Guest Nicole -
By Guest Nicole
Many studies have shown that carbohydrates, sugar and fat are the causes of weight gain. However, a new report reveals that fat is the only culprit.
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently conducted a study, published in the Cell Metabolism journal, to explore the impacts of macronutrients on body weight.
To do so, they fed mice 30 different diets that varied in fat, carbs and protein contents for a three-month period, the equivalent of nine years for humans.
Read more: https://www.ajc.com/news/world/eating-fat-the-only-cause-weight-gain-study-says/7ze4Vx5kPVuqQ7EJLO75QI/
By Guest Nicole
Working out the muscles on one side of our bodies can keep the muscles on the other side fit, even if we do not move them at all.
By Gretchen Reynolds
May 16, 2018
If you sprain an ankle or break a wrist this summer and cannot use one of your limbs, the muscles there will weaken and shrink — unless you exercise those same muscles in your other limb.
According to a fascinating new study, working out the muscles on one side of our bodies can keep the muscles on the other side strong and fit, even if we do not move them at all. The finding has implications for injury recovery and also underscores how capable and confounding our bodies can be.
Many of us — or a family member — will at some point break a bone, tear a ligament or experience a neurological problem such as a stroke that makes it impossible to move an arm or leg normally.
When that limb is immobilized, its muscles will atrophy, losing size and strength, a process that begins within days or even hours of an injury.
There have been hints, though, that exercising one limb can affect the other. In past studies, when someone pedals a bike with one leg or lifts weights with one arm, muscles in the other limb often contract, a development known as mirroring.
But in most of those experiments, the unused limb was not completely immobilized with a cast and scientists did not focus on specific muscles, making it difficult to know whether exercising certain muscles in one limb affects all muscles in the other or only some.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/well/move/exercise-sports-injury-arm-leg-broken-strain-sprain.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront
By Guest Nicole
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have left hospital after the arrival of their third child, a boy.
The couple's second son, who was born at 11:01 BST, weighing 8lb 7oz, is fifth in line to the throne.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte had visited their brother at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London.
Leaving the hospital Prince William said the couple were very happy, before holding up three fingers and joking he had "thrice the worry now".
"We didn't keep you waiting too long this time," he added.
When someone asked him whether the couple had decided on a name, he said: "You'll find out soon enough."
Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43864933
By Guest Nicole
Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among older adults. In 2014, about 1 in 3 adults aged 65 and older reported falling, and falls were linked to 33,000 deaths.
If you want to reduce the risk of falling, regular exercise may be your best bet, according to the latest recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
The influential group came to that conclusion after reviewing evidence from about 20 studies that included adults 65 and older. Half of the studies recruited people who were at a high risk of falling. When the USPSTF experts combined data from several studies, they found exercise reduced the likelihood of falls and injury related to falls.
"There were a range of exercise interventions studied, all of which seemed to be effective," Dr. Alex Krist, vice chairperson of the USPSTF, said in an email.
The exercise programs focused on strength and resistance training, as well as balance and gait. "They included individual and group exercises, as well as referrals to a physical therapist or participation in a class like tai chi," said Krist, who is also a professor of family medicine and population health at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
By Guest Nicole
Eventually it happens to everyone. As we age, even if we're healthy, the heart becomes less flexible, more stiff and just isn't as efficient in processing oxygen as it used to be. In most people the first signs show up in the 50s or early 60s. And among people who don't exercise, the underlying changes can start even sooner.
"The heart gets smaller — stiffer," says Dr. Ben Levine, a sports cardiologist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, in Dallas.
Think of the heart muscle as a rubber band, Levine says. In the beginning, the rubber band is flexible and pliable. But put it in a drawer for 20 years and it will emerge dry and brittle.
"That's what happens to the heart and blood vessels," he says. And down the road, that sort of stiffness can get worse, he notes, leading to the breathlessness and other symptoms of heart failure, an inability of the heart to effectively pump blood to the lungs or throughout the body.
Fortunately for those in midlife, Levine is finding that even if you haven't been an avid exerciser, getting in shape now may head off that decline and help restore your aging heart. He and his colleagues published their recent findings in the American Heart Association's journal, Circulation.
The research team recruited individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 who were mostly sedentary but otherwise healthy.
By Guest Nicole
Unsurprisingly, Freeletics recommends exercise as one of the easiest and most efficient ways to bounce back from a bad day. "We know that a 20-minute bodyweight workout done at home can be just as effective as spending an evening in the gym, so there really are no more excuses not to work on a healthy body and a healthy mind," Freeletics CEO, Daniel Sobhani told Southern Living. But endorphins are a thing, so it's solid advice.
Read the full article: https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/bad-days-per-year-mood-exercise-effect-256267
By Guest Nicole
For people with coronary heart disease, losing weight will not prolong life, a new study reports, but increasing physical activity will.
To their surprise, Norwegian researchers found that in some coronary heart disease patients — those of normal weight — weight loss actually increased the risk for death.
The study, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, included 3,307 patients followed for an average of 16 years. There were 1,493 deaths.
Lowering body mass index by more than 0.10 in a year was associated with a 30 percent increase in the risk for death, but only in those of normal weight at the start. Weight gain was not associated with mortality.
By Guest Nicole
A new study adds evidence to the argument that exercise can help preserve brain health, particularly in the aging brain.
What makes this study different than most is a wrinkle in its methodology. Unlike many studies that look for a connection between exercise and brain health, this one used a specific way of measuring physical fitness, by testing the participants’ maximum oxygen consumption during aerobic exercise (known as the V02 max test, it’s a method recognized by the American Heart Association as an objective way of analyzing cardiovascular fitness--more reliable than people just self-reporting on how fit they think they are).
Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/02/20/study-finds-link-between-physical-fitness-and-brain-health/#6cb0e19172c9
By Guest Nicole
Exercise could help to make your fat tissue healthier, which, hear me out, is a good thing.
According to a timely new study, a single session of exercise may change the molecular workings of fat tissue in ways that, over time, should improve metabolic health.
This finding has particular relevance during the holidays, when, despite our best intentions, so many of us add to our fat stores. Exercise might make these annual bacchanals less metabolically damaging than otherwise.
Most of probably think of our fat tissue as inert and undesirable. But our fat is, in fact, a busy and necessary tissue, producing and sending out multiple biochemical signals that affect biological operations throughout the body.
Fat tissue’s most important responsibility, however, is to securely store fat, and we should hope that it performs this function well. Provocative recent research in both animals and people has found that, if a person’s or animal’s fat tissue is relatively leaky, allowing fatty acids to ooze into the bloodstream, those roving fat blobs can accumulate in other tissues, particularly the muscles and liver. Once there, they contribute to the development of insulin resistance, a serious metabolic condition that often leads to diabetes.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/06/well/move/how-exercise-can-make-for-healthier-fat.html
By Guest Nicole
CNN)You've likely heard that regular exercise can reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or osteoporosis.
But a growing body of research shows it may have another, more surprising effect: improving your sex life.
In men, regular exercise appears to be a natural Viagra: It's associated with a lower risk of erectile problems.
Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/28/health/sex-exercise-davis/index.html
By Guest Nicole
If you’re tired of feeling bloated and puffy, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Over half of our total body weight is water and the amount we retain on a given day is directly correlated to what we eat. The key to flushing the water-weight quickly is to take a break from foods that are high in sodium like canned goods, chips, pizza, pasta, and even sugary foods as well. Author and personal trainer Jen Widerstrom has come up with a few easy ways to wave goodbye to the bloat in just three days. Here is what you need to know to get started.
Start With a Potassium Water Flush and Caffeine Chaser
As strange as it sounds, the key to getting the water weight down is to actually drink more water. To spice up your water, add lemons, cucumbers, and kiwis to hydrate your body and give it to a dose of potassium. Potassium counterbalances the effect of sodium in the body so it’s an important part of your diet when you’re trying to shed the weight. Pair this drink with a caffeine chaser such as tea or an espresso shot, which acts as a natural diuretic. Make sure to avoid sugar and dairy since these ingredients can actually make you bloat.
Pair White Bean Hummus With Water Veggies at Lunch
Studies show that white kidney beans have a compound that acts as a starch blocker. For every gram of carbs you eat, you retain three grams of water, but white beans inhibit digestion of these carbs so you don’t have to accumulate any water weight. Aside from that benefit, this vegetable is also full of fiber which can help clean you out. The most powerful way to enjoy this snack is with cucumbers and celery which have the highest water content of any vegetable and are extremely low in calories.
Make a Water-Shedding Veggie Bowl
Leafy greens are a crucial part of water weight loss because they draw water out of your body. So start with a base of spinach and add asparagus (a natural diuretic) and broccoli (which is high in potassium) on top. Top with dried apricots which can add a nice texture and all-natural sweetness to the dish. Feel free to swap out the greens, choosing from kale or Swiss chard or any other dark leafy vegetable you enjoy.
Make Banana Tea for Dessert
To make banana tea, put a whole banana – peel included – in a pot of water and bring it to a boil for around 10 minutes. The peel actually has more potassium than the banana itself and is full of magnesium which can help you sleep better. A good night’s rest is also important for losing weight because your body goes into fat-burning mode while you snooze. You can also add a pinch of cinnamon to give the drink more flavor, just avoid adding any sweeteners to avoid an insulin spike.
Add Exercise to Your Daily Routine
Aside from your diet, light exercise is very helpful in shedding the water weight. Either before breakfast or after dinner, make time to go for a 20 minute walk at the park or just around your neighborhood. You don’t have to do an intense workout to enjoy the benefits, the key is to get your blood flowing, improve your circulation, and help you digest your food.
By Guest Nicole
New research shows a major advantage for those who are highly active
May 10, 2017
Brigham Young University
Despite their best efforts, no scientist has ever come close to stopping humans from aging. Even anti-aging creams can't stop Old Father Time. But new research reveals you may be able to slow one type of aging -- the kind that happens inside your cells. As long as you're willing to sweat.
Despite their best efforts, no scientist has ever come close to stopping humans from aging. Even anti-aging creams can't stop Old Father Time.
But new research from Brigham Young University reveals you may be able to slow one type of aging -- the kind that happens inside your cells. As long as you're willing to sweat.
"Just because you're 40, doesn't mean you're 40 years old biologically," Tucker said. "We all know people that seem younger than their actual age. The more physically active we are, the less biological aging takes place in our bodies."
The study, published in the medical journal Preventive Medicine, finds that people who have consistently high levels of physical activity have significantly longer telomeres than those who have sedentary lifestyles, as well as those who are moderately active.
Telomeres are the protein endcaps of our chromosomes. They're like our biological clock and they're extremely correlated with age; each time a cell replicates, we lose a tiny bit of the endcaps. Therefore, the older we get, the shorter our telomeres.
Exercise science professor Larry Tucker found adults with high physical activity levels have telomeres with a biological aging advantage of nine years over those who are sedentary, and a seven-year advantage compared to those who are moderately active. To be highly active, women had to engage in 30 minutes of jogging per day (40 minutes for men), five days a week.
"If you want to see a real difference in slowing your biological aging, it appears that a little exercise won't cut it," Tucker said. "You have to work out regularly at high levels."
Tucker analyzed data from 5,823 adults who participated in the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, one of the few indexes that includes telomere length values for study subjects. The index also includes data for 62 activities participants might have engaged in over a 30-day window, which Tucker analyzed to calculate levels of physical activity.
His study found the shortest telomeres came from sedentary people -- they had 140 base pairs of DNA less at the end of their telomeres than highly active folks. Surprisingly, he also found there was no significant difference in telomere length between those with low or moderate physical activity and the sedentary people.
Although the exact mechanism for how exercise preserves telomeres is unknown, Tucker said it may be tied to inflammation and oxidative stress. Previous studies have shown telomere length is closely related to those two factors and it is known that exercise can suppress inflammation and oxidative stress over time.
"We know that regular physical activity helps to reduce mortality and prolong life, and now we know part of that advantage may be due to the preservation of telomeres," Tucker said.
Materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
By Bible Speaks
Fathers Set the Good Example! - You will be Happy to Train them when they are young!- Before they decide on their own! - You may preserve their Life!
(Proverbs 22:6) 6 Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it."
Does Proverbs 22:6 guarantee that if Christian children are properly trained, they will not depart from the way of Jehovah?
This verse reads: “Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it.” Just as the bending of a twig influences its growth into a tree, children who are properly trained are more inclined to continue to serve Jehovah when they grow up.
As every parent knows, such training takes considerable time and effort. To make Christian disciples of their children, parents must carefully instruct, admonish, encourage, and discipline them as well as set a good example. They must do this consistently and lovingly for many years.
Does this mean, though, that if a child does turn away from serving Jehovah, parental training is at fault? In some cases, parents may have been deficient in their efforts to bring their children up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah. (Ephesians 6:4)
On the other hand, the proverb is not a guarantee that good training will produce children who are faithful to God. Parents cannot mold their children into whatever they wish. Children, like adults, have free will and must ultimately choose their own course in life. (Deuteronomy 30:15, 16, 19)
Despite the most earnest efforts of parents, some children become unfaithful, as did Solomon, who wrote the verse we are considering. Even Jehovah had sons who proved unfaithful.
Thus, this scripture does not mean that in every case a child “will not turn aside from it” but that generally speaking this would be the result. What an encouragement this is to parents! Parents should take heart from knowing that their earnest efforts to train their children in the way of Jehovah will produce good results. Since their role is important and their influence is great, parents are encouraged to take their role seriously.—
(Deuteronomy 6:6-7) 6 And these words that I am commanding you today must prove to be on your heart; 7 and you must inculcate them in your son and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. . ."
Even when children turn aside from serving Jehovah, parents who have been conscientious in training their children can entertain the hope that their children will come to their senses. Bible truth is powerful, and parental training is not quickly forgotten.
(Psalm 19:7) . . .The law of Jehovah is perfect, bringing back the soul. The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy, making the inexperienced one wise."
By Guest Nicole
Being mistreated at work can make people take out their frustrations on loved ones at home. But a new study suggests that getting more exercise and sleep may help people better cope with those negative emotions by leaving them at work, where they belong.
People who burned more calories on a daily basis—by doing the equivalent of a long walk or swim—were less likely to take out their anger about work issues on people they lived with, the researchers found in the new study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
The researchers used activity trackers to record sleep patterns and physical activity of 118 graduate students with full-time jobs. Each participant, and one person he or she lived with, also completed surveys about sleep, exercise and feelings of mistreatment at home or work.
Previous research shows that employees who are belittled or insulted by colleagues are likely to vent their frustrations and behave angrily toward people outside of work, says study co-author Shannon Taylor, a management professor at the University of Central Florida's College of Business.
The new study backs up this idea, but offers a bit of good news, as well: Employees who averaged more than 10,500 steps a day or burned at least 2,100 calories were less likely to mistreat their cohabitants than those who averaged fewer steps or burned fewer calories.
The researchers even calculated the exact energy expenditure needed to protect against work-to-home emotional spillover. Burning an additional 587 calories, the equivalent of a 90-minute brisk walk or an hour-long swim for a 195-pound male, can “substantially reduce the harmful effects of workplace undermining,” they wrote.
The findings also revealed that when employees felt they had a bad night’s sleep because of work issues, they were more likely to be grouchy at home. “When you’re tired, you’re either less able or less motivated to regulate yourself,” says co-author Larissa Barber, professor of psychology at Northern Illinois University.
Physical activity seems to counterbalance poor sleep, Barber says, because it promotes healthy brain functions needed to properly regulate emotions and behavior. “This study suggests that high amounts of exercise can be at least one way to compensate for sleep troubles that lead to negative behaviors at home,” she says.
Barber acknowledges that finding time to work out and get a full night’s sleep can be difficult when work pressures are mounting—and that often, job stress can directly relate to sleep quality. (Her previous research suggests that not only can a bad day at the office keep us up at night, but that poor sleep can also affect how we interpret events at work.)
But, she says, making the effort to burn some extra calories—and blow off some steam—can be worth it. It’s not only good for you, says Taylor, but it can benefit the people you live with as well.
“I would advise people to think of sleep and exercise from an investment perspective rather than another task on the to-do list,” Barber says. “It may seem like more work upfront, but the boost in motivation and energy can help you avoid sinking deeper into workplace stress and productivity problems.”
By Sammy Burke
Losing body fat fast is a great accomplishment, and doing so without spending excessive time exercising is even better. Dr. Jade Teta, an integrative physician and fitness trainer, created a program called Metabolic Prime that is designed to burn fat faster while spending much less time exercising.
According to studies and experts, any type of exercise that helps a person burn more calories than they need in a day will cause weight loss. So what makes an exercise program like Metabolic Prime a better choice than any other regular program?
Metabolic Prime introduces you to “Metabolic Micro-Bursts” a new exercise strategy that is short, fun, thrilling, and can be done anywhere without weights or gym equipment. These are 45-second movements that take only 15 minutes per workout session to get results.
Metabolic Micro-Bursts moves, or Micro-Bursts for short, has been promoted by Dr. Teta as one of the most effective training methods ever to come down the pike, both for burning fat and for improving health. One of the most popular claims for Micro-Bursts is that it burns a lot more calories than conventional cardio.
Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds or achieve a drastic body transformation, optimizing the way your body burns calories may be beneficial. You can change your metabolism to work faster just by exercising in a certain way.
Most people think exercising to burn fat is simply about working out hard or long as they can. This approach may work for some people, but according to Dr. Teta, if you understand the relationship between metabolism and exercise you would know that exercise is not just about quantity, longer is not always better. Intelligent exercise provides just the right type of stimulus, in just the right amounts, to get the body to respond.
"The Micro-bursts strategy in Metabolic Prime time warps your metabolism back to the days when you could eat and move more freely said Dr. Teta. "The special workouts reawakens the “youth genes” currently dormant inside your body and returns you to your metabolic prime".
The first step towards getting a faster metabolism is to know what your metabolism is, how it works, and the important steps to get your metabolism burning. With the right information and guidance, it is easy to ignite your metabolism so you can get the fat loss results you want. With the Metabolic Prime System, Dr. Teta promises it’s possible to do this.
Dr. Jade Teta http://jadeteta.com/
Adrian Kellogg http://musclebuildingdigital.com/
By Guest Nicole
Why would a sports medicine physician teach fitness classes? It's a common question I hear all the time.
My belief is that being a doctor is as much about preventing illness and injury as it is about treating these problems after they happen. Across the spectrum of the human body, no drug is as effective as the medicine of exercise. For that reason, I have focused my attention on preventive health using the medicine of fitness.
In addition to my busy sports medicine practice, I have developed the world's biggest, free-standing, physician-led exercise clinic. My goal is to prescribe the medicine of exercise to my IronStrength community, thousands of people who show up and work out with me every year, and to teach doctors around the world how they can do the same.
Over the years, it's become abundantly clear to me that intensity matters—so does consistency! That's why it's essential for all of us not to let bumps in the road—like holiday travel, too many holiday commitments, or too much time with family—get in the way of our motivation or our routine!
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is all about efficiency and intensity. It's about how hard you work and how much work you do in any given time period. It's the perfect workout for someone who has no time. These workouts are designed to hit as many muscles as possible in the simplest way possible. Many of the exercises involve multiple muscle groups and are based on functional movement—they'll train you for natural movements you do every day.
I define fitness as a combination of cardiopulmonary fitness and strength. The beauty of these HIIT workouts is that they address both components of fitness at the same time and can be done anytime, anywhere.
A 10-minute-or-less workout isn't ideal, but if you HIIT it hard (pun intended!), it can make a huge difference. Even if it's been the busiest day ever and you have no time and you have no motivation, just start exercising. Maybe you'll have to cut it short. But maybe after a couple of minutes you'll start to feel better. Maybe you'll get into it more and more as you go. Maybe your mood will brighten. And maybe, just maybe, you'll squeeze in more time than you thought, or work harder and fit more into the time you have.
Here's another tip: Choose the workout wisely! Workouts do more than just make you sweat; they can help eliminate the excuses, too. Here's a short workout that doesn't need any equipment or even very much space! It's perfect for your bedroom, a hotel room, or anywhere you have just a bit of floor space. So simple! All you have to do is tie your shoes and get it done. Heck, you don't even need shoes. Try it barefoot.
For a full-body HIIT workout in just 10 minutes, start with a three-minute warm-up of jumping jacks, pogo hops, and forward jacks. Rest for one minute. Perform these three exercises for one minute, cycling through the set two times.
Then, give these exercises a try:
Stand with your hands on the back of your head and your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then jump as high as you can. When you land, immediately squat and jump again.
Reverse lunge with toe touch
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step back with your right leg and lower your body until your knee almost touches the floor. Stand up, swing your right leg as high as you can, and touch your toes with your left hand. Alternate sides for the allotted time.
Burpee with push-up
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat as deeply as you can and place your hands on the floor. Kick back into a push-up position. Do one push-up. Bring your legs back to a squat and jump up, throwing your hands above your head. Land and repeat.
If you find yourself getting really into things, add on another 10 minutes by resting for one minute and then performing the next three exercises for one minute each, cycling through the set three times.
Assume a push-up position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. Without allowing your lower-back posture to change, lift your left foot off the floor and move your left knee toward your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat with your right leg. Alternate legs, moving quickly.
Single-leg toe touches.
Stand on your right leg with your left leg out in front of you, raised off the floor. Place your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height. Bend your right leg at the knee and squat down to touch your left hand to the toe of your right foot, then come back up. Repeat with your left leg and continue, alternating for the allotted time.
Lie faceup with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees so that your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Place your fingers on the sides of your forehead. Lift your shoulders off the floor and hold them there. Twist your upper body to the right as you pull your right knee in as fast as you can until it touches your left elbow. Simultaneously straighten your left leg. Return to the starting position and repeat to the other side.
By Dr. Jordan Metz/MBG
By Guest Nicole
Exercise may be an effective treatment for depression and might even help prevent us from becoming depressed in the first place, according to three timely new studies. The studies pool outcomes from past research involving more than a million men and women and, taken together, strongly suggest that regular exercise alters our bodies and brains in ways that make us resistant to despair.
Scientists have long questioned whether and how physical activity affects mental health. While we know that exercise alters the body, how physical activity affects moods and emotions is less well understood.
Past studies have sometimes muddied rather than clarified the body and mind connections. Some randomized controlled trials have found that exercise programs, often involving walking, ease symptoms in people with major depression.
But many of these studies have been relatively small in scale or had other scientific deficiencies. A major 2013 review of studies related to exercise and depression concluded that, based on the evidence then available, it was impossible to say whether exercise improved the condition. Other past reviews similarly have questioned whether the evidence was strong enough to say that exercise could stave off depression.
A group of global public-health researchers, however, suspected that newer studies and a more rigorous review of the statistical evidence might bolster the case for exercise as a treatment of and block against depression.
So for the new analyses, they first gathered all of the most recent and best-designed studies about depression and exercise.
Then, for perhaps the most innovative of the new studies, which was published last month in Preventive Medicine, they focused on whether exercise could help to prevent someone from developing depression.
The scientists knew that many past studies of that topic had relied on people providing reports about how much they had exercised. We human beings tend to be notoriously unreliable in our memories of past workouts, though.
So the researchers decided to use only past studies that had objectively measured participants’ aerobic fitness, which will rise or fall depending on whether and how much someone exercises. Participants’ mental health also had to have been determined with standard testing at the start and finish of the studies, and the follow-up time needed to have been at least a year and preferably longer.
Ultimately, the researchers found several large-scale past studies that met their criteria. Together, they contained data on more than 1,140,000 adult men and women.
Among these million-plus people, the links between fitness and mental health turned out to be considerable. When the researchers divided the group into thirds, based on how aerobically fit they were, those men and women with the lowest fitness were about 75 percent more likely to have been given diagnoses of depression than the people with the greatest fitness. The men and women in the middle third were almost 25 percent more likely to develop depression than those who were the most fit.
In a separate study (some of the scientists were involved in each of the reviews), researchers looked at whether exercise might be useful as a treatment for depression. In that analysis, which was published in June in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, they pooled data from 25 past studies in which people with clinically diagnosed depression began some type of exercise program. Each study had to include a control group that did not exercise and be otherwise methodologically sophisticated.
The pooled results persuasively showed that exercise, especially if it is moderately strenuous, such as brisk walking or jogging, and supervised, so that people complete the entire program, has a “large and significant effect” against depression, the authors wrote. People’s mental health tended to demonstrably improve if they were physically active.
The final review offers some hints about why. Published in February in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, it took on the difficult issue of what happens within our bodies during and after exercise that might affect and improve our moods. The researchers analyzed 20 past studies in which scientists had obtained blood samples from people with major depression before and after they had exercised. The samples on the whole indicated that exercise significantly reduced various markers of inflammation and increased levels of a number of different hormones and other biochemicals that are thought to contribute to brain health.
But the researchers also caution that most of the physiological studies they reviewed were too small and short-term to allow for firm conclusions about how exercise might change the brain to help fight off gloom.
Still, the three reviews together make a sturdy case for exercise as a means to bolster mental as well as physical health, said Felipe Barreto Schuch, an exercise scientist at the Centro Universitário La Salle in Canoas, Brazil, who, with Brendon Stubbs, a professor at King’s College in London, was a primary author on all of the reviews.
Many more experiments are still needed to determine the ideal amounts and types of exercise that might help both to prevent and treat depression, Dr. Schuch said.
But he encouraged anyone feeling overwhelmed by recent events, or just by life, to go for a run or a bike ride. “The main message” of his and his colleagues’ reviews, he said, “is that people need to be active to improve their mental health.”
By Guest Nicole
Diet sodas may undermine weight loss efforts, a new study suggests.
Researchers put 81 overweight women with Type 2 diabetes on the same weight-control diet, except that half drank diet beverages five times a week after their main meal at lunch, while the other half substituted plain water. The study is in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
After 24 weeks, the water group had lost an average of 14 pounds, while the diet soda group lost 11.5 pounds. Average body mass index declined by 2.49 in the water group compared with 2.06 in the diet-drink group. Compared with the diet soda group, the water group also had greater improvements in fasting insulin, postprandial glucose level and other measures of diabetes severity.
Waist circumference declined in those who drank water or diet beverages, with no significant difference between the two groups.
According to the senior author, Dr. Hamid R. Farshchi, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Nottingham, the mechanism remains unclear.
But, he said, “The best drink for your health not only for weight loss but also for carbohydrate metabolism is water. Still, obese people are used to a sweet taste, and it’s very difficult for them to just say goodbye to sugary food.”
By Guest Nicole
Exercise may aid in weight control and help to fend off diabetes by improving the ability of fat cells to burn calories, a new study reports. It may do this in part by boosting levels of a hormone called irisin, which is produced during exercise and which may help to turn ordinary white fat into much more metabolically active brown fat, the findings suggest.
Irisin (named for the Greek goddess Iris) entered the scientific literature in 2012 after researchers from Harvard and other universities published a study in Nature that showed the previously unknown hormone was created in working muscles in mice. From there, it would enter the bloodstream and migrate to other tissues, particularly to fat, where it would jump-start a series of biochemical processes that caused some of the fat cells, normally white, to turn brown.
Brown fat, which is actually brown in color, burns calories. It also is known to contribute to improved insulin and blood sugar control, lessening the risk for Type 2 diabetes. Most babies, including human infants, are plump with brown fat, but we humans lose most of our brown fat as we grow up. By the time we are adults, we usually retain very little brown fat.
In the 2012 study, the researchers reported that if they injected irisin into living mice, it not only turned some white fat into brown fat, it apparently also prevented the rodents from becoming obese, even on a high-fat, high-calorie diet.
But in the years since, some scientists have questioned whether irisin affects fat cells in people to the same extent as it seems to in mice — and even whether the hormone exists in people at all.
A study published last year in Cell Metabolism by the same group of researchers who had conducted the first irisin study, however, does seem to have established that irisin is produced in humans. They found some irisin in sedentary people, but the levels were much higher in those who exercise often.
But whether irisin acted beneficially in human fat cells the same way as it did in the bodies and cells of mice was still an open and disputed question.
So for the new study, which was published in August in the American Journal of Physiology — Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers at the University of Florida turned to white fat tissue from women who had undergone breast reduction surgery at the university hospital (with permission) and also to a very small amount of brown fat from people who had had surgery to treat kidney cancer. Most of our meager stores of brown fat cluster around our kidneys.
The researchers, who had previously studied irisin’s effects in mice, had a form of the human hormone available and now set out to marinate the fat cells with it, using three different dosages.
Some of the white fat cells that they treated were mature, while others were baby cells, essentially stem cells that could grow into fat or other types of tissue. They also bathed the brown fat with irisin.
All of the cells were soaked with the hormone for four days.
Throughout, the scientists checked the levels of a protein called UCP1 that is known to contribute to the browning of white fat, as well as for other biochemical markers that would indicate that the white cells were browning.
They found such markers, particularly in the cells that were exposed to moderate or high doses of irisin. Those cells soon began to produce significantly more UCP1 than other cells and also were more metabolically active, meaning that, in the body, they would burn calories.
At the same time, many of the stem cells in the fat tissue exposed to irisin ceased being fat cells and instead became a type of cell that matures into bone. The tissue treated with irisin, in fact, wound up with about 40 percent fewer mature fat cells than tissue untouched by the hormone.
Irisin had no effects on brown fat.
The results strongly indicate that irisin nudges human white fat to become brown and also suppresses the formation of new white fat, says Li-Jun Yang, a professor of hematopathology at the University of Florida and senior author of the study (which was funded by the scientists themselves). It also seems to promote the formation of bone.
“I think this study helps us to understand how, at a cellular level, exercise makes us healthier,” Dr. Yang says.
But these were living cells, not living bodies, and the effects of irisin in actual people still need to be established, she says, especially since many studies have shown that exercise rarely results in significant weight loss. Scientists also do not know what types of exercise lead to the greatest production of irisin or what amount of irisin might be ideal for health purposes.
Dr. Yang hopes to conduct studies of the hormone in people.
But even now, the science related to irisin is compelling enough, she says, that “my advice is, exercise as much as you can. We know it’s healthy and now we’re beginning to understand better why.”
By Guest Nicole
By Guest Nicole
FRIDAY, Aug. 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Couch potatoes have a higher risk of developing dementia in old age, a new study reports.
Seniors who get little to no exercise have a 50 percent greater risk of dementia compared with those who regularly take part in moderate or heavy amounts of physical activity, the researchers found.
Moderate physical activity can include walking briskly, bicycling slower than 10 miles an hour, ballroom dancing or gardening, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It doesn't require intensive physical activity to decrease risk of dementia," said senior researcher Dr. Zaldy Tan. He is medical director of the Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Program at University of California, Los Angeles. "Even moderate amounts are fine."
Study participants aged 75 or older gained the most protective benefit from exercise against the onset of dementia, the findings showed.
"The message here is that you're never too old to exercise and gain benefit from it," Tan said. "These patients derive the most benefit from exercise because they are the ones who are at the age of greatest risk for dementia."
Brain scans of participants showed those who exercise are better able to withstand the effects of aging on the brain, the study authors said.
With age, the brain tends to shrink. But people who regularly exercised tended to have larger brain volumes than those who were sedentary, Tan and his colleagues found.
The new study involved about 3,700 participants in the Framingham Heart Study, a federally funded health research project begun in 1948. All were 60 and older.
Researchers measured how often the participants exercised, and tracked them over a decade. During the study, 236 people developed dementia.
To see how physical activity might have affected dementia risk, the researchers broke the study population down into fifths that ranged from sedentary to highly active.
The one-fifth containing the most sedentary people were 50 percent more likely to develop dementia than the other four-fifths, the investigators found. In other words, even a little exercise helped.
The research team also compared physical activity to brain scans taken of about 2,000 study participants, and found a direct connection between exercise and brain size as people aged. Those who worked out had more total brain volume.
There are several theories why exercise might help brain health. Increased blood flow caused by physical activity might "beef up" the brain, increasing its volume and promoting the growth of additional neurons, said Dr. Malaz Boustani. He is research director of the Healthy Aging Brain Center at the Indiana University Center for Aging Research and a spokesman for the American Federation for Aging Research.
"Physical exercise might end up leading to increased density of the connections between the neurons and create alternative pathways for signals" that might otherwise be impeded due to age-related brain shrinkage, he added.
Boustani likened this process to a street system in a city. The more alternative routes are available to drivers, the less likely it is that a blockage on one street will lead to a city-wide traffic jam.
Exercise also promotes secretion of helpful brain chemicals such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Tan explained that "BDNF actually encourages the growth of new neurons, and the preservation of those we already have."
Heather Snyder, senior director of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer's Association, said that the true answer is likely a combination of factors related to exercise.
"It's likely there are multiple benefits, and they all funnel together," Snyder said.
According to Boustani, these results support other studies that have shown an association between exercise and protection against dementia, but clinical trials aimed at proving a definite link have so far been disappointing.
"When we take it to the next step and start doing experiments, randomizing patients to physical exercise versus no physical exercise and see if that will protect their brain, the story becomes a little bit muddy and unclear," he said.
Regardless, Boustani said he prescribes moderate intensity physical exercise to his patients as one way to preserve their brain health -- 5,000 steps a day for about a month, increasing to 10,000 steps over time.
"Given that there's no harm, and there's a possible benefit to the brain that hasn't been fully explained, I work with my patients and their families to help improve their physical activity," he said.
The findings were published online recently in Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.
By Guest Nicole
Women over 40 are having more babies than the under 20s for the first time in nearly 70 years, official figures for England and Wales show.
The Office for National Statistics data showed there were 697,852 live births in 2015.
There were 15.2 births per 1,000 women aged over 40, compared with just 14.5 per 1,000 women in their teens.
The last time the over 40s had the higher fertility rate was in 1947, in the wake of WWII.
The figures show two key trends in who is having children and when in England and Wales.
The teenage pregnancy rate has been in long-term decline and has more than halved from the 33 births per 1,000 teenagers in 1990.
Meanwhile, pregnancies have soared in older age groups from 5.3 per 1,000 in 1990.
The average age of having a child is now 30.3 - a figure that has been increasing since 1975.
Advances in fertility treatment as well as more women in higher education and attitudes around the importance of a career and the rising costs of childbearing are behind the rise, the ONS says.
Liz McLaren, head of vital statistics outputs at the ONS, said: "The trend for women to have babies at older ages continued in 2015.
"Over the last 40 years, the percentage of live births to women aged 35 and over has increased considerably.
"Women aged 40 and over now have a higher fertility rate than women aged under 20 - this was last recorded in the 1940s."
The data also shows that fertility rates have dropped in all age groups under 25 while increasing for all age groups 30 and over.
Women aged between 30 and 34 have the highest fertility of any age group - with 111 births per 1,000 women.
The number of births to women born outside the UK has also continued its rise, reaching 27.5% of all births.
Prof Adam Balen, the chairman of the British Fertility Society, said: "We know that female fertility starts to decline gradually from the late 20s and more rapidly from the mid-30s onwards.
"While the risks should never be overplayed, men and women should be aware that reproductive outcomes are poorer in older women.
"As well as it potentially taking longer to get pregnant, later maternity can involve a greater risk of miscarriage, a more complicated labour, and medical intervention at the birth."
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said: "The trend towards older motherhood is here to stay, and there are many understandable reasons why women today are waiting longer to start or expand their families than those in previous decades.
"Rather than bemoaning this development, we should seek to understand and support the decisions women make.
"More affordable childcare and improved maternity rights may make it easier for some women to start their families earlier if they wish, but we also need to ensure we have high quality reproductive healthcare services configured to meet women's needs, whatever the age at which they conceive."
By Guest Nicole
MONDAY, April 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Sticking to a moderate or intense exercise regimen may improve a man's odds of surviving prostate cancer, a new study suggests.
The American Cancer Society study included more than 10,000 men, aged 50 to 93, who were diagnosed between 1992 and 2011 with localized prostate cancer -- meaning it had not spread beyond the gland. The men provided researchers with information about their physical activity before and after their diagnosis.
Men with the highest levels of exercise before their diagnosis were 30 percent less likely to die of their prostate cancer than those who exercised the least, according to a team led by Ying Wang, senior epidemiologist at the cancer society's epidemiology research program.
More exercise seemed to confer an even bigger benefit: Men with the highest levels of exercise after diagnosis were 34 percent less likely to die of prostate cancer than those who did the least exercise, the study found.
The findings were to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, in New Orleans.
While the study couldn't prove cause-and-effect, "our results support evidence that prostate cancer survivors should adhere to physical activity guidelines, and suggest that physicians should consider promoting a physically active lifestyle to their prostate cancer patients," Wang said in an AACR news release.
The researchers also examined the effects of walking as the only form of exercise. They found that walking for four to six hours a week before diagnosis was also associated with a one-third lower risk of death from prostate cancer. But timing was key, since walking aftera diagnosis was not associated with a statistically significant lower risk of death, the study authors said.
"The American Cancer Society recommends adults engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week," Wang said, and "these results indicate that following these guidelines might be associated with better prognosis."
Two experts in prostate cancer care said the findings shouldn't come as a big surprise.
"Physical activity helps all aspects of health," said Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urology specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "This study reinforces that a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, is one of the few aspects of post-cancer outcome that a patient can control."
Dr. Manish Vira, of Northwell Health's Smith Institute for Urology, in New Hyde Park, N.Y., agreed.
The study "adds to the growing body of evidence that regular exercise is associated with better prostate cancer outcomes," he said. "Multiple studies have shown improvements in other cancers as well, including breast, colon and lung cancer."
"Regular exercise improves patients' cardiovascular health, quality of life, and likely, their overall ability to fight disease," Vira added.
Wang stressed that further research is needed to see if the findings might differ by patient age at diagnosis, weight or smoking.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about prostate cancer.
SOURCES: Elizabeth Kavaler, M.D., urology specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Manish Vira, M.D., vice chair, urologic research, Northwell Health's The Arthur Smith Institute for Urology, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; American Association for Cancer Research, news release, April 18, 2016
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