Category Archives: exercise benefits

HOW DOES THE BRAIN STORE & PROCESS MEMORIES?

Regular readers know what a big fan I am of the brain and its function in our daily life. As a 77 year old, I am also supremely interested in keeping mine functioning into these, my later, years. Check out my Page Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits.

Tony

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How Does The Brain Store & Process Memories?Every sight, smell, sound, touch, and specific memory is stored in the recesses of your mind—but what parts of your brain store specific types of sensory data? Read on to learn more about where your brain stores these memories and which parts of your brain control specific functions.

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

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

Latest update on U.S. nutrition, physical activity and obesity

Each month, the office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion releases an infographic with the latest data related to a Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicator (LHI) topic. These infographics show progress toward Healthy People 2020 LHI targets — and show where there’s still work to be done.  

This month’s featured LHI topic is Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Check out the infographic below, then head over to the Healthy People 2020 LHI Infographic Gallery to see infographics for other LHI topic areas.

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Filed under childhood obesity, Exercise, exercise benefits, how much exercise, nutrition, nutrition information, nutritional deficiencies, obesity

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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Losing weight through diet and exercise helps brain blood circulation in older diabetics – Study

Once again we have it demonstrated that diet and exercise prove beneficial even to seniors suffering from diabetes, according to HealthyinAging.org.

Type 2 diabetes affects blood circulation. The disease stiffens blood vessels and reduces the amount of oxygen that circulates throughout your body. This includes your brain. When blood flow in the brain is impaired, it can affect the way we think and make decisions.

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People who have type 2 diabetes are often overweight or obese. These are conditions that may also be linked to cognitive problems (problems with thinking abilities). Lowering calorie intake and increasing physical activity are known to reduce the negative effects of type 2 diabetes on the body. However, the effects of these interventions on cognition and the brain are not clear.

Recently, researchers examined information from a 10-year-long study called Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD). In this study, participants learned how to adopt healthy, long-term behavior changes. In their new study, the researchers focused on whether participants with type 2 diabetes who lowered calories in their diet and increased physical activity had better blood flow to the brain. The researchers published their findings in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Continue reading

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Trick or Treat – How Much Chocolate Do We Eat?

Since this is the biggest day for chocolate consumption in the year, I thought it might be interesting to check into it.

Do you know how much chocolate the average American eats in a year? One pound? Ten pounds?

As a matter of fact we eat an average of a pound of chocolate a month, so, by a process of rapid calculation, 12 pounds in a year.

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According to WebMD’s chocolate quiz “We each eat close to a dozen pounds of chocolate per year. And most of that is milk chocolate. More than 90 percent of Americans say they prefer milk chocolate over dark or white.

“It takes a long time to work off all that chocolate. It would take a 130-pound woman about four days and nights (95 hours) of brisk walking to burn off those calories!”

And I know you have heard that chocolate has caffeine in it, but how much? WebMD says,

“You’d need to eat 14 regular-sized (1.5 oz) bars of milk chocolate to get the same caffeine as you’d find in a 8-ounce cup of coffee! That would have about 3,000 calories and more than 300 grams of sugar — compared to only about two calories in black coffee.

“Dark chocolate does have more caffeine than milk chocolate. Even then, it would take four bars to give you the same buzz as one cup of regular Joe.”

So, enjoy the evening, but if you are going out with your little trick or treater, keep in mind how much walking is required to burn off those calories.

Tonya

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Filed under calorie counting, calories, chocolate, chocolate cravings, Exercise, exercise benefits, Halloween, trick or treat

Everything you wanted to know about calorie-counting – MNT

This blog started out as a ‘weight loss blog’ in 2010. In the ensuing seven-plus years, I have come to consider that weight loss by itself is a shallow goal. It feels superficial and negative to me. Instead, I now focus on the positive goal of living a healthy life by eating intelligently and exercising regularly. My weight has fluctuated within about a five pound range for the past six years or so. I weigh myself once a week just to make sure that I haven’t gone off track as I still like to eat. I realize that with more than 60 percent of us overweight and 30 percent of us outright obese, there are lots of folks out there who need to lose weight. In that context, I have found that counting calories is an excellent tool in this endeavor.

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Here is a very useful write up from Medical News Today on the subject of calorie counting.

The number of calories burned each day is directly linked to weight loss, weight gain, or weight maintenance. For a person to lose weight, one must burn more calories than one takes in, creating a calorie deficit. To do this, one needs to know how many calories one burns each day.

In this article, we take a look at how someone can work out how many calories they burn in a day.

What is a calorie?
The three main food groups — proteins, carbohydrates, and fats — have different calorie contents. Most food products will display the nutritional content, including calories.

Most people think of calories as only having to do with food and weight loss. However, a calorie is a unit of heat energy. A calorie is the amount of energy that is needed to raise 1 gram (g) of water by 1°C. Continue reading

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Little things mean a lot

Here is a list of simple things that can make your life run better and make you a healthier person. Take it from an old guy who is still in there kicking.

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The TB12 Method – Tom Brady’s book

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a big fan of the New England Patriots and their quarterback, Tom Brady. I may be the only guy in Chicago with a Patriots jacket. I posted on Tom back before the Super Bowl, talking about his wonderful health and everything he does to maintain it. I quoted from a New York Times piece on the subject. At the time I wanted to learn much more about this quasi fountain of youth he seemed to have found. Must confess, I contemplated a trip East to study with the master.

Now comes an entire book on Brady’s findings that is available to all of us without leaving our homes. TB12 is the title. You can find it on Amazon.

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While I have secured a copy of the book, I have only begun to read it. However, the following facts from Simon & Schuster should give you plenty of reason to explore further. I will be posting more on it after I finish reading it.

What is pliability training? Pliability training consist of targeted, deep-force muscle work that lengthens and softens muscles at the same time those muscles are rhythmiscally contracted and relaxed. The book includes step-by-step photos and instructions for how to work 18 different muscle groups using self-pliability and assisted devices. Continue reading

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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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Keeping Your Arteries Young – Tufts

The subject of aging is truly a multi-faceted one. I know, at 77, I feel like I find new aspects of it revealed nearly every day. Following is a write up from Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter that contains some good, positive information. All bold face items are my emphasis.

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It’s common to develop significantly stiffer arteries and high blood pressure as we age past our 50s. Healthy lifestyle factors may go a long way toward slowing this process. A new study published in Hypertension suggests healthy vascular (blood vessel) aging may be possible even in people 70 years and older.

“This study showed that regardless of age, following a healthy lifestyle and controlling cardiovascular risk factors translates to fewer adverse heart disease events,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory, who was not involved in the study. “That’s very encouraging.”

Artery Aging:

Most prior studies have looked at associations between poor vascular health and increased risk of cardiovascular events, like heart attack and stroke. But this study, led by Teemu J. Niiranen, MD, a research fellow at Boston University School of Medicine, focused on people with healthier arteries at the start of the study. “We found that it’s possible to maintain the blood vessels of people in their 20s, even into old age, but it’s rare in the Western world,” he says. At age 50, about 30% of those studied had healthy vascular aging. Over age 70, only 1% of people had healthy arteries. Continue reading

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Your ticket to ride …

I am thrilled to report that today marks the 17th anniversary of my retirement. On October 2 of 2000, I bade the financial world adieu and started my life as a guy who didn’t have to get up for work. I got my first job at the age of 10 sweeping the floor of a dry cleaner and continued to work till I reached 60. Although my degree is in Finance, I went into the publishing world writing and editing. I liked markets, but always knew I would write. I wrote and practiced journalism for most of my career, spending 20 years working for Reuters covering markets and then teaching journalism at Medill for several years. Because I had written about markets for 30 years, my boss at a major philanthropy asked me if I would like to manage some money. So, I managed $900 million in bond investments for the final five years of my working life.

No mas. I thought I would celebrate with this biking post. When I was working I used to tell my friends at the office that when I retired I was going to ride my bike on the Chicago lakefront every day. They thought that was funny. I was never more serious.

You all know how I ride my bike nearly every day year ’round here in Chicago. I do it because I love it. Period. Everything else is gravy.

I am always excited to run across items like the ones below. They point to some of the fun I get cycling. If you aren’t doing it, or haven’t done it for a while, think about giving it a spin. You might find that flying across the pavement feels really nice. As you can see from the infographic below, there are some notable physical benefits, too. 

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Tony

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Exercise can make cells healthier, promoting longer life – Study

Eat less, more more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. Now comes MedicalPress with a study confirming the move more segment.

Whether it’s running, walking, cycling, swimming or rowing, it’s been well-known since ancient times that doing some form of aerobic exercise is essential to good health and well-being. You can lose weight, sleep better, fight stress and high blood pressure, improve your mood, plus strengthen bones and muscles.

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“Whether muscle is healthy or not really determines whether the entire body is healthy or not,” said Zhen Yan of the University of Virginia School of Medicine. “And exercise capacity, mainly determined by muscle size and function, is the best predictor of mortality in the general population.”

But why? Yan might have some answers. He and colleagues at UVA are peering inside the cell to understand, at a molecular level, why that workout – like it or not – is so vital to the body. They found that one important benefit involves the cellular power plant – the mitochondria – which creates the fuel so the body can function properly.

 

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Empty calories: What you need to know – MNT

I think calorie-counting is a very valuable tool when you are first getting started on weight control and living a healthy life. But, there are calories and there are calories. You need to know the food value of the calories you are consuming. You don’t want to eat a lot of empty calories.

Put simply, empty calories are calories that come from foods or drinks that have little or no nutritional value.

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There are many common sources of empty calories. People may choose to limit or eliminate these foods and drinks from their diets to stay healthy and within their ideal weight range.

Helping children limit empty calories can set them up for a healthy life in the future. It can also help stabilize their energy and decrease mood swings.

Avoiding or limiting empty calories is a simple step toward a healthier diet and lifestyle.

What are calories?

Calories are units of energy. Scientifically, a gram calorie (cal) is the amount of energy needed to raise 1 gram (g) of water by 1° C.

From a scientific perspective, what is typically called a “calorie” is actually a kilogram calorie (kCal). This is a unit of energy made up of thousands of “small calories” equal to the large calorie often used to measure the energy in food.

Calories are an essential part of the diet. The body needs to burn calories to do the simplest tasks, such as breathing or blinking. When physical exercise is thrown into the mix, even more calories are required to stay healthy and alert.

The amount of calories a person needs every day can vary widely. Most recommendations are based on a diet of 2,000 calories per day. However, this number may be higher or lower depending on the individual and their habits.

A registered dietitian can help determine a person’s ideal caloric intake based on activity level, age, sex, metabolism, and height.

What are empty calories?

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10 Metabolism secrets to help shed pounds – Infographic

The aim of this blog is not to simply lose weight. It is to live a healthy, happy and long life and to have all our mental faculties functional till the end. I am including this infographic because it has a lot of good information on those very things – as well as losing weight.

Eat less; move move; live longer.

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Tony

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7 steps for brain health from childhood to old age – AHA

The American Heart Association (AHA) has a superb rundown on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, literally from cradle to grave. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to see these concepts broadcast by the mainstream health outlets like the AHA. The following is directly from them. At the end I have listed some of my posts which flesh out these steps. Remember, eat less; move more; live longer.

A healthy lifestyle benefits your brain as much as the rest of your body — and may lessen the risk of cognitive decline (a loss of the ability to think well) as you age, according to a new advisory from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

 

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Both the heart and brain need adequate blood flow, but in many people, blood vessels slowly become narrowed or blocked over the course of their life, a disease process known as atherosclerosis, the cause of many heart attacks and strokes. Many risk factors for atherosclerosis can be modified by following a healthy diet, getting enough physical activity, avoiding tobacco products and other strategies.

“Research summarized in the advisory convincingly demonstrates that the same risk factors that cause atherosclerosis, are also major contributors to late-life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. By following seven simple steps — Life’s Simple 7 — not only can we prevent heart attack and stroke, we may also be able to prevent cognitive impairment,” said vascular neurologist Philip Gorelick, M.D., M.P.H., the chair of the advisory’s writing group and executive medical director of Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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