Stanford University researchers, in a large-scale study funded by the National Institutes of Health, report that they have tracked the physical activity by population in more than 100 countries, using daily step data from participants’ smartphones.
Results from the study, published recently in Nature, reveal targets for obesity prevention and the wisdom of walkable communities.
Globally, the average user recorded about 5,000 steps per day. The smartphone data reflected the degree of difference, or inequality, for activity among people within a given country. By comparing countries with more uniform activity patterns and those with unequal activity, certain patterns and health dynamics emerged. For instance, countries with the greatest activity inequality are also the countries with the greatest obesity problem.
They studied a dataset consisting of 68 million days of physical activity for 717,527 people, giving them a window into activity in 111 countries across the globe. The researchers found inequality in how activity is distributed within countries and that this inequality is a better predictor of obesity prevalence in the population than average activity volume. Reduced activity in females contributes to a large portion of the observed activity inequality. Aspects of the built environment, such as the walkability of a city, are associated with a smaller gender gap in activity and lower activity inequality. In more walkable cities, activity is greater throughout the day and throughout the week, across age, gender, and body mass index (BMI) groups, with the greatest increases in activity found for females. The findings have implications for global public health policy and urban planning and highlight the role of activity inequality and the built environment in improving physical activity and health.
Physical Activity across de world (Source: Nature)
This study presents a new paradigm for population activity studies by demonstrating that smartphones can deliver new insights about key health behaviours.
Access to Nature article.
The Employee Wellness team at the University of Vermont Medical Center has launched ONE SMALL THING Program to promote a healthy lifestyle.
They suggest 20 ways to add physical activity to your day.
- Here’s an activity that’s always right at your fingertips — or should we say, toe-tips? Walking. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. Choose a favorite place to walk, or grab a co-worker and go for a walk around the office.
- Take the “long cut” instead of a short cut. A long cut means creating a longer walking route to your destinations so you can build in more time in your day to move.
- Find some exercises you can do during a TV commercial break. You can stretch, do lunges, or even try some sit-ups.
- If you work in an office, you can still stay active. Stand up instead of sitting down. Stretch throughout the day. And take the stairs when you can. Set an alarm a couple of times a day to remind yourself to move.
- Concerned that adding more physical activity to your life might come at your family’s expense? Be active WITH your family. Play catch together. Go for a walk. Shoot hoops.
- Next time you and a significant other are getting away for the evening, try dinner and a walk instead of dinner and a movie. It’s a great time to connect while you generate some energizing movement.
- Parking your car 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 of a mile away from your job or an appointment can add a lot of convenient walking into your daily routine. Experiment with this idea and see how it works for you.
- Be intentional! Whatever activity you enjoy, schedule it on your computer or smartphone with a calendar alert that reminds you to get up and move.
- Parents who drop their kids at soccer practice can squeeze activity into their schedule naturally. Go for a run around your child’s field as you wait. Walk up and down the bleachers. You deserve to move, too!
- Got a meeting at the office? Take your colleagues for a walk. If you need to take notes, use the recording app on your smartphone and you won’t forget anything.
- Whenever you need a boost of energy, close the door, turn up the music, and crank up your heart rate by dancing.
- Sometimes, you need to fill your lungs with fresh air. So give yourself the gift of getting outside — to a park, on a wooded trail, or just outside the building where you work. Even 2-10 minutes will do wonders.
- Chores don’t have to just be chores. Vacuuming the house, mowing the lawn, and washing the car all count as great physical activities that you can add to your life and add life to your day!
- Giving your dog the exercise he needs can help you get a boost of energizing activity. So get the leash and head out the door.
- Got a minute? Set a timer and do a high-energy activity you like — jumping rope, doing lunges, running in place. Scientific studies show that 60 seconds of strenuous exertion prove to be as successful at improving health and fitness as 45 minutes of moderate exercise.
- Remember having fun in little league? Team sports aren’t just for kids. Call up friends and get a game going. Get on a team. Maybe even join a quidditch league, unless you’re a muggle.
- When it’s time for a call, get off the sofa or out of your chair. Stand or walk around your house or office as you talk.
- Not every physical activity has to elevate your heartbeat. So stroll around the neighborhood after dinner instead of sitting on the sofa. It’s a great transition to the rest of your night.
- Go to the playground with your family. The swings and the monkey bars are just some of ways we used to get exercise as kids…and they still count as adults.
- Research shows that sitting for a long time may be bad for your health. So take any activity you’d normally do sitting down — a meeting, watching TV, sitting in the bleachers — and stand up. Even just standing counts toward better health.
See the video: http://bfpne.ws/2rMDXCz
Acces the Program: https://justonesmallthing.org/
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has compiled this report using the latest health statistics to provide a comprehensive overview of levels of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour in adults across the UK. The data in this report suggests that large numbers of people in the UK are still failing to meet recommendations for physical activity, putting them at greater risk of heart and circulatory disease.
Around 20 million adults in the UK are physically inactive.
Physical inactivity is a global health crisis, responsible for an estimated 5 million deaths worldwide.
The impact of physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles also weighs heavily on UK healthcare, estimated to cost
as much as £1.2 billion a year.
RunnerSquare encourages and promotes Physical Activity. We strongly believe future of healthcare is based on prevention, not on pills. Physical Activity is key. We invite you to join us by choosing any of the montly Physical Activity Challenges we suggest you.
Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases.
Reach your physical activity goals through different types and amounts of activities each week using Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Click here to access the Physical Activity Guidelines
TIME Health highlights six research-backed benefits of outdoor exercise. Reasons include various mental and physicalbenefits, and even explore the economic savings of being active outside.
- You work harder
- Being in nature lowers blood pressure
- It spurs cancer-fighting cells
- It can feel more fun
- Your mental health may improve improve
- You save money
Read full article here.
Forbes Magazine recently published an interesting article on How To Launch a Corporate Wellness Program that Works inspired on a recently published Harvard Business Review article
We, at RunnerSquare Corporate Wellness Division have been working now from more than two years implementing our Corporate Wellness Solution to support Corporate Wellnes Programs, as a digital hub and communication tool where both companies and employees work on the Wellness Programs together.
From the Forbes (original Harvard Business Review) article, we are fully agree but wanted to highlight how important is internal marketing and communication strategy supporting it.
If you’re going to invest in a corporate wellness program, you obviously need to get something out of it. One mistake you’ll often see is that organizations spend a lot of time developing a program and then do a poor job of building excitement and engagement.
Forbes article describe some strategies you can implement to ensure this doesn’t happen:
- Apply marketing principles. In the beginning stages, you need to treat your program like you would treat a product you’re selling. Marketing will go a long way towards increasing visibility and driving participation. Make sure you’re developing and circulating materials in the workplace. Putting up flyers in the break room is one practical suggestion, as is mentioning new developments in a weekly internal email newsletter.
- Focus on benefits over features. After spending time developing a corporate wellness program, it’s easy to get caught up in the various elements of the program itself – such as health screenings, workout plans, etc. – but be careful not to only focus on the features. In order to encourage buy-in, you need to focus on the benefits. What do employees have to gain from participating?
- Develop an incentive plan. Some employees will participate because they’re interested in being healthy, while others will need a little more coaxing. For this latter group, a targeted incentive plan is a great idea.
If the launch goes well, then you can feel better about the long-term sustainability of the program.
Source: Forbes & Harvard Business Review
Late last year the Global Observatory for Physical Activity (GoPA), a council of the International Society of Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH), released its first Physical Activity Almanac. The document summarizes physical activity indicators including surveillance, policy, research, and deaths due to physical inactivity through a set of 139 graphical Country Cards. The full document can be accessed here.
According to this data, in USA 10.8% of all deaths are due to inactivity.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention provide complementary data:
More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity. [Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief PDF-704KB]
Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. [Read guidelines]
The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
Reporting on a recent study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity this New York Times Article discusses the benefits to breaking up the workdays with physical activity breaks. Employees who participated in 5 minute walk breaks reported greater happiness and less fatigue throughout the day.
People who sit for more than eight or nine hours daily, which for many of us describes a typical workday, also are at heightened risk for diabetes, depression and obesity compared with people who move more often.
The study, also found that frequent, brief walking breaks were more effective at improving well-being than a single, longer walk before work, could provide the basis for a simple, realistic New Year’s exercise resolution for those of us bound to our desks all day.
Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of deaths due to non communicable disease (NCDs) worldwide – heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancers – and each year contributes to over three million preventable deaths.
Physical inactivity is related (directly and indirectly) to the other leading risk factors for NCDs such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high glucose levels; and,
to the recent striking increases in childhood and adult obesity
, not only in developed countries but also in many developing countries.
Substantial scientific evidence supports the importance of
physical inactivity as a risk factor for NCD independent
of poor diet, smoking and alcohol misuse.
Physical activity has comprehensive health benefits across the
lifespan: It promotes healthy growth and development in children and young people, helps to prevent unhealthy mid-life weight gain, and is important for healthy ageing, improving and maintaining quality of life and independence in older adults.
The most recent global estimates indicate that 60% of the
world population are exposed to health risks due to inactivity.
Our wishes for 2017 is Keep Yourself Healthy and Enjoy doing Physical Activity.
From RunnerSquare we would like to share this recent article about Corporate Wellness published in the Occupational health & wellbeing blog.
Organisations including Royal Bank of Scotland and Dixons Carphone are using corporate sports events to improve health and wellbeing, as well as influence engagement, culture and staff retention.
Here, at RunnerSquare, we can help at the time of the Corporate Wellness programs management through our technology, a digital wellness hub that helps companies optimize time and money by easely launching, managing and measuring their current or future Corporate Wellness programs.