Physical Activity

Walking For Longevity

Walking is one of the best ways to enjoy outside while firming thighs, lifting the bum, that helps lower risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Research suggests every hour spent walking may add two hours to lifespans.

Aerobic doctrine has dominated exercise discussions and health since the 70s. Outdated no pain, no gains slogans hold that benefits of exercise depend upon working hard enough to boost the heart rate to 70-85% of maximum sustained for 20 to 60 minutes at least 3 times a week. Such intense workouts carry risk for injury, and discourage many.

Running is the poster boy for aerobics, that with preparation and precaution is great for health and fitness, but it is not the only way to exercise for health. Maybe seeing the sweat drenched, hard breathing runners counting pulse rates can make others assume less intensive exercise is a waste of time, but in fact that is far from the truth as moderate exercise is excellent for overall health; walking is the poster boy for moderate exercise.

Benefits of any exercise depends on 3 elements: duration, frequency, and intensity of exercises. Walking is less intensive than running, meaning longer periods of time are required or getting out more often to match the benefits of running. Current American Heart Association and American College of Sports Medicine standards suggest all able bodied adults to participate in moderate intensity exercise including brisk walking for at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, or intense aerobic exercises including running for at least 20 minutes a day 3 days a week. One can mix and match to suit health, personal abilities and preferences, and daily schedules with walking, swimming, biking, gardening, dancing, golfing, whatever it is to keep/get the body moving. Add up all the things it takes to do most activities and walking just seems like the perfect anywhere, anytime, free, activity.

Literally hundreds of studies show the benefits of regular exercise on health. Walking has been shown to decrease risks of cardiovascular events by 31%, and decrease risks of dying by 32%, benefits which were equally robust in both sexes. Protection from risks was evident even at shorter distances of 5.5 miles per week at a casual pace of 2 miles per hour; subjects walking faster for longer distances had the greatest benefits.

Cardiovascular benefits are biologically plausible, as with all forms of regular moderate exercises walking improves cardiac factors such as blood pressure, obesity, cholesterol, mental stress, diabetes, respiratory disease, and vascular stiffness and inflammation. Should cardiac protection and lower death rate not be motivation enough walking can help to protect against dementia, peripheral artery disease, colon cancer, and erectile dysfunction.

Walking is not slow running, some speedwalkers can zip past joggers. At any speed walkers have one foot on the ground at all times, runners become entirely airborne at some point during each stride; what goes up must come down which is what makes running high impact, subjecting the body to stresses.

Walking on trails and streets is great for health as it gets the body outside, walking stairs can help up cardiopulmonary function, and can be twice as taxing as a brisk walk on the level, and 50% harder then walking on a steep incline or lifting weights. Even at slower paces climbing stairs will burn calories 3 times faster. A Harvard study showed men who averaged at least 8 flights of stairs a day enjoyed 33% lower mortality rates, men who walked 1.3 miles a day at a level incline had 22% lower mortality rates.

80 steps per minute represents a leisurely pace; 100 steps per minute represents a moderate pace; 120 steps per minute represents a fast pace. 12 average city blocks are one mile, and an average stride length can count approximately 2000 steps in about a mile, a pedometer can help better track progress.

Research shows that walking 7 hours spread throughout the week can help get 3-5 times the recommended amount of leisure time physical activity levels which can help to reduce risk of death by 39%. Achieving minimum recommended amounts of physical activity of at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise can lower risk of death by 31%, as published in JAMA International Medicine. Walking just 30 minutes a day has been shown to lower risk of premature death by 20%.

Ready, set, steady, walk your way to better health, happiness, well being, and longevity.

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Source: WorldHealth.net

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Reverses Aging

The Mayo Clinic has determined that intense aerobic exercise has the potential to reverse the aging process in adults. Though everyone knows exercise is beneficial, there are plenty of questions regarding which types of exercises are the best and what age groups benefit the most from specific exercises. According to the Mayo Clinic, high intensity cardio can reverse some cellular aspects of aging.

The Study’s Aim

The purpose of the study described above was to pinpoint evidence that would assist in the development of exercise recommendations and targeted therapies for people of varying ages. Researchers monitored molecular and metabolic alterations in individuals of varying ages across a period of about three months. They collected data 72 hours after those in randomized groups performed an array of different exercises.

Study Details

Mayo Clinic researchers tested high-intensity interval training (HIIT) against combined training and resistance training. Each style of training boosted lean body mass as well as insulin sensitivity. However, HIIT and combined training heightened aerobic capacity as well as mitochondrial functionality for skeletal muscle. This is especially important for senior citizens who often endure declines in mitochondrial content and functionality.

HIIT even boosted muscle protein content that improved energetic functions and spurred the enlargement of muscles. This bolstering of muscle protein was common in older adults who engaged in high-intensity intervals. The research team keyed in on one of their most important findings: exercise boosted the cellular machinery necessary for the construction of new proteins. Protein creation and synthesis reverse some of the problematic effects of the aging process.

The take-home message is that HIIT is ideal for aging adults as it benefits the body at the molecular level as well as metabolically. HIIT reverses certain manifestations of the aging process within the human body’s protein function. Engaging in resistance training is also advisable as it allows for the establishment of considerable muscle strength. HIIT is certainly beneficial yet a strict reliance on this style of exercise won’t significantly boost muscle strength unless combined with resistance training.

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Source: WorldHealth.net

Stronger Muscles for Improved Brain Function

Workout.Female.DumbellIn Australia, a University of Sydney study has linked improved cognitive function with stronger muscles using a steady regime of weightlifting exercises. Published in the Journal of American Geriatrics, the study used a system known as SMART (Study of Mental and Resistance Training). A trial was done on a group of patients age 55 to 68, suffering MCI (mild cognitive impairment). This condition is not as serious as full-blown dementia, as people affected only have mild cognitive symptoms not severe enough to disable them from normal daily life.

The aim of the study was to measure the effects of different physical and mental activities on the human brain. Researchers examined 100 people affected by MCI. They were divided into four groups, and assigned the activities as seen below:

  • Weightlifting exercises
  • Seated stretching exercises
  • Real cognitive training on a computer
  • Placebo training on a computer

The weightlifting trial lasted for 6 months with exercising done twice a week. As the participants got stronger, they increased the amount of weight for each exercise. The exercises were done while trying to maintain 80% or greater at their peak strength.

Surprisingly, only the weight training activity demonstrated a measured improvement in brain function. The stretching exercises, cognitive training, and placebo training did not yield any results. This proved a link between muscle strength gained through physical training and the improved cognitive functions. According to Doctor Yorgi Mavros, lead author of the study, there was a clear relationship between mental functions and increased muscular strength. And the stronger the muscles got the greater the mental improvement.

Doctor Mavros is a strong advocate for encouraging resistance exercises as people start to grow older. The result could be a much healthier aging population. Mavros stressed the need for exercising at least 2-3 time per week at a high enough intensity in order to get the maximum cognitive benefits.

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Source: WorldHealth.net.

The Quintessential Anti-Aging Essential

Support.Walking.FootprintA mountain of evidence documents that physical inactivity raises a person’s risk of premature death, as well as increases the risks of diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Ulf Ekelund, from, the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), and colleagues assessed the link between physical inactivity and premature death. The team analyzed data collected on 334,161 men and women across Europe, enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study. Over an average of 12 years, the researchers measured height, weight and waist circumference, and used self-assessment to measure levels of physical activity.

Data analysis revealed that the greatest reduction in risk of premature death occurred in the comparison between inactive and moderately inactive groups. The investigators estimated that daily exercise burning between 90 and 110 kcal (‘calories’) – roughly equivalent to a 20-minute brisk walk – would take an individual from the inactive to moderately inactive group, and reduce their risk of premature death by between 16-30%. The impact was greatest among normal weight individuals, but even those with higher BMI saw a benefit.

In further calculations, the team reveals that 337,000 of the 9.2 million deaths among European men and women may be attributed to obesity (classed as a BMI greater than 30) – with double this number of deaths (676,000) attributable to physical inactivity. The study authors report that: “The greatest reductions in mortality risk were observed between the 2 lowest activity groups across levels of general and abdominal adiposity, which suggests that efforts to encourage even small increases in activity in inactive individuals may be beneficial to public health.”

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Source: WorldHealth.net

Getting Stronger to Live Longer

Workout.Female.DumbellBetween the age of 30 and 70, the average person will have lost about a quarter of their muscle strength. Half will be lost by the age of 90. As crucial as it is to promoting overall health and warding off disease, aerobic exercise alone is not enough to forestall this. Without the inclusion of strength training, muscles become progressively weaker, as well as less functional. Strength training can enable people over the age of 50 to live longer, more quality lives.

Beginning a strength training regimen takes as little as twenty minutes per session and does not require excessive stress or straining. The key is to use proper form, in a consistent manner, tackling both upper and lower body muscles. Noticeable strength gains can be realized in as little as four weeks. Methods of strength training include the use of free weights, ankle cuffs and vests, resistance bands, and exercises that employ body weight to create resistance against gravity. A slow pace starting off is important, in order to avoid injury.

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Source: WorldHealth.net

Latin Dancing May Have Health Benefits for Older Adults

Activity.DanceA four-month dance program helped older Latino adults walk faster and improved their physical fitness, which may reduce their risk for heart disease, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago tested whether a community-based intervention focused on Latin dancing could benefit 54 Spanish-speaking adults (about 65 years old, 80 percent Mexican female) who were not very physically active. Participants were randomly assigned to either participate in a dance program twice a week for four months or to attend a health education program. All participants completed questionnaires about their leisure time physical activity and a 400-meter walk test at the start and end of the study.

After four months of twice-weekly Latin dancing, researchers found:

  • Dancers walked faster and were more physically active during their leisure time than before they started dancing.
  • Dancers completed a 400-meter walk in just under 392 seconds compared with almost 430 seconds at the start of the study.
  • Leisure physical activity rose from 650 minutes to nearly a total of 818 minutes per week.
  • Those in the health education classes had a smaller improvements in their fitness – they finished the 400-meter walk in about 409 seconds at the end of the study compared with 419 seconds four months earlier; total time spent on weekly leisure physical activity increased from 522 minutes to 628 minutes over the course of the study.

The dance program is a program called BAILAMOS©, a culturally-tailored, community-based lifestyle intervention developed at the University of Illinois at Chicago by David X. Marquez and Miguel Mendez, included four different dance styles – merengue, bachata, cha cha cha and salsa – led by the dance instructor, with more complex choreography as the program progressed.

Dancing could have wider health implications, too. Priscilla Vásquez, M.P.H., said the research team is interested in testing whether BAILAMOS© can help older Latinos already experiencing mild cognitive impairment. “We are interested in using magnetic resonance imaging to see if dancing positively affects their brains,” she said.

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Source: American Heart Association. “Latin dancing may have health benefits for older adults.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2016.

Regular Exercise Critical for Heart Health, Longevity

Workout.ExerciseDictThe majority of citizens in developed countries should not be concerned by potential harm from exercise but rather by the lack of exercise in their lives, according to a clinical perspective published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology from the ACC Sports and Exercise Cardiology Leadership Council. According to the council, small amounts of physical activity, including standing, are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but more exercise leads to even greater reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

“The evidence with regard to exercise continues to unfold and educate the cardiovascular clinical community,” said JACC Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D. “The greatest benefit is to simply exercise, regardless of the intensity, while the danger is two-fold: to not exercise at all or to exercise intensely, without due preparation.”

The council found that moderate and vigorous intensity exercise lower mortality risk in different populations around the globe. Increasing the amount of moderate intensity exercise a person engages in results in increased reductions in cardiovascular disease mortality; however, the reductions in cardiovascular mortality benefits from vigorous intensity exercise do level out at a certain point.

There is no evidence for an upper limit to exercise-induced health benefits and all amounts of both moderate and vigorous intensity exercise result in a reduction of both all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality compared to physical inactivity.

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Source: ScienceDaily, 18 January 2016.

Fitness Programme: OCR Obstacle Course Racing Programme, 8 Weeks

Workout.TrainingProgramme1Introduction

  • This is a an intense training programme that targets the whole body.
  • It spans over eight weeks.
  • Bodyweight exercises make up most of the programme.
  • The number of sets and reps are suitable at an intermediate level. Scale basis your current form.
  • The programme is perfect preparing for an obstacle course event.
  • You will be in the best shape of your life after completing the programme.
  • Good luck and have fun!

Download

Click to download the programme and start an intense period: Obstacle Course Racing Programme

Workout (M): Weekend Challenge – Card Shuffle

Workout.ExerciseDictIntroduction

  • This is a full body routine that uses a deck of cards (52 cards) to determine the exercises. This brings a lot of variety to the workout. ‘Which will be the next exercise?’, you will wonder.
  • It is basically a strength routine, but if you keep the rest time between exercises to a minimum, the cardio effect will also be great.
  • Bodyweight exercises only.
  • Workout Structure: Card Shuffle.
  • Have fun and good luck!

Click here for complete details (Member).


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Exercise Boosts the Brain

Body.Brain.ThinkThe ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen to skeletal muscles during sustained physical activity is known as cardiorespiratory fitness. Scott Hayes, from Boston University School of Medicine (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues assessed a group of adults ages 18-31 years, and a group aged 55-82 years.

All participants underwent brain MRIs and were assessed for cardiorespiratory (heart and lung) fitness via treadmill test. Among the older adults, the team observed that cardiorespiratory fitness was positively linked to the structural integrity of white matter fiber bundles in the brain; no such association was observed in younger adults. The study authors observe that: “[cardiorespiratory fitness] is positively associated with neural white matter microstructure in aging. The association between peak VO2 and [fractional anisotropy – an indicator of white matter integrity] appears to be age-dependent.”

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Source: WorldHealth.net.