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Too busy or lazy to exercise? Men and women take note. Living without physical activity for six years during their middle age could be at an increased risk of suffering heart failure, researchers have warned.

The findings, described in the journal Circulation, suggest that consistently participating in the recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week, such as brisk walking or biking, in middle age can reduce the heart failure risk by 31 per cent.

While it is known that people who are more physically active have lower risks of heart failure than those who are less active, but little is known about the impact of changes in exercise levels over time on heart failure risk.

“Going from no exercise to recommended activity levels over six years in middle age may reduce heart failure risk by 23 per cent,” said Chiadi Ndumele, Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, US.

For the study, the team included 11,351 participants, with an average age 60, monitored annually for an average of 19 years.

According to the American Heart Association, the “recommended” amount is at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity or at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise.

Heart failure risk decreased by about 12 per cent in the participants who increased their physical activity category from poor to intermediate or recommended, or from intermediate to recommended, compared with those with consistently poor or intermediate activity ratings.

Conversely, heart failure risk increased by 18 per cent in the participants who reported decreased physical activity from visit one to visit three, compared with those with consistently recommended or intermediate activity levels.

Unlike heart attack, in which heart muscle dies, heart failure is marked by a long-term, chronic inability of the heart to pump enough blood, or pump it hard enough, to bring needed oxygen to the body.

The leading cause of hospitalisations in those over 65, the disorder’s risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and a family history.

Attending school, tuition classes, and then doing their homework - this is what the average day in an urban kid’s life today looks like. Sports and physical activities have taken a back seat.

A new study well serves as a reminder for parents to encourage their children to take brief breaks dedicated to physical activities. The study examined the effectiveness of the popular Daily Mile initiative - which involves children taking a 15-minute break from class to do physical activity.

The Daily Mile was founded in February 2012 by Elaine Wyllie, the then head teacher of St Ninians Primary School in Stirling, to improve the fitness of her pupils. Children are encouraged to run, jog or walk around their school grounds during a 15-minute break from class, which is in addition to normal intervals and physical education lessons.

The findings indicate that The Daily Mile can help combat global problems such as low physical activity, high sedentary behaviour, declining fitness levels and high levels of obesity. “Our research observed positive changes in children who participated in The Daily Mile intervention, compared to our control school where the scheme was not introduced,” said one of the study authors Colin Moran from the University of Stirling in Britain.

The University of Stirling study involved 391 pupils, aged between four and 12. Each child underwent an initial assessment and then a follow-up later in the academic year. Between times, one school implemented The Daily Mile, while pupils at the other -- known as the control school -- followed their usual curriculum. Children wore accelerometers to record their average daily minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) and average daily sedentary behaviour.

The team witnessed significant improvements in the intervention school, relative to the control school, the researcher said. “We observed a relative increase of 9.1 minutes per day in terms of MPVA and a relative decrease of 18.2 minutes per day in sedentary time,” said study co-author Naomi Brooks from the University of Stirling. The findings were published in the journal BMC Medicine.

All over the world, there’s been an obesity endemic -- children aren’t spared either. And Indian kids aren’t far behind. By 2025, India will have over 17 million obese children and stand second among 184 countries where the number of obese children are concerned, said a study published in 2016 in Paediatric Obesity, an international journal.

Today, more and more younger adults and children are being diagnosed with a variety of lifestyle disorders. There’s a spike in cases of Indian children developing type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes. And a major reason is a sedentary lifestyle. Past research has established that childhood obesity can also lead to non alcoholic fatty liver disease.

This is enough cause for concern -- teachers and parents must motivate schoolchildren to take a 15-minute break from class to do physical activity and boost their health and fitness levels.

No matter what your holiday plans are, your fitness regime always takes the back seat. Holidays are mostly about stepping outside of your life, letting everything go, where exercise is generally not on the priority list. Once you reach your destination, you tend to binge on fancy and delectable meals that are generally not good for your waistline. The idea of your perfect break shouldn't spell the end of your healthy lifestyle. And, if you've a right plan in action, you can skip all the odds to stay healthy and fit. Here are four health and fitness tips to stay in shape on your holidays.

Fitness Hack #1: Make Smart Alcohol Choices

Every night is a weekend night on holidays, right? On holidays, you perhaps end up drinking more cocktails than you would back home. Opt for healthy and body-friendly drinking choices.

Avoid Beer: A pot of beer is around 160 calories. Since beer is high in carbs, it promotes abdominal obesity (so-called "beer belly"), especially in men. However, if you still crave for beer, then wheat beer seems to be the safest option.

Opt For Low-Carb Alcohol: You may go for vodka but avoid mixing it with juice/soda, or a dry white wine. Avoid adding any sweetened mixers or a low-quality juice. A glass of white wine has 120 calories and is usually preferred over red wine with 140-160 calories.

Fitness Hack #2: Keep Healthy, High-Protein Snack Options Handy

If you're fuelling up before going for sightseeing or hiking, eating high-protein bars can be the healthiest and tastiest way to keep going. These protein-rich snacks are the perfect way to fill up, which give long-lasting energy than carb-heavy options.
Below are a few other options :
Dark Chocolate: Used to be a rare treat once, dark chocolate is now a popular choice of snack for fitness lovers. To increase the nutritional count, pick a chocolate that has some nuts.

Nuts And Banana Chips: Things like coconut flakes, banana chips and nuts are easily available everywhere.

Fitness Hack #3: Enjoy One Big Splurge Meal

Just about anywhere you go in the world, you will indulge in the local delicacies. Be it churros, chicken souvlaki, or biryani indulge yourself in the local gastronomic experience. However, it is important to balance you meals as well. Pick one meal, or a day, when you are really going to let yourself to immerse in the local fare, keep the rest of your meals moderate. Plan this splurge to be the 20% element of the 80/20 rule. You can still have shrimp on the coast, but don't fry it!

Fitness Hack #4: Keep Yourself Hydrated

During holidays, you are busy in shopping at bustling markets, exploring exotic spots, enjoying footie tours, et al. While all of this is happening, you tend to get dehydrated without even knowing it. It's always best to carry or buy at least a two-litre water bottle with you on the beach or while hiking. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated after party nights. If you plan to party in the evening, then get some water as a side order. This will definitely make you feel better the next day.

If you’re involving your partner in your weight loss journey, it’s time to pause and rethink it. It could boost the number of kilos you lose, or it could lead put your relationship in jeopardy.

A study conducted by the Taylor & Francis Group revealed that there are various kinds of ‘relational environments’ which determines which way your weight loss conversation will swing. Online survey response of 389 individuals who were trying to shed the excess weight were analysed. Interpersonal communication expert Rene Dailey identified different types of ‘relational environments’.

The first is ‘synchronised’, in which both partners function as a team and work towards their shared goal of weight loss. On the other extreme is ‘lone battlers’, wherein the individual is less likely to breach the topic of weight loss with their partner.

The study classed those somewhere in between as either ‘contentious cooperatives’, when approaching weight loss sometimes causes conflict, or ‘autonomous’, where individuals receive only sporadic encouragement from their partner, without undue interference.

The three most common weight loss strategies couples use are encouragement (giving praise and reassurance), influence (pushing their partner to do better and make healthier choices), and coercion (making the other feel guilty by withdrawing affection).

Dailey commented, “Relational partners co-create an environment in which people lose weight. Partner behaviours that support the weight loss can be viewed differently depending on the environment. For example, a person who wants to focus on a diet but their partner focuses on exercise might see the partner’s suggestion of going for a walk as intrusive and unhelpful. By contrast, a person who feels they and their partner are on the same page about how to lose weight could welcome the suggestion”.

Earlier this year, a University of Connecticut study found that when one half of a couple works towards losing the flab, the other half will also end up being lighter by a few kilos -- even if they aren’t actively trying. Similarly, if one partner struggles to lose weight, their partner also found it difficult to do so.

Many celebrity couples also famously work out together. Zaheer Khan and Sagarika Ghatge sweated it out as a unit in the run up to their wedding. Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan too have been spotted exiting the gym together.

Couples looking to work out together or set goals together, be careful though. Unless your approaches align with your relational environment, you are risking alienation and unnecessary tension. The study discovered that ‘synchronised’ partners, who framed weight loss as a shared goal, were far more receptive to all three strategies, including coercion. The negative emotions associated with this strategy, such as guilt, were more likely to be interpreted positively in this environment as a concern for their partner’s health, rather than as manipulative or controlling. This could lead to positive effects for both weight loss and the couple’s relationship.

Expectant mothers who are more fit before pregnancy are at lower risk of developing gestational diabetes, a study suggests. Gestational diabetes is a condition in which women develop diabetes during the last half of pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes after giving birth. “Women are very careful during pregnancy with what they eat and the exercise they get. But the study shows women should engage in these healthy behaviours before they get pregnant as well,” said co-author Kara Whitaker, Assistant Professor from University of Iowa.

For the study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, the team analysed data from 1,333 women over a 25-year period (1985 to 2011) who enrolled in a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute study called Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA). The women completed seven study visits after first being enrolled, reporting whether they had become pregnant or gave birth and whether they developed gestational diabetes.

The researchers also performed a fitness exam during the first study visit by testing whether the women could walk for two-minute intervals on a treadmill at increasing speeds and on steepening inclines. Over the study period, 164 women developed gestational diabetes.
Using that information, the research team determined that pre-pregnant women with high levels of fitness had a 21 per cent lower risk of developing gestational diabetes than did those with lower fitness levels.

“People interested in becoming more fit can do so by engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week — 30 minutes per day, five days per week,” Whitaker said. “Brisk walking would constitute moderate physical activity — jogging would be considered vigorous physical activity,” she added.

Dr. Deepak  Bhalerao
Dr. Deepak Bhalerao
BHMS, Adult Congenital Cardiologist Cardiologist, 17 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sivasubramanian Pachamuthu
Dr. Sivasubramanian Pachamuthu
MD - Allopathy, Dermatologist, 6 yrs, Dharmapuri
Dr. Sachin Patil
Dr. Sachin Patil
BHMS, Family Physician Homeopath, 11 yrs, Pune
Dr. Rupesh Khandelwal
Dr. Rupesh Khandelwal
BDS, Dentist, 14 yrs, Pune
Dr. Anand Karale
Dr. Anand Karale
MS - Allopathy, Gynaecologist Obstetrician, 5 yrs, Pune