Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reflexology Mat Walking: High Intensity Walking

Is there such a thing as high intensity walking, cobblestone reflexology mat walking that produces quicker health results than usual walking? 

First, we note the idea of the high intensity workout. Much has been made recently about the value of high-intensity interval training. The idea is: use intervals of high intensity exercise in a shorter amount of time to get the same results as moderate exercise for a greater amount of time. 

Researchers at McMaster University showed that 10 minutes of cycling with high intensity all-out intervals (three of 20 seconds) sandwiched around regular cycling (2 minutes) equaled the health results of 45 minutes of moderate cycling, achieving results 5 times faster over a 12 week period. Both workouts included a 2-minute warm-up and 3-minute cool down. Insulin sensitivity and cardio respiratory fitness were among measurements compared.

It may just be that reflexology mat walking is a form of high intensity walking. Consider the research. In the well known Oregon Research Institute study, study participants who walked on a cobblestone reflexology mat for 45 minutes 3 times a week for 4 months lowered their diastolic blood pressure by 4.75 mm Hg. more than those who walked the same amount on a flat surface. Other studies have shown that walking 10,000 steps a day for 3 months helped study participants lower their diastolic blood pressure by an average of 8 mm Hg.

We’ve done the numbers: walking on a cobblestone reflexology mat lowers blood pressure more than twice as fast as walking on a flat surface. Cobblestone mat walking: 454 minutes per 1 mm Hg. of lowered diastolic blood pressure. Walking on a flat surface: 1050 minutes per 1 mm Hg. of lowered diastolic blood pressure. (Calculated on estimates that it takes 100 minutes to walk 10,000 steps.)

Un-Sit Your Life

Monday, August 8, 2016

This Job is Killing You — Literally

Now there’s proof. Your sitting job is actually killing you. Or, at least you’re at risk of dying younger.

An increase of up to 60% in risk of dying prematurely is seen in those who sit 8 hours a day on the job and don’t exercise. Those who engaged in moderate exercise (i. e. brisk walking, cycling) for an hour a day overcame the problems of sitting on the job. 

A million people can’t be wrong—or at least that’s how many individuals participated in the 16  studies examined by British researchers to determine the stark information about sitting and early death. 

“Scientists said sedentary lifestyles were now posing as great a threat to public health as smoking, and were causing more deaths than obesity. (Researchers said that globally, more than 5 million deaths a year are linked to physical inactivity – a similar number to lives lost to smoking, and a higher figure than that caused by obesity.)

“They urged anyone spending hours at their desk to change their daily routine to take a five minute break every hour, as well as exercise at lunchtimes and evenings.

“An hour of brisk walking or cycling spread over a day was enough to combat the dangers of eight hours sitting in the office, they said.

“Currently, public health advice in the UK recommends just half this level of activity.
But almost half of women and one third of men fail to achieve even this.”

Another study estimates “physical inactivity costs the global economy $67.5bn (billion) (£51.5bn) per year – the UK equivalent is £1.7bn – comprising $58.8bn in healthcare and $13.7bn in lost productivity.”

“Steven Ward, executive editor of UK Active, urged employers to do more to encourage workers to be more active during the working day.

“He also urged workers to do all they could to find time to get moving. 

“‘This report is showing that inactivity kills,’” he said. “‘When we realised (sic) this about smoking we tackled it – we need to do the same about our office culture.’”

“He called for changes in tax breaks, to encourage office workers to be more active, by providing free gym membership, or activity trackers, in the same way that (UK’s) Cycle to Work schemes let employers loan out bicycles as a tax-free benefit.”

A previous study addressed the impact on longevity of sitting during time off, time spent watching television. An hour of television viewing shortens one’s life by 22 minutes—the same amount as if one had smoked two cigarettes. Each hour reduces ones life by 1.8 years for women and 1.5 years for men. These are average numbers from a study about television viewing habits and longevity collected from 8,800 Australian adults over 6 years. The model was created by researchers Lennert Veerman et al. of the University of Queensland. “Compared with persons who watch no TV, those who spend a lifetime average of 6 h/day (hours per day) watching TV can expect to live 4.8 years less.” At the most extreme, those who watch the most television reduce their lives by 44 minutes for each hour of viewing for a total of up to 10.4 years in comparison to those who watch no television.

TV Watching = Unhealthy Brain

Sitting too much interferes with “mental skills that help people plan, organize and pay attention.” That’s what California researchers found when they followed 3,200 study participants’ television watching and exercise habits over twenty-five years. 

Those who watched more than 3 hours of television a day performed worse on three tests of cognitive function “that assessed the speed at which they processed information, their verbal memory and executive function.”  Those “who both exercised the least and watched more than 3 hours of TV per day were twice as likely to perform poorly on the cognitive tests, compared with those who spent little time watching TV but exercised more.

“It is not clear exactly why spending more time watching TV may be linked to worse cognitive performance later in life. One hypothesis is that television viewing is not a cognitively engaging way of spending time, Hoang said.

“Or it could be that people who watch a lot of TV and don't exercise much may have other unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as a poor diet, which might also contribute to their worse cognitive function, she said.”

Previous studies linked television watching to further cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s. One study found those who were physically inactive and whose primary recreational activity from ages 40 to 59 was television watching increased their risk for Alzheimer’s by 250%.  Another found each one hour of television viewing from the ages 40 to 59 increases the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by 1.3 times. Since 46% of the risk for Alzheimer’s is associated with heredity and 21% with physical inactivity, it could explain why television watching is especially detrimental to the cognitive function of some individuals.

Sitting too Much Taking a Toll on Mental Health

First it was our physical health. Now it’s our mental health.

“It” is how much we sit and the toll it takes on us. Prolonged sitting is linked by research to a long list of chronic illnesses and even premature death. Now the link has not only been made to our mental health but the list of concerns is getting longer.

First it was depression. Then it was self esteem. Now it’s anxiety. And, if you’re sitting on the job, it includes anxiety and depression.

• The more children or adults sat while watching TV, working on a computer or playing electronic games, the more they were at risk for anxiety. This finding by Australian researchers included concern for those whose excessive worry interferes with daily life. “Anxiety is a debilitating illness affecting 14 per cent of Australian adults, but it’s not just the everyday symptoms such as a racing heart and headaches that we get from our busy lives and financial pressures that we need to worry about. … “Anxiety has been linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer, so we need to identify ways to reduce the risk of this serious illness.”

• “… women who sat for more than seven hours a day were at a 47% higher risk for depressive symptoms than women who sat for four hours or less per day. Women who didn’t exercise had a 99 percent higher risk for depression compared with women who exercised for 30 minutes a day on most days.” Researchers reached these results after had tracking for 10 years some 9,000 Australian women whose age at the start of the study ranged from 50 to 55.

• “(Children) Watching TV for more than 2 hours per day was associated with unfavourable (sic) body composition, decreased fitness, lowered scores for self-esteem and pro-social behaviour (sic) and decreased academic achievement.” Canadian researchers reviewed 232 studies about children and sitting times including 983,840 participants to reach their conclusions.

• “New research demonstrates that sitting for longer than 6 hours a day at work not only carries a physical toll, but may also increase risks of mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.… “(Researchers) Kilpatrick and colleagues found that there was a significant relationship between rates of psychological distress and sitting. Employees who reported sitting for longer than 6 hours per day had increased prevalence of moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression relative to those who reported sitting for less than 3 hours a day.”