Miles between Davis and Mozart: Brains of Jazz and Classical Musicians Work Differently

Music is one of the great joys of my life. I have a bluetooth speaker on my bike and I listen to music on my daily rides. My iPhone has about 15 gigabytes of jazz, classics and classic rock so I have the entire spectrum available. Consuming music, however, is not the same as producing it.

Different processes occur in the brains of jazz and classical pianists while playing the same piece of music, researchers report in Neuroscience News.

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Keith Jarret, world-famous jazz pianist, once answered in an interview when asked if he would ever be interested in doing a concert where he would play both jazz and classical music: “No, that’s hilarious. […] It’s like a chosen practically impossible thing […] It’s [because of] the circuitry. Your system demands different circuitry for either of those two things.” Where non-specialists tend to think that it should not be too challenging for a professional musician to switch between styles of music, such as jazz and classical, it is actually not as easy as one would assume, even for people with decades of experience.

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Filed under brain, brain exercise, brain function, brain health, classical music, Healthy brain, jazz, music, music listening, musicians

I’m so old that …

Regular readers know that I am an old guy. I will celebrate my 78th birthday a week from today. So, I thought for a change from my weekly fitness funnies, I would share some “I’m so old …” humor.

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Tony

 

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Filed under aging, aging humor, aging myths, successful aging

Celebrate National Popcorn Day

I am a big fan of popcorn. It is a great snack that can be prepared in a healthy way. I avoid microwave popcorn like the plague.

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I recommend buying regular popcorn and popping it in coconut oil with a simple salt flavoring. There are a number of flavored salts available which I don’t use, but aren’t harmful to you like what you get from a microwave.

Wikipedia says, “Corn was first domesticated 9,000 years ago in what is now Mexico.[3]Archaeologists discovered that people have known about popcorn for thousands of years. In Mexico, for example, remnants of popcorn have been found that date to around 3600 BC.[4] Continue reading

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Can CBD oil relieve arthritis pain? MNT

Regular readers may remember that I suffer from a severe case of osteoarthritis in my hands. Mine is situated at the base of my thumbs, so it usually hurts me to use my hands. I wrote about this on another venue and someone suggested CBD oil for pain relief.. Being completely ignorant of it, I checked it out on the web and have ordered some from Amazon. I will let you know in a subsequent post how/if it worked. Meanwhile, here is what Medical News Today had to say about CBD oil.

Recent studies suggest that cannabidiol oil (CBD oil) could play a role in the treatment of arthritis. What are the benefits of CBD oil and are there any side effects people considering using it should be aware of?

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CBD oil, also called hemp oil, is an oil made from an extract from cannabis plants. Some people use CBD oil to relieve pain associated with chronic conditions, such as arthritis.

What is CBD oil?

CBD is a type of cannabinoid, which is a chemical found in cannabis plants. Unlike delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another chemical found in cannabis, CBD is not psychoactive. This means it does not change a person’s mental state or produce a “high” as THC can.

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Filed under arthritis, CBD oil, hand arthritis, hemp seeds, osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis pain, THC

Reduced sunlight may contribute to winter weight gain

Living in the Midwestern U.S. I have suffered along with much of the country in the recent serious cold snap.I have the Weather Channel on as I write this. They reported that 65 million Americans are under cold weather alert this morning. The weather has curtailed my cycling and I have ‘taken to the stairs’ in my high rise for supplemental exercise. We have a health club, but I don’t enjoy the confinement of it. So, this year, I am suffering from some winter weight gain. I was surprised to learn that the curtailed sunlight in winter may also be relevant to body weight. Herewith, information from the University of Alberta’s Lesley Young.

We may have a new reason, in addition to vitamin D generation, to bask in a little sunshine.

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A breakthrough study by University of Alberta researchers has shown the fat cells that lie just beneath our skin shrink when exposed to the blue light emitted by the sun.

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Filed under holiday weight gain, SAD, seasonal affective disorder, winter

Boost Your Immune System And Ward Off Viruses With These Foods

I hope this will be helpful to you. Seems the entire country is under attack by the flu. When I was only concerned about weight loss, I learned that diet was bout 75 percent of the battle. Seems the same for the immune system. too.

Our Better Health

Chicken soup helps, sure, but a diet rich in vegetables, fish and even garlic can help lessen the severity of a cold or prevent you from getting sick.

The combination of chicken, homemade broth, veggies (such as carrots, celery and onions) and noodles or rice in chicken soup is immune-boosting and soothing, and the warm broth clears your nasal passages and keeps you hydrated.

Winter doesn’t just bring the blues, it also gifts us with coughs, runny noses and sore throats. It’s not because of the old adage of bundling up or “you’ll catch a cold!” We tend to get more cold and flu viruses during the winter as germs survive longer indoors due to poor ventilation and lack of humidity, and we are stuck indoors for much longer during the frigid months.

There’s a key to rev up our immune system that can make a huge difference: you are…

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Filed under flu season, flu shot, flu symptoms, preventing the flu, virus

Why older men should do more housework – Study

As an older guy, I turn 78 in less than two weeks, I am interested in my health and certainly my longevity. So, the subject of older men doing more housework caught my attention. Also, housework does not rank high on my list of fun stuff to do.

The following is what Medical News Today reported:

According to a new study, it seems that elderly adults are stuck in a time when housework was the woman’s job. Researchers have found that every day, older women spend an average of 2 hours more doing household chores than men.

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But it’s not all bad. Older men and women who engage in more housework might have better health. Though if women get too much or too little sleep, the health benefits of housework diminish.

The new study — which was recently published in the journal BMC Public Health — was led by Nicholas Adjei and Tilman Brand, of the University of Bremen in Germany.

The research was designed to get a better idea of how adults spend their time in later life, and how certain day-to-day activities impact their health.

“The percentage of those aged 65 years and above,” explains study co-leader Adjei, “is increasing globally due to higher life expectancy. It is important to understand how older adults spend their time in these later years and the possible positive and negative implications for their health.” Continue reading

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Filed under aging, housework, Medical News Today, senior women, seniors, successful aging

Weekly funnies …

Herewith your weekly funnies, including some on fitness. Enjoy your weekend!

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Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. YODA

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Tony

 

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Exercise may reverse heart effects of middle-aged couch potatoes – Study

Eat less; move more; live longer. The mantra persists just as we do if we follow it. An American Heart Association study reports that exercise (moving more) can rejuvenate us even if we have lived a sedentary life in middle age.

Highlights:

Two years of exercise training during middle age may reduce or reverse the cardiac consequences of a sedentary lifestyle.

Two years of exercise training may be an effective lifestyle modification for rejuvenating aging hearts and reducing the risk of heart failure.

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Middle-aged couch potatoes may reduce or reverse the risk of heart failure associated with years of sitting if they participate in two years of regular aerobic exercise training, according to a new study in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Study participants who adhered to the aerobic exercise regimen had significant improvements in how their body used oxygen and had decreased cardiac stiffness after two years, both markers of a healthier heart. Aerobic exercises are sustained activities, such as walking, swimming, running, biking and others that strengthen the heart and other muscles and help the body use oxygen effectively.

“The key to a healthier heart in middle age is the right dose of exercise, at the right time in life,” said study author Benjamin D. Levine, M.D., lead author of the study and the founder and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, a joint program between Texas Health Resources and UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, Texas. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, American Heart Association, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, heart rate, sedentary lifestyle, successful aging

Cool bike helmet on Kickstarter

For those of you who don’t know, Kickstarter is one of the crowd-funding sites. If you have an idea for a product, but can not finance it through ‘normal’ channels, you post it on Kickstarter and lots of little investors, myself included, look at it and decide whether or not they want to help back it. Investments can be as little as $1.00. Usually, the developer offers one of the products to developers for a price which is below what he will charge when he markets it. I back items on Kickstarter all the time.

This item is for my bike riding readers and also anyone who has a loved one who bikes and might be interested in this cool helmet.

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Here is a quote from the listing:

“CoolHead™ is a cycling helmet designed for reducing body temperature in the most important part of rider’s body- the brain. It’s unique design provides protection against penetration but it also ensures hours of reduced heat while cycling to a pleasant 15F° / 8C° below average body temperature.

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“We all like cycling but some days are just too hot out there. When cycling fast, the wind is moving across your body and can usually remove some of the heat produced. However, the summer months and warm climate zones present their own challenges to riders, so how can you ensure that you don’t suffer in the heat?! CoolHead is the answer.”

For the record, I have backed this helmet. I am not as interested in the ‘cooling’ element as the design one. I ride at a speed the elevates my heart rate, but I do not ever set out to make a certain speed, or to get my body overheated. I really like how the vizor drops down. I may be able to do away with the ‘fitover’ sunglasses that I wear now.

You can go to the website here if you want to know more about it.

Tony

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How Healthy is Lobster Tail?

Just removed from the potOn the off chance that you work for a firm that gives out edible gifts in the Christmas season, I am rerunning this post I wrote on lobster tail after I was given a gift of lobster tails some time ago. I hope you have been one of the lucky ones. Lobster is healthy as well as delicious.

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I love the taste of lobster tail, but since I live in the Midwest the cost of flying them in has always added to their already relatively high price to put them almost out of reach of my purse strings. My personal economics has not favored eating a lot of lobster tail except on birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  That is to say, once or twice a year. However, I recently got lucky and was gifted with some frozen lobster tails (thank you, Harrah’s Horseshoe Casino!). As I looked forward to preparing them I also wondered just how much food value lobster tails have.

Here is what I found out. The USDA puts the nutritional breakdown as follows: Serving size: four ounce tail (113.4 grams) Calories 105, Fat 1.1 grams no saturated or trans fats, Cholesterol none, Sodium 340 mg, Carbohydrates 1 gram and protein 22.7 grams. You need protein to build…

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How many calories do you burn in a day? – Infographic

Although this blog started out as simply a weight loss tool, it has since morphed into a guide for general healthy (and long) living. Nonetheless, knowing how to count calories and how we burn them is a super tool for living a healthy life. Hence, the following infographic.

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Filed under calorie counting, calorie equivalents, calories, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, ideal weight, overweight, weighing, Weight, weight control

Exercise can reverse damage from heart aging – Study

Eat less; move more; live longer. Simple acts with profound effects. And, according to the latest study, don’t wait till you are old to start.

Exercise can reverse damage to sedentary, aging hearts and help prevent risk of future heart failure – if it’s enough exercise, and if it’s begun in time, according to a new study by cardiologists at UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources.

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Group of older mature people lifting weights in the gym

To reap the most benefit, the exercise regimen should begin by late middle age (before age 65), when the heart apparently retains some plasticity and ability to remodel itself, according to the findings by researchers at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine (IEEM), which is a collaboration between UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

And the exercise needs to be performed four to five times a week. Two to three times a week was not enough, the researchers found in an earlier study. Continue reading

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Filed under cardio exercise, exercise benefits, exercise duration, heart problems, how much exercise, successful aging

9 Rules for Brain-Healthy Eating – Infographic

I don’t know what the Amen Clinic is, but this is a wonderful infographic of foods the help your brain function better.

Don’t forget that, like your body, your brain benefits from physical exercise, too. To read further on that, check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits).

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Tony

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Why we choose the donut over the apple – MNT

As a person who has had a weight problem for much of his adult life, food choices loom large on my radar. I love snacking, pizza, cheeseburgers, you name the junk food, I likely love it. However, I weigh in the mid 150 pound area and have done so for the past seven years. What has worked for me is clearly thinking about what the food means to me in terms of my health. Not focusing on how good it is going to taste and how much I have always loved that flavor. I tie my action to its likely consequences. The clear goal of eating healthy has been my solution. These researchers have some interesting ideas to add to the discussion.

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Everyone knows that an apple per day is a more healthful option than a donut and yet, given the choice, many people would still choose the donut. A new study has revealed that food choices could be down to the associations that we make with food-related stimuli.

Researchers explain why the urge to eat a donut is mightier than the urge to eat an apple — even though the apple is the more healthful option.

 

Aukje Verhoeven, Sanne de Wit, and Poppy Watson, all psychologists at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, conducted the research.

Their findings were published in the journal Appetite.

The consumption of unhealthful foods is on the rise around the world, which is contributing to the more than 1.9 billion adults who are overweight globally.

Among children in the United States, more than 27 percent of calories each day come from snacks, including salted snacks, candy, desserts, and sweetened beverages. This could have hazardous consequences for their health.

Learned cues affect food choices

Government initiatives have focused on making people more aware of the adverse effects of eating unhealthfully. However, most people fail to adhere to the recommended food guidelines, and eating behaviors often remain unchanged.

Though it is not clear why informational interventions do not work, evidence suggests that food-related stimuli in the environment may play a role in triggering unhealthful eating habits.

“Health warnings often make people want to choose healthier food products, yet many still end up picking unhealthy food products,” explains Verhoeven. “We suspected this might partly be due to the fact that people learn to associate specific cues in their environment with certain food choices.”

For example, seeing a large “M” sign in the environment has been linked to reward, such as eating a cheeseburger, which then prompts a craving and could trigger a trip to the restaurant for a burger. Continue reading

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Filed under food choices, good weight loss foods, ideal weight, normal weight gain, snack foods, Snacking, weight control, weight loss

Less than 8 hours of sleep psychologically dangerous – Study

I have written extensively about how important a good night’s sleep is to living a healthy life. Now, it seems there are potential psychological vulnerabilities, too. I will give the link at the end of post.

Sleeping less than the recommended eight hours a night is associated with intrusive, repetitive thoughts like those seen in anxiety or depression, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

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Binghamton University Professor of Psychology Meredith Coles and former graduate student Jacob Nota assessed the timing and duration of sleep in individuals with moderate to high levels of repetitive negative thoughts (e.g., worry and rumination). The research participants were exposed to different pictures intended to trigger an emotional response, and researchers tracked their attention through their eye movements. The researchers discovered that regular sleep disruptions are associated with difficulty in shifting one’s attention away from negative information. This may mean that inadequate sleep is part of what makes negative intrusive thoughts stick around and interfere with people’s lives . Continue reading

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