Brisk, Regular Walking Helps Lessen Heart Disease Risk

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health Publications, please share your comments below…..

familywalk2A regular walking routine can lower blood pressure, stave off diabetes, and prevent heart disease. Finding walking buddies, using a pedometer, and following a walking workout plan may help people stick to a program.

Walking is a low-impact, do-anywhere exercise that helps lower blood pressure and stave off diabetes. And two large, long-term Harvard studies suggest that walking for about 20 minutes a day may cut the risk of heart disease by as much as 30%, according to the December 2015 Harvard Heart Letter.

But many people need some added inspiration to start — and stick with — a walking program. One of the best ways is to find walking buddies, says Dr. Lauren Elson, physical medicine and rehabilitation instructor at Harvard Medical School. “I find that if I can get someone to walk with — a partner, a spouse, or a friend — that helps a lot.” Even better is getting several friends to walk together, because they all hold each other accountable. “They call each other up and say, ‘Where are you?’” Dr. Elson says.

Other people find motivation by using a pedometer to track their steps and distance, says Dr. Elson. One review of 26 studies found that people who used pedometers raised their physical activity levels by nearly 27%, adding about 2,500 steps a day. Most stores that sell exercise equipment have inexpensive pedometers. Other options include smartphone apps that track steps, such as Moves, Breeze, or Pedometer++.

For people who’ve had a heart attack or been diagnosed with heart disease, walking is an ideal exercise because it can be easily adapted based on a person’s fitness level. People with heart failure should ask their physician to recommend a cardiac rehabilitation program to safely reap the benefits of exercise. This type of supervised exercise is particularly helpful for people who haven’t been active for a while.

Read the full-length article: “Marching orders: How to start a walking program”

Also in the November 2015 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter:

* Cardiac rehabilitation: Best medicine for recovery

* Heart-friendly holiday eating

* When blood pressure dips too low

The Harvard Heart Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Preparing For A Family Walking Holiday

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By Danielle Steele

familyGetting out and about with your loved ones is certainly a fantastic experience. This is even more so when you plan on trekking through the wilderness for days on end, enjoying some of the finest sights that nature can provide. As well as experiencing some amazing vistas, you’ll also keep fit and active, bonding with your loved ones in a manner that brings everyone together. Of course, you’ll need to plan your journey in the right way, especially since you’ll have to take care of your family in remote locations away from standard facilities. Here, we’ll look at a few of the most important aspects to consider when preparing for your next walking holiday.

Is the Route Suitable?

Since you’ll want to make the upcoming trekking adventure as enjoyable as possible, you’ll also need to think about your family’s physical capabilities as well as the type of outdoor gear you own. In this regard, you’ll need to choose a route that matches their exercise level. When researching nearby trails, keep an eye on the following characteristics:

• Amount of incline
• Change in altitude
• Type of walking surface
• Surrounding scenery

If you’re going on your first walking holiday, choose a path that’s relatively flat and that has a well-marked path. This will help remove most of the hurdles, giving you a simple holiday itinerary that each member of your family can enjoy regardless of their fitness ability.

Do You Have the Right Gear?

Now, you’ll need to prepare your loved ones for the forthcoming journey by supplying them with the necessary gear. If you’re spending a few nights in the wilderness, you’ll need a decent tent, some cooking supplies, and the right bathing necessities to make a comfortable journey in which everyone can enjoy themselves significantly. You’ll also need to think about the clothing that you bring along. Avoid purchasing anything too cheap as this won’t be durable enough for the expedition.

Is Your Family Prepared?

Now that you’ve got the right equipment, you’ll have to hone your loved one’s physical capabilities to get through the upcoming walking holiday with ease. After all, if you just spend your time in front of the television, going on a three-day trek with no fitness preparation is a recipe for disaster. This means that you should plan an exercise routine before you depart to build up your loved ones’ fitness levels. You can do this by putting on your walking gear and heading to the park every weekend. Start by trekking to the maximum limit possible and then build up the duration slowly each time that you and your family practise your walking after that.

What Belongings Do You Need?

Now, you’ll need to think about what you should take along with you on your next wilderness adventure. You’ve bought your clothing and accessories, but you should also think about other items as well. Some of the most important include:

• Food and beverages
• Toiletries and bathing products
• First aid and medication
• Maps, compasses and guidebooks
• Cameras, GPS trackers, etc.

Depending on where you’re going, you’ll need different items for your adventure. For example, those walking through villages might be able to stay in a local motel instead of a tent. Likewise, if you’re passing a river, lake or waterfall, you should bring along some swimming gear, towels and sunscreen so you and the family can cool down along the way.

– Danielle Steele represents Trekwear, a company based in the United Kingdom that offers clothing and merchandise for skiing, running, and cycling. Find out more of the products such as walking sandals available from Trekwear on their website.

Fitness For The Frequent Traveler

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By Warwick Ford

malepushupWhile a motivated person may easily keep fit and keep weight under control when at home, the situation is different for those regularly on the road.

The Fitness Hazard for Travelers

Frequent business travelers face considerable challenges in keeping fit:

• They spend larger than average amounts of time in sedentary situations such as sitting in aircraft, vehicles, restaurants, and bars;

• They are likely to suffer from more stress and poorer sleep owing to time zone changes and extended work hours;

• Their diets may suffer owing to the temptation to increase intake of comfort foods;

• They are deprived of many of their regular fitness generating activities, including their sports partners, sporting and social clubs, family members, and local team activities.

One of the few fitness fallbacks that travelers have is the hotel gym. However, the average hotel gym is not a particularly attractive place – often hot and stuffy, with less equipment than one would like, and not quite the right companions. Such factors typically cause hotel guests to spend less time in the gym than they really should to maintain fitness.

Some travel advisers advocate exercising in the hotel room but that idea is of little help. Any trainer will confirm that a good exercise session demands breaking a sweat, which is simply not practical in the hotel room. Any hotel room activity that approaches an adequate workout will unquestionably cause more of an annoyance to neighboring room guests than it provides benefit to the person exercising.

Why Not Just Run?

girljogThere is one activity that can keep a traveler fit, while increasing wellness generally – running (or jogging or athletic walking) outdoors. This activity is very efficient, requires carrying only a pair of running shoes, shirt, and shorts, is invigorating in fresh air and a new environment, can be done alone or with company, and is very inexpensive. In fact, there are so many good qualities one might wonder why more travelers do not systematically run outdoors in places they visit.

The resistance to running outdoors stems mainly from concerns about possible security risks, possible road traffic incursions, and other unknowns that might lead to some form of unpleasantness.

But all cities have some places where one can run with other runners around and without substantial concerns of the above type.

Plan Your Routes Wisely

A traveler needs solid, reliable information to help make an on-foot outing a truly enjoyable experience. This will motivate the traveler to actually venture out. Here are some general factors that combine to make an on-foot route irresistible:

• Good underfoot conditions;

• A “good” neighborhood; nasty surprises are unlikely;

• Not too many other people and not too few;

• Minimal disruptions from intersecting auto roads;

• Pretty scenery; interesting sites to pass along the way;

• Public transit to the start and finish points;

• A loop route is more enjoyable than an out-and-back route;

• A suitable place to wind down for a refreshing beverage or snack at the end.

joggersTaking into account all the above requirements, plan your routes wisely. Ask your local hotel staff for route recommendations but treat their recommendations cautiously since many staff members have limited first-hand knowledge of running or walking conditions. More importantly, buy and consult a good local runners’ guidebook or map.

When in an unfamiliar city, get outdoors and run or walk as much as you can. Plan your routes well. You can find this activity enormously enjoyable, educational, and great for your fitness.

– Warwick Ford, a marathon runner, was a frequent business traveler before retiring as a corporate executive. He and his wife Nola have personally researched the top running and walking routes in many major US cities. Their book Fun on Foot in America’s Cities describes the running conditions and most visitor-friendly routes in 14 major US cities. They also have detailed running/walking guide books on the Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia regions. Their books and much other relevant information are available from their website

Walking To School Enhances Cognitive Skills

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familywalkFrom Your Health Journal…..”A great article I wanted to share and plug today from the Green Bay Gazette written by Patti Zarling entitled Walking to school said to improve kids’ studies. In a day and age where many experts are worried that this generation of children could be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, it is refreshing to read an article that not only promotes physical activity, but improving cognitive skills. So many children have become sedentary in the technological era – where they play on the laptops or video games rather than play outside. The definition of play has truly changed over the last decade. So many children take a bus to school, whereas many years ago, so many children walked or biked to school. Times have certainly changed. But, effort needs to be made to make change in the daily routine of children, and bring back some of those ‘lost arts’ ‘ which include physical activity. Walking to school on a regular basis is one such change that can make a difference in a child’s life. Not only will it improve them physically, but also cognitively. Even if you live far from the school, possibly go for a morning walk with your child before the bus arrives. Please visit the Green Bay Gazette web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. It was well written and informative.”

From the article…..

Walking and biking to school can not only help prevent childhood obesity, but that physical activity also can help students do well in class, a local health advocate says.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says kids should get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. But surveys show 30 percent of high school-aged students in Wisconsin don’t get that, according to Melinda Morella, community engagement specialist for Live54218, a nonprofit that promotes healthy lifestyles in Brown County.

She noted that since the 1960s the number of kids who walk to school has decreased by about 50 percent.

“At the same time we’re seeing obesity rates go up,” Morella said. “This is something to be concerned about.”

According to the CDC, obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents nationwide in the past 30 years.

The percentage of 6- to 11-year-olds in the U.S. who were obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2010, the most recent figures available. The percentage of adolescents who were obese increased from 5 percent to 18 percent in the same time period.

The federal agency found that more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2010.

Exercise can help combat that and young people who walk or bike to school automatically build physical activity into their day, Morella said.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Children Then & Now

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From Your Health Journal…..”I found such a great article today online from ‘Wicked Local – Norton’ by Harry Chase, that I had to promote and share it here. I hope all of you visit the Wicked Local web site (link provided below) to read the complete story. Mr. Chase starts the article by discussing a change he has noticed over the years, where children do not walk to school anymore, rather – many are taking the bus or in the family car. Mr. Chase reminisces on how he used to walk miles to school every day, how nobody took a bus. Mr. Chase continues to discuss the amount of homework kids get these days – which reduces the play time outside. He points out how childhood obesity is on the rise, and many children suffer from heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, weak bones, and low self-esteem. This article brought a smile to my face, as I found it very refreshing. I provided a short snip below, but please visit the Wicked Local site to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

The most obvious difference between schoolchildren in the present iPhone age and in the Neanderthal era when I attended classes is that I almost never see today’s kids walking to school.

As early as 6:45 a.m., while I’m doing my daily exercises, I see from my bedroom window the school buses rolling past, accumulating long lines of vehicles behind them as they stop every 200 yards to pick up pupils.

Some parents turn up their noses at buses and add to the traffic by chauffeuring their youngsters to school in the family car.

In my boyhood, when Mansfield had 10 schoolhouses and no buses, every child lived within 11/2-mile walking distance of an elementary school. Multiply that mileage by four, because we came home for dinner (as lunch was called).

Beginning at age 5, when I entered first grade, I hiked 20 miles weekly to and from Roland Green School on Dean Street. By second grade I ran it. I think this exercise has worked in my favor all the rest of my life.

It’s true that many if not most kids today don’t live within walking distance of their schools. And without question, buses are better than the old inefficient one-room one-teacher neighborhood schoolhouses.

Yet does anyone ever think that maybe – just maybe — the rate of childhood obesity, which in the U.S. has more than tripled in the last 30 years, might somehow be related to the fact that children no longer walk (or run) to school?

Another difference between school kids then and now is that these days even small fry await their buses loaded like Grand Canyon pack mules with knapsacks almost as big as themselves. I assume the packs carry homework. We had no homework until seventh grade and that usually consisted of one or two books easily toted in the hand.

To read the full article…..Click here