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Category: Physical Activity (page 1 of 6)

Are pets really good for us?

Jules Howard, writing in The Guardian »

The good news, at face value, is this: if you are looking for proof that having a pet improves your general health, the evidence abounds. For instance, there is plenty about how a bout of pet-stroking can lower your heart rate (and the pet’s), easing your body into a less stressed condition. This seems to apply across the spectrum, from dogs and cats to snakes and goats. And there’s more. There’s evidence from Germany and Australia (sample size: 10,000) that pet-owners make fewer visits to the doctor and, from China, that pet-owners sleep more soundly than those who aren’t. Just last week, the American Heart Association reported that the survival prospects for people who have had heart attacks and strokes are better in dog-owners than in those who are not.

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If we were able to put all these pros and cons into a melting pot and come up with a definitive answer to the question of whether or not pets are good for us, what would the answer be? The answer would be … complicated. Because humans and our circumstances are so universally mixed up and complex. The simple truth is that having a pet has good and bad sides, and it may not be for everyone. Which means we have a duty to think carefully before acquiring one. We need to imagine the good times we might have with a pet and to consider the bad times, too: the insecurity, the grumpiness in old age, the infirmity.

Read the whole article at The Guardian »

Exercise and increased physical activity can prevent and treat depression

Exercise training and increased physical activity are effective for both prevention and treatment of depression, concludes research published in the Current Sports Medicine Reports, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The evidence of the use of physical activity and exercise for the management of depression is substantial and growing fast,”comment Felipe Barretto Schuch, PhD, of Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brazil, and Brendon Stubbs, PhD, of King’s College London, lead authors of the special ‘Exercise Is Medicine’ article. “Despite this substantial evidence, the incorporation of exercise as a key component in treatment is often inconstant and often given a low priority.” Continue reading

Dog ownership linked with longer life, especially among heart attack and stroke survivors

Dog ownership is associated with a 33% lower risk of early death for heart attack survivors living alone and 27% reduced risk of early death for stroke survivors living alone, compared to people who did not own a dog.

Dog ownership was also associated with a 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a 31% lower risk of death by heart attack or stroke compared to non-owners.

Anne Harding, writing for Reuters »

Overall, dog owners were 24% less likely to die over the next decade than non-dog owners. People who’d suffered a heart attack or other cardiovascular event had a 65% reduced risk of dying over the next decade if they owned a dog. Dog ownership reduced overall mortality from cardiovascular causes by 31%.

Increased physical activity plays a key role in the cardiovascular benefits of dog ownership, said Kramer, noting that her own step count has climbed “sky high” since she adopted Romeo, an energetic miniature schnauzer that she walks at least three times a day.

Read more at Reuters »

More » CNN, Science Daily, USA Today

Results of a recent study suggest lifestyle choices plays a greater role than genetics in most cases of premature heart disease

The study, which was presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2019, found evidence that physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol play a greater role than genetics for most patients under 50 with coronary artery disease (CAD).

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 “Our study provides strong evidence that people with a family history of premature heart disease should adopt healthy lifestyles, since their poor behaviors may be a greater contributor to heart disease than their genetics,” Sousa explained. “That means quit smoking, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and get blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked.”

» Read More at MD Mag…

Dog owners fitter, slimmer and healthier

Rachael Turner, writing for Country Life »

Research published by Mayo Clinic has found keeping a pet is associated with better cardiovascular health, especially if that animal is a dog.

The study examined the association of pet ownership with cardiovascular disease risk factors.

‘In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level,’ said researcher Andrea Maugeri. ‘The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level.’

Read more at Country Life »

Video » Mike Libecki, Loving Life

What’s more important in life than having that bond and connection with the people you love.

Do We Need To Walk 10,000 Steps A Day When 7,500 Steps Might Be Enough

We all know that exercise is important for us. Walking, something most of us can do, makes us healthier, happier, and some even claim walking makes us smarter. Unsurprisingly, we all believe that more is better.

We’ve all heard the claim that we should walk at least 10,000 steps a day.  But there’s nothing special about the 10,000 steps number. Like many other claims, it is not based on science and was started as part of a marketing campaign to sell us something. Unfortunately, like many other health claims, it became widely accepted as fact and is now part of the conversation. So the 10,000 steps deception continues to be used to sell apps, smartphones, etc.

Setting a target of 10,000 steps and having difficulty reaching that number can have a negative effect and demotivate people to exercise at all. Why bother if you can’t reach it, right? One study showed that benefits plateaued after 7,500 steps a day.

Instead we should all do what we can to stay healthy. Our bodies were made for moving. Not for sitting all day. And over time, with patience and perseverance, the more we do, the more we will be able to do.

Training to run a marathon (42.2 km or 26.2 miles) takes months of training, slowly increasing weekly mileage over time. I’ve trained and ran several marathons. It’s not easy getting out the door sometimes. And it takes time before you are properly ready to run that distance.

The same goes for improving our health by walking. Start with what you can. Get out the door. Go for a walk around the block. Then do it again the next day. The more you do, the more you will be able to do over time.

If it’s not enjoyable, we are less likely to keep it up. So change routes. Take the dog. Change the time of the day. Listen to a podcast. Invite friends to join you. Take a hike in the woods. Listen to the birds. Stop and talk to your neighbours. Whatever you do, have fun with it. It’s not a race.

Read this BBC article to find out more.

Increased Physical Activity May Protect Against Cognitive Decline and Ward Off Alzheimer’s Onset

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have found that higher levels of daily physical activity may protect against cognitive decline and brain tissue loss in adults who are believed to be at greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The best results were found among the research participants who took more than 8,900 steps per day.

Traci Pedersen, writing in PsychCentral:

“One of the most striking findings from our study was that greater physical activity not only appeared to have positive effects on slowing cognitive decline, but also on slowing the rate of brain tissue loss over time in normal people who had high levels of amyloid plaque in the brain,” said Jasmeer Chhatwal, M.D., Ph.D. of the MGH Department of Neurology, and corresponding author of the study.

The results suggest that physical activity might reduce b-amyloid (Ab)-related cortical thinning and preserve gray matter structure in regions of the brain that have been associated with episodic memory loss and Alzheimer’s-related neurodegeneration.

The underlying processes of Alzheimer’s disease can begin decades before clinical symptoms appear and is characterized by early accumulation of b-amyloid protein.

The new study is among the first to demonstrate the protective effects of physical activity and vascular risk management in the preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, while there is an opportunity to intervene prior to the onset of substantial neuronal loss and clinical impairment.

“Because there are currently no disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, there is a critical need to identify potential risk-altering factors that might delay progression of the disease,” Chhatwal said.

The new research published in the journal JAMA Neurology.

Read More…

Starting Exercise in Middle Age or Older is Tied to a Longer Healthier and Better Qualify of Life

It’s never too late to start exercising. Even if you already have have a serious chronic condition.

Lisa Rapaport, writing for Reuters Health »

… researchers assessed activity levels several times over eight years for 14,599 men and women who were between 40 and 80 years old at the outset. After the first eight years, researchers started tracking mortality for another 12.5 years, on average. During that period, there were 3,148 deaths, including 950 from cardiovascular disease and 1,091 from cancer.

The researchers measured both work and leisure-time physical activity in terms of energy expended per kilogram of body weight. Activity increases over time that were equivalent to going from sedentary to meeting the World Health Organization’s recommendation of at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity were associated with a 24% lower risk of death from any cause, a 29% lower risk of cardiovascular death and an 11% lower risk of cancer death compared to those who remained inactive.

“This sends a strong message to all of us, irrespective of what our current life circumstances may be, since it is never too late to build physical activity into your daily routine in order to enjoy a longer healthier life,” said Soren Brage, senior author of the study and a researcher at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Everybody benefitted from becoming more active,” Brage said by email. “This was also true for the subgroup of people who already had a serious chronic condition such as heart disease and cancer at baseline.”

Read the whole story …

Bikepacking Alaska to Argentina and around the world. The story so far (2014 – 2019)

Iohan Gueorguiev’s videos are well made, but they are generally an hour long.

With this video Iohan recaps his trip so far, from Alaska to Argentina, in less than 15 minutes.

If you like this, you’ll love his full length videos.

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