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Another study released this month shows the powers of exercise for the elderly. Just 1/2 an hour of physical activity on six days a week is likely to add 5 years to the life of elderly men, according to a new study.
The research, published in the British Journal of Sports medicine, found that elderly men who did three hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity spread over the week have a 40% lower risk of fatality than those who did not exercise. The study also found that increasing physical activity was nearly s beneficial as stopping smoking.
The team, from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences based their study on thousands of men who were born between 1923 and 1932 who were then given health checks in the 1970s when they were all in their forties. The health checks cover height, weight, blood pressure, lifestyle habits like smoking and the amount of exercise that they did. In 2000 those still alive were invited back for another round of health checks, and of these, nearly 6,000 were monitored for the next 12 years – until they reached their late seventies and eighties.
Light vs heavier exercise
Those who did little exercise over the course of the week saw little change in mortality rates – they did less than 1 hour of light physical activity. However, even just an hour of vigorous exercise done over the week showed a reduction in the risk of dying from 23% to 37%.
The more time the subjects did strenuous exercise (getting properly out of breath) the lower the risk of death seemed to be, from 36% to 49% for those doing 6 hours a week. Even the study was “observational”in its basis – only those healthier subjects that were still alive in the first place were studied – the researchers say that the differences in mortality rates for those who were active vs those who did little activity was very striking.
This also correlates with the latest research into exercise, showing that short but vigorous activity (or high intensity interval training) has far greater benefits over longer, endurance based exercise.
So if you have a father, mother, friend or relative who is in their 60s or over, encourage them to get moving and to start some interval training. It’s never too late! The ultimate solution might be some 50+ fitness with a DDW personal trainer.
Cycling is a great way not just to get fit but also is one of the greenest modes of transport. Although you may not be able to cycle all the way to work you may be able to do part of the journey on bicycle if you get a folding bike. These can fit easily into the boot of your car and can be assembled in seconds. Folding bikes also have the huge advantage of being allowed on most public transport in the UK, including trains and most busses. They are also much easier to take away with you on holidays and some of them are good on all terrain, not just city streets.
Cycling to work (or at least part of the way) is also a super time effective way of getting exercise that you may not have time to fit in. It can keep you healthy and prevent heart disease and cancer.
So here are the best folding bikes 2015; they are not cheap but they hold their value well and of course you could think about a good second-hand model too.
Brompton M1E – ideal for commuting, the M1E weighs in at just 10kg and has the well known easy folding mechanism. A lack of gears is why it’s so light, but it still cycles easily and is very quick on level surfaces. (£770 www.evanscycles.com)
Montague Paratrooper – Most folding bikes have small wheels and are best suited to city terrain, but the Paratrooper is a proper folding mountain bike complete with 24 gears. It also has disk brakes on the front rear wheel for braking in the wet. (£720 www.halfords.com)
Pacific Cycles IF move – Pretty light at just 11kg and winner os several design awards, the IF move can be folded in just 2 seconds. You can also get it to go super small by unscrewing the handlebars. It’s a bit pricey though. (£2200 www.fudgesccylesonline.com)
Dahon Visc P18 – a cross between a conventional folding bike and a mountain bike, the P18 can cover both city streets and also rougher terrain. It’s made by well respected US brand Dahon and also looks cool. (£720 halfords.com)
Dublin Explorer – a great bike for those who are looking to spend less (bikes tend to get stolen eventually away!) the Explorer has 6 gears for negotiating hills, folds in just 60 seconds and weighs in at a respectable 13kg (£109 www.bicycles4u.com)
If you look the part you will feel the part. If, in your head, having the latest kit makes you faster, then it may well make you faster. Check out the best running accessories.
1 – Silva Trail Speed Head Torch. It’s really light (only 222g) and has not one but two high powered LEDs that can be seen from up to 85m away. The “intelligent light technology” produces a bright but wide beam, so you will be able to see the full width of where you are, not just a focussed tunnel. £130 www.torch direct.co.uk
2 – Glofaster Running jacket. This running jacket has red LEDs running along the seams that are highly visible to other road users and pedestrians. It also has an app that when paired with a smartphone will make the lights on the arms flash if you are going too slowly! You might even look a bit like bono. £165, www.glofaster.com
3 – Osprey rev solo Bottle pack. Unlike some other bumbags the Rev sits well in place and stops any jiggling around. It comes with its own bottle and also a transparent pouch for a smartphone, so that you can see the phone as you run. £25, www.ospreyeurope.com
4 – Grid Foam Roller X. As we age our muscles become tighter, and running can exacerbate this. This reasonably hard foam roller will lengthen the muscles and ease out any knots. It’s a little painful, but really works. Remember that the more pressure you use, the slower you need to roll. £45, www.sportsshoes.com
5 – Monster isport headphones – the “wing” on each earphone grips it in place so that there is no movement while running. Rather than being fully isolated, these sit on the ear, not in it, and so allow you to hear any approaching traffic. They also sound great. £50, www.monsterproducts.com
It’s all good and well having your PT help you to eat healthily, sort out your kitchen and weekly shop so that you are all prepared to eat well, but when you go out it can be easy to undo a weeks’ good work in just one meal.
However you can make healthy choices when eating out; it will still be tasty and you will still have fun, but with less calories.
Here are five points with some concrete examples of how to make healthy choices eating out.
1 – Be prepared to tailor-make dishes. Remember that you are the customer, so be prepared to be just a little awkward and ask for things to be changed – cooked differently, things added or taken away and so on. So if a dish comes with roasted potatoes, ask if they can do some sweet potatoes or brown seasoned rice instead. If something is fried, ask if it can be grilled. Always have dressings on the side – and just add enough to taste. Quite often a salad can be made very calorific by adding lots of dressing.
2 – Always order a salad based starter, even before considering the main course. This way you will already be feeling less indulgent when you chose the main and will be less likely to have desert. Scientists at Pennsylvania State University discovered that volunteers who ate a salad before the main course ate fewer calories overall than those who didn’t have a first-course salad. Olives and nuts are good too, but don’t have too many as they are quite calorie dense.
3 – Check the menu before you leave home. Nearly all restaurants now have a menu on their website. By looking through it you will be ready to make good choices rather than arrive hungry and mentally switched off. It’s in these moments of relaxation that bad things can happen.
4 – Avoid breads. It’s ever so easy to go for some garlic bread, pate and toast or some sort of bread selection with olive oil. The latter is a oil songs soaking up a hugh amounts of calories from the oil and delivering them in a starch wrapped meal that will spike blood sugars and cause more eating later on. The same goes for the pate and the bread selection. Have salad and protein if possible.
5 – Swap foods.
Exchanging one food for another is a crafty way of eating out healthily.
Therefore some great restaurant-specfic guides on the cooking light website, one of our favourites.
In our spring newsletter we held the DDW spring quiz. Thank you for all your answers! Although some of you have used google to good effect for text book answers, all the quiz answers (and questions) are UK based. As such the answers need to be UK relevant. This may have led to different answers to questions like “how many calories are there in a vodka and soda?” The answer should be for a single UK measurement. Everyone got this one wrong but the winner was closest.
The winner is..Gurinder Whall, the DDW swot and keen teacher’s pet. Congratulations to her and we will be sure to make that free session hurt. A lot.
1 – In the nutritional world, what does GI stand for? Glycaemic Index
2 – What is insulin? A hormone that regulates blood sugar levels and triggers fat storage.
3 – How many calories are there in a pint of beer and a vodka and soda, respectively? 170 cal (John Smith’s Bitter) / 55 cal
4 – What is the world record for the plank? 4h 26m
5 – Name all three hamstrings. Semitendinosus / Semimembranosus / Biceps femoris
6 – What is the most calorific beverage available at Starbucks? How many calories are in it? Single hot chocolate with whipped cream (venti, whole milk) – 690 cal (From the Uk Starbucks website!)
7 – What is the most important factor in getting a flat tummy/six-pack? Nutrition
8 – What is the HPT axis? Hypothalamus / Piturity ? Thyroid – is part of the endocrine system responsible for the regulation of metabolism.
9 – How many calories are there in 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of carbohydrate respectively? 9cal / 4cal
10 – What is the full pedigree name of the Diets Don’t Work mascot Wilson? Clue – it is on our website…somewhere. Villinelle Mystify Me
Elderly people who eat spinach and other leafy greens stay smarter than those who do not, shows a new study. Just one to two helpings a day can give you the brain power of someone eleven years younger. Scientists believe that the natural colourings lutein, beta carotene combined with vitamin K and vitamin B9 are behind the brain-protective properties of spinach.
The researchers, from Rush University in Chicago, studied 950 people with an average age of 81. By looking at their nutrition and then performing rigorous mental tests every year for ten years, they discovered that the brains of those eating even small quantities of leafy greens on a daily basis aged more slowly. The effect was marked, showing a brain age 11 years younger than counterparts who did not eat leafy greens as much.
Dr Martha Morris who led the research said: ‘Losing one’s memory or cognitive abilities is one of the biggest fears for people as they get older.
‘Since declining cognitive ability is central to Alzheimer’s disease and dementias, increasing consumption of green leafy vegetables could offer a very simple, affordable and non-invasive way of potentially protecting your brain.
‘With baby boomers approaching old age, there is huge public demand for lifestyle behaviours that can ward off loss of memory and other cognitive abilities with age.
‘Our study provides evidence that eating green leafy vegetables and other foods rich in vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene can help to keep the brain healthy to preserve functioning.’
Along with spinach, vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene are also found in kale, tomatoes, carrots and peppers. So even if you are not as fond of spinach as Popeye, there are other options!
It’s often the case, especially for those that work odd or late hours, that you get the hunger attack late on before you go to bed. Although this is not the best time to be eating – eating while activity levels are low means that you are much more likely to store this energy as fat – there are some steps that you can take and things you can eat that will help avoid weight gain. So here are some healthy late night snacks.
Of course the first thing to do is to try and not get hungry in the evening in the first place. When we eat our blood sugar levels rise. This energy is then either used for activity, or if you are relaxing, insulin is released, instructing the cells to store this energy; some of it in the muscles and liver, but some of it as fat. It’s better, therefore, to try and match food intake to energy levels. So try to eat earlier in the day when activity levels are higher.
Planning also helps. If you can make healthy food to have during the day (or when you are most active) this will avoid any skipping of meals and then the late night hunger attack.
The second pointer is to give yourself at least an hour before eating and going to bed. Again, this makes it less likely that you will store energy taken on as fat.
Try not too have too much sugar or refined and processed carbohydrate either. This is very easily processed by the gut into blood sugar.
The final rule is to try and keep below 300 calories. Anything more and you will be in an energy surplus-fat-storing-state.
1 – Berry yoghurt shake. A natural yoghurt (Greek has the lowest sugar content) blended with berries contains a low GI fruit, oodles of vitamins, protein and fat to fill you up less calories than crackers.
2 – Frozen blueberries with cream. Use whipping cream to keep the calories low. Low in sugar, high in nutrients, with a bit of fat and protein to boot.
3 – Humous with crudités. made from chickpeas, homous contains a bit of protein, lots of complex carbohydrate and very little sugar. Dip with vegetables or fruit like cucumber and carrot batons.
4 – Scrambled eggs. Not just for breakfast, but quick and filling anytime. Add chillies, green and red sweet peppers and even some cheese for extra interest.
5 – Low GI fruit. Avocado and coconut (ok, it’s a nut) are healthy and filling and won’t spike blood sugar. But berries and even a green apple will work too.
Welcome to our spring challenge; for once not burpees or skipping but a simple quiz. Just email us the answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and keep your fingers crossed. The winner will be announced on easter weekend and the answers will be posted on the site here and also on our Facebook page. Please note that we can only give you the session if you live in an area covered by our trainers; If not feel free to enter, we will send you a kit-kat if you win instead.
1 – In the nutritional world, what does GI stand for?
2 – What is insulin?
3 – How many calories are there in a pint of beer and a vodka and soda, respectively?
4 – What is the world record for the plank?
5 – Name all three hamstrings.
6 – What is the most calorific beverage available at Starbucks? How many calories are in it?
7 – What is the most important factor in getting a flat tummy/six-pack?
8 – What is the HPT axis?
9 – How many calories are there in 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of carbohydrate respectively?
10 – What is the full pedigree name of the Diets Don’t Work mascot Wilson? Clue – it is on our website…somewhere.
Not only are eggs a great source of protein, helping you to maintain lean muscle mass and tempering high blood sugar levels that may be caused by a carbohydrate-only breakfast, but they may also make you a nicer person. Having an egg for breakfast may also damage your wallet..but in a good way. This is the interesting conclusion of a new study which has found that people are far more likely to give money to charity after a triple egg omelette.
As well as containing plenty of clean protein (and not as many calories as you would think) eggs are full of amino acids and every vitamin that we need, with the exception of vitamin C. Researchers in the Netherlands now think that a particular amino acid – tryptophan, or TRP – also plays a key role in the production of serotonin, the “mood” hormone that makes people feel happy and generous.
In the research, 16 subjects were given powdered TRP in a dose equivalent to three eggs. The other 16 people in the study were given a placebo powder. All of them were given €10 as their fee for taking part and were then asked if they would be willing to donate some or all of the money to charity. Donation boxes for well-known charities including the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and Unicef were provided for donations. At the end of the study those who had eaten the TRP gave exactly twice as much as those on the placebo.
Eggs are a great alternative to the usual processed starchy foods that are traditional at breakfast time in the western world. They are filling due to the high protein content, and you can also use them as a good way of getting some of your 5 a day greens and vegetables. An omelette with two whole eggs, some green peppers, onions and chillies (if you like that sort of thing) would have under 200 calories in it, but lots of protein, vitamins and minerals. The high protein content will also ensure that you stay fuller for longer too!
By Adam Atkinson
The belief that a glass or two of wine in the evening will help you sleep has been shown to be a fallacy by a new study. Research in Australia has shown that although alcohol will make you feel drowsy and will help you to drop off faster, alcohol causes poor sleep. For thefts, 24 healthy males and females were invited to spend a few days at the Sleep Research laboratory at the University of Melbourne. Each night they were then given either a vodka and orange or or the placebo – a glass of orange juice with a straw that had been dipped in Vodka. They then went to bed at their haul times with their heads covered in tiny electrodes to monitor their brainwaves.
This revealed that on the evenings that they had drunk alcohol the sleepers experienced more slow-wave delta patterns (usually associated with deep sleep) but also alpha wave brain patterns, they type usually present when people are awake. having both alpha and delta wave patterns shows interrupted, disturbed sleep. In previous research these alpha wave patterns were only seen when subjects were given mild electric shocks in sleep.
So lay off the booze, at least for a few nights, and you might end up feeling a lot more rested. A useful tool to measure how much you are actually drinking is the drink aware app – try it, just for now week!