Benefits of Running, Walking
Better weather is here, the perfect time for outdoor exercise. Looking for an activity that requires no trip to the gym, no special equipment besides shoes, no complicated lessons, no sense of rhythm?
Consider taking up running or walking. All you have to do is walk out the door and keep going for at least 15 minutes, then turn around and come back. How much easier could it get?
You can squeeze running or walking into your day when it suits you best. It gets your heart pumping, helps relieve stress, burns calories and helps improve sleep.
If you think walking isn't exercise, get out there and walk-briskly-for at least 30 minutes. Keep up the fast pace. You might change your opinion.
Skateboard, Scooter Guidelines
Here are the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) most recent guidelines for children's use of skateboards and scooters:
Unless an adult is supervising:
- Children under 10 should not use skateboards without adult supervision.
- Children under 8 should not use scooters without adult supervision.
Additionally, the AAP states that children under 5 should not use skateboards at all.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the number of non-motorized scooter injuries treated in emergency rooms increased sharply from 40,500 in 2000 to more than 84,400 from January 2002 through September 2001.
The AAP explains that young children are at high risk of injury because they're unable to judge their own skills and strength accurately. Wearing protective gear and avoiding riding in traffic reduce the risk of injury.
Source: Pediatrics, March 2002; The Consumer Product Safety Commission, April 2002
Obesity, Kids, Diabetes
Researchers have found that obesity in children is the likely cause of a condition known as impaired glucose tolerance. When people have this condition, their bodies don't respond to the effects of insulin as well as they should. Their blood sugar level becomes high, and eventually they develop type 2 diabetes.
A recent study showed that one in four extremely obese children under 10 and one in five under 18 had impaired glucose tolerance. The longer a person has diabetes, the higher the chances of developing serious side effects, such as heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and limb amputations.
This is why it's important for children to develop healthy eating habits and active lifestyles early.
Source: The New England Journal of Medicine 2002;346:802-810, 854-855
Your Computer, Your Body
To reduce the risk of injuries to your shoulder, elbow, forearm and wrist, make sure your keyboard and mouse are in the correct position:
- Your forearms should be at a 90-degree angle to your upper arms when you're typing
- Your keyboard should be at a height that allows your upper arms to rest at your sides
- The keyboard should be directly in front of you
- The mouse should be next to and at the same level as the keyboard. Your arm should sit either on your armrest or on your desk when you're typing.
- You're wrists should be straight and flat, not bent, when you're typing
To help prevent eye strain, neck pain and shoulder fatigue, make sure your monitor is
- Directly in front of you so that you don't have to twist your neck
- 18-30 inches away from you
- Facing away from direct lighting
In general, you want to minimize elbow movement, keep your body aligned and take routine breaks to stretch your fingers and hands.
For more information about keyboards, monitors, chairs, etc, visit the Centers for Disease Control's Computer Workstation Ergonomics Web site http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/Ergonomics/compergo.htm
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 2002
It's never too late to increase your fitness level-or too late to start getting fit in the first place. Regular exercise has a lot of benefits for older people, but the key to starting a program is to take it slowly. Joints and ligaments get old too, so it's important to treat them gently and build strength gradually.
If you're interested in a weight-training program, get advice from a qualified trainer who knows about senior fitness. If it's walking you interested in, or even building up to a jog, start with 10 or 15 minutes a day and add to it each week.
Before starting a fitness program, talk with your doctor just to make sure it's safe. But by all means, DO start a program. You're likely to have more energy, sleep better, reduce your risk of falls, improve your cardiovascular health, and improve any chronic condition you may have.
Source: Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Society of Ontario, April 2002