Tag Archives: sedentary lifestyle

Finding the solution to obesity

In the 20 years since Barbara Corkey, PhD, was named Editor in Chief of the journal Obesity, obesity among adults has risen significantly. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that one third of U.S. adults 20 years of age and older have obesity. Obesity continues to be a common, serious and costly disease.

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In an editorial in Obesity, Corkey discusses the many different theories explaining why obesity continues to increase despite best efforts at controlling weight gain in this environment, including increased availability and marketing of high-calorie and high-glycemic-index foods and drinks, larger food portions, leisure time physical activities being replaced with sedentary activities such as watching television and use of electronic devices, inadequate sleep, and the use of medications that increase weight.

According to Corkey, all of these purported explanations assume an environmental cause that is detrimental to the organism involved, (humans). “However, if we use the principle of symbiosis and Darwin’s theory of evolution, perhaps we can understand obesity prevalence as an interim stage in the evolution of man reacting to his environment in order to gain long-term survival and ultimate longevity,” says corresponding author Corkey, professor emeritus of medicine and biochemistry at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine.

Humans have developed a method to feed the billions of people on the planet, by developing processed foods with preservatives and other chemicals that can make food last longer and can be made cheaply to increase calorie density in small packages. Corkey points out that those who develop obesity store body fat in response to excess calories. “Therefore the cause of obesity has as much to do as the human reaction to overfeeding as it does the production of foods that are being overfed,” she states.

Corkey notes that key developments in the obesity/diabetes field include bariatric surgery as well as multiple agents (drugs) with different mechanisms of action to treat obesity and prevent weight regain. “Novel drug combinations are beginning to close the gap with bariatric surgery and appear to be very powerful new tools to treat obesity as a disease.”

Corkey believes recognition of obesity as a disease and earlier diagnosis of diabetes and other consequences of obesity will support early and more effective treatment and prevention. “Importantly, disease recognition will help to support insurance coverage of effective obesity treatments,” she adds.

Lastly, Corkey examines culinary medicine as an emerging evidence-based field that brings together nutrition and culinary knowledge and skills to assist patients in maintaining health and preventing and treating food-related disease by choosing high-quality, healthy food in conjunction with appropriate medical care. “Culinary medicine has the advantage of being an intervention that can be implemented at the earliest time point in the development of obesity with no negative side effects,” says Corkey.

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Periodic “activity snacks” may help maintain muscle mass

Interrupting prolonged sitting with periodic “activity snacks” may help maintain muscle mass and quality, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Toronto.

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Daniel Moore, an associate professor of muscle physiology at the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Eduction (KPE) who led the study, found that short bouts of activity, such as two minutes of walking or body weight sit-to-stand squats, allow the body to use more amino acids from meals to build muscle proteins.

The research was recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

“We know that prolonged sedentary periods impair the body’s ability to filter sugar from the blood following a meal,” says Moore, who heads the Iovate/Muscletech Metabolism & Sports Science Lab at KPE.

“However, breaking up this sedentary period with brief bouts of activity such as two minutes of moderate intensity walking or rising and lowering 15 times from a chair (i.e. body weight squats), can improve the way our body clears sugar from our meals.”

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Dementia: What you do while you sit may affect your risk

  • A new study of sedentary behavior finds that doing mentally passive activities such as watching TV increases the likelihood of developing dementia while using a computer lowers them.
  • The difference between the two is unaffected by how physically active a person is when they are not sitting.
  • Other research suggests physiological reasons for the difference, and some studies find the same effect on depression and cardiovascular risk.

We often hear about the importance of being physically active for our health. Even so, many find themselves sitting for hours during their leisure time. Sedentary behavior (SB) has a way of adding up.

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A new study investigates the effect of SB on the likelihood of developing dementia and finds evidence that not all SB is the same when it comes to cognitive health.

The study finds that being mentally active and engaged while sitting may reduce the chances of developing dementia. Conversely, sitting passively increases this risk.

The study is published in PNAS.

Being mentally active vs. passive

“In the context of dementia, [the study] shows differential associations between two types of SB which might be categorized as mentally passive, TV viewing, and mentally active, computer use,” Dr. Mats Hallgren, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, who was not involved in the study, told Medical News Today.

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Trade the chair for fresh air—link exists between sitting time and cardio health

Research is adding further weight to the argument that prolonged sitting may be hazardous to your health. An international study surveying more than 100,000 individuals in 21 countries found that people who sat for six to eight hours a day had a 12-13 per cent increased risk for early death and heart disease, while those who sat for more than eight hours daily increased that to a sobering 20 per cent.

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The study, co-led by Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Scott Lear and Wei Li of Beijing’s Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, is published today in the journal Jama Cardiology. Their research followed individuals over an average of 11 years and determined that high amounts of sitting time were associated with increased risk of early death and cardiovascular disease. While sitting was problematic in all countries, it was especially so in low-income and lower-middle-income countries.
 
“The overarching message here is to minimize how much you sit,” says Lear. “If you must sit, getting in more exercise during other times of the day will offset that risk.”

Not surprising, those who sat the most and were the least active had the highest risk—up to 50 per cent—while those who sat the most but were also the most active had a substantially lower risk of about 17 per cent.
 
“For those sitting more than four hours a day, replacing a half hour of sitting with exercise reduced the risk by two per cent,” Lear notes. “With only one in four Canadians meeting the activity guidelines there’s a real opportunity here for people to increase their activity and reduce their chances of early death and heart disease.”
 
The study found a particular association in lower income countries, leading researchers to speculate that it may be because sitting in higher income countries is typically associated with higher socio-economic status and better paying jobs.
 
Clinicians should focus on less sitting and more activity as it’s a low-cost intervention that can have enormous benefit, Lear notes.
 
But while clinicians need to get the message out about countering sitting with activity, individuals need to better assess their lifestyles and take their health seriously, Lear adds. “Our study found that a combination of sitting and inactivity accounted for 8.8 per cent of all deaths, which is close to the contribution of smoking (10.6 per cent in Lear and Li’s study). “It’s a global problem that has a remarkably simple fix. Scheduling time to get out of that chair is a great start.”

To read further on a sedentary lifestyle in general and sitting in particular, check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting?

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Even half an hour of activity may help counteract dangers of sedentary lifestyle – Tufts

An analysis of data from multiple observational studies suggests 30 minutes of exercise a day may help you live longer, even if you’re otherwise sedentary, Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter said.

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In the study, published recently in the British Journal of Medicine, researchers looked at data from activity trackers worn by 44,000 men and women (average age around 66 years) in the U.S., Norway, and Sweden. Most participants were sedentary eight-and-a-half to 10.5 hours a day and engaged in moderate or vigorous activity eight to 35 minutes a day. More sedentary time combined with less active time was associated with higher risk of death. About 30 to 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day seemed to be enough to attenuate the association between sedentary time and risk of premature death.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults get 150 to 300 minutes a week (an average of 30 minutes a day) of moderate-intensity activity (such as taking a brisk walk or raking the yard) or 75 to 150 minutes a week (an average of 15 minutes a day) of vigorous-intensity activity (like jogging or swimming). While moving more and sitting less—in this study and many others—is associated with the best health outcomes, fitting 30 minutes of movement into an otherwise sedentary day may help you live longer.

Eat less, move more, live longer and have a functioning brain thewhole time, as I have written here numerous times.

Tony

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Too much time on a computer, watching TV or other sedentary activities raises stroke risk – AHA

You don’t have to go far in this blog to hear about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. Eat less, move more, live longer has been the mantra for years. Now comes the American Heart Association to bolster our argument.

Adults younger than age 60 whose days are filled with sedentary leisure time (which includes using the computer, TV, or reading) and little physical activity have a higher stroke risk than people who are more physically active, according to new research published today in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.

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According to American Heart Association statistics, U.S. adults spend an average of 10.5 hours a day connected to media such as smartphones, computers or television watching, and adults ages 50 to 64 spend the most time of any age group connected to media. Data also indicate that stroke-related deaths decreased in 2010 among adults 65 years and older. However, death from stroke appears to be on the rise among younger adults, ages 35 to 64 years – increasing from 14.7 in every 100,000 adults in 2010 to 15.4 per 100,000 in 2016. Previous research suggests the more time adults spend sedentary, the greater their risk of cardiovascular disease including stroke, and nearly 9 in 10 strokes could be attributed to modifiable risk factors such as sedentary behaviors.

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Aim to exceed weekly recommended physical activity level to offset health harms of prolonged sitting

I have written about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle numerous times as well as the benefits of regular exercise.

New additional research shows that increasing physical activity can counter early death risk linked to long periods of sedentary time.

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The health harms associated with prolonged sitting can be offset by exceeding weekly recommended physical activity levels, says the World Health Organization (WHO) in new global guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior, published in a special dedicated issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

But all physical activity counts and is good for long term health, say the new guidelines.

It’s the first time that a recommendation of this kind has been made. It reflects a large and growing body of evidence linking extensive sedentary time to serious ill health and a heightened risk of early death.

New data published in the same special issue, show that adults who clock up long hours of sedentary time every day can counter these risks by increasing the amount of physical activity they do.

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20 years ago today …

Some 20 years ago today I started my retirement. If you have a hard time believing that, don’t feel bad, so do I. For my 80th birthday, last January, my girlfriend gave me a T shirt that says “I thought growing old would take longer.” Truer words were never spoken, or written on a T shirt.

To celebrate this retirement milestone, I would like to pass on to you what I consider to be the most important information you can get regarding retirement.

Don’t fall into the trap…

Retirement refers to the time of life when one chooses to permanently leave the workforce behind.”

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Social connection strongest protective factor for depression – Study

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have identified a set of modifiable factors from a field of over 100 that could represent valuable targets for preventing depression in adults.

two woman doing exercise

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In a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, the team named social connection as the strongest protective factor for depression, and suggested that reducing sedentary activities such as TV watching and daytime napping could also help lower the risk of depression. Continue reading

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Brain or muscles, what do we lose first?

UNIGE researchers have shown that the decline in cognitive abilities after 50 years of age results in a decline in physical activity, and that – contrary to what has been suggested by the literature to date – the inverse relationship is much weaker.

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Someone dies somewhere in the world every 10 seconds owing to physical inactivity – 3.2 million people a year according to the World Health Organization (WHO). From the age of 50, there is a gradual decline not just in physical activity but also in cognitive abilities since the two are correlated. But which of them influences the other? Does physical activity impact on the brain or is it the other way around? To answer this question, researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, and the NCCR Lives Swiss National Center of Competence in Research used a database of over 100,000 people aged 50-90 whose physical and cognitive abilities were measured every two years for 12 years. The findings, which are published in the journal Health Psychology, show that – contrary to what was previously thought – cognitive abilities ward off inactivity much more than physical activity prevents the decline in cognitive abilities. All of which means we need to prioritize exercising our brains. Continue reading

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Thinking about shoveling snow …

It is for many of us the onset of snow shoveling season. If you are a reader on the East Coast, where the El Nino blizzard hit a while back, 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%.
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Study finds human hearts evolved for endurance

This blog has evolved  over the nine years I have been writing it.  Starting as a men’s weight-loss helper, it has developed into a general good health and long life messenger. I have also learned along the way about certain physical dangers that are not at once obvious. I think I am most concerned with the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. It’s possibly that being sedentary does a person more damage than smoking. This seems particularly insidious to me as when folks retire, they think about ‘taking it easy.’ Big mistake. One specific aspect of that is prolonged sitting. Check out my Page – The dangers of too much sitting for more details.

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Major physical changes occurred in the human heart as people shifted from hunting and foraging to farming and modern life. As a result, human hearts are now less “ape-like” and better suited to endurance types of activity. But that also means those who lead sedentary lives are at greater risk for heart disease. Those are the main conclusions from a unique study led by Aaron L. Baggish, MD, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cardiovascular Performance Program. Baggish and his collaborators examined how ape hearts differ from those of humans, why those differences exist and what that means to human health. Continue reading

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Every minute of exercise affects longevity – Study

Clear evidence that higher levels of physical activity – regardless of intensity – are associated with a lower risk of early death in middle aged and older people, is published by The BMJ Today. But being sedentary for several hours a day linked to increased risk.

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The findings also show that being sedentary, for example sitting still, for 9.5 hours or more a day (excluding sleeping time) is associated with an increased risk of death.

Previous studies have repeatedly suggested that sedentary behavior is bad and physical activity is good for health and long life.

Guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week, but are based mainly on self reported activity, which is often imprecise. So exactly how much activity (and at what intensity) is needed to protect health remains unclear. Continue reading

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Taking physical downtime …

I have written numerous paragraphs and entire posts on the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. I think that lifestyle may be as damaging to the body as smoking cigarettes, and it acts as more of a stealth killer because everyone knows the dangers of smoking, but very few people appreciate how damaging just sitting around and living a sedentary lifestyle can be.

While I normally ride my bike around 100 miles a week here in Chicago on a year ’round basis, I have not ridden for the past two days and may not ride tomorrow.

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Actual X-Ray of my jaw from the oral surgeon showing where two implants might go.

I am currently experiencing some physical downtime. On Thursday I underwent oral surgery. For some years I have had a three tooth bridge in my mouth that was anchored on a single tooth. Unfortunately, that single tooth developed damage around the roots and needed to come out. Clearly, this wasn’t a simple extraction. The bridge needed to be broken apart before the oral surgeon could extract the afflicted tooth. I was given pain pills and an antibiotic to take afterwards. The entire ordeal in the dental chair lasted just over an hour.

This kind of experience always demonstrates to me how great the system of the body works. A small part (my tooth) was removed and I experienced some bleeding, but it is over. Now the healing begins. For the past three days my energy has been down. The most exercise I have been able to accomplish was walking the dog. The temperature here in Chicago has been in the 50’s which makes for lovely bike riding. In fact, over 45F with some sun, I am able to take the dog along in her basket. But, that has not been possible for me. Walking along with the dog, I could imagine pedaling through the springtime air, but I could not actually do it. The words – the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak – echoed in my mind. Continue reading

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Physical Activity, Any Type or Amount, Cuts Health Risk from Sitting

Eat less; move more; live longer just got further support from a recent study. I remain convinced that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the great unnoticed killers in our midst – particularly of senior citizens.

A new study of around 8,000 middle-aged and older adults found that swapping a half-hour of sitting around with physical activity of any intensity or duration cut the risk of early death by as much as 35 percent. The findings highlight the importance of movement—regardless of its intensity or amount of time spent moving—for better health.

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The study was published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

“Our findings underscore an important public health message that physical activity of any intensity provides health benefits,” says Keith Diaz, PhD, assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and lead author of the paper. Continue reading

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Have a healthy heart – Infographic

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As you can see, majority of the risk factors that can hurt your heart health can be prevented – the answer lies in your hands.

These are risk factors along with the preventive options:

  • High blood cholesterol – Eat right by having a balanced and healthy diet. Your fasting blood glucose should preferably be less than 100 mg/dL.
  • High blood pressure – Manage blood pressure through exercise and medications. Keep the numbers below 120/80 mm Hg.
  • Physical inactivity – Get moving and stand more. Spend 150 minutes of moderate intensive activity per week, like brisk walking. And opt for 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. Eat less; move more; live longer. A sedentary lifestyle is a killer. Check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting?
  • Obesity and overweight – Lose weight to find your healthy weight. Target a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 25. Check out my Page – How dangerous is a big belly?
  • Smoking – Stop smoking altogether, quit it. Your alcohol intake should be within limits too. Check out my Page – How many ways does smoking harm you?
  • Diabetes – Reduce blood sugar by being conscious and careful of your food and beverages intake.

You will be surprised to know that lowering the risk of heart disease also reduces the chances of getting cancer!

One good thing that comes out of this infographic is that about 27% people live a heart-healthy lifestyle.

All this information would help only if you take some positive steps towards taking care of your heart.

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