As a dog lover and owner I had to share this one with you along with a picture of my little canine companion who turns 12 next month.
This is Gabi, who rides on the bike with me.
Our Better Health
It seems unconditional love from a fluffy, drooling canine is one key to a healthier life — as many people already expected.
A study of more than 3.4-million people revealed that having a dog in the house is linked to living a longer life. The research, published in Scientific Reports by Uppsala University in Sweden, reviewed a national registry of people aged 40 to 80 for up to 12 years. Just over 13 per cent were dog owners.
By evaluating health records, it found that registered dog owners had a lower risk of having heart attacks and other life-threatening conditions. It said owning a dog cuts down the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 36 per cent for people that live alone.
There is a slightly lower benefit to owning a canine for those who don’t live alone — the risk was cut by only 15 per cent. Researchers…
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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.
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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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.
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)
Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, cardio exercise, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular health, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, Healthy brain
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.
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.
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
This is fascinating and seems to bolster my thought that exercising the body benefits the brain a great deal. The concept of use it or lose it is widely known and accepted regarding physical development. It seems it also applies to mental makeup. As above, so below.
Research by a team of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) scientists suggests that older people whose hearts pump less blood have blood flow reductions in the temporal lobe regions of the brain, where Alzheimer’s pathology begins.
The brain, which accounts for only 2 percent of total body weight, typically receives 12 percent of blood flow from the heart — a level maintained by complex, automatic processes, which maintain consistent blood flow to the brain at all times.
Angela Jefferson, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer’s Center, and colleagues investigated whether lower cardiac index (the amount of blood flowing out of the heart adjusted for body size) correlated with lower blood flow to the brain.
The purpose of the study was to better understand whether reductions in brain blood flow might explain clinical observations in prior research that have linked heart function to cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
“We currently know a lot about how to prevent and medically manage many forms of heart disease, but we do not yet know how to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease,” Jefferson said. Continue reading
“The hawk is back.” That’s what we Chicagoans say when temperatures turn cold here. I woke up to 22F degrees the other morning. Mid November is a bit early for such temps, but if you want to ride your bike, you deal with it. By the way, when temps fall to sub zero, the expression is, “The hawk is back … and he brought his whole damn family.”
So, winter seems to have come early to Chicago.
Whether you ride a bike or not, I think you will find some useful info here.
From the Toronto Star
The Wall Street Journal
a while back had a cleverly written item on Your Outdoor Sports Survival Guide
, by Jason Gay. He aptly describes “the maniacal joy of Survival Season,” and observes “Nobody looks suave playing sports in the freezing cold. If you are doing it correctly, you look a little unhinged and suspicious. Are you going to play golf…or rob the Bank of Alaska?”
I recently wrote about the beginning of flu season. Well, what goes hand in hand with flu season? Cold weather and snow shoveling. Hopefully, you have gotten a flu shot by now and are set up to face flu season. I just wanted to remind you that you need to use your brain as well as your back when it comes to shoveling snow.
For many of us the onset of snow shoveling season is just around the corner.. Please be aware that in terms of your body shoveling snow is not a totally innocent activity. While I strongly support calorie burning exercises to build up your cardiovascular system and other benefits, it is important to know your limits. If you are not currently working out or don’t consider yourself to be “in condition,” please think twice before you grab that snow shovel and race out to clear the walk. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that more than 195,000 people were treated in U.S. Emergency Rooms for snow-shovel-related incidents from 1990 to 2006. This is an average of 11,500 individuals per year. Keep in mind that this information only covers folks who actually went to the ER for treatment. Plenty more stayed home and nursed their wounds …. About 2/3 of these incidents occurred among males. Children younger than 18 made up 15.3% of the cases. Older adults (above 55 years) accounted for more than 20%. Continue reading
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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