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Entries in Exercise (93)

Saturday
Jun082013

Four Steps to Significantly Lower Risk of Heart Disease, Early Death

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, doing just four things could help significantly reduce your risk of death.

The study looked at over 6,200 healthy people over a span of eight years and determined that those who met four qualifications reduced their risk of early death by 80 percent and their specific risk of heart disease by nearly 40 percent.

The four things that the researchers recommend are:

Exercise regularly
Eat a Mediterranean-style diet
Keep a normal weight
Do not smoke

According to researchers the most important of the four is opting not to smoke, as avoiding tobacco had the largest individual impact of any of the four risk factors. In fact, smokers who maintained two or more of the other healthy habits still had a higher rate of early death than non-smokers who were both sedentary and obese.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr212013

Study: Diet and Exercise Are Inseparable

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to a new study, the best way to improve one's health is to start on a healthier diet and an exercise plan simultaneously.

While many find it easier to begin their health quest with just one or the other, the study from Stanford University found that altering one's diet and exercising more often are most effective when done at once.

The study, published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, analyzed data from 200 sedentary middle-aged men and women who were divided into four groups. One group began diet and exercise programs simultaneously, one began a diet plan and then exercise starting four months later, one began an exercise plan followed by a diet change four months later, and one only embarked on a stress management program. All four groups also received telephone counseling and education.

After 12 months, the group that made both changes at the same time was the most improved in all areas the study looked at, including exercising for at least 150 minutes per week, eating five to nine servings of vegetables per day and taking in 10 percent or less saturated fat per day.

Each of the other three groups failed at least one of the above areas.

The study did not, however, compare weight loss among the four groups.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr132013

Americans Who Cook More Exercise Less

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to a new study, Americans who cook more frequently also exercise less.

The study, presented at a Population Association of America Meeting, found that for every ten additional minutes that the average American spends preparing food, that person was less likely to spend ten extra minutes exercising each day. The researchers in the study speculate that one reason their findings may be true is due to a lack of free time -- the average American spends less than 60 minutes combined on exercise and food preparation each day.

The study looked at one day's worth of data from more than 100,000 adults. The study suggests that instead of simply being told to eat better and exercise, Americans should be advised on time management for healthy behaviors.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar132013

Skate Your Way to Better Health

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Skating, whether it's ice hockey or figure skating, is a great muscular and cardiovascular workout.

It engages your glutes, your core and your thighs, not to mention your arms, which help you maintain stability.  It also provides a really enjoyable way to burn calories and rev your metabolism.

Other benefits of skating include providing a total body workout by providing good cardiovascular exercise, burning calories, improving balance and it's great as a group or solo activity.

There are some basic precautions that you might consider, however, if you are new to the sport.  Using a helmet and wrist guards can be a good idea for beginners of any age. 

Taking some lessons is another way to build some basic skills before you start to practice on your own. You could also practice during off-hours when the rick is not as busy. And if you take any blood thinning medication or are pregnant, skating may not be a good idea.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar082013

Study Finds Brisk Walking to Be Helpful in Recovery After a Stroke

Comstock/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Heading outside for a brisk walk can improve your quality of life. According to a new study released Thursday, stroke victims could have a lot to gain from walking for exercise.
 
For the study, published in the journal Stroke, researchers at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica  looked at nearly 130 people who had suffered from strokes -- all of them able to walk with or without an assistive device -- and who were not participating in any regular exercise programs. The subjects were randomized into two groups, an intervention group and a control group, with assessments done at six weeks and three months.
 
The intervention group was supervised by trained instructors and walked vigorously along a prescribed course for 15 minutes, three times a week, adding five minutes each week until they reached a half hour.  The control group received massage therapy.
 
After three months, those who walked regularly reported a 16.7 percent improvement in quality of life and also walked nearly 20 percent farther in an endurance test than their massaged counterparts.  

The study's authors say their findings suggest that aerobic walking should be part of a stroke survivor's overall health promotion strategy.

"Walking is a great way to get active after a stroke," lead study author Carron Gordon, Ph.D., said in a statement. "It's familiar, inexpensive and it's something people could very easily get into."
 
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar012013

High Heel Workout: High Fun or High Danger?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You don’t normally strap on your high heels to go to the gym, but in the world of “Heel Hop” you do.

The newest exercise craze is just your typical fitness class, complete with stretches, sit-ups -- and stilettos.

“Heels have such a stigma and I’ve made my money in heels,” said Kamilah, the one-named wonder behind the high heels-required exercise class, in an interview with ABC News.

“I came straight out of the womb with some high heel pumps,” she said.  “I feel more of myself and I feel even more graceful than being in tennis shoes."

Kamilah, a backup dancer for music stars like 50 Cent and R. Kelly and herself a finalist on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, had the idea to combine her love of heels with her love of exercise.

“I studied with Bally Total Fitness and infused all of that together, along with my dance background, and created something really safe, really fun and really sexy for women to do,” she said.

Kamilah trademarked her 60-minute, all-high-heel workout and currently teaches it in her Los Angeles studio, as well as for clients from New York City to Tokyo and Moscow.

Women have been warned for years, of course, of the damage walking in high heels can do to their body, so how can exercising in them be good for you?  It can’t, argue some doctors.

“They [high heels] are a very unstable type of shoe for your body,” Dr. James Braxton Little, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based podiatrist, told ABC News.  “Exercising in them just doesn’t make sense in any way, shape or form.”

Kamilah says she is living proof, however, that when worn correctly, high heels are not a danger, whether you’re exercising in them or just walking around.

“To this day, I am still performing in high heels and I don’t have a bunion,” she said.  “When you get in them [heels], you want to know how you are supposed to feel.”

Kamilah’s tip for surviving in high heels is "to shop for the right shoe that’s right for you.  You have to shop for function and you have to shop for sport.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb132013

Walk, Don’t Run, to a Healthier You

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Your one-hour spinning class may be a good workout, but simply taking the stairs may be better.

When the amount of calories burned is the same, standing and walking over the course of a day is superior to an hour of intense exercise in improving cholesterol and preventing diabetes, a new study found.

“Get out of your chair as much as you can, take the stairs instead of the elevator, go by bike [and] leave your car at home,” said Hans Savelberg, associate professor in the Department of Human Movement Sciences at Maastricht University Medical Centre, in the Netherlands, and author of the study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.

Danish researchers followed 18 young people ages 19 to 24, all of normal weight, who performed three separate exercise regimens over the course of the study. In the first, participants did not exercise and sat for 14 hours. In the second, participants sat for 13 hours, but performed one hour of vigorous cycling. In the third, participants sat for eight hours, but engaged in 4 hours of walking and 2 hours of standing.

Energy expenditure was the same in the vigorous exercise regimen and the standing and walking regimen. After each regimen, researchers tracked insulin sensitivity — a laboratory test to monitor development of diabetes — and cholesterol levels.

It may be of no surprise that researchers found the participants had improved insulin sensitivity and lower cholesterol by simply walking and standing compared with when they performed no activity. Surprisingly, however, the researchers also found the participants who walked and stood had improved insulin sensitivity, more so than when they participated in one hour of intense exercise.

“This is a very intriguing small study that provides further evidence that sitting around all day is bad for your health,” said ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser. "People need to get up and move. The number of hours you spend sitting appear to have negative consequences that can’t be overcome by concentrating all your energy in a one-hour work out.”

The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. However, there are no guidelines regarding how the other 9,930 minutes of the week should be spent. Researchers say this study points out how important it is to not just exercise but to have an overall active lifestyle.

“If you exercise for half an hour and are sedentary for the rest of the day, that represents an unhealthy lifestyle,” said Savelberg. “Long periods of non-sitting at a low intensity level should be classified as an active lifestyle.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb122013

Exercise Linked to Lower Prostate Cancer Risk

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Men who want to avoid prostate cancer should start working out. New research suggests a link between exercise and a lower risk for the disease.
 
Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common form of the disease in American men.
 
The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 239,000 cases of prostate cancer, which occurs mainly in older men, will be diagnosed this year.
 
A study published in the journal Cancer looked at the exercise habits of 307 men aged 62 to 71.
 
When the study participants underwent prostate biopsies, doctors found that the Caucasian men who were moderately active were less likely to have a positive prostate biopsy result. And those who did have a positive biopsy were less likely to have a high-grade cancer than those who were sedentary.
 
But, the study authors reported, increased exercise did not reduce the prostate cancer risk in black men.
 
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb022013

Super Bowl Indulgence? Start Walking

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Your waistline was just shrinking back to normal after the holidays and now along comes the Super Bowl.

According to the Calorie Control Council and the Snack Food Association, armchair quarterbacks scarf down 30 million pounds of snacks on Super Bowl Sunday including 11.2 million potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, 4.3 million pounds of pretzels, 3.8 million pounds of popcorn, and 2.5 million pounds of nuts.

Add in the beer, pizza, hot wings and anything else with calories fans can get their hands on and the average spectator consumes 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat as part of their pigskin celebration, the Council found.

Let’s put it in perspective. Say you’re a 49ers fan. You decide to inhale a huge plate of chicken wings smothered with cool ranch dressing. That’ll set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 calories. To burn that off, get ready to hoof it from San Fran’s Chinatown to the Golden Gate Bridge, according to the website Hopstop.com – a distance of about five miles.

If you’re a Ravens fan who devours a slice of pepperoni pizza, you’ll have 400 extra calories to deal with.  To burn those off, you’ll need to walk the equivalent of the distance between Baltimore’s Fort McHenry and the Washington Monument. Actually, plan on making the trip between those land marks at least three times. Who stops at one slice?

Registered dietitian Jennifer Neily said when your eyes are glued to the game, you’re often blind to what you’re putting in your mouth. She finds that people are often surprised when they realize how many calories they put away in the time it takes to play four quarters, and horrified when they learn how long it takes to burn them off.

But Neily said so long as you don’t eat like it’s Super Bowl Sunday every day, you should be fine. She looks at it like this,” It’s one meal, one day. That’s not going to make or break you.”

To dial down the game day calorie count, Neily advised eating a small meal before the kick off so you’re not ravenous as the game gets underway. Alternate alcoholic and sugary beverages with water or seltzer so you don’t drown yourself in excess calories. Scan the table before filling your plate so you can eat only what you really want. And set a time to stop eating completely — half time works — and then stick with it.

If you do overdo game day calories, Neily advised getting right back on track the next day with a sensible diet and some moderate intensity exercise. That goes double if your team loses. What’s the point in drowning your sorrows in a bowl of nachos? There’s always next year.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan102013

Top Nine Gym Pet Peeves

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Getting in shape is near the top of almost everyone's list of New Year's resolutions.  That's why the ranks of gym memberships swell by an average of 12 percent every January, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).

Unfortunately, with such a crowd comes a lot of bad behavior.  When ABC News asked readers on social media what bugged them about their fellow gym goers, ABC got an earful.

Here are the nine most common complaints:

DNA Puddles

"I can't describe the disgust I feel when I go on a machine or bench following another person and they don't have the courtesy to wipe it down," said blogger Jeff Gordon.  Gordon and many others said it shouldn't be too much to ask everyone to carry a towel and wipe off equipment after each use.

Space Hogs

In the gym, weight equipment is considered communal property, so don't sit on a machine while you rest between sets.  It's common courtesy to stand up and let a fellow gym member "work in" with you -- that's gym-speak for share nicely.

Machine Bullies

If Space Hogs had an equally evil twin, it would be the pests who hover nearby, ready to pounce the instant you go over the 30 minute time limit on the elliptical machine or who practically snatch the weights out of your hands before you've finished your last rep.  Karen Davis Athanassiadis, a student, said she despises "those who with much bravado demand you get off the treadmill!"

Onerous Odors

Extreme body odor, coffee breath, stinky feet, flatulence and overpowering perfumes -- enough said.

Noisy Neighbors

Save your conversations for elsewhere.  In the gym, no one wants to hear it, especially if you're yakking on a cellphone at a high decibel level about what's for dinner.  Chit-chatting seems to be especially prevalent in group fitness classes, forcing some gyms to institute a "no cellphone use while taking class" policy.

Exercise Faux Pas

The gym police are watching and they don't like what they see.  So if you're lifting more weight than you can handle, walking on the treadmill at 1 mile per hour while flipping through a magazine, or inventing a pointless exercise, please stop.  Nothing infuriates nutritionist Tony Ricci more than watching some guy use a massive squat rack for lightweight arm curls.  "Curling an Olympic bar with 5-pound plates on each side is a borderline useless movement that can be done anywhere in the gym.  It need not be done on a structure meant for real moves like squats, power cleans and deadlifts," he said.

Locker Room Exhibitionists

When you strut around the locker room, construction coordinator Dave Lukas asked, "Is it so hard to put a towel around you waist?!"  While everyone understands you must be nude for some period of time while you change, few have any tolerance for the guy or gal they perceive as remaining on display for too long.  It's an even bigger locker room pet peeve than the towel hoarder or the sink slob.

Buttinskies

Think twice before you offer unsolicited advice.  Not everyone appreciates it.  Ashley Nesby, an administrative coordinator, put it best: "I don't like when men think it is part of their civic, intrinsic duty to help us less fortunate, weaker and hopeless women with our weights, form or our well-thought-out routines in the gym.  It's almost as if their goal, besides haphazardly leaving monstrous weights strewn about the gym, is to teach us pretty little ladies how things should be done."

Unfit Fashion

More people than you realize are offended when you show up for a workout wearing jeans, especially if they're super short cutoffs that display your naughty bits every time you bend over to stretch your hamstrings.  But wearing shades and a Bluetooth headset -- that's the worst offense of all.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio