The Extra Benefits of Walking Daily You Might Not Know

Staying active can help keep your brain in good shape, say two studies that tracked exercise and mental decline over time.

And the extra benefits of walking daily are clear in these studies.

In the first, which followed more than 2,200 Hawaiian men aged 71 to 93, those who walked the least (less than a quarter mile a day) were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those who walked the most (more than two miles a day) over the next seven years. Men who walked between a quarter and one mile a day had a 70 percent increased risk.

In a second study, which tracked nearly 19,000 women aged 70 to 81 for at least nine years, those who exercised the most had a 20 percent lower risk of cognitive impairment than those who exercised the least. Women who walked for at least 11/2 hours a week scored better on memory, attention, and other tests than women who walked less than 40 minutes a week.

Why Sitting is Bad (And How to Get Off Your Duff)

Sitting for hours on end can hurt more than your back end, say two studies.

British researchers tracked 153 younger and 725 older adults who all had risk factors for diabetes. Each participant wore an accelerometer to measure how much time he or she spent sedentary or engaged in moderate-to-vigorous exercise (like running or brisk walking) for at least a week. The results helped researchers hone in on why sitting is bad for people who are at risk for health problems such as diabetes.

How to Lose Belly Fat

Researchers assigned roughly 150 overweight, sedentary, middle-aged men and women with high LDL (“bad”) or low HDL (“good”) cholesterol to aerobic training, strength training, or both.

The aerobic training meant doing the equivalent of 19 kilometres a week at a vigorous pace on treadmills, elliptical trainers, or stationary bicycles. For strength training, participants did three sets of each of eight exercises, with eight to 12 repetitions per set, three days a week.

After eight months, those who did just strength training lost only subcutaneous (below-the-skin) abdominal fat.