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Curved sole shoes no better than flat sole shoes

2017-04-21T11:13:31+00:00 October 15th, 2013|Exercise, Lifestyle|

"Shoes with curved unstable soles are no better than traditional trainers for reducing lower back pain," BBC News reports, after a small but well-designed study found no significant benefit in people wearing "rocker sole" shoes. The study involved 115 adults with chronic lower back pain who were randomised into two groups: rocker sole trainers or normal trainers. They were asked to wear these trainers for at least two hours a day over the course of a year. They were also asked to exercise once a week for four weeks and wear their trainers to these sessions. The good news was that in all groups back pain improved to some degree. However, the rocker sole-style footwear was no better (or no worse) than flat sole trainers in reducing disability or pain scores. For a number of measures the rockers actually fared worse than their flat sole counterparts, including satisfaction with the trainers and a clinically important reduction in self-reported disability. The study had many strengths, including its randomised design and realistic treatment conditions, which involved prescribing shoes plus exercise rather than just shoes. However, a general limitation of the study is that it only recruited people with chronic lower back pain, so the effect of the rocker shoes on other musculoskeletal conditions was not tested. Larger studies assessing pain and disability over a longer period of time would be able to confirm or refute these findings, but initially – and in light of the strengths mentioned above – they appear reliable. Where did the story come from? The study was carried out by researchers from UK-based hospitals and universities in collaboration with international partners. It was funded by Masai GB Ltd, a footwear manufacturer specialising in rocker sole ranges. Because of the largely neutral findings of the study, it is clear [...]

An hour a day of walking may cut breast cancer risk

2016-01-26T16:44:26+00:00 October 8th, 2013|Cancer, Exercise|

“Women who walk for an hour a day can cut their chance of breast cancer by 14%,” The Guardian reports. A new study has found that even moderate regular exercise is associated with lower risk of cancer. This US cancer prevention study involved over 73,000 postmenopausal women who were tracked for 17 years. During this time 6% of the women developed breast cancer. The researchers then looked back to see whether reported time spent walking, sitting or in recreational physical activity was linked to risk of developing breast cancer. The researchers found that the most physically active women had 25% reduced cancer risk compared to the least active. Nearly half the women in the study said walking was their only form of exercise. And for these women, those who walked seven or more hours a week had reduced risk, estimated to be around 14% compared to those who walked three or less hours. The link persisted even with adjustment for other hormonal factors and body mass index (BMI) or weight gain. The study does not prove that exercise alone is directly responsible for the decreased risk, as other lifestyle factors may be involved. For example, women who do regularly exercise may also adopt other healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy diet. Nevertheless, walking as a form of exercise is accessible, free and good for the heart and for weight control. So the finding that it may also protect against breast cancer is welcome news. Read more about the benefits of walking. Where did the story come from? The study was carried out by researchers from the American Cancer Society and was also funded by the Society. The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The findings of the study were reported accurately [...]

Vegetarian diet linked to longer lifespan

2017-04-21T11:13:32+00:00 June 6th, 2013|Exercise, Lifestyle, NHS|

“Veg diet key to living longer,” reports today’s Daily Express front page headline. Its story is prompted by a large, well-designed, long-term study into vegetarian dietary patterns and their effects on reported mortality (death). The main finding was that vegetarians had a 12% reduction in the risk of death from any cause compared with non-vegetarians. However, the researchers’ definition of ‘vegetarian’ was quite broad and may horrify some vegetarians as it included people who ate meat and fish once a week or less. Dietary patterns were only measured at the start of the study, and these can change over time. The study also had a relatively short follow-up to determine whether dietary patterns might affect the risk of death. It’s also worth noting that vegetarians tended to live healthy lifestyles, and this could have influenced the results. While this study cannot show direct cause and effect between diet and death risk, it highlights an important point. Even if you do not want to stop eating meat there is plenty you can ‘borrow’ from the ‘vegetarian lifestyle’ to improve your health, such as eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Where did the story come from? The study was carried out by researchers from Loma Linda University, California and was funded by the US National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. It was published in the peer-reviewed journal, JAMA Internal Medicine. The results of the research were generally well covered in the media. However, the Mail Online website presented speculation as fact in its headline: it states that people who avoid meat have better health due to low blood pressure. Although this is a possible and plausible explanatory factor, the current study did not investigate the blood pressure of vegetarians. What kind of research was this? This was [...]