Dog Owners Lead More Active Lives

If it weren’t for my dogs, I don’t think I’d get out and do as much cardio as I do.

Dog Owners Lead More Active LivesRain or shine, the little guys have to go out and while on the coldest, most miserable days when it takes all my get-up-and-go to get up and get out, I’m always happy when I do.

I know some people wonder how effective this cardio must be as most dogs when they go for a walk stop and sniff more than they walk. Well, I’ve trained my dogs to stop when I say so, so that it’s not a walkus interruptus. It’s healthier for all of us and it stops them from burying their noses into undesirable piles of you-know-what.

So, when I saw this study from St George’s, University of London, I was excited at the prospect of kids sharing in the joy that dogs bring to a person’s life and all dog owners know that dogs are good for your health! This study shows that kids living in a household with a dog will lead more active lives than those that don’t own a dog.

This research was carried out in England on 78 inner-city primary schools to study the heart health of children. Levels of physical activity were higher in households with a dog and lifestyles in these same households were less sedentary. More than 2,000 children aged 9 to 10 years old were involved in the study and of these, 1 in 10 owned a dog and were more active playing with the dog and walking the pet as a family together with their parents. One factor that the study doesn’t show, however, is if there is a correlation between people who own dogs and being more active.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that dogs help you stay active and are the best motivation I know of to get outside and get moving.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

Calcium Supplements Linked to Heart Attacks

When I was a strict vegetarian, I had to supplement my diet with essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Calcium was on top of the list.

Calcium Supplements Linked to Heart AttacksAs a woman, I am told by my doctor that I need to supplement with calcium and have, in fact, been taking a Cal-Mag-Zinc tab for several years now. So, I was rather alarmed when I heard the news that calcium supplements can cause heart attacks. I thought, this can’t possibly be true, so I decided to investigate a little further and this is what I found out.

The findings from 11 research studies out of the University of Auckland School of Medicine, New Zealand, which was published in the British Medical Journal, show a relationship between calcium and heart attacks. This study was conducted on nearly 12,000 people.

There were 6,166 subjects who took calcium supplements and 5,805 people in the placebo group who did not. Of the 6,166 calcium subjects, 166 had heart attacks compared to 130 out of the placebo group. These findings remained constant from study to study regardless of age, sex or brand of calcium supplement.

Based on these results, it is fair to say then, that calcium supplements increase your relative risk of heart attack by 30% and your risk of a stroke by 20%. To put this into plain terms, this translates into a 1-2% absolute increase in risk. It is also important to note that these heart attacks were not fatal and the real increase relates to a rise in the diagnoses of heart attacks.

Needless to say, this study sparked controversy with Osteoporosis Australia, whose argument was backed-up by the Nurses Study of 85,000 women that showed calcium to have a protective effect on the heart.

Researchers argued that calcium supplements for people suffering from osteoporosis have little effect on preventing fractures and anyone taking prescription drugs for osteoporosis should not also supplement with a calcium tablet before talking to their doctor. While calcium supplements positively affect the density of bones, they do little to help to reduce fractures.

Given the modest benefits of calcium supplements on bone density and fracture prevention, a reassessment of the role of calcium supplements in osteoporosis management is warranted ~ Prof. Ian Reid, Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

While Osteoporosis Australia has been advised to re-evaluate their evidence, the fact remains that the only safe way to avoid these complications is to eat a healthy, calcium-rich diet and lead an active lifestyle. As for me, after this last bottle of calcium supplements, I’m going to trust that my diet is rich enough in calcium, especially now that I’m eating meat and dairy again.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM