Excercise key to staying younger

New York: Fitness, strength and flexibility do not inevitably fade away with age, and are more often a matter of lifestyle choices, according to a new report.

Often, the discomforts of middle-age, like lower back pain or stiff joints, are blamed on aging alone. However, a well-rounded exercise routine that includes aerobic activity, strength training and stretching can help people offset the effects of ageing, according to a report from the Mayo Clinic.

Studies show that regular exercise can lower the risks of chronic ills like diabetes and heart disease, boost immune function, alleviate fatigue and cut the risk of disability in older adults.

People of any age can start exercising, even if they’ve never been active, the report says. However, sedentary people should always talk with their doctors first, particularly if they have any chronic medical conditions.

To get the most benefits, exercisers should try to fit in five types of activity, according to the Mayo report. One is aerobic exercise — any type of movement, like walking or riding a bike, that raises the heart rate and gets you breathing harder. A good beginning, the report says, is to exercise aerobically for 30 to 60 minutes three times per week, working toward a five-day-per-week goal.

Strengthening exercises, such as lifting hand weights or doing push-ups, are important to maintaining muscle mass and strength. Most people will quickly notice improvements after strength training just two or three times per week, for about 20 minutes per session, according to the report.

It’s also important to fit in stretching to boost flexibility, balance exercises to improve coordination and lower injury risk, and “core stability” training — exercises that focus on the muscles of the trunk.

All of these activities do require proper technique, the report notes, so it is a good idea to begin by taking an exercise class or getting advice from a professional, such as a doctor, exercise trainer or physical therapist.

Rejuvenate at the Royal Parks fitness festival

London: From the stunning Serpentine through the green heart of London: The inaugural Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon and Brakes Food & Fitness Festival takes place next month.

On Sunday 12 October 2008 (8.30am to 4pm), the Royal Parks Foundation launches its first ever Half Marathon through the green lungs of the capital and will host the Brakes Food & Fitness Festival in Hyde Park – to which entry is free.

12,500 runners will race over a 13.1 mile route that takes in all aspects of our diverse and colourful city and passes through King Henry VIII’s old hunting grounds. Starting in the autumn colours of Hyde Park, the route goes through Green Park and St James’s Park, along the ancient Thames, past the futuristic London Eye, back to the historic Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, finishing once again in Hyde Park. Runners will then be able to join friends and family and rejuvenate at the Brakes Food & Fitness Festival taking place all day in Hyde Park.

The Brakes Food & Fitness Festival will offer something for everyone – runners and non-runners alike. Activities throughout the day will include:

· Warm up with the British Military Fitness team at 9.30am

· SUPERChick stretch workshop for tired muscles

· Learn to be a Parkour – (think James Bond in the opening scenes of Casino Royale)

· Kids’ craft area with face-painting and lots of other free fun

· Tennis skills training, plus hockey and football challenges with a giant inflatable football goal and speed camera

· Army climbing wall

· Massage area

· Farmers market stalls for those who would rather just relax and enjoy some delicious food

Echoing the ethos of the Royal Parks, the Half Marathon aims to be as environmentally friendly as possible – with bamboo t-shirts, medals carved from sustainable pine, recycled water bottles and a Fairtrade banana for every runner. Funds raised will benefit The Royal Parks Foundation, plus the work of hundreds of other charities, large and small, from around the UK.

In keeping with the ‘something for everyone’ theme, there are a variety of prize categories for runners including:

Open Men
Open Women
Senior Women – 40-55 year olds
Senior Men – 45-60 year olds
Veteran Women – 55+
Veteran Men – 60+
Corporate Challenge (Fastest Team & Best Dressed Team)
Most Successful Fundraiser

Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon timings:

· 8.30 – Runners should arrive at 8.30 to check in bags

· 9.30 – British Military Fitness warm up

· 10.00 – Run starts in Hyde Park

· Brakes Food & Fitness Festival open between 8.30am-4pm

The Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

· The Royal Parks Foundation is the charity for London’s eight Royal Parks. For further information please visit: www.royalparksfoundation or visit The Royal Parks at www.royalparks.org.uk

Headline sponsor

· Brakes – Brakes is the headline partner for the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon and is the UK’s leading foodservice providerwww.brake.co.uk

Running slows ageing


New York: Scientists at the Stanford University Medical Center have found that jogging can slow down the ageing process.

In a study that lasted two decades they found that elderly joggers were half as likely to die prematurely from conditions like cancer than non-runners.

They also enjoyed a healthier life with fewer disabilities, according to the study which is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The work tracked 500 older runners for more than 20 years, comparing them to a similar group of non-runners. All were in their 50s at the start of the study.

Nineteen years into the study, 34% of the non-runners had died compared to only 15% of the runners.

Both groups became more disabled with age, but for the runners the onset of disability started later – an average of 16 years later.

The health gap between the runners and non-runners continued to widen even as the subjects entered their ninth decade of life.

Running not only appeared to slow the rate of heart and artery related deaths, but was also associated with fewer early deaths from cancer, neurological disease, infections and other causes.

And there was no evidence that runners were more likely to suffer osteoarthritis or need total knee replacements than non-runners – something scientists have feared.

At the beginning of the study, the runners ran for about four hours a week on average. After 21 years, their weekly running time had reduced to around 76 minutes, but they were still seeing health benefits from taking regular exercise.

Lead author Professor James Fries, emeritus professor of medicine at Stanford, said: “The study has a very pro-exercise message. If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise.

“The health benefits of exercise are greater than we thought.”

Millions put foot health at risk


London: Walking is Britain’s most popular activity with approximately 38 million people walking for pleasure at least once a month.

But as the summer weather allows more of us to take up this activity, the number of injuries also increases. They range from Achilles Tendonitis (inflammation of the Achilles tendon), Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints) and Plantar Fasciitis (Inflammation of the bottom of the foot), to corns and blisters.

There is no doubt that walking is good for you, it has many health benefits, increases your levels of fitness and as a result the number of people walking for a hobby is on the increase – and so is the number of injured feet!

Luke Barlow, founder of Fitness Footwear the number one online sports and activity shoe retailer said: “Walking may appear to be the lightest of outdoor hobbies however, with 23.6 Million people regularly talking walks of 3.2 km or more it is important that the correct footwear is worn. With the summer approaching, many individuals and families will be dusting off their (potentially foot unfriendly) walking boots in anticipation of hitting the hills.”

Fitness Footwear has partnered with the British Chiropody and Podiatry Association to provide walkers with the information needed to avoid unnecessary injury to feet in a variety of walking conditions.
With different days come different walking conditions, each requiring a diverse footwear type and alternative sock/shoe/insole combinations. Utilising the knowledge of the British Chiropody and Podiatry Association and its own shoe knowledge, Fitness Footwear has created the ideal combination to avoid unnecessary and painful injuries for five common walking conditions.

Hot Conditions – The British Chiropody and Podiatry Association suggests: “As with all types of clothing, it is important whilst walking in hot conditions to be well ventilated. A good quality sandal or sandal-type shoe is recommended to avoid any potential damage.”
· Fitness Footwear recommends the Merrell Moab Ventilator shoes with a Smartwool Hiking Crew sock for its added protection. Finally it is recommended that a Sole Ultra SofTec Insole is used as inevitably the hot conditions will cause a hard ground – this particular insole is renowned for the support it provides to the knees and lower back.

Cold Conditions – The British Chiropody and Podiatry Association suggests: “In cold conditions it is suggested that a thick woollen sock, or a couple of pairs of thinner socks, is best to provide greater comfort, warmth and protection from associated injuries.”

· Fitness Footwear recommends the Merrell Chameleon Thermo 6 Waterproof Synthetic Shoe for its Thinsulate insulating lining ensuring that feet are kept warm, matched with a Brasher 3 Season sock – a good all round protector and insulator. For the sole it is recommended that a Superfeet WinterGreen Performance insole is used as it provides insulation but also aligns the feet.

Wet Conditions – The British Chiropody and Podiatry Association suggests: “Unless walking in streams or fords for extended periods, avoid the obvious choice of Wellington boots on long walks. Not renowned for their comfort, Wellingtons are prone to chaffing and the rubber soles tend to draw the feet. A good quality insole is necessary as that ventilates well.”

·For walking in wet conditions Fitness First recommends the Salomon Mega Trek 6 Light GTX/WP boot as it is waterproof and breathable, with SealSkinz long light socks for their waterproof, windproof yet breathable capabilities. For the insole, a Superfeet Green performance insole is recommended as it is one of the best off the shelf orthotics on the market, and helps to align the body whilst walking.

Mountain terrain – The British Chiropody and Podiatry Association suggests: “Essential for mountain walking is a thick trainer-type shoe or boot with plenty of grip. Cushioned insoles are recommended to avoid potential lesions or damage on rocks and uneven surfaces.”

· Fitness Footwear recommends the Merrell Chameleon Thermo 6 Waterproof
Synthetic Shoe for the protection offered against potentially sharp rocks, matched with the Smartwool Hiking Crew sock for added protection. A Superfeet WinterGreen Performance insole will provide insulation and will also keeps the feet in alignment to keep a better footing.

Road Walking – The British Chiropody and Podiatry Association suggests: “A leather sole with a shock absorbing rubber heel will help avoid injuries gained from continually walking on hard terrain. All rubber soles need to be avoided as they will draw the feet.”

· Fitness Footwear recommends that the light weight Merrell Moab Ventilator shoe is used with a Smartwool Hiking Crew sock for protection and the Sole Ultra SofTec Insole.

The British Chiropody and Podiatry Association suggests: Even with all these recommendations every walker should carry some Sorbothane Sorboskin Blister Plasters for any unforeseen injuries.

Mike Batt, Honourary President of The British Chiropody and Podiatry Association said “We frequently see and hear stories of individuals who have not prepared properly and worn inappropriate footwear. Consequently, walking can cause some horrendous blisters, chaffing and other related injuries that could be easily avoided.”

Luke Barlow added: “Through our partnership with the British Chiropody and Podiatry Society we aim to raise awareness of the importance of looking after your feet. We have an extensive range of walking shoes for all weather conditions and are more than happy to provide advice to ensure the perfect fit.”
Fitness Footwear (www.fitnessfootwear.com) offers a range of sport and leisure shoes to cater for every interest. From running to climbing, from parkour to fashion, Fitness Footwear has something for everyone, stocking top quality brands including Brasher, Ecco, Hi-Tec, Merrell, DC, Mizuno and Quicksilver.

The secure site enables you to browse by activity or brand and all orders despatched within the UK come with free delivery as standard.

For More information please visit www.fitnessfootwear.com or call 0870 080 1736 within the UK.