Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Flat, flexible footwear may be gentler on arthritic knees than special walking shoes

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center showed that “flat, flexible footwear significantly reduces the load on the knee joints compared with supportive, stable shoes with less flexible soles.” Dr. Najia Shakoor, a rheumatologist and primary author of the study noted that “clogs and stability shoes, conventionally believed to provide appropriate cushioning and support, actually increased the loading on the knee joints …” Please click below for a report from Ivanhoe newswire.




Cardiac Patients Help Out Lucky Shelter Dogs

Thursday, July 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Cardiac Friends is an outstanding program under way in Waukesha, Wisconsin, that enlists heart patients as volunteers to take dogs, who are housed at a local shelter, on regular walks healthful for both the human and canine participants. As reported by HealthDay News, the program is a partnership between the county’s Humane Animal Welfare Society and ProHealth Care (PHC), involving medically approved cardiac patients of PHC’s Waukesha Memorial Hospital.

These dog walkers have undergone procedures such as angioplasty, stent implantation and open heart surgery. Regular exercise with their canine companions lowers their risk for another cardiac event, helps control cholesterol levels, reduces blood pressure, helps counter depression and provides an opportunity to be needed and to make a difference.

From a shelter dog’s point of view, getting out of the kennel often to enjoy some physical recreation with a friendly, attentive visitor helps the animal stay mentally and physically fit while waiting for his or her new "forever home."

At this time, all of the patient-volunteers in the Cardiac Friends program (now approximately one year old) are men in their seventies. They visit the shelter three times per week, for an hour or longer, to get outdoors with their canine buddies, play fetch and walk along an enticing foot-path through an adjacent meadow.

Shelter coordinator Sara Falk told HealthDay News that the Cardiac Friends volunteers are among her favorites thanks to their reliability and since "… they are taking longer walks than a lot of the other walkers because they have fitness in mind."


Walking and Stroke Risk

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

A nearly 12-year follow-up study of 39,315 women (average age 54) has found that women who walked two or more hours per week had a significantly lower risk for stroke than non-walkers. Those who usually walked at a brisk pace also had a significantly lower risk than women who didn’t walk. The study’s results were recently published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association (AHA).

Compared to women who did not walk:

  • Women who walked two or more hours per week had a 30 percent lower risk for any type of stroke.
  • Women who walked two or more hours per week had a 57 percent lower risk for hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke.
  • Women who usually walked more than two hours per week had a 21 percent lower risk for ischemic (clot-related) stroke.
  • Compared to women who did not walk, those who usually walked at a brisk pace had a:

  • 37 percent lower risk for any type of stroke.
  • 68 percent lower risk for hemorrhagic stroke.
  • 25 percent lower risk for ischemic stroke.
  • In the study, walking pace was categorized as:

  • Casual — about 2 mph,
  • Normal — 2 to 2.9 mph,
  • Brisk — 3 to 3.9 mph, and
  • Very brisk — 4 mph.
  • Lead researcher Jacob Sattelmair of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston offered this practical advice for pacing oneself: "If you cannot talk, slow down a bit. If you can sing, walk a bit faster."

    Forms of physical activity other than walking were also addressed by the study. The women who were most active in their leisure time activities were 17 percent less likely to have any type of stroke compared to the least active women. Sattelmair said, "Though the exact relationship among different types of physical activity and different stroke subtypes remains unclear, the results of this specific study indicate that walking, in particular, is associated with lower risk of stroke."

    It is still unclear how walking, specifically, affects stroke risk in men. For substantial health benefits, the AHA recommends that all adults perform at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or a combination.

    To see the AHA news release on this study, click here.


    Walking: To Your Health!

    Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Here’s how a distinguished English historian and biographer, who lived from 1876 to 1962, thought of his regular walking regimen:

    "I have two doctors, my left leg and my right."

    – George McCaulay Trevelyan


    Let’s Get Outdoors!

    Monday, May 17th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    At the Colchester Campus of the UK’s University of Essex, research conducted by Dr. Jo Barton and Professor Jules Pretty has shown that a small amount of daily "green exercise" — for example, taking a stroll through a pleasant park or garden — will improve people’s mood, self-esteem and mental health. In fact, they found that just five minutes of such nature-based physical activity produced the greatest positive effect.

    Prior work by the two researchers had already reinforced connections among nature, exercise in green environments and health benefits. In the new study, all natural environments were seen to be beneficial, including urban green spaces. Natural settings that included the presence of water generated especially desirable results.

    To read the University of Essex news release about this study, click on


    Phone a Friend for Fitness

    Monday, May 3rd, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Here’s a tip for incorporating more physical activity into your daily schedule. American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) president Janie Clark suggests that, instead of sitting down for a long "gab-fest" with absent friends and family, you make a "walk and talk" phone date. You can coordinate with your sister in Seattle, your old roommate in Cleveland or your mother in Boca Raton to "meet" for a walk at a pre-set time.

    Describing your surroundings as you walk may even help to create new conversation topics and shared experiences of nature and the great outdoors. Plus, differing fitness levels won’t be a factor.

    Janie recommends utilizing a phone with a headset to allow for freedom of arm movement and selecting a safe walking environment where neither traffic nor the occasional distraction might put you at risk of injury. Health-fitness professionals, you may wish to pass this idea along to the clients you’ve been encouraging to do some walking on their own between scheduled fitness sessions under your direction.


    Walking Away Menopause’s Downside

    Monday, April 19th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Canadian researchers placed sedentary, moderately obese women who were recently post-menopausal or soon approaching menopause on a 16-week walking program. Their results, published in the journal Menopause and reported by Reuters Health, suggest that walking at a comfortable pace for 45 minutes per day, three days per week, can ameliorate some of the cares associated with menopause. Researchers noted that the 45-minute total can be accumulated by taking shorter walks during the course of a day.

    Both groups of women (pre- and post-menopausal) lost weight after 16 weeks. The pre-menopausal group lost more pounds and more fat mass, while the post-menopausal group enjoyed a greater reduction in waist size and benefited from an increase in lean mass.

    Both groups also improved in ratings of well-being. The pre-menopausal group made greater strides in vitality, social functioning, and overall physical activity. The post-menopausal group excelled in terms of general health, emotional/mental health, everyday physical functioning, and the reduction of bodily pain.


    More on Walking

    Monday, April 19th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    With the weather growing more moderate, it’s an especially good time to start a regular program of walking. The Arthritis Foundation points out several physical benefits one can gain from walking, for example:

  • Weight control;
  • Lowered risk of stroke;
  • Reduced blood pressure; and
  • Decreased pressure on one’s joints.
  • But that’s not all. Below are a number of mental benefits that the Arthritis Foundation wants us to know we stand to gain from walking:

  • Slowed mental decline — In a large study of women ages 65-plus, those walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17 percent decline in memory over time, compared to a 25 percent decline in those walking less than 0.5 mile per week.
  • Lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease — In a study of men ages 71 to 93, those walking more than one-fourth mile per day had half the incidence of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those walking less.
  • Better sleep — In a study of women ages 50 to 75, those taking one-hour daily walks were more likely to relieve insomnia than those not walking.
  • Improved mood state — In a study of depressed patients, walking for 30 minutes per day was found to be more effective than antidepressant medications.
  • An opportunity for soothing meditation — Arthritis Today magazine cites race-walking medalist Carolyn Kortge’s testimonial to the value of daily outdoor walking in managing her arthritis. It helps change her focus from the pain to a meditative frame of mind.
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