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Big Health Gains from Small Steps

Posted Feb 09 2013 10:08pm
Posted on Feb. 8, 2013, 6 a.m. in Exercise Lifestyle
Big Health Gains from Small Steps

An active lifestyle approach, as compared to structured exercise, may be just as beneficial in improving health outcomes, including preventing metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  Paul Loprinzi, from Oregon State University (Oregon, USA), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 6,321 participants, ranging in age from 18 to 85 years, in the NHANES 2003-2006 study.  The  researchers found that 43% of those who participated in the “short bouts” of exercise met physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes day. In comparison, less than 10% of those in the longer exercise bouts met those federal guidelines for exercise.  The study data showed those in the shorter exercise group who met physical activity guidelines had an 89% chance of not having metabolic syndrome, compared to 87% for those meeting guidelines using the structured exercise approach.The study authors conclude that: “Engaging in [small amounts of activity], as opposed to bouts of [structured exercise], is just as strongly associated with several biologic health outcomes, suggesting that adults who perceive themselves as having little time to exercise may still be able to enhance their health by adopting an active lifestyle approach.”

Loprinzi PD, Cardinal BJ.  “Association between biologic outcomes and objectively measured physical activity accumulated in ≥10-minute bouts and <10-minute bouts.”  Am J Health Promot. 2013 Jan;27(3):143-51.

  
Small amounts of activity – 1 or 2-minutes at a time that add up to 30 minutes a day – may be as beneficial as longer bouts of structured exercise.
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Tip #120 - The New Circle of Life
A 2005 study by Merrill Lynch found that 77% of men and women ages 40 to 58 plan to work in retirement. Some of these people will become consultants in the industry in which they worked all their lives, while others will embark on a completely new career. A retirement job can boost your nest egg significantly. Assuming you retire at age 65, work two days a week earning 40% of what you earned before retiring, you can increase your savings by 30% over a five-year period (assumes 6% annual return and an annual inflation rate of 3%). Working during retirement also helps to maintain a social network that has been found to be key in maintaining a meaningful life.
 
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