Category Archives: walking

Hodgepodge of health

Some fitness, some funny, some diet … hodgepodge. Enjoy!


















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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.


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.




Filed under outdoor exercise, successful aging, walking

Can exercise erase damage from excessive sitting? – Harvard

I confess that only last year I was ignorant of the fact that sitting for a prolonged period was very hazardous to your health. Since then, I have erased much of my ignorance with a number of posts. You can check them out on my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting? So I was gratified to read the latest info on sitting from the Harvard Medical School.

“Can an hour of brisk walking counteract the downsides of sitting for most of the day? Maybe, according to a study published online July 27, 2016, by The Lancet.

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Since biking is one the of the suggested exercises, I thought I would include this shot of Gabi and me riding in Chicago’s annual Bike the Drive on famed Lake Shore Drive. 

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Filed under cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, prolonged sitting, regular bike riding, sitting too long, walking

Walking an hour a day best for longevity – Study

I have written numerous times in these pages that walking is the Cinderella of the exercise world – totally unappreciated. I have an entire Page on the Why you should walk more so I was more than a little pleased to read the American Cancer Society study on the benefits of walking an hour a day.

“Researchers from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and others have found that getting 3 to 5 times the amount of recommended leisure-time physical activity results in the greatest benefit in terms of a longer life. The study was published online in JAMA Internal Medicine. One way to achieve this benefit is by walking an hour a day.


“The US Department of Health and Human Services and the American Cancer Society are among organizations that recommend adults get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity or 75 minutes (1.25) hours of vigorous intensity activity each week, preferably spread throughout the week. Moderate-intensity activities are those at the level of a brisk walk. Vigorous-intensity activities increase your heart rate and breathing, and make you sweat. Continue reading


Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise benefits, walking

6 tips to help you keep a walking regimen on track – Harvard

I have written more than once the words walking is the Cinderella of the exercise world, vastly unappreciated. It’s nice to see this further support from a special Harvard Health ReportWalking for Health.

“Regular walks are an incredibly popular way to exercise — and it’s easy to see why. Walking is easy and free (except for a good pair of shoes), and can be done just about anywhere. But it’s those very qualities that can also make it very tempting to skip. If your walking routine is in danger of lapsing, try one or more of these strategies to keep going.


“1. Have a backup plan. For example, if you sleep in and miss your morning walk, you’ll know that you’re going to walk during lunch instead. Or, maybe you know that dinner with friends will prevent you from taking your evening stroll, so instead you sneak in a 15-minute walk in the morning and another before you meet your friends. And keeping a pair of sneakers in your car gives you the option to squeeze in a walk whenever you have a little extra time. Continue reading

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You Should Walk More – Infographic

I am a firm believer in walking as an exercise for good health. Although I ride my bike nearly daily and love it as well as the exercise benefits I derive from it, biking is not weight-bearing exercise. Walking is. Your bones benefit from walking,  so you are defending yourself from osteoporosis with every step.

We all need weight-bearing exercise as well as cardio.



To read further on walking , check out my Page – Why you should walk more.



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5 Benefits of Walking – Harvard

As regular readers know, I am a giant fan of walking. You can check out my Page (above) Why You Should Walk More for further details.

It seems Harvard HEALTHbeat agrees with me. “The next time you have a check-up, don’t be surprised if your doctor hands you a prescription to walk. Yes, this simple activity that you’ve been doing since you were about a year old is now being touted as “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug,” in the words of Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Infographic from one of my posts on walking benefits, not Harvard.

“Of course, you probably know that any physical activity, including walking, is a boon to your overall health. But walking in particular comes with a host of benefits. Here’s a list of five that may surprise you.

1. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes actually contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.

2. It helps tame a sweet tooth. A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations. And the latest research confirms that walking can reduce cravings and intake of a variety of sugary snacks.

3. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.

4. It eases joint pain. Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.

5. It boosts immune function. Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.

“To learn more about the numerous benefits of walking, as well as easy ways to incorporate a walk into your daily routine, order Walking for Health,  a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

Eat less; move more; live longer.



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What are the Health Benefits of Walking and Bicycle Riding?

Regular readers know I ride my bike regularly and I also consider walking to be one of the finest exercises. It is nice to see this documentation from the People Powered movement.

I have written about the health benefits of walking and bicycle riding previously. Regular readers know that I rode my bike over 6000 miles last year. To read further, check out the following posts: Seniors walking, walking in general, bicycle riding. I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise world, totally unappreciated.

The People Powered Movement has issued a benchmark report on some fascinating aspects of walking and bicycling.

Public Health Benefits

• Bicycling and walking levels fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, while obesity levels increased by 156%.
• Between 1966 and 2009, the number of children who bicycled or walked to school fell 75%, while the percentage of obese children rose 276%.
• In general, states with the highest levels of bicycling and walking have the lowest levels of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes and have the greatest percentage of adults who meet the recommended 30-plus minutes per day of physical activity.

We could easily leave the car and walk on many errands, according to the report.

Tony Licata (cq), of Chicago, and his pet poodle Gabi make circuits of the Northery Island bike path Monday, Sept. 21, 2009. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune)

My dog and me in Chicago out on a bike ride.

• In 2009, 40% of trips in the United States were shorter than 2 miles, yet Americans use their cars for 87% of trips 1 to 2 miles. Some 27% of trips are shorter than 1 mile, yet 62% of trips up to 1 mile long are by car. Residents of the largest U.S. cities are 1.7 times more likely to walk or bicycle to work than the national average.
• 12% of all trips are by bicycle (1.0%) or foot (10.5%).
• From 2000 to 2009, the number of commuters who bicycle to work increased by 57%.

Some folks say they won’t ride a bike because it is not safe. But the study indicated otherwise.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
•14% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. are bicyclists (1.8%) or pedestrians (11.7%).
• In the 51 largest U.S. cities, 12.7% of trips are by foot and 1.1% are by bicycle, yet 26.9% of traffic fatalities are pedestrians and 3.1% are bicyclists.
• Seniors are the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians. Adults over 65 make up 10% of walking trips, yet comprise 19% of pedestrian fatalities and make up 6% of bicycling trips, yet account for and 10% of bicyclist fatalities. As a senior citizen who rides his bike almost daily, this bullet point was not fun for me to learn. I do believe that wearing a helmet and biking gloves would reduce those numbers.


I love this Mark Twain quote.

Please do consider walking more often and/or taking up bicycle riding. Each is a wonderful, very inexpensive way to get that much-needed daily exercise.



Filed under bicycle riding, biking, walking

Walking Gives Relief to Glaucoma Sufferers

Dr. David J. Palmer, speaking before a Northwestern Memorial Healthy Transitions Program® said that walking just 30 minutes reduces pressure in the eyes by several points.


I have written about the Healthy Transitions program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital a number of times here. Dr. Palmer is a clinical assistant professor at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. He was discussing maintaining and preserving vision to a group of folks over 55.

I have also discussed the value of exercise in general and walking in particular several times for the blog so this was wonderful news to me. To learn more about the benefits of walking check out these blog items: The benefits of walking and bicycle riding, walking not sudoku for seniors, national start walking day.

To reiterate: one of the benefits of walking is that it increases blood flow to the brain. Lead researcher Rong Zhang, of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, explained in a news release from the American Physiological Society, that it is not known if increasing blood flow to the brain can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, but there is strong evidence to suggest that cardiovascular risk is tied to the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Wendy Baumbartner, writing for, “Dr. Michael Passo of Oregon Health Sciences University (this is in my neck of the woods) has found that starting a walking program lowered the intraocular pressure of 40 sedentary individuals, which decreased their risk of glaucoma. He has found that exercise also lowers the pressure for those with glaucoma. Walk for sight!”


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Tufts University on the Value of Brief Walks vs. the Dangers of Too Much Sitting

I am now in my sixth year of writing this blog. It started out as a weight loss guide, but over the years has morphed into a full service mental and physical health project. Weight loss isn’t off the table; it is just a byproduct of keeping oneself in tiptop health.

That little bit of history was because of a recent publication from Tufts University.

Regular readers know that I am a big advocate of both walking (Check out my Page – Why You Should Walk More) and protecting against the dangers of too much sitting. (Check out my Page – Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting?)


So I was most pleasantly surprised to run across the following from Tufts:

“Multiple studies have warned about the health risks of sitting too much. Hours spent sitting, whether at desks or in front of the television, have been linked to increased odds of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and kidney problems. But modern life can make it difficult to stay out of chairs, and alternatives such as “standing desks” don’t appeal to everyone.

“A new study may offer hope to sedentary sitters: Using data on more than 3,600 adults, researchers found that brief periods of simply walking around the room substantially reduced mortality risk among people who spent long periods sitting. As little as two minutes of gentle walking per hour was associated with a 33% lower risk compared to non-stop sitting.

“We know that exercise is good for us and yet, despite this, our society has become more sedentary than ever,” says Miriam E. Nelson, PhD, associate dean of the Tisch College and a professor in Tufts’ Friedman School, author of the “Strong Women” series of books. “We are built to move, and when our bodies move on a regular basis, they are healthy; when they don’t, when we’re largely sedentary, our bodies deteriorate.”

MEASURING MOVEMENT: In the study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Srinivasan Beddhu, MD, of the University of Utah, and colleagues analyzed data from the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). In recent surveys, selected participants have supplemented their questionnaire answers by wearing activity monitors called accelerometers; this gives a more accurate record of a person’s movements than depending on individual recall. Most of the participants were generally healthy, although a subgroup of 383 people had chronic kidney disease.

Researchers divided participants into four groups based on minutes per hour of different levels of accelerometer activity: sedentary/sitting, low (such as standing up but not walking around much), light (such as strolling around a room or walking into another room), and moderate/vigorous (jogging or other exercise). The study then compared activity levels to records of deaths three or four years after the assessment.

ADDITIVE ACTIVITY: There was little difference in mortality between the sedentary and low-activity groups. But people who interrupted their sitting with light activity were at significantly lower mortality risk than those who were completely sedentary; this difference was even sharper among the kidney-disease subgroup (41%). As little as two minutes an hour of light activity was enough to be associated with lower risk.

“Boosting activity levels to moderate/vigorous further reduced risk, but the number of such active participants was too low to be statistically significant. Adding additional minutes of light activity, however, did make a significant difference. Getting up from your chair for two minutes or five minutes more light activity rather than sitting time, Dr. Beddhu said, could further reduce risk of premature death.

He cautioned that the study was observational, and so can’t prove cause and effect. And Tufts’ Nelson notes that a quick break from your chair is no substitute for regular physical activity. But if you’ve been worried about the health risks of sitting too much, apparently every little bit helps.

For more advice on the benefits of stretching as well as dozens of easy-to-perform moves and stretches, order Stretching for 50+ from Tufts Health & Nutrition!


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Slow Down for the weekend – Infographics

Two of these have to do with slowing down your life. That seems appropriate for the weekend.

Besides these lovely ideas, please check out my Page – Why you Should Walk More for a full explanation of the benefits of walking. I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise world, totally unappreciated, but really the belle of the ball.


The little infographic is one of the best explanations of why just trying to lose weight is non-successful most of the time. if you get your thinking straight first, you can be successful at losing weight. But, it is more than just not looking bad. If you are willing to alter your life to remove excess pounds and integrating intelligent eating and regular exercise, you will see  you pounds melt off and stay off, not to mention having more energy and a generally more positive outlook. For the full story check out my Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off.

82e630b94db3c2d18250c7db6a62b460Slow down your life. Learn how to meditate. Take some time every day to let your mind savor stillness. Our hustle bustle daily lives too often leave no time for this and we pay a heavy price. You can learn more about relaxation and the brain on my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain.


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20 Benefits of Walking – Infographic

I couldn’t be a bigger fan of walking. I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise world. Maybe the Rodney Dangerfield would be more accurate. Nobody gives it very much respect. Yet it benefits us in so many ways.


Although Number six said it is a low impact exercise, it is nonetheless a weight bearing exercise which we all need for strong bones.

Please don’t stop here. I have a Page dedicated to the benefits of walking – Why You Should Walk More. There are lots more ways that your body, brain and mind can benefit.



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Easy-to-Walk Communities Linked to Sharper Senior Minds

By the end of the study, those who lived in easy-to-walk communities had better outcomes both in physical health — such as lower body fat and blood pressure — and in mental skills.

Check out Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise) for more on this subject.



Cooking with Kathy Man

Neighborhoods that encourage activity seem to benefit the brain, study suggests.

Living in easy-to-walk communities may slow mental decline in older adults, according to a small study.

The research included 39 older adults with no thinking or memory problems and 25 older adults with mild Alzheimer’s disease. Over two years, the participants were given a series of tests to assess mental skills such as attention and memory.

By the end of the study, those who lived in easy-to-walk communities had better outcomes both in physical health — such as lower body fat and blood pressure — and in mental skills.

However, the study wasn’t designed to prove that living in an easy-to-walk community was a direct cause of the better outcomes. The study only showed an association between the exercise-friendly neighborhoods and potentially improved physical and mental health.

Still, these findings could prove useful for older adults, caregivers, health care…

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A Quick Guide to Eating Sweets

Everyone enjoys sweet tastes. We are hard-wired that way, but we aren’t hunting and gathering to provide our nourishment any more. There is ample food for the majority of us. We just need to go to the market and pick it out. And, there’s the rub. Food manufacturers have found it very profitable to provide us with an assortment fit for royalty. Unfortunately, many of us respond like kids in a candy store on allowance day. That’s why we have 60 percent of us overweight, 30 percent obese and adult onset diabetes plaguing 15 year olds.

So, what to do? WebMD has some very helpful suggestions in its desserts quiz. “Eat slowly and savor the flavor. …” That is an excellent suggestion. So often, we get carried away in the tastes, that we forget to take our time and enjoy it. The more we learn to savor our food the healthier we will be eating.

A 150 pound man burns 100 calories for each mile he walks.

A 150 pound man burns 100 calories for each mile he walks.

“Put your fork down between bites so you don’t hurry. The first two bites of any dessert will seem the tastiest.” This is another great idea. We spend so much time hustling and bustling from here to there. We need to be reminded to actually sit down and eat.

WebMD asks the question which has the least calories per serving – a one inch square of fudge or a standard slice of angel food cake with a handful of strawberries, or a slice of lemon meringue pie.

Last but not least, it pays to understand portion control and serving size. In the above query, how many of us would choose the one inch square of fudge which comes in at only 70 calories. The angel food cake with strawberries amounts to 100 calories while the lemon meringue pie tips the scales at a robust 300 calories.

In terms of exercise, a man weighing 150 pounds burns around 100 calories for each mile he walks. So, a brief 3/4 mile walk would consume the fudge calories, while he would have to finish the mile for the strawberries. The 300 calories would need a three mile hike, or about 40 minutes to burn it off.

Buon Appetito!


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Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health

Take missed days in stride. If you find yourself skipping your daily walks, don’t give up. Remind yourself how good you feel when you include physical activity in your daily routine — and then get back on track.

I think walking is the Cinderella of the exercise world. Please check out my Page – Why You Should Walk More to read further.

Our Better Health

Set realistic goals

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week — and strength training exercises at least twice a week.

As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. If you can’t set aside that much time, try two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions throughout the day.

Remember, though, it’s OK to start slowly — especially if you haven’t been exercising regularly. You might start with five minutes a day the first week, and then increase your time by five minutes each week until you reach at least 30 minutes.

Track your progress

Keeping a record of how many steps you take, the distance you walk and…

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Running… is it good or bad for your body?

I think there is a lot of good information here that is worthwhile for anyone interested in running. Running can work, but it is easy to get hurt doing it. Regular readers know that I feel strongly that walking is a great exercise for both the mind and the body. There are very few walking injuries.

I have two posts that might be good follow-ups for this item. First is my Page – Why You Should Walk More, second is Why You Shouldn’t Run a Marathon.


Shaun Gray Biokineticist

Running is an exercise most able bodied people either are participating in currently, have done so in the past or have thought about as an exercise to help improve their fitness or even to lose weight. The big question I get asked frequently is “Is running good for you?” and to that there are multiple answers. I know people in their late 60’s – early 70’s that have been running for over 30 years with no problems but I also know people in their early 30’s that have been running for less than 2 years with major injuries caused from running. What is the difference between them, that one person can run injury free and the next not?

There are a couple of variables that will help you stay injury free (not guarantee you will always be injury free). The first variable is the individual’s body shape and make up…

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