Posts Tagged ‘exercise’
Hola, amigos y amigas! Even though “close” may count in horseshoes, it isn’t often a word we connect in our mind with success. In fact, very few things in life count much at all if you don’t “hit the nail right on the head,” es verdad. As fortune would have it, this may not be entirely true when it comes to a long life. As a Hispanic woman and a chiropractora who has many middle-aged patients and who is also a big believer in the advantages of exercise at every age, I was very happy to read the following study.
Researchers found that of the “least-fit” versus the “slightly more fit” of the nearly 4,400 healthy Americans in their recent study, roughly 20 percent with the lowest physical fitness levels were twice as likely to die over the next nine years as the 20 percent with the next-lowest fitness levels. (That is to say, those 20 percent who were almost at the lowest fitness levels.) This is the familiar “bad news/good news” situation. It is undoubtedly bad news if you are a dyed-in-the-wool couch potato. But, it is definitely good news for those who haven’t completely embraced a sedentary lifestyle but are not, by any means, “exertive.” Apparently, those individuals who continue to be just moderately fit as they age may live longer than those who are completely out-of-shape, the study suggests.
Between 1986 and 2006, researchers evaluated the fitness levels of 4,384 middle-aged and senior men and women during exercise treatmill tests. The researchers then pursued the study groups progress for close to nine years. Such factors as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure were taken into consideration in the study. This, in and of itself, accentuates the importance of physical fitness itself. In an email to Reuters Health, Dr. Sandra Mandic, of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and lead researcher of the study wrote: “Our findings suggest that a sedentary lifestyle, rather than differences in cardiovascular risk factors or age, may explain the two-fold higher mortality rates in the least-fit versus slightly more fit individuals.”
Nearly two-thirds of the participants at the least-fit level failed to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, five or more days a week, which was the minimum recommended amount of exercise. “These results emphasize the importance of improving and maintaining high fitness levels by engaging in regular physical activity,” Mandic said, “particularly in poorly-fit individuals.”
Dividing the study group participants by fitness levels, the researchers discovered that 25 percent of the least-fit individuals had died during the study period, versus 13 percent of those who were in slightly better shape. Among adults in the most-fit group (the ones who “hit the nail right on the head,” so to speak) only 6 percent died during the follow-up period.
The notable finding was that overall, the five fitness-level groups showed little difference in their reported exercise habits over their adult lives, but where they differed was their activity levels in recent years. “Since it is recent physical activity that offers protection,” Mandic said, “it is important to maintain regular physical activity throughout life.”
In this particular study, regardless of weight and other health problems such as those mentioned above, fitness is undeniably linked to longevity. As such, exercise is vital to extending our lifespan. And, naturally, just think of the health benefits we could all experience if we worked our way up into the higher levels of fitness.
SOURCE: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, August 2009.
Getting enough exercise is a great challenge in today’s work-driven world: there are just too many reports to finish, too many accounts to attend to, and too many deals to close. A day at the gym can be too demanding for the busy executive, and a few hours spent at the treadmill can be hell for anyone rushing after a thousand deadlines.
A greater challenge, moreover, is getting the proper exercise: every minute of the one or two hours spent at the gym should count, and every exercise should put your muscles in stronger, better shape.
The hard gym floor, however, can tax greatly on your back and the soles of your feet, as the impact of either hard wood or stone can rattle your bones or strain your muscles. One alternative is using exercise ball routines to keep fit.
By using an exercise ball, even as a chair in your office, you can engage in easy exercise ball routines to keep your body in good shape without having to spend hours on the stationary bike or aerobics class floor.
The use of an exercise ball does not only ease your body from the impact of a hard gym floor. It allows you to concentrate on stretching your muscles and addressing major muscle groups that would otherwise feel worn out and pained after long hours of routine aerobic exercises or machine-based workouts.
Exercise ball routines, moreover, allow you to address muscle groups that would otherwise be left out in other conventional exercise routines. In fact, there are exercise ball routines built around strengthening your upper and lower abdominals, as well as the muscles of your hard-to-reach, but delicate lower back.
Before you engage in exercise ball routines, however, you must consult with your gym trainer on exercise ball routines that are best suited for your body type and fitness goals.
It can be difficult to design exercise ball routines if you have scoliosis or frequent lower back pains, so you also have to consult with your orthopedist or chiropractor on how you can avoid damaging your spine.