Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Reducing Alzheimer’s risk through exercise – Two news releases

Burning more calories linked with greater gray matter volume, reduced Alzheimer’s risk (11 March 2016EurkAlert)

Excerpt – “Whether they jog, swim, garden or dance, physically active older persons have larger gray matter volume in key brain areas responsible for memory and cognition, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UCLA.

The findings, published today in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, showed also that people who had Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment experienced less gray matter volume reduction over time if their exercise-associated calorie burn was high.

A growing number of studies indicate physical activity can help protect the brain from cognitive decline, said investigator James T. Becker, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, Pitt School of Medicine. But typically people are more sedentary as they get older, which also is when the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias increases.

Different kinds of physical activity shown to improve brain volume & cut Alzheimer’s risk in half (another 11 March 2016 EurkAlert)

Excerpt- “LOS ANGELES, CA/PITTSBURGH, PA, March 11, 2016: A new study shows that a variety of physical activities from walking to gardening and dancing can improve brain volume and cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 50%.

This research, conducted by investigators at UCLA Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh, is the first to show that virtually any type of aerobic physical activity can improve brain structure and reduce Alzheimer’s risk. The study, funded by the National Institute of Aging, was published on March 11 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

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March 11, 2016 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

[AHA article] (Aerobics /Preventive Medicine pioneer) Dr. Kenneth Cooper is keynote speaker at Scientific Sessions 2013

Back in college I took a “physical fitness” class.  One of Dr. Cooper’s books was required reading. Very inspiring. Good to see he is still a living example of his well tested theories of aerobic exercise and wellness  program benefits.

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From the 18 November American Heart Association article

In the early 1960s, when the great Space Race was being fueled by the escalating Cold War, a former track and basketball star from Oklahoma envisioned himself soaring through the Milky Way.

This tall, lanky fellow was an Army doctor, but the lure of space flight led him to transfer to the Air Force. He became certified in aerospace medicine. Then he developed training programs for astronauts – some for before they took off, others to help them remain in shape while floating weightlessly in outer space. All along, his sights were set on becoming among a select group of “science astronauts.”

Imagine how different life on Earth would be today if Kenneth Cooper, MD, MPH, hadn’t shifted gears.

Cooper actually was still in the Air Force when he published “Aerobics,” a book that did as much for the health of Americans as the Apollo 11 lunar landing did for the aerospace industry. Cooper’s book, by the way, came out first – more than a year before Neil Armstrong planted the U.S. flag on the moon.

That book is now available in more than 40 languages. Cooper has spoken in more than 50 countries, and written 18 more books. He is the “Father of Aerobics” and a big reason why the number of runners in the United States spiked from 100,000 when his book came out to 34 million in 1984.

Having proven the benefits of preventive medicine and wellness in the military, he was ready to shift to the private sector.

The private sector, however, wasn’t ready for him.

When he opened his clinic in Dallas, naysayers told him, “You can’t limit your practice to taking care of healthy people. People only want to see their physicians when they’re sick.” And those were the kind ones. Others turned him in to the local medical society’s board of censors.

“They thought I was going to kill people by putting them on treadmills for stress testing,” Cooper said. “I’d been doing it in the Air Force for 10 years!”

The big picture turned out more clearly. Baby Boomers became exercisers, triggering a fitness craze that produced what he calls “the glory years of health in America.” As Boomers have aged, and future generations have made fitness a lower priority, health had spiraled in the wrong direction. It’s been 17 years since the Surgeon General recommended 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, and the statistics show that most Americans aren’t doing it.

“For many years, I’ve put people into five health categories, ranking them from very poor to excellent. Research constantly shows that major gains can be made by moving up just one category, even if it’s just from very poor to poor,” Cooper said. “If we can get the 50 million Americans who are totally inactive today to move up just one category, think of the dramatic effect that would have. Just by avoiding inactivity!”

 

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | 1 Comment

Cardiovascular Training and the Holiday Season

Excerpts from the 7 December 2011 post at A Doctor and A Nurse

The holiday season is accelerating down the fast lane toward your doorstep.  Holiday crunch time has arrived and you’re livin’ in the fast lane.  Your cardiovascular training routine is not only limited by the cold weather , it is now limited by time.  Don’t off ramp your cardio routine  just yet. Livin’ life in the cardio fast lane is easier than you think. Here are some key facts to consider before putting cardio on the back burner. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends the following cardio parameters for frequency, duration, and intensity in order to make cardiovascular system and cardio respiratory gains from exercise:

  • Frequency must be at least 3 days per week if vigorous, 5 days if moderate intensity.
  • Duration needs to last 20-30 minutes minimum in your target zone, up to 60 minutes if fat burn is the goal.
  • Intensity should range between 50-85% of your predicted target heart rate.
  • Warm up and cool down at least 5 minutes before and after the workout at 50% intensity.
  • Interval training  with an interval training plan will make things more interesting with more training possible with less time commitment.
  • If training stops, fitness gains are lost by approximately 50% in as little as 4 weeks.

December 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Exercise Intensity: Why It Matters, How It’s Measured

Exercise Intensity: Why It Matters, How It’s Measured

 

From the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Page

When you work out, are you working hard or hardly working? Exercising at the correct intensity can help you can get the most out of your physical activity — making sure you’re not overdoing or even underdoing it. Here’s a look at what exercise intensity means and how to make it work for you.

Understanding exercise intensity

When you’re doing aerobic activity, such as walking or biking, exercise intensity correlates with how hard the activity feels to you. Exercise intensity also is reflected in how hard your heart is working.

There are two basic ways to measure exercise intensity:

  • How you feel. Exercise intensity is a subjective measure of how hard physical activity feels to you while you’re doing it — your perceived exertion. Your perceived level of exertion may be different from what someone else feels doing the same exercise. For example, what feels to you like a hard run can feel like an easy workout to someone who’s more fit.
  • Your heart rate. Your heart rate offers a more objective look at exercise intensity. In general, the higher your heart rate during physical activity, the higher the exercise intensity.

Studies show that your perceived exertion correlates well with your heart rate. So if you think you’re working hard, your heart rate is likely elevated.

You can use either way of gauging exercise intensity. If you like technology and care about the numbers, a heart rate monitor might be a useful device for you. If you feel you’re in tune with your body and your level of exertion, you likely will do fine without a monitor…

The article goes on to explain the differences and signs of light, moderate, vigorous, and overexertion exercising.



Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Related MedlinePlus Page: Exercise and Physical Fitness

March 19, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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