Middle-aged told to walk faster

Middle-aged told to walk faster

 Middle-aged told to walk faster

Get off the bus early … and other ways to get walking

Middle-aged people are being urged to walk faster to help stay healthy, amid concern high levels of inactivity may be harming their health.

Officials at Public Health England said the amount of activity people did started to tail off from the age of 40.

They are urging those between the ages of 40 and 60 to start doing regular brisk walks.

Just 10 minutes a day could have a major impact, reducing the risk of early death by 15%, they say.

But PHE estimates four out of every 10 40- to 60-year-olds do not even manage a brisk 10-minute walk each month.

Inactivity in middle age
Adults in England 40-60 years old

  • 41% – Do not manage one brisk 10 min walk per month
  • 1 in 6 – Deaths linked to inactivity
  • 15% Reduction in risk of early death from at least one brisk 10 min walk per day
  • 20% Less active than we were in the 1960s
  • 15 miles Less walked a year on average than two decades ago

Public Health England

To help, the government agency is promoting a free app – Active 10 – which can monitor the amount of brisk walking an individual does and provide tips on how to incorporate more into the daily routine.

Juggling priorities of everyday life often means exercise takes a back seat. But walking to the shops instead of driving, or going for a brisk 10-minute walk on your lunch break each day, can add many healthy years to your life.

How walking transformed our lives

Maureen has now started leading organised walks

Maureen has now started leading organised walks

Maureen Ejimofor, 44, started taking regular walks three years ago in a bid to improve her health.

At the time, she weighed 18 stone and wanted to make a change. Within seven months, she had lost nearly five stone.

She joined a local organised walking group in Kent and loved it so much she ended up becoming a walk leader in charge of taking groups of people out at the weekend.

She has been using the Active 10 app and encourages others to do the same, describing it as “really useful” in persuading users to get a “burst” of brisk walking into their day.

Another walking fan is Liam Quigley, who has just turned 60.

“My parents used to take us out walking all the time,” he says.

But unfortunately as he got older, he got a taste for the finer things in life, so he used to drink quite a bit, eat some of the wrong stuff.  He actually put a lot of weight on.

He likes walking, and he decided to do something about it.

Mr Quigley joined Stockport Walkers and now takes 10-mile hikes.

Since he joined, he’s lost two stone. It’s had a good effect on him.

GPs are also being encouraged to get their patients walking faster – defined as a walk of at least 3mph that leaves you breathing faster and increases your heart rate.

Every GP should talk to their patients about the benefits of brisk walking and recommend the Active 10 app. PHE is focusing on those in middle age, because of the drop in activity levels.

It is recommended that people do 150 minutes of activity a week, but nearly half of those aged 40 to 60 fail to achieve that and one in five does less than 30 minutes.

While a daily 10-minute brisk walk will not get them to the recommended level, it will be enough to start making a difference to high blood pressure, diabetes, weight issues, depression and anxiety and musculoskeletal problems such as lower back pain.

PHE also hopes by getting this age group active it will have a knock-on effect among those who have children.

Body clock scientists win Nobel Prize

Body clock scientists win Nobel Prize

Body clock scientists win Nobel Prize

Three scientists who unravelled how our bodies tell time have won the 2017 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.
The body clock – or circadian rhythm – is the reason we want to sleep at night, but it also drives huge changes in behaviour and body function.

The US scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young will share the prize.
The Nobel prize committee said their findings had “vast implications for our health and wellbeing”.
A clock ticks in nearly every cell of the human body, as well as in plants, animals and fungi.
Our mood, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism all fluctuate in a daily rhythm.

Even our risk of a heart attack soars every morning as our body gets the engine running to start a new day.

Body Clock

The body clock so precisely controls our body to match day and night that disrupting it can have profound implications.
The ghastly experience of jet lag is caused by the body being out of sync with the world around it.
In the short term, body clock disruption affects memory formation, but in the long term it increases the risk of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
It is clear that if we screw that system up we have a big impact on our metabolism.
Many university spokespeople are delighted that the US trio had won, they feel they deserved the prize for being the first to explain how the system worked.

They have shown us how molecular clocks are built across all the animal kingdom.

The prize winners

Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young have won the highest accolade in science.
The trio’s breakthroughs were on fruit flies, but their findings explain how “molecular feedback loops” keep time in all animals.

Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash isolated a section of DNA called the period gene, which had been implicated in the circadian rhythm.
The period gene contained instructions for making a protein called PER. As levels of PER increased, it turned off its own genetic instructions.

As a result, levels of the PER protein oscillate over a 24-hour cycle – rising during the night and falling during the day.
Michael Young discovered a gene called timeless and another one called doubletime. They both affect the stability of PER.
If PER is more stable then the clock ticks more slowly, if it is less stable then it runs too fast. The stability of PER is one reason some of us are morning larks and others are night owls.

Together, they had uncovered the workings of the molecular clock inside the fly’s cells.
Before this work in fruit flies we really didn’t have any ideas of the genetic mechanism – body clocks were viewed as a black box on a par with astrology.
We encounter the body clock when we experience jet lag and we appreciate it’s debilitating for a short time, but the real public health issue is rotational shift work – it’s a constant state of jet lag.

‘A pedometer saved my life’: How I became fit in my 60s

‘A pedometer saved my life’: How I became fit in my 60s

 'A pedometer saved my life': How I became fit in my 60s

Graham Ward was 60 when he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

It came after decades of eating and drinking too much in a high-stress, sedentary job: “It was an explosion waiting to happen,” he said.

For Graham, whose wife had become increasingly disabled through multiple sclerosis, the diagnosis was a wake-up call.

He needed to be able to help her – and he need to be around for longer.

Graham is not alone in his diagnosis.

Public Health England estimates that 42% of 45- to 64-year-olds have a long-term health condition such as diabetes or heart disease.

This week, it urged middle-aged people to walk more often and more briskly.
10 minutes a day

It is encouraging those between the ages of 40 and 60 to start doing regular brisk walks of just 10 minutes a day.

One in five middle-aged people is physically inactive, engaging in less than 30 minutes of exercise a week.

To help, the government agency is promoting a free app – Active 10 – which can monitor the amount of brisk walking an individual does and provide tips on how to incorporate more of it into the daily routine.

 'A pedometer saved my life': How I became fit in my 60s When he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2015, Graham, pictured here with his wife, weighed 18 stone

When Graham was diagnosed as a diabetic, he realised he needed to make changes: His clothes were getting tighter, and he was hearing how being overweight could affect his life and health in other ways.

Diabetes has been linked to other issues such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, causing a reduction in one’s life expectancy.

He said beforehand he had managed to turn a blind eye to this.

When someone is in front of you telling you it’s you, there’s nowhere to hide. They’re not talking about the other millions of people out there. Graham’s doctor suggested he should join a local walking group in Stockport.

He started and he was a bit nervous. With a couple of hills, it was more walking than he’d been doing. He was talked into the 1.9 mile walk by the group leader. After the first time, he overcame all those fears.

He invested in a pair of new shoes and gradually increased his walks to reach five miles.

Over a period of months, Graham graduated from walking three kilometres to eight kilometres

It was a very quick improvement, once you realise after the first one or two that you don’t become immediately breathless and that you can walk further from home than you thought. He moved on from walking with that group, to walking by himself, walking further distances and the pounds started falling off of him.”

He used a pedometer to make sure he was reaching the recommended 10,000 steps a day.

Now he does about 15,000 steps and has lost 50lb.

His trousers were falling off of him. He had to throw away all the clothes he owned.

Graham said the benefits were not only physical.

He’s fitter, healthier, more confident. When you start walking you see things in your area that you haven’t seen before, such as discovering canal towpaths.

His advice to others is not to be “disappointed if it doesn’t happen in the first few weeks”.

Now, he and his wife diet and swim together.

When he’s playing with my grandchildren now, it’s them that get tired before he does.