Physio findings

To welcome the new year, Janet Wright looks at evidence to support your new year resolutions.

Long life good health

  • How many extra years of healthy retirement would you or your patients like to look forward to? Researchers have been measuring the added lifespan bestowed by exercise.

    The team analysed findings from long-term studies covering nearly 650,000 people over 40, looking at the amount of activity people undertook during their leisure time.

    If you do 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity (such as brisk walking, gardening or swimming) a week, as recommended by the World Health Organization, you’re classed as ‘active’. You’re in line for 3.4 to 4.5 years more than an inactive person.

    Even half that much activity gives you 1.8 years longer than a normal-weight couch potato. An active normal-weight person gets 7.2 years more than an obese person living a sedentary life.

    But even obese people and ex-smokers reap the rewards of activity. In fact, someone who is obese but stays active gets 3.1 more years than an inactive person of normal weight.

    And those with disadvantages make the biggest gains from exercise, the researchers found. Active people with a history of heart disease, cancer or smoking increased their life expectancy more than those with a healthier history.

    Moore SC et al. Leisure Time Physical Activity of Moderate to Vigorous Intensity and Mortality: A Large Pooled Cohort Analysis. PLoS Medicine 2012; doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001335
  • Group activities such as sponsored walks or runs can engage people who otherwise wouldn’t exercise, say the authors of a small study, who suggest ways of using their findings for health promotion.

    Early F, Corcoran P. Journal of Physical Activity and Health 2012;
  • Ditching cigarettes could give you an extra decade of life to enjoy. Smoking knocks more than 10 years off the average woman’s life, but giving up at any age undoes much of the damage, a study of 1.2 million women has revealed.

    Two thirds of women smokers who die in their 50s to 70s are killed by smoking, and it trebles their risk of dying from any cause. But women who quit before they’re 30 cut their death risk by 97 per cent. Even stopping at 50 cuts the death risk by more than 70 per cent.

    Pirie K et al. Lancet 2012; doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61720-6
  • Strong teenaged boys have better mental as well as physical health in later life, a study of more than a million Swedish army recruits suggests. Those with high muscular strength were 20-35 per cent less likely to die from any cause during the next 24 years, researchers found.

    They were also very much less likely to have any psychiatric problem. The good effects were associated with strength, regardless of body mass – the strong adolescents had better life expectancy even if they were overweight.

    Ortega FB et al. BMJ 2012; 345, doi:10.1136/bmj.e7279
  • Inflammation is implicated in many of the conditions of ageing, including heart disease. But there’s less sign of it in people who take regular physical activity, according to a study of 4289 adults followed over 10 years.

    Hamer M et al. Circulation 2012; 126: 928-933, doi:10.1161/circulationaha.112.103879
  • Giving up smoking could improve your chance of healthy grandchildren. Smoking in pregnancy not only damages the baby’s lungs, putting it at risk of asthma, but also increases the risk of asthma in that child’s own future offspring, the smoker’s potential grandchildren.

    Rehan VK et al. BMC Medicine 2012; 10:129, doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-129
  • Middle-aged men who took up an hour of football training, twice a week, reduced their hypertension more effectively in six months than those who just received standard advice from their doctors, a small Danish study found.

    Krustrup P et al. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2012;
  • Reducing the amount of fat you eat (even if not on a slimming diet) causes small but significant and sustained weight loss, a large-scale systematic review concludes.

    Hooper L et al. BMJ 2012; 345, doi:10.1136/bmj.e7666
  • Thinking about the people you love could be good for your health. Subtle reminders of companionate love prompted volunteers to make healthy food choices, researchers have found. But reminders of sexual love didn’t have that effect.

    Raska D, Nichols B. Journal of Consumer Behaviour 2012; doi:10.1002/cb.1381
  • You don’t have to suffer for fitness. Should you plunge into cold water to help your muscles recover after exercise? No, say researchers who got 40 athletes to cool down with either cold water, warm water or slow walking. The light exercise worked just as well as immersion in water, they said after checking the volunteers’ muscles and perception of pain over the next five days.

    Corbett J et al. European Journal of Sport Science 2012; doi:10.1080/17461391.2011.570380

Jounals: another CSP benefit

CSP members can now read the full text of the journals Physiotherapy Theory and Practice and Advances in Physiotherapy online. 

Just go to the library catalogue at and search
under journal title. As long as you’ve logged in, the password details will appear in the record.

Janet Wright

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