This blog has evolved over the nine years I have been writing it. Starting as a men’s weight-loss helper, it has developed into a general good health and long life messenger. I have also learned along the way about certain physical dangers that are not at once obvious. I think I am most concerned with the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. It’s possibly that being sedentary does a person more damage than smoking. This seems particularly insidious to me as when folks retire, they think about ‘taking it easy.’ Big mistake. One specific aspect of that is prolonged sitting. Check out my Page – The dangers of too much sitting for more details.
Major physical changes occurred in the human heart as people shifted from hunting and foraging to farming and modern life. As a result, human hearts are now less “ape-like” and better suited to endurance types of activity. But that also means those who lead sedentary lives are at greater risk for heart disease. Those are the main conclusions from a unique study led by Aaron L. Baggish, MD, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cardiovascular Performance Program. Baggish and his collaborators examined how ape hearts differ from those of humans, why those differences exist and what that means to human health. Continue reading
In the gift that keeps on giving department, a study of nearly half a million people has found for the first time that those with heart or blood vessel problems benefit more from having a physically active lifestyle than do healthy people without cardiovascular disease (CVD). Exercise is good and if you have heart or blood vessel problems, it is even better.
Increased physical activity reduced the risk of dying during a six-year follow-up period for people with and without CVD, but the researchers found the greatest reduction in risk was in people with CVD and this continued to reduce the more exercise they did.
The study, which is published in the European Heart Journal  today (Sunday), is also presented at the same time at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology in Paris, France .
There is plenty of evidence to show that physical activity reduces the risk of dying from CVD in healthy people; there is less evidence of its effect in people with pre-existing CVD although guidelines recommend it, and, until now, no study has compared the beneficial effect of physical activity between people with and without CVD. Continue reading
I have stated previously in these pages that I while I respect and admire the exercise of running, I have even considered taking it up to get more weight-bearing exercise, I think that on-balance marathons damage the body and should be avoided. Since October is the beginning of marathon season, I wanted to put this out.
Dr. Mercola says, “Several recent studies have indicated that conventional cardio, especially endurance exercises such as marathon running can pose significant risks to your heart. It can result in acute volume overload, inflammation, thickening and stiffening of the heart muscle and arteries, arterial calcification, arrhythmias, and potentially sudden cardiac arrest and stroke—the very things you’re trying to avoid by exercising.
As regular readers know, I am very sensitive to cognitive impairment, having lost three close family members to Alzheimer’s and dementia. So I was very happy to come across this list of recommendations for building up our mental muscles and reducing our chances of contracting Alzheimer’s from the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Research on cognitive decline is still evolving,” said Theresa Hocker, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter. “But there are actions people can take. Certain healthy behaviors known to combat cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes also may reduce the risk of cognitive decline. These include staying mentally active, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a heart-healthy diet that benefits your body and your brain.”
1. Break a sweat. Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.
2. Hit the books. Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.
3. Butt out. Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked. Continue reading
As a dedicated bike rider, I confess to loving the Superheroes Edition of this info-graphic.
I have just run across another study that backs up the blog mantra of eat less; move more; live longer and its corollary use it or lose it.
Health experts have warned for years that men and women with excess abdominal fat run a greater risk of developing cardiovascular problems. However, individuals with abdominal or central obesity are not the only ones in danger, according to a new study, reported by Elton Alisson | Agência FAPESP
The study found that physically active men who were not overweight but whose waist-stature ratio (WSR) was close to the risk threshold were also more likely to develop heart disorders than individuals with lower WSRs. Continue reading
Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. It is good to learn from Harvard, no less, that moving more also helps to keep our brain intact and functioning.
There are plenty of good reasons to be physically active. Big ones include reducing the odds of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Maybe you want to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, prevent depression, or just look better. Here’s another one, which especially applies to those of us (including me) experiencing the brain fog that comes with age: exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.
In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not have the same results.
The finding comes at a critical time. Researchers say one new case of dementia is detected every four seconds globally. They estimate that by the year 2050, more than 115 million people will have dementia worldwide. Continue reading
I am guessing that belly fat is the number one source of concern for people taking up exercise – or continuing it. So many fruitless hours have been spent on ‘ab-work’ like sit-ups and stomach crunches with little sign of success. It turns out that reduction of that ‘spare tire’ is far less complicated than many suppose. Simple, but not obvious.
Summary: According to researchers, interleukin 6 plays a critical role in how exercise helps to reduce body fat. Source: Cell Press.
Some of you may have made a New Year’s resolution to hit the gym to tackle that annoying belly fat. But have you ever wondered how physical activity produces this desired effect? A signaling molecule called interleukin-6 plays a critical role in this process, researchers report December 27 in the journal Cell Metabolism.
This graphical abstract shows that in abdominally obese people, exercise-mediated loss of visceral adipose tissue mass requires IL-6 receptor signaling. NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Wedell-Neergaard, Lehrskov, and Christensen, et al. / Cell Metabolism.
As expected, a 12-week intervention consisting of bicycle exercise decreased visceral abdominal fat in obese adults. But remarkably, this effect was abolished in participants who were also treated with tocilizumab, a drug that blocks interleukin-6 signaling and is currently approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, tocilizumab treatment increased cholesterol levels regardless of physical activity.
“The take home for the general audience is ‘do exercise,’” says first author Anne-Sophie Wedell-Neergaard of the University of Copenhagen. “We all know that exercise promotes better health, and now we also know that regular exercise training reduces abdominal fat mass and thereby potentially also the risk of developing cardio-metabolic diseases.”
Getting the heart pumping with aerobic exercise, like walking or cycling for 35 minutes three times a week, may improve thinking skills in older adults with cognitive impairments, according to a study published in the December 19, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
After six months of exercise, study participants’ scores on thinking tests improved by the equivalent of reversing nearly nine years of aging. The study looked at people who had cognitive impairments without dementia, which is defined as having difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering, but not severe enough to be diagnosed with dementia.
The study found that exercise improved thinking skills called executive function. Executive function is a person’s ability to regulate their own behavior, pay attention, organize and achieve goals. Continue reading
I thought there were some interesting observations in this. I would just like to add that personally, I have found my regular bike riding to be like a moving meditation. Consciously I enjoy the sensation of flying across the pavement, but unconsciously, a whole other thing takes place. I can’t explain it, but often I can create a blog post in my head and when I get home just write it like someone else is dictating it.
I will be 79 next month, but I feel better than I did when I was back in the work force 20 years ago. Biking has a lot to do with that. Think about giving it a chance. You probably enjoyed it as a kid.
One of the things I have learned writing this blog is that a sedentary lifestyle can be as bad as smoking for your health. Get moving ….
Best wishes for the holidays!
Researchers have discovered evidence that endurance exercise, such as running, swimming, cross-country skiing and cycling, will help you age better than resistance exercise, which involves strength training with weights, as reported in Medical Xpress.
In a study published in the European Heart Journal, researchers in Germany looked at the effects of three types of exercise—endurance training, high intensity interval training and resistance training—on the way cells in the human body age, and they found that endurance and high intensity training both slowed or even reversed cellular aging, but that resistance training did not.
Take home image showing the effects of three types of exercise — endurance training, high intensity interval training and resistance training — on the way cells in the human body age, and they found that endurance and high intensity training both slowed or even reversed cellular aging, but that resistance training did not. Credit: Ulrich Laufs, Christian Werner and the European Heart Journal
Our DNA is organized into chromosomes in all the cells in our bodies. At the end of each chromosome is a repetitive DNA sequence, called a telomere, that caps the chromosome and protects its ends from deteriorating. As we grow older, the telomeres shorten and this is an important molecular mechanism for cell aging, which eventually leads to cell death when the telomere are no longer able to protect the chromosomal DNA. The process of telomere shortening is regulated by several proteins. Among them is the enzyme telomerase that is able to counteract the shortening process and can even add length to the telomeres. Continue reading
Eat less; move move; live longer remains the manta of this blog. So, when we learned that there were new guidelines for physical activity from the department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we thought you might be interested, too.
This morning at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, ADM Brett P. Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health launched the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
The second edition is based on the latest scientific evidence that shows that physical activity conveys even more health benefits than previously known. New aspects include discussions of:
- Additional health benefits related to brain health, additional cancer sites, and fall-related injuries;
- Immediate and longer term benefits for how people feel, function, and sleep;
- Further benefits among older adults and people with additional chronic conditions;
- Risks of sedentary behavior and their relationship with physical activity;
- Guidance for preschool children (ages 3 through 5 years);
- Elimination of the requirement for physical activity of adults to occur in bouts of at least 10 minutes; and
- Tested strategies that can be used to get the population more active.
If you want to know the entire story, you can download the entire set of guidelines in PDF form.
How many times have I written eat less; move more; live longer. Now comes the Cleveland Clinic with a study that virtually says those very words – only better.
Cleveland Clinic researchers have found that better cardiorespiratory fitness leads to longer life, with no limit to the benefit of aerobic fitness.
Researchers retrospectively studied 122,007 patients who underwent exercise treadmill testing at Cleveland Clinic between Jan. 1, 1991, and Dec. 31, 2014, to measure all-cause mortality relating to the benefits of exercise and fitness. The paper was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open.
The study found that increased cardiorespiratory fitness was directly associated with reduced long-term mortality, with no limit on the positive effects of aerobic fitness. Extreme aerobic fitness was associated with the greatest benefit, particularly in older patients (70 and older) and in those with hypertension.
“Aerobic fitness is something that most patients can control. And we found in our study there is no limit to how much exercise is too much,” said Wael Jaber, M.D., Cleveland Clinic cardiologist and senior author of the study. “Everyone should be encouraged to achieve and maintain high fitness levels.” Continue reading
Although I personally prefer moderate intensity exercise, maybe it’s my age, I understand that a lot of younger folks are into the high intensity activity. More power to you.
A few minutes of high-intensity interval or sprinting exercise may be as effective as much longer exercise sessions in spurring beneficial improvements in mitochondrial function, according to new research. The small study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.
Mitochondria, the energy centers of the cells, are essential for good health. Previous research has found that exercise creates new mitochondria and improves the function of existing mitochondria. Altered mitochondrial function in response to a single session of exercise generates signals that may lead to beneficial changes in the cells, lowering the risk for chronic disease. High-intensity interval exercise consists of short bursts of high-intensity aerobic exercise—physical activity that raises the heart rate—alternating with brief recovery periods. Whether the intensity of a workout affects mitochondrial response is unclear. Continue reading
I stumbled across this and thought it might interest you. As regular readers know I am a 78-year-old guy who lives in Chicago and rides his bike daily. I am most grateful for the ability to do just that. There are many seniors, perhaps someone in your family, who have lost some mobility. In the course of writing this blog I have become aware of just how damaging a sedentary lifestyle can be. I thought there were some interesting ideas expressed in the video (less than 3 minutes) which was produced by the BBC in Britain.
To read further on the effects of a sedentary lifestyle check out the following posts:
Combat that sedentary lifestyle with more movement – Harvard
Fitness over 50 – Overcoming a sedentary lifestyle – Harvard
A physiologic link between heart disease and a sedentary lifestyle
Exercise may help counter health risks of a sedentary lifestyle
Physical activity cuts heart disease risks for seniors – AHA
More exercise was not always better, and the study found that exercising for 45 minutes three to five times a week was associated with the biggest benefits.
Riding a bike scored really high in the study
The study included all types of physical activity, ranging from childcare, housework, lawn-mowing and fishing to cycling, going to the gym, running and skiing.
Exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and mortality from all causes, but its association with mental health remains unclear.
Previous research into the effect of exercise on mental health has conflicting results. While some evidence suggests that exercise may improve mental health, the relationship could go both ways – for example inactivity could be a symptom of and contributor to poor mental health, and being active could be a sign of or contribute to resilience. The authors note that their study cannot confirm cause and effect.