### 11-minutes of brisk walking makes a big difference
According to a major study of 30 million people, walking for at least 11 minutes every day could lower the risk of premature death by almost 25 percent. In addition to the reduced risk of premature death, those 11 daily minutes of exercise also dropped people’s risks for heart disease by 17 percent and for cancer of any kind by 7 percent. The risk of certain cancers, including myeloid leukemia, myeloma, and some stomach cancers, fell by as much as 26 percent. This study emphasizes that even the briefest workouts can have potent benefits for our health, especially if we exercise consistently.
### Morning exercise may be better for burning fat
If you’re looking to burn more fat with each workout and slowly lower your body’s fat stores, there may be advantages to exercising before noon. Research in mice showed that the animals who ran within a few hours of waking up burned more fat than mice who exercised later in the day. In morning mouse exercisers, their fat released substantially more fatty acids, the building blocks of fat, into the animals’ bloodstream, ready for use as muscle fuel. Morning exercise also showed larger increases in biochemical markers of heat production and mitochondrial activity, as well as in the activity of certain genes related to fat metabolism.
### Outdoor workouts improve the benefits of exercise
Moving your workout outside can be a simple way to magnify its benefits. “Green exercise” refers to physical activity done in nature and can improve working memory and concentration substantially more than completing the same brief walk inside. The effects can extend beyond brief improvements in concentration, other research shows. In a study from China, young, inactive people with obesity who started walking in a park or gym on alternate days reported feeling considerably less stress and enjoying exercise more when they walked outside.
### Walking four days a week can boost brain health
It’s never too late for exercise to boost your brain health. In a study of 70- and 80-year-olds, walking just four days a week for four months led to better scores on cognitive tests. Brain scans showed that brain connections were stronger than before, with cells and whole networks lighting up at the same time, a common hallmark of better thinking.
### For many, just 6,000 steps is the sweet spot
Contrary to the popular belief that 10,000 steps a day is the magic number, a study of more than 47,000 people showed that the greatest relative reductions in the risk of dying prematurely came with step counts of between about 8,000 and 10,000 per day for men and women younger than 60. For people older than 60, the threshold was a little lower. The sweet spot in terms of reduced mortality risk came at between 6,000 and 8,000 steps a day.
### Less strenuous exercise can burn more fat
The key to finding your fat-burning zone is often to exercise far more gently than many of us might expect. Whether you burn primarily fat or carbohydrates during exercise depends mostly on your workout’s intensity. In studies, people were advised to walk at speeds they felt they could maintain for at least 45 minutes, which usually settled into a pace squarely in their fat-burning zone. That pace also tended to be slower than many of us might expect, at about 2.5 to 3 miles an hour for many people, or barely 20 minutes per mile.
### You get more out of exercise when you track it
Learning how much we actually move by tracking our steps could help us start thinking of ourselves as active people, which can pay health dividends. In one study, groups of exercisers tracked their step counts. Some of them were given accurate reports of their 7,000 daily steps, while others were lied to and told they were taking just 4,000 steps a day. The exercisers who had been told correctly that they walked about 7,000 steps a day reported better moods and higher self-esteem. When they started counting steps, they also began eating better, consuming fewer high-fat foods and more produce. People who thought they had taken only 4,000 steps a day showed slightly lower self-esteem, darker moods, poorer eating habits, and small increases in their resting heart rates and blood pressure. The findings suggest that a negative mindset, such as feeling like you’re failing at exercise, is bad for your health. So track your exercise and try not to compare your steps or other activities to those of anyone else. Instead, celebrate how active you have discovered yourself to be.
Original Story at www.washingtonpost.com – 2023-12-12 14:45:00