Category Archives: walking

Does walking satisfy cardiovascular exercise needs?

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of the simple exercise of walking. I have called it the Cinderella of the exercise world because it is so unappreciated. Check out my Page – Why you should walk more for further details on this superb form of movement.

No comes Megan Teychenne and Clint Miller writing in The Conversation about the nature and value of walking.

“Walking leads to a remarkable reduction in the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, arthritis, depression, anxiety and insomnia, and premature death from all causes.

Stanford professor Michel Serres hikes the Dish on a regular basis.

“The health benefits of walking stem from the changes that occur in our body systems as a result of exercising. For some of these health conditions, fitness has been shown to be a particularly important factor for prevention.

“The term fitness is quite often used to describe , but having a high level of fitness actually refers to all components of health-related physical fitness which includes muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition, and of course aerobic (or heart) fitness. So is walking enough in terms of the we need?

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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.

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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.

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Where people walk most

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of walking. If you want to learn more about the benefits of the superb, and under-appreciated, exercise, please check out my Page- Why you should walk more.

Herewith chapter and verse from USA Today on where people in the world walk most. Sorry to see that the U.S. was so far down the list.

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How to get the most out of walking – Infographic

Walking is one of the best exercises there is.

Following are some really useful tips on getting the most out of that walk. Don’t forget besides getting cardiovascular benefit, you are also doing weight-bearing exercise, so you are building strong bones, too. 

I hope you do it often.

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Here are some further posts if you want to learn further walking benefits: Walking Reduces Heart Disease in People at Risk, Is Walking as Effective as Running? What About Walking Poles? Walking, Not Just Sudoku for Seniors, How Healthy is Walking? Can 6,000 Steps a Day Keep Knee Arthritis at Bay? 5 Ways to Boost Bone Strength Early

Tony

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The Best Health Advice Ever

I couldn’t have said it better myself. This is a wonderful little compilation of guidelines for a healthy life.

 

Tony

Our Better Health

The Best Health Advice Ever

Keeping your mind and body in tip-top shape is essential for living your best life. It’s difficult to attain success when you’re dragging yourself through the day, feeling stressed out, anxious, and generally unwell. That’s why you need to make yourself a priority. Focusing on your wellness is not selfish, it’s necessary for you to be able to give your best self to others. The Cheat Sheet spoke with six leading health experts about the best health advice they’ve ever received.

1. Let go of unforgiveness

Learn to forgive! At the heart of many chronic diseases is stress. At the heart of much stress is a lack of forgiveness. Not being able to let go of the past produces a lot of stress in our lives. This stress increases the incidence of hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and more.

My advice for men: Don’t be embarrassed…

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Check out interval walking – Harvard

I have written numerous times about the value of walking as an exercise. I have a Page – Why you should walk more which I hope you will check out for further details on this superb form of exercise. Well, now comes Harvard Health Publications with a fresh look at this old exercise – Interval Walking.

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Warm weather is here, and you may be walking more to take advantage of being outside. Why not ramp up your routine with bursts of fast-paced walking? The technique, known as interval walking, “is a great way to get the most exercise bang for your buck,” says Dr. Aaron Baggish, associate director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

About interval training

Interval walking is a form of interval training, which describes any form of exercise in which you purposely speed up or slow down at regular intervals throughout the session. The benefits of interval training in athletes and people in cardiac rehabilitation are well studied. Dr. Baggish says interval walking hasn’t been examined as much, but he believes the same benefits apply. “Something about strenuous exercise is good for the body. It improves endurance, reduces blood pressure, and helps with weight loss,” he explains. Continue reading

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Hodgepodge of health

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

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Tony

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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

 

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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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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.

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“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

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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.

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“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.

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

Tony

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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.

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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.

Tony

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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.

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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.

Tony

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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.

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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 About.com, “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!”

Tony

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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?)

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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.

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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!

Tony

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