Tag Archives: Exercise Benefits

Exercise and an aging brain – Infographic

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March 25, 2020 · 12:07 am

Fighting Viruses When Drugs Aren’t Available

Here is some straightforward no nonsense information on the topic of the day – and tomorrow. Straight from a doctor.

All About Healthy Choices

An illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

We’ve all been told steps to take to minimize exposure to Covid-19

 What has not been stated often enough are the ACTIVE STEPS one must take to strengthen the immune system prior to potential exposure to this disease?

 Consider including these five essential components:

  1. Get adequate sleep:

Approx. 6-9 hours of QUALITY sleep is required to repair and restore the body to maximal function from normal exposure to environmental toxins and physical activities of daily living.

  1. Manage stress:

Discover constructive methods to deal with stress. Activities that positively impact the way you FEEL inhibit damaging hormones from weakening immune function.  Everyone has stress; learning to effectively CHANNEL it is the key to successfully managing it.

  1. Eat intelligently:

Don’t deprive yourself from foods you enjoy. These foods, however, should only be eaten AFTER a healthy, well balanced meal is consumed. Food provides both nutrition and INFORMATION…

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Filed under coronavirus, coronavirus risk, COVID-19, Exercise, exercise benefits, good night's sleep, stress

BMI – Not the best indicator …

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) can be useful in widely spread studies, but you need to be careful about relying too much on it personally. I posted on it previously and you can read Don’t get hung up on your BMI – Body Mass Index for more info.

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Young Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian. Six foot two inches tall, 257 pounds, BMI 33. Not what most of us would call obese.

 

The following is from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter:

Having obesity increases risk for cardiovascular disease and other metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, but a normal BMI also does not guarantee good heart health. Here are tips based on what we know to date about metabolic health and weight: Continue reading

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Filed under BMI, body mass index, cardiovascular health, cardiovascular risk, Exercise, exercise benefits, obesity

Your clock springs forward today

At 2:00 o’clock this morning you needed to set your clock one hour ahead – spring forward – to participate in Daylight Savings Time. Some explanations for this practice include to help the harvest for farmers by providing more daylight working hours.

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But, what does it mean to the rest of us non-agrarian folks?

Well, this morning if you are on a schedule, like catching an airplane or something, you lost an hour of sleep, so you may be somewhat sleep-deprived the rest of the day. This being Sunday, maybe you just slept in. If that is the case, you will start your day an hour later, but otherwise, no harm, no foul.

Later, however, we all will experience the magic of moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the afternoon – Daylight Savings. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, you now have an extra hour of daylight to do so in the afternoon.

As a health-oriented person, I welcome this daylight saving because I can now ride my bike later without having to deal with the dangers of darkness and street lights and reduced visibility.

If you are on the fence about what Daylight Savings Time means to you, let me suggest that you can now get out and enjoy a walk in the neighborhood or to the park and drink in some of nature’s wonders.

In January I posted an infographic listing six benefits of exercising in nature, they included: Fresh air has more oxygen; Greenscapes raise serotonin levels; Triggers primal regions of our brain and psyche; More sensory stimulation; Increases feelings of well-being and lowers depression and, finally, Sun exposure increases Vitamin D levels and helps optimize hormones.

Lastly, Gretchen Reynolds, writing in the New York Times said, “In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance — one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside.”

So smile, things are looking up. You will have a brighter day today. I guarantee it (an extra hour of sunlight). At the very least, get out and go for a walk.

Tony

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Early Exercise Habits May Lead to Better Adult Physical Fitness, BMI Performance

How many times do we have to say it? Eat less; move more; live longer. Here, it is supported by a new study presented at the Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting in Orlando.

Good exercise habits formed in adolescence correlate positively with exercise habits in adults, and adults with good exercise habits have better physical performance and appropriate body-mass index scores for their age, according to the study.

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Regular exercise habits can lead to better physical fitness and mental health in people of all ages. However, research shows that people in the United States and Canada tend to exercise less as their age increases, and the most significant drop-offs in exercise habits take place during the teenage and early adult years. For this retrospective study, researchers in Taiwan wanted to know if exercise habits formed in adolescence could affect physical fitness in later adulthood, and to assess the relationship between adolescent and adult exercise habits and its influence on later physical fitness. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise benefits, exercise frequency, sarcopenia, successful aging, Uncategorized

Neighborhood features affect cognitive function in seniors

As a senior citizen who has had family members suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, I want to know everything I can about aging and cognition, so this study from Florida Atlantic University piqued my interest.

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The neighborhood environment may positively or negatively influence one’s ability to maintain cognitive function with age. Since older adults spend less time outside, the neighborhood environment increases in importance with age. Studies suggest physical aspects of the neighborhood such as the availability of sidewalks and parks, and more social and walking destinations, may be associated with better cognitive functioning. Beneficial neighborhood environments can provide spaces for exercise, mental stimulation, socializing and reducing stress. To date, few studies have examined how the neighborhood’s physical environment relates to cognition in older adults. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, cognition, cognitive decline, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, successful aging, Uncategorized

Hot Cocoa Aids Walking in Peripheral Artery Disease – Study

First of all, what is peripheral artery disease (PAD). I have heard about it, but don’t have any first hand knowledge of it.

PAD affects about 8.5 million people in the U.S.; people with PAD have blockages in their arteries that slow or stop the blood flood flow to their legs. As a result, they have pain and difficulty walking even short distances.

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Drinking flavanol-rich cocoa three times a day improved walking distance in individuals with peripheral artery disease (PAD), reports a new Northwestern Medicine pilot study.

“The degree of improvement from chocolate was significant and meaningful,” said lead author Mary McDermott, MD, the Jeremiah Stamler Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and a Northwestern Medicine physician. “Exercise currently is the most effective medical therapy for PAD.  In this study, the benefits from chocolate were comparable to the benefits of exercise.”

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Short bouts of stair climbing, exercise snacks, boost health – Studies

I wrote about ‘incremental exercise’ last year in which I enumerated my practice of walking back and forth while waiting for the elevator. You can read it – Incremental exercise – good or bad?

It just got harder to avoid exercise. A few minutes of stair climbing, at short intervals throughout the day, can improve cardiovascular health, according to new research from kinesiologists at McMaster University and UBC Okanagan.

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The findings, published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, suggest that virtually anyone can improve their fitness, anywhere, any time.

“The findings make it even easier for people to incorporate ‘exercise snacks’ into their day,” says Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster and senior author on the study. Continue reading

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I am 80 years old today!?

Holy crap! I am an octogenarian! I can’t believe it. I don’t feel that old. In fact, having been retired for 20 years now, I can honestly say, I feel better and healthier now than when I was working and in my ’50’s. I rode my bike 25 miles yesterday in Chicago’s balmy 30 degree weather and I plan to do the same this morning. Lucky me!

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This is my birthday picture from a few years back. It’s the only one I have that’s decorated. Also, my pup is in it, too.

This is from my birthday blog post last year:

One of the main reasons I feel like I have things so together is this blog. I started writing it in March of 2010 with a partner who has since left for other pursuits. From the beginning, I discovered a focus. At first it was simply trying to keep my weight down. I learned portion control and serving size. This Italian guy was surprised to learn that a “serving” of pasta was not a 10 inch plate heaped with spaghetti noodles smothered in tomato sauce. No, a 200 calorie serving of pasta is about the size of a baseball. Incredibly, that was a revelation to me. I put the information to use. I began to reduce my portions accordingly. I am not going to recount all the lessons I learned in the past nearly 10 years, but if you want to get control of your own weight, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off. Continue reading

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Filed under birthday, birthday dinner, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits

Marathon running makes arteries younger and lowers blood pressure – Study

Although I think marathon running, per se, makes too many demands on the body, it appears that marathon training and participating can accomplish some very positive effects. New research led by University College of London (UCL) and Barts Health NHS Trust suggests running a marathon for the first time could have several health benefits.

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The study, published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that for first-time marathon runners, training and completion of the marathon resulted in reductions in blood pressure and aortic stiffening in healthy participants that were equivalent to a four-year reduction in vascular age. The greatest benefits were seen in older, slower male marathon runners with higher baseline blood pressure. Continue reading

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Filed under aortic stiffening, blood pressure, Exercise, exercise benefits, marathon running, marathon training, running, vascular age

Physical culture in Russia …

If you are busy working out your New Year’s resolutions, it might be helpful to see what our counterparts in Russia are doing for their health.
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In 2011, approximately 20% of both women and men reported doing some form of physical exercise at least once a week. By 2017, that figure had grown only slightly among women — to 25% — but more substantially among men — to 31%.

The trend is positive, researchers noted, but the proportion of physically active working Russians remains below the European average.

The physical activity of Russia’s working population does not meet World Health Organization standards

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A Boxing Day bike ride …

Boxing Day in Chicago was a wonderful high temperature record setter for us residents.

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By the way, are you familiar with the Boxing Day reference? I  first encountered it in 1976 when I had just moved to London working for Reuters News Service. I expected to go out and do some shopping on the day after Christmas and was introduced to Boxing Day as celebrated there – a National Holiday. No stores open! Naturally, I couldn’t figure out any reason for the Brits to be wanting to engage in boxing on the day following Christmas. Really seemed like  a bad match. Continue reading

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Your brain needs physical exercise – Scientific American

I have written repeatedly about the brain benefits from physical exercise. Asregular readers know, I have a visceral interest in this having lost three family members to dementia. My mother suffered from dementia. Her sister died of Alzheimer’s Disease and my father’s father also was cognitively challenged. That goes back to the mid 1940’s when far less was understood about cognition in general.

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Scientific American illustration by Tami Tolpa

Now comes the latest issue of Scientific American with fresh insights into the brain/exercise situation:

People often consider walking and running to be activities that the body is able to perform on autopilot. But research carried out over the past decade by us and others would indicate that this folk wisdom is wrong. Instead exercise seems to be as much a cognitive activity as a physical one….

But simply exercising more may not realize the full potential of physical activity for keeping brain decline at bay. Indeed, our model suggests that even people who already get a lot of aerobic activity may want to rethink their routines. It is possible that we might not always exercise in ways that take full advantage of our evolved mechanisms for sustaining brain performance….

… we have developed a game designed to specifically challenge aspects of cognition that tend to decline with age and that are probably needed during foraging. In the game, players spatially navigate and complete attention and memory tasks while cycling at a moderate aerobic intensity level.

Tony

 

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, exercise and brain health

Muscle loss linked to cognitive decline

I have written repeatedly about the benefits of exercise on both the body and brain. It turns out that there seems to be a link between loss of muscle mass, sarcopenia, and cognitive decline.

Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass, tends to happen naturally with age. So, in older people with sarcopenia, excess body fat may not be readily visible. But hidden fat, paired with muscle mass loss later in life, could predict Alzheimer’s risk, researchers warn.

A recent study — the results of which have been published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging — has found that sarcopenia and obesity (independently, but especially when occurring together) can heighten the risk of cognitive function impairments later in life.

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The research was conducted by scientists at the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

“Sarcopenia,” explains senior study author Dr. James Galvin, “has been linked to global cognitive impairment and dysfunction in specific cognitive skills including memory, speed, and executive functions.” Continue reading

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Filed under cognition, cognitive decline, cognitive impairment, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, sarcopenia

Women, exercise and longevity

Women who can exercise vigorously are at significantly lower risk of dying from heart disease, cancer and other causes. The research was presented 7 December at EuroEcho 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

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Study author Dr Jesús Peteiro, of University Hospital A Coruña, Spain advised women: “Exercise as much as you can. Fitness protects against death from any cause.”

Exercise is good for health and longevity, but information on women is scarce. Women generally live longer than men, so dedicated studies are needed. This study examined exercise capacity and heart function during exercise in women and their links with survival. The study included 4,714 adult women referred for treadmill exercise echocardiography because of known or suspected coronary artery disease. Continue reading

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The Happy, Healthy Holiday Plate – Tufts

It’s possible to make healthy choices and still enjoy the holidays. Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter has some useful suggestions.

Celebrations often lead to overindulgence, unhealthy choices, and unwanted weight gain. Here are some tips for keeping holiday meals happy and healthy:

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Make new traditions…and update the old: Many holiday dishes are high in added sugars or salt. Consider making new traditions: try roasted string beans with slivered almonds in place of creamy string bean casserole, for example. Or look for recipes that substitute ingredients to “lighten” traditional dishes. Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, holiday eating, holiday weight gain, overeating, portion control, portion size