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June 14, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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June 14, 2013

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PAGE 8B HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 14, 2013 (NewsUSA)--Let's face it. Walking is a popular low- impa~ct exercise. Now, new iPods are equipped with pedometers, half-marathons are packed with walkers and and other apps can map and measure walking routes. But even with all of these new innovations, you'll still want to pay atten- tion to basics. The national recommen- dation for regular physical activity to stay healthy is actually rather attainable. Adults are encouraged to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week or more. This means that walk- ing the dog, hiking, biking or walking to the metro instead of hailing a cab all count as exercise. In fact, the Library of Medi- cine says walking for fitness was the primary activity re- ported by people who met the national recommendation for healthy exercise. Research from the Duke University Medical Center confirms the amount of exercise is more important than the intensity, and walk- ing yields significant aerobic benefits--especially a de- creased risk of cardiovascular disease. Walking for fitness can help keep joints fluid, but it also may cause some soreness or stiffness in the knees and ankles. Use the following tips to get the most out of walking: First things first--ask the tr doc. Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise routine if you have been largely sedentary or suffer from existing health conditions. Dress for the occasion. Wear comfortable clothing that's loose fitting. If it's cool, wear layers. Cushioned socks and shoes that fit well are also important. Remember that tennis shoe sizes may be larger than dress shoe sizes. Be pre-emptive. Users of Absorbine Jr. Pain Relief Liquid say applying the liquid before activity helps loosen up leg muscles. If you still experience muscle aches, Absorbine Jr. can aid recovery by speeding blood flow to target areas. Tired muscles can recover twice as fast. See more at www. Stretch to warm up. Begin by walking leisurely for a few minutes, then stretch key muscles like glutes, calves and quads. Once your mus- cles are warmed up, gradually increase your speed, and pay attention to your posture. For hydration, trust your body. Generally speaking, if you plan on walking for over half an hour, bring water with you. But you can also trust your thirst. If you're concerned with over- drinking, consume fluids only when you're thirsty. For marathons, no more than one cup of water per mile is a good rule of thumb. Walking for fitness is a low-impact workout that burns fat. TEL AVIV--Cases of type 2 diabetes continue to rise in the United States. And while the development of the disease is more commonly associated with risk factors such as obe- sity, high blood pressure and physical inactivity, research has shown that stress can also have a significant impact. Now Dr. Sharon Toker of Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Management has found that low levels of social support and high levels of stress in the workplace can accurately pre- dict the development of diabe- tes over the long term--even in employees who appear to be healthy otherwise. Published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, the study contributes to an ongoing body of research Hnking Work conditions to physical and mental health. The researchers' 3.5-year- long study of male and female employees established that work conditions had a pre- ventative or predictive effect on the development of type 2 diabetes. Participants who reported having a high level of social support at work had a 22 percent lesser chance of developing diabetes over the course of the study. And those who described themselves as either over- or under-worked were 18 percent more likely to develop the disease. The resultswere controlled forvari- ous risk factors including age, family history, activity level and body mass index, :, Toker says these findings paint a grim picture, with a worrying rise in the rate of diabetes in the researchers' middle-aged study cohort, which had a mean age of 48. "You don'twant to see working populations have an increasing rate of diabetes. It's costly to both employees and employ- ers, resulting in absenteeism and triggering expensive medi- cal insurance," she explains. For the study, conducted in collaboration with professor Arie Shirom of TAU, Dr. Galit Armon of the University of Haifa and Dr. Samuel Melamed of the Tel Aviv Yaffo Academic College, researchers recruited 5,843 individuals who visited a health center in Tel Aviv for a routine physical examination sponsored by their employer. On these initial visits, all participants were healthy and had no indication of diabetes. To assess whether physi- cal and psychological strain caused by the work environ- ment could predict the de- velopment of diabetes, Toker and her fellow researchers surveyed the participants ac- cording to an "expanded job strain model,"which takes into account measures of social support, perceived workload and perceived control over work pace and objectives. After the initial interview and examination, the health ofaU participants was followed for a period of 41 months, over which time 182 participants developed diabetes, reports Toker. When these results were analyzed in relation to re- ported work conditions, social support emerged as a strong protective factor against the development of the disease, with supported individuals significantly less at risk for diabetes than their unsup- ported peers. Workload was also correlated with disease development, with employees who felt either overworked or underworked being at in- creased risk. The results highlight some of the negative effects of our changing work environment, inwhich employees are putting in more hours than everbefore, says Toker. Beyond the hours spent in the office, technology now allows us to be constantly connected, heightening ex- pectations that work will be completed in non-working hours, ultimately increasing wOrkl6~ads. This takes a heavy toll on our health, she warns. One of the most interesting findings of the study--that a too-small workload is as harmful as a too-large work- load--shows that dramatically reducing the load of a busy employee may not have the desired effect. Employees will be stressed when overloaded, but they still need to feel chal- lenged to be satisfied in their jobs, notes Toker. She suggests that employ- ers focus on finding the right balance in terms of workload and take the initiative to en- sure their employees receive the necessary social support, whether that includes a net- work of emotional support, praising good work perfor- mance or finding ways to im- proVe office CommuniCation.