Americans Shirking Exercise

A new government study has found that about 80 percent of Americans aren’t getting nearly enough exercise, potentially setting themselves up for health worries later in life, reports USA Today. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people ages 18 to 64 get at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week—walking at a brisk pace, for example—or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running or swimming. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities, such as weightlifting or push-ups, at least twice a week. But only 23 percent of adults are meeting those guidelines. Researchers found that a person’s sex, home state, and finances affected how much exercise they got. Nationally, some 19 percent of women and 27 percent of men hit the target. Residents of Mississippi were the least likely to work out, with about 14 percent meeting the guidelines, and Coloradans the most, at 33 (Read More)

Leg Movement Key for Brain Health

Using your legs in weight-bearing exercise is critical for brain health, new research shows. Researchers found that moving the large muscles in the legs, through activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and running, triggers the production of stem cells in the brain—helping that critical organ to renew itself. “We are meant to be active: to walk, run, crouch to sit, and use our leg muscles to lift things,” study author Raffaella Adami tells MedicalNewsToday.com. For the study, researchers immobilized the hind legs of a group of mice for 28 days, then examined a specific area of their brains known as the subventricular zone. They found the neural stem cell activity of the mice had plummeted by 70 percent. Declines in oxygen levels associated with reduced physical activity also altered the rodents’ metabolism. These findings may explain why the health of people who are bedridden often deteriorates rapidly. In addition to the (Read More)

Reducing the Risk of Dementia

Playing cards, reading books, and engaging in other mentally stimulating activities can help ward off dementia later in life, new research suggests. Scientists tracked more than 15,500 people ages 65 and over in Hong Kong for five years and routinely asked them about the “intellectual activities” they’d engaged in, including reading books and newspapers, playing board games, and even betting on horses. None of the participants had dementia at the start of the study, but by the end more than 1,300 participants had the condition, says Time​.com. Researchers found that individuals who performed intellectual activities on a daily basis had a far lower risk of developing cognitive decline than those who did them less often or not at all—even after adjusting for other factors, including physical exercise and fruit and vegetable consumption. “Given the growing older population worldwide,” the study authors write, “promoting regular engagement in intellectual activities might help delay or (Read More)

Vitamin C Deficient? The Numerous Benefits Of Vitamin C

Health Benefits of Vitamin C Vitamin C is rapidly finding new applications in protecting against endothelial dysfunction, high blood pressure, and the blood vessel changes that precede heart disease. Additional research is discovering that vitamin C can be helpful in preventing asthma, protecting against cancer, and supporting healthy blood sugar levels in diabetics. While often taken for granted, vitamin C is a critical supplement in your program to improve cardiac health and avoid degenerative diseases. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. Unlike most mammals and other animals, humans do not have the ability to make ascorbic acid and must obtain vitamin C from the diet and supplementation. Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency Minor bleeding, such as nose bleeds, or easy bruising. Dry, split hair due to inadequate collagen. Slow wound healing. Vitamin C promotes collagen development in scar tissue. Iron deficiency. Vitamin C promotes iron absorption, so low vitamin C and low iron levels often coexist. Fatigue (Read More)

Americans’ Unhealthy Habits

To remain healthy, doctors say, you have to eat well, exercise regularly, avoid smoking, and keep body fat in check. But new research shows that only 2.7 percent of Americans are actually adhering to all four healthy habits. Researchers came to that surprisingly glum conclusion after examining national survey data on more than 5,000 people, compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 47 percent got 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous exercise, only 38 percent had healthy diets, and only 10 percent had proper body-fat levels. Only 16 percent met three of the four criteria. “This is sort of mind boggling, to have so few people maintaining what we would consider a healthy lifestyle,” study author Ellen Smit of Oregon State University tells ScienceDaily.com. “There’s clearly a lot of room for improvement.”

How to Slow Brain Aging

Rigorous exercise may do more than protect the heart, trim the waistline, and keep bones strong. New research suggests strenuous physical activity can slow brain aging by as much as 10 years, the Los Angeles Times reports. Scientists followed 876 older adults for five years, tracking their physical activity and testing their memory and thinking skills. MRI scans also enabled researchers to assess their brain health. Repeat tests conducted five years later revealed the participants’ brain function was closely tied to how physically active they were. Those who opted for moderate to strenuous exercise, such as running and aerobics, had the highest scores and lowest risk for memory loss and decline in executive function. Less intense activities, including walking and yoga, produced only modest benefits. The brains of those who were sedentary, on the other hand, looked a decade older than the brains of their very active peers. They also had higher (Read More)

Exercise Stops Brain Shrinkage

After people turn 40, their brain shrinks by about 5 percent every 10 years. But new research suggests aerobic exercise could have a protective effect, slowing this age-related deterioration and keeping the mind sharp over time. To investigate the effects of exercise on the hippocampus, a brain region essential for creating and storing memories, an international team of researchers analyzed 14 previous studies, involving 737 people between ages 24 and 76. Some of the participants were healthy; others suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, depression, or schizophrenia. The researchers split the subjects into two groups—people who engaged in various fitness regimens for up to two years and those who didn’t exercise—and compared scans of their brains. They found that aerobic activity appeared to dramatically increase the size of the left region of the hippocampus. “When you exercise, you produce a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor,” lead author Joseph Firth from Western Sydney (Read More)

Exercise Slows Aging

Exercise dramatically slows the aging process, helping people look and feel decades younger, new research suggests. British scientists compared a group of 125 avid cyclists between 55 and 79 years old with a group of inactive older people and younger adults in their 20’s and 30’s. They found those who routinely biked long distances had more muscle mass, less body fat, and healthier cholesterol levels than their sedentary peers. The cyclists also had the memory, balance, and immune system function of the adults roughly half their age. As people grow older, their bodies make fewer and fewer T cells, which help protect against infection. Researchers found, however, that the active older adults were still making as many T cells as the people in their 20’s, potentially reducing their risk for infections, cancer, and auto-immune diseases, NBCNews.com reports. With people living longer, study author Janet Lord says, exercise can help keep you healthy (Read More)

Saunas’ Heart Benefits

A good sweat in the sauna may be as beneficial for your heart as moderate exercise. That’s the finding of a new study from Finland, which investigated the effects of a 30-minute sauna session on 102 middle aged adults with at least one risk factor associated with heart disease, such as high blood pressure, obesity, or high cholesterol. When participants stepped out of a 160-degree dry-heat sauna, their blood pressure had dropped by an average of seven points and their arteries gained elasticity, reports Time.com. Their heart rates had also risen, from an average of 65 beats per minute before the sauna to 81 beats after. “At the moment, we can say that sauna use is recommended, and it seems that more is beneficial,” says study co-author Tanjaniina Laukkanen. The positive effects of saunas are likely linked to heat exposure, which can widen blood vessels and improve blood flow. Sweating also (Read More)

Link Between Vitamin C & Combating Cancer

The importance of Vitamin C in combating cancer is of paramount importance. The body has two intrinsic lines of defense against the growth of a tumor, both of which involve Vitamin C. The first is our immune system. Even after the most successful surgery, radiation or chemotherapy exercise, some cancer cells are bound to remain. It is our immune system that hunts down these cells and kills them. Vitamin C is required to mobilize specialized cells that fight cancer and other infections too. Under severe duress, the immune system is challenged and needs high amounts of Vitamin C. In a nutritionally deficient body, the supplies of Vitamin C dwindle, resulting in unstoppable growth of tumors. Dr. Tony Jimenez, a world-leading pioneer in natural cancer treatments and founder of Hope for Cancer speaking of the importance of vitamin C said, “Each of us produces several hundred cancer cells every day of (Read More)