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5 surprising benefits of walking

Also: Can depression worsen RA symptoms or make treatment less effective?; No excuses: How to layer up for walking in cold weather

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Harvard Medical School

5 surprising benefits of walking

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The next time you have a check-up, don't be surprised if your doctor hands you a prescription to walk. Yes, this simple activity that you've been doing since you were about a year old is now being touted as "the closest thing we have to a wonder drug," in the words of Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of course, you probably know that any physical activity, including walking, is a boon to your overall health. But walking in particular comes with a host of benefits. Here's a list of five that may surprise you.

1. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes actually contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.

2. It helps tame a sweet tooth. A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations. And the latest research confirms that walking can reduce cravings and intake of a variety of sugary snacks.

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Walking for 2.5 hours a week — that’s just 21 minutes a day — can cut your risk of heart disease by 30%. In addition, this do-anywhere, no-equipment-required activity has also been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep you mentally sharp.

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3. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.

4. It eases joint pain. Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.

5. It boosts immune function. Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.

To learn more about the numerous benefits of walking, as well as easy ways to incorporate a walk into your daily routine, buy Walking for Health, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

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News and Views from the Harvard Health Blog

Can depression worsen RA symptoms or make treatment less effective?

Roughly one in six people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) suffers from depression. Common symptoms of depression can mimic the symptoms of an arthritis flare. It is also possible that depression can contribute to a flare.

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No excuses: How to layer up for walking in cold weather

Image: iStock

"It's too cold." "It's too hot." "It's raining." Weather-related excuses are some of the most common reasons that walkers don't walk. But with the right clothing and preparation, almost any type of weather can be walking weather.

A key to staying warm when you're walking in cold temperatures is to stay dry — and that's exactly what layering helps you do. By removing layers as you warm up, you'll avoid excessive sweating, which can cause you to become chilled, especially later in your walk. Then you can replace layers as you cool down to remain warm.

Try this three-step layering system on your next walk. With the right clothing, you might even enjoy winter walking!

First layer: Start with a light synthetic fabric, such as Cool-Max or polypropylene, closest to your skin. It will pull sweat away from your skin and allow it to dry quickly.

Second layer: This is your insulation. Look for a fleece, sweater, or sweatshirt made of a synthetic fabric like Polartec, or a wool blend that provides warmth while wicking away moisture. (Avoid cotton, because it stays wet.) Depending on the temperature, you may want insulating bottoms, too. You can also select different thickness levels for more or less insulation, or double up on this layer if it's really cold.

Third layer: This one protects you from wind, rain, or snow. A waterproof or water-resistant (depending on where you live) breathable jacket and pants, such as those made of Gore-Tex, will keep you warm and dry. Look for styles with vents that you can easily open and close to stay comfortable. Velcro or drawstrings at your waist and wrists will also prevent cold air from sneaking in.

When choosing layers, dress for a temperature that's about 10 degrees higher than the day's forecast, because you'll be generating your own heat as you get moving. And don't forget to cover your ears, hands, and head.

To learn more about how to get the most out of your walks, buy Walking for Health, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

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Walking for Health

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Walking: An ideal form of exercise
Should you check with your doctor first?
First steps: Starting a walking program
Walking workouts and more
Walking through the seasons
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* Please note, we do not provide responses to personal medical concerns, nor can we supply related medical information other than what is available in our print products or website. For specific, personalized medical advice we encourage you to contact your physician.

How The Right Optometrist Is Found

By Della Monroe

Great importance should be placed by individuals on the various parts of the bodies. If functionalities are lost in some parts, certain actions may not be performed by them. Balanced meals need to be eaten so that all the needed nutrients can be absorbed. Workouts also have to be performed regularly.

If these people notice certain symptoms that hinder these parts to function, they should immediately visit health care professionals. For their eye conditions, they must go to a good optometrist Sacramento CA. Such practitioners usually possess the equipments and the expertise to provide medical assistance to their patients. There are a few guidelines that the clienteles from Sacramento, CA might take into account when they would search for these practitioners.

The client can start employing two main ways in finding the doctor. First, he maybe soliciting recommendations from others who are also suffering from eye disorders. Such individuals definitely know a practitioner who renders a good service. Second, he might be performing an Internet search on the website of a professional. Nowadays, most doctors are already creating social media accounts for clients to be contacting them during health emergencies. Whichever way he would be selecting, the client must always be taking note of his contact info.

The reputations of the practitioners have to be confirmed. Good reputations are borne by some physicians but bad ones are carried by others. If the best services are truly wanted, reputable professionals should also be dealt with. To get such reputations confirmed, the physicians could directly be asked for references. Past and current patients are included in these references. Their opinions shall carefully be weighed down by clients to get the ones that should be gone with identified.

They also need to know the educational achievements of these practitioners. These doctors must take and complete college degrees in Medicine and specialize in Optometry. Afterwards, they shall take and pass licensure examinations so that they can gain their professional licenses. These licenses will authorize them to legally practice their own professions.

The patient may wish to know how long has the professional been practicing his profession. Usually, f he is already doing the activity for a longer time, he could be gaining familiarity on all steps he must be taking in providing a better aid to a clientele. The individual might be choosing an experienced one.

The persons might consider the locations of the clinics of these doctors. Typically, the physicians can perform their functions inside their clinics. It will be better if they select the ones that are situated near their own homes so that they could immediately reach the establishments for their check ups or even their operations. They shall also observe cleanliness, safety, and security in these places.

The amounts that will be parted with if their assistance is availed shall also be checked. Since various important factors are accounted for by professionals to get their service rates set, varying yet competitive amounts will certainly be noticed by patients, too. These rates should be compared by patients and ensure that these can be afforded by their budgets.

He could be asking the physician if he would be accepting his current health plan. The plan provider will usually be shouldering several costs that a patient might be incurring. Most practitioners are usually accepting major health plans.

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Locals Discover Optimal Health With Chesterfield MO Advanced Allergy Therapy

By Ted Strothers

Allergies are common. There are all different kinds of things that might trigger this type of negative and damaging response of the immune system. People struggling with this have a hypersensitivity to specific substances, such as food, dust, fur or pollen. There are numerous therapy options available to aid people with this problem. Chesterfield MO advanced allergy therapy is available to locals interested in better managing their allergic responses.

Allergists are the professionals who are skilled in diagnosing and caring for patients and their allergies. These practitioners are well-informed about allergens and the reactions they can product in the human body. Most people seek out this type of care so they can determine what allergies they have. They may be familiar with certain allergic responses but there are some dormant or underlying issues they might not know about.

Certain tests can be done to identify all of the allergies a person has. The most common allergies people experience are to animal dander, insect bites, pollens, plants, medications, foods, and stings. Symptoms produced will range in many ways, but may include: congestion, hives, watery and red eyes, rashes, itching, cough, anxiety, palpitations, chest tightness, abnormal breathing, pain in the abdomen and more.

Those who seek care solutions may benefit from allergen immunotherapy, which is a medical procedure done on certain types of allergies. It is particularly effective when dealing with environmental ones. It might benefit others, but more research must be done. Essentially, this practice involves exposure to large amounts of the allergen in an effort to change the response by the immune system.

Various types of immunotherapy are given, such as subcutaneous, sublingual and oral. These all have their own potential uses. There are pros and cons worth considering, which is why people are encouraged to work closely with professionals to determine the best solution for them. Remember, results will differ based on a number of factors.

Service costs will range. Find the best practitioners who work in the area. Compare insurance accepted, reviews and ratings, costs, and other details. Many people consider this a kind of therapy that has many positive benefits that can even be life changing.

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What To Do With Your Cadillac Trapeze Table

By Mattie Knight

Many people have good quality furnishings but some are not completely refinished which is the problem. It has to be processed well but you need to know what to do by asking the experts to help you. You should also give this method a try to witness what it would look like. After the process is done, expect for a major outcome.

If you have an antique table for instance then make sure to preserve it carefully by refinishing it. Some like it because it is a valuable item for them and it will be very valuable when you ensure that it is well preserved like your Cadillac trapeze table. You can hire any expert to do the task for you when you have no time for it.

There are some people who are experts when it comes to working on it and preserving the originality of the materials. When not sure of the output then let the experts perform it. You should exert more effort, focus and time to be fully successful in this type of job or aim that you have.

To start the process, you have to strip that furniture first. It can aid you remove the old paint and the applied coating on the furniture surface to maintain those important parts. What you also need is a quality stripper to remove the coating or those chemicals that were mixed and applied.

Use the correct kind of sandpaper for its surface to look smoother and finer compared to its more usual look. Coarse sandpaper can also eliminate the large particles and using fine sandpaper can make it smoother. Decide well for the best finish that should be applied to make it good.

You must check all your choices to determine what will look great by applying the correct process. The stain or finish also depends on what will be applied. This means you can either use it inside or outside. The ideas will help you in deciding for the right thing and to have the best quality furnishing.

You should really perform the steps to be really successful in this kind of undertaking. Consider the details to apply the needed options and to decide really well for the better. Make sure that the result is good for you to do it. Try applying the refinishing process to develop the skills that you possess.

Certain individuals want to buy a new of it because they do not wish to apply high effort when refinishing the structure. There are some who do not like patience so they prefer those structures with low quality result. They can right away give up then buy another one but it really takes some time and other resources of course like money and effort.

One can also visit those hardwood stores to have some ideas of what to choose. You can ask the advice of some professionals and experts about it. Choose those nicer items for refinishing. Avoid those harmful applications that use chemicals and not those natural products. Be good in choosing what to buy.

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The Big Fat Lie About Fat

This year, the US Government stopped recommending that we limit our intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, and recent studies are shedding a clear light on full-fat foods not being the demon we originally thought.
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The Big Fat Lie About Fat

This year, the US Government stopped recommending that we limit our intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, and recent studies are shedding a clear light on full-fat foods not being the demon we originally thought.

Nicholas English
Content Manager of Health
Full-Fat Foods Proven to Be Healthy
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From the Very Beginning, Dietary Fat Guidelines Weren't Supported By Evidence   
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