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Walking weekly could add three years to life expectancy

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A elderly couple walking on the streets in a sunny day
For people older than 65, mortality rates decrease by as much as 52% as physical activity increases | Photo: Sam Foster

New research by Vitality and the London School of Economics shows that walking at least 5,000 steps three times a week is a milestone habit that, when maintained for two years, can add up to three years to a previously inactive individual’s life expectancy and reduce their healthcare costs by up to 13%.

Recently shared by Discovery Chief Executive Adrian Gore in London, this new research analyzed how people make and break habits for better health, as well as the impact on individuals and society. The study mapped the physical activity and nutrition behaviours across one million Vitality members over a 10-year period to determine the best ways to form and maintain healthy habits, and to understand the science of how healthy habits can lead to longer, healthier lives.

Globally, insufficient physical activity is associated with up to five million premature deaths every year; and estimates suggest that one in five deaths are now associated with poor diet, with 1.5 billion people predicted to be obese by 2035.

The WHO estimates that 27.5% of adults and 81% of adolescents are physically inactive. If this level of inactivity maintains, new cases of preventable non-communicable diseases (such as type 2 diabetes) will cost health systems US$27 billion each year.

As countries around the world deal with the strain of rising disease risks and treatment costs, the Habit Index research sheds light on the small changes that people can make to improve their health and the significant impact that habitual physical activity could have to make global health systems more resilient and sustainable.

The impact to the individual

Small changes to create and sustain healthier habits could have a significant impact on individuals’ health outcomes. Major positive impacts were seen across all age groups; however, this was particularly true for older generations, showing that it’s never too late to start. People 65 and older saw a 52% reduction in their mortality risk after sustaining a habit of 7,500 steps three or more times per week. This is significantly greater than those aged between 45 and 65, who saw a 38% reduction in their mortality risk, and the total population, who saw a 27% reduction.

The research indicates that doing 7,500 steps per day on average achieves the bulk of the reduction in common-cause mortality; with additional incremental health improvements beyond this “sweet spot”. On average across all age groups, those who sustain a healthy physical activity habit – physical activity three times per week for more than two years – can add between 2.5 years (for men) and three years (for women) to their life expectancy.

Physical activity lowers risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer

The research analysed the impact of forming and sustaining a physical activity habit on an individuals’ risks of developing type 2 diabetes and severe cancer.

It is estimated that 529 million people have diabetes globally, costing billions in treatment costs each year. The Habit Index showed people who sustain a habit of physical activity on three days a week for three years can reduce their type 2 diabetes risk by up to 41%. Similarly, there are major benefits for those with the condition already. A 55-year-old with type 2 diabetes who changes from limited physical activity to sustain a habit of 5,000 steps three times a week, reduces their all-cause mortality risk by 40%.

When it comes to severe cancer, the research also showed promising results among Vitality members who changed their behaviour from being unengaged to sustaining at least medium levels of physical activity to reduce their risk of stage three cancer by 19% and stage four cancer by 36%.

EuroNewsweek is a dynamic news platform featuring lifestyle, sustainability, successful stories, tech, leadership, creative marketing, business, and the unstoppable people behind them.

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Qatar museum opens exhibition revealing new voices from the Arab world

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Qatar museums opens exhibition revealing new voices from the Arab world
"Take Shelter" is one of the films showing during "Your Ghosts Are Mine, Expanded Cinemas, Amplified Voices" | Photo: still courtesy © LA CHAUVE-SOURIS

Qatar Museum has opened Your Ghosts Are Mine, Expanded Cinemas, Amplified Voices, a major exhibition coinciding with the 60th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, bringing together works by filmmakers and video artists from the Middle East, Africa and Asia. On view at ACP Palazzo Franchetti (through 24 November), the exhibition presents a journey in moving images through contemporary experiences of community life and memory, transnational crossings and exile.

Your Ghosts Are Mine is produced by Qatar Museums and co-organised by Doha Film Institute, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and the future Art Mill Museum in collaboration with ACP Art Capital Partners and with support from Media City Qatar. It is curated by Matthieu Orléan with Majid Al-Remaihi and Virgile Alexandre, with exhibition design by Federico Martelli and Clément Périssé. The advisory committee includes Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Zeina Arida and Catherine Grenier.

The exhibition explores themes such as deserts, ruins, borders, exile and women’s voices through films supported by Doha Film Institute and video works from Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and the future Art Mill Museum.

The works span fiction, documentary, animation and memoir. Included are excerpts from works by over 40 artists including Faouzi Bensaidi (Morocco), Jessica Beshir (Ethiopia), Ali Cherri (Lebanon), Tala Hadid (Morroco), Joana Hadjithomas (Lebanon), Khalil Joreige (Lebanon), Soudade Kaadan (Syria), Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (Lesotho), Asmae El Moudir (Morocco), Amal Al-Muftah (Qatar), Shirin Neshat (Iran), Larissa Sansour (Palestine), Abderrhamane Sissako (Mauritania), Elia Suleiman (Palestine), Ramata-Toulaye Sy (Senegal), Tariq Teguia (Algeria), Shaima Al Tamini (Yemen), plus works by Wael Shawky, Lida Abdul, Hassan Khan and Sophia Al Maria.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums and Doha Film Institute, said, “Your Ghosts Are Mine will open the eyes of international viewers to the ideas, feelings, and artistic visions of today’s filmmakers from the Arab world and neighbouring regions. With this exhibition, Qatar Museums advances its mission of encouraging understanding across borders, while Doha Film Institute continues to nurture rising talents of our region.”  

A schedule of film screenings accompanying the exhibition is available here.    

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Thousands of free travel passes available to travel around Europe

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A solo traveler in Europe
Successful applicants will get a free rail pass to travel in Europe for up to 30 days

Starting this summer, thousands of young people will once again travel around Europe by train for free thanks to the latest call of the DiscoverEU programme. Today at 12:00 CET during the European Youth Week buzzing with activities, the Commission launched the latest DiscoverEU application round. It will end on Tuesday 30 April at 12:00 CET.

In total, 35,500 travel passes are available. To get one, young people born between 1 July 2005 and 30 June 2006 can do a quiz with five questions about the EU and one additional question on the European Youth Portal. Successful applicants will get a free rail pass to travel in Europe for up to 30 days between 1 July 2024 and 30 September 2025.

The call is open to applicants from the European Union and countries associated to the Erasmus+ programme including Iceland, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Türkiye. Ticket holders can plan their own routes or be inspired by existing ones. For example, they can discover a route launched last year, which focuses on cities and places making the European Union ‘beautiful, sustainable and inclusive’ in line with the principles of the New European Bauhaus.

Participants can also benefit from the DiscoverEU Culture Route an initiative of the 2022 European Year of Youth that combines various cultural destinations including architecture, music, fine art, theatre, fashion and design. Participants can visit the European Capitals of Culture which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List,  European Heritage Label sites, or Access City Award label locations, which are cities that have gone above and beyond to become more accessible to everyone.

Participants will also receive a discount card with over 40,000 discount possibilities on public transport, culture, accommodation, food, sports and other services in eligible countries. Additionally, Erasmus+ National Agencies organise pre-departure information meetings, and national agencies across all Erasmus+ countries prepare DiscoverEU Meet-ups, learning programmes lasting from one to three days.

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£50,000 prize to be split between female racers and soccer tournaments

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£50,000 prize fund to be split between female racers and soccer tournaments in the UK
Danielle Udogaranya (Ebonix), Harrie Silver (Harrie) and Shauna Ward (Shauna Games) announce the launch of a series of women’s esports tournaments

A women’s only esports initiative has been announced as the first-of-its-kind in the UK, in a bid to improve diversity and inclusion in the gaming world.

The series of tournaments provide a platform for talented women gamers to showcase their skills. It is the first women’s esports tournament to award professional contracts as well as cash prizes to winners. This follows research that revealed out of all esports pros, only 5% are women despite women making up 47% of all gamers in the UK.

The women’s esports initiative is being brought to life by Sky Broadband in partnership with the Guild Esports company, co-owned by football legend David Beckham. Both Sky Broadband and Guild share the mission to create a more inclusive esports industry.

The initiative is made up of two tournaments: Racers Eseries, a SIM racing-based competition, and the Soccer Eseries, an esports football tournament, culminating in the Women’s Esports Finals. With a total prize pot of £50,000 split between the tournaments, all competitors at the Women’s Esports Finals will receive a cash prize, with the two ultimate winners of the Racers Eseries and Soccer Eseries also awarded a pro contract each and free Sky Broadband for 18 months.

  • Racers Eseries – taking place from the 26th April to 19th May in person and online: SIM racing-based competition – ten gamers will make it through to the Women’s Esports Finals
  • Soccer Eseries – date to be announced later this year: an esports football tournament, the top four gamers will make it through to the Women’s Esports Finals
  • Women’s Esports Finals – date to be announced later this year: The UK’s first-of-its-kind Women’s Esports Final hosted LIVE and streamed from Sky headquarters

As part of the coveted esports pro contracts, winners will receive bootcamp training, access to top-class facilities and experts including nutritionists to help them keep at the top of their game.

Amber Pine, MD, Sky Connectivity said: “At Sky Broadband we’re committed to powering the gaming community, and we want to help ensure it’s an equal playing field for all. We’re creating new, safe and equal opportunities for woman gamers, working with Guild Esports for the past two years to achieve this ambition. This first-of-its-kind initiative opens up new avenues to help women go pro, with contracts and cash prizes up for grabs.”

Despite the growing popularity of esports and large prize funds, research by Bryter revealed over half (56%) of women feel that there is a great lack of women gamers in esports, and similarly 54% agree that the gaming community isn’t doing enough to encourage women gamers.

However, the report also found that 36% of women gamers would consider entering an esports tournament.

Those looking to take part in the tournaments can visit https://www.sky.com/broadband/gaming for more information on how to sign up. Entrants must be 18 or over and UK residents.

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