Exercise is a very important aspect in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
If you're 55 or older, put down your crossword puzzle and take a stroll. Scientists have found that moderate Aerobic Activity can improve seniors' memory by reversing the slow wasting away of a key part of tiv brain, which begins at around 50.
"It used to be thought that aging was a one-way street that was going the wrong direction," University of Illinois, Professor Arthur Kramer tells Science News, but his recent study proves "that's not the case."
Kramer and colleagues recruited 120 sedentary adults between the ages of 55 and 80. Half got their heart rates up by walking for 40 minutes, three times a week; the other half did stretching and weight exercises instead.
After a year, scientists scanned each walker's brain and found that the Hippocampus, where memories are formed, had grown by an average of 2 percent. By contrast, the stretchers' hippocampi had shrunk 1.4 percent, as expected.
Though more study is needed, Kramer says initial results indicate that a brisk jaunt several times a week can roll back the pace of age-related memory loss "by about two years."
Health & Science News
18 February 2011
Want to keep your brain in tip-top shape? Then a workout may be in order. New findings suggest that aerobic exercise can have a brain-boosting effect for older adults.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that adults ages 58- 77 years who walked three times a week for 45 minutes gained some positive brain benefits. After six months, the walkers had improved brain function and an enhancement in independent living, compared with older adults who only stretched regularly.
How Aerobic Exercise May Affect the Brain
One theory is that physical activity might increase the number of "connections," or synapses, between brain cells. More connections would allow the brain to recruit these cells when more brainpower is needed. Another theory is that aerobic exercise boosts blood supply to the brain, which in turn improves its function.
Other brain-boosting tips include:
• Using olive oil. It's been found that healthy, older Italian women who consume high amounts of olive oil & other monounsaturated fats seemed to be protected against age-related mental decline. The women consumed an average of about nine teaspoons of olive oil per day.
• Taking vitamin E. This vitamin has been found to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
• Playing games. Crossword & Sudoku puzzles are great ways to keep the mind active and have fun at the same time.
Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Center
8 November 2011
According to preliminary findings of a study conducted in Wisconsin, exercise or meditation may lower the rate, length and severity of the flu or common cold. The randomized controlled trial suggests preventing the common cold may not just be limited to practices such as frequent hand shaking or covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing.
Physician Bruce Barrett, author of the study and associate professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison medical school's department of family medicine says,"The bottom line is both the mental health and physical health matter in helping improve (the) flu and cold."
He said in addition to taking precautions to, prevent colds, regular exercise and meditation may help. "If it turns out to be true, it's a bigger deal than flu shots," Barrett said. The study was published in July in the Annals of Family Medicine.
Studying a total of 149 individuals split into three groups, participants meditating on a regular basis reported 257 days of the common cold or flu, people who exercised regularly reported 241 days of illness, and the control group had the highest number of days in which they had cold and flu symptoms, 453. The groups were studied- from September 2009 to May 2010 by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers. Missed days due to the flu or common cold were the lowest in the meditating group at 16, followed by the exercise group at 32. Those in the control group missed 67 days. The common cold is the leading cause of doctor visits and missed days of school and work, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Barrett said that while many studies point to exercise to improve immune 'function and fight off infection, using meditation to improve immune function remains inconclusive. Episodes of illness were self-reported following a scale where participants had to have two of the following symptoms: a runny nose, a plugged nose, sneezing, or a scratchy throat. The meditation group reported 27 illness episodes, the exercise group had 26 episodes, and the control group reported 40 episodes of an illness. The severity of the illness was assessed through a daily survey, which documents symptoms such as headaches, body aches, and fever. With each illness, nasal wash was collected; there were no statistical differences between each group.
David Shapiro, an expert on integrative medicine and Eastern therapies and an internist at Columbia St. Mary's in Milwaukee, said the study showed that something certainly changed after one group engaged in a fairly intense meditation program. "Some of the interesting things was that some people were infected the same amount, yet they had less severe symptoms in terms of global severity and days of illness," said Shapiro, who was not part of the study. "It's pretty striking for (the) meditation group in terms of the decreased number of days of illness."
Besides the control group, one group spent eight weeks doing mindfulness meditation and another did moderate-intensity exercise. Those in the meditation group focused -- on becoming aware of their senses, thoughts and emotions during a 45-minute daily at-home practice and weekly 2 ½ -hour group sessions. Those exercising walked briskly and jogged in a daily 45-minute session as well as in their 2 ½-hour weekly workouts, which included moderately intensive exercise on stationary bicycles and treadmills.
11 October 2012
While some fitness myths, such as "no pain, no gain," are fading fast, many myths about exercise still exist. Here are some common ones - and the truth about them.
Your energy is contagious and as you know, so is laughter. The great news is they both have wonderful health benefits.
The International Journal of Obesity suggests that giggling for just 15 minutes a day burns enough calories to shed up to 5lbs of fat over a year and a big belly laugh uses about the same energy as walking more than half a mile. Laughing works many different muscles and makes the heart beat faster.
Researchers measured the number of calories an adult spent watching different TV programs, including comedy & nature shows. Bouts of laughter when watching the funny film used up to 20% more energy than at rest. This would mean that 10 to 15 minutes of laughter a day could increase total energy expenditure and burn between 10 and 40 calories.
Dr. Maciej Buchowski, lead author, Vanderbilt University, explained, "Participants had 10 to 20% higher energy expenditure during episodes of laughter than during rest. We have calculated that the energy cost of 15 minutes of laughter over one year may translate into an annual weight loss of 4.5lbs."
Research already suggests that laughter is good for the heart and immune system, and appears to help ease pain. It is likely that more research will uncover many more health benefits linked to laughter. In the meantime, this priceless medicine is fun, free and easy to use.
3 August 2011
Want to keep your brain active? Then a workout may be in order.
New findings suggest that aerobic exercise can have a brain-boosting effect for older adults.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that adults ages 58 to 77 who walked 3 times a week for 45 minutes gained some positive brain benefits.
After six months, the walkers had improved brain function and an enhancement in independent living, compared with older adults who only stretched regularly.
How Aerobic Exercise May Affect the Brain:
One theory is that physical activity might increase the number of "connections' or synapses, between brain cells. More connections would allow the brain to recruit these cells when more brainpower is needed. Another theory is that aerobic exercise boosts blood supply to the brain, which in turn improves is function.
Other brain-boosting tips include:
• Using olive oil. It's been found that healthy, older Italian women who consume high amounts of olive oil and other monounsaturated fats seemed to be protected against age-related mental decline. The women consumed an average of about nine teaspoons of olive oil per day.
• Taking vitamin E.This vitamin has been found to slow the development of Alzheimer's disease.
• Playing games. Crossword and Sudoku puzzles are great ways to keep the mind active and have fun at the same time.
The Sporting Club
11 May 2011
Anusara yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga, founded by John Friend in 1997. This yoga unifies the life-affirming, tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness with Universal Principles of Alignment. Anusara yoga is the best way to relax, build strength and tone muscles.
It epitomizes a philosophy called “celebration of the heart”. It is said that this philosophy looks towards the good in all people and all things. The popularity of Anusara Yoga is growing rapidly all round the globe. There are many training centers in the world, which teach this form of yoga.
There are more than 250 certified teachers, 750 licensed Anusara-Inspired yoga teachers, thousands of teachers in training, and thousands of students of Anusara yoga worldwide. The remarkable growth of the yoga is attributed to its benefits and positive philosophy, which guarantees a healthy life for every individual who follows it. Anusara Yoga School is a tightly knit community of highly trained teachers and fun-loving students. It honors students with all types of abilities, for their unique differences, limitations and talents.
Benefits of Anusara Yoga
People practicing Anusara yoga are less likely to fall ill, as it increases their immunity power.
The yoga not only strengthens your concentration capabilities, but also improves your physical health.
Anusara yoga improves stamina. People following this form of yoga, on a daily basis, feel highly energized.
It is believed that while practicing this yoga, one can manage his/her feelings in a better way. It increases one’s ability to express his/ her inner self freely.
Anusara yoga poses are considered to be “heart-oriented” or “heart-opening”.
The yoga ensures great flexibility in body, at any age. Its poses also stretch out the tendons, ligaments, and muscles and this greatly improves body strength and posture.
The breathing exercise in Anusara yoga improves lung capacity. They are also considered to be the best stress-busters.
Along with its other health benefits, the yoga is also known to increase the meditation power of a person.
Aspects of Anusara Yoga
The practice of Anusara yoga has been broadly categorized into three parts, which are also called as the three A's of Anusara Yoga. They include Attitude, Alignment, and Action.
According to John Friend, attitude is the "power of the heart as the force behind every action or expression in an asana." It is "the aspiration to reawaken to our divine nature, and the celebration of life."
John Friend states that alignment is the “mindful awareness of how various parts of our body are integrated and interconnected.”
Action, the third “A” of Anusara yoga, is related to the body. As per John, it’s the “natural flow of energy in the body, which provides both stability and joyful freedom.”
Steps to Perform Anusara Yoga
-Spread a mat or blanket on the ground. Now, sit in a criss crossed position, with your legs facing the opposite thighs.
-Do some deep breathing for five minutes. After this, you can start with Anusara yoga.
-Stand up and lift one foot. Place this foot on the other leg, either on the ankle, calf or thigh. Take a deep breath, focus, and stretch your spine upwards, like a tree growing towards the sun.
-Now, stand straight and bend, placing both hands on the floor, in front of your body. You will be on all fours now.
-Move your weight onto your left hand. Move the right foot on top of the left. Now that your right hand is free, and place it on your right side. Keep your spine aligned and stretch as much as possible.
-Take a deep breath and relax.
-Now, lie flat on the mat, with your arms at your sides. Bend your knees and lift your buttocks. Keep going until your entire spine is off the mat.
-In the last step, you have to sit in a relaxed position. Meditate for 5-10 minutes. Breathe and in breathe out.
26 February 2010
How much "green exercise" produces the greatest improvement in mood and sense of personal well-being?
A new study in the American Chemical Society's semi-monthly journal Environmental Science & Technology has a surprising answer.
The answer is likely to please people in a society with much to do but little time to do it: Just five minutes of exercise in a park, working in a backyard garden, on a nature trail, or other green space will benefit mental health.
Jules Pretty and Jo Barton explain in the study that green exercise is physical activity in the presence of nature. Abundant scientific evidence shows that activity in natural areas decreases the risk of mental illness and improves the sense of well-being. Until now, however, nobody knew how much time people had to spend in green spaces to get those and other benefits.
"For the first time in the scientific literature, we have been able to show dose-response relationships for the positive effects of nature on human mental health," Pretty said.
From an analysis of 1,252 people (of different ages, genders and mental health status) drawn from ten existing studies in the United Kingdom, the authors were able to show that activity in the presence of nature led to mental and physical health improvements.
They analyzed activities such as walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming. The greatest health changes occurred in the young and the mentally-ill, although people of all ages and social groups benefited. All natural environments were beneficial including parks in urban settings. Green areas with water added something extra. A blue and green environment seems even better for health, Pretty noted.
From a health policy perspective, the largest positive effect on self-esteem came from a five-minute dose.
"We know from the literature that short-term mental health improvements are protective of long-term health benefits," Pretty said. "So we believe that there would be a large potential benefit to individuals, society and to the costs of the health service if all groups of people were to self-medicate more with green exercise," added Barton.
A challenge for policy makers is that policy recommendations on physical activity are easily stated but rarely adopted widely as public policy, Pretty noted, adding that the economic benefits could be substantial.
Policy frameworks that suggest active living point to the need for changes to physical, social and natural environments, and are more likely to be effective if physical activity becomes an inevitable part of life rather than a matter of daily choice.
ScienceDaily (May 21, 2010)
Canadian research was documented of 103 people who had a stroke and were receiving standard follow-up care in a hospital. About half were then enrolled in an additional experimental effort called the Graded Repetitive Arm Supplementary Program (GRASP).
The GRASP group spent 35 minutes four times a week doing such non-intense arm exercises as buttoning a shirt, pouring water into a glass and playing speed and accuracy games.
The functioning of arms and hands that had been affected by the stroke improved, on average, 33 percent for these participants, the study found. The amount that people used their arms and hands increased as well.
"At four weeks, the GRASP patients also reported less depressive symptoms and greater change scores than those in the control group did," Dr. Jocelyn Harris, a researcher with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, said in a news release from the group. "The GRASP patients all did better -- much better."
"The power of physical activity to raise the spirits of recovering stroke patients is stronger than anyone suspected," said Harris, who has said she would like to make the GRASP program available beyond the hospital setting.
Dr. Michael Hill, a spokesman for the foundation, acknowledged that people who've had a stroke frequently have symptoms of depression in subsequent weeks. "Depression may be a direct result of the damage to a region of brain and, in addition, the sudden change in ability and life circumstances," he said in the news release.
"It's important to know that depression is treatable," Hill said. "Patients and caregivers should mention depressive symptoms and seek treatment during follow-up visits with their neurologist, internist or family physician."
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about post-stroke rehabilitation.
June 7 2010
Marc Hamilton is a physiologist and professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. LA. he says that a man who sits 60 hours at a desk job but still works out for 45 minutes a day five times a week still has a sedentary lifestyle.
According to Hamilton, "People tend to view physical activity on a single continuum. On the far side, you have a person who exercises a lot; on the other, a person who doesn't exercise at all. However, they're not necessarily polar opposites." Hamilton and his growing body of evidence shows that even “a sculpted six pack” won’t diminish the harm caused by your office chair.
How is this possible?
The difference seems to be between 'exercise activity' and 'non-exercise activity'.
This is the difference between running, biking, or doing weights as opposed to walking, mowing the lawn, or emptying your dishwasher.
A 2007 report found that people with the highest levels of non-exercise activity burn significantly more calories than those who work out regularly. Experts say the difference simply can be about standing. People who stand on the job burn more calories than those who don’t — not matter how much the sedentary worker actually works out.
Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk is a researcher at one the nation's leading obesity research centers. He says that sitting, not weight or exercise, is a key factor in determining a person’s overall health. According to Katzmarzky, "The evidence that sitting is associated with heart disease is very strong. We see it in people who smoke and people who don't. We see it in people who are regular exercisers and those who aren't. Sitting is an independent risk factor."
This may have something to do with an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). This enzyme determines if a person will store fat or burn energy. In mice forced to lie down, LPL activity decreased. But in mice that stood around all day, LPL levels were 10 times as active.
Ultimately, experts urge people to get out of their chairs and start “non-exercising.” While this may not be practical for those stuck in an office, simple changes like taking phone calls standing up could help.
Others encourage us to redefine our workouts into all moments.
Oct 29, 2010
What you eat after working out makes a difference, but it doesn't mean you have to starve yourself to reap the health benefits of exercise.
A new study shows that eating a low-carbohydrate meal after aerobic exercise enhances insulin sensitivity. Increased insulin sensitivity makes it easier for the body to take up sugar from the bloodstream and store it in muscles and other tissues where it can be used for fuel.
Impaired insulin sensitivity, or insulin resistance, increases the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Researchers say the results support a growing body of research that shows many of the health benefits of exercise come from the most recent exercise session rather than weeks or months of training.
"Many of the improvements in metabolic health associated with exercise stem largely from the most recent session of exercise, rather than from an increase in 'fitness' per se," researcher Jeffrey F. Horowitz of the University of Michigan says in a news release. "But exercise doesn't occur in a vacuum, and it is very important to look at both the effects of exercise and what you're eating after exercise."
Eating Affects Health Benefits of Exercise
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, looked at the effects of three different meals on the body's metabolism after 90 minutes of metabolic health on a treadmill and stationary bicycle compared with resting metabolism in nine healthy men.
• The first meal consisted of a balanced meal with a carbohydrate, fat, protein and calorie content that matched their calorie expenditure during the exercise session.
• The second meal matched the calorie count of their exercise expenditure but contained about 200 grams of carbohydrates (less than half the carbohydrate of the balanced meal).
• The third meal contained fewer calories than those burned during the aerobic workout (about one-third less than the other two meals) and a relatively high carbohydrate content.
In all three exercise sessions, researchers say there was a trend for an increase in insulin sensitivity. But when the participants ate the low-carbohydrate meal following exercise, it increased their insulin sensitivity even more.
Researchers say the results show that people can reap important health benefits from exercise without starving themselves after exercise or losing weight.
Sun salutations may be the answer when getting older makes you sweat and forget. A new Indian study involving 120 women found that those who practiced yoga (along with breathing exercises and meditation) for an hour five days a week had 50 percent fewer hot flashes and night sweats than those who simply did stretching exercises. The yoga group also reported improved memory. By helping you unwind, yoga frees up your mind to control body functioning.
The 6th Annual Bisbee Yoga Expo, ‘Mountain Mind’, located in the high-desert mountains of southern Arizona, hosts 28 diverse and inspiring classes, two 3-hour workshops and a full day post-conference intensive. The instruction takes place in four different locations in the historic area of Old Bisbee, all within walking distance from each other. Included in the offering is the option to divert from the proposed schedule and individualize one’s experience with private sessions.
Students and teachers will have the honor to attend the Saturday evening performance of ‘Baraka Moon’. The trio includes didjeridoo master and percussionist Stephen Kent, along with Geoffrey Gordon, vocalist on drums (an accompanist to Jai Uttal, Krishna Das, Bhagavan Das and Ram Dass) and Sukhawat Ali Khan sings from a 600 year old lineage. This presentation is included in the student’s registration. It is also open to the public; $10 at the door.
The classes begin on Friday, February 12th to jump-start the weekend. Each session of the conference is 1.5 hours in length, yet on Saturday afternoon Sanjay Manchanda teaches a 3 hour workshop entitled ’Flying as the Eagle; Union of Contemplation and Action’. On Sunday afternoon, Maria KaliMa delves into ‘The Sacrum; Exploring the Sacred Doorway’ for another 3 hour workshop. The event concludes with the post-conference intensive on Monday, (President’s Day holiday) offered by Frank Jude Boccio; ‘Body of Peace: Dharma Gate of Ease and Joy’.
A portion of the proceeds and donations from this event is given to the Migrant Resource Center & Shelter in Naco, Sonora, Mexico. The Bisbee expo also supports Vitamin Angels, an international charity saving the lives of children worldwide.
‘Mountain Mind’ is still immersed with everything. Come meet yourself in another at this extraordinary annual event to uplift and enhance your yoga practice. Open to all levels of experience. For complete information visit Bisbee Yoga Expo Contact: 1-888-271-4505 firstname.lastname@example.org
A new study suggests that practicing yoga may do more than calm the mind — it may help protect against certain diseases.
In the study, women who had practiced yoga regularly for at least two years were found to have lower levels of inflammation in their bodies than did women who only recently took up the activity. Inflammation is an immune response and can be beneficial when your body is fighting off infection, but chronically high levels of inflammation are known to play a role in certain conditions, including asthma, cardiovascular disease and depression.
Inflammation is known to be boosted by stressful situations. But when yoga experts were exposed to stress (such as dipping their feet in ice water,) they experienced less of an increase in their inflammatory response than yoga novices did.
"The study is the first one, I think, to really suggest how yoga could have some distinctive physical benefits in terms of the immune system," said researcher Janice Kiecolt-Glaser of Ohio State University. "It suggests that regular yoga practice is really good for you." she told LiveScience.
The study conducted by Kiecolt-Glaser was published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine.
Kiecolt-Glaser and her Ohio State colleagues recruited 50 women between the ages of 30 and 65 and with different degrees of yoga experience. Those labeled "yoga experts" had practiced yoga once or twice a week for at least two years, while "yoga novices" had participated in only six to 12 sessions. (The researchers wanted novices to have at least some experience so that they wouldn't be stressed out simply from having to practice yoga for the first time.)
The two groups were very similar in terms of age, physical fitness level and amount of body fat. This was important because all three of these factors are known to influence inflammation. Participants completed three stressful tasks in succession. In one, subjects immersed a foot in warm water and then in ice water for one minute. In another, they had to perform tricky mental arithmetic for five minutes.
Then subjects either completed a yoga session or took part in one of two control experiments, which involved walking on a treadmill, or watching a video.
All the while, subjects had catheters placed in their arms to collect blood samples periodically. The researchers examined the blood samples for key markers of inflammation, one of which is a protein called IL-6.
Across all the tasks and other experimental scenarios, the novices' IL-6 levels were 41 percent higher than the experts'. The novices also produced more IL-6 in response to the stressful tasks.
While the researchers aren't sure why yoga would have this effect on inflammation, they have a few speculations:
Marieke Van Puymbroeck, assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies in IIndiana University's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and her team of researchers have found promising results in an investigational study that involvied the practice of yoga by seniors who had a fear of falling. After a 12-week period of time, with two classes per week that was taught by a professional yoga therapist, the study participants reported:
- a reduced fear of falling,
- increased lower body flexibility and
- a reduction in their leisure constraints.
"Our study found that yoga was a feasible intervention with older adults and that they perceived great benefit from it," said Marieke Van Puymbroeck. She discussed some of her findings this month, March 2009, at the International Association of Yoga Therapists' Symposium for Yoga Therapy & Research that was held in Los Angeles.
The study involved 14 men and women with an average age of 78. Five participants had previously fallen.
There was a 90 percent weekly attendance rate, a 6 percent dropout rate, which she said noted, was much lower than most physical activity and yoga studies.
The participants took a class in hatha yoga, a gentle form of yoga that easily can be adapted for individual needs and may also be performed from a seated position. The twice weekly classes each lasted 60 minutes.
After the 12-week class, participants reported a 6 percent reduction in their fear of falling, a 34 percent increase in lower body flexibility, and a statistically significant reduction in leisure constraints.
Participants reported "tremendous benefits," with emerging themes that included the ability to generalize principals of posture to other situations, increased range of motion, increased flexibility and improved balance.
Co-investigators include: Marieke Van Puymbroeck, assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies in IIndiana University's School of Health,David Koceja, Department of Kinesiology in IU Bloomington's School of HPER; and Arlene Schmid, Department of Occupational Therapy and Department of Veterans Affairs, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.