Tag Archives: Exercise Benefits

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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Exercise and heart-healthy diet may slow memory problems developing

Cognitive impairment without dementia (CIND), or mild cognitive impairment, is a condition that affects your memory and may put you at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. According to the U.S. National Library for Medicine, signs of mild cognitive impairment may include frequently losing things, forgetting to go to events and appointments, and having more trouble coming up with words than other people of your age.

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My go-to exercise is biking. My dog comes along when the weather is willing. At 79, everything seems to be working …

Some experts believe that risk factors for heart disease also are risk factors for dementia and late-life cognitive decline and dementia. Recently, researchers examined two potential ways to slow the development of CIND based on what we know about preventing heart disease. They published the results of their study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Continue reading

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Walking improves vision – Study

As a big fan of walking I was thrilled to learn of this further benefit to the Cinderella of the exercise world. Walking leads to an increase of peripheral visual input, according to a study from the University of Wurzburg.

How do we perceive our environment? What is the influence of sensory stimuli on the peripheral nervous system and what on the brain? Science has an interest in this question for many reasons. In the long term, insights from this research could contribute to a better understanding of diseases such as ADHD and Parkinson’s disease.

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The topography of the EEG response (l) and its localization in the brain (r) show visual sensory processing during the walking conditions slow and normal – green and red, and standing – black. The image is credited to Barbara Händel.

Perception and the underlying neuronal activities are usually measured while subjects are sitting or lying, for example while doing magnetic resonance imaging. As a rule, the head is fixed and people are encouraged not to blink. The measurements therefore take place under well-controlled but rather unnatural conditions. Continue reading

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Improved fitness can mean living longer without dementia – Study

“It is important to say that it is never too late to begin exercising. The average participant in our study was around 60 years old at baseline, and improvement in cardio-respiratory fitness was strongly linked to lower dementia risk. Those who had poor fitness in the 1980s but improved it within the next decade could expect to live two years longer without dementia,” says Atefe Tari of the Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

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Tari is lead author of a new study that was recently published in Lancet Public Health, a highly ranked journal in the prestigious Lancet family.

“Persistently low fitness is an independent risk factor for dementia and death due to dementia,” the authors concluded. Continue reading

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Aging folks worried about dementia risk

Nearly half of Americans in their 50s and early 60s think they’re likely to develop dementia as they grow older, but only 5% of them have actually talked with a doctor about what they could do to reduce their risk, a new study finds. 

Meanwhile, a third or more say they’re trying to stave off dementia by taking supplements or doing crossword puzzles – despite the lack of proof that such tactics work. 

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The new findings suggest a need for better counseling for middle-aged Americans about the steps they can take to keep their brains healthy as they age.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies continue to work on potential dementia-preventing medications. But an over-estimation of future dementia risk by individuals may lead to costly over-use of such products, the researchers warn.

The new results appear in a research letter in the new edition of JAMA Neurology, and a presentation at the Gerontological Society of America’s annual meeting.

Both are by members of a team from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation who analyzed data from a nationally representative poll of 1,019 adults between the ages of 50 and 64.

Donovan Maust, M.D., M.S., a geriatric psychiatrist specializing in dementia-related care and lead author of the JAMA Neurology letter, notes that even among the oldest Americans, the risk of dementia is lower than one in three people over age 85.

Risk starts rising around age 65, and is higher among people of Latino or African-American heritage. Continue reading

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Fitter adults have more fit brains – Study

I have posted numerous times on exercise benefiting the brain as much as the body. But, I have been primarily interested in preserving brain function into our senior years. Here is fresh information immediate brain benefits from physical exercise for all ages.

In a large study, German scientists have shown that physical fitness is associated with better brain structure and brain functioning in young adults. This opens the possibility that increasing fitness levels may lead to improved cognitive ability, such as memory and problem solving, as well as improved structural changes in the brain. This work is presented for the first time at the ECNP Congress in Copenhagen, with simultaneous publication in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

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Scientists have previously shown that “exercise is good for the brain,” but most studies have not controlled for underlying causes which might give distorted results, such as body weight, blood glucose levels, education status, age and other factors, making it difficult to take an overall view of the benefits. In addition, studies have rarely looked at fitness in relations to both brain structure and mental functioning.

The scientists used a publicly available database of 1206 MRI brain scans from the Human Connectome Project, which had been contributed by volunteers who wanted to contribute to scientific research. The volunteers (average age 30 years old) underwent some additional testing. The first test was a “two-minute walking test”, where each person was asked to walk as fast as possible for 2 minutes and the distance was then measured. The volunteers then underwent a series of cognitive tests***, to measure such things as memory, sharpness, judgement, and reasoning.

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Dominant Leg Has More Power during Exercise than Non-dominant Leg – Study

A new study confirms important differences in dominant- versus non-dominant-leg oxygen usage and power output during single-leg exercise. The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

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Single-leg exercise, such as cycling, may be a component of scientific studies that examine exercise capacity and other physiological changes that take place in the muscles during physical activity. Single-leg cycling may also play a role in physical, cardiac or respiratory rehabilitation in people who are recovering from injuries. In addition, “single-leg training might be a very useful tool in patients with conditions that prevent them from exercising at higher intensities during whole-body exercise, but who can still benefit from strong signals for adaptation within the active muscles,” explained corresponding author Juan Murias, PhD, of the University of Calgary in Canada. Continue reading

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Lifestyle changes can help maintain cognitive health – Rush

A recent two-year clinical trial in Finland (the FINGER Study) reported that a combination of physical activity, nutritional guidance, cognitive training, social activities and management of heart health risk factors protected cognition in healthy older adults who were identified as being at increased risk of cognitive decline. Currently no pharmacological treatments are available that rival this effect.

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“There is an urgent need to expand this work to test the generalizability, adaptability and sustainability of the FINGER study’s findings in geographically and culturally diverse populations in the U.S. and across the globe,” Morris said. “While there is no proven cure or prevention for dementia, current research shows that combining healthy lifestyle factors may counteract risk and help stave off dementia.” Continue reading

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Exercise helps heart patients – Study

Ear less; move more; live longer. Works like a charm

Generally, exercise is considered good for you. However, physicians and medical doctors previously prescribed bed rest to people with heart failure, fearing exercise could potentially lead to additional health problems.

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Now, research from the University of Missouri has found exercise can improve the health of blood vessels in the heart for people with heart failure. The finding is based on a study looking at swine, which have very similar blood vessels and heart muscles – both structurally and functionally – as humans. Continue reading

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Exercise May Lower Cancer Risk, Improve Outcomes – NIH

Eat less; move more; live longer. Where have I heard that before? Nice to see the National Institutes of Health adding this aspect of positive results from exercise.

Exercise can work wonders for your health, including strengthening muscles and bones, and boosting metabolism, mood, and memory skills. Now comes word that staying active may also help to lower your odds of developing cancer.

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After reviewing the scientific evidence, a panel of experts recently concluded that physical activity is associated with reduced risks for seven common types of cancer: colon, breast, kidney, endometrial, bladder, stomach, and esophageal adenocarcinoma. What’s more, the experts found that exercise—both before and after a cancer diagnosis—was linked to improved survival among people with breast, colorectal, or prostate cancers. Continue reading

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Frailty: Rising global health burden for an aging society

Eat less; move more; live longer. Also, if you keep moving and using those muscles,  you will reduce your chances of suffering from frailty as you age.

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Despite the evidence on risk factors for frailty, and the substantial progress that has been made in frailty awareness, the biological mechanisms underlying its development are still far from understood and translation from research to clinical practice remains a challenge, according to a new series on Frailty just published by The Lancet. Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, dean of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and DeLamar Professor of Public Health Practice, and Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, was part of an international group of experts who contributed to the series of papers which provide an up-to-date clinical overview on preventing, identifying and managing frailty as well as its global impact and burden. The series also offers evidence-based interventions for individuals with frailty. The findings are published online.

In the paper on Clinical Practice and Public Health, Fried, a renowned gerontologist and expert on aging, highlights two emerging lines of life course evidence on frailty. First, Fried and colleagues make the point that the risk of adverse outcomes can be predicted. Secondly, there is a clinical syndrome of frailty which is an outcome of biologic aging, although risk levels are substantially higher among those with certain diagnoses and comorbidities. She also notes that while great strides have been made in understanding frailty in the past two decades, many gaps in knowledge remain: no universal consensus exists on the definition of frailty or its assessment, and more robust, high-quality trials of strategies to prevent and manage frailty are needed.

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Harvard on resuming bike riding

I know that we are late in September and a lot of folks will be putting away their bikes ‘for the season.’ I ride year ’round here in Chicago and enjoy it. If you are one of those who haven’t ridden in a while and would like to take up a super form of exercise, I hope you will consider cycling. There are still a few good weeks left before the cold sets in. You can get started now.

The Harvard Health Publications has a nice positive blog post on starting cycling again presumably as a senior.

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor of the Harvard Health Letter, states that she loved riding as a kid, but now only rides occasionally.

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“It’s fun, it’s socially oriented, and it gets you outside and exercising,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Plus, cycling is an aerobic activity, it’s easy on the joints, and it helps build muscle and bone. Continue reading

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Study finds human hearts evolved for endurance

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.

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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

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Obesity linked to a nearly 6-fold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with genetics and lifestyle also raising risk

Eat less; move more; live longer wins the day. Eating less and moving more also help to fight against type 2 diabetes it seems.

Genetic predisposition, obesity, and unfavorable lifestyle have an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes, an increasingly common disorder that contributes majorly to the global burden of disease. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults (20-79 years) were living with diabetes in 2017; by 2045 this is expected rise above 600 million.

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The current strategy to prevent T2D is underlined by the maintenance of normal body weight and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle interventions designed for weight loss have been shown to delay the onset of T2D among high-risk subjects. However, the effects of lifestyle factors and obesity on T2D risk may vary between individuals depending on genetic variation. Thus, it is important to understand the interplay between genetic predisposition, obesity, and unfavorable lifestyle in the development of T2D. In this new research, the authors aimed to study whether the genetic risk for T2D is accentuated by obesity and unfavorable lifestyle.

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Exercising while restricting calories could be bad for bone health – Study

A new study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research shows how bones in mammals are negatively impacted by calorie restriction, and particularly by the combination of exercise and calorie restriction. Maya Styner, MD, associate professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, is the senior author on the study.

“These findings were somewhat of a surprise for us,” Styner said. “Past studies in mice have shown us that exercise paired with a normal calorie diet, and even a high calorie diet, is good for bone health. Now we’re learning this isn’t true for exercise along with a calorie-restricted diet.”

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Styner’s research focuses on the fat in bone marrow of mice. Although fat in the bone is poorly understood, to date it is thought to be harmful to bones of mammals, including humans, because it makes bone weaker. Less fat is usually an indication of better bone health. Styner’s past studies have looked at the effects of calorie consumption on bone marrow fat, along with the role exercise plays. She’s found that in obesity caused by excess calories, the amount of bone marrow fat is increased. Exercise in both obese and normal weight mice decreased bone marrow fat and improved the density of bones. Continue reading

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