Category Archives: exercise benefits

Strenuous exercise safe for people at high risk of knee arthritis

  • Many worry strenuous exercise could hurt their joints
  • 10 years of vigorous activity did not pose risk
  • Strenuous activity for one to two hours weekly reduces risk of knee osteoarthritis by 30%
  • Osteoarthritis affects 32.5 million adults in U.S.

People at high risk for knee osteoarthritis (OA) may be nervous and reluctant to participate in strenuous physical activities such as jogging, cycling, singles tennis and skiing. But a new Northwestern Medicine study that followed high-risk individuals for 10 years showed vigorous exercise did not increase their risk of developing OA and may even protect them from it.

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“Our study findings convey a reassuring message that adults at high risk for knee OA may safely engage in long-term strenuous physical activity at a moderate level to improve their general health and well-being,” said Alison Chang, associate professor of physical therapy and human movement sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

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Good bone health – Mayo Clinic

Protecting your bones is part of a healthy­ aging strategy. Talk to your doctor about assessing your risk of fractures and devise a strategy to lower the risk, especially if you’ve had a fracture after age 50, according to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. A comprehensive approach includes optimizing nutrition, reviewing exercise, safe moving prac­tices, and fall prevention, and taking prescription medications if appropriate.

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Lifestyle choices for strong bones

A key factor to maintaining the bone density you have is to make healthy choices to support bone health. These steps are important in both preventing osteoporosis and slowing its progression. They include:
■ Exercise — Weight ­bearing physical activity such as walking and moderate aerobic exercises can strengthen bones and reduce risk of fracture. Muscle­ strengthening exercises can help as well. Aim to exercise at least 30 min­ utes most days of the week. Ask your doctor whether any precautions are recommended, especially if you’re at increased risk of fracture.
■ Eat well — Eat a balanced diet and make certain that you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D from the food you eat.
■ Don’t smoke — Smoking speeds up bone loss.
■ Limit alcohol — Should you choose to drink, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men 65 and younger.

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Boost your immune system with these tips – AHA

I have spent the bulk of the past 10 years on this blog exhorting you to eat less; move more; live longer. Now, it seems that in the light of the global pandemic, they are still key.

For years, Dr. Ahmad Garrett-Price has been counseling patients about the need to keep their immune systems strong, emphasizing exercise, nutrition and sleep.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic toll continues to grow, the advice is even more relevant.

“We don’t have a proven vaccine, and we don’t have proven treatments,” said Garrett-Price, a family practice physician with Baylor Scott & White Health System in Dallas. “So, our immune system is our first line of defense.”

Although a strong immune system is helpful, he and other health experts stress the guidelines in place to battle the coronavirus’s spread remain crucial: social distancing, frequent hand-washing, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and staying at home as much as possible to avoid getting COVID-19 in the first place. Continue reading

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Filed under coronavirus, coronavirus risk, COVID-19, Exercise, exercise benefits, good night's sleep, Uncategorized

Eat healthy; move more

I don’t know how many times I have written the mantra eat less; move more; live longer, but it seems that the National Institutes on Health agrees with me judging from the recent posting.

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Higher daily step count linked with lower all-cause mortality – NIH

This is most welcome information by my reckoning. When we are all staying-at-home these days, I love being reminded that it pays health dividends to get out and move. This bloody virus is not going to last forever. Walking is still superb exercise. Check out my Page – Why you should walk more for further information.

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In a new study, higher daily step counts were associated with lower mortality risk from all causes. The research team, which included investigators from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA), both parts of the National Institutes of Health, as well as from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also found that the number of steps a person takes each day, but not the intensity of stepping, had a strong association with mortality.

The findings were published March 24, 2020, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Continue reading

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Number of steps per day more important than step intensity

I have written repeatedly about the benefits of walking, calling it the ‘Cinderella of the exercise world.’ Now, according the the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it seems that quantity equals quality in walking.

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  • Adults who took 8,000 or more steps a day had a reduced risk of death over the following decade than those who only walked 4,000 steps a day.
  • Step intensity (number of steps per minute) didn’t influence the risk of death, suggesting that the total number of steps per day is more important than intensity.

Doctors often recommend walking as an easy way for inactive people to ease into better health. Taking 4,000 or fewer steps a day is considered a low level of physical activity. A goal of 10,000 steps a day is commonly cited, but recent studies have shown that health benefits accrue even if fewer than 10,000 steps are taken daily. Continue reading

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Do’s and don’ts of interaction during a pandemic – AHA

Across the nation, Americans find themselves in varying degrees of social isolation as part of a coordinated effort to try to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Some cities are in full lockdown. Others are asking people to simply remain socially distant.

But navigating this new world of social limitations can be confusing. What should – and shouldn’t – people be doing?

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That depends on your level of isolation, said Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University Grossman School of Medicine.

The most restrictive level, said Caplan, is quarantine – when a person is ill or known to have been exposed to the virus and must be completely separated from others with no social interactions outside the home. Continue reading

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Amid coronavirus crisis, exercise caution when exercising outdoors – AHA

Even as government officials warn us to “stay home, stay safe” during the coronavirus pandemic, some people are flocking to parks, trails and sidewalks to walk and bike away their cabin fever.

That might seem like a total contradiction. But according to health experts, it can be a healthy choice – as long as you exercise caution while exercising outdoors.

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An old photo on the Chicago Lakefront with my dog. The mayor has since closed the Lakefront to ALL activities in the face of the virus.

“Since most people don’t have a treadmill, outdoor exercise makes it a heck of a lot easier to meet the physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes a week of moderate activity, like walking, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity, like running,” said Dr. Jeffrey Harris, professor and chair of the University of Washington’s department of health services in the School of Public Health. Continue reading

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Exercise and an aging brain – Infographic

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March 25, 2020 · 12:07 am

Fighting Viruses When Drugs Aren’t Available

Here is some straightforward no nonsense information on the topic of the day – and tomorrow. Straight from a doctor.

All About Healthy Choices

An illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

We’ve all been told steps to take to minimize exposure to Covid-19

 What has not been stated often enough are the ACTIVE STEPS one must take to strengthen the immune system prior to potential exposure to this disease?

 Consider including these five essential components:

  1. Get adequate sleep:

Approx. 6-9 hours of QUALITY sleep is required to repair and restore the body to maximal function from normal exposure to environmental toxins and physical activities of daily living.

  1. Manage stress:

Discover constructive methods to deal with stress. Activities that positively impact the way you FEEL inhibit damaging hormones from weakening immune function.  Everyone has stress; learning to effectively CHANNEL it is the key to successfully managing it.

  1. Eat intelligently:

Don’t deprive yourself from foods you enjoy. These foods, however, should only be eaten AFTER a healthy, well balanced meal is consumed. Food provides both nutrition and INFORMATION…

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BMI – Not the best indicator …

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) can be useful in widely spread studies, but you need to be careful about relying too much on it personally. I posted on it previously and you can read Don’t get hung up on your BMI – Body Mass Index for more info.

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Young Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian. Six foot two inches tall, 257 pounds, BMI 33. Not what most of us would call obese.

 

The following is from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter:

Having obesity increases risk for cardiovascular disease and other metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, but a normal BMI also does not guarantee good heart health. Here are tips based on what we know to date about metabolic health and weight: Continue reading

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Filed under BMI, body mass index, cardiovascular health, cardiovascular risk, Exercise, exercise benefits, obesity

Your clock springs forward today

At 2:00 o’clock this morning you needed to set your clock one hour ahead – spring forward – to participate in Daylight Savings Time. Some explanations for this practice include to help the harvest for farmers by providing more daylight working hours.

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But, what does it mean to the rest of us non-agrarian folks?

Well, this morning if you are on a schedule, like catching an airplane or something, you lost an hour of sleep, so you may be somewhat sleep-deprived the rest of the day. This being Sunday, maybe you just slept in. If that is the case, you will start your day an hour later, but otherwise, no harm, no foul.

Later, however, we all will experience the magic of moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the afternoon – Daylight Savings. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, you now have an extra hour of daylight to do so in the afternoon.

As a health-oriented person, I welcome this daylight saving because I can now ride my bike later without having to deal with the dangers of darkness and street lights and reduced visibility.

If you are on the fence about what Daylight Savings Time means to you, let me suggest that you can now get out and enjoy a walk in the neighborhood or to the park and drink in some of nature’s wonders.

In January I posted an infographic listing six benefits of exercising in nature, they included: Fresh air has more oxygen; Greenscapes raise serotonin levels; Triggers primal regions of our brain and psyche; More sensory stimulation; Increases feelings of well-being and lowers depression and, finally, Sun exposure increases Vitamin D levels and helps optimize hormones.

Lastly, Gretchen Reynolds, writing in the New York Times said, “In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance — one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside.”

So smile, things are looking up. You will have a brighter day today. I guarantee it (an extra hour of sunlight). At the very least, get out and go for a walk.

Tony

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Early Exercise Habits May Lead to Better Adult Physical Fitness, BMI Performance

How many times do we have to say it? Eat less; move more; live longer. Here, it is supported by a new study presented at the Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting in Orlando.

Good exercise habits formed in adolescence correlate positively with exercise habits in adults, and adults with good exercise habits have better physical performance and appropriate body-mass index scores for their age, according to the study.

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Regular exercise habits can lead to better physical fitness and mental health in people of all ages. However, research shows that people in the United States and Canada tend to exercise less as their age increases, and the most significant drop-offs in exercise habits take place during the teenage and early adult years. For this retrospective study, researchers in Taiwan wanted to know if exercise habits formed in adolescence could affect physical fitness in later adulthood, and to assess the relationship between adolescent and adult exercise habits and its influence on later physical fitness. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise benefits, exercise frequency, sarcopenia, successful aging, Uncategorized

Neighborhood features affect cognitive function in seniors

As a senior citizen who has had family members suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, I want to know everything I can about aging and cognition, so this study from Florida Atlantic University piqued my interest.

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The neighborhood environment may positively or negatively influence one’s ability to maintain cognitive function with age. Since older adults spend less time outside, the neighborhood environment increases in importance with age. Studies suggest physical aspects of the neighborhood such as the availability of sidewalks and parks, and more social and walking destinations, may be associated with better cognitive functioning. Beneficial neighborhood environments can provide spaces for exercise, mental stimulation, socializing and reducing stress. To date, few studies have examined how the neighborhood’s physical environment relates to cognition in older adults. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, cognition, cognitive decline, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, successful aging, Uncategorized

Hot Cocoa Aids Walking in Peripheral Artery Disease – Study

First of all, what is peripheral artery disease (PAD). I have heard about it, but don’t have any first hand knowledge of it.

PAD affects about 8.5 million people in the U.S.; people with PAD have blockages in their arteries that slow or stop the blood flood flow to their legs. As a result, they have pain and difficulty walking even short distances.

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Drinking flavanol-rich cocoa three times a day improved walking distance in individuals with peripheral artery disease (PAD), reports a new Northwestern Medicine pilot study.

“The degree of improvement from chocolate was significant and meaningful,” said lead author Mary McDermott, MD, the Jeremiah Stamler Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and a Northwestern Medicine physician. “Exercise currently is the most effective medical therapy for PAD.  In this study, the benefits from chocolate were comparable to the benefits of exercise.”

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Short bouts of stair climbing, exercise snacks, boost health – Studies

I wrote about ‘incremental exercise’ last year in which I enumerated my practice of walking back and forth while waiting for the elevator. You can read it – Incremental exercise – good or bad?

It just got harder to avoid exercise. A few minutes of stair climbing, at short intervals throughout the day, can improve cardiovascular health, according to new research from kinesiologists at McMaster University and UBC Okanagan.

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The findings, published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, suggest that virtually anyone can improve their fitness, anywhere, any time.

“The findings make it even easier for people to incorporate ‘exercise snacks’ into their day,” says Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster and senior author on the study. Continue reading

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