How Many Daily Steps Do You Need to Lose Weight?

Cara Murez wrote . . . . . . . . .

It’s clear that staying active is key to being healthy, and fitness trackers and smartwatches have become popular tools for tracking activity.

But just how many steps does someone need to take to lose weight?

That’s not such a simple a question.

While evidence is limited on exactly how many steps a day it takes to lose weight, experts say to get about 150 to 300 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise weekly, said Amanda Paluch, an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology and Institute for Applied Life Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

That’s about an average of 22 minutes per day on the low end and 45 minutes on the high end, Paluch said.

“And we do know that for weight loss and weight maintenance, you really need to get to that higher end,” Paluch said.

“We do need to exercise more often at this moderate to vigorous intensity to really see weight loss,” Paluch added, but “we really haven’t figured out how much that equates to in terms of steps per day.”

Tracking steps

That doesn’t mean a person shouldn’t track their steps.

“These types of devices can really help us with tracking and goal-setting,” Paluch said.

Harvard Health cited a review of recent studies that found people who were overweight or obese and who had chronic health conditions were helped in losing weight by wearing fitness trackers.

In the reviewed studies, participants had weekly goals for steps or minutes walked and were most successful when those programs lasted at least 12 weeks.

Those 10,000 steps

The idea of getting 10,000 steps is not new, but proving that number works is more challenging.

Yet, a study published in the journal Obesity found that getting 10,000 steps per day, with about 3,500 of those as moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 10 minutes at a time, was found to be associated with enhanced weight loss in a behavioral intervention that included a calorie-restricted diet.

Another study, published recently in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that for every 2,000 steps a study participant logged, their risk of early death dropped by between 8% and 11%, up to 10,000 steps. Researchers also found that 9,800 steps per day showed the greatest benefit.

And a recent study published in the journal Nature Medicine, found walking 10,000 steps a day reduced the risk for dementia, heart disease and cancer.

More walking or running equals more calories burned, Dr. Chip Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans said about the study when it was published.

“Generally, we say 100 calories are burned per mile walked or run,” Lavie noted.

Getting started on walking to lose weight

Don’t get discouraged if you get only modest weight loss. Even that can have big benefits. Losing just 5% to 10% of total weight can improve blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Walking can also reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression, according to the Mayo Clinic, which says most Americans walk about 3,000 to 4,000 steps per day.

Figure out how much you walk, then add 1,000 extra steps every two weeks, the Mayo Clinic suggests, by walking the dog, hiking together as a family or parking farther away from your destination.

Setting the pace

Pacing can also make a difference.

“We do know that intensity does tend to matter for weight loss. So, getting in more brisk walking, that’s really where we feel confident that if you do enough of it that could support weight loss,” Paluch said.

This could be done in short intermittent bouts or in longer organized workouts.

It may be that for a particular person the goal isn’t the steps but the minutes of physical activity. Or it could be counting the miles per day and being aware of how many they achieve at a brisk pace.

Even with robust exercise, in most cases, diet is crucial for weight loss, Paluch noted.

“Physical activity can provide lots of additional improvements in other health factors, but without any nutritional program, it’s very difficult to lose weight,” Paluch said. “They really go hand in hand when we think about weight loss. It is the combination of being active and following a structured diet.”

Source: HealthDay






You Can Prevent Sports Overuse Injuries

Melissa R.B. Connor wrote . . . . . . . . .

“Move it or lose it” the saying goes, but too much exercise or playing sports can lead to overuse injuries.

These injuries include damage to bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles due to repetitive actions, such running, throwing, biking, lifting and swimming, to name a few.

An overuse injury can be the result of poor training techniques such as doing too much too fast; not warming up or cooling down; failing to take enough time to recover after exercise; or not doing the proper cross training to support the activity.

Shoulder impingement

Shoulder impingement is an overuse injury in the rotator cuff — the muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. It is caused by “repetitive overhead activities while the shoulder joint is in a forward rotated position,” said Jessica Moyer, owner of Viva Stretch in Jacksonville, Fla., and a sport rehabilitation specialist for nearly 20 years.

According to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, pain is usually felt when lifting overhead, and is most common in active adults in their 30s and 40s. In a hospital release, Dr. Lawrence Gulotta, head of the shoulder and elbow division at the hospital’s Sports Medicine Institute, says this type of injury often stems from poor technique and rushing when lifting weights.

How to prevent it: Moyer recommends strengthening the scapular, or shoulder blade, muscles. “This is important to keep the shoulder in the proper position to prevent injury,” she said.

It’s also important to “maintain a full range of motion in the shoulder,” Moyer added. To stay flexible, be sure to warm up and be consistent with stretching.

IT Band Syndrome

The iliotibial band or “ITB” is a band of connective tissue that runs from the hip to just below the knee on the outside of the leg. When the load on that tissue exceeds its strength, the band tightens and pulls on the side of the knee, Moyer explained.

This overuse injury is common in runners and cyclists, but can also be found in other athletes. It starts with pain on the outside of the knee that builds during repetitive activity. It can be accompanied by clicking, popping or snapping sensations.

How to prevent it: Moyer offers this advice: “Focus on hip and core strengthening while also maintaining flexibility of the hip flexor, piriformis (a pear-shaped muscle located in the gluteal region of the hip/proximal thigh) and hamstring muscles.”

Runner’s knee

Runner’s knee occurs when “the kneecap is pulled in the wrong direction by muscle tightness, causing the kneecap to rub over the bone behind it,” Moyer said. The pulling is often caused by tight hip flexors, hamstring or ITB muscles, she said.

It brings dull pain around the front of the knee and sometimes is accompanied by weakness in the knee cap, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Rubbing, grinding or clicking in the knee cap may also be experienced.

How to prevent it: Proper warmup and stretching of the hip flexor muscles, ITB and hamstring muscles before and after repetitive activities such as running and biking is a must. Moyer noted that strengthening the quadricep muscles will help keep the kneecap in proper alignment during repetitive exercise.

Shin splints

Medial tibial stress syndrome, commonly known as “shin splints,” is an overuse injury with symptoms in the tibia, the large bone in the lower leg. It is aggravated “by tightness in the calf muscles, which pull on the shins when running or jumping,” Moyer said. It is common among runners and dancers.

Shin splints cause pain and tenderness on the shin bone. More severe cases will be accompanied by swelling and can lead to stress fractures if left untreated, according to the Mayo Clinic.

How to prevent it: Stretching is key, Moyer said. Stretch the calves — “both the gastrocnemius muscle with the knee straight and the soleus muscle with the knee bent” — before and after strenuous activities such as running and jumping, she recommended.

In addition, the Mayo Clinic says proper footwear is important as are training techniques such as slowly increasing in frequency and intensity of activity.

Plantar fasciitis

Like shin splints, plantar fasciitis results from tightness in the calf muscles, Moyer said. “It can also be a result of improper footwear, limitations in the mobility of the big toe, and weaknesses in the ankles, knees and hips,” she added.

The plantar fascia connects the heel bone to the toes and supports the arch of the foot. Overuse can lead to inflammation and pain in the heel, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

How to prevent it: It’s important to maintain flexibility in the foot and the ability to fully extend the big toe at the joint, Moyer advised. Proper footwear and proper training techniques are also important.

How to avoid overuse injuries

Moyer offered these tips:

  • Warm up properly before exercise and cool down properly after — and be consistent about it.
  • Allow the body time to recover after an intense workout.
  • Make cross training a part of a workout routine.
  • Gradually ramp up on exercise frequency and intensity.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Always listen to your body.
  • Overuse injuries come in many forms and can be very painful. They can also hinder performance. Fortunately, they can easily be prevented with proper care and good form.

Source: HealthDay





More Steps Per Day, Lowered Odds for Diabetes in Women

Cara Murez wrote . . . . . . . . .

Move your body every day to guard against type 2 diabetes.

That’s the upshot of a new study that analyzed Fitbit data and type 2 diabetes rates from participants in a nationwide research program, reporting that women who logged more steps each day had a lower risk of diabetes.

“We investigated the relationship between physical activity and type 2 diabetes with an innovative approach using data from wearable devices linked to electronic health records in a real-world population,” said lead author Dr. Andrew Perry, of the Vanderbilt Translational and Clinical Cardiovascular Research Center in Nashville, Tenn. “We found that people who spent more time in any type of physical activity had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Our data shows the importance of moving your body every day to lower your risk of diabetes.”

The data came from more than 5,600 people, 75% of them women, who were part of the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us research program between 2010 and 2021.

All of Us aims to advance individualized health care by enrolling and collecting data on more than 1 million people over many years.

Over four years, researchers found 97 new cases of diabetes among the 5,600 people in this new study.

People with an average daily step count of 10,700 — a little over 5 miles — were 44% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with 6,000 steps, the study found.

The findings were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

About 90% to 95% of people with diabetes have type 2, in which the body can’t use insulin properly. It does not carry sugar into the cells.

Although type 2 diabetes is most common in people age 45 and up, more children, teens and young adults are being diagnosed with the disease.

“We hope to study more diverse populations in future studies to confirm the generalizability of these findings,” Perry said in a journal news release.

Source: HealthDay





Exercise Is Medicine for Cancer and Every Dose Counts – Even in Late Stages of the Disease

It is well-known exercise has many benefits, but new Edith Cowan University (ECU) research has revealed just how critically important it can be – even for people with advanced cancer.

Previous work from ECU’s Exercise Medicine Research Institute has shown men with advanced prostate cancer can change the chemical environment of their body over six months of exercise training to suppress growth of cancer cells.

The team observed increased levels of proteins called ‘myokines’ which are produced by skeletal muscles and can suppress tumour growth and even help actively fight cancerous cells by stimulating a range of anti-cancer processes in the body.

But a new EMRI study has shown a single bout of exercise can elevate myokines even further and induce additional cancer suppression.

Importantly, this exercise induced medicine occurs in patients with incurable, advanced cancer where the disease has well and truly taken hold and patients have already received extensive treatment over many years.

Nine patients with late-stage prostate cancer performed 34 minutes of high intensity exercise on a stationary cycle, with blood serum collected immediately before and after, and then again 30 minutes post-workout.

The team found the serum obtained immediately after this “dose” of exercise contained elevated levels of anti-cancer myokines resulting in suppressed growth of prostate cancer cells in vitro by around 17 per cent.

Serum myokine levels and cancer suppression returned to baseline after 30 minutes.

EMRI researcher and study supervisor Professor Rob Newton said it was a breakthrough moment in exercise oncology.

“The findings from our work are particularly exciting because we report for the first time ever that men with advanced prostate cancer are able to produce an acute elevation in anti-cancer molecules called myokines in response to a single bout of vigorous exercise,” he said.

“This is helping us to understand why patients with cancer who exercise exhibit slower disease progression and survive for longer.”

“These patients are palliative, so there is no cure and they will eventually succumb – however, there is evidence that exercise will extend survival and the increased myokine levels explored in our recent paper is a prime mechanism.”

Professor Newton said while there is much research still to be done, the results of this study could help shape the advice given to cancer patients immediately.

“The optimal dose of exercise is not yet known, but it is likely to be 20-plus minutes each day and must include resistance training to grow the muscles, increase the size and capacity of the internal pharmacy, and stimulate the myokine production,” he said.

“This study provides strong evidence for the recommendation patients with prostate cancer, and likely anybody with any cancer type, should perform exercise most days, if not every day, to maintain a chemical environment within their body which is suppressive of cancer cell proliferation.”

‘Acute effect of high-intensity interval aerobic exercise on serum myokine levels and resulting tumour-suppressive effect in trained patients with advanced prostate cancer’ was published in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases.

Source: Australia Edith Cowan University





Science Reveals 3 Keys to an Energized, Alert Day

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Advertising would have you believe that a big bowl of sugary cereal or a syrupy iced coffee drink will make you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning.

But that sort of sugar-laden breakfast may be one of the worst things you can do to help you wake up alert and refreshed.

A major new sleep study shows a breakfast rich in complex carbohydrates — think a big bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, with some strawberries for flavor — is key to waking up without feeling sluggish.

“We found that when you have spike in your blood glucose after breakfast, you’re going to feel less alert, you’re going to feel more sleepy after that breakfast,” said lead researcher Raphael Vallat, a postdoctoral fellow at University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science. “You want to avoid foods that will drastically increase your blood glucose.”

Actually, a good breakfast is only one part of a three-step prescription for avoiding morning grogginess, Vallat and his team reported recently in the journal Nature Communications.

People who want to wake up alert also should get more than their usual amount of physical activity the day before, Vallat said, and they should sleep a little longer into the morning.

“If you wake up later than usual, you’re going to feel a little more alert,” Vallat explained.

These recommendations are based on a study of 833 people who wore activity trackers over a two-week period to record their sleep patterns and levels of exercise.

These folks also were given a variety of prepared breakfasts to eat, so researchers could see how different types of nutrients would affect their wakefulness.

The study group included 340 identical twins and 134 non-identical twins, who were compared against 359 non-twins to see if genetics played a role in morning wakefulness.

The study is important because these people were observed going through their day as usual rather than being studied in a sleep lab, Vallat said.

“Most of the studies that have looked at how you wake up, how alert you feel in the morning, they’re usually done in a sleep lab,” Vallat said. “But that’s not like the real world. For me, it’s very important to have this kind of real-world condition.”

Morning grogginess isn’t just a drag or a nuisance, but can be dangerous, said senior researcher Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley.

“We know that there are numerous auto accidents and job injuries that will occur tomorrow, that did occur today, because people were unable to effectively wake up,” Walker said.

Each of three factors identified by the researchers — a complex carb-heavy breakfast, more exercise and waking later after at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep — independently improved the participants’ wakefulness.

On the other hand, genetics played only a minor role in next-day alertness, explaining only about 25% of differences between individuals, researchers found.

“There are some very basic and achievable things you can start doing today and tonight to change how you awake each morning,” Walker said.

Researchers think that waking a little bit later places people on the upswing of their 24-hour circadian rhythm, essentially getting a natural boost from the process that ramps up your alertness throughout the morning.

But one expert noted that might not be practical.

“Sleeping more and/or later than typical might lead to improved morning alertness, but typical sleep recommendations suggest that people should generally stay on as stable a schedule for sleep as they can,” said Dr. Douglas Kirsch, medical director of sleep medicine at Atrium Health in Charlotte, N.C. “Practically, it is impossible to sleep later than you usually do every day, but this data might be a useful tool on a day when morning alertness is particularly important.”

As far as physical activity goes, the more the better.

“We found essentially a linear association,” Vallat said. “The more physical activity you do on the day before, the more alert you’re going to feel and the easier it’s going to be to wake up the next morning.”

However, keep in mind that what constitutes more exercise and longer, later sleep will vary from person to person, Walker said.

“What’s specific here is specific to you, the individual,” Walker said. “If you get more exercise the day before than you would typically get and if you sleep longer and later into the next day than you would typically sleep, that’s where we see this traction. That’s where we see the best kind of punch for the pound, as it were, in terms of improving your ability to wake up.”

The type of breakfast you need for wakefulness also will vary a bit, generally based on how it affects your personal blood sugar levels, researchers said.

Even the type of complex carbohydrate you have for breakfast matters, Walker said.

For example, steel-cut oats should be better for wakefulness than flat-rolled oats, because “steel-cut oats will provide a slower release of carbohydrate and therefore a more manageable blood sugar response,” Walker said.

Other examples of slow-release complex carb foods include sweet potatoes, brown rice and quinoa, he said.

Interestingly, the second-worst wake-up came from a high-protein breakfast involving a big morning shake containing 40 grams of whey protein, Vallat said.

“To be honest, that was kind of surprising to me,” Vallat said. “I think it’s still fine to eat some moderate amount of protein, but what you want to avoid is an excessively high amount of protein for breakfast because this seems to reduce your alertness.”

To put it in context, a lumberjack breakfast of three eggs and four slices of bacon contains about 30 grams of protein.

Not all sleep doctors buy into these findings, however.

“I agree that prior night’s sleep, previous day’s exercise, both will affect your level of alertness,” said Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist who guided the launch of “I think the breakfast portion of the study was a little off. What I mean by this is simple — very few people wake up and eat quickly.

“And they are suggesting a high-carb breakfast. In my experience and if you look in the literature you will see that carbs make people sleepy. This is because of the rise in serotonin,” Breus continued.

Breus’ recommendations for waking up refreshed are simple and direct:

  • Wake the same time every day.
  • Stop caffeine by 2 p.m.
  • Stop alcohol 3 hours before bed.
  • Exercise daily, but more than 4 hours before bed.
  • Upon waking, take 15 deep breaths, drink 15 ounces of water, and go outside to get 15 minutes of sunlight.

Source: HealthDay