Adapted from BMJ Sept 19 Promoting physical activity to patients by Christine Haseler et al.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has described walking as a miracle cure. Despite this many of us are not as active as we should be and inactivity is thought to result in as many deaths as smoking. More than a quarter of UK adults do less than 30 minutes physical activity a week.
Quantified, these are the benefits of just plain walking:
30% lower all cause mortality, even 10 minutes a day is worthwhile.
20-30% lower risk of dementia.
Better relief from back pain than back exercises
30% lower risk of colon cancer
30% reduction in falls for older adults
22-83% reduction in osteoarthritis
even lower body fat than playing sports
20-35% lower risk of cardiovascular disease
20% lower risk of breast cancer
30-40% lower risk of metabolic syndrome or type two diabetes
The people who need to see their GP before undertaking exercise are few but include people with unstable angina, aortic stenosis or uncontrolled severe hypertension.
In pregnancy the sort of activities that need to stop are: impact activities, lying on the back for long periods, high altitude activities and underwater activities.
From Diabetes in Control: Getting and Staying Motivated to Be Physically Active Jan 4, 2020
Author: Sheri R. Colberg, PhD, FACSM
Every New Year all of the fitness clubs and gyms run specials to bring in new members, and they know—and even count on the fact that—most of those people will no longer be regularly attending classes or doing workouts by the time spring hits. How do you avoid becoming one of those exercise dropouts?
Even elite athletes have some days when they are not as motivated to exercise. You know those days—the ones when you have trouble putting on your exercise gear, let alone finishing your planned workout. For the sake of your blood glucose and your health, do not use one or two bad days as an excuse to discontinue an otherwise important and relevant exercise or training routine.
Here is a list of motivating behaviors and ideas for regular exercisers and anyone else who may not always feel motivated to work out:
Identify any barriers or obstacles keeping you from being active, such as the fear of getting low during exercise, and come up with ways to overcome them.
Get yourself an exercise buddy (or a dog that needs to be walked, you can borrow one!).
Use sticker charts or other motivational tools to track your progress.
Schedule structured exercise into your day on your calendar or to-do list.
Break your larger goals into smaller, realistic stepping stones (e.g., daily and weekly physical activity goals).
Reward yourself for meeting your goals with noncaloric treats or outings.
Plan to do physical activities that you enjoy as often as possible.
Wear a pedometer (at least occasionally) as a reminder to take more daily steps. You can get free pedometer apps that turn your mobile into a pedometer.
Have a backup plan that includes alternative activities in case of inclement weather or other barriers to your planned exercise.
Distract yourself while you exercise by reading a book or magazine, watching TV, listening to music or a book on tape, or talking with a friend.
Simply move more all day long to maximize your unstructured activity time, and break up sitting with frequent activity breaks.
Do not start out exercising too intensely, or you may become discouraged or injured.
If you get out of your normal routine, and are having trouble getting restarted, take small steps in that direction.
As for other tricks that you can use, start with reminding yourself that regular exercise can lessen the potential effect of most of your cardiovascular risk factors, including elevated cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, obesity, and hypertension.
Even just walking regularly can lengthen your life, and if you keep your blood glucose better managed with the help of physical activity, you may be able to prevent or delay almost all the potential long-term health complications associated with diabetes.
From Colberg, Sheri R., Chapter 6, “Thinking and Acting Like an Athlete” in The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes: Expert Advice for 165 Sports and Activities. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2019.
Sheri R. Colberg, Ph.D., is the author of The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes: Expert Advice for 165 Sports and Activities (the newest edition of Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook), available through Human Kinetics (https://us.humankinetics.com/products/athlete-s-guide-to-diabetes-the), Amazon (https://amzn.to/2IkVpYx), Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere. She is also the author of Diabetes & Keeping Fit for Dummies. A professor emerita of exercise science from Old Dominion University and an internationally recognized diabetes motion expert, she is the author of 12 books, 28 book chapters, and over 420 articles. She was honored with the 2016 American Diabetes Association Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award. Contact her via her websites (SheriColberg.com and DiabetesMotion.com).
Adapted from Edinburgh RM et al. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 21 Oct 2019
Research suggests that blood sugar levels can be better controlled by planned eating and exercise timings.
This study was conducted in Bath and Birmingham and involved a six week trial of 30 overweight or obese men. They were divided into three groups. One group ate breakfast before exercise, one group after exercise and the third group made no changes to their diet or exercise (or lack of it). Groups one and two swapped over after the first six weeks.
The researchers showed that you doubled the amount of fat burned during exercise if breakfast was delayed. This was mainly because the group had lower insulin levels due to their prolonged overnight fast. They could therefore burn more fat in their fat stores or muscle. The groups did not do more exercise than the pre-workout breakfast group.
Groups one and two swapped over after the first three weeks. The men’s BMI averaged at 30 and was closely matched in each group. Although insulin sensitivity was improved in the longer fasting group, there was not any significant weight loss.
From: BeTravelFit blog:
While I was traveling I saw myself faced with situations in which I didn’t have access to any sort of gym, not even a bar to do Pull-Ups with, hell, not even a damn park bench to do Tricep-Dips on because every single bench in the park was used by loved up couples and other people who don’t work out because they actually do have a social life and other things do to then lifting (what a bunch of losers).
So here’s a workout that you can perform anytime, anywhere, with absolutely no equipment needed – just as promised.
The workout consists of three different circuits with three different exercises in each circuit. The exercises in each circuit are to be performed directly one after another with no rest in between. That way the heart-rate stays elevated over an extended period of time and more calories are burned as a result.
Circuit 1: Upper Body (Chest, Shoulders and Triceps) – To be performed 5 times, 60 secs rest
Hindu Push* up x 5
Diamond Push-Up x 5
Push-Up x amrap (as many repetitions as possible) Circuit 2: Lower Body (Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings and Calves) – To be performed 5 times, 30 secs rest
Single Leg Box Squat x 10
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift x 10
Single Leg Calf-Raise x 15 Circuit 3: Core (Abs And Lower Back) – To be performed 5 times, 30 secs rest
Oblique Crunch x 10
Crunch x 20
Plank for 60 secs
And there you go, here’s your first full body, zero equipment, bodyweight only workout!
It burns a ton of calories, engages all major muscle groups and keeps you occupied for at least an hour to an hour and a half. Feel free to add extra repetitions or sets to make the workout more challenging as you progress and don’t feel intimidated if you can’t perform as many repetitions as suggested in the routine. Just give it your best shot and you’ll be fine!
Assume the downward dog position. Move your upper body backwards, into child’s pose, and then move your head and trunk forwards taking your weight in your arms till you then extend your head up with your trunk in the upward dog position.
New Year’s resolutions? Pah! One, you can makes changes any time you want, and two, most of us see them as miserable—the lose weight, take up punitive exercise regimes kind. In this part of the world, January is a challenging month. The weather’s dreich, the nights are long and the pennies few and far between. Who wants to add starvation and exhaustion to the mix?
One resolution I do intend to stick to is my campaign to Make Sundays Special again. Years ago, my husband and I used to make a point of doing something on Sundays. He works most Saturdays, so the Sundays were the one day a week we could visit castles, go to Edinburgh, take the motorbike out for a spin, bike to Balloch, drink too much and cycle back via the main road while piddled*. Last year, we fell into the habit of doing nothing. He’d be downstairs catching up on Colombo (why, why, why?), and I’d hide away upstairs working or writing. We added doing the supermarket shopping to a Sunday. As I love food, I don’t mind the supermarket shop but does it belong on a precious day off? I think not.
Cut the screen time
In 2019, I’ve vowed to spend less time in front of a screen. I’m there for work and as a hobby, and I dread to think how many hours I spend hunched over my laptop. On the plus side, I use a standing desk so it’s not as sedentary as it could be. On the other hand, it’s still not healthy. Time to reinstate the Sunday activities, such as:
I have Ben Lomond in my sights. Hill climbing is one of the best activities you can do in Scotland. The Munro is right on my doorstep, and the shame is I’ve yet to climb it.
Three Lochs Walk
I’d also like to walk from Balloch to Helensburgh with Sandy. I’ve done it a couple of times with my friends, and it’s a fabulous walk because of the views you get of Loch Lomond.
We’re members of Historic Scotland and we’ve yet to visit Linlithgow Palace so a train trip there and a pub lunch is in order.
The University of Glasgow offers walking tours. As I work there, it will be fascinating to find out more about this iconic Glasgow building. Another tour that has always piqued my interest is the one you can do of Glasgow Central station. If I book now, we might get there in the summer. (It’s terrifically popular.)
Finally, it’s nice to include special meals in your Sunday plans. As a child, I didn’t like the Sunday roast—probably because it meant sitting at the table waiting for adults to finish so we children could be excused, and I have memories of thick slabs of meat and nasty bits of under-cooked fat. These days, I’m a fully paid up member of the Sunday roast forever club. While the meat is nice, the best bits are the accompaniments – home-made gravy with a decent amount of wine thrown in, roasted parsnips and carrots, crackling if you’re making pork (or just make it as a side dish anyway) and one roast potato as a treat.
Bring on the special Sundays!
What’s your idea of a treat on a Sunday? Is cutting back your time online part of your plans for 2019, and if so what do you intend to do instead?
A study published in Heart reports that your resting pulse generally indicates how fit you are. It also modestly predicts mortality rates from the obvious cardiovascular disease but just as strongly with such things as breast, colorectal and lung cancers. A difference of 10 beats per minute equates to a 10-20% difference in mortality.
Also reported in Neurology, Swedish women had their baseline fitness tested in 1968 by ergometry while cycling. There neuropsychiatric status was checked at intervals since. Women in the highest fitness group delayed in onset of dementia by 9.5 years compared to the low fitness group and by 5 years in the medium fitness group.
Keep it up Emma, all that running about is doing you good. Meanwhile I’m sitting here typing with my resting pulse at 56. Maybe I don’t need to?
From articles originally published in Minerva BMJ 28 April 18 and 7 July 18
An Australian study has shown that getting a good sleep at night and being active during the day was the most effective way to boost mood in retirees.
105 people took part in the Life After Work study. They were followed for six month before retirement to 12 months afterwards. They carefully logged their activities and their mood was measured.
The time spent on chores, physical activity, quiet time, screen time, self care, sleep, transport and work, all changed over this period of time. The most favourable substitution was replacing work time with physical activity and sleep. Replacing work with screen time and social activity showed less effect on mood enhancement.
After retirement, depression, anxiety and stress all reduced.
Olds T et al One day you will wake up and won’t have to go to work: The impact of changes in time use on mental health following retirement. PLoS ONE.2018;13(6);e0199605.doi:101371/journal.pone.0199605. PMID:29953472
I celebrated an anniversary earlier this month – one year of counting my steps every day. So, what has it taught me?
I’m very competitive – with myself. So, I have done at least 10,000 steps every day now for a year. I can’t bear to have a day where that doesn’t happen. I’ll get up early, if necessary, to walk.
I’m also boring about it. When I told my husband about the anniversary of doing those 10k steps, he said, “a year of hearing about it too”. My NY resolution is to stop going on about it.
A step counter does make you more active in general. If I’m doing housework, for example, I do it inefficiently. I don’t gather up all the stuff that needs to go upstairs or downstairs in one bundle. I take it up and down in a few trips. Going to the library, popping out for supplies from the shops, bringing in the bins…everything becomes an opportunity to add to the step count.
I’m a geek. The UP app is the one I use most on my phone. Have I done my steps yet? How does today compare to yesterday? What’s my average like for this week? The app also tracks your sleep, though that’s not quite as interesting.
You can use exercise instead of insulin. Proceed with caution here, my insulin-dependent friends. This is an individual thing that won’t work for everyone. But walks after lunch do the same job as insulin for me – sometimes.
Exercise won’t help you lose weight, but it will help you maintain. I’ve kept my weight consistent over the whole year, or at least I think it is as I don’t weigh myself. Everything in my wardrobe fits, though, and some of them date back more than ten years.
I feel better. Being active every day makes you feel TERRIFIC.
I’d definitely recommend one. I use the Jawbone Up, the basic model that costs about £5.99. I didn’t want a FitBit as they are much more expensive, and you need to charge them every five days, whereas my entry level tracker needs the battery replaced every two months. The Fitbit also seems invasive. I’m obsessive enough without something on my wrist bleeping at me if I haven’t moved for an hour or so.
Do you find exercise and activity helpful for the management of your diabetes?