Category Archives: Do This Not That

Little Things Add Up to Good Health

I wrote the following story for the Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer of Raleigh; it ran in both papers on April 9, 2013. It appears here, with links.

A spin class at the gym, or an afternoon working in the garden? Pilates, or taking the stairs every day to your third-floor cubicle? Zumba, or shooting hoops with the kids after dinner?
While hitting the gym three times a week may sound impressive, a recent study out of Oregon State University backs up what a number of health care professionals have been preaching for years: An active lifestyle peppered with frequent, short bursts of activity is better for you than a largely sedentary lifestyle with every-other-day trips to the gym.
“Our results suggest that engaging in an active lifestyle approach, compared to a structured exercise approach, may be just as beneficial in improving various health outcomes,” says Paul Loprinzi, lead author of the study, which monitored more than 6,300 adults.
Loprinzi, an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., conducted the study, published in the January/February American Journal of Health Promotion.
“The study backs up previous studies from 2009 and 2011 that had the same theme,” says Dr. Ben Walker, a cardiologist with Rex Hospital in Raleigh. “Those studies both found that patients who worked out one hour a day but were otherwise sedentary didn’t necessarily eliminate the risks of their sedentary lifestyles.”
“That 30 minutes a day, three days a week is just getting started,” says Jan Wagner, an exercise physiologist with Novant Presbyterian Heart and Wellness in Charlotte. “I support people getting 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, wherever they can get it.” read more

Do This, Not That

In today’s The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer I follow up on a study from Oregon State University that found an active daily lifestyle trumps long periods behind a desk interrupted by three 30-minute visits to the gym every week. The story discusses the study of more than 6,300 adults and offers suggestions for pumping a little activity into your life. You can read the story in this space tomorrow, with links. read more

Do This Not That: Don’t favor one side, use both

Free weights are preferred over machine weights because they force both sides of your body to carry an equal load. Cyclists experiment with PowerCranks to prevent one leg from slacking off during a race. The exo ball is popular because it, likewise, is based on the premise that a happy, fit body is a balanced body. Yet we live our daily lives so physically out of whack it’s a wonder we can stay upright. read more