Older & Wiser with Sue Grant

How Many Steps a Day: Is 10,000 Necessary?

10,000 steps…….. or not!

You have probably heard of the recommendation to walk at least 10,000 steps each day.  This is a commendable goal, but if we don’t reach that target, it’s tempting to simply give up and throw in the towel.

New research has concluded that the 10,000 step target might actually be a little on the high side, in a report from Atlantic.com. 

Researchers from Harvard gave fitness trackers to 16,000 women ages 62 to 101 and counted their steps.  They then monitored their health for a four-year period.  In a comparable study, scientists from the renowned Karolinska Institute in Stockholm gave a similar device to 851 subjects, including almost 400 men, and tracked them for 14.2 years.  In other words, one trial observed an impressively large number of subjects, and the other monitored its subjects for an impressive number of follow up years.

Surprise!  After adjusting for diet, lifestyle, and other factors, the Harvard researchers found that the women who walked about 4,400 steps a day had a 41% lower risk of premature death than the least active gals, who averaged 2,700 steps.  The Swedish study also found that the most active subjects had a 50 to 70 percent decline in mortality during a defined follow up period compared to the least active, most sedentary participants.

Walking more than 4,400 steps further on decreased the risk level moderately, and the benefits plateaued  at around 7,500.

Harvard lead author i-Min Lee says the 10,000-step goal should be lowered to encourage more people to get walking.  “If you’re sedentary,” she says, “even a very modest increase brings you significant health benefits.”

Fun fact to ponder:  The 10,000 step target isn't actually based on scientific research – it stems from a 1960s marketing campaign for a Japanese pedometer that played on the fact that the Japanese character for 10,000 resembles a man walking!  

Take away message:  Don’t give up if you aren’t walking 10,000 steps a day.  Shoot for at least 4,400 – a much more manageable target.

 

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. Click here to find her collection of DVDs.

4 Benefits of Exercise That Aren't Getting Enough Attention

Exercise – What’s in it for me? 

What comes to mind when you think about the benefits of exercise?  Many of us think “weight loss – if I could just lose that last 10 pounds...”  True, regular exercise can help with weight control, but OH!  There is so much more!  Did you know:

1. Exercise can reduce arthritic symptoms such as joint swelling and pain

I love the Arthritis Foundation’s tag line from years ago:  “What’s the best thing to take for arthritis?  A walk!”   

Here’s why:  When you move a joint, a special substance called synovial fluid is released into the joint.  Synovial fluid lubricates our joints.  Do you remember when Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz first met the Tin Man and squeezed the oil into his joints to help him to start moving again?  Think of synovial fluid as that lubricating oil – but it only gets released when we MOVE! The Arthritis Foundation’s website - arthritis.org -has lots of helpful information.

2. Staying physically active is one of the best things you can do to prevent falls.

Physical activity, in the form of exercise, such as gardening, walking or golfing, keeps us limber and strong, both necessary ingredients to maintain balance. Tai Chi is one exercise that has been proven to reduce the risk of falls. Once again, the key is simply to keep moving to reduce your risk of falling.  I’ll be writing more about fall prevention in the coming months, but to learn more in the meantime, go to SanDiegoFallPrevention.org

3. Exercise can also help improve your memory and cognitive function.

We’re all afraid of “losing our marbles,” but numerous studies have confirmed that if you move while you try to solve a cognitive task, you can actually build new brain cells and improve the neural pathways in your brain.  We used to think that we were born with a set amount of brain cells, and that it was “downhill from there,” but now the exciting new field of neuroplasticity has proven that you can indeed increase the number of brain cells if you move while thinking and trying new things.  This is such good news!  Lawrence Biscontini has compiled a lot of research about neuroplasticity – learn more at FindLawrence.com.

4. Exercise can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety and can improve mental health and a sense of well-being.

Neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus region of the brain is smaller in people who are depressed.  The hippocampus helps to regulate mood.  Exercise supports nerve growth in the hippocampus, enlarging it and improving nerve cell connections, which can help to relieve depression.  The good news is that you don’t have to run a marathon to perk up! The best approach is to do low-intensity exercise sustained over time.  Obviously, exercise does not automatically alleviate depression, but talk to your Doctor about making exercise part of your treatment plan. 

Conclusion:

Check out the Mayo clinic website mayoclinic.org or BerkeleyWellness.com to learn more.

These are only four benefits of exercise, but there are so many more!  It is said that if the benefits of exercise could be put into a pill, that pill would be the most widely prescribed and most beneficial medicine ever.  However, as you well know, we cannot simply take a pill to enjoy those many benefits, we simply have to move! 

Check out my website: olderwiserworkout.com for ideas about how to get moving!

 

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. Click here to find her collection of DVDs.

By Collage Video | | 0 comments | Read more

2 Surprising Myths About Fat That'll Make You Rethink Your Diet

by Sue Grant

Fat Chance!  I just read a fascinating article by registered dietitian Matthew Kadey in the June 2019 issue of Idea Fitness Journal concerning  some common myths and realities about fat in foods.  You might be surprised  by these findings– read on!

 

The Myth:  Fat-Free or Low Fat is Healthier

The Reality: The low fat-craze led to the formulation of thousands of lower-fat products, from yogurt to cookies.  However, fat tastes good, so when it is removed or reduced from a food, it loses a lot of its flavor.  To make up for this loss of flavor, manufacturers often add artificial flavors, salt, and sugar –not exactly a nutritional bonus!
Bottom Line: As long as you don’t overindulge, it’s better to enjoy foods in their natural, full-fat state.

 

The Myth:  Coconut oil is a “Super-food”

The Reality:  Often demonized for its upper-high saturated fat content (91% of its calories) coconut oil has experienced a renaissance.  Its supporters claim that it can help with building muscles, losing weight, improving heart, liver and kidney helps, and even taming frizzy hair! 
But coconut oil is not nearly the health boosting, fat-fighting miracle that its fans want it to be.
“There’s no strong evidence directly tying coconut oil either to a greater or reduced risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Patrick Wilson, RD, PhD, assistant professor of exercises at Old Dominion University.
Officials at the American Heart Association still say we should steer clear of coconut oil, citing concerns about its potential impact on cardiovascular health (Sacks et al.2017).
Bottom Line:  If you like the flavor or the moistness it adds to baked goods, it’s probably fine to include modest amounts (no more than a tablespoon daily) as part of a healthy eating plan.

 

I’ll continue to keep you updated as more research is published about health and nutrition.  In the meantime,  keep moving, and keep enjoying your unprocessed, natural foods!

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. 

Added Sugar, Added Risk: The Bitter Truth Masked By Sweetness

Do you remember your parents lecturing  you not to eat too much sugar because it would lead to obesity or dental cavities?  They were right – these health concerns have been scientifically confirmed.

But Wait!  There’s More!

New meta-studies have shown that added sugars (like sucrose and  high-fructose corn syrup) to be risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes, abnormal lipids and hypertension.  These sugars, which are slipped into muffins, ice cream, soft drinks, and so many other products during processing are a real cause for concern.  The good news is that the naturally occurring sugars in fresh fruit are not a problem.

Cardiovascular Disease:

CVD risk becomes elevated once added sugar intake surpasses 15% of daily calories. To help put that math into real-life terms, this means that your risk for CVD will increase if you drink more than 7 sugar sweetened beverages a week.  Even worse, the CVD mortality risk increases with an increase in sugar intake. 

Type 2 Diabetes:

Habitual consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is independently associated with a greater incidence of type 2 diabetes.   Again, the data also supports the recommendation to consume a wide variety of fruits, which have naturally occurring sugars and have not been linked to the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Blood pressure and blood lipids:

Randomized controlled trials have shown an association between higher intakes of sugar and harmful increased concentrations of triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoproteins) cholesterol and blood pressure.  The researchers explain that consumption of fructose in sugar sweetened beverages increases liver fat synthesis, which results in higher concentrations of circulating triglycerides and cholesterol. 

How much is too much sugar? 

The American Heart Association recommends that adult females consume less than 6 teaspoons, or about 25 grams of sugar daily.  Adult males should consume less than 9 teaspoons, or 38 grams of sugar daily. 

“But I love my diet coke!”

The negative health risks of consuming  too much added sucrose and fructose clearly indicate that we should eat whole foods, as opposed to processed foods, as much as possible. However, going “cold turkey” can seem like a grim proposition.  Keep in mind that small changes can make a difference.  Cutting back on sugar sweetened beverages will help.  Check the nutrition labels on your favorite yogurt and breakfast cereal. I was shocked to see that my beloved granola has 15 grams of sugar in a single serving!   (I found a much lower sugar cereal instead and have added a piece of delicious fresh fruit to my breakfast routine – very satisfying!)

Be mindful about the added sugars in everything you eat, including sauces, salad dressings, crackers and bread.  You probably won’t be able to avoid all sugar sweetened products, but if you start limiting them in your daily diet, you’ll be much better off.

Just think of the lectures our parents could have delivered if they knew then what we know now about sugar!       

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. Click here to find her collection of DVDs.

By Collage Video | | Healthy, tips, Weekly Blog, weight loss, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Have a HEART! Helpful Tips for a Healthy Heart

Do you know the signs of a heart attack?  Do those dramatic scenes in a movie come to mind where the man clutches his chest and falls to the ground?

Both men and women can indeed experience intense chest pressure, but WOMEN CAN EXPERIENCE A HEART ATTACK WITHOUT CHEST PRESSURE!  Instead, women may feel dizziness, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness or fainting, shortness breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, or extreme fatigue. 

heart health

Even though heart disease is the Number 1 killer of women in the United States, women often attribute the symptoms to the flu, acid reflux, or normal aging.  Check out the American Heart Association website www.heart.org for more information.

The good news is that 80% of cardiovascular diseases may be preventable with education and action.  The American Heart Association recommends five 30 minute moderate exercise sessions each week.  While this may seem daunting, it is important to note that these sessions can be broken up into two or three 10 or 15 minute segments throughout the day.   As I always say, “A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing!” 

Keep moving for a healthy heart!

 

 

Related Posts:
Women Over 40: Listen Up
Vitamin EX: The Magic Pill

 

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