Pedometers, Cold Weather, and Exercise
I’m not a pedometer guy, nothing against them. I’m just not so neurotic that I need to count every step I’ve taken, but for those who do. New research has concluded that pedometers help you lose weight. Reuters reports:
People who added 20 to 40 minutes of walking a day lost a small but steady amount of weight, the team at the University of Michigan found.Now, if you’ve got a pedometer, but you think it’s too cold to go outside and use it, think again. Scientists contend that cold weather is no excuse for not exercising. More from Gina Kolota of The New York Times:
"The increase in physical activity can be expected to result in health benefits that are independent of weight loss," said Dr. Caroline Richardson, who led the study.
"Increasing physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems, lowers blood pressure and helps dieters maintain lean muscle tissue when they are dieting."
Writing in the Annals of Family Medicine, Richardson and colleagues said they reviewed nine studies involving 307 men and women. They took part in studies of pedometer use that ranged from four weeks to a year.
The problem with exercising in the cold, exercise physiologists say, is that people may be hobbled by myths that lead them to overdress or to stop moving, risky things to do.But I hate the cold! Oh well, time to bundle up like an Eskimo—and where’s my pedometer?
Some worry that cold air will injure their lungs or elicit asthma symptoms. Or they are convinced that they are more susceptible to injury when it is cold and that they have to move more slowly — forget about sprinting or running at a fast clip.
But lungs are not damaged by cold, said Kenneth W. Rundell, the director of respiratory research and the human physiology laboratory at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa. No matter how cold the air is, by the time it reaches your lungs, it is body temperature, he explained.
Some people complain that they get exercise-induced asthma from the cold. But that sort of irritation of the respiratory tract is caused by dryness, not cold, Dr. Rundell said. “Cold air just happens not to hold much water and is quite dry,” he said. You’d have the same effect exercising in air that was equally dry but warm.
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