Category Archives: walking

Walking patterns identify specific dementia type – Study

Walking may be a key clinical tool in helping medics accurately identify the specific type of dementia a patient has, pioneering research has revealed.

For the first time, scientists at Newcastle University have shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease or Lewy body dementia have unique walking patterns that signal subtle differences between the two conditions.

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Gait Lab photo

The research, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, shows that people with Lewy body dementia change their walking steps more – varying step time and length – and are asymmetric when they move, in comparison to those with Alzheimer’s disease.

It is a first significant step towards establishing gait as a clinical biomarker for various subtypes of the disease and could lead to improved treatment plans for patients.

Useful diagnostic tool

Dr Ríona McArdle, Post-Doctoral Researcher at Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences, led the Alzheimer’s Society-funded research.

She said: “The way we walk can reflect changes in thinking and memory that highlight problems in our brain, such as dementia.

“Correctly identifying what type of dementia someone has is important for clinicians and researchers as it allows patients to be given the most appropriate treatment for their needs as soon as possible.

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Harvesting energy from walking

I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise world – totally unappreciated – for all its good works in our health regimen. You can check out my Page – Why you should walk more to read further on its benefits.

Imagine powering your devices by walking. With technology recently developed by a group of researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, that possibility might not be far out of reach.

grayscale photography of five people walking on road

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The group describes the technology in Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing. An energy harvester is attached to the wearer’s knee and can generate 1.6 microwatts of power while the wearer walks without any increase in effort. The energy is enough to power small electronics like health monitoring equipment and GPS devices. Continue reading

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The benefits of walking – backwards

Last month I started my tenth year of writing this blog. When I began I was a financial journalist writing about an entirely new subject. Now, after some 3000+ posts, I consider myself to be a reporter on the health, fitness and longevity beat. Compared to a doctor, I probably don’t know much, but compared to what I knew when I started, I have learned a ton.

So, it is with some small embarrassment that I tell you that I just learned about how very good for the body it is to walk backwards.

grayscale photography of five people walking on road

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Here are three experts on the subject:

The famed (and respected by me) Dr. Mercola says, ” Walking backwards helps you to use muscles and movements that you probably rarely use, making it an ideal way to change up your exercise routine for greater fitness gains. When you walk backwards, it puts less strain and requires less range of motion from your knee joints, which is useful for people with knee problems or injuries. Backward walking may help relieve lower back pain, improve hamstring flexibility, burn more fat and calories in less time than traditional walking, improve balance and even sharpen your thinking skills and vision. When walking backwards, do so in a safe location, such as on a track, to avoid falling over obstacles in your path; you can also take a buddy with you to act as your “eyes” and alert you to any upcoming dangers.”

Livestrong “Two University of Oregon professors, Barry Bates and Janet Dufek, have studied the benefits of backward walking and running on people since the 1980’s. They found that backward walking creates reduced shear force on the knees, and may be useful for anyone experiencing pain going up and stairs or doing lunges or squats. Walking backwards uses more energy in a shorter period of time, and burns more calories. It is good for those recovering from hamstring strain because of reduced hip range of motion. Backward walking creates no eccentric loading of the knee joint, the lengthening phase of going down hills or stairs, and can give hikers and scramblers some rest from overuse.”

Lastly, and perhaps most interesting because of the neurobic aspect, The Asian Heart Institute. “When we walk backwards, we obviously cannot see what is happening behind our back so with regular practice our senses automatically build a defense mechanism against potential dangers. This gradually improves balance, peripheral vision and hearing skills. Retro walking is more of a neurobic activity; a physical activity that unofficially invites the brain’s enthusiastic participation. Neurobic activities create a nexus of brand new neural connections in your brain that help you stay mentally sharp, polish your memory and dodge the unwelcome and debilitating guests of later life such as the Alzheimer’s.”

As usual, your comments are invited. I am always interested in your reactions to these posts.

Having added backwards walking to my day, I would like to add the following: Start slow and take small steps. Don’t try to walk long distances, start small, less chance of falling. No point in setting yourself back.

Finally, for the record, check out my Page – Why you should walk more.

Tony

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, flexibility, neurobic exercise, walking, walking backwards

20 minute nature walk cuts stress levels – Study

I have written repeatedly that walking is the Cinderella of the exercise world – totally unappreciated. Now comes this wonderful study from the University of Michigan about how a 20 minute walk in contact with nature actually lowers your stress levels.
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Tufts on the benefits of walking

I have written repeatedly about the health benefits of walking. For a good rundown, check out my Page – Why you should walk more. Herewith further elucidation on the benefits of what I call ‘the Cinderella of the exercise world-‘ walking from Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter.

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Did you get your 10,000 steps today? Many people have adopted this daily walking goal to obtain the recommended amount of physical activity. The 10,000-steps-a-day number comes from the Japanese brand name of a pedometer manufactured in the 1960s, the “10,000 steps meter.” In the Fitbit era, counting daily steps remains appealing to many people as a source of motivation.

In the U.S., adults are urged to get the equivalent of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise. Walking is a popular way to meet those recommendations, particularly in older adults or people who are relatively physically inactive.

Although 10,000 steps is a worthy challenge, aiming for more exercise than you normally get—unless you are one of the few who regularly trains for marathons or triathlons—comes with benefits. Any amount or type of physical activity adds to your daily goal. Regularly taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking farther away from your destination, can make a measurable improvement in your health.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that the benefits of walking on longevity were equivalent whether people got their steps in one long walk, a few shorter ones, or even brief walk breaks of a few minutes—as long as the physical activity was regular.

Preserving Mobility: Among the most important benefits of walking for older adults is preserving physical mobility—the ability to walk without assistance. In 2014, a study involving Tufts researchers called Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) trial provided evidence for the benefits of physical activity in older adults at risk of immobility and disability and other associated health problems.

“This study, for the first time, showed conclusively that a regular program of physical activity can preserve independence among older men and women,” says Roger A. Fielding, PhD, director of the HNRCA Nutrition, Exercise, Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory, who led the Tufts portion of the study.

The LIFE trial was designed to test the ability of physical activity to prevent major mobility disability, defined as the inability to walk for about a quarter-mile (400 meters) within 15 minutes, without sitting and without the help of another person or walker. Use of a cane was allowed. The study involved 1,635 men and women, ages 70 to 89, at 8 universities and research centers across the country, including Tufts.

On a practical level, the walking test gauges a person’s general fitness to perform ordinary activities like shopping, household chores and travel. Not being able to pass the test is a harbinger of future immobility.

Participants were relatively sedentary at the start of the study, having reported less than 20 minutes per week of physical activity in the previous month. The volunteers were randomly assigned to either weekly health education classes with 10 minutes of gentle stretching, or to a program consisting of exercises for strength, flexibility and balance, as well as walking. Participants were told to set as their goal 30 minutes a day of walking at moderate intensity.

Over the average 2.6-year study period, participants in the exercise program were 28% less likely to develop major mobility disability, compared with the control group that just received health education. Increased regular exercise was particularly potent in participants who started the study with the lowest level of physical functioning.

“We think that one of the reasons older people lose their independence is because of some problem they have with their muscle function,” Fielding explains. “Therefore, if you can design an intervention that can help slow the rate of muscle loss or restore some of the muscle function, it may help to prevent individuals from ultimately becoming disabled. We’ve shown that pretty well with exercise.”

How Many Steps to Health? More recently, Fielding used the data from the LIFE study to pin down the amount of physical activity it takes to prevent disability in the at-risk individuals who participated in the LIFE trial. Is 30 minutes a day of walking and other exercise the required buy-in to prevent immobility?

Fielding and his colleagues reanalyzed the LIFE data to see what impact incremental “doses” of physical activity over the first two years of the trial had on physical function (based on tests of balance and leg strength) and walking speed. They found that an increase in physical activity of just over 45 minutes per week reduced the chance of mobility disability by about 70%. That’s equivalent to a single session of exercise training used in the LIFE trial.

It all adds up to this: Even people who are relatively sedentary and start late in the game can benefit from increasing physical activity. Walking is a great entry-level physical activity—simple, free and safe unless you have a balance problem or other risk factor for falling. A brisk walk, combined with a light aerobic workout and strength training, can increase the odds of staying active and independent with aging.

“Understanding the minimal dose of physical activity required to improve physical function and reduce the risk of disability may inform future public health recommendations about physical activity for older adults,” Fielding says. “A reduced risk of disability can be seen with substantially less physical activity than is currently recommended for most inactive older adults.”

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Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise benefits, successful aging, Tufts, Tufts University, walking

Exercise tips from Tufts

The following were actually a sidebar in a missive from Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter. I thought they constitute a super summary for us folks who want to eat less; move more and live longer. I am very happy to add that I have incorporated a number of these into my lifestyle.

At the risk of sounding like Debbie Downer, I would like to point out that failing to exercise on a regular basis is one of the main causes of seniors falling down. This is because inadequate physical activities often lead to reduced bone mass and flexibility. It also contributes to the loss of your balance and reduced muscle tone. These problems often lead to difficulties in making proper movements, thereby resulting in the fall.

woman walking on pathway while strolling luggage

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All forms of physical activity count—not just structured workouts. Here are some ways to add more physical activity to your day:

Walk rather than drive to destinations you can reach on foot within 10 minutes (which will ensure walking a mile there and back).-Park wherever you first see a space at your destination, instead of driving around to find the closest one.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Get up to turn the television on and off or change channels manually rather than using the remote.

Do stretches and exercises, or pedal a stationary bike, while watching television or listening to the radio.

Join a walking group in the neighborhood or at the local shopping mall. Recruit a partner for support and encouragement.

-At work, replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk.

Cut the grass with a push mower instead of a gas or electric mower.

-When traveling, stroll around the airport, train or bus station instead of sitting.

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Incremental Exercise – good or bad?

This post is about an experiment of mine. I consider it successful, but I wouldn’t mind hearing your opinion of it. I don’t know how many of you live in a high rise building, but I do and my experiment has everything to do with just that.

I live in a high rise building and own a dog. I have to walk my dog three times a day out doors. In my building dogs have to ride on the ‘service elevators’ rather than the regular ones. My building has more than 50 stories and there are two service elevators. Often one of them is ‘locked off’ for movers, or other maintenance needs. So, it is not surprising that I often find myself waiting several minutes for an elevator to take the dog for her walk. The area in which I wait for the service elevator is about 16 feet long and eight feet wide.

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This is not my building, but you get the idea. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

That’s the logistical part. Continue reading

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Here are the benefits of walking 5, 30 and 60 minutes – Video

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of walking. I call it the Cinderella of the exercise world because it is so unappreciated. If you want to learn a lot more about the benefits of walking – after you watch this less than five minute video – check out my Page – Why you should walk more.

Tony

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20 Benefits of walking 30 minutes a day – Infographic

Having given you an infographic on the benefits of bike riding it seemed only fair to offer the same for walking.

For the record, I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise universe – totally unappreciated. Check out my Page – Why you should walk more for further details.

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Tony

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20 Benefits of 30 minutes of walking – Infographic

As regular readers know, I am a giant fan of walking. I have called it the Cinderella of the exercise world because it is so unappreciated.

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If this isn’t enough, please check out my Page – Why you should walk more.

Tony

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Exercise and you

This is one of those one picture is worth a thousand words posts. As a guy turning 79 in January, I feel like living proof of that. Get out and move that body. You don’t have to get hard core, you can walk. Walking is simple weight-bearing exercise that benefits your bones as well as your brains. Check out my Page – Why you should walk more to learn more.

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Also, feel free to check out my Page – Important facts about your brain and exercise benefits,

Tony

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Some healthy habits for you …

I just ran across this infographic and was touched by its simplicity. Basic as it is,  I hope you have these going for you on a daily basis.  I think they are the keys to a long and healthy life.

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Tony

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Filed under brain exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, good night's sleep, hydration, walking

MBT Sandals – Kisumu’s – It’s Sandal Season

After more than seven years, I have just bought a fresh new pair of MBT sandals. I stand by everything I wrote positively about them previously. If you have high arches and have suffered with arch supports, you should try MBTs.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

The fog comes on little cat feet, wrote Carl Sandburg in his famous poem. Didn’t he choose a wonderful image there? Little cat feet. What could be quieter? Can you imagine how cool it would feel like to walk on cat feet? Read on.

Last June I wrote about my new MBT shoes. MBT stands for Masai Barefoot Technology.

Now let me tell you about their sandals.

This is the Kisumu Khaki.

I live in a highrise building so I have plenty of neighbors that I see in the halls, on the elevators, walking outside, etc. Several of my neighbors have noticed my MBT shoes and wanted to talk about them, sharing their experiences. As I have suffered from bad feet and, worse, hard to fit feet, all my life, I was pleased to share my positive experience with the MBTs with them. I have high weak arches…

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Higher protein intake benefits bone health – Study

I have found that most people consider osteoporosis to be a women’s affliction. The reason is that statistics show two out of three women over the age of 50 will experience osteoporosis while only one out of three men will.  This is clearly a disease that affects more of us as we age. I think it is important for us men to keep in mind that while statistics show more women get it, the fact is, as women outlive men, there are simply more of them around. Osteoporosis is definitely something of which men should be aware.

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A new expert consensus endorsed by the European Society for Clinical and Economical Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, and Musculoskeletal Diseases (ESCEO) and the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) has reviewed the benefits and safety of dietary protein for bone health, based on analyses of major research studies. The review, published in Osteoporosis International found that a protein-rich diet, provided there is adequate calcium intake, is in fact beneficial for adult bone health. It also found no evidence that acid load due to higher dietary protein intakes, whether of animal or vegetable origin, is damaging to bone health.

The key findings of the extensive literature review include: Continue reading

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Take this walking quiz …

I am on record as being a major fan of the benefits of walking. I have repeatedly called it the Cinderella of the exercise world because so few people appreciate it. After you take this quiz, you can check out my Page – Why you should walk more for lots more benefits.

WebMD has an excellent quiz  – Do you know the benefits of walking? which I hope I can entice you to take by clicking the link in the middle of this sentence.

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Here are a couple of teaser examples: You can get the answers by taking the quiz.

You will live longer if you walk at least this far in a week:

The answer explained : “Walking this much at a slow pace of 2 miles per hour can be enough to lower your risk of things like heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure by 31%. People who walked farther and faster got even more benefit, in case you needed some extra motivation.”

Women who walk 30 minutes a day cut their risk of stroke by this much

The answer explained : “Just a little can do wonders to help your blood move through your body the way it should. Any time you can spend walking is good, but push yourself a little: Getting your heart rate up can strengthen it and lower your blood pressure.”

Walking is as good for your heart as running – True or False?

The answer explained : “For years, many experts thought that really pushing yourself — and your heart rate — was the best way to strengthen your heart. But ….”

How about walking if you suffer from arthritis?

I hope I have given you enough reasons to take the quiz. Knowledge is power and you will definitely learn something from this most useful exercise.

Tony

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Fitness over 50: Overcoming a sedentary lifestyle – Harvard

I remember 20 years ago when I was in the working world, I definitely lived a sedentary lifestyle. Long hours at the office, a child at home and all the aspects of family life made it difficult for me to exercise a lot. Vedging out in the evening in front of the TV proved a welcome relief from daily demands. In addition, my motivation was elsewhere. Now that I am retired that has all changed, but I understand if you may be where I was back then.

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Here I am riding with Gabi. Cycling is a super form of exercise for both mind and body.

Blame it on a job change, a chronic health issue, or simply a loss of motivation: whatever took you away from your regular exercise routine has led to a sedentary lifestyle. But don’t assume you can jump back into the same exercise regimen you followed when you were younger. “Your body has aged, and things have changed,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, clinical supervisor of rehabilitation services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

What’s different

Age-related physical changes aren’t always obvious. “We lose muscle mass and strength as we get older, and the muscles become less flexible and less hydrated,” says Dr. Safran-Norton. Arthritis weakens joints. And vision changes, neurological disease, joint pain, or problems inside the ear can throw off your balance. Continue reading

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