Walk fast to get help with with weight loss.
Walking has been promoted as an easy way to lose weight and stay in shape, but is it really effective? That is exactly what the reviewed researched investigated.
The participants a total of 4511 adults aged 18-64 years were included in the study(Fan JX, et al. 2013). The body mass index (BMI) were measured and accelerometers were used to evaluate minutes per day of high intensity bouts of walking of either 10 minutes or more, or less than 10 minutes. This was compared with lower intensity walking of 10 minutes or more per day and lower intensity walking of less than 10 minutes per day.
It was found that both higher intensity short-duration or walking long-duration were related to reduced BMI or risk of overweight/obesity. Neither the short walks or the long walks of lower intensity were found to have a positive effect on BMI or risk of overweight/obesity.
The message is that even less than 10 minutes of walking per day can help you prevent weight gain if it is high intensity walking. This is another example showing that it is the intensity of the exercise you do that is important, not the time you spend doing it. The more intense you exercise, the less time you need to spend doing it.
Is extreme endurance training and competitions like marathons healthy?
No one can dispute that regular exercise is beneficial, but sometimes we tend to think that more is better.
The reviewed research investigated the effects of training for, and the participation in endurance competitions like marathon ultra-marathon, Iron-man distance triathlons and very long-distance bicycle racing (Patil HR, et al. 2012).
In veteran extreme endurance athletes the recurrent injury and repair to the heart muscle that occur in these athletes may essentially create arrhythmias.
Chronic excessive and sustained endurance exercise may be associated with diastolic dysfunction, large-artery wall stiffening and coronary artery calcification.
Don’t draw the conclusion that exercise is dangerous, and that it is better not to exercise, because that is not true. Most endurance athletes don’t even develop these conditions, but if you’re thinking about starting to run marathons for health reasons, you may want to rethink that and instead start to do high-intensity interval training. High-intensity interval training takes a lot less time, and has shown to provide numerous health benefits.
Fiber rich food is more important than you may think.
Most people know that fiber can help to keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy and prevent constipation. While this is true there are many other reasons why it is important to eat fiber rich food.
The reviewed study investigated whether a fiber-rich diet measured by a fiber index is associated with lower rates of metabolic syndrome when compared to a diet low in saturated fat or cholesterol as measured by a saturated fat index and a cholesterol index (Carlson JJ, et al. 2011). The metabolic syndrome is recognized by a cluster of symptoms, increased waist circumference, elevated blood pressure, triglycerides and blood sugar and decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL). These type of symptoms are now seen in more and more people even in adolescents. The study participants were 12 to 19 year old boys and girls.
It was found that each quintile increase in the fiber index was associated with a 20% decrease of the metabolic syndrome. Neither the saturated fat index nor the cholesterol index was found to be significantly associated with the metabolic syndrome.
It is not only how much you weigh, but where you carry your weight that is important.
The latest research on the association of body fat and the risk of death was just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a very prestigious publication (Pischon T, et al, 2008). Most of the studies in the past have relied on the body mass index (BMI) and only few have examined if it is important where the fat is distributed.
This study however, which was really large, it included 359,387 participants from nine countries in Europe, looked at both BMI, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio as it relates to the risk of death. The follow-up was 9.7 years.
The lowest risks of death were observed at a BMI of 25.3 for men and 24.3 for women. The researchers also found that waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio were strongly associated with the risk of death, the bigger waist circumference and the bigger waist-to-hip ratio, the higher was the risk of death.
The investigations concluded that both general adiposity and abdominal adiposity are associated with the risk of death.
Pischon T, et al. General and abdominal adiposity and risk of death in Europe. N Engl J Med. 2008 Nov 13;359(20):2105-20.