For middle-aged and older adults who may not want to run, new research in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2019; 94 , 2413–26) shows that high-intensity interval walking effectively improves health and fitness. The protocol for this type of walking is 3 minutes at 70% of VO2max followed by 3 minutes at 40% of VO2max, repeated for 5 or more sets.Read More
Are some of your clients obsessed with achieving their step counts every day? While 10,000 steps is a popular marker, it turns out that taking as few as 4,400 steps per day is associated with a lower risk of death for women with a mean age of 72 years.
“Clearly, even a modest number of steps was related to lower mortality rate among these older women,” said principal investigator I-Min Lee, MBBS ScD, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.Read More
Minimalism is trending in many areas of life, including athletic shoes, with many fans touting numerous benefits. But does the evidence support the hype? Yes, according to research findings published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2018; doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000001751). Walking in minimalist shoes is as effective as foot-strengthening exercises and may result in better compliance than doing specific exercises.Read More
Want to outwalk the grim reaper? Pick up the pace, say researchers. A new study from the United Kingdom suggests that quicker walking may add years to your life.
The study’s primary aim was to examine the impact of walking pace and volume on all-cause mortality. To determine this, researchers looked at mortality records for 50,225 individuals from Scotland and England who had self-reported their walking data via interview.
Studies show that tracking daily steps with a pedometer leads to higher activity levels. A new report out of the U.K. suggests the practice can inspire people to take more steps for many years.
The report included data from two separate 12-month studies; one involved inactive adults aged 45–75, while the other featured older adults aged 60–75. In the first, participants were assigned to one of three 12-week pedometer-based interventions—consultation with a nurse, support by mail or no consultation. In the second, there was no mail support group.
The initial finding—that people stop using their fitness trackers after the first 6 months—seems to be evolving. In a new study by insurance company Humana, 80% of participants in a structured program were still using activity trackers after 6 months. Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia found that game design elements—such as points, levels, badges and financial incentives—helped to keep users active.Read More
Thanks to a spike in pace-related research over the past decade, we now know that walking speed is a significant vital sign for older clients. Study findings have associated slow walking speed with a heightened risk of mortality in older adults, while brisk walking has been linked to better health (Franklin et al. 2015).
These are important insights because, until recently, researchers had no idea that walking speed was such a strong vital-sign predictor. Connections between walking speed and health improvements make a persuasive case for helping older clients pick up the pace.
Participating in a program of regular exercise is a good idea at any stage of life, but particularly as we get older. Exercising frequently and consistently has many documented benefits, including promoting good health, preventing disease, enhancing mental health and physical capacity, aiding recovery from injury and illness, minimizing the effects of aging, and improving one’s ability to handle the physical demands of life (Bird, Smith & James 1998).Read More
Researchers have linked menopause with arterial stiffness and high blood pressure. A recent study of Korean women, led by The North American Menopause Society, suggests that taking the stairs is a good way to manage those conditions.Read More
By walking more than 4,000 steps a day, adults aged 60 and older can improve both attention and mental skills, according to a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (2017; doi:10.3233/JAD-170586).
University of California, Los Angeles, researchers examined the relationship between physical activity and cognitive function in nondemented older adults with memory issues. For 2 years, researchers tracked the number of daily steps taken by 26 older adults and conducted neuropsychological tests and MRI scans to measure thickness of brain structures.
Running through the forest. Cycling through your neighborhood park. Walking alongside a river. To most people, “green exercise”—intentionally being physically active in natural environments—feels good, and growing research evidence confirms its benefits (Calogiuri, Patil & Aamodt 2016). Here’s a look at what the latest findings tell us about why you may want to incorporate green exercise into your programs—and even suggest specific nature-based practices for stress reduction and general well-being.
Defining Green ExerciseRead More
Have you ever heard clients say that “walking doesn’t count” as exercise? The truth is that walking can be a valuable part of your clients’ wellness routines—but how those steps fit into a whole program may depend on age. Two different studies offer valuable feedback on the benefits of walking through a workout.
STUDY #1: When Walking and Weight Loss Are in StepRead More
Plenty of research encourages hitting the gym or going for a run as a means of keeping the grim reaper at bay. It turns out that any kind of physical activity—whether it’s achieved at the gym or at work—has protective benefits, according to a study produced by the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.Read More
We know that sitting long hours is a health hazard that can lead to early death. What’s been unclear is whether frequent breaks in sit time can reduce that risk even if total sit time remains the same. Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center looked into that question.Read More
With most U.S. adults sitting 9–12 hours daily and the risks of inactivity becoming more apparent, the popular press and the scientific community concur that “sitting is the new smoking.” Indeed, there is mounting evidence linking sedentary lifestyles to cardiovascular diseases and all causes of mortality (Diaz et al. 2017).
Though the threat seems clear, one major question has puzzled researchers: Can people reduce their risks by taking short breaks in otherwise long periods of sitting still?