Category Archives: diseases

The Vital Role Of The Walk-In Clinic In America

Facing more than 110 million annual visits, emergency room doctors are busier than ever. While many of the patients they see are in need of urgent care, many of the visits aren’t for true emergencies. As such, wait times have grown in hospitals across the country, leading many to seek out more timely, convenient alternatives to the ER. It is no wonder the walk-in clinic has seen a remarkable resurgence as of late.

The Numbers

Since 2008, the number of urgent care facilities jumped from 8,000 to 9,300. In addition to long wait times at the ER, the growth of the walk-in clinic has been fueled by a steep reduction in the availability of primary care providers. According to a recent report, less than one-quarter of new doctors go into the primary care field. Because this record low in new doctors corresponds with a growing population, there is now a critical shortage of personal physicians. An inevitable result of this disparity is an increase in visits to both ERs and urgent care facilities.

What’s Next?

The numbers make it crystal clear that more options are needed. One simple solution is to redirect people who do not have a medical emergency from the ER to the nearest walk-in clinic. The reason? ERs are not designed to treat patients with minor medical issues. The walk-in facility, on the other hand, is designed for people who require less urgent assistance but cannot see their primary physician, either because they are not at the office or are busy with other patients.

How Does It Work?

As the name suggests, a person simply walks into a clinic and asks to see a medical professional. Although different establishments have different rules, most will accept any patient as long as they have insurance or can afford to pay. There are also free facilities that offer their services without payment in some economically disadvantaged communities. Why should the average sick or injured person go to an urgent care facility instead of an ER? There are several good reasons.

The Benefits

First, and most important, the average clinic is much cheaper than the average emergency room. Why? Because ERs provide specialized treatment that requires expensive equipment and the top doctors in the field. The same is not true of the average clinic. Since most of their patients have only minor medical issues, these facilities do not need state-of-the-art tools or doctors with advanced training in emergency medicine. As a result, the average bill is much smaller than what you’d get at the ER. There are also much shorter wait times, and, since most of these facilities are located in residential communities, they are often much closer than the nearest hospital.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the walk-in clinic provides immediate treatment for people who do not have access to a personal physician or cannot afford the high cost of an emergency room visit.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9060979

Treatment Of Medical Emergencies Like Burns, Bites And Rashes

It is always helpful to know at least the basic first aid so that you can treat problems like burns, rashes and bites when they occur. However, there are a number of instances when home remedies are not enough and it is necessary to get professional medical treatment for the problem immediately.

Here are ways to treat these problems so that the person can heal quickly and properly.

How do you Treat a Burn?

There are three ‘degrees’ of burns that you should be aware about.

A first degree burn is one that only affects the topmost layer of the skin. In this case, your skin will probably turn pink in that area and you may start to see a blister form over there. For a first degree burn, creams that contain aloe or antibiotics can help reduce the burning sensation and make it heal faster.

A second degree burn is one where the first and second layer of the skin gets affected. In this case, the skin will be shiny and red in the area that has been burned.

A third degree burn is even worse and there are times when the skin is completely burnt off and the bone can be seen.

In second and third degree burns, it is necessary to get medical attention immediately so that it can be treated properly.

How do you Treat a Bite?

There is no home treatment for a bite. Whether you or a loved one has been bitten by a snake, an insect or an animal, it is necessary to get medical attention immediately. Of course, this does not mean that you have to rush to the emergency room if you have been bitten by a regular mosquito. But for any kind of bite that forms an unnatural swelling or if it has taken off any part of the skin, you should get it checked immediately so that any poison can get contained as quickly as possible.

How do you Treat a Rash?

Rashes can be caused by a number of irritants like detergents, plant pollen, etc. If any of these irritants come in contact with the skin, the skin may start to itch and a rash may be seen. Rashes may occur as a one-time ordeal or they may reappear from time to time. If you suspect that the rash is caused due to an allergy, it is recommended that you visit a doctor so that an anti-allergen can be administered. If it is just a simple rash then you can also try treating it as home first by removing the irritant and then applying ointments on the rash to soothe the itching feeling.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9057916

how to improve your memory

Memory lapses can be both embarrassing (what’s my neighbor’s kid’s name again?) and troubling (is senility coming on?). But a few slipups don’t necessarily doom you to a future of utter forgetfulness. A memory is made by linking two or more of the 100 billion nerve cells in your brain, called neurons, then solidifying the connection so you can use it later, says Neal Barnard, an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine, in Washington, D.C. And “your brain continues to develop neurons and build new connections to strengthen memory as you age, a phenomenon called neuroplasticity,” says Brianne Bettcher, a neuropsychology fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, Memory and Aging Center. “So it’s never too late to improve your powers of recall.” That’s where these nine strategies come in. They’ll help you hone your memory today and keep it robust for years to come. mem

1. Get More Sleep

Experts agree that if you do only one thing to improve your memory, getting more sleep should be it. “Sleep is key time for your brain to solidify the connections between neurons,” says Barnard. In a study published in the journal Sleep Medicine, researchers asked subjects to perform some memory tasks and then either take a nap or stay awake. The people who napped remembered more of the tasks they had performed than did those who stayed up. Rule of thumb: Get seven to nine hours of sleep total each day. And, yes, naps count.

2. Jog Your Memory

Literally. Running—or biking or swimming or doing any other type of cardiovascular activity—for 20 to 30 minutes three times a week has been proven to help you remember things better. Raising your heart rate gets blood flowing to your brain, enlarges the hippocampus (the most vital part of the brain for memory), and increases the secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein necessary for long-term memory. Also, “cardiovascular exercise can actually cause new connections to sprout between neurons in the hippocampus,” says Peter J. Snyder, a professor of neurology at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School.

3. Have Some Food (and Drink) for Thought

Your brain can’t function properly without essential nutrients and chemical compounds. “Blueberries are the top source of substances called anthocyanins, which are brain-boosting antioxidants,” says Joy Bauer, a registered dietitian based in New York City and the author of The Joy Fit Club ($28, amazon.com). “Studies have shown that anthocyanins shield the brain against inflammation and oxidation, both of which can damage neurons and make them less effective at communicating with one another.” Bauer also recommends fitting in leafy green vegetables as often as possible. “Long-term studies have shown that people who eat large amounts of spinach, kale, and other leafy greens have less age-related memory decline, thanks to phytonutrients like vitamin C,” she says. You might also want to start enjoying a drink with dinner. Research published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that women who had one drink a day were 20 percent less likely than teetotalers or heavier drinkers to experience a decline in their cognitive function, including the ability to remember points of a paragraph that had been read to them 15 minutes earlier. The researchers believe this may be because moderate alcohol consumption elevates levels of HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and improves the condition of the blood that reaches the brain.

4. Choose Smart Supplements

Forget about ginkgo biloba. A recent study found that this herbal supplement has no positive impact on memory. However, a few supplements are known to encourage the growth of new neurons and decrease substances that can inhibit cognitive function. The gold standard is fish oil, according to Lori Daiello, an assistant professor of neurology (research) at the Alpert Medical School. Fish oil has been associated with lowering the risk of dementia because it contains DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that decreases the production of memory-inhibiting substances in the brain and that may be involved in the formation of new neurons, says Daiello. Increasing your consumption of fatty fish, like salmon, helps; or you can take a daily supplement containing at least 180 milligrams of DHA. Vitamin D may also work, since it “stimulates the growth of new neurons and helps clear protein abnormalities associated with diseases that affect memory, such as dementia,” says David J. Llewellyn, a research fellow in epidemiology and public health at the University of Exeter, in England. (The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends women take at least 600 international units [IU] daily.) You might also consider a folic acid, B6, and B12 complex. “All three of these B vitamins are needed to remove the amino acid homocysteine from your blood,” says Barnard. “Homocysteine is produced during normal processes in the body, but if too much of it builds up, it can result in poor brain function.”

5. Get Still

“Meditation improves your concentration and focus, which benefits memory,” says Dharma Singh Khalsa, the medical director and the president of the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, in Tucson. In addition, meditation has been shown to reduce stress, which can do a number on memory. “When we’re under stress, our body and brain release hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and CRH [corticotropin-releasing hormone], which in short bursts can help us fight or flee danger,” says Tallie Z. Baram, a professor of neurological sciences at the University of California, Irvine. But when you’re stressed-out over long periods of time, these hormones change the structure of the hippocampus, destroying nerve endings involved in information flow. A study released last year showed that subjects who performed a 12-minute chanting meditation once a day for eight weeks saw marked improvement in their memory and increased blood flow in the areas of the brain used in a variety of memory tasks. (Find instructions on how to start a meditation practice at mayoclinic.com.)

6. Do Something Out of the Ordinary

New experiences, such as taking a different route to work, can also improve recall. “Our brains are constantly deciding what’s important enough to remember and what can be tossed away,” says R. Douglas Fields, a senior investigator in neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland. “When you’re in a novel situation, your brain assumes that information is going to be important and holds on to it.” Also, “you’ll better retain things that happen immediately after a novel experience,” he says. “The cellular machinery of consolidating short-term memories into long-term ones has been activated, so it keeps working.” Which means that after your new commute, you may be better able to remember what happens at the morning meeting.

7. Check Your Medicine Cabinet

A number of medications can affect memory, says Barnard, including antihistamines; antidepressants, like Prozac; antianxiety drugs, like Xanax; and sleep aids, like Ambien. Each has its own way of working in the brain. For instance, Barnard says, “antihistamines block acetylcholine, a brain transmitter necessary for short-term memory, while Xanax and Ambien knock out episodic memory, so anything that happens when you’re on the medication may not stick around in your brain.” Don’t stop taking any prescription drug without talking to your doctor, but bring up the subject at your next visit. An alternative medicine or treatment may be available.

 

8. Get Checked Out

Two more-serious (but less common) issues could cause memory lapses: gluten sensitivity and thyroid disease. “If you have an undiagnosed sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and you’re eating foods like bread and crackers, your memory could suffer,” says Stefano Guandalini, the medical director of the Celiac Disease Center at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. Many people describe the feeling as a “brain fog”—a slightly out-of-it, fuzzy sensation. Your doctor can screen for gluten sensitivity, and dietary modifications can keep the condition in check. Thyroid disorders can also wreak havoc on recall. If you notice increasing forgetfulness, along with depression or a change in weight or your periods, see your doctor. Medication often gets the condition under control.

9. Challenge Your Head

“We know that people who are cognitively active have better memory as they age,” says Michael Kahana, the director of the Computational Memory Lab at the University of Pennsylvania and the author ofFoundations of Human Memory ($60, amazon.com). So how can you keep your brain going strong? “Staying engaged in the world around you reinforces the connections between neurons,” says Bettcher. “So do some fun activities that make you think.” Go to a museum once a month, learn words in a new language, watch a documentary on a subject that fascinates you, or—yes—do a crossword or sudoku puzzle. Another strategy: Quiz yourself. For example, if you want to remember new people you met at an event, “picture each of their faces and try to remember their names on the ride home,” says Henry L. Roediger III, a professor of psychology at Washington University, in St. Louis. When you flex your brain this way, you’ll be able to pull up their

How to Check Your Pulse

You can check your pulse by counting how many times your heart beats in a minute. This is also known as your heart rate.

Your heart rate can vary, depending on what you’re doing. For example, it will be slower if you’re sleeping and faster if you’re exercising. check-pulse

Finding your pulse

You can find your pulse in places where an artery passes close to your skin, such as your wrist or neck.

To find your pulse in your wrist:

  • hold out one of your hands, with your palm facing upwards and your elbow slightly bent
  • put the first finger (index) and middle finger of your other hand on the inside of your wrist, at the base of your thumb
  • press your skin lightly until you can feel your pulse – if you can’t feel anything, you may need to press a little harder or move your fingers around

To find your pulse in your neck, press the same two fingers on the side of your neck in the soft hollow area just beside your windpipe.

Checking your pulse

When you find your pulse, either:

  • count the number of beats you feel for one full minute
  • count the number for 30 seconds and multiply by two

The figure you get is the number of times per minute your heart is beating. It’s known as your resting heart rate, as long as you’ve been resting for at least five minutes before checking your pulse.

You can also check if your pulse is regular or irregular by feeling its rhythm for about 20-30 seconds. Occasional irregular heartbeats, such as missed beats, are very common. However, if your pulse is irregular for a continued length of time, it can be a sign of atrial fibrillation (a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate). This becomes more common as you get older and affects about 10% of people over 75.

If you’re concerned about your pulse, see your GP.

What’s a normal heart rate?

Most adults have a resting heart rate of 60-100 beats per minute (bpm).

The fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate is likely to be. For example, athletes may have a resting heart rate of 40-60 bpm or lower.

You should contact your GP if you think your heart rate is continuously above 120 bpm or below 40 bpm, although this could just be normal for you.

Exercise and your pulse

If you check your pulse while you’re exercising or immediately afterwards, it may give an indication of your fitness level. A heart rate monitor is also useful for recording your heart rate when resting and during exercise.

Aerobic activities such as walking, running and swimming are good types of exercise, because they increase your heart and breathing rates.

How to Avoid Diseases and stay young

Protect Your Heart
Heart disease is the number one killer of men in the United States. Nothing ages you faster than mistreating your heart. Gain more control over your cardiovascular health by eating a diet low in saturated fat and sugar, working out regularly, and not smoking. For extra heart protection, follow these steps: young

  • Include fish in your meals each week. Choose fish such as salmon, haddock, mackerel, or tuna, which are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that eating fish two or three times a week may reduce your risk of heart disease. Omega-3 supplements are another option, but check with your doctor first.
  • Stay active during your downtime. Studies show that people who engage often in leisure-time physical activities, such as taking a bike ride or brisk walk, have a lower risk of heart disease compared with people who pass their free time less actively. Two hours per week of leisure-time activities may decrease heart disease risk by as much as 61%. It just goes to show that playing like a kid can help you avoid aging.
  • Meet your daily requirement for magnesium. Research suggests that men who get adequate magnesium from their diets have a lower risk of heart disease compared with men who don’t get enough. Aim to get 400–500 milligrams of magnesium each day.

Protect Against Cancer
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and men are more likely than women to develop some type of cancer during their lifetimes. Make sure you’re doing all you can to protect against cancer by eating a balanced and varied diet, exercising regularly, avoiding common carcinogens, and getting regular health screenings. Start with these risk-reducing tips:

  • Supplement your diet with vitamin D. A lack of the “sunshine” vitamin has been linked to colon cancer, and studies suggest that deficiencies may contribute to other cancers as well. Your body makes most of its own vitamin D from the sun’s UVB rays in a complicated process involving your skin, liver, and kidneys. But because you want to avoid too much sun exposure, and foods, even D-fortified ones, may not deliver all the D you need, a daily supplement is good insurance against a shortfall.
    Take 1,000 international units (IU) of supplemental D if you are 60 or younger; 1,200 IU if you are over 60. The daily upper intake level is 2000 IU, so anything you take up to that dosage is generally considered safe.
  • Fill half your plate with colorful vegetables. Not only will you eat fewer calories, which helps you keep your weight in check, you will also be closing in on your 9-a-day fruit-and-vegetable goal and stocking up on cancer-fighting nutrients. The brighter the color of vegetables and fruit, the more antioxidants, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, are packed inside. While research has failed to show that individual antioxidant supplements prevent cancer, the combinations found in whole foods may be beneficial. Researchers don’t know exactly what nutrient — or combination of nutrients — is responsible for squelching cancer, but most studies show there is a link between eating more fruit and vegetables and a lower risk of lung, oral, esophageal, stomach, and colon cancers.

Protect Your Skin
As your largest organ, the skin protects your entire body, so defending it against environmental hazards, such as too much sun exposure, is extremely important. The sun’s ultraviolet rays not only age your skin by destroying elastin and promoting wrinkles but also injure the chromosomes in your skin cells. This damage can lead to skin disorders and cancers that may be life threatening. Take these steps to keep your skin healthy and discover new ways to stay young:

  • Schedule outdoor activities in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid spending too much time in the sun during peak hours (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and steer clear of tanning beds, which emit harmful UVA rays. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher, to your face and exposed body areas 30 minutes before you go outdoors. How much should you apply? Enough to fill at least two shot glasses. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or when you are sweating heavily. Look for these ingredients when shopping for for a sunscreen. Also, cover up with a hat, sleeves, and shades whenever you spend an extended period of time outdoors. Even in warm weather, you’ll stay cooler and more comfortable if your skin is shaded with light-colored, breathable fabrics.
  • Perform routine self-examinations for skin cancer. Look for changes in the color, size, thickness, shape, or feel of a mole, freckle, or other mark. A new mole, or one that has irregular borders, has variable colors, or is larger than a quarter of an inch in diameter, should be examined by a doctor. Monthly skin self-exams and an annual total body screening by your doctor are important for the early detection of skin cancer.
  • Eat carotenoid-rich foods. Save your skin from sun damage and wrinkles by eating carotenoid-rich foods, such as cantaloupe, apricots, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, and other fruit and vegetables that have deep green, yellow, orange, and red hues.

Protect Your Mind and Spirit
Chronic stress can rob you of health and happiness. By hindering your immune system response, stress makes you more susceptible to infection, disease, and other health conditions and can cause wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. Stress also causes spikes in blood pressure, which could cause premature aging of the cardiovascular system. To neutralize these damaging effects, try to identify what stresses you, and then develop strategies to help you cope with these situations. Start with these steps:

  • Leave job stress at the office. A study suggests work stress may be even more detrimental to your personal relationships than work exhaustion is. Close personal relationships help you avoid aging and stay healthy. Before you head home at the end of the day, take a few minutes to employ a stress reduction technique, such as meditation or deep breathing. Also, try taking the scenic route home from work. Research suggests that viewing natural scenery helps reduce tension.
  • Set meaningful life goals. Choose a few goals that will make your life feel more meaningful, and devise ways to achieve them. This can help boost your psychological well-being, which in turn may improve your health.
  • Slip some humor-packed pastimes into your weekly schedule. Whether you watch a funny movie, attend a comedy show, or just share good times with people you care about, be sure to set aside some time for age-reducing belly laughs. Research has credited laughter with not only the power to reduce stress but also the ability to relieve pain, improve immunity, and lower blood pressure.

BONUS STEP:
Actively patrol your health and see your doctors on a regular basis. Make the most of the time with your doctor, and avoid misdiagnoses by being prepared and informed when you go to an appointment. Write down any symptoms you are experiencing, even if they seem minor. For instance, if you have pain, track when it occurs and how long it lasts. Keep a list of the foods you eat daily as well as any medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you take regularly. Also include information about your chronic conditions and your regular activities. Take this information to your appointment, and discuss it with your doctor.

Follow these steps to avoid aging, and live life to the youngest!

The 41 Most Nutritious Foods On Earth

Nutritional guidelines encourage Americans to consume more “powerhouse” fruits and vegetables — those foods that are most strongly associated with reduced risks of chronic disease. But there’s been no clear directive on how exactly “powerhouse” foods should be defined. healthiest_food

Now, a Jun. 5 study in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease puts forth a method for defining and ranking powerhouse foods.

Lead author Jennifer Di Noia, a sociologist at William Paterson University who specializes in public health and food choice, came up with a preliminary list of 47 “powerhouse” foods based on consumer guidelines and scientific literature. For example, berries and vegetables in the onion/garlic family were included “in light of their associations with reduced risks for cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and some cancers.”

Di Noia then ranked the foods based on their nutritional density. She focused on 17 nutrients “of public health importance per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Institute of Medicine.” These are potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.

Each food had to provide at least 10% of the daily value of a particular nutrient to be considered a good source. Providing more than 100% of the daily value of one nutrient conferred no extra benefit. The scores were calculated in favor of lower-calorie foods and weighted based on how “bioavailable” each nutrient is (i.e., how much the body can make use of a nutrient once it’s been ingested in food form).

Six foods (raspberry, tangerine, cranberry, garlic, onion, and blueberry) on the original list of 47 did not satisfy the “powerhouse” criteria. Here are the remaining 41, ranked in order of nutrient density. Foods that are high in nutrients without also being high in calories will be at the top.

  1. Watercress (Score: 100.00)
  2. Chinese cabbage (Score: 91.99)
  3. Chard (Score: 89.27)
  4. Beet green (Score: 87.08)
  5. Spinach (Score: 86.43)
  6. Chicory (Score: 73.36)
  7. Leaf lettuce (Score: 70.73)
  8. Parsley (Score: 65.59)
  9. Romaine lettuce (Score: 63.48)
  10. Collard green (Score: 62.49)
  11. Turnip green (Score: 62.12)
  12. Mustard green (Score: 61.39)
  13. Endive (Score: 60.44)
  14. Chive (Score: 54.80)
  15. Kale (Score: 49.07)
  16. Dandelion green (Score: 46.34)
  17. Red pepper (Score: 41.26)
  18. Arugula (Score: 37.65)
  19. Broccoli (Score: 34.89)
  20. Pumpkin (Score: 33.82)
  21. Brussels sprout (Score: 32.23)
  22. Scallion (Score: 27.35)
  23. Kohlrabi (Score: 25.92)
  24. Cauliflower (Score: 25.13)
  25. Cabbage (Score: 24.51)
  26. Carrot (Score: 22.60)
  27. Tomato (Score: 20.37)
  28. Lemon (Score: 18.72)
  29. Iceberg lettuce (Score: 18.28)
  30. Strawberry (Score: 17.59)
  31. Radish (Score: 16.91)
  32. Winter squash (Score: 13.89)
  33. Orange (Score: 12.91)
  34. Lime (Score: 12.23)
  35. Grapefruit (pink/red) (Score: 11.64)
  36. Rutabaga (Score: 11.58)
  37. Turnip (Score: 11.43)
  38. Blackberry (Score: 11.39)
  39. Leek (Score: 10.69)
  40. Sweet potato (Score: 10.51)
  41. Grapefruit (white) (Score: 10.47)

Everyone has different dietary needs, and no one should make drastic dietary changes without consulting a dietitian or a doctor. But adding more “powerhouse” fruits and vegetables to your diet is a good first step on the way to a healthier lifestyle.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/41-most-nutritious-fruits-and-vegetables-2014-6#ixzz3bTPkhORx

Want to Live Longer? Optimal Amount of Exercise Revealed

Doing a few hours of exercise every week will probably help you live longer, but doing a whole lot more exercise doesn’t provide much extra benefit, according to a new study on physical activity and longevity.

Still, doing as much as 10 times the recommended amount of exercise was not linked with an increased risk of dying during the study period. That’s good news formarathon runners and triathletes who may have been concerned about the long-term health effects of such high levels of activity.

In the study, researchers analyzed information from more than 660,000 people ages 21 to 98 in the United States and Sweden who answered questions about how much time they spent doing physical activity, including walking, running, swimming and bicycling. (These questions were asked as part of earlier research conducted in the 1990s and 2000s.)

People who got some exercise, but not enough to meet the physical activity recommendations were still 20 percent less likely to die over a 14-year period than those who did not do any physical activity. (The recommendations say to do 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week.) longlife

People who engaged in the recommended level of physical activity saw even more benefit: They were 31 percent less likely to die during the study period, compared with those who did not engage in any physical activity.  [7 Common Exercise Errors and How to Fix Them]

But doing a lot more activity than that did not provide much added benefit. The maximum benefit was seen among people who engaged in three to five times the recommended levels of physical activity; they were 39 percent less likely to die over the study period than people who did no exercise. Engaging in more exercise than this was not linked with any additional benefit.

Although some earlier studies suggested that people who practice extreme endurance training have an increased risk of heart problems, the new study found no link between very high levels of physical activity (10 or more times the recommended level) and an increased risk of death.

“These findings are informative for individuals at both ends of the physical activity spectrum: They provide important evidence to inactive individuals by showing that modest amounts of activity provide substantial benefit for postponing mortality while reassuring very active individuals of no exercise-associated increase in mortality risk,” the researchers, from the National Cancer Institute, wrote in the April 6 issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

In an editorial accompanying the study, Todd Manini, of the University of Florida’s Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, pointed out that the people most likely to benefit from increasing the amount of exercise they do are those who do not currently do any.

“A lot of the mortality reductions were seen in people only one step away from doing no leisure-time physical activity,” Manini said, referring to the group that did some physical activity, but not enough to meet the recommendations.

Doctors should target this group with exercise counseling, Manini said. “Physicians who seek out the segment of the population that performs no leisure-time physical activity could receive the most payback in their patient’s health.”

The new study relied on reports of physical activity at one point in time, and it’s possible that people changed their levels of physical activity over the study period, the researchers said.

In addition, the study looked at the time spent engaged in physical activity, but did not focus on the intensity of that activity. That is, it did not directly compare those who engaged in moderate activity versus those who engaged in vigorous activity. But the study did find that people who met the recommended level of physical activity — either through moderate or vigorous activity levels — had a reduced risk of death.

In a separate study, also published today in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers in Australia found that people who engaged in vigorous activity (such as jogging or aerobics) were 9 to 13 percent less likely to die over a six-year period than those who engaged in only moderate activity (such as gentle swimming or household chores).

“Our research indicates that even small amounts of vigorous activity could help reduce your risk of early death,” study researcher Klaus Gebel, of James Cook University’s Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention in Australia, said in a statement.

But people with medical conditions, older adults or those who have not previously engaged in vigorous activity should speak with their doctors before beginning an exercise program, Gebel said.

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