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Fit Friday: Take a break, learn tai chi, walk and save yourself money
January 14th, 2011
02:02 PM ET

Fit Friday: Take a break, learn tai chi, walk and save yourself money

Anchored to your desk and chair all day?  Get up, stretch, walk, move. Even if you’re old. Here’s why.

Take a break.

Even a brief break can be good for your heart and weight, according to the European Heart Journal. With more people increasingly tethered to the phone and their cubicles, the evidence that prolonged sitting is bad is mounting, reported the BBC.

“Experts found those who sat down for long periods without getting up had a larger waist circumference and lower levels of good HDL cholesterol,” according to the news website.

The researcher told them that even a small change such as standing up for a minute and taking short breaks could help lower this health risk.

Elderly should exercise too

It may sound like contrary advice: Use exercise to prevent falls for the elderly.

Fall injuries are as serious as heart attacks and strokes for older people, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Elderly people should be exposed to more exercise for better balance, gait through strength training such as tai chi or physical therapy.  Also, helping older people lower blood pressure and manage heart rate and rhythm could prevent falls.  The American Geriatrics Society and the British Geriatric Society recommended that exercise could have these additional benefits.

Walk more, reduce diabetes

Scientists tracked nearly 600 Australians between 2000 and 2005.  The participants all wore pedometers.

Five years later, the volunteers who had higher daily step counts were more likely to have lower body-mass index, lower waist-to-hip ratio and better insulin sensitivity, according to HealthDay.

Take a test to see how well you're managing your diabetes

The cost of obesity is more than a pretty penny

A study released this week estimated that the total economic cost of being overweight or obese is $270 billion per year in the United States.

The Society of Actuaries examined the economic costs by looking at the need for medical care, and loss of economic productivity resulting from excess mortality and disability.

Here’s how the actuaries, who are people who assess and calculate risk, came up with that chunk of a sum - $300 billion for U.S. and Canada.

The findings were based on papers regarding overweight and obesity problems published between January 1980 and June 2009.

To find out more, read the press release.


soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Vera

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    January 14, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DailyForYou

      Tai Chai is a great physical exercise. In order to get maximum results from physical exercise you need to be mentally fit. Check out http://www.dailyforyou.com

      January 17, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
  2. Rob

    The note on elderly exercise is so important, not only for elderly people, but also for anyone with diminished physical capabilities due to injury or inactivity. The physical strength, coordination, and stability brought about by smart exercise, particularly progressive, weight-bearing movements, can make all the difference for people who struggle with daily activities. From the elderly to the obese to those recovering from an injury, even limited amounts of well-executed, well-planned exercise can produce excellent results and make every day far easier. Whatever your physical situation, don't discount your ability to exercise and make meaningful progress. With smart planning and efficient nutrition, everyone will benefit.

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    January 14, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ho

    Classic Tai Chi is not really a fitness "exercise" or anything to do with aerobics. It does have significant health benefits but should not be considered in the Western sense as an "exercise." Like Indian Yoga, to some extent, it has been adopted by and adapted to the West and often modified to fit certain desires or needs. Finding an authentic Tai Chi–or Yoga–instructor or better yet Master is not easy to do, and there are many out there claiming to be either or both who actually aren't. "Let the buyer beware."

    January 14, 2011 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Dr Bill Toth

    Tai Chi is a wonderful moving meditation.

    January 16, 2011 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. SoundGuy

    A tip for those metropolitan enthusiasts of tai chi: play sounds of natural surroundings in your living room, recreate the atmosphere of nature in your own space. There's hours of amazingly well recorded ambiance sounds here: http://www.transcendentaltones.com

    January 16, 2011 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Bob

    If only Drs had the wisedom and training to prescribe, Yoga, meditation, Tai-Chi , bio-feedback instead of dangerous drugs we would all be a lot healthier and peaceful.. Except the drug companies, they will need to meditate when their stock goes lower. Soon or latter the ignorant masses will say no to dangerous drugs and follow a more natural harmonious way to health!.

    January 16, 2011 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      TYPO error: WISDOM

      January 16, 2011 at 10:29 | Report abuse |
  7. The_Mick

    As well as balance, Tai Chi is an excellent stress reliever. A bunch of us Americans, as well as a group of Austrians and scattered other nationalities, learned Tai Chi on a Yangtze River Cruise. We learned the steps and were led through the exercises each morning on deck. Often we were floating by Chinese towns where many citizens joined groups along the shore doing their own Tai Chi and related exercises, often dressed in group costumes. After the exercises we felt so relaxed and comfortable during breakfast. Since Tai Chi relieves stress, it ties in nicely with the Chinese appreciation of preventive medicine – which is often pushed by quacks and scam artists as "ancient Chinese cures" in the USA.

    January 16, 2011 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
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    January 17, 2011 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
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    January 21, 2011 at 04:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Rana Killer

    Tai-Chi is one of the best stuffs out there aside from meditation. It can really help the health of a person. '

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    November 22, 2012 at 05:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Louis Dolman

    I was introduced to tai chi by a friend. I must say that I did not really know much about it before this. He told me that it had helped him no end in controlling his depression. His name is John and he has many issues in his life which not only affect his self-confidence but also makes him very depressed at times. John has been attending tai chi classes for nearly two years and has seemingly become a new man. For whatever reason he did not tell people about what he was doing. On a night out I mentioned to him that he had been a lot happier in the recent months. This is when he talked to me about tai chi. He also asked if I would like to attend the classes with him, which I duly agreed to. I am very glad that we had this conversation as I can also quite easily spiral into a state of depression.'

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    February 24, 2013 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Practice tai chi

    Learn authentic yang or Chen style tai chi in Florida. http://www.practicekungfu.com

    May 14, 2013 at 03:00 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.