Tag Archives: exercise

How Exercise Keep Us Young

4/18/2017: New York Times, see article here.

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Active older people resemble much younger people physiologically, according to a new study of the effects of exercise on aging. The findings suggest that many of our expectations about the inevitability of physical decline with advancing years may be incorrect and that how we age is, to a large degree, up to us. Aging remains a surprisingly mysterious process. A wealth of past scientific research has shown that many bodily and cellular processes change in undesirable ways as we grow older. But science has not been able to establish definitively whether such changes result primarily from the passage of time — in which case they are inevitable for anyone with birthdays — or result at least in part from lifestyle, meaning that they are mutable. This conundrum is particularly true in terms of inactivity. Older people tend to be quite sedentary nowadays, and being sedentary affects health, making it difficult to separate the effects of not moving from those of getting older.

In the new study, which was published this week in The Journal of Physiology, scientists at King’s College London and the University of Birmingham in England decided to use a different approach. They removed inactivity as a factor in their study of aging by looking at the health of older people who move quite a bit.  “We wanted to understand what happens to the functioning of our bodies as we get older if we take the best­case scenario,” said Stephen Harridge, senior author of the study and director of the Centre of Human and Aerospace Physiological Sciences at King’s College London. To accomplish that goal, the scientists recruited 85 men and 41 women aged between 55 and 79 who bicycle regularly. The volunteers were all serious recreational riders but not competitive athletes. The men had to be able to ride at least 62 miles in six and a half hours and the women 37 miles in five and a half hours, benchmarks typical of a high degree of fitness in older people. The scientists then ran each volunteer through a large array of physical and cognitive tests. The scientists determined each cyclist’s endurance capacity, muscular mass and strength, pedaling power, metabolic health, balance, memory function, bone density and reflexes. They also had the volunteers complete the so-called Timed Up and Go test, during which someone stands up from a chair without using his or her arms, briskly walks about 10 feet, turns, walks back and sits down again.

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The researchers compared the results of cyclists in the study against each other and also against standard benchmarks of supposedly normal aging. If a particular test’s numbers were similar among the cyclists of all ages, the researchers considered, then that measure would seem to be more dependent on activity than on age. As it turned out, the cyclists did not show their age. On almost all measures, their physical functioning remained fairly stable across the decades and was much closer to that of young adults than of people their age. As a group, even the oldest cyclists had younger people’s levels of balance, reflexes, metabolic health and memory ability. And their Timed Up and Go results were exemplary. Many older people require at least 7 seconds to complete the task, with those requiring 9 or 10 seconds considered to be on the cusp of frailty, Dr. Harridge said. But even the oldest cyclists in this study averaged barely 5 seconds for the walk, which is “well within the norm reported for healthy young adults,” the study authors write.

Some aspects of aging did, however, prove to be ineluctable. The oldest cyclists had less muscular power and mass than those in their 50s and early 60s and considerably lower overall aerobic capacities. Age does seem to reduce our endurance and strength to some extent, Dr. Harridge said, even if we exercise. But even so, both of those measures were higher among the oldest cyclists than would be considered average among people aged 70 or above. All in all, the numbers suggest that aging is simply different in the active. “If you gave this dataset to a clinician and asked him to predict the age” of one of the cyclists based on his or her test results, Dr. Harridge said, “it would be impossible.” On paper, they all look young. Of course, this study is based on a single snapshot of an unusual group of older adults, Dr. Harridge said. He and his colleagues plan to retest their volunteers in five and 10 years, which will provide better information about the ongoing effects of exercise on aging. But even in advance of those results, said Dr. Harridge, himself almost 50 and an avid cyclist, this study shows that “being physically active makes your body function on the inside more like a young person’s.”

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It’s good for every body!

 

A version of this article appears in print on 01/13/2015, on page D4 of the NewYork edition with the headline: A Prescription for Youth. © 2017 The New York Times Company

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Treadmill Vs. Downward Dog

Adapted from “The Doctor Will See you Now”, See original article here.

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As popular as it has become, yoga still doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It is a serious exercise regimen and every bit as good for the heart as other forms of exercise, according to a recent analysis.

And because yoga is a lot less boring than riding a stationary bike, it may even be better than typical exercise when it comes to good heart health.

The authors of the analysis looked at 32 randomized controlled trials of how yoga affected risk factors for heart disease such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.First, the researchers reviewed trials comparing people who used yoga as a form of exercise to people who did not exercise. Yoga participants had lower body mass index (BMI), blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) and cholesterol (both LDL and total) and had higher HDL (good) cholesterol.

They also had lower triglycerides and heart rate, and were more likely to lose weight during the trial. In fact, the only outcomes recorded where yoga did not lead to measurable improvements were fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin.

In trials comparing yoga’s effects to the impact of other types of aerobic exercise, such as cycling or brisk walking, the results were even simpler: there was no significant difference between yoga and other exercise.

The researchers caution that many of the trials were of rather short duration and had small numbers of participants, so it’s possible that the results of larger or longer trials might be different.

Yoga may even have an edge over traditional forms of exercise. It tends to be more acceptable to patients with physical disabilities, including people with joint pain, heart problems and the elderly. It also requires no special equipment and can be performed.

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The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

 

 

..either alone at home or as a part of a class.

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Can a healthy lifestyle help prevent cancer?

SOURCE: The JAMA Network Journals

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A “healthy lifestyle pattern” was defined as never or past smoking; no or moderate drinking of alcohol (one or less drink a day for women, two or less drinks a day for men); BMI of at least 18.5 but lower than 27.5; and weekly aerobic physical activity of at least 150 minutes moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity. Individuals who met all four criteria were considered low risk and everyone else was high risk.

The study included 89,571 women and 46,399 men; 16,531 women and 11,731 had a healthy lifestyle pattern (low-risk group) and the remaining 73,040 women and 34,608 men were high risk.

The authors calculated population-attributable risk (PAR), which can be interpreted as the proportion of cases that would not occur if all the individuals adopted the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.

The authors suggest about 20 percent to 40 percent of cancer cases and about half of cancer deaths could potentially be prevented through modifications to adopt the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.

The authors note that including only white individuals in their PAR estimates may not be generalizable to other ethnic groups but the factors they considered have been established as risk factors in diverse ethnic groups too.

“These findings reinforce the predominate importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk. Therefore, primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control,” the authors conclude.

 

Journal References:

  1. Mingyang Song, MD, ScD, Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD. Preventable Incidence and Mortality of Carcinoma Associated With Lifestyle Factors Among White Adults in the United States. JAMA Oncol., May 2016 DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0843
  2. Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH; Siobhan Sutcliffe, PhD. The Preventability of Cancer: Stacking the Deck. JAMA Oncol, May 2016 DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0889

Less than 3%

There are really only a few basic habits we know should help keep people healthy: eating well, exercising, avoiding smoking, and keeping body fat in check.

Turns out a shockingly tiny number — just 2.7 percent — of Americans actually manage all four habits, according to a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The research, led by Paul Loprinzi of the University of Mississippi, used data about the lifestyles of nearly 5,000 US adults from the 2003 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. (That’s the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s biggest national health survey.)

The researchers zeroed in on information about exercise (whether people got 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity weekly based on accelerometer data) and smoking status (measured by blood levels of cotinine, a biomarker for tobacco exposure). As for eating habits, the researchers looked at self-reported 24-hour recall data about diet and used the Healthy Eating Index score (an indicator of diet quality that takes into account how many fruits and vegetables people eat, as well as meat, beans, oil, saturated fat, alcohol, and sodium). To evaluate physical fitness, they also looked at body fat percentage.

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The researchers also looked at how these behaviors corresponded with biomarkers related to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, including cholesterol and fasting glucose.

The findings were stark.

Only about 38 percent of Americans surveyed had a healthy diet, just 10 percent had a normal body fat level, and fewer than half (47 percent) were sufficiently active. On the upside: 70 percent of adults reported themselves as nonsmokers. But overall, fewer than 3 percent of Americans managed all four healthy lifestyle behaviors. Eleven percent had none.

Generally, the researchers also found, people who had three or four of these behaviors had better biomarker measures compared with those who managed none.

 

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This new research should be a reminder of how difficult behavior change is, and how addressing society’s obesity challenge is going to take more than simply telling people to eat better and exercise more.

 

From VOX, read post here

Active body, active mind

The secret to a younger brain may lie in exercising your body

It is widely recognized that our physical fitness is reflected in our mental fitness, especially as we get older. How does being physically fit affect our aging brains? Neuroimaging studies, in which the activity of different parts of the brain can be visualized, have provided some clues. Until now, however, no study has directly linked brain activation with both mental and physical performance.

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As reported in the latest volume of the journal NeuroImage, an exciting new study led by Dr Hideaki Soya from the University of Tsukuba in Japan and his colleagues show, for the first time, the direct relationship between brain activity, brain function and physical fitness in a group of older Japanese men. They found that the fitter men performed better mentally than the less fit men, by using parts of their brains in the same way as in their youth.

As we age, we use different parts of our brain compared to our younger selves. For example, when young, we mainly use the left side of our prefrontal cortex (PFC) for mental tasks involving short term memory, understanding the meaning of words and the ability to recognize previously encountered events, objects, or people. When older, we tend to use the equivalent parts of our PFC on the right side of the brain for these tasks. The PFC is located in the very front of the brain, just behind the forehead. It has roles in executive function, memory, intelligence, language and vision.

If you are an aging woman, you will be wondering if these results can be applied to your female brain. Both aging sexes might also wonder whether increasing aerobic fitness later in life can increase mental fitness. The results aren’t in, but I’m heading off for a brisk walk just in case.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Tsukuba. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kazuki Hyodo, Ippeita Dan, Yasushi Kyutoku, Kazuya Suwabe, Kyeongho Byun, Genta Ochi, Morimasa Kato, Hideaki Soya. The association between aerobic fitness and cognitive function in older men mediated by frontal lateralization. NeuroImage, 2015; DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.09.062
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METs for Formal Exercise

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Scientists say they already know how to reduce cancer deaths by half

Scientists say they already know how to reduce cancer deaths by half

No treatment required.

 

In fact, it wouldn’t take any drugs at all. All we need to do is get people to follow the recommendations that doctors have been making for decades: don’t smoke, drink moderately, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly.

At least, that’s the message from a new study that looked at the lifestyles of more than 100,000 doctors and nurses in the US.

 

This study made it clear right up front – lifestyle alone is never going to stop all cancers. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, the disease strikes totally at random, and it can happen to even the healthiest of people.

But the new study serves as a reminder that while we often focus all our money and effort on new treatments, there are already proven ways to reduce people’s risk of developing cancer.

“Even while we’re making new discoveries, that shouldn’t stop us from acting on the knowledge we already do have.”

So is the prevention issue really that cut and dry?

While the occasional study might find something random, the reality is that the vast majority of research is on the same page when it comes to risk factors for cancer – cigarettes, too much alcohol, obesity, and a lack of exercise are all bad.

Fitness and diet infographic

Fitness and diet infographic

(And that’s not to mention sun exposure, because this specific study only looked at carcinoma – which are most cancers except brain and skin cancers.)

To figure out just how much of a risk living an ‘unhealthy’ lifestyle really is, Mingyang Song and Edward Giovannucci from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at data on taken from a range of long-term studies on doctors and nurses in the US.

 

After looking at cancer rates, they found that up to 80 percent of lung cancer could be put down to lifestyle, as well as more than one-fifth of colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and kidney cancer cases.

When they applied those rates to the rest of the US population, they found that between 41 and 63 percent of cancer cases could be preventable, as well as 59 to 67 percent of cancer deaths.

That’s a pretty huge if you consider the fact that despite countless promising new treatments, we’re still no closer to a ‘cure’ for cancer – the more we learn about the disease, the more complex we realise it is.

“These findings reinforce the predominant importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk,” the researchers write in JAMA Oncology. “Therefore, primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control.”

From Science Alert.  Click here for full article.