What is Inflammation?

Doctors in medical school learn that inflammation is beneficial – to a degree. “They taught us there that inflammation was, in a sense, a good thing for the body,” Blaylock says. “Redness, swelling, pain, and limited range of motion are important defense mechanisms and play a major role in the healing process.” But you can get too much of a good thin, he adds. Research shows that while inflammation can be caused by lifestyle factors – including high-sugar diets, lack of exercise, obesity, and other bad habits – it appears to be more common in some people for reasons that are genetic. Scientists from Stanford University have linked 25 genetic factors to coronary artery disease and found people with this common heart condition are most likely predisposed to the disease because they have gene variants linked to inflammation. Two physiological processes play a major role in inflammation: the immune system (Read More)

Aerobic Exercise Prevents Heart Aging

There is hope for middle-aged couch potatoes, reports Time.com. Years of inactivity can take a significant toll on the heart, but new research suggests that a spell of regular aerobic exercise can make up for decades of sitting. Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center recruited 53 people between 45 and 64 who were healthy but led a sedentary lifestyle. Some of the volunteers were placed on an aerobic exercise regimen involving several 30-minute sessions each week—one high-intensity, two to three that were lighter, and one for strength training—as well as an hour of tennis, cycling, running, dancing, or brisk walking. The remaining volunteers were given a “casual” program consisting of balance training, yoga, or weight lifting three times a week. After two years, those who completed at least four aerobic workouts each week were not only markedly fitter, with an 18 percent improvement in their oxygen intake, but (Read More)

Run for your Life

Running for a couple of hours each week could reduce the risk of early death by nearly 40 percent. After analyzing existing evidence on the link between exercise and longevity, researchers calculated that one hour of running—even at a slow pace—lengthens life expectancy by seven hours. This adds up over time; people who run regularly tend to live about three years longer than their non-running peers, the study found. Co-author Duck-chul Lee cautions that these gains “are not infinite”—life expectancy improvements plateau after about four hours of running a week.

New Year Resolution Hacks

Essential Tips For New Years Resolutions It is that time of year. For some, setting New Year resolutions might make you feel excited, for others, it may be a cause of undo stress or indifference. In recognition of this, it is good to have at least a loose road map for the things you would like to accomplish in the new year. It certainly should not be a standard to measure yourself by, but as an exercise in faith, intention and… more often than not, good old fashioned hard work. Here are some tips and things to remember as you set your resolutions for 2018: 1. Keep your list short and the tasks manageable. Remember we tend to “measure what we treasure”. If we say we want to exercise more and set a goal to run a marathon in 6 months, we tend to get overwhelmed and give up quickly. (Read More)

The Cost of Losing Sleep – Your Immunity

Sleep often takes a backseat to parenting or a career that requires long hours, but new research suggests that sacrificing slumber for productivity is a bad trade-off. Surveys of 22,000 Americans show that people who slept five hours or less on average weeknight were 28 percent more likely to have had a cold in the past month than those who averaged at least seven hours. Worse still, Reuters.com reports, the sleep-challenged subjects were 82 percent more likely to report battling the flu, pneumonia, or an ear infection. The study doesn’t prove that sleep loss increases susceptibility to infections, but researchers note that sleep deprivation does hinder infection-fighting white blood cells. Moreover, people who are chronically tired may also be less likely to exercise or follow a healthy diet. Says study author Aric Prather, “It is our hope that this work will help raise the profile of sleep as a critical (Read More)

Standing Fights Obesity

It’s well established that a sedentary existence is bad for us and that regular exercise promotes better health. Apparently, new research reveals, we don’t even have to hit the treadmill to feel better; just standing up can have significant benefits, The Washington Post reports. A five-year study of more than 7,000 adults found that people who stood for a least 25 percent of their day displayed considerably lower risk of obesity – 32 percent for men and 35 percent among women. Meanwhile, standing for half of the day reduced the likelihood of obesity among men by 59 percent, compared with 47 percent among women. It’s unclear from the data if standing directly reduces obesity risk or if people who are obese simply stand less. But the results offer another argument for logging some upright time. “Many of us have sedentary jobs and commute long hours,” says lead author Kerem Shuval (Read More)

Exercise Lowers Cancer Risk

If a healthy heart and trim waistline aren’t enough incentive, maybe a lower risk for cancer will inspire sedentary people to get moving. A new study from the National Cancer Institute shows that exercise may significantly lower the risk for 13 different forms of the disease, Time.com reports. Researchers analyzed 11 years of data on the health, diet, and activity of 1.4 million people and found that a higher level of physical exertion was associated with a 7 percent lower overall chance of developing cancer. Just a few hours of weekly exercise had a particular effect on esophageal cancer, lowering the risk for the disease by 42 percent. Working out also cut the risk for lung, kidney, stomach, and endometrial cancers by more than 20 percent and significantly reduced the likelihood that people would suffer from leukemia, colon cancer, or breast cancer. The more active people were, the more their (Read More)

Happy Wife, Healthy Life

New research adds credibility to the old saying “Happy wife, happy life,” suggesting that men and women with happy spouses are not only happier but also healthier. For the study, researchers analyzed data compiled on nearly 2,000 middle-aged, heterosexual couples whose happiness and physical health were tracked for 6 years. They found that those whose spouses had a positive outlook were 34 percent more likely to be healthy, exercise regularly and eat healthfully, and have positive outlooks themselves. Those with a pessimistic partner, on the other hand, had more health issues and were less physically active. Why? The researchers speculate that when one member of a couple adopts good lifestyle habits, that person encourages his or her spouse to do the same. Spouses with a positive outlook also cause less stress in the relationship, the study’s lead author, William Chopik, tells Time.com. “Simply having a happy partner,” he said, “may (Read More)

How Exercise Slows Aging

If working out makes you feel younger, a new study suggests it’s no illusion- vigorous exercise can actually slow the aging process on a cellular level, turning back the clock nearly a decade. Researchers analyzed 6,000 adults based on their physical activity and biological markers of aging, Time.com reports. Most importantly, they used DNA samples to measure the length of participants’ telomeres, protein caps that protect chromosomes, like the plastic tips of shoelaces. Telomeres shrink with age – we lose bits of them every time a cell divides. “In general, people with shorter telomeres die sooner and are more likely to develop many of our chronic diseases,” says study author Larry Tucker. Taking into account risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity, the researchers found people who exercised strenuously – say, running for 30 to 40 minutes five days per week – had longer telomeres. That gave them (Read More)

Diet Key to Weight Loss

Exercise has many proven health benefits, but those who dutifully log miles on the treadmill in the hopes of shedding stubborn pounds may want to reconsider their approach to weight loss. In a new study, researchers at Loyola University in Chicago found that healthy eating habits appear to be more important than exercise for long-term weight control, reports LiveScience.com. The team analyzed the physical activity and weight fluctuations of roughly 2,000 adults from the U.S., Ghana, Jamaica, South Africa, and the Seychelles. In each of the five countries, many of those who did 2.5 hours of moderate weekly exercise actually put on more pounds over two years than their more sedentary peers. The most likely explanation for this? Exercise tends to boost appetite, meaning active people eat more than they otherwise would. The findings suggest that physical activity alone is “not enough to prevent weight gain,” says lead author Lara (Read More)