For years, exercise has been recognized as an effective way to prevent stress-induced depression, yet until now the mechanism had not been understood. It was initially believed that trained skeletal muscle produced a substance protective towards the brain. However, researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shared their findings using mice models showing something different. Instead of generating a protective substance in the body, the exercised skeletal muscle produces an enzyme that helps to excrete damaging, stress-related substances from the blood. Depression remains to be a widely misunderstood disorder, but this research reinforces the importance of exercise in its treatment and could provide insight into novel therapies. What other non-pharmacological interventions do you recommend to patients who experience stress-induced depression?
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A recent study published in British Medical Journal found that older adults who participated in structured exercise programs were less likely to experience falls or had at least fewer injuries than those who did not exercise. The investigators analyzed 17 previous studies in hopes to find a relationship between exercise and prevention of falls. Some of the exercises patients participated in included Tai Chi and gait, balance, and strength/resistance training. A 37% decrease of injuries whether it be bruises or broken bones was seen in the patients who exercised. These patients were also 61% less likely to have broken bones following falls, and were 42% less likely to be admitted to the hospital due to a fall/injury. Researchers suggest that exercising may be sharpening the mind and as well as improving balance. What types of exercise programs do you recommend to your older patients?
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According to a study published in British Journal of Sports Medicine, older adults can cut their risk of heart attack and stroke and reduce their risk of death by as much as 30% by being generally active. Researchers followed 4,232 Swedish adults aged 60+ for 12 years and evaluated lifestyle parameters including range of daily life activities such as gardening, home improvement, car maintenance, and blackberry picking. The study discovered that individuals who were more active on a daily basis had a much lower cardiovascular risk profile than individuals who were generally sedentary, irrespective of how much formal exercise they took. Authors suggested that these findings are important for older adults because it is difficult to achieve recommended exercise intensity level this population.
What are some other physical activities you recommend for older adults? How else can we promote and encourage active lifestyle to reduce risk of heart disease?
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According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, there is link between better performance scores in English, Math and Science and children who participate in daily vigorous exercise. The study evaluated nearly 5,000 11-year old students (specifically concentrating on intensity and duration of exercise) and discovered that the more intense the activity, the greater the impact on scores in all three subjects. Additionally, the link maintained at ages 13, 15, and 16. Researchers suggested that the findings could be explained by the fact that physical activity has positive impacts on brain structure and function, time on task in the classroom, and self-esteem.
What physical activities do you suggest children participate in? How do we educate our school systems to value and incorporate physical activity to improve academic performance?
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Recent study published in British Journal of Sports Medicine found that long hours of TV watching and sedentary life style in general can damage your arteries. The study included adults in their 30’s who filled out questionnaires regarding their TV watching and exercise habits. The results showed that participants who watched longer hours of TV had stiffer arteries a few years later. The changes can increase the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, exercise did not reverse the effects from a sedentary life style. The research recommends no more than 2 hours of sitting in front of the TV or laptop. What activities can you incorporate while watching TV? Have you evaluated if your lifestyle is sedentary?
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Resveratrol is the antioxidant found in red grapes used to make red wine. According to the new research resveratrol is found to block the health benefits of exercise in older men. The study was done on 27 healthy men that were nonsmokers and around 65 years of age. Resveratrol was found to offset the positive effects of exercise on blood pressure, cholesterol levels and body’s capacity to transport and use oxygen. There were previous animal studies reporting that resveratrol may improve the benefits of exercise on heart health and diabetes. What do you commonly recommend resveratrol for to your patients? How satisfied are you with the effectiveness?
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Lifestyle modification has been the corner stone in both preventing and treating type 2 Diabetes. However a recent Dutch study, published in the Journal of Radiologyconcluded that exercise alone may benefit type 2 DM patients with no other additional modifications; such as diet. The study included 12 subjects that were willing to do moderate exercise for six months. Outcomes were measured using an MRI that assessed heart function and the amount of visceral fat before and after the exercise. Results revealed that there were no changes in heart function, despite the significant decrease in visceral fat around the heart, liver and abdomen. How do you encourage your patients to exercise regularly?
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A new study published in Exercise & Science in Sports and Medicine evaluated 72 older women in terms of benefits of exercising two, four or six times a week. Researchers reported that women in all 3 groups were more fit and had better endurance by the end of 4-month experiment. It was surprising that women who exercised 6 times a week ended up spending fewer additional calories compared to the beginning of the study, while women who exercised 2 times a week were burning additional 100 calories a day, and women exercising 4 times a week – additional 225 calories. Women exercising 6 times a week were less likely to engage in additional physical activity outside of their scheduled workouts. How will the results of this research impact your future exercise routine? How well do you believe this data could apply to you, your patients or general public?
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