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Category: Physical Activity (page 1 of 4)

Scottish doctors are issuing prescriptions for hiking and birdwatching

Doctors in the Shetland Islands have started issuing prescriptions for beach walks, hiking, and birdwatching to help treat chronic and debilitating illnesses. Doctors on the island have been authorized by the health authority to issue “nature prescriptions” to patients to help treat mental illness, diabetes, heart disease, stress, and other conditions.

The health authority, NHS Shetland, is not suggesting that nature prescriptions will replace conventional medicines, but to supplemented usual treatments.

More at The Guardian

How physical activity helps mental wellbeing

There are various ways that physical activity helps mental wellbeing, including:

Improved mood – Studies show that physical activity has a positive impact on our mood. One study asked people to rate their mood after period of exercise (i.e. walking or gardening) and after inactivity (i.e. reading a book). Researchers found that people felt more awake, calmer and more content after physical activity. For more information and a link to the study, go to the Mental Health Foundation website.

Reduced stress – Being regularly active is shown to have a beneficial impact on alleviating stress. It can help manage stressful lifestyles and can help us make better decisions when under pressure. Research on working adults shows that active people tend to have lower stress rates compared to those who are less active.

Better self-esteem – Physical activity has a big impact of our self-esteem – that’s how we feel about ourselves and our perceived self-worth. This is a key indicator of mental wellbeing. Those with improved self-esteem can cope better with stress and improves relationships with others.

Depression and anxiety – Exercise has been described as a “wonder drug” in preventing and managing mental health. Many GPs now prescribe physical activity for depression, either on its own or in conjunction with other treatments. It is effective at both preventing onset of depression and in terms of managing symptoms.

More at Sport England

Children’s intelligence tied to three things – exercise, sleep and limited screen time

Evidence-based research has found three behaviors that lead to higher scores on tests of mental ability in children: at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, nine to 11 hours of sleep a night, and no more than two hours a day of recreational screen time.

According to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, for kids between the ages of eight and 11, it should include at least 60 minutes of physical activity, two hours or less of recreational screen time, and nine to 11 hours of sleep. Yet, in a new study, only one in 20 US children met all three of these recommendations.

The research, published on Thursday (Sept. 27) in the academic journal Lancet Child & Adolescent Health (paywall), used data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, a 10-year, longitudinal, observational study of over 4,500 children between eight and 11 years old, from 21 study sites across the US, and compared their daily exercise, technology, and sleep habits to the guidelines. The researchers then assessed the participants’ “global cognition” with standards developed by the National Institute of Health.

They found that only 5% of children met all three recommendations. Sixty-three percent of children spent more than two hours a day staring at screens, going over the screen-time limit; 82% of children failed to meet the guidelines for daily physical activity; and 49% did not get the recommended hours of sleep. Twenty-nine percent met none of the recommended standards.

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth

More at QuartzNY Times, Science Daily

Sex and seniors. They are doing it. And they are liking it.

Awkward as the idea may be to younger people, sex does matter to people 65 and older. “They report benefits such as feeling more connected as a couple, feeling a greater sense of well-being. If your sex life if going well, then you are generally going to feel happier about that,” said Hinchliff.

On the flipside, if there are problems in the bedroom, it could spell trouble for the relationship: Hinchliff says people can experience feelings of frustration, depression and tension, and have more arguments with their partner.

Hinchliff has been researching stereotypes surrounding older people’s sex lives for 17 years and believes the subject matter has been woefully neglected.

To challenge the taboos, she sought the help of a local artist, who produced a series of artworks of older adults in relationships. The exhibition is now on display in Sheffield. The pieces are fun and downright cheeky.

CBC

People prefer being lazy because our brains are wired that way

Feeling a bit lazy this morning? Don’t feel like going to the gym? Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Why do people tend to sit around doing nothing when we know it’s unhealthy to be so inactive? Researchers at the University of British Columbia think they’ve figured out the exercise paradox.

Seems our brains are built to pick whatever’s easier.

“The exciting novelty of our study is that it shows this faster avoidance of physical inactivity comes at a cost — and that is an increased involvement of brain resources,” said Matthieu Boisgontier, a postdoctoral researcher at UBC and senior author of the study.

“These results suggest that our brain is innately attracted to sedentary behaviours.”

Read more at CBC

The study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia

Sprinting for 26 miles, Eliud Kipchoge crushes the world marathon record in a time that almost defies description

For years, the only thing missing from Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon resume was the world record. No longer. In an astonishing performance at the 2018 BMW Berlin Marathon, Kipchoge took marathoning into a new stratosphere by clocking 2:01:39 — the first man ever under 2:02, and a full 78 seconds faster than Dennis Kimetto’s four-year-old world record.

It was a performance so far superior to anything we’ve seen before that comparing it to another marathon feels inadequate. This was Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in basketball, Usain Bolt’s 9.58 in the 100-meter dash.

Kipchoge’s splits — 61:06 for the first half, a ridiculous 60:33 for his second half — sound made up. But they were real, and they were spectacular.

Read more at Let’s Run, The Atlantic

Preventing muscle loss as we age with strength-training

Strength-training will not only make you stronger, it may also enhance bone density.

The fact that you may regularly run, walk, play tennis or ride a bike is not adequate to prevent an incremental loss of muscle mass and strength even in the muscles you’re using as well as those not adequately stressed by your usual activity. Strengthening all your skeletal muscles, not just the neglected ones, just may keep you from landing in the emergency room or nursing home after a fall.

Dr. Morley, among others, points out that adding and maintaining muscle mass also requires adequate nutrients, especially protein, the main constituent of healthy muscle tissue.

Protein needs are based on a person’s ideal body weight, so if you’re overweight or underweight, subtract or add pounds to determine how much protein you should eat each day.

Read more in the NY Times (paywall)

Walking might be the best exercise

One of the keys to a longer and healthier life is to keep moving. The simple act of walking is as natural as breathing and could increase not only how long you live, but also your quality of life.

It’s easy to get excited about the latest and greatest trends, from high-intensity interval training to ultramarathons to triathlons to powerlifting. But at the end of the day, regular brisk walking gets you most, if not all of the way there—“there” meaning a long and healthy life. This is the main conclusion from the June volume of the prestigious British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), a special edition dedicated exclusively to walking.

“Whether it is a stroll on a sunny day, walking to and from work, or walking down to the local shops, the act of putting one foot in front of the other in a rhythmic manner is as much human nature as breathing, thinking and loving,” write researchers Emmanuel Stamatakis, Mark Hamer, and Marie Murphy in an editorial in the journal.

The main study in the BJSM special edition surveyed more than 50,000 walkers in the United Kingdom—a variety of ages, both men and women—and found that regularly walking at an average, brisk, or fast pace was associated with a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality and a 24 percent reduction in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. All the data was self-reported. Participants were asked how frequently they walked and whether they would describe their usual pace as “slow,” “average,” “fairly brisk,” or “fast.” Though self-reported data like this is often viewed as a weakness, in this case it may actually be a strength. This is because “slow” versus “brisk” for a 30-year-old is different than “slow” versus “brisk” for a 70-year-old. In other words, what the researchers were really measuring was rate of perceived exertion, or how hard people felt they were walking. This method is proven to be an effective way to gauge effort and intensity during exercise. “A very simple way to grasp what a ‘brisk’ pace is in terms of exertion is to imagine it as a pace that gets you out of breath when it is sustained for more than a few minutes,” says Stamatakis, lead author on the study and professor of physical activity, lifestyle, and population health at the University of Sydney, Australia.

Another study, published earlier this year in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, examined nearly 140,000 men and women in the United States and came to the same conclusion. Engaging in at least 150 minutes per week of brisk walking was linked to a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality.

Read more at Outside Magazine

How to safely hike, camp, and backpack with your dog

Dogs can be excellent company in the outdoors. Exploring the wilderness with a furry friend can be an incredibly fun and bonding experience, but only if you plan ahead. If you don’t, bringing your dog could be a dangerous mistake, one that ends abruptly, unpleasantly, or even tragically.

Backpacker has some good advice on what do you need to know, bring, do, and avoid when camping, backpacking, or hiking with your dog.

Team sports may extend your life

A study has found that sports which involve more social interaction were associated with the better longevity.

A new study finds that people who do team sports may be at an advantage over solitary exercisers.

The social interaction involved in partner and team sports may compound the plentiful benefits of physical activity, adding more years to your life than solo exercise, according to a study published Tuesday in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Tennis, badminton and soccer are all better for longevity than cycling, swimming, jogging or gym exercise, according to the research.

More at Time

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