I have written about the brain benefits of exercise time and again. Here, is some further info on benefits for the brain and heart.
I have written about the brain benefits of exercise time and again. Here, is some further info on benefits for the brain and heart.
I started writing this blog in March of 2010. In the beginning my only concern was losing weight. I have since developed my focus to living a healthy and long life with my mental faculties intact in the home stretch. In order to achieve that, some very important, but often overlooked aspects of living must be observed. Regular, hopefully daily exercise, will keep our organic machine humming. By all means one needs to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Intelligent eating is a sine que non. And. last, but not least, one needs to get enough sleep. Sleep is a reboot for the brain. Essential for a healthy life. Herewith, some superb guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation.
Common lore would have you believe that everyone needs seven to nine hours of sleep a night to feel their best—and for the majority of adults, that’s true. However, there is (unfortunately!) no one-size-fits-all answer. Many factors (like age, your body’s base or innate need for sleep, age, sleep quality, pregnancy, and sleep debt) play a role in establishing your particular “magic number.” As you age, your sleep needs change — older adults may need less sleep, seven to eight hours after age 65, for example, than their younger counterparts. Continue reading
I think that a good night’s sleep is possibly one of the most singularly unappreciated aspects of living a healthy life. There is a Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? with tons more information on the subject. I stumbled across the following infographic, however, and thought it was particularly interesting.
I just ran across this infographic and was touched by its simplicity. Basic as it is, I hope you have these going for you on a daily basis. I think they are the keys to a long and healthy life.
An international team of researchers has found that a single sleepless night can alter metabolic processes leading to weight gain and lack of muscle maintenance. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes their study of the impact of a sleepless night on several volunteers.
Prior research has shown that interfering with normal sleep patterns can lead to weight gain—night shift workers, for example, have a tendency to gain weight. But until now, the mechanism responsible for such metabolic changes has not been known. To learn more, the researchers with this new effort enlisted the assistance of 15 adult volunteers. Each volunteer was tested in a lab on two separate occasions. One of the occasions was after getting a good night’s sleep, the other was after the volunteer had stayed up all night. Each submitted blood, fat and muscle samples, which the researchers then studied looking for differences.
They found differences in gene activity linked to the production of proteins associated with lipid absorption and cell proliferation in the volunteers between the two visits. More specifically, they found that when volunteers missed a night of sleep, they had elevated levels of both metabolites and proteins that are involved in the process of storing fat. They also experienced a breakdown of proteins that are involved in muscle buildup and repair. The researchers also found that missing a single night of sleep caused changes to genes that have been associated with a type of inflammation linked to the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
The team reports that they do not know how long the metabolic changes lasted after the volunteers returned to normal sleep patterns. But they point out that their study shows that sleep serves more functions than previously thought—it is not just to rejuvenate the brain or to conserve energy, it also plays a role in overall metabolism. They suggest more study is required to determine if such changes due to episodic sleep disruptions become long-term.
To read further on the value of sleep check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?
I have to confess that I am a morning person. Have been all my life. I am up around 4:00 to 4:30 AM most mornings. Yes, I go to sleep close to 9:00 PM. When I was working I stayed up a bit later and woke up about a half hour later. I realize that this is not typical of most people, particularly those with jobs. So, I thought I would share this item from the Rush University Medical Center here in Chicago.
Give your morning routine a makeover
Does your morning go anything like this?
Being in bed feels so good that you can’t get up, so you hit snooze — three or four times.
Once you open your eyes, you realize you have a 9:00 o’clock meeting, so you check your email while still in bed to get ahead of the workday.
Now you’re running late. You throw down vitamins with a glass of juice. You can’t find your keys or your left shoe and run around the house until you’ve found both.
Finally in the car, you grab the biggest coffee you can order and two glazed donuts at the drive-thru, and traffic has you fuming before you even get to work.
All that rushing around can set a negative tone for the entire day, making you feel stressed, lethargic and irritable — and, possibly, affecting your ability to focus on tasks or calmly cope with work-related crises.
To help get your day off to a better, and healthier, start, follow these tips from Maria C. Reyes, MD, an internist at Rush University Medical Center. Continue reading
I love this post! I hope you will read it and learn from it too. The more I read and write about health and fitness, the more I appreciate that ‘little things mean a lot.’ Little things like stretching, getting a good night’s sleep and walking, not living a sedentary lifestyle. These are elements that can keep you in tip top shape, mentally and physically for years to come.
To read further on some of these little things, Check out my Pages:
This article was first published in The Hindu on 2nd October 2010.
I see people completing their workout routines and rushing through a few cursory stretches; mainly to appease the trainer, mind elsewhere, in a hurry to get going. Their flexibility does not get any better; they can still barely bend forward to reach for their thighs leave alone their toes, but they see no reason to waste time toiling with “stretches’. They have more important things to do, their cardio, so they can burn an indecent number of calories, push as much weight as they can to gain that well sculpted physique. Flexibility? Yes, well, let’s be done with it as quickly as possible!
One couldn’t be more mistaken. An inflexible muscle is more prone to injury and cannot perform as well as it should. Good quality muscle is supple, strong AND flexible.
Flexibility is the corner stone of…
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I find myself writing something every week on how exercise benefits the brain as well as the body. I hope you are getting yours regularly. The other side of the coin includes actions we do or omit on a regular basis that harm our body as well as our brain. Here are some from WebMD.
Not surprisingly, their first is not getting enough sleep. ” … lack of sleep may be a cause of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. It’s best to have regular sleeping hours. If you have trouble with sleep, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and electronics in the evening, and start a soothing bedtime ritual.”
This is kind of a yin/yang thing with exercise vs rest. Just as I write about the myriad benefits of exercise regularly here, it seems there are almost as many ways that not getting enough sleep damages us. If you would like to learn more, check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?
Losing just one night of sleep led to an immediate increase in beta-amyloid, a protein in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a small, new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid proteins clump together to form amyloid plaques, a hallmark of the disease.
While acute sleep deprivation is known to elevate brain beta-amyloid levels in mice, less is known about the impact of sleep deprivation on beta-amyloid accumulation in the human brain. The study is among the first to demonstrate that sleep may play an important role in human beta-amyloid clearance.
“This research provides new insight about the potentially harmful effects of a lack of sleep on the brain and has implications for better characterizing the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease,” said George F. Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the study.
Beta-amyloid is a metabolic waste product present in the fluid between brain cells. In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid clumps together to form amyloid plaques, negatively impacting communication between neurons.
I started taking courses in various aspects of good health and nutrition back eight years ago when I first started working on this blog. I created the Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? in 2013, so regular readers have been hearing about that aspect of good health since at least then. Here, we have a fresh insight into sleep habits that adds to the import of it.
A new study reports being a night owl might have significant consequences for your health, including an increased risk of dying earlier.
“Night owls” — people who like to stay up late and have trouble dragging themselves out of bed in the morning — have a higher risk of dying sooner than “larks,” people who have a natural preference for going to bed early and rise with the sun, according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom (UK).
The study, on nearly half a million participants in the UK Biobank Study, found owls have a 10 percent higher risk of dying than larks. In the study sample, 50,000 people were more likely to die in the 6½ -year period sampled.
“Night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies,” said co-lead author Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Continue reading
With 10,000 baby boomers becoming 65 every day, the question of sleep becomes highly relevant. The Washington Post says, “Scientists have also discovered the role of telomeres in aging. These are caps on the ends of strands of DNA that protect a cell’s genetic material when it divides. But they get a little shorter with each division, and once they get too short, a cell can no longer function normally. Older people have shorter telomeres, but so do people with high stress and poor sleep habits.”
First of all the myth that seniors need less sleep is – a myth. Dr. Michael W. Smith of WebMD offers the following definitive answer, “As children and adolescents, we need more sleep than we do as young adults. But by our senior years, we need the same seven to nine hours a night we did as teens.” On the other hand, the nature and quality of sleep does change as we age.
Hrayr P. Attarian, MD, in a talk before Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Transitions Program® said that although we get less sleep as we age, we need the same amount. Older people take slightly longer to fall asleep than younger ones. Also, sleep efficiency falls as we age. The 18 to 30 year olds have 95 percent sleep efficiency; 31 to 40 year olds enjoy 88 percent sleep efficiency; 41 to 50 year olds have 85 percent sleep efficiency and 51 to 70 year olds are down to 80 percent sleep efficiency.
So the bottom line seems to be seniors need as much asleep as ever, but they have a harder time achieving it.
Medications play a part in senior sleep habits, too. As we age we often need more medications to get us through the day and night. Dr. Attarian warned about Tylenol and Advil PM specifically. He said that they worsen prostate conditions in men and that they impair reflexes in both sexes into the next day.
To read further on sleep, check out my page How Important is a good night’s sleep.
We are sending our loved ones greetings cards and chocolates next week. Let’s not forget that two pound organ in our heads that keeps the show on the road.
Here are 10 tips from the Alzheimer’s Association to help protect your brain from decline as you age. Please don’t wait till you are in your 60’s to start thinking about your brain health. The sooner your pay attention to it the better off you will be.
1 Break a sweat
Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.
I write about exercise and the brain regularly. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) to learn more about this.
2 Hit the books
Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online. Continue reading
Regular readers know that I am a big fan of WebMD. I often quote from them to share ideas with readers. They have just run an item on living longer that has some wonderful suggestions. By no small coincidence, I have also included many of the same suggestioins in this blog over the past five plus years. However, here are a few that were new to me:
“Be Conscientious – An 80-year study found one of the best predictors of a long life is a conscientious personality. Researchers measured attributes like attention to detail and persistence. They found that conscientious people do more things to protect their health and make choices that lead to stronger relationships and better careers. “
As a person who considers himself to be conscientious I was happy to learn that it may be instrumental in my living longer.
Choose Friends Wisely – This seems logical if not obvious. Our friends’ habits rub off on us. “Studies indicate obesity is socially “contagious” — your chance of becoming obese increases by 57 percent if you have a friend who becomes obese. Smoking is another habit that spreads through social ties, but the good news is that quitting is also contagious,” WebMD said.
Nap more. As a retired guy, I like (and practice) this one a lot. “A recent study with 24,000 participants suggests that regular nappers are 37 percent less likely to die from heart disease than occasional nappers. Researchers think naps might help the heart by keeping stress hormones down.”
I fully understand stress hormones and their effect on the body. Check out my s t r e s s tag at the right to read further on it. I recommend the post – Super Tools for Handling Stress.
Forgive – “Letting go of grudges has surprising physical health benefits. Chronic anger is linked to decreased lung function, heart disease, stroke, and other ailments. Forgiveness will reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and help you to breathe more easily. These benefits tend to increase as you get older.” This was certainly a nice one to learn. Forgiving makes even more sense now.
The last three I will mention are near and dear to my heart. Namely, make sleep a priority, keep moving and lose weight.
Sleep – “Getting enough good quality sleep can lower the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and mood disorders. Sufficient sleep will also help you recover from illness faster. Burning the midnight oil, on the other hand, carries serious health risks. Sleeping less than 5 hours per night boosts the risk of premature death, so make sleep a priority.” I agree with this so wholeheartedly that I have written a Page on it – How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep.
Keep Moving – “The evidence is overwhelming — people who exercise live longer on average than those who don’t. According to dozens of studies, regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some forms of cancer, and depression. Exercise may even help you stay mentally sharp in into old age. Ten-minute spurts of activity are fine, as long as they add up to about 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week.”
Since the mantra of this blog is eat less;move more; live longer, I rest my case. I did especially like that WebMD mentioned that you “stay mentally sharp” from exercise. Check out my Page Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) for a lot more information on the benefits the brain derives from exercise.
Last, but now least, Lose Weight – “If you’re overweight, slimming down can protect against diabetes, heart disease, and other life-shortening conditions. Belly fat appears to be particularly harmful, so focus on deflating that spare tire. A 5-year study of Hispanics and African-Americans suggests eating more fiber and exercising regularly are effective ways to reduce belly fat.”
To read the entire 18 reasons cited by WebMD.