Category Archives: outdoor exercise

How dangerous is it to shovel snow?

I recently wrote about the beginning of flu season. Well, what goes hand in hand with flu season? Cold weather and snow shoveling. Hopefully, you have gotten a flu shot by now and are set up to face flu season. I just wanted to remind you that you need to use your brain as well as your back when it comes to shoveling snow.

For many of us the onset of snow shoveling season is just around the corner.. Please be aware that in terms of your body shoveling snow is not a totally innocent activity. While I strongly support calorie burning exercises to build up your cardiovascular system and other benefits, it is important to know your limits. If you are not currently working out or don’t consider yourself to be “in condition,” please think twice before you grab that snow shovel and race out to clear the walk. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that more than 195,000 people were treated in U.S. Emergency Rooms for snow-shovel-related incidents from 1990 to 2006. This is an average of 11,500 individuals per year. Keep in mind that this information only covers folks who actually went to the ER for treatment. Plenty more stayed home and nursed their wounds …. About 2/3 of these incidents occurred among males. Children younger than 18 made up 15.3% of the cases. Older adults (above 55 years) accounted for more than 20%. Continue reading

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under cold weather exercising, Exercise, exercise duration, outdoor exercise, overexercising, snow shoveling

Improving your walking technique – Harvard

Regular readers know what a big fan I am of the simple exercise of walking. You can read my Page – Why you should walk more to read further on the subject.

Here is additional information from Harvard Medical School to help you get more benefit from your walk.

maxresdefault-1.jpg

People are often surprised to learn that there’s more to walking than simply putting one foot in front of the other. In fact, a little technique goes a long way to making your walks more enjoyable and more effective. Technique is especially important if you are hoping to become fitter and lose weight, because it will enable you to walk faster and longer. When you’re standing tall, your muscles will move through a greater range of motion for a more powerful stride. Improving your walking posture will help you to look and feel more confident, too — and you’ll look slimmer before losing a single pound. It will also help alleviate aches and pains and allow you to take deep breaths for more energy.

For any type of walking

The following rules will help you maintain good form.

Stand tall. Many people bring that hunched-over-the-computer posture to their walks. This position makes it harder for you to breathe and may contribute to backaches. Other people lean backward. Instead, extend your spine as if you were being lifted from the crown of your head. Place your thumbs on your lower ribs and your fingertips on your hips. As you stand up tall, notice how the distance in between increases. Try to maintain this elongation as you walk.

Eyes up. If you’re looking down at your feet, you’re putting unnecessary stress on your upper back and neck. Bring your gaze out about 10 to 20 feet in front of you. You’ll still be able to spy obstacles ahead and prevent upper-body tension.

Shoulders back, down, and relaxed. Roll your shoulders up, back, and then down. This is where your shoulders should be as you walk — not pulled up toward your ears. Think about keeping your shoulders away from your ears to reduce upper-body tension and allow for a freer arm swing.

Swing from your shoulders. Let your arms swing freely from your shoulders, not your elbows. Swing your arms forward and back, like a pendulum. Don’t bring them across your body or let them go higher than your chest.

Maintain a neutral pelvis. Keep your abs tight, but don’t tuck your tailbone under or stick your belly out and over arch your back.

Step lightly. You should be rolling from heel to toe as you stride, not landing flat-footed with a thud. And don’t reach your leg far out in front of you. That increases impact on your joints and actually slows you down. You want a smooth, quiet stride — no bouncing or plodding along — to reduce your risk of injury.

To learn more about how to get the most out of your walks, buy Walking for Health, the Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

2 Comments

Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, Harvard Medical School, outdoor exercise, walking

How to Beat the Heat

I personally prefer extreme cold to extreme heat, because you can always add layers and go out, but with heat, no matter how much you take off, you are still uncomfortable once you are outside.

I cruised the web and wanted to share some of the suggestions of others in the same situation.

Our friends overseas at the Daily Mail offered some very down to earth ones, including: “Eat small meals and eat more often. The larger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.”

A similar concept came up in my blog item The Brain is an Oxygen Burner explaining why we often feel sluggish after eating a big meal because digestion requires a lot of oxygen that would be going to the brain, but is diverted to the gut.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Exercise, extreme heat, outdoor exercise, Risky exercise, summer exercise

Walking program linked to reduced disability

Falls are a top cause of disability for older adults. But a study published Sept. 26, 2016, in Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests that adopting a regular routine of moderate physical activity, such as walking, helps older adults remain mobile longer and may also help them to recover faster from physical disabilities, according to Harvard Health Publications.

quote-the-sovereign-invigorator-of-the-body-jefferson

Researchers analyzed information from a previous randomized controlled trial that divided 1,600 sedentary adults ages 70 to 89 into two groups. One group received ongoing health education classes that included upper-body stretching exercises. The other group took part in a structured exercise program several days a week that included walking and some strength, flexibility, and balance training.

Researchers assessed both groups over a period of three-and-a-half years. The new study concludes that people in the exercise group reduced the amount of time spent suffering from major disability by 25%, compared with people in the health education group. People in the exercise group also appeared less likely to experience disability in the first place, and more likely to recover if they did.

While falls cause serious injuries to older adults, the exercise walking benefits all ages, please check out my Page – Why you should walk more to see how good it is for you.

Tony

 

3 Comments

Filed under outdoor exercise, successful aging, walking

Cold Weather Cycling Tips

Regular readers know that I ride year ’round here in Chicago. Through November, we barely cracked 40 degrees F which didn’t call for much extra prep beyond gloves and ear covering. Come December, however, with the advent of the 30s and below a whole new dimension of cycling wear opens up. Whether you ride a bike or not, I think you will find some useful info here.

From the Toronto Star

A recent Wall Street Journal had a cleverly written item on Your Outdoor Sports Survival Guide, by Jason Gay. He aptly describes “the maniacal joy of Survival Season,” and observes “Nobody looks suave playing sports in the freezing cold. If you are doing it correctly, you look a little unhinged and suspicious. Are you going to play golf…or rob the Bank of Alaska?”
Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under biking, cold weather, cold weather biking, cold weather exercising, Exercise, outdoor exercise

Outdoor Work Makes for Strong Bones in Swedish Farmers

How many times have you read in these pages eat less, move more, live longer? More than I can count. So it was nice to learn that farmers in Sweden seem to have stronger bones as a result of their outdoor activity.

3280349_1200_675.jpg

A team of UK and Swedish researchers has released the findings of a new study which assessed the hip fracture risk of farmers in Sweden.

Sweden is one of the few countries which tracks hip fractures through a national registry. It is therefore possible to assess how hip fracture risk across the country varies according to occupation, economic status, level of education, latitude, and urban versus rural residence. Although hip fracture risk is known to be correlated to physical activity, that’s one of the variables, among others, which the registries can’t track. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Exercise, outdoor exercise

More Exposure to Vegetation Linked with Lower Mortality in Women

I don’t know if that headline surprises you, but it doesn’t surprise me. As a daily bicycle rider, I get to enjoy the outdoors regularly and know that the setting benefits me as much as pedaling the bike.

Women in the U.S. who live in homes surrounded by more vegetation appear to have significantly lower mortality rates than those who live in areas with less vegetation, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The study found that women who lived in the greenest surroundings had a 12% lower overall mortality rate than those living in homes in the least green areas.

nature-17941-18400-hd-wallpapers.jpg

The study suggests several mechanisms that might be at play in the link between greenness and mortality. Improved mental health, measured through lower levels of depression, was estimated to explain nearly 30% of the benefit from living around greater vegetation. Increased opportunities for social engagement, higher physical activity, and lower exposure to air pollution may also play an important role, the authors said.

The study was published online April 14, 2016 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The paper is available here.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under nature, outdoor exercise

5 Reasons to Spend More Time Outside—Even When It’s Cold

Consider this as a companion piece to the post I filed two minutes ago on Exercising in Nature.

Tony

TIME

Studies show that a stroll outdoors can actually improve brain function and mental focus. Walking not only results in increased physical activity, it also promotes the free flow of ideas, according to Stanford University researchers.

Another study by psychologists from the University of Utah and University of Kansas​ found that backpackers scored 50 percent higher on creativity tests after spending four full days in nature without any electronics. “Burying yourself in front of a computer 24/7 may have costs that can be remediated by taking a hike in nature,” co-author David Strayer said in a statement.

Research also suggests that time outside can improve focus. Children with ADHD are likely to score higher on concentration tests after time outdoors. Those children who strolled through a park saw a greater increase in focus than those who walked through a residential neighborhood…

View original post 499 more words

2 Comments

Filed under Exercise, outdoor exercise

6 Benefits of Exercising in Nature – Infographic

I was happy to discover this infographic as it meets a bias of mine. For some reason being cooped up in the health club really turns me off. That is not to say that I have anything against exercise. I just don’t like doing it cooped up in the health club. When there, I always feel like I am a prisoner forced to do these many reps. It is hard to enjoy being there.

On the other hand, just being outdoors feels good to my soul.

954716_10152412312846835_4028400356730428588_n

Last but not least I am lucky enough to live by Lake Michigan, so I have the magnificent body of water as a backdrop for my bike riding, walking, running, etc. Check out A Beginner’s Guide to Blue Mind to learn more about the benefits of being around water. Also, if you related to this post, check out Reasons to Spend More Time Outside which I filed minutes after I posted this.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under outdoor exercise