Pick up walking pace to be heart healthy

Walking a little faster or for a few extra blocks may be good for older adults’ hearts, according to a new study.

In the large prospective community-based study of older Americans, modest physical activity was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This was true even among men and women older than age 75 at baseline – a rapidly growing population for whom regular activity has been advised, but with little supportive empirical evidence.

Led by senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, the Tufts University researchers found that after adjustment for other risk factors and lifestyle behaviors, those who were more active had significantly lower risk of future heart attacks and stroke.

Adults who walked at a pace faster than three miles per hour (mph) had a 50 percent, 53percent, 50percent lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and total CVD, respectively, compared to those who walked at a pace of less than two mph.

Those who walked an average of seven blocks per day or more had a 36percent, 54percent and 47percent lower risk of CHD, stroke and total CVD, respectively, compared to those who walked up to five blocks per week.

Those who engaged in leisure activities such as lawn-mowing, raking, gardening, swimming, biking and hiking, also had a lower risk of CHD, stroke and total CVD, compared to those who did not engage in leisure-time activities.

The findings were similar in both men and women, in those above or below age 75 at baseline, and including only those with similarly good or excellent self-reported health.

Mozaffarian noted that these results are especially relevant because, with advancing age, the ability to perform vigorous types of activity often decreases. These support the importance of continuing light to moderate exercise to improve health across the lifespan.

The study appears in Circulation.

Light walking can lower blood pressure in diabetics

A new study has revealed that a few minutes of physical activity can lower blood pressure for people with Type 2 diabetes.

Author Bronwyn Kingwell of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes said that they saw some marked blood pressure reductions over trial days when people did the equivalent of walking to the water cooler or some simple body-weight movements on the spot.

In the study, participants were men and women, average age 62, who were overweight or obese. About two-thirds of the participants were on medication to control blood pressure during the study.

Researchers checked blood pressure and blood norepinephrine levels at regular intervals across the day.

For light-intensity walking, participants took a slow, easy stroll on a treadmill. For simple resistance activities, they did half-squats, calf raises, knee raises, or gluteal muscle squeezes.

The researchers found that light walking was linked to an average 10-point drop in systolic blood pressure and simple resistance activities were associated with an average 12-point drop in systolic blood pressure.

Kingwell said that muscles activated when you move, increase blood sugar uptake, which was especially important among people with Type 2 diabetes since their bodies couldn’t make enough insulin to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

He added that the parallel lowering in norepinephrine levels were also an intriguing candidate in relation to the blood pressure.

Kingwell concluded that light activity breaks were not meant to replace regular, purposeful exercise. However, they might be a practical solution to cut down sitting time, especially if you were at your desk all day.

Simple ways to burn your belly fat fast

Many of us struggle to get rid of that stubborn belly fat. But, do we adopt the right forms of exercise and eat the right foods that fight fat to yield great results?

Here are a few, yet simple tips that will help you lose stomach fat and get that sexy abs:

Avoiding sugar/sweetened beverages: Studies show that added sugar has uniquely harmful effects on metabolic health. It can lead to increased accumulation of fat in the belly due to the huge amounts of fructose content in it. Various studies also show that sugar-sweetened beverages such as fruit juices, sports drinks are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children.

Cutting down on carbs: Various studies have shown that when people cut carbs, their appetite also goes down, thereby supporting in losing weight. It is said that low-carb diets specifically target fat in the belly.

Eating foods rich in fiber: Eating plenty of fiber, especially viscous fiber, can have weight-loss benefits. The best sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.

Go aerobic: While exercise is important for various health benefits, aerobic exercise is effective at reducing belly fat. Numerous studies have shown that aerobic exercises like – walking, running, swimming, etc – can cause major reductions in belly fat.

Reasons why exercise is important for people with diabetes

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, regular physical activity is key to managing the disease.

The fact is that exercise, in combination with a healthy diet will help you to take better care of yourself if you have diabetes.

It is recommended to exercise for at least three times a week for about 30 to 45 minutes. This will help control your blood sugar.

However, one should always consult a doctor before taking up any exercise program. Because your doctor can guide you about the kinds of exercise that are ideal for you depending on your conditions such as – how well your diabetes is controlled and any complications that you may have.

Benefits of exercise for diabetics include-

  • Regular physical activity lowers blood sugar
  • Regular exercise can help increase insulin action and keep blood sugars in check
  • Daily exercise lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Exercise lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke
  • It improves your circulation
  • Regular physical activity helps relieve stress, which can raise your glucose level
  • Regular exercise burns calories which will help you to avoid gaining excess kilos and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Above all, exercise is important for your overall well-being and can help combat many health conditions and diseases.
  • Research has shown that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and even happier life.