Outdoor walking groups: as good as the treadmill?

Kirsten Lawson reports on a systematic review and meta-analysis of outdoor walking groups and their impact on a range of health parameters, including blood pressure, heart rate, body fat, body mass index, cholesterol and depression.

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Older people who exercise are twice as likely to enjoy good health as inactive people

An eight-year cohort study has found a strong association between physical activity and healthy ageing in later life. The study recruited a sample of older adults and followed them over time.   They measured the participants’ levels of physical activity and health every two years. Other studies have already shown an association between activity and exercise.  [read the full story…]

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Exercise referral schemes may be cost-effective, but we don’t have enough good evidence yet

Exercising

In Exercise Referral Schemes (ERS), primary care patients who are sedentary or are likely to benefit from physical activity are referred by a primary care professional to a third party provider for a tailored exercise programme. Are the benefits of these exercise schemes worth the costs? Methods This was an economic evaluation using a cost-utility [read the full story…]

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Systematic review highlights the dearth of evidence on exercise in reducing mortality

We know that people who exercise a lot live longer.  But how does exercise match up with traditional drug treatments?  An open-access systematic review in the BMJ synthesised the experimental evidence for exercise compared with drug treatments on mortality.  This paper garnered a lot of media attention.  Does the hype match up with what the [read the full story…]

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Review of how (and how not) to help poorer people improve their diet and do more exercise

Shouting with a megaphone

We know that type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in groups with lower socioeconomic status, and we know that improving diet and taking exercise can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.  So how can we help poorer people to act on diet and exercise advice? A recent mixed methods systematic review looked at the [read the full story…]

Unclear evidence on the cost-effectiveness of distance lifestyle counselling for weight control in the workplace

Being overweight is bad for your health, but finding the time and resources to address this can be difficult. Using distance communication technology, such as e-mail or telephone, can help make person-to-person counselling more accessible to working adults. This isn’t the first time we’ve looked at interventions of this nature at The Lifestyle Elf, but [read the full story…]

How can we get kids to be more active at school? New review highlights gaps

boy looking through hole in playground equipment

What do you remember about school break times? Did we fall into predictable groups, with boys playing football and girls walking round arm in arm, sharing gossip? It seems to me, looking back, that it was a time spent on the move, one way and another, and from a health perspective that was a Good [read the full story…]

New guidance on brief advice for adults undertaking exercise in primary care

Asleep at the desk

“Nudging” people to change their behaviour is one of the concepts du jour.  In the cash- and time-strapped environment of health care delivery, the idea that small scale interventions can have a big collective impact particularly appeals. NICE has recently released guidance for primary care professionals on how to deliver brief advice on undertaking exercise.  [read the full story…]

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More research needed on effective GP interventions to promote physical activity in later life

An older woman swimming

Aging may be inevitable for us all but the way in which we look after our bodies can impact dramatically on the rate at which we age. One of the key ingredients to a long and healthy lifestyle is exercise. We’re living longer than ever before and if we want to spring into our autumn [read the full story…]

Painkiller use during marathons could be a serious health risk

You’re on the starting line raring to go, the starter gun sounds and you’re off, eager and determined to give it your best. There’s a bounce in your step and a smile on your face. Twenty-six and a smidge miles later and everything won’t seem nearly so bright! The marathon will have wreaked havoc on [read the full story…]