Friday, August 2, 2019

Walking is good for your brain!

Just 6 months of walking may reverse cognitive decline, study says

(CNN)Worried about your aging brain? Getting your heart pumping with something as simple as walking or cycling just three times a week seems to improve thinking skills, new research says. Add a heart-healthy diet, and you maximize the benefits, possibly shaving years off your brain's functional age, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology.
"Our operating model was that by improving cardiovascular risk, you're also improving neurocognitive functioning," said lead study author James Blumenthal, a clinical psychologist at Duke University. "You're improving brain health at the same time as improving heart health."
Many experts "are already convinced about the benefits of lifestyle interventions to reduce risk of Alzheimer's and cardiovascular dementia," said Dr. Richard Isaacson, who directs the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine. "But for those who are not, this study is a randomized, clinical trial that illustrates the benefits.
"You can do something today for a better brain tomorrow," said Isaacson, who was not involved in the research.

    Diet, exercise or nothing at all

    The study was a first, said Blumenthal, who has long studied the effects of diet and exercise on depression and overall cardiac health.
    "I don't think there is another study that looked at the separate and combined effects of exercise and diet in slowing cognitive decline in patients who are vulnerable to develop dementia in later life," he said.
    The study enrolled 160 adults who had high blood pressure or other risks for cardiovascular disease, who never exercised and who had verified cognitive concerns such as difficulty making decisions, remembering or concentrating. Participants were an average age of 65, two-thirds female and equally divided between whites and minorities. Anyone diagnosed with dementia or unable to exercise was excluded.

    Researchers randomly divided participants into four groups for the six-month study. One group started the DASH diet, short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. DASH is a widely respected heart-healthy diet that cuts salt, fatty foods and sweets while emphasizing vegetables, fruits and whole grains. This group received nutritional guidance on how to stick to the diet but was not encouraged to change their couch-potato habits.
    A second group exercised but was not encouraged to diet. For the first three months, this group was supervised at a cardiac rehab facility where they did non-strenuous exercise three times a week: They warmed up for 10 minutes and then did 35 minutes of continuous walking or stationary cycling. During the last three months of the study, this group exercised at home, filling out compliance logs that were monitored by research staff.
    The third group did both: They exercised three times a week and followed the DASH diet. The fourth group received only advice on reducing their cardiovascular risk during a 30-minute call with a health educator but was told not to change their diet and exercise habits.
    Before starting their assigned path, participants underwent a battery of cognitive tests, a treadmill stress assessment and a dietary analysis. In addition, their blood pressure, blood sugar and lipids were recorded. The tests were repeated at the conclusion of the study.

    Change in only six months

    The group who only exercised saw significantly greater improvements in their executive functioning skills than the group who did no exercise.
    "The results showed that controlled aerobic activity within a very short period of time can have a significant impact on the part of the brain that keeps people taking care of themselves, paying their bills and the like," Isaacson said. "Not only can you improve, but you can improve within six months!"
    Blumenthal noted, "Remember, these are older adults who are completely sedentary and have verified cognitive impairments. We had no dropouts, and everyone was able to sustain the exercise program and do it on their own. That was great."
    The group who followed the DASH diet with no exercise didn't show a statistically significant improvement in thinking skills, but both Blumenthal and Iscaason stressed that they only missed it by a small margin.
    "I would be cautious in saying diet didn't help, because I believe it likely did," Isaacson said. "While the brain sits in a separate compartment, it's still part of the body, so everything that affects body will also affect the brain."
    However, it was the group who combined exercise and the DASH diet who saw the greatest benefit. This group averaged nearly 47 points on the overall tests of executive thinking skills, compared with 42 points for those who only exercised and about 38 points for those who were told not to change their diet and exercise habits.
    In fact, the group that both dieted and exercised reversed their brain's aging by nine years.
    Here's how that worked, Blumenthal said: At the start of the study, the group's average executive functional score was 93 years, a whopping 28 years older than their average chronological age of 65.

    But after just six months of exercising and following the DASH diet, their executive function improved by nine years, bringing their mental age down to 84.
    The control group's executive function declined by six months, or the length of the trial, which was to be expected with no interventions, Blumenthal said.

    No improvement in memory

    Unfortunately, there was no improvement in memory for any of the groups. That's not surprising, Isaacson said.
    "We can positively improve executive function with lifestyle interventions more quickly, but memory takes longer to respond," he said. "It could be that if this study had continued for 18 months or used a different type of brain diet, memory too would have improved."

    What's needed now, Isaacson added, are additional studies: "If we could get multiple centers together to do multisite studies, we will learn more."
      Because those who combined diet and exercise saw the greatest improvements, it may be that multiple lifestyle changes, not just diet and exercise, are needed to maximize success, Blumenthal said.
      What's important, he said, is that "adopting a healthy lifestyle can improve your risk, improve neurocognitive functioning, and it's not too late to start. Even in older people with some indication that their brains are compromised, they also benefit as well."

      original source:

      Friday, July 26, 2019

      Take a walk....without leaving your house

      Get a Walking Workout Without Leaving Your House

      It’s no secret walking can be an excellent way to get in shape and shed a few inches from your waistline. Unfortunately, getting a walk in isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Whether it’s a hectic schedule, a house full of kids or foul weather, sometimes heading out for a walk can be tricky — and that’s where house walking comes in.
      Here’s what you need to know about house walking and how it can help you burn calories when your other options are limited:


      Instead of simply focusing on getting from point A to point B, house walkers aim to get steps in whenever possible. This might consist of a short 10-minute bout of walking stairs, walking in place or completing a 30-minute walking video in front of the TV. At the end of the day, all those 5–10-minute bouts add up and are more effective at helping you reach your weight-loss goals than if you didn’t exercise at all.


      While it might not seem doable at first, house walking is easy as long as you have a basic plan. Here are a few tips you can use to get in a good walking workout from the comfort of your home:


      Setting a realistic step goal gives you a specific number to shoot for by the end of the day. This provides an incentive to get up and moving when you’re falling behind. It also gives you a way to measure your steps indoors against those days when you are able to walk outside or on a treadmill.
      You can also set a goal to increase your total steps each week by a 1,000, which can be a good way to progress and keep challenging yourself to improve your fitness.


      These devices count steps for you and provide other data, like calories burned, which can be useful in tracking your fitness. Some fitness trackers also provide prompts when you haven’t moved in a while, making it easy to stay on track. Though the price of most fitness trackers is reasonable, most smartphones also include step counters if you’re on the fence about investing in one. Another cheaper option is a basic pedometer. It won’t provide as much data but it will count your steps.


      The less you’re still, the more steps you’ll get. Go for a lap around the house every 15 minutes, walk while you dictate your grocery list to your iPhone or walk in place during your favorite TV show. Don’t stay seated for too long at any point during the day and you’ll be surprised how many additional calories you can burn.


      Yes, walking in place for 30 minutes at a time or heading up the same flight of stairs can be a bit boring. One way to up the calorie burn and keep things a bit more interesting is to alternate your steps with a few different bodyweight exercisesLungespushupssquats, butt kickers or sidekicks are a few different options to try. For every 3–5 minutes of in-place walking you complete, stop and do a set of 10–15 repetitions of an exercise. This circuit-type workout is great for getting your steps in and toning the rest of your body.


      There are a ton of walking videos and workouts you can do at home if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas on your own. Besides walking while you multitask, here’s an example of an at-home walking interval set you can do whenever you’ve got 15–20 minutes to spare.
      Set time: 6–8 minutes
      Total sets: 2–4
      Walk in place for 3–5 minutes. This place can be easy the first go-round, but try to pick up the pace as much as possible in the rounds that follow.
      Do a set of walking lunges for one minute, alternating legs.
      Walk with high-knees or do a set of butt-kickers for one minute. This should be performed at as fast of a pace as you can handle.
      Complete as many burpees as you can handle in one minute.

      original source:

      Friday, July 19, 2019

      Turn your stroll in a calorie busting workout!

      9 Power Walking Tips to Turn Your Stroll Into a Calorie-Blasting Workout

      Try these speed walking tips to increase your calories burned walking.Walking almost seems too simple to be a good workout. But that’s far from the truth—even just a 5- or 10-minute walk comes with cardio and calorie-burning benefits

      “From an overall health and fitness perspective, there are so many benefits from walking,” says Chris Gagliardi, manager of the American Council on Exercise (ACE) resource center and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. “In addition to burning calories, [walking] improves strength, promotes good cholesterol and heart function, and helps oxygen flow through your body. It also reduces inflammation and the effects of sitting all day," Gagliardi says.
      Every little bit counts, but to really reap the rewards on par with jogging, you have to kick the effort up a notch and start power walking. Follow these power walking tips to kick your calorie burn on overdrive—and reap all the weight loss benefits of walking.

      Stand up straight

      One of the biggest mistakes people make when power walking for a workout is that they tend to slump forward, Gagliardi says. That can slow you down. “Maintaining a good, upright posture helps you be efficient,” he explains. Bonus: It also helps you take full, deep breaths, which will power your walking and help you go faster and farther without wearing out.

      Pick up the pace

      Think about your level of effort to stroll around the block and try to double that pace. A light-intensity walk is probably about two miles per hour or slower, but cranking your speed up to four miles per hour will be a nice, moderate-paced power walk for most people, says Gagliardi.

      Take the talk test

      You can get precise and dial into a certain pace on the treadmill, or wear a GPS-tracking watch or fitness wearable that records your stats and lets you know your power walking speed. But if you’re going for a more carefree outing, you can still gauge your intensity by taking note of how out of breath you are and how easy it is for you to talk while you walk. “During a moderate-intensity walk, you should be able to talk but not to sing,” says Gagliardi. To pump up the calorie burn even higher and start speed walking, push the pace until talking in full sentences starts to feel more difficult.

      Pay attention to your form

      In addition to standing with your back held up straight, it’s important to think about the positioning of the rest of your body, too. “Try to keep the movement of both sides of your body symmetrical,” Gagliardi advises. That might seem like second nature, but it’s not necessarily, especially if you have aches and pains now or recovered from an injury in the past. “Sometimes when we have an injury, we develop a certain gait as a result, and continue moving in that way even after we’re fully recovered,” he explains. “Being more aware of how you’re moving—and losing any limps or other imbalances in your gait—can help you move more efficiently and get more out of your walk.”

      Pump your arms

      Cue up those mental images of power walkers in the '80s and '90s pumping their arms. The aggressive swinging might look a little silly, but it’s quite effective for propelling your body forward, revving up your heart rate, and getting a little bit of toning action for your upper body. As long as it’s comfortable, Gagliardi recommends keeping your arms bent at 90 degrees and pumping them forward and back.

      Activate your abs

      One important reason for keeping your abdominal muscles engaged during higher-impact activities is that doing so helps keep your spine safe. Walking is a pretty low-risk workout, so it’s not important for that reason. But keeping your abs activated while you walk improves the workout because it strengthens your core and helps you maintain good posture, says Gagliardi.

      Switch up your stride

      You might take longer strides when you’re walking for exercise, thinking that they’re helping you cover more ground quickly. But doing the opposite is actually better: Shorter steps are more efficient. That being said, mixing up your steps can add variety and burn more calories by challenging your body in a new way, says Gagliardi. You can walk with shorter steps for five minutes, then change to a longer stride for another five, for instance.

      Pick up some weights

      Grabbing a pair of light dumbbells for your walk might seem on par with old-school step aerobics, but the strategy is still a good one, says Gagliardi. Walking with weights increases your calorie burn because you’re have to move a heavier load than you would with just your body. And the results can be pretty dramatic—a 2013 study found that wearing a vest that weighs at least 10 percent of your body mass can increase your calorie burn by 13 percent. If you’re going to the dumbbell route, Gagliardi recommends erring on the side of caution and don’t go heavier than three-pound weights. They can become unwieldy to swing with your stride and cause unwanted stress on your joints.
      Another way to incorporate weights: If you’re carrying dumbbells on your walk, try breaking up the outing with rounds of compound exercises, Gagliardi suggests. You can stop walking every five minutes or after every lap on the track to do lunges with biceps curls or squats with overhead presses. That’ll make the workout more interesting and blast more calories to boot.

      Add intervals

      Walking at a steady state can get boring, and it also limits the calories you can torch. Adding in intervals can burn more calories during and after your workout by increasing your EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.
      There’s no one way to do intervals. You can increase your pace for a certain number of minutes or certain distance. “For example, pick a focal point in the distance, like a stop sign, and walk at a faster pace where talking becomes difficult until you get to it,” Gagliardi suggests. Then, keep alternating that way between easy and harder efforts. Or, you could walk with exaggerated arm movements, like holding your hands overhead, until you get to the mark.
      To really spice things up, you can do hill repeats. Walk at a comfortable pace to a nearby hill, then walk at an effort where it’s hard to talk up the hill, and recover at an easy pace downhill and repeat. Gagliardi says just keep in mind that you don’t have to go all out at once. “If you’re new to exercise or increasing the intensity of your walks, start off slow and gradually—and you’ll still get great benefits from it.” 

      Learn about the incredible benefits of walking just 30 minutes every day: 
      7 Incredible Results You'll Get From Walking 30 Minutes a Day
      by Prevention

      3 Power Walking Workout Plans

      Ready to take a walk? Try these interval walking plans to get started. Exertion is rated from level 1 to 10, with 1 being in a rested state and 10 being on the verge of breathlessness.

      Classic pyramid

      This simple interval session gradually builds in intensity to a peak, then eases back down.
      • 5-minute warmup walk (level 5)
      • 5-minute typical walk (level 6)
      • 4-minute brisker than usual walk (level 7)
      • 2-minute fastest possible walk (level 8)
      • 4-minute brisker than usual walk (level 7)
      • 5-minute typical walk (level 6)
      • 5-minute cool-down walk (level 5)

        Peaks and valleys

        This workout combines big blasts of speed with slower recovery breaks.
        • 5-minute warmup walk (level 5)
        • 3-minute typical walk (level 6)
        • 2-minute fastest possible walk (level 8)
        • 3-minute typical walk (level 6)
        • 2-minute fastest possible walk (level 8)
        • 3-minute typical walk (level 6)
        • 3-minute fastest possible walk (level 8)
        • 4-minute typical walk (level 6)
        • 5-minute cool-down (level 5)

          Crazy 8

          This workout is a fun mishmash of moderate- to high-intensity intervals.
          • 5-minute warmup walk (level 5)
          • 8-minute brisker than usual walk (level 7)
          • 4-minute typical walk (level 6)
          • 4-minute brisker than usual walk (level 7)
          • 2-minute fastest possible walk (level 8)
          • 2-minute typical walk (level 6)
          • 5-minute cool-down walk (level 5)

          original source:

          Friday, July 12, 2019

          15 minute walk could help you liver longer (according to a study)

          A 15-Minute Daily Walk ‘Will Help You Live Longer,’ Study Says

          8 Science-backed Reasons Why a Short, Brisk Daily Walk Will Improve Your Life
           Updated: January 23, 2019
          You are probably well aware that exercise is very important to keep up in order to stay healthy and stay in shape. Yet, many people are hesitant to do it because they, firstly, don’t have the time, and secondly, they do not want to be saddled with having to go to the gym to work out, especially on those cold winter evenings after putting in many hours of hard work at their jobs.
          However, according to the European Society of Cardiology, having to go to the gym to work out is not really all that necessary. Nor is it necessary for adults to put in all those hours of doing intense cardio each week. In fact, ESC states that older adults who are 60 and over only need to do 15 minutes of physical activity per day to help them improve their health—to the point that it is associated with a 22% lower risk of death. Which means that no one is too busy—practically anyone can set aside 15 minutes of time to focus on improving their health by getting in some good-quality physical activity in such as walking.

          Woman stretching (Public domain)

          Really, anyone can benefit from taking a 15-minute brisk walk, but it is especially so in older adults. That is because their health can easily decline at that point due to their age, and they can help preserve that by taking care of themselves by taking a daily, short brisk walk. 
          Both older and younger adults can reap a lot of benefits as well by walking for just 15 minutes a day, which they may not even be aware of. Once you learn about the benefits of a little physical activity, you will want to make sure that you make the time to get active. Let’s look at 8 reasons why you will want to develop a habit of taking a daily, short brisk walk right now:


          Walking can improve cardiovascular system
          Walking can improve cardiovascular system (Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock)

          According to Harvard Health, studies that were conducted have found that both men and women who walked daily had heart health that was a lot better than those who lived sedentary lives. That means that a drop in cardiovascular diseases, which ranged from heart attacks to strokes, was down over 30% in those who walked for 15 minutes a day. Unfortunately, genetics can predispose you to have cardiovascular ailments as well, but if you get some physical activity in daily, you can easily increase your chances of staving off these problems, which means you will live longer.


          Walking can improve mental health (

          Mental illness is a common problem that many people have, and one reason for that is that chemicals in the brain are not balanced properly. However, according to Scientific American, taking a daily walk can help release endorphins, which is the feel-good hormone, and that can help balance the chemicals in the brain. This may help improve your mood.


          Walking can ease pain (Mimagephotography/Shutterstock)

          This may sound counterintuitive considering when you are in pain all you want to do is lie down and rest. However, according to WebMD, walking and doing other exercises such as swimming can actually help soothe pain. Not to mention, the more someone who suffers from chronic pain can walk, the better their mobility will become.


          Walking can prevent or manage diabetes (Arka38/Shutterstock)

          Diabetes is unfortunately quite rampant nowadays, because many people are a lot less active than they used to be decades ago. In addition to that, people are not always watching their caloric and fat intakes, which not only leads to obesity, but it leads to diabetes. However, according to Very Well Health, walking can not only help people prevent getting the disease but can help keep it under control for those who suffer from it. That is because walking helps keep the circulation going, which can have a positive impact on insulin and blood glucose levels, and it helps reduce abdominal fat which can be the culprit for those developing type 2 diabetes.


          Walking to lose weight (Elena Nokh/Shutterstock)

          Many of us have some extra pounds to shed, and one easy way to do it, in conjunction with proper nutrition, is by walking. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you walk a half hour a day, you can burn 150 calories alone. And, even if you walk for 15 minutes a day quickly, then you still will burn calories. Additionally, after taking a brisk walk, your body keeps burning calories for a while even once you sit down to relax, because your body is still at work, which burns calories. That is because it helps increase the levels of vitamin D as well as your heart rate which will keep your body working. If you want to lose weight a little quicker, then you can wake a brisk walk for a half-hour a day. However, you still will do quite well by taking a 15-minute brisk walk daily.


          Walking can help prevent cancer
          Walking can help prevent cancer (Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)

          Cancer is a common disease that many people suffer from, unfortunately, and many cancer treatments are quite harsh, as well. With that being so, it can only be a good thing to reduce the risk of developing cancer. And, according to LiveScience, taking a short, daily brisk walk can help anyone reduce the risk of getting certain types of cancers such as breast, colon, and lung cancer.


          Walking can improve sleep (Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock)

          Many people around the world suffer from insomnia for many reasons. Poor sleep practices such as consuming caffeine late at night and spending too much time in front of the screen will have a negative impact on melatonin production, the hormone that regulates wakefulness. That means you will not end up sleeping well if this becomes a habit. However, according to Harvard Healthtalking a short and brisk walk daily can help you with your melatonin production for when it is time to get some good-quality shut-eye. However, you also need to develop better sleep habits to support that, as well, by cutting your caffeine consumption by 2 p.m.


          Walking can relieve stress
          Walking can relieve stress (Bbernard/Shutterstock)

          If you take a little time each day to walk, then it will have a positive impact on your stress levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, not only do the endorphins that are released through exercise help improve your overall mood, but they are great stress-relievers, too. Additionally, by walking, you can also reduce the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in your body. That in itself will help you lose weight and with your weight maintenance efforts, as well.
          After reading about how your health can drastically improve just by setting aside 15 minutes a day to take a brisk walk, are you now ready to get moving? Regardless of whether you are under or over 60 years of age, you can easily preserve your health and live longer if you stay active! And all you need is 15 minutes to do that each day!
          Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

          original source: