Small amounts of daily exercise add up for lifelong health
Don't have time to go to the gym? Don't despair. New research from Oregon State University suggests small bursts of activity scattered throughout the day can be as good for your overall health as a gym workout.
You probably won't get ripped abs or lose significant amounts of weight, but simple activities such as climbing the stairs a few times a day or pacing while you talk on the phone can prevent metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, researchers found.
The study drew on a nationally representative sample of more than 6,000 Americans. Forty-three percent of those who engaged in brief physical activity throughout the day met the federally recommended physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes a day, according to a news release. Less than 10 percent of people who favored longer workouts met those guidelines, perhaps because they run out of time to train.
“You hear that less than 10 percent of Americans exercise, and it gives the perception that people are lazy,” said Brad Cardinal, an Oregon State professor and co-author of the study, in the release. “Our research showed that more than 40 percent of adults achieved the exercise guidelines by making movement a way of life. … This is a more natural way to exercise, just to walk more and move around a bit more. We are designed by nature as beings who are supposed to move.”
Instead of driving to the corner store, walk or ride a bike. Use commercial breaks as an opportunity for some quick activity.
Those looking to lose weight may want to pair short physical activities with longer workouts; the study found a small correlation between structured workouts and decreased BMI, or Body Mass Index.
The study can be found in the current issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Support group sets meeting
Have you or someone you care about been affected by thyroid cancer? Learn more about the disease and meet with others who understand what it's like by attending a ThyCa support group in Oklahoma City.
The support group is free and is part of the national Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association, Inc.
Attendees are encouraged to ask questions and share knowledge they've gained. The group also seeks to improve communications between cancer patients/survivors and health care workers.
The group meets from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month. The next meeting is on Saturday.
Although ThyCa is not affiliated with any hospital or medical group, Integris Baptist Medical Center allows the group to meet in its Bennett Meeting Room on the concourse level of the hospital, 3300 Northwest Expressway.
For more information about the local support group, call Carolyn Hyden at 721-4426 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about ThyCa and its other free services, call (877) 588-7904 or go to www.thyca.org.
February is American Heart Month
About 12,600 Oklahomans died from heart disease in 2012.
“Heart disease continues to be a major issue — for both men and women — with Oklahoma ranking 48th in the country,” said Dr. Glenn Lytle, medical director of the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality, in a news release.
Lytle is asking Oklahomans to support the nationwide Million Hearts campaign, which seeks to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes.
“People can lower their risk,” Lytle said in the release, “and Million Hearts can help people make heart healthy choices and take the right steps if they need treatment.”
The foundation offers these tips for preventing heart disease:
Talk to your doctor so you understand your risks and, if necessary, treatment options.
Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
Ask your doctor if you should take an aspirin every day.
Find out if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol; if you do, get treatment.
Stop smoking. Seek help if you can't do it on your own.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables while avoiding sodium and trans fat.
Medicare covers certain screenings and doctor visits for preventive heart care, the release notes. For details, go to www.medicare.gov. Click on the links marked “What Medicare Covers” and “Preventive Services.”
Want to join the Million Hearts movement? Take the pledge at www.millionhearts.hhs.gov.
Compiled by Ken Raymond, Staff Writer