with an increased risk of early death, as well as being associated with a greater risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Although it may also contribute to an increased body mass index (BMI) and obesity, the association with early death is independent of an individual’s BMI.
To measure the link between physical inactivity and premature death, and its interaction with obesity, researchers analyzed data from 334,161 men and women across Europe participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study. Over an average of 12 years, the researchers measured height, weight and waist circumference, and used self-assessment to measure levels of physical activity. The results are published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

TThe authors estimate that doing exercise equivalent to just a 20 minute brisk walk each day — burning between 90 and 110 kcal (‘calories’) — would take an individual from the inactive to moderately inactive group and reduce their risk of premature death by between 16-30%. The impact was greatest amongst normal weight individuals, but even those with higher BMI or with obesity saw a benefit.
Using the most recent available data on deaths in Europe the researchers estimate that 337,000 of the 9.2 million deaths amongst European men and women were attributable to obesity (classed as a BMI greater than 30): however, double this number of deaths (676,000) could be attributed to physical inactivity.

Bottom Line: So what is the message? This is a simple message: just a small amount of physical activity each day could have substantial health benefits for people who are physically inactive. Although we found that just 20 minutes would make a difference. Physical activity has many proven health benefits and should be an important part of our daily life.

Story Source:

Journal Reference:
1. Ulf Ekelund, Heather A Ward, Teresa Norat, Jian’an Luan, Anne M May, Elisabete Weiderpass, Stephen S Sharp, Kim Overvad, Jane Nautrup Østergaard, Anne Tjønneland, Nina Føns Johnsen, Sylvie Mesrine, Agnès Fournier, Guy Fagherazzi, Antonia Trichopoulou, Pagona Lagiou, Dimitrios Trichopoulos, Kuanrong Li, Rudolf Kaaks, Pietro Ferrari, Idlir Licaj, Mazda Jenab, Manuela Bergmann, Heiner Boeing, Domenico Palli, Sabina Sieri, Salvatore Panico, Rosario Tumino, Paolo Vineis, Petra H Peeters, Evelyn Monnikhof, H Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, J Ramón Quirós, Antonio Agudo, María-José Sánchez, José María Huerta, Eva Ardanaz, Larraitz Arriola, Bo Hedblad, Elisabet Wirfält, Malin Sund, Mattias Johansson, Timothy J Key, Ruth C Travis, Kay-Tee Khaw, Søren Brage, Nicholas J Wareham, and Elio Riboli. Physical activity and all-cause mortality across levels of overall and abdominal adiposity in European men and women: the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study (EPIC). Am J Clin Nutr, January 14, 2015 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.100065

10 New Years Resolutions You Can “Live” With

January 5, 2013

New Years resolutions are made and many are aborted in days or weeks after January 1. Here are 10 suggestions for better health that you can probably keep. If you do, you will probably have a longer and happier life.

1. Celebrate with a friend
People with social connections with family and friends are less likely to experience a decline in ability to reason and remember. Social activity may help preserve your ability to perform your day-to-day activities as you age.

2. Get a pet
People who own pets have healthier hearts and make fewer visits to the doctor. Dogs make better exercise partners than birds, as they want to go for a daily walk.

3. Chew some chocolate
Chocolate is now considered the darling of the heart healthy diet family. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which is a natural anti-oxidant that helps the body’s cells resist damage that may contribute to cancer.

4. Embrace your cup of coffee
Regular or decaf coffee appears to lower the risk of dying from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and pneumonia. Coffee also protects against skin cancer, liver damage, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. One study purported that three cups of coffee a day may protect against Alzheimer’s disease or delay its onset.

5. Wine is wonderful
A glass of either red or white wine is heart-healthy. Even beer is good for the heart. The key to drinking either wine or beer is moderation-one glass a day for women; two glass a day for men.
6. Sex-A little is good, more is better
The damaging myth about older adults is that aging means putting your sex life on the back burner. Sex is good for you regardless of your age if it is safe sex. Sex causes the brain to release endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that act as painkillers and reduce anxiety. Sex also bolsters the immune system. More sex is also associated lower levels of depression.

7. Music is medicinal
Music boosts mood and reduces anxiety and even makes it possible to get a good nights sleep. Studies show that people feel less pain and need less pain medications after surgery if they listen to music while recuperating.

8. Nap like a baby
A mid afternoon nap can improve mood, memory alertness and learning. A 20 minute nap improves alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy. Sipping a cup of coffee before closing your eyes will help you wake up alert. It takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to enter the blood stream, so its effects start to kick in when you wake up.

9 Say hello to nature
Being around nature for as little as five minutes a day can boost your mood and sense of well-being.

10. Select a healthy soap
Soaps that contain antibacterial triclosan, which are no more effective than plain soaps, may be harmful. Washing your hands in warm water with plain soap for 20 seconds will be just as effective as using expensive antibacterial soaps.

Bottom Line: Ponce de Leon scoured the coast of Florida for what he hoped was the legendary fountain of youth. Five centuries later, no one has found the fountain of youth, but we can add youth to our aging process by just adhering to these 10 health resolutions. Happy New Year to all of my friends, family, and followers.

Want To Live Longer and Better? Start Walking….But Do It A Little Faster

December 26, 2011

Medical science has recognized for many years that walking 30 minutes a day improves the quality of life through the attainment of a higher level of functional capacity up to the end of life. Now we have research that walking 30 minutes at a rate of 3.5 miles per hour also improves the quantity, or how long we live.

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association studied thousands of seniors over age 65 and found that those who walked at a faster speed lived longer and with a better quality of life. The paper pointed out that walking is a reliable tool for measuring well-being and predicting longevity because walking requires body support, timing, and power, and it places demands on the brain, spinal cord, muscle, joints, heart, and lungs. Significant to this study was the finding that the greatest gains in longevity correlated with gait speed and were realized after age 75.

What is most surprising about this new research was the dramatic correlation that was found between gait speed and life expectancy. Figure 1 compared the probability that an 80 year old male or female will live to 90, based on waling one mile per hour versus 3.5 miles per hour, and the predicted differences in medial life expectancies for these two groups. The analysis demonstrated that the median life expectancy of an 80 year old of either sex increases an additional 10 years, simply if the gait speed of that individual is 3.5 mph versus 1 mph.

Bottom Line: We all know that exercise is good for us and performing some activity such as walking 30 minutes a day is going to be good for us. Now we know that if we pick up the pace a little bit we will have a better quality of life and will probably live longer. So if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, walking at brisk pace will increase the distance between the doctor and the patient.

Gait speed and longevity

Speed of Walking Improves Longevity