April 19, 2013

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Note: where possible, we provide the DOI link to research papers in the Info Round-Up.  To use it, cut and paste the DOI into the text box on this webpage:  Access to research articles will be dependent on your institutional rights.

As cities around the country are making significant investments in pedestrian, bicycling and transit infrastructure, cycling, especially is on the rise. Many other cities, large and small, are eyeing this success and are recognizing the potential of cycling as a viable mode of transportation for their communities…….

Mobilians suffer from poor mental and physical health in large part because the city's built environment is not conducive to being active... 'If the city were serious about improving the lives of its residents …. it would put resources into improving the ability of residents to move about without the use of a car,' Dr. Perkins said..."

In a bit of news that's bound to add some perspective to your local battles, Saudi Arabia this week lifted the ban on public biking for women, sort of…..  Saudi Arabia's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice overturned a previous ban on cycling and motorbiking for women. The ruling stipulates that women must wear a full-body abaya, be accompanied by a male relative, and stay within certain areas. They are allowed to bike for recreational purposes only, not as a primary mode of transportation

UWalk is focused on empowering people to be active through walking. Walk to decrease tension, improve your mood, keep you energized and can boost your self-confidence.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services announced the opening of a docket to obtain information from the public on walking as an effective way to be sufficiently active for health. The information obtained will be used to frame an anticipated Surgeon General's call to action on this issue. 

Many data tables here addressing fitness (grip strength, curl ups, back fitness, sit and reach, aerobic fitness and more). During CHMS cycle 2, physical measurements were collected in 18 sites across Canada from 6,395 people representing the Canadian population aged 3 to 79. Collection started in August 2009 and continued until November 2011.

Since last August, East Palo Alto police officers have led exercise activities, from bicycle rides and walking groups to volleyball and Zumba, in two designated "hotspot" neighborhoods with the highest levels of crime. "We wanted to get people out of their homes and into their neighborhoods, to engage them in healthy activities," said East Palo Alto Captain Federico Rocha. "Not only could this positively impact their health, but by getting out, they'd also be taking back their neighborhoods."

Canadian Journal on Aging Vol 32 Iss 01 March 2013, pp 1-12
Among a group of 549 adults in Canada, social participation and time spent walking were analyzed. The people who did not walk outside their homes had more depressive symptoms. There was no significant association with social participation. The authors noted that the “study highlights the central role played by life habits, such as walking, in older adults’ mental health status.”

European Journal of Preventive Cardiology April 10, 2013
doi: 10.1177/2047487313485512
The authors concluded that “the lifelong exposure to especially obesity will increase. As a consequence, more elderly of the future will develop overweight-related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():1-8.
An intensive and long-term exercise program had beneficial effects on the physical functioning of patients with Alzheimer’s disease without increasing the total costs of health and social services or causing any significant adverse effects.

Geriatrics & Gerontology International Vol 13, Iss 2, pgs 322–328, April 2013
DOI: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2012.00899.x
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of resistance training in activities of daily living performance in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients…. We observed significant differences between the groups in moving around the house, climbing stairs, standing up from the floor and putting on socks tests.

PLoS ONE 8(3):e59649.
It seems that both enriching mental activity and physical exercise may be very important factors,” said Scientia Professor Perminder S. Sachdev, MD, PhD, who is co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, University of New South Wales. “Some people may still go on to develop dementia eventually. It’s a matter of how long they can keep it at bay. For this reason it’s important for people to know that they can improve the quality of their life for some time through exercise and good health care.”

To use the cane for navigation, you or a loved one first programs the route into a piece of software on your computer. The cane then displays arrows on the handle to guide you in the right direction as you walk….. There are various sensors built-in including a step counter that records the number of times the cane is tapped against the ground as you walk. And there's a temperature and humidity sensor….. The heart rate sensor works out how your ticker is doing when you press your thumb over a sensor on the handle.…..

Developed to assist researchers wanting to derive physical activity and sedentary behaviour variables from Actical accelerometer data in a way that is consistent with the Canadian Health Measures Survey.

Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics Available online 10 April 2013
The PAR-Q results were not influenced by low educational status; age, or cognitive state. In conclusion, although the usefulness and easy applicability of the PAR-Q's questions, the responses to the questionnaire led to a high number of false positive and false negative cases, suggesting that it would not be adequate as a pre-participation screening tool in elder samples.

Brisk walking reduced coronary heart disease by 9.3% compared to 4.5% for runners; walking significantly reduced the risk for first-time hypertension by 7.2% compared to 4.2% for runners. Both walking and running reduce the risk of first-time diabetes and high cholesterol.

Read this article from The Conversation about the important role of physical activity in assisting cancer treatments, as well as reducing the risk of developing many cancers.

Does your neighbourhood have easy, equal access or opportunity for most residents to walk and be physically active? If not, there are many ways you can be involved to help make this happen.

Applied Geography Volume 41, July 2013, Pages 1–14
This research uses street connectivity, defined as the number of (3-way or more) intersections per area unit, as a proxy measure for walkability in a neighborhood, and then examines its association with physical inactivity and obesity in the U.S. while controlling for various individual- and county-level socio-demographic variables.

Public Health Available online 12 April 2013
Neighbourhood green space was related to better cardiovascular and mental health in a New Zealand Health Survey, independent of individual risk factors. Although physical activity was higher in greener neighbourhoods, it did not fully explain the green space and health relationship.

This report, describes a one-year study designed to capture the perspectives of girls on what they get from girls’ groups and to compare what they say with known promising practices in sex/gender specific health promotion, as identified by the literature.

doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e3182844110
Symptom of menopause experienced by women in midlife include difficulty sleeping and night sweats (nocturnal hot flashes). Daytime exercise is recommended to help women sleep….

Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2013, In Press
The notion of presenteeism, defined as a reduced ability to work productively, is a concept of interest in workplace health promotion and incurs far greater costs than those for absenteeism. Presenteeism may be of particular interest to physical activity researchers and program implementers given known links between physical activity and health, and health and presenteeism.

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