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Walking-The Real Benefits

Walking-The Real Benefits

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…..about Walking

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, its winter. It’s cold outside, and frequently gray.  Tell me again why I should get out of bed on a Saturday morning to walk with you?

A: You’ll feel better if you do.  Don’t just take my word for it:  Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., the author of a new book entitled The Joy of Movement, offered these good reasons in the January edition of Spry (Parade.com):

  • IT’S A STRESS-BUSTER – “… A 25-year-old study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found physical activity (walking) to be the most effective way to improve your mood. It beat eating, sleeping, and talking with friends.  ‘While it doesn’t eliminate stress, it does help us handle it with greater hope and calm. Plus, it tends to shift our mood toward a more positive outlook.’”

  • IT HELPS US CONNECT – “When exercising, World Walk To Wellness the brain releases chemicals, such as endorphins and endocannabinoids, which increase the pleasure we take from connecting with others,’ McGonigal says. ‘If you want to strengthen a relationship, take a walk  If you want to form new friendships, find a place where you can move with others.  If you struggle with social anxiety, regular exercise can make it easier and more enjoyable to spend time with others.’”

  • IT BOOSTS YOUR BRAIN – “

    Physical activity is already linked to better brain health, and McGonigal says that regular exercise (walking) can not only protect against Alzheimer’s disease but also strengthen the brain’s reward system. ‘This can relieve depression and make you better able to experience everyday pleasures,’ she says.

  • IT CAN MAKE YOU HAPPIER –

    Being active with a group boosts the “feel-good” effect of movement more than exercising alone. “After being physically active with a group, people feel more optimistic, more hopeful, and more connected to others.”

So, less stress and/or depression, improved relationships, and increased happiness…isn’t that worth getting up and out for a walk?

 

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, “Walk ‘n’ Talk” to CONNECT, AND STAY WELL

Weight Loss…the elusive goal

Weight Loss…the elusive goal

 

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…about Losing Weight and Obesity

 

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, am I the only one who repeats the same resolution for each New Year — namely, to lose weight?

A: Nope!  That very well may be the most common item on people’s lists of New Year’s Resolutions. Losing weight seems Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends about weight loss and obesity - scale and measuring tapelike a more elusive goal as we age.  However, it is an important one.  A recent newspaper article by Sandee LaMotte of CNN gave a dire prediction. It stated that half of Americans will be obese within a decade unless major changes are made.

The prediction is based on an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The study analyzed 26 years if Body Mass Index (BMI) data from over 6 million American adults.  The researchers concluded that by 2030, 1 in 4 Americans will have “a body mass index over 35. This means they will be more than 100 pounds overweight.”  That implies huge health and economic repercussions.

“In all 50 states, at least 35% of the population will be obese, the study found.” Hardest hit are 29 states, mostly in the Midwest and South, where the prediction is that 50% of their residents will be considered obese. Sub-populations most at risk for severe obesity include “women, non-Hispanic black adults, and low-income adults who make less than $50,000 per year.”  For adults “with less than $20,000 annual household income, severe obesity will be the most common BMI category in 44 states,” according to lead author Zachary Ward.

How has this happened?  Following are some of the factors:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages and ultra-processed foods are more widely available
  • Food prices – “including unhealthy fast-food choices” – have fallen (when adjusted for inflation)
  • Many people have limited options for physical activity

What can be done to avoid the predictions for obesity?  Here are some ideas shared in the article:

  • Improving local public transportation systems to encourage walking instead of driving
  • Keeping public schools open on weekends and summers to provide access to gymnasiums and swimming pools
  • Increasing support for farmers’ markets to provide more access to low-cost fruits and vegetables
  • Eliminating tax deductions to businesses for advertising unhealthy foods to children

An earlier Harvard study found that “the most cost-effective solution was the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The study found the tax saved $30 in health care costs for every dollar spent on the program.”

As you can see from these studies, all Americans need to be aware of the problem of accelerating rates of obesity in our nation.  Perhaps a more reasonable New Year’s Resolution for you would be to avoid gaining any more weight in the coming year.  The ultimate goal is to stay healthy.  And the best ways to do that and to lose weight are….

 

EAT RIGHT,  MOVE MORE,  AND STAY WELL

Weight Loss…the elusive goal

Losing weight…the elusive goal

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…..about Weight Loss and Obesity

 

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, am I the only one who repeats the same resolution for each New Year — namely, to lose weight?

A: Nope!  That very well may be the most common item on people’s lists of New Year’s Resolutions. Losing weight seems Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends about weight loss and obesity - scale and measuring tapelike a more elusive goal as we age.  However, it is an important one.  A recent newspaper article by Sandee LaMotte of CNN gave the dire prediction that half of Americans will be obese within a decade unless major changes are made.

The prediction is based on an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The study analyzed 26 years if Body Mass Index (BMI) data from over 6 million American adults.  The researchers concluded that by 2030, 1 in 4 Americans will have “a body mass index over 35, which means they will be more than 100 pounds overweight.”  That implies huge health and economic repercussions.

“In all 50 states, at least 35% of the population will be obese, the study found.” Hardest hit are 29 states, mostly in the Midwest and South, where the prediction is that 50% of their residents will be considered obese. Sub-populations most at risk for severe obesity include “women, non-Hispanic black adults, and low-income adults who make less than $50,000 per year.”  For adults “with less than $20,000 annual household income, severe obesity will be the most common BMI category in 44 states,” according to lead author Zachary Ward.

How has this happened?  Here are some of the factors:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages and ultra-processed foods are more widely available
  • Food prices – “including unhealthy fast-food choices” – have fallen (when adjusted for inflation)
  • Many people have limited options for physical activity

What can be done to avoid the predictions for obesity?  Here are some ideas shared in the article:

  • Improving local public transportation systems to encourage walking instead of driving
  • Keeping public schools open on weekends and summers to provide access to gymnasiums and swimming pools
  • Increasing support for farmers’ markets to provide more access to low-cost fruits and vegetables
  • Eliminating tax deductions to businesses for advertising unhealthy foods to children

An earlier Harvard study found that “the most cost-effective solution was the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The study found the tax saved $30 in health care costs for every dollar spent on the program.”

As you can see from these studies, all Americans need to be aware of the problem of accelerating rates of obesity in our nation.  Perhaps a more reasonable New Year’s Resolution for you would be to avoid gaining any more weight in the coming year.  The ultimate goal is to stay healthy.  And the best ways to do that are….

EAT RIGHT,  MOVE MORE,  AND STAY WELL

Make A Difference

Make A Difference

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…..about Making A Difference.

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, am I the only one who feels a bit of a letdown once the winter holidays are over?

A: I’m guessing that a lot of us feel that way, once family members have dispersed and holiday decorations have been put away. One antidote to the post-holiday blues is to get involved with others.

You can find out many ways to do that at the Make A Difference For Pleasanton Festival LogoJanuary Make A Difference Festival here in Pleasanton – see info below and watch for further details in the next newsletter.

Here are more suggestions from groomandstyle.com, in an article by Rebecca Moses:

“Ways to Help People

“As you declutter your home [after] the holidays, set aside some items to donate:

  • Give unopened, non-perishable food, such as canned goods.
  • Consider outgrown winter clothes, particularly coats.
  • Keep an ear out for drives to collect items such as school supplies.

“Volunteer your time and skills (will make a difference):

  • Help at shelters and soup kitchens.
  • Volunteer at tutoring and literacy centers.
  • Mentor teens.
  • Help at an animal rescue.
  • Work at mental health and help hotlines.
  • Write grants for charitable organizations.

“To incorporate volunteering into your plans, you can even organize a group volunteering effort.

“Things to Watch Out For
  • Know what you want to get out of your service. Helping others is an act of gratitude, but you can’t always expect a lot of praise in return.
  • Know what you are willing to give to avoid feeling resentment.”

As many of us have learned through experience, volunteers get as much as those that they help. It is a great way to “get connected and stay connected” to your community. The Make A Difference For Pleasanton Festival is the place to find where you can volunteer your time to help make a difference in someone’s life or in the community. Come by the Pleasanton Senior Center on January 18th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and talk with the 60+ exhibitors who will be sharing how Volunteers can “Get Connected and Stay Connected” and Make A Difference. I wish you a positive New Year!

 EAT RIGHT,  MOVE MORE,  AND STAY WELL

Healthier Feasting during the Holidays

Healthier Feasting during the Holidays

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…About Healthier Feasting

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, with winter holidays this month and next, are there any ways to make the feasting healthier?

A: You might anticipate some food indulgence between now and New Year’s Day, particularly because many families create special dishes that are enjoyed just once a year.  Pedometer.com Healthier FeastingGo ahead and sample them – with small portions.  If you are hosting a holiday feast, here are some suggestions for “lightening up holiday dishes without sacrificing tradition or taste” from Consumer Reports on Health:

  • FOR APPETIZERS, THINK FRESH – “Shrimp cocktail is festive and a better pick than fried hors d’oeuvres. Other healthy starters include spiced nuts or roasted chickpeas, pear or apple slices topped with a dollop of soft goat cheese (chevre) – which is lower in calories and fat than hard cheeses – and crudités with hummus or guacamole. If you prefer spinach or artichoke dip, use low-fat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.”

  • CHOOSE A HEALTHIER MEAT – “Roast turkey is the healthiest option, but if family tradition calls for pork or beef, the solution is to opt for healthier cuts.” (Beef tenderloin or top sirloin roast instead of prime rib; fresh ham instead of cured ham.)

  • SPICE IT UP – “If you use garlic, onion, and herbs (such as rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme) in a dish, you might not need to add salt. Acidic flavors, such as lemon or lime juice, can also perk up a recipe. (Lemon and garlic go with practically any vegetable.)”
  • BE SAVVY ABOUT SIDES – “Add fiber to stuffing by replacing half the bread with whole-wheat bread – or, better yet, quinoa or another whole grain –and add nuts and extra vegetables, such as celery, carrots, and onion. Cut back on the butter and use low-sodium stock to moisten.  For mashed potatoes, use Yukon Golds, which have a buttery flavor, and try swapping mashed cauliflower for one-quarter to half of the potatoes.  Make them creamy with evaporated skim milk in place of cream or butter….Instead of salty green beans or marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, try roasting carrots and parsnips or Brussel sprouts and red grapes.  Drizzle with olive oil, season, and cook until tender.   This brings out the vegetables’ sweetness and cuts prep time.”
  • LIGHTEN DESSERT – “You can often reduce the amount of sugar called for in recipes for cookies, cakes, and other baked goods by 10 to 25 percent with little difference in the outcome. (To cut 10percent, subtract 5 teaspoons for every cup of sugar in the recipe.) And to add some fiber, replace 25 percent of all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour, or half the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat white flour.  Like regular whole wheat, it contains all three parts of the grain, but it’s lighter in color, texture, and flavor.”

Even if you try only one of these suggestions, you will be making your holiday feast healthier for family, friends, and yourself.  Happy holidays!

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, AND STAY WELL

Why Fit More Walking Into Your Life?

Why Fit More Walking Into Your Life?

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…on Walking

September 4, 2019

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, you may have said this before, but please tell me again:  Why should we try to fit more walking into our life?

A: When Vivek Murthy was United States’ surgeon general, he “prescribed” a single activity for America to reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  Here are the nine reasons cited by Anna Almendrala, healthy living editor of the Huffington Post, for making walking an important part of your life:

LOWER RATES OF OBESITY – “A 2015 study found that even walking just 20 minutes a day can reduce your risk of premature death by 30 percent, and the Mayo Clinic notes that 30 minutes a day burns about 150 calories, which can help you reach a calorie deficit that leads to weight loss.”

PREVENT DIABETES – “Walking helps regulate blood sugar levels, which in turn keep insulin levels low and diabetes at bay. Walking group adding steps to their dayIn fact, walking for 15 minutes after every meal helped regulate blood sugar levels just as effectively as one 45-minute walk per day, according to a 2013 study, which is good for Americans daunted by one big walking session.”

GOOD FOR YOUR HEART – “If you walk at a clip where it feels comfortable to talk, but not comfortable enough to sing, then your heart is getting a great workout, Murthy noted.”

GENTLE ENOUGH FOR NEARLY EVERYBODY – “Pregnant? Morbidly obese?  Arthritic?  Walking is gentle enough for most people who have these conditions, doctors agree, and the activity can ease the pain of chronic illness – even if you have to start off with just two minutes a day.”

IMPROVES YOUR MOOD – “Moving your body is a well-known way to release endorphins, a set of feel-good chemicals that dull pain receptors in the brain, sedate you, and even give you a feeling of happiness and euphoria.  That’s why exercise in general, and walking in particular, is recommended to help improve symptoms of mild to moderate depression”

HELPS YOU SLEEP BETTER – “There’s a reason that travel experts advise you to walk around a new city on the day you arrive.  Exposing your body to the sunlight and staying outside until it grows dark helps recalibrate the hormone melatonin to your new surroundings and time zone.  As melatonin rises, so do feelings of sleepiness.”

WALKING IS AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE – “There’s no gym membership, fancy exercise clothing, or even walking-specific shoes you need to start.  You also don’t have to be trained to learn how to walk properly. All you need is a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes!”

MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS – “One in two Americans don’t know their neighbors.  Remedy that today by taking a walk around your block.  You’d be surprised at how many friendly faces you see and meet!”

INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF SEEING BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES, AND SUNSETS BY A MILLION – “This one isn’t a scientific fact, but it just makes sense.  Take a page from the immensely successful memoir Wild, in which Cheryl Strayed wrote, ‘There’s a sunrise and sunset every day.  You can choose to be there for it.  You can put yourself in the way of beauty.’”

I hope that any one of those good reasons will help you decide to schedule walks most days of the week.

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, AND SLEEP WELL TO BE WELL.

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