Increasing Steps Decreases Mortality in Older Women

Physical activity recommendations specify getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. For many people, they aim to obtain 10,000 steps per day. Recent research has outlined the association between steps and mortality in older women. Researchers studied the association between the number of steps per day and the risk for death in older women. They found that 4,400 steps per day may decrease the risk of all-cause mortality. The risk for death fell with every increase in number of steps, with the effects appearing to level off at 7,500 steps per day. 

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The general assumption has long been to get 10,000 steps per day, however, there is no clinical research that supports this number. When comparing the women with the fewest steps, women who took 4,363 steps per day decreased their all-cause mortality risk by 41%. Those who had 5,905 steps per day decreased their risk by 46% and there was a 58% reduction for the group with the most steps. Researchers found that there was a 15% decreased risk for every 1,000 steps per day until 7,500 steps. 

Researchers note that counting steps may be more clinically significant and easier than trying to count minutes of physical activity per day. This finding is encouraging for sedentary individuals who may not realistically achieve 10,000 steps per day. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing consultations specific to physical activity. We can assist with providing support for increasing your steps were day to promote improved health. 

By Matt Lewandowski 

Sources: More Steps Per Day Tied to Lower Mortality in Older Women. Veronica Hackethal, MD – Medscape – May 29, 2019.; Lee, I., et al. (2019). Association of step volume and intensity with all-cause mortality in older women. JAMA Internal Medicine.

Is My TV Causing Me to Gain Weight?

A high calorie diet and physical inactivity are the most common explanations for obesity. Recent evidenced cites that exposure to light at night while you sleep may increase the risk for obesity. Previous animal research has found that light exposure can have direct effects on melatonin signaling, sleep disruption, and circadian rhythms. These can all lead to weight gain and obesity. 

Researchers looked at the effects of artificial light exposure at night on obesity in women. They found that women with greater exposure to light at night had higher mean BMI, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and waist-to-height ration. Women with greater exposure to light at night were also less likely to have good sleep hygiene and more likely to have poor sleep quality. 

Compared to those with no light at night, sleeping with a TV or light on in the room was associated with a BMI of at least 25 or 30. Exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping was significantly associated with an increased risk of weight gain and the development of obesity. Additionally, TV or light in the room was positively associated with gaining 11 lbs. or more and the development of overweight and obesity. 

This study highlights the link between obesity and sleeping with a light or TV on in the room. The researchers note that decreasing artificial light at night exposure may serve as a useful intervention for obesity prevention. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing healthy lifestyle consultations specific to sleep hygiene and overall health and well-being. We can assist by providing support for improving sleep quality and adhering to living a healthy lifestyle. 

By Matt Lewandowski 

Sources: Park, Y-M., White, A., Jackson, C., et al. (2019). Association of exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping with risk of obesity in women. Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine, published online June 10, 2019. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0571. Photo by John Soo on Unsplash

It's Never Too Late to Begin Exercising!

Researchers and healthcare providers have long long been preaching the positive health benefits of physical activity.  Recently, overwhelming research has supported the benefits of being physically active even later in life.  Researchers have found that exercising regularly reduces the risk of death, even when started in middle age (age 40-61). They found that leisure time physical activity (LTPA) is associated with reduced risk for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular-related mortality, and cancer mortality.

They found that 2-7 hours per week of LTPA is associated with several health benefits consisted of reduced risk of all-cause mortality (29-36%), reduced risk for CVD-related mortality (32-43%), and reduced risk for cancer mortality (14-16%). Further, they found that these results were similar to those who maintained high LTPA from adolescence.

Further research has found the association between physical activity in older adults and decreased risk of chronic disease and death. Older women (age 63 and older) who engage in light physical activity (LPA) may have a lower risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Light physical activity includes activities such as gardening and folding clothes. Those with the highest LPA saw a 42% reduction in coronary death and 22% reduction in CVD events.

These results demonstrate that it is never too late for adults to become active. The research supports that there are substantial benefits that can still be gained by improving physical activity habits later in life. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing healthy lifestyle consultations specific to exercise and goal setting. Additionally, we can assist in providing support for adhering to a physical activity habits and decreasing the risk of mortality. 

By Matt Lewandowski

Sources:  Even Later-Life Exercise Reduces Mortality. Janis C. Kelly – Medscape – March 8, 2019.; Saint-Maurice, P., Coughlan, D., & Kelly, S., et al. (2019). Association of leisure-time physical activity across the adult life course with all-cause and cause-specific mortality. JAMA Network Open, 2(3).; Light Activity Lowers CVD Risk in Older Women. Nora MacReady – Medscape– March 19, 2019. Photo by sk on Unsplash

What's the Difference Between Physical Activity and Exercise?

It’s easy to get confused when you hear people say that you should get 30 minutes of exercise a day. Does that mean that every time you walk to and from places in the house it adds up to count as your 30 minutes? Or does the 30 minutes have to all occur at one time? Let’s break it down and talk about the difference between exercise and physical activity. 

Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by the contraction of skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. For example, walking back and forth from the kitchen, walking into work from your car, climbing stairs, and even carrying groceries are all considered physical activity. You can also think of physical activity as movement needed for activities of daily living.

Next let’s talk about exercise. Exercise is defined as planned, structured, and repetitive physical activity done to improve and/or maintain physical fitness. For example, going to the gym to walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill or lifting weights, swimming, etc. are all considered exercise.

The next question is, “Do I have to do all 30 minutes at once?” and the answer is no. Even 10-minute bouts of planned exercise can add up to be your 30 minutes. Now that you understand what exercise is, we at the HLC challenge you to get 30 minutes of exercise per day. You’ll be amazed at how it will make you feel. If you need some help on what types of exercises you should be doing, call and schedule an appointment with us. 

 By Kerygan LaVine

Sources: American College of Sports Medicine, In Riebe, D., In Ehrman, J. K., In Liguori, G., & In Magal, M. (2018). ACSM's guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. Photo by Gervyn Louis on Unsplash

Light Exercise for Beginners

If you are just getting into the swing of things, starting light is the best approach. Whether “it’s just been a while” or you have experienced an injury, there are a few things to remember. Some of these would be proper footwear, comfortable clothes, and a positive attitude; each can make or break your workout. Also, it is better to gradually build up than to push too far and risk an injury. 

If you are carrying more weight or have a lower body/back injury, lower impact aerobic exercise is suggested. These include walking, riding a stationary bike, or swimming and other water exercises. 10-minute bouts are long enough to count as minutes toward your daily exercise, yet short enough to manage throughout the day. Additionally, any resistance training (i.e., strength training, weight lifting) should be started low and slow

Every movement should be slow and controlled with proper form to reap the most benefits and avoid injury. One set of 6-12 repetitions for any exercise is a good start. If 8 or more repetitions can be completed easily, then additional sets can be done. Depending on your goals and starting point, 2-5 sets are recommended with each set consisting of 8-10 repetitions. If 12 repetitions can be done easily, an increase in weight is advised. If moving to a larger weight or fewer than 8 can be completed, consider doing one set less until 8-10 can be done. Lastly, if it is difficult to do an exercise or easy to do so, consider changing your position, such as a standing position to sitting, or lying down, and vice versa. 

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This chart can be read as:

-I find 3 sets of 6 repetitions of this weight too difficult to complete, I should only do 2 sets OR I should decrease the weight.

-I find myself able to do 10 repetitions of this weight comfortable through 3 sets. I should make no changes.

-I find myself able to do 12 repetitions of this weight through 3 sets and may be able to do more. I should increase the weight and try 8-10 reps, or I should do 4 sets of this weight (depends on goals).

Below are a few examples of light exercises for beginners:

Lower Body:

Upper Body:

By Patia Hunt

Sources: Photo by Maria Fernanda Gonzalez

A Sun Salutation Routine

Sun Salutation is a common yoga exercise that incorporates many poses into a flowing routine. Many adaptations can be made in order to fit your individual abilities, as well as other, shorter versions. This yoga exercise is made to engage your muscles to build endurance, strength, balance, and reduce tension. As part of your morning or part of your workout, sun salutation stretches the body in a well-rounded approach. 

Welcome to the wonderful world of yoga! When you're just beginning your yoga practice, it's important to take it slow, be safe, and enjoy the journey. Whether this is your very first Sun Salutation, or if you're still getting acclimated to the Vinyasa yoga practice, this is a great video for beginner yogis.

By Patia Hunt