Tag Archives: harvard medical school

Why Should I Start Strength Training? – Harvard

One of the challenges of aging is the gradual diminishing of our physical powers. Our muscles still do the same thing, but muscle mass shrinks with age as does actual strength. Beginning at age 30, sarcopenia, decline in muscle tissue, sets in.

According to the Harvard Medical School’s Strength and Power Training: A guide for adults of all ages, “The average 30-year-old can expect to lose about 25% of muscle mass and strength by age 70 and another 25% by age 90.”

man-lifting-weightsWhile aging accounts for some of this loss, disuse is another major culprit. Harvard said, “Studies of older adults consistently prove that a good deal of the decline in strength can be recouped with strength training.

“Likewise, power can be regained. With age and disuse, the nerve-signaling system that recruits muscle fibers for tasks deteriorates. Fast-twitch fibers, which provide bursts of power, are lost at a greater rate than slow-twitch fibers. You might think of a nerve pathway as a set of paving stones leading to a destination. As the years pass, the path may become overgrown and disappear in spots rather than remain well traveled and clearly marked. Preliminary power training studies suggest that movements designed to restore neural pathways can reverse this effect.  Continue reading

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How to Keep Blood Pressure in the Safety Zone – Harvard Medical School

First of all, what is high blood pressure? Blood pressure refers to the force of blood pushing against artery walls as it courses through the body. Like air in a tire or water in a hose, blood fills arteries to a certain capacity. Just as too much air pressure can damage a tire or too much water pushing through a garden hose can damage the hose, high blood pressure can threaten healthy arteries and lead to life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and stroke, according to WebMD.
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How to Reduce Stress – Harvard Medical School

When I was a kid and watched hundreds of double feature cowboy movies on Saturday afternoons, one of the phrases that I heard in almost every movie was, “Let’s head ’em off at the pass.” I knew the bad guys didn’t have a chance to get away because the good guys always headed them off.

Amazingly, that is also an example of one of our best defenses against stress. Head it off at the pass. Don’t even let it  get into your head. Works like magic, but it isn’t at all.

The Harvard Medical School has produced a special 52 page report on stress management and offered some superb guidelines on exactly that. It is called Cognitive Restructuring.

Here is an example: “Stop for a moment and try to remember the thoughts that were running through your head the last time you were late for work. Perhaps a simple thought, such as “the train is late,” quickly transformed into “I’ll be late to work. I won’t make it to my meeting on time. My boss will be angry with me. My job is in jeopardy. This always happens to me.”

The report offers examples of these distortions and suggests we use the following list to become aware of negative thought patterns and try to substitute more realistic, positive ones.

■ “All or nothing. Everything is black or white; nothing is gray. If you don’t perform flawlessly, you consider yourself a complete failure.

■ “Overgeneralization. One negative event, such as a slight from your spouse or an encounter with a dishonest merchant, is perceived to be part of an endless pattern of dismaying circumstances and defeat. For example, you might think, “He’s always cold” or “You can’t trust anyone.”

■ “Mental filter. One negative episode, such as a rude comment made to you during an otherwise enjoyable evening, shades everything like a drop of food coloring in a glass of water. It’s as though you are filtering out all the light and only see darkness.

■ “Disqualifying the positive. You are unable or unwilling to accept a compliment or praise. You deflect all compliments with self-deprecation. You might say, “It’s no big deal” or “It was nothing.”

■ “Jumping to conclusions. You draw negative conclusions without checking to see if they have any foundation in fact. You may be mind-reading: “My friend seems upset; she must be mad at me.” Or you may be fortune-telling: “I just know the results of my medical test won’t be good.”

■ “Magnification or minimization. You exaggerate potential problems or mistakes until they take on the proportions of a catastrophe. Or you minimize anything that might make you feel good, such as appreciation for a kind act you did or the recognition that other people have flaws, too.
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10 Diet and Exercise Tips for Prostate Health From Harvard Medical School

“What can I eat to reduce my risk of developing prostate cancer?” This is one of the most common questions physicians hear from men concerned about prostate health,” according to the Harvard Medical School Health Bulletin.

“Undoubtedly, many hope that their doctor will rattle off a list of foods guaranteed to shield them from disease. Although some foods have been linked with reduced risk of prostate cancer, proof that they really work is lacking, at least for now.”

Aim for a healthy eating pattern
Harvard offers good common sense suggestions, many of which you can find on our blog pages.
“Instead of focusing on specific foods, dietitians, physicians, and researchers tout an overall pattern of healthy eating — and healthy eating is easier than you might think. In a nutshell, here’s what experts recommend:

1. Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Go for those with deep, bright color.
2. Choose whole-grain bread instead of white bread, and choose whole-grain pasta and cereals.
3. Limit your consumption of red meat, including beef, pork, lamb, and goat, and processed meats, such as bologna and hot dogs. Fish, skinless poultry, beans, and eggs are healthier sources of protein.
4. Choose healthful fats, such as olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), and avocados. Limit saturated fats from dairy and other animal products. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats), which are in many fast foods and packaged foods.
5. Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks, such as sodas and many fruit juices. Eat sweets as an occasional treat.
6. Cut down on salt. Choose foods low in sodium by reading and comparing food labels. Limit the use of canned, processed, and frozen foods.
7. Watch portion sizes. Eat slowly, and stop eating when you are full.”
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Harvard on the Food Value of Fiber

Fiber, protein and carbohydrates are the three-legged nutritional stool upon which our lives depend. Harvard has issued a report that includes a super write-up on the value of fiber in our daily diet.

Harvard Medical School offers special reports on over 50 health topics. Visit their website to find reports of interest to you and your family.

Fiber: The workhorse
Fiber is a form of indigestible carbohydrate found mainly in plant foods. Over the years, fiber has been hailed as a potential weapon against colon cancer, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Fiber’s vaunted health benefits were diminished slightly by findings that it doesn’t prevent colon polyps (precursors of colon cancer). But fiber slightly reduces LDL cholesterol, improves insulin resistance, and is linked to a lower rate of heart disease. It is considered one of the most important health attributes of foods.
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