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Less Exercise, More Longevity: Surprising Findings for Women

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Exercise is widely recognized as a key contributor to a longer, healthier life. Interestingly, recent research indicates that women may not need to exercise as much as men to reap similar longevity benefits. This discovery is particularly noteworthy given that current physical activity guidelines for American adults do not differentiate between genders. However, due to variations in size, muscle mass, and lean body mass, it seems that women can significantly enhance their lifespan with approximately half the exercise required by men.

Martha Gulati, the director of preventive cardiology in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai and a co-author of the study, emphasized the importance of physical activity, stating, “Being physically active matters, and it seems to influence overall survival. But small amounts can go a long way, and in fact, for women, smaller amounts can go a longer way than they can for men.”

The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, analyzed data from over 400,000 U.S. adults who provided information on their leisure-time activity from 1997 to 2017. This data was then compared with death records. The results showed that women derived greater longevity benefits from exercise.

Gulati explained, “Men require more exercise partially due to the fact that they have greater muscle mass and greater lean body mass. And so when they exercise, the benefit to the whole body, including the muscles, requires a greater duration.”

Mercedes Carnethon, a professor and vice chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, concurred that physiological differences between the sexes could account for these findings. She was not involved in the new study.

Gulati hopes that these findings will motivate more women to engage in regular leisure-time physical activity, thereby closing the “gender gap” in exercise. Currently, only 20.4% of women meet national exercise guidelines, compared to 28.3% of men.

Ulrik Wisløff, the head of the Cardiac Exercise Research Group at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, found the new study’s data consistent with his own research, which suggests that women require less exercise than men to protect against lifestyle-related diseases and premature death. He stated, “Their data are of high interest to me, and it is an area that has been overlooked for too long.”

The authors of the study noted that while the longevity benefits of physical activity for men and women are more similar at lower levels of physical activity, the differences become more pronounced at higher levels of exercise.

However, the study does have its limitations. For instance, participants’ physical activity was not tracked, so researchers could not verify their self-reported data. Furthermore, the survey only accounted for leisure-time physical activity, excluding daily activities such as walking to work, gardening, or cleaning the house.

Despite these limitations, the study’s findings are significant. Keith C. Ferdinand, the Gerald S. Berenson chair in preventative cardiology at Tulane University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, noted that differences in male and female life expectancy “didn’t explain the observation. It’s not simply because the women live longer.”

While Gulati doesn’t expect this study’s findings to alter physical activity guidelines, she hopes it will inspire further research into the subject, leading to a better understanding of what exercise prescriptions should be given to patients.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Avoid These Items for Safer Senior Jogging

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As we age, it’s natural to want to dial down the intensity of our workouts. However, cardiovascular exercises like jogging, running, swimming, or cycling remain crucial for seniors. But if you’re over 65, it’s important to take extra precautions when you lace up your running shoes. One of these precautions is dressing appropriately for your workout. Your clothing choices can either enhance your performance or potentially cause harm. So, what should you avoid wearing on your next jog? Here are five clothing items to leave in your wardrobe.

First and foremost, pay attention to your footwear. Sean Klein, CPT, a certified personal trainer with over 15 years in the fitness industry and the founder of Programme App, emphasizes the importance of replacing unsuitable jogging shoes with proper athletic footwear that offers cushioning, support, and stability.

“Old or worn-out shoes mostly lack the necessary support and cushioning needed for proper foot alignment, which leads to discomfort and potential injuries such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and knee pain,” he cautions.

He further warns against choosing the wrong type of footwear, such as sandals, sneakers without arch support, and dress shoes, as they can lead to serious injury. These types of shoes don’t provide “proper grip and stability on different surfaces, making it harder to maintain balance and potentially leading to falls.”

While most people understand the importance of supportive sneakers for jogging, many overlook the significance of supportive socks. Klein advises wearing moisture-wicking socks with added arch support, specifically designed for athletic activities. These socks can help prevent blisters, chafing, and discomfort while jogging.

“I do not recommend wearing cotton socks that absorb moisture, leading to wet and uncomfortable feet,” he advises.

Cotton is a comfortable and versatile fabric, but it’s not the best choice for seniors when jogging. Seniors are more prone to skin irritation and have a harder time regulating sudden changes in body temperature.

“Seniors might opt for cotton for its natural feel, but it’s not ideal for exercise as it absorbs and retains moisture, leading to discomfort and potential chafing,” says Chris Pruitt, CPT, a certified personal trainer and the CEO of Workout Healthy. Instead, he recommends moisture-wicking fabrics to keep the skin dry and comfortable during physical activity.

The size and cut of your clothing can also impact your run.

“Baggy pants may be chosen for ease and comfort, but they present a tripping hazard,” Pruitt warns. He suggests choosing close-fitting, stretchable pants or shorts for safety, as they allow for free movement without the risk of catching on objects.

Klein agrees, advising against loose-fitting clothes that could get caught on obstacles or cause chafing during jogging. He recommends well-fitting, moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics that provide comfort and mobility while preventing discomfort or irritation.

Lastly, while jewelry might be part of your daily routine or hold sentimental value, Pruitt advises against wearing it while jogging.

“During jogging, large or dangling pieces can become entangled with clothing or exercise equipment, posing a risk of injury,” he explains.

Before starting your jog, he recommends removing jewelry, watches, and other accessories to “prevent distractions and accidents, ensuring a safer workout experience.”

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Seniors Sway: The Fitness Ballet Advantage

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Ah, the beauty of ballet! It’s not just for the young and spry. Ballet is a fantastic form of exercise for seniors too. It’s a graceful way to keep our bodies moving, our hearts pumping, and our spirits high.

Don’t let the tutus and pointe shoes intimidate you. Ballet for seniors doesn’t require any pirouettes or grand jetés. It’s all about gentle, controlled movements that work your muscles, improve your balance, and boost your cardiovascular health.

Imagine standing tall, your body aligned, your muscles engaged. You’re following the rhythm of the music, your arms flowing like water, your legs bending and stretching in a controlled, deliberate manner. This is ballet. It’s a dance that requires strength, flexibility, and concentration – all things that seniors can benefit from.

Ballet is not just about physical fitness. It’s also a wonderful way to nourish your mind. Remembering the steps, focusing on the rhythm, and coordinating your movements can help keep your mind sharp. And let’s not forget the joy of moving to music. It’s a mood booster like no other!

Now, let’s talk about nutrition. Dancing, even at a slow pace, burns calories. But to keep your energy levels up and your body functioning at its best, you need to fuel it properly. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is key. And hydration is crucial. Always have a bottle of water at hand, especially during your ballet sessions.

Cooking for yourself can be a wonderful way to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients. It’s also a great opportunity to experiment with new recipes and flavors. Who knows, you might even discover a new passion!

Ballet, like any other form of exercise, should be approached with care. Start slow, listen to your body, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your sessions. And remember, it’s not a competition. It’s about enjoying the movement, the music, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with every step you master.

Aging is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean we should stop moving. On the contrary, staying active is one of the best ways to age gracefully. And ballet, with its emphasis on posture, balance, and control, is a fantastic option for seniors.

So, why not give ballet a try? Find a local class or look for online tutorials designed for seniors. Put on some comfortable clothes, turn up the music, and let your body move. You might be surprised at how good it feels.

Remember, age is just a number. It’s never too late to start something new, to challenge yourself, to take care of your body and mind. Ballet might just be the perfect way to do it. Let’s dance our way to health and happiness, one graceful step at a time.

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Heart, Bone, Mind Boost: Hiking For Health

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As a woman in her 60s with a passion for health and wellness, I am excited about the idea of hiking for health. Combining the benefits of exercise with the beauty of nature is a perfect way to stay active and engaged. There is no age limit on enjoying the great outdoors!

You may be thinking, “Hiking? At my age?” However, hiking is not just for the young and spry. It is a fantastic way to keep our bodies and minds active, regardless of our age. Finding the right trail and pace that suits your abilities and comfort level is key.

Hiking is an excellent way to get your cardio in. It gets your heart pumping, which is essential for heart health. Our hearts are muscles too, and they need regular exercise to stay strong. Hiking is also a weight-bearing exercise, which is great for our bones. As we age, our bone density naturally decreases, but weight-bearing exercises like hiking can help slow that process down.

In addition to physical benefits, hiking also has mental wellness benefits. Being surrounded by nature is incredibly calming. The sounds of birds chirping, the rustle of leaves underfoot, and the smell of fresh air are a sensory experience that can help reduce stress and improve mental clarity. The sense of accomplishment you feel when you reach the end of a trail is a great confidence booster!

Nutrition is also a key aspect of hiking. It is important to fuel your body with the right foods before, during, and after a hike. Opt for whole foods like nuts, fruits, and lean proteins. And don’t forget to stay hydrated! Water is your best friend on a hike.

Studies have shown that regular physical activity can help increase lifespan, making hiking a great investment in your future. Hiking is also a wonderful way to socialize. Whether you join a hiking group or invite a friend along, it is a chance to connect with others while enjoying the beauty of nature.

One of my favorite parts of a hike is sitting down for a picnic at the end. It is a chance to refuel with some delicious, homemade food while enjoying the view. Plus, it is a fun way to incorporate healthy eating into your hiking routine.

Don’t let age deter you from exploring the great outdoors. Hiking is a wonderful way to stay fit, healthy, and happy. Age is just a number – it’s how you feel that truly matters. So, put on those hiking boots, pack a healthy picnic, and set off on an adventure. Your body and mind will thank you!

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