Category Archives: cardio exercise

Exercise increases brain size, new research finds

Here is another source of the same facts I have been reporting in this blog for some years now. Your brain gets as much benefit from your cardiovascular exercise as your body.

Aerobic exercise can improve memory function and maintain brain health as we age, a new Australian-led study has found.

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In a first of its kind international collaboration, researchers from NICM and the Division of Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Manchester in the UK examined the effects of aerobic exercise on a region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is critical for memory and other brain functions.

Brain health decreases with age, with the average brain shrinking by approximately five per cent per decade after the age of 40.

Studies in mice and rats have consistently shown that physical exercise increases the size of the hippocampus but until now evidence in humans has been inconsistent. (my emphasis)

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, cardio exercise, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular health, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, Healthy brain

Tufts offers smart snacks for pre-exercise

I have written about snacks and snacking numerous times. You can check out my Page Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly if you want more details. Herewith The Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter take on the subject.

Make sure you’re properly fueled for a workout, but avoid mindless snacking.

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If you start exercise low on fuel, you could end up feeling weak and run out of steam. Or, you may simply feel hungry, making it hard to focus on your exercise. However, unnecessary snacking before a workout may make exercise uncomfortable and add calories you don’t need, counteracting the calorie burn of your physical activity.

What you’re already eating for meals and snacks likely covers your exercise energy needs.

“I think there’s a misconception that you need to eat a snack before exercise, but this is generally only necessary if it’s been at least 2 to 3 hours since your last meal,” says Jennifer Sacheck, PhD, an associate professor at Tufts’ Friedman School who specializes in physical activity research. “For example, if you eat lunch at 11 a.m. and are going to the gym at 5 p.m., or you exercise first thing in the morning, you’ll need to refuel before exercise.” However, if you ate a late lunch at 2 p.m., and you’re working out at 4:30 p.m., you shouldn’t need a snack first. Continue reading

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The value of cardio exercise for both body and brain

With Thanksgiving looming, this is a great time to reaffirm our resolve to exercise regularly. OR, it is the ideal time to resolve to exercise regularly in the coming year and maybe begin to address physical and weight problems that we have neglected.

Regular readers know that I have posted numerous times on the value of exercise not only for our bodies, but also for our brains. On the top of this page is IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT YOUR BRAIN.

If you click on that link you can find a page full of blog posts on the subject.

Our ancestors engaged in some serious cardio exercise just to get food.

Our ancestors engaged in some serious cardio exercise just to get food. No walking down a supermarket aisle for them.

And now, the New York Times joins in the fray with Gretchen Reynolds’s article Exercise and the Ever-Smarter Human Brain.
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Filed under aerobics, aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, cardio exercise, cardiovascular health

One Hour of Exercise a Week Can Prevent Depression

Herewith more positive reinforcement for our mantra of eat less; move more; live longer. Neuroscience News reports that a  landmark study led by the Black Dog Institute has revealed that regular exercise of any intensity can prevent future depression – and just one hour can help.

Published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the results show even small amounts of exercise can protect against depression, with mental health benefits seen regardless of age or gender.

Results showed that people who reported doing no exercise at all at baseline had a 44% increased chance of developing depression compared to those who were exercising one to two hours a week. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.

In the largest and most extensive study of its kind, the analysis involved 33,908 Norwegian adults who had their levels of exercise and symptoms of depression and anxiety monitored over 11 years.

The international research team found that 12 percent of cases of depression could have been prevented if participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week.

“We’ve known for some time that exercise has a role to play in treating symptoms of depression, but this is the first time we have been able to quantify the preventative potential of physical activity in terms of reducing future levels of depression,” said lead author Associate Professor Samuel Harvey from Black Dog Institute and UNSW.

“These findings are exciting because they show that even relatively small amounts of exercise – from one hour per week – can deliver significant protection against depression.

“We are still trying to determine exactly why exercise can have this protective effect, but we believe it is from the combined impact of the various physical and social benefits of physical activity.

“These results highlight the great potential to integrate exercise into individual mental health plans and broader public health campaigns. If we can find ways to increase the population’s level of physical activity even by a small amount, then this is likely to bring substantial physical and mental health benefits.” Continue reading

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To what extent is dementia preventable?

Regular readers know that my family has a history of Alzheimer’s Disease and/or dementia. This is true on both my mother’s and father’s side. So, at 77, I am totally focused on anything that relates to these mental conditions. The following is from the Keck School of Medicine at USC by Erica Rheinschild.

Experts say that one-third of the world’s dementia cases could be prevented by managing lifestyle factors such as hearing loss, hypertension and depression.

 

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This remarkable fact was part of a report by the first Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care that was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2017 and published in The Lancet. The report also highlighted the beneficial effects of nonpharmacologic interventions such as social contact and exercise for people with dementia. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's risk, cardio exercise, dementia, Exercise, exercise benefits, successful aging

Does walking satisfy cardiovascular exercise needs?

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of the simple exercise of walking. I have called it the Cinderella of the exercise world because it is so unappreciated. Check out my Page – Why you should walk more for further details on this superb form of movement.

No comes Megan Teychenne and Clint Miller writing in The Conversation about the nature and value of walking.

“Walking leads to a remarkable reduction in the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, arthritis, depression, anxiety and insomnia, and premature death from all causes.

Stanford professor Michel Serres hikes the Dish on a regular basis.

“The health benefits of walking stem from the changes that occur in our body systems as a result of exercising. For some of these health conditions, fitness has been shown to be a particularly important factor for prevention.

“The term fitness is quite often used to describe , but having a high level of fitness actually refers to all components of health-related physical fitness which includes muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition, and of course aerobic (or heart) fitness. So is walking enough in terms of the we need?

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6 Exercises You’ll Want To Do Every Day

As an old retired guy, 17 years, but who’s counting, ‘finding the time’ isn’t something I do any more. For those of you with regular jobs, I apologize for my forgetfulness. I realize that sometimes, when you have a demanding job/career, it can be difficult to impossible to ‘find the time’ to exercise. So, I thought I would share this excellent post from the Professionals Health Connection blog on working in some working out.

Tony

Professionals Health Connection

With your total workout taking less than 20 minutes a day (just 12.5 minutes if you follow the guidelines below exactly), you can’tsay no to these movements and even better, your body will love you for it!

Let’s face it, your body wants attention! It wantsto move! And with the amount of sitting in front of a computer most people do every day, ergonomic and even gaming chairs are being designed so you can sit for longer periods of time more comfortably. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean sitting longer is good for you.

Have too comfy a chair? 

Yes, you can click on an image to buy on Amazon…

High Back Office Chair High Back Office Chair

Ergonomic Kneeling Chair Ergonomic Kneeling Chair

Racing Style Leather Gaming Chair Racing Style Leather Gaming Chair

While playing games, reading books, (yes, even reading about exercises), along with the work you do all day on computers is enticing. But because of the health issues…

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Where people walk most

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of walking. If you want to learn more about the benefits of the superb, and under-appreciated, exercise, please check out my Page- Why you should walk more.

Herewith chapter and verse from USA Today on where people in the world walk most. Sorry to see that the U.S. was so far down the list.

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What does it take to be a super-ager? – Harvard

One of the stated aims of this blog is to live past 100. Posts every day touch on that goal, but mostly in a ‘part of the big picture’ way. Herewith some positive ideas from Harvard Health publications directly on the subject of super-aging.

Finding role models who are older than we are gets more difficult as we age. But in the last few years, medical science has identified a new group we can aspire to join — the super-agers. The term refers to people in their 70s and 80s who have the mental or physical capability of their decades-younger counterparts.

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Although super-agers’ brains show less cell loss than those of their contemporaries, their IQs and educational levels are similar. What sets them apart might be that they view problem-solving differently, Dr. Dickerson says. “They may approach these tasks as a challenge they can succeed at, in contrast to typical older adults who may give up.” Continue reading

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Filed under cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, Harvard, Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School, super-ager

Check out interval walking – Harvard

I have written numerous times about the value of walking as an exercise. I have a Page – Why you should walk more which I hope you will check out for further details on this superb form of exercise. Well, now comes Harvard Health Publications with a fresh look at this old exercise – Interval Walking.

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Warm weather is here, and you may be walking more to take advantage of being outside. Why not ramp up your routine with bursts of fast-paced walking? The technique, known as interval walking, “is a great way to get the most exercise bang for your buck,” says Dr. Aaron Baggish, associate director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

About interval training

Interval walking is a form of interval training, which describes any form of exercise in which you purposely speed up or slow down at regular intervals throughout the session. The benefits of interval training in athletes and people in cardiac rehabilitation are well studied. Dr. Baggish says interval walking hasn’t been examined as much, but he believes the same benefits apply. “Something about strenuous exercise is good for the body. It improves endurance, reduces blood pressure, and helps with weight loss,” he explains. Continue reading

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The emotional benefits of exercise – Infographic

Having written tons about the physical benefits of exercise, it seems timely to mention the emotional ones, too.

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Please also check out my Page Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits),

Tony

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Weight and Alzheimer’s risk – Tufts

With both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family, I am interested in all research on the subject.

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Tufts reported the following in its Health and Nutrition Letter.

Could a trimmer waistline in middle age help you avoid Alzheimer’s later in life? That’s the suggestion of a study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, from the National Institute on Aging. Researchers analyzed data on 1,394 participants in a long-running study of aging, followed for an average of 14 years, who regularly underwent cognitive testing. A total of 142 participants developed Alz­heimer’s disease during the study.

After adjusting for other factors, each additional point of body-mass index (BMI) at age 50 was associated with an earlier onset of Alzheimer’s of 6.7 months. “Our findings clearly indicate that higher adiposity at midlife is associated with a long-lasting effect on accelerating the clinical course of Alzheimer’s disease,” Madhav Thambisetty, MD, PhD, and colleagues concluded.

The study was not designed to prove cause and effect, however, and it’s not clear whether the association between obesity and Alzheimer’s risk might begin even earlier. It’s also true that newly diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients tend to weigh less than normal, not more.

To read further on the subject, please check out my Page – Important facts about your brain – (and exercise benefits).

Tony

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Filed under aging, aging brain, brain exercise, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, Tufts

The Joys and Benefits of Bike Riding – May is National Bicycle Month

There will be lots of celebrations of the bicycle in the coming four weeks because May is National Bicycle Month. As regular readers know, I ride around 7000 miles a year, an average of over 20 miles per day. So cycling is a labor of love for me.

I have tried to explain to myself first as well as others who asked, why I love to ride my bike. Until recently, the best I could come up with is that I feel like I am flying. Not soaring high, just flying along several feet above the bike path.

Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago

Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago

I know that when I ride, I am at once totally in the moment of propelling the bike forward and at the same time I experience a very enjoyable feeling of expansion – an almost out of body sensation.

This has been wonderfully explained by former University of Chicago professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow. Continue reading

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Is there an ‘exercise pill’ in our future?

Suppressing production of the protein myostatin enhances muscle mass and leads to significant improvements in markers of heart and kidney health, according to a study conducted in mice. Joshua T. Butcher, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Vascular Biology Center at Augusta University, will present the work at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting during the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting, held April 22–26 in Chicago.

The researchers zeroed in on myostatin because it is known as a powerful inhibitor of skeletal muscle growth, meaning that people with more myostatin have less muscle mass and people with less myostatin have more muscle mass. Studies suggest obese people produce more myostatin, which makes it harder to exercise and harder to build muscle mass.

Brain

Brain

“Given that exercise is one of the most effective interventions for obesity, this creates a cycle by which a person becomes trapped in obesity,” Butcher said. Continue reading

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Happy Easter Wishes – Try Biking – Infographics

Easter comes at a time when the weather is mellowing and more folks think about getting outside and enjoying the air. Maybe slimming down. The whole idea of Easter is rejuvenation, right? Spring; new life. Well, biking is the coolest way I know to get outside and feel reborn.

I hope you will enjoy these images and ideas as much as I do.

benefits-of-a-bicycleI just love that little poster. The Earth sends a lil extra luv to those on bicycles… It says so right there.

8478b233cb320070783ded4e51998d43What’s not to like?

WebMost years I ride my bike farther than I drive my car. That’s something you might be able to do …

twin-cities-biking-walkingIsn’t it interesting that Minneapolis is one of the top cities for biking in the country?

c6e9f77152707d384b96d3d757e6cc3fIt’s a good day for a ride …

Happy Easter, bunny!

One little safety note: besides a helmet, get those biking gloves. If  When  you fall, you are going to put your hands out in front of you. The gloves will protect them from glass, dirt and anything else on the road.

Tony

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Filed under biking, cardio exercise, Easter, Easter wishes, Exercise, exercise benefits, regular bike riding

Exercise benefits Parkinson’s suffers – Study

I would like to thank reader, Garry, for tipping me off to this study on Parkinson’s disease and exercise.

From an analysis of more than 3,400 patients with Parkinson’s disease, researchers found that those who engaged in a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity a week experienced much slower declines in health-related quality of life (HRQL) and mobility over 2 years, compared with patients who exercised less than 150 minutes weekly.

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Note: This recommendation exactly equals that of the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services. Which states: Adults 18 to 64 should get:
2.5 hours/wk of moderate intensity exercise.
OR 1.25 hours a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity
Or Some combination of the above – equivalent episodes of at least 10 minutes spread throughout the week. Continue reading

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