Even before the bird chirps and the sun rises, we see parks and lanes occupied by older adults who are up so early for their morning walks or a jog (fitter elderly people prefer this). This scenario is nothing different from what has been happening since decades but technological improvements and Westernization has brought in the bermuda shorts and the smartphone jacks that enable people to listen to music or talk shows and bring a hint of peppiness and a dash of spirit into their otherwise routine schedule that involves reading the newspaper, meeting friends during their walk, playing with grandchildren (if they are blessed enough to be not thrown away from the house) and eating very small portions of foods. Apart from this, many of the individuals aged above 55 years suffer from a series of health problems right from knee pain (which is present in 1 in 4 women above the age of 55), diabetes and elevated blood pressure levels to heart problems. Some of these individuals’ medicine count is incredible-it crosses double digit numbers!
Many problems are faced by overweight/obese individuals whose weight issues play an important role in affecting their good health. Thirty minutes of exercise in the morning has the capability to lower blood pressure for the rest of the day in those older men and women who are obese/overweight and this is known by all. What we don’t know is the fact that disturbing your continuous sitting routine by taking short and frequent breaks all through the day has the capability to enhance benefits of reduced blood pressure in women to an even greater extent. So, when you sit down to watch your favorite soaps on TV which might continue for hours don’t forget to get up during ads and walk around, bend up and down (even minimally would do) or rotate your wrists and ankles in a standing position to keep your body flexed.
Don’t Sit & Burn but Do Walk & Turn
We’ve seen articles that show that prolonged hours of sitting down negates much effects of exercising in any person and this made a group of researchers curious whether prolonged hours of sitting negated the advantages of exercise in the morning in older adults. Also, they wanted to know whether such morning exercise schedules would add more benefits if those were combined with taking frequent and short breaks in between sitting schedules.
The research included 67 participants of which 35 of them were women. All of them were asked to take part in three different scenarios in any random order with each of the scenarios being separated by a gap of 6 days. The three scenarios were:
Systolic Vs Diastolic: Riskier between the Two
Systolic pressure (the first number) is the pressure in blood vessels that exists when the heart beats and diastolic pressure (the second number) is the pressure that exists between beats. How many of you are aware of the fact that BP numbers were modified in 2017 and are not 120/80 mmHg anymore? Please update yourself on the latest numbers with the help of www.firsteatright.com. According to experts, higher systolic pressure readings above the age of 50 is more predictive of cardiovascular events than diastolic blood pressure. So, this study proves to be extremely beneficial to women encouraging them to take up light activities in between sitting sessions to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Though the research team is surprised over the gender-bias associated with the result their theory is that all women in the study were post-menopausal (time of life during which their risk for any heart disease is at an all-time high) and had difference in adrenaline response.
While the above strategy works good for lowering blood pressure, adopting the exercise-sitting break routine in people at a higher risk for BP and above the age of 55 might prove to be advantageous in controlling and preventing the development of high blood pressure.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.