Knee Knowledge, Yogic Munching, and Active Errands
Posted Sep 15 2009 10:11pm
Keep on running, yoga helps with mindful eating, and walking about town.
I’ve heard it, thought it and even attributed a twinge in my knee to tacking another year onto my age. But despite the common notion that running is bad for your knees, research may show evidence to the contrary. (And I was so hoping for a reason to swear off running for good. Darn.)
Researchers for a recent study followed longtime distance runners for nearly 20 years, starting when most were in their 50s and 60s . At the start of the study, about 7 percent of runners had mildly arthritic knees, while none of the control group had creaky knees. But after 20 years, the runners' knees were healthier—20 percent showed arthritic changes versus 32 percent of the control group. Researchers even think that runners might condition their cartilage so that it gets used to the movements, thus protecting them. I’m never going to win this anti-running war!
Downward Facing Diet Yoga is great for strength and flexibility, but now studies show that regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, and as we know, mindful eating is a big part of the battle of the bulge. Previous studies showed that yoga helped prevent weight gain in normal people and promoted loss in those who were overweight. But now researchers think that it has more to do with increased body awareness than the actual physical activity itself.
The researchers also found a strong association between yoga practice and mindful eating but didn't find that same association in other types of physical activity, such as walking or running. Even if you’re not into yoga, try to be more mindful of when you’re hungry and when you’re full—you could get the same effect.
Walk Around For now, I’m fortunate to live in a fairly walkable neighborhood. I can walk to the pharmacy, and if I just need a couple of items from the high-priced yet adorable corner grocery store, I can manage a round trip in about 25 minutes.
Besides being environmentally friendly, walking to do your errands also increases your activity level. A George Mason University professor is urging community leaders to make promoting active transport a priority. To get people away from relying on their cars as their sole means of transport, he suggests bike-sharing programs, giving cyclists priority at intersections and closing some roads to cars. My favorite idea? "Walking school buses" in which children and parents walk together to school. Presh!