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Walk Away from Knee Arthritis

If arthritis in your knees is slowing you down, walking more, rather than less, may help keep you on the go. For those that are multitasking, part of the solution may be a pedometer (or cell phone app) that counts your daily steps. When they add up to 6,000, arthritis in the knee begins to improve, and the risk of disability declines, according to a new study from Boston University. Every step you take throughout the day counts toward your 6,000, the study found. Author Daniel White, a research assistant professor in the department of physical therapy and athletic training, says that when most people walk, they average 100 steps per minute, which means that if you were to do your 6,000 steps all at once, you would spend an hour walking. The research included 1,800 adults who had knee arthritis or were at risk of the problem and were already participating in an ongoing osteoarthritis study. White explained that the investigation was aimed at determining the fewest daily steps that would help people with knee arthritis remain mobile. If you're not in good shape, he suggests setting an initial goal of 3,000.

My take? In combination with daily exercise (walking counts), losing at least 10 percent of your weight, if you're overweight, can help go a long way toward relieving the pain of knee arthritis and improving mobility. In addition to weight loss and exercise, I recommend making some specific dietary changes to help reduce the inflammation and pain of osteoarthritis. Research has shown that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and the spices ginger and turmeric may be especially beneficial. And foods rich in antioxidants - plentifully found in most vegetables and fruit - may help reduce tissue damage from inflammation.

Daniel K. White et al, “Daily walking and the risk of incident functional limitation in knee OA: An observational study,” Arthritis Care & Research, doi: 10.1002/acr.22362.


What Time Do You Typically Exercise? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed when the best time is to exercise: Best Time for Exercise? Check out the article and let us know when you typically exercise during the day.


Hidden Risk of Being a Night Owl

Going to bed really late and getting not quite enough sleep can cramp your exercise style. A new study has concluded that night owls are more sedentary than the rest of us and have a harder time sticking to an exercise routine. “Waking up late and being an evening person were related to more time spent sitting, particularly on weekends and with difficulty making time to exercise,” said study leader Kelly Glazer Baron, Ph.D., associate professor of neurology and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. For the study, the researchers examined 123 healthy adults who reported that they slept at least 6.5 hours per night. The team measured sleep variables for seven days with wrist monitors that track motion and rest, and had each participant keep a sleep diary. The researchers also evaluated self-reports of physical activity and attitudes toward exercise from specially designed questionnaires. The night owls in this study averaged only 83 minutes of vigorous activity per week, and even those who exercised felt that being an evening person made it difficult to find time to work out, the study found.

Kelly Glazer Baron et al “Early To Bed, Early To Rise Makes Easier To Exercise: The Role Of Sleep Timing In Physical Activity And Sedentary Behavior,” SLEEP abstract supplement 2014


Coriander & Cilantro - Spices in the Kitchen (Video)

Cilantro comes from the leaves of the coriander plant while the spice that we know as coriander comes from the seeds of the plant. Coriander seeds exhibit anti-inflammatory properties as well as cholesterol-lowering properties. Cilantro is used as a garnishment on foods and often in Mexican dishes and salsas. Some people experience an unpleasant soapy or metallic-like taste with cilantro due to a genetic discrepancy in people.

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Smoke Gets In Your Ears?

New research from Britain has tied smoking to hearing loss. If you smoke, your odds of hearing loss are 15 percent higher than that of nonsmokers, the study found. And the researchers came up with an even bigger surprise: if you’re exposed to smoking, your risk of hearing loss is 28 percent higher than non-smokers.

A team from the University of Manchester looked at nearly 165,000 adults in the UK age 40 to 69 who took hearing tests when they joined a national project to improve health. “We found the more packets you smoke per week and the longer you smoke, the greater the risk you will damage your hearing,” said Piers Dawes, Ph.D. of the University of Manchester’s Centre for Human Communication and Deafness. The cause of the connection between hearing loss and smoking isn’t clear, Dr. Dawes said, adding that “we are not sure if toxins in tobacco smoke affect hearing directly, or whether smoking-related cardiovascular disease causes microvascular changes that impact on hearing or both.”

The increased risk among passive smokers -- higher than that for smokers -- could be the result of the study design. Smokers were compared to both complete non-smokers and passive non-smokers, but passive smokers were only compared to complete non-smokers, the researchers said.

Piers Dawes et al, “Cigarette Smoking, Passive Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Hearing Loss”, Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10162-014-0461-0


Why Exercise May Not Be Working

If you view exercise as an unpleasant chore, you may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. A new study suggests that your outlook may influence whether or not structured physical activity helps you lose weight. To find out whether exercisers are sabotaging themselves, French and American researchers divided 56 mostly overweight women volunteers into two groups. They asked one group to walk a one-mile course "for exercise" with the promise of lunch afterward. They asked the other women to walk the same course, but gave them headphones to listen to music and rate the sound quality, and encouraged them to enjoy themselves. Afterwards, they found that the women in the “exercise” group ate much more at lunch than the women who were told to have fun. The researchers then repeated the experiment with a group of men and women, telling half the group the walk was for exercise, and the other half it was for sightseeing. Afterwards, they gave the participants plastic bags to fill with all the M&M’s they wanted. The “exercise” group took twice as much as the “sightseeing” group. Finally, the researchers went to the finish line of a relay marathon and asked participants whether or not they enjoyed the run, offering them chocolate bars or healthier cereal bars as thanks for answering the questions. Here, the runners who said they had fun preferred the cereal bar, while those who didn’t enjoy themselves tended to take the chocolate bars. The consensus of these observations: watch what you eat after your workout. If you’re “rewarding” yourself for exercising, you may be taking in more calories than you burned off.

My take? I hated exercise for much of my life and now don’t feel right if a day goes by without some form of it. Here is a practical tip: If you want to develop new healthy living habits, spend time with people who have those habits. Your choice of friends and acquaintances is a powerful influence on your behavior. If you want to change your eating habits, spend more time with people who eat healthy food. If you want to be a habitual exerciser, keep company with people who exercise regularly and enjoy it.

Carolina O.C. Werle et al, “Is it fun or exercise? The framing of physical activity biases subsequent snacking,” Marketing Letters, published online May 15, 2014,, accessed June 6,2014


Do You Warm Up and Cool Down When You Exercise? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed whether a cool down is necessary and beneficial after a workout: Cooling Down After Exercise? Check out the article and let us know whether you warm up or cool down, or both, while exercising.


Too Cynical for Your Own Good?

Cynicism has been linked to heart disease and other health problems, and now research from Finland suggests that it may also be a risk factor for dementia. The research team tested 1,449 people with an average age of 71 for dementia, and also asked them to respond to a questionnaire that has proved reliable in determining levels of cynicism. The study participants were asked to agree or disagree with statements such as "I think most people would lie to get ahead," "It is safer to trust nobody," and "Most people will use somewhat unfair reasons to gain profit or an advantage rather than lose it." Based on their scores, participants were classified as possessing low, moderate or high levels of cynical distrust. After the investigators adjusted for other dementia risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking, they observed that of the 164 people with high levels of cynicism, 14 developed dementia. This rate was about double the incidence of dementia compared to nine of 212 people with low levels of cynicism. Eventually, these findings, if confirmed by further studies, may lead the way toward addressing attitude as part of preventive health care.

Anna-Maija Tolppanen et al “Late-life cynical distrust, risk of incident dementia, and mortality in a population-based cohort”, Neurology,

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