Tag: exercise

Expansive New Study Says Not Exercising Is Worse for Your Health Than Smoking – Gina Martinez

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It’s common knowledge that there are many benefits to being fit, but one large new study found that skipping out on the gym is practically the worst thing you can do for your health. In fact, the study claims not exercising might be more harmful to your health than smoking. New findings, published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open, detail how researchers at the Cleveland Clinic studied 122,007 patients from 1991 to 2014, putting them under treadmill testing and later recording mortality……..

Read more: http://time.com/5430203/new-study-not-exercising-worse-than-smoking/

 

 

 

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How You Felt About Gym Class May Impact Your Exercise Habits Today – Gretchen Reynolds

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Think for a moment about your school gym classes. Did you just grin with fond reminiscence or reflexively shudder? A revealing new study suggests that these disparate responses to memories of physical education classes are both common and consequential.

How we felt during gym classes years or decades ago may shape how we feel about exercise today and whether we choose to be physically active, the study finds. The result may have implications for our understanding of exercise motivation and also for how we should introduce our children to sports and movement.

About two-thirds of adults in the Western world rarely if ever exercise, health statistics tell us. There are many reasons so many of us are sedentary, but most behavioral scientists agree that our attitudes about exercise play a defining role. If we expect exercise to be fun and enjoyable, we often will exercise. If not, we won’t.

How we develop these beliefs about physical activity has been unclear, though. So a group of scientists at Iowa State University in Ames began to wonder recently whether our feelings about moving might have roots in gym classes, which are often the first introduction many of us have to formal exercise.

To find out, they created a specialized and lengthy online questionnaire that asked people to ruminate on and rate their memories of gym class and how they felt about exercise now, using an elaborate numerical scale.

The questionnaire also asked people about their physical activity habits today and how much time they spent in motion or in a chair, especially on weekends.Perhaps most compelling, the online form invited them to describe, in their own words, their single best or worst memory from a P.E. class and write about it in as much detail as they chose.

The researchers posted the questionnaire on a website devoted to academic studies and invited anyone interested to complete the form. They wound up with responses from more than a thousand men and women aged between 18 and 40.

Completing the form seems to have been cathartic for these respondents, given the depth and specificity of many of their responses. People’s memories of gym class turned out to be in fact surprisingly “vivid and emotionally charged,” the researchers write in the study, which was published this month in the Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

And those memories had long shadows, affecting people’s exercise habits years later. The most consistent associations were between unpleasant memories of P.E. classes and lingering resistance to exercise years later, the researchers found. People who had not enjoyed gym class as children tended to report that they did not expect to like exercise now and did not plan to exercise in the coming days.

People who had found pleasure in gym class, on the other hand, were more likely to report that they expected exercise to be enjoyable and that they were active on weekends. The reasons people gave for enjoying gym — or not — were also telling. Many said that they had hated being chosen late or last for sports teams, or felt embarrassed about bumbling sports performances.

Quite a few also reported discomfort undressing in front of other students, and some described bullying and insults, including from gym teachers.Many also said they had dreaded the fitness tests that are common in P.E. programs.Of course, some people harbored pleasant memories of gym classes, often involving athletic success and competence.

“It was a bit surprising just how strong people’s memories were” of their P.E. classes, says Matthew Ladwig, a graduate student at Iowa State University who conducted the study with Panteleimon Ekkekakis and Spyridoula Vazou.

“For some of them, the classes were two or three decades in the past, but they had not forgotten,” he says, and their memories apparently continued to color their attitudes toward exercise today.

The people involved in this study, though, were a self-chosen group who happened to see the questionnaire, so their responses may not be typical of everyone’s. The results also rely on memories and recall, which can be unreliable. And the findings may have been influenced by reverse causation, meaning that unathletic young people disliked gym class and grew up to be sedentary because they were not athletic, and not because they did not like P.E.

But the results do remind us that how we feel about exercise is important in prompting us to move or remain still and that, in order to instill positive attitudes toward exercise, we may want to rethink some of the emphases in school-based physical education programs, Mr. Ladwig says.

If sports are involved, “choose teams randomly,” he says, and, for younger children, de-emphasize competition altogether, promoting activities like dancing or yoga instead.

Consider, too, downplaying frequent fitness testing, which demoralized so many study respondents, he says. Maybe also offer children more options, including unconventional ones. “Gardening is physical activity and some kids might love it a lot more than team sports,” he says. “It would be great,” he concludes, “if P.E. classes could teach kids that moving is fun.”

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Exercise May Aid in Weight Loss, Provided You Do Enough – Gretchen Reynolds

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Can working out help us to drop pounds after all? A provocative new study involving overweight men and women suggests that it probably can, undercutting a widespread notion that exercise, by itself, is worthless for weight loss.

But the findings also indicate that, to benefit, we may need to exercise quite a bit. In theory, exercise should contribute substantially to weight loss. It burns calories. If we do not replace them, our bodies should achieve negative energy balance, use stored fat for fuel and shed pounds.

But life and our metabolisms are not predictable or fair, as multiple exercise studies involving people and animals show. In these experiments, participants lose less weight than would be expected, given the energy they expend during exercise.

The studies generally have concluded that the exercisers had compensated for the energy they had expended during exercise, either by eating more or moving less throughout the day. These compensations were often unwitting but effective.

Some researchers had begun to wonder, though, if the amount of exercise might matter. Many of the past human experiments had involved about 30 minutes a day or so of moderate exercise, which is the amount generally recommended by current guidelines to improve health.

But what if people exercised more, some researchers asked. Would they still compensate for all the calories that they burned? To find out, scientists from the University of North Dakota and other institutions decided to invite 31 overweight, sedentary men and women to a lab for measurements of their resting metabolic rate and body composition.

The volunteers also recounted in detail what they had eaten the previous day and agreed to wear a sophisticated activity tracker for a week. The scientists then randomly divided them into groups. One group began a program of walking briskly or otherwise exercising five times a week until they had burned 300 calories, which took most of them about 30 minutes. (The sessions were individualized.)

Over the course of the week, these volunteers burned 1,500 extra calories with their exercise program. The other group began working out for twice as long, burning 600 calories per session, or about 3,000 calories per week. The exercise program lasted for 12 weeks. The researchers asked their volunteers not to change their diets or lifestyles during this time and to wear the activity monitors for a few days.

After four months, everyone returned to the lab and repeated the original tests. The results must have been disconcerting for some of them. Those men and women who had burned about 1,500 calories a week with exercise turned out to have lost little if any body fat, the tests showed. Some were heavier. But most of those who had walked twice as much were thinner now. Twelve of them had shed at least 5 percent of their body fat during the study.

The researchers then used mathematical calculations, based on each person’s fat loss (if any), to determine whether and by how much they had compensated for their exercise. I think they just did not realize that they were eating more,” he says.

There probably also are complicated interconnections between exercise, appetite and people’s relationships to food that were not picked up during this study and can affect eating and weight, he says. He hopes to study those issues in future studies.

But already, the results from this experiment are encouraging, if cautionary. “It looks like you can lose weight with exercise,” Dr. Flack says. But success may require more exertion of our bodies and will than we might hope, he adds.“Thirty minutes of exercise was not enough” in this study to overcome the natural drive to replace the calories we burn during a workout.

“Sixty minutes of exercise was better,” he says. But even then, people replaced about a third of the calories they expended during exercise. “You still have to count calories and weigh portions” if you hope to use exercise to control your weight, he says.

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Walk Briskly for Your Health. About 100 Steps a Minute – Gretchen Reynolds

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Most of us know that we should walk briskly for the sake of our health. But how fast is brisk?

A helpful new study of walking speed and health concludes that the answer seems to be about 100 steps per minute, a number that is probably lower than many of us might expect.

Current exercise guidelines almost always state that we should walk at a brisk pace rather than stroll leisurely. But the recommendations do not always define what brisk walking means and, when they do, can deploy daunting terminology or technicalities.

They may say, for instance, that brisk walking requires three metabolic equivalents of task, or METs, meaning that it uses about three times as much energy as sitting still.

Or they might tell us that brisk walking occurs at a pace that increases our heart rate until it reaches about 70 percent of our heart rate maximum, a measurement that few of us fully understand or have the heart rate monitor and mathematical acuity needed to track and parse those percentages.

Even the simplest, often-cited description of brisk walking can be vague and confusing. Used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies in their guidelines, it defines brisk walking (and other moderate-intensity activities) as occurring at a pace at which people can talk but not sing.

That definition seemed impractical to Catrine Tudor-Locke, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, who has long studied how much exercise might be needed or sufficient for health. “Who wants to sing when they walk?” she asks.

So, for the new study, which was published in June in a special issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine devoted to the topic of walking, she and her colleagues decided to see whether there was enough data already available to develop a more precise and useful definition of brisk walking.

They began by looking for recent, good-quality published studies that had tracked people’s walking pace and cadence, which is the number of steps they take per minute, as well as other measures of their effort, such as heart rate or increases in respiration.

They wanted to see if there were consistencies between an easy-to-use number, such as steps per minute, and more technical determinations of intensity, such as respiration.

They also wanted to find studies that had examined people of varying ages and body mass indexes, to see if a single measure of what makes walking brisk could apply to almost everyone.

They wound up with 38 studies that had included hundreds of men and women ranging in age from 18 to elderly and of many different B.M.I.s.But despite the differences in the participants, the data about what made their walking brisk, or “moderate,” was consistent across all of the studies, Dr. Tudor-Locke and her colleagues found.

Brisk walking involved a pace of about 2.7 miles per hour. Or put more simply, it required about 100 steps per minute.“This is a number that is very easy for any of us to measure on our own,” she says. “You do not need special equipment or expertise.”

Just count how many steps you take in 10 seconds and multiply that number by six, she says. Or count how many steps you take in six seconds and multiply by 10. Or count how many steps you take in a single minute and skip the multiplication altogether.

“The good news is that this pace will probably not feel strenuous to most healthy people,” she says.There were some small variations among people in the precise number of steps per minute needed to achieve brisk walking in the various studies, Dr. Tudor-Locke says.

“For some people, it was 98; for others, 102,” she says. “But 100 steps per minute is a good rule of thumb for almost everyone.”Unless you are past about age 60, she adds. The ideal steps per minute for brisk walking among older people were inconsistent in the studies that she and her colleagues reviewed.

“Some older people needed to take quite a few more than 100 steps per minute” to walk briskly, she says, while others achieved briskness with lower step cadences.Dr. Tudor-Locke suspects that differing methodologies in the studies produced the differing results.

She and her colleagues plan soon to study older people and walking to pinpoint just how many steps per minute are needed for their pace to be brisk.Dr. Tudor-Locke also says that knowing that 100 steps per minute makes our walking brisk does not mean that we should stop walking after taking 100 steps.

Volume remains important, she says.The current federal exercise guidelines suggest 30 minutes of brisk walking most days, which would translate into 3,000 steps taken at the 100-steps-per-minute pace.If you are ambitious, you also could ramp up the pace so that your walking becomes vigorous, she says, which is the technical term for more-draining exercise.

Vigorous walking requires about 130 steps per minute, she and her colleagues determined, a pace at which you still are walking. Jogging generally starts at about 140 steps per minute, she says.

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This One Exercise Helps You Become a Better Runner | Physical and Mental Health – Exercise, Fitness and Activity

Having a strong deep core improves running performance and reduces low back pain, according to new research from Ohio State University.

Source: This One Exercise Helps You Become a Better Runner | Physical and Mental Health – Exercise, Fitness and Activity

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