Walking Tips

Sit Less Often to Reduce Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Levels

Sit Less Often To Reduce Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Levels

Even if you exercise regularly at the gym or on your at-home weight bench, sitting for prolonged periods of time can still lead to increased blood sugar and cholesterol levels, concludes a new study published July 31 in the European Heart Journal.

The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study used activity monitors to track the length of time 789 participants spent sitting or lying down, standing, walking, and running during their day. Monitors were worn and data was compiled for a full seven days – 24 hours a day. They were also measured for vital statistics including blood pressure, height, weight, and waist circumference. Blood samples were also taken. Participants included both men and women ranging in age from 36 to 80.

Researchers discovered that substituting just two hours of sitting with standing per day was associated with a reduction of average triglycerides by 11 percent and a two percent reduction in blood sugar levels. A drop in bad cholesterol, or LDL and an increase in good cholesterol, or HDL, was also associated with increased standing vs. sitting.

Lead author, senior research fellow at the University of Queensland in Herston Genevieve Healy, said that merely substituting some sitting time with standing could benefit your heart, blood sugar levels, fats in the blood and cholesterol levels – even your metabolism. In fact, two hours of walking or running instead of sitting was also associated with an approximate three-inch decrease in waist size and an 11 percent decrease in average body mass.

So even if you play by the rules with a dedicated strength training and cardio routine, be mindful of your activities during the hours in-between. Avoid long periods of sitting by walking or standing whenever possible to break-up long sedentary stretches.

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MORE steps/calories Burned…. LESS awkward elevator moments

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Revitalize your walking Goals

Now is the perfect time to renew your step goals and revitalize your walking routine.

To reduce the risk of chronic disease, you need 30 minutes (approx 3,000 steps) of moderate intensity (normal) walking a day on top of your normal lifestyle activities.

To manage your weight (prevent weight gain, sustain weight loss) you need to do about 60 minutes (approx 6,000 steps) of moderate to brisk walking a day, in addition to your normal lifestyle activities, while ensuring your calorie intake does not exceed your energy output (calories burned).

To lose weight, you need 60-90 minutes (6,000 – 9,000 steps) of moderate to brisk walking, while ensuring that your caloric intake is less than your energy output.

To further increase muscle mass, muscle strength, agility, flexibility and stamina, you need to add strength training and resistance exercises such as calisthenics, pilates and yoga, two three times a week in addition to your daily walking.

Sound overwhelming? Relax. It’s really not. And it’s much easier when you break it down into smaller pieces. You can start by setting a goal and increasing your steps by 20% over your baseline each week. At the end of each month, review your progress.

Recommitting to your walking routine is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and setting goals can help.

Use the following S.M.A.R.T. criteria to develop your goal, upload your steps and review your progress weekly and you will achieve what you have set out to do.

S – Specific. Define exactly what you want to accomplish. Walk 10,000 steps a day? Great, increase your average daily step count by 20 percent. When you’re comfortable with that, increase that amount by 20 percent. Keep doing this until you reach your goal.

M – Measurable. Upload your steps once or twice a week and use the tools on the Walkingspree website. Monitoring your progress will encourage you to keep going.

A – Adjustable. Be flexible and have a backup plan in case you are not able to get out for your regular walk or catch a cold. Adding 1,000 or so steps a day (about 10-15 minutes more walking time) may be all you need to get back on track.

R – Realistic. Make sure the goal reflects what is attainable for you and not based on comparing yourself to others. This is a lifelong commitment, not a horse race.

T – Time based. Set a deadline, and remember long term changes are achieved when you invest the time.

Finally:

Enjoy the outdoors. Appreciate the fresh air, the birds singing, and greeting the many other walkers you’ll come across. Take different routes and explore new areas in your neighborhood. Walk to work and head outside at lunch time with a co-worker for a walk.

Check your dashboard. It’s an excellent visual reminder. Do it daily and remember to upload your tracker at least weekly.

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National Walking Day! April 1, 2015

National Walking Day – Benefits of Walking Infograph

Go for your personal best this Wednesday – National Start! Walking Day

The American Heart Association’s annual National Start! Walking Day – Wednesday, April 4 – is about fighting heart disease and stroke by becoming more active.

Did you know that one hour of vigorous exercise increases your life expectancy by two hours?

Did you know that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease?

Now challenge yourself this week and go for your personal best. If you haven’t been hitting your step goal, resolve to do it every day this week.

  • - During the week create more walking opportunities at work:
  • - Track the steps up a set of stairs or hallway and put up a sign “50 steps for this staircase or hallway”.
  • - Take the long way to the restroom, water cooler or coffee machine.
  • - Put up “Walk instead of Ride” signs beside the elevator doors to encourage using the stairs

With our busy lives, we are all fighting sitting disease. This is a problem when you consider the fact that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease and places you at risk for many other illnesses. The good news is that walking can significantly reduce your risk of many diseases. To highlight all the benefits of walking, we’ve created this infographic that you can print and put up in your workplace or share online.

So we encourage employees and everyone to wear sneakers to work and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk. It’s a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to give your coworkers a friendly push toward a healthier life.

Learn more about the other amazing benefits of walking.

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Should I walk if I have the flu?

It is flu season. The best prevention is a flu shot and to stay as healthy as you can like washing your hands frequently, eating foods that boost your immune system and walking. Yes, your commitment to your walking routine is helping you keep healthy. Studies show that people who walk for exercise experience half as many colds as those who don’t, and when they do get colds they last shorter.

Also, use your healthy days to build or add to your step buffer so you will have enough steps to complete your challenge or step goal. Walking an extra 10 to 15 minutes a day – about 1,000-1,500 steps a day – is a great way to “bank” some steps.

But, if you do come down with a cold or flu, do the “neck test” to see if your body is up for exercise:

  • If your symptoms are above the neck – like a runny nose or sore throat – slow to moderate exercise is okay.
  • If your symptoms are below the neck – chest congestion, hacking cough – it’s better to rest and gradually return to walking when you are feeling better.
  • If you have a fever, chills, body aches, or upset stomach – don’t exercise.

And, when you return to your walking routine, do it gradually and use the steps you “banked” to help get you back on track. Listen to your body during your walk and throughout the day. Watch for signs of fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, etc., and make adjustments.

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