Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

After Exercise Protein Drinks Help Maintain Aging Muscles

From the 26 May 2011 Medical News Today article

A new research report appearing online in the FASEB Journal shows that what someone drinks after exercise plays a critical role in maximizing the effects of exercise. Specifically, the report shows that protein drinks after aerobic activity increases the training effect after six weeks, when compared to carbohydrate drinks. Additionally, this study suggests that this effect can be seen using as little as 20 grams of protein. ….

Details: Matthew M. Robinson, Scott M. Turner, Marc K. Hellerstein, Karyn L. Hamilton, and Benjamin F. Miller. Long-term synthesis rates of skeletal muscle DNA and protein are higher during aerobic training in older humans than in sedentary young subjects but are not altered by protein supplementation. FASEB J; doi:10.1096/fj.11-186437.

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May 26, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | Leave a comment

Health Vs. Fitness: Why Fitness Does Not Necessarily Equate To Health

From the 5 May 2011 Medical News Today article

It is a commonly held belief that the fitter you are, the healthier you are. Is this so? Most experts agree that a certain level of fitness is required for health. However, this leads to several questions: What level of fitness qualifies as healthy? Can you be detrimentally fit? What is the equation for optimal fitness with optimal health? Assuming that the range of fitness runs from total couch potatoes to ultra-marathoners, how is one to determine an answer?

A recent study by researchers at McLean Hospital in Belmond, MA, analyzed the blood of marathoners less than 24 after the race finish and found abnormally high levels of inflammatory and clotting factors similar to the ones known to appear in heart attack victims. Dr. Arthur Siegel, director of Internal Medicine, and the study director said, “My concern is for people who exercise thinking ‘more is better’ and that marathon running will provide ultimate protection against heart disease. In fact, it can set off a cascade of events that may transiently increase the risk for acute cardiac events.” …

…..”Fitness does not necessarily equate to health. Optimal health is a combination of many things-both mental and physical. When mental or emotional stress levels are high, intense physical training may actually add to the body’s stress load, ” say Dian Griesel, Ph.D. and Tom Griesel, authors of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (BSH, 2011)….

….Walking may be the ideal exercise. “Walking interspersed with short 30-60 second bursts of running is exactly what we were designed to do and has a most beneficial effect on our heart and circulatory system. Anyone can do it. No special equipment or gym memberships are required,” recommends Dian Griesel, Ph.D. who wears a pedometer at all times to track her mileage.

The Griesel’s remind us that repetitious, monotonous, stressful activities are not requirements for fitness. Rather, they conclude “The search for fitness does not have to take over our lives to be effective. Mowing a lawn, housecleaning or a good game of tag or Frisbee with a group of others count as healthful ways to improve fitness. Maybe we all need to find ways to simply get active, instead of stressing ourselves with trying to run marathons.”

May 6, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

May 2011, Exercise Is Medicine Month, Lauds The Benefits Of Physical Activity

EIM
From the 29 April 2011 Medical News Today item

The fourth annual Exercise is Medicine® Month kicks off on Sunday, celebrating the health benefits of exercise and offering resources to get people moving.

“Everyone should start or renew an exercise program now as an investment in life-long health,” said Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM, chair ofExercise is Medicine. “Every person, regardless of age or health, is responsible for his or her own physical activity. There are far more reasons to exercise than excuses not to.”

Exercise Lowers Health Care Costs

Research shows that exercise helps treat and prevent more than 40 chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and hypertension.

“While there are numerous reasons for soaring health care costs, one undeniable explanation is the poor physical health of so many Americans,” said Sallis. “Exercise is something every person can do to control the rising costs of health care and improve quality of life.”

While the Exercise is Medicine® Month  Web site is geared to health care providers, it does include a Public information section with links to

April 30, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | Leave a comment

Join the Woman Challenge – Commit to Physical Activities for at least 6 weeks

Woman Challenge

[If you are male, consider the The President’s Challenge  – a program that encourages all Americans to make being active part of their everyday lives.]

From the US Office on Women’s Health April 2011 announcement

The Woman Challenge has been encouraging women across the country to get active for years. This year, we’ve partnered with the President’s Challenge Million PALA Challenge. We created a Woman Challenge group so people across the country can encourage each other to be active on a regular basis. All you need to do is commit to physical activity for six out of eight weeks. If you stick with the program, you could earn a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) in less than two months! Don’t wait! Sign up today!

The Women’s Challenge sign up links directly to the President’s Challenge Web site where one can

  • Create an account to track daily physical fitness activities and be awarded points
  • Choose a Challenge (Physical Fitness Test, Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, Presidential Champions)
  • Get Motivated through links as Benefits of Exercise, Setting Goals, BMI Calculator, 10 Ideas to stay active)
  • Join an group online (listings of groups will appear after you create an account) to track both your daily physical fitness activites as well as the groups, through a point system
  • Tools and Resources to Download as Fitness Guides
  • Stay Informed with News, Facebook, Twitter, and Research Digest Options
[Editor Flahiff’s note – I signed up for the challenge. This brought back memories of  grade school gym class (yes, we called it gym back in the 60’s).  Almost every year we strove to pass the President’s Physical Fitness Test, and get that coveted certificate “suitable for framing”. This was back in the day when the gym instructors at our Catholic schools did not have to be certified, but boy were they ever dedicated and enthusiastic!]

April 21, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , | Leave a comment

Grab the leash: Dog walkers more likely to reach exercise benchmarks

Grab the leash: Dog walkers more likely to reach exercise benchmarks

From the March 10 2011 Science Daily news item

ScienceDaily (Mar. 10, 2011) — Man’s best friend may provide more than just faithful companionship: A new study led by a Michigan State University researcher shows people who owned and walked their dogs were 34 percent more likely to meet federal benchmarks on physical activity

….

Journal Reference:

  1. Mathew J. Reeves, Ann P. Rafferty, Corinne E. Miller, Sarah K. Lyon-Callo. The Impact of Dog Walking on Leisure-Time Physical Activity: Results From a Population-Based Survey of Michigan AdultsJournal of Physical Activity and Health, 2011; 8 (3): 436-444 [link]

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March 14, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | Leave a comment

CDC Releases Estimates of Rates of Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity for all U.S. Counties

CDC Releases Estimates of Rates of Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity for
all U.S. Counties

County-Level Map for Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity, 2008

A map of the United States shows county-level estimates of leisure-time physical inactivity in quartiles.  County-level estimates of age-adjusted rates of leisure-time physical inactivity ranged from 10.1% to 43.0%.  Counties in the highest quartiles (29.2% or greater) were located primarily in Appalachia and the South.  Counties in the lowest quartiles (23.2% or lower) were located primarily in Western states and some Northeastern states.

Estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that Americans who live in parts of Appalachia and the South are the least likely to be physically active in their leisure time, and residents who are most likely to be active in their free time are from the West
Coast, Colorado, Minnesota and parts of the Northeast.

The 2004-2008 estimates, posted online at http://cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/inactivity.htm provide county-level estimates for leisure-time physical inactivity for all U.S.

 

February 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

To increase physical activity, focus on how, not why

To increase physical activity, focus on how, not why
Behavior strategies, such as self-monitoring and goals, motivate best, MU study finds

Vicki Conn is an associate dean for research and Potter-Brinton professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing.

From the February 17, 2011 Eureka News Alert

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Most people know that exercise is important to maintain and improve health; however, sedentary lifestyles and obesity rates are at all-time highs and have become major national issues. In a new study, University of Missouri researchers found that healthy adults who received interventions focused on behavior-changing strategies significantly increased their physical activity levels. Conversely, interventions based on cognitive approaches, which try to change knowledge and attitudes, did not improve physical activity.

“The focus needs to shift from increasing knowledge about the benefits of exercise to discussing strategies to change behaviors and increase activity levels,” said Vicki Conn, associate dean for research and Potter-Brinton professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “The common approach is to try and change people’s attitudes or beliefs about exercise and why it’s important, but that information isn’t motivating. We can’t ‘think’ ourselves into being more active.”

Behavior strategies include feedback, goal setting, self-monitoring, exercise prescription and stimulus or cues. Self-monitoring, any method where participants record and track their activity over time, appears to significantly increase awareness and provide motivation for improvement, Conn said.

“Health care providers should ask patients about their exercise habits and help them set specific, manageable goals,” Conn said. “Ask them to try different strategies, such as tracking their progress, scheduling exercise on their phones or calendars, or placing their pedometers by their clothes. Discuss rewards for accomplishing goals.”

The study, featured in the American Journal of Public Health, incorporated data from 358 reports and 99,011 participants. The researchers identified behavioral strategies were most effective in increasing physical activity among healthy adults. Successful interventions were delivered face-to-face instead of mediated (i.e. via telephone, mail, etc.) and targeted individuals instead of communities.

“The thought of exercise may be overwhelming, but slowly increasing activity by just 10 minutes a day adds up weekly and is enough to provide health benefits,” Conn said. “Even small increases in physical activity will enhance protection against chronic illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. Preventing or delaying chronic disease will reduce complications, health care costs and overall burden.”

Previously, Conn completed a meta-analysis of interventions for chronically ill patients and found similar results. Conn found that interventions were similarly effective regardless of gender, age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

The study, “Interventions to increase physical activity among healthy adults: Meta-analysis of outcomes,” is featured in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Conn’s research is funded by a more than $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

 

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February 19, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , | Leave a comment

CeBIT 2011: Electronic fitness trainer

CeBIT 2011: Electronic fitness trainer

From a February 8, 2011 Eureka news alert

This release is available in German.

IMAGE: The electronic Fitness Assistant consists of a sensor suit that collects information about its wearer’s movements and transmits results to a television, computer or smartphone.

Click here for more information. 

 

Eating a healthier diet, getting more exercise and doing more sports – lots of people recommit themselves to these goals over and over. But one’s baser instincts are often stronger and invincible. On the couch in the evening, you take stock of the day only to admit that you have failed to rally once again. And yet, physical fitness is now considered a remedy for many illnesses. Particularly for older people, daily exercise is important – not only during rehabilitation following major surgery but also for one’s general sense of physical well-being.

“Did I do that right? Or should I raise my arm higher?” Questions like these are usually answered by the trainer in the fitness studio. Whether you have done an exercise right or wrong is important if training is to succeed. Unfortunately, this response is available only from trained sport therapists, not when exercising alone at home. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen have developed an intelligent assistance system designed to motivate you towards more exercise while providing advice in the form of exercise pointers.

When the screen becomes an exercise trainer

The electronic Fitness Assistant consists of a sensor suit that collects information about its wearer’s movements and transmits current measurement results to a television, computer or smartphone. During exercises, a T-shirt monitors the wearer’s breathing. The smartphone provides a user interface, analyzes the collected data, gives the user feedback on the success of his or her training and can instruct the user on gymnastics or rehabilitation exercises. Plus it is all individually tailored to the needs and demands of the individual wearer.

First, a trainer or physical therapist creates a personal training plan on the electronic Fitness Assistant. Under his or her supervision, all of the exercises are recorded once to ensure that they perfectly match the user’s own performance levels. Then, the exercises can be repeated in the home environment. An “avatar,” a digital trainer, performs the exercises in real time – on TV, for instance. The program then compares the exercise being performed with the results of the recording and makes any needed adjustments to the wearer’s posture. The goal is to playfully motivate the wearer to exercise more. The areas of application include exercise programs for senior citizens or patients undergoing rehabilitation. Combined with digital games – gaming consoles have shown how it is done – the electronic trainer can also be tailored for use by younger people.

The Fitness Assistant is a subproject of “FitForAge,” an initiative sponsored by the Bavarian Research Foundation. Researchers are working to further improve and refine sensor technology to permit the system to analyze movements with greater and greater precision. The program is also designed to provide additional important tips on increasing or maintaining motor fitness. Experts will be on hand at the joint Fraunhofer stand in Hall 9, B36 to demonstrate how the Fitness Assistant works in practice.

 

 

 

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

Review confirms benefits of outdoor exercise

Review confirms benefits of outdoor exercise

 

 

File:Tai Chi1.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tai_Chi1.jpg

 

From the February 4, 2011 Eureka news alert

A systematic review carried out by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry has analyzed existing studies and concluded that there are benefits to mental and physical well-being from taking exercise in the natural environment. Their findings are published in the leading research journal Environmental Science and Technology today, Feb. 4, 2011….***

…The study found that most trials showed an improvement in mental well-being: compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.

However, none of the identified studies measured the effects of physical activity on physical well-being, or the effect of natural environments on sticking to exercise.

On balance this review has identified some promising effects on self-reported mental well-being immediately following exercise in the natural environment, as opposed to those reported following exercise indoors. This is a first step towards vindicating the positive effects of programmes such as the Green Gym and Blue Gym, and innovative interventions by medical practitioners that include exercise outdoors as part of holistic treatments for those suffering from depression and similar psychological ailments…..

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February 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Strength training for seniors provides cognitive function, economic benefits: VCH-UBC study

From the December 13 2010 Eureka news alert

A one-year follow-up study on seniors who participated in a strength training exercise program shows sustained cognitive benefits as well as savings for the healthcare system. The research, conducted at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia, is published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study is the first to examine whether both cognitive and economic benefits are sustained after formal cessation of a tailored exercise program. It builds on the Brain Power Study, published in the January 2010 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, which demonstrated that 12 months of once-weekly or twice-weekly progressive strength training improved executive cognitive function in women aged 65- to 75- years- old. Executive cognitive functions are cognitive abilities necessary for independent living.

December 15, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Youth Sports : Epidemic Injury Levels & Low Practice Exercise Levels

Two recent cautionary news items about youth sports

8,000 kids are treated in ERs daily, trainers’ association says
From the December 7th Health Day news article

TUESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) — Youth sports injuries have become rampant in the United States, with

HealthDay news image

emergency departments treating more than 8,000 children a day for sports-related injuries, safety experts reported Tuesday.

As more children play school sports and in organized leagues, they are suffering an ever-increasing number of injuries, the experts from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association said in presenting their grim picture at a conference in Washington D.C.

Statistics released by the organization also revealed that:

  • Forty-eight youths died as the result of sports injuries in the past year.
  • About 63,000 high school athletes suffer brain injuries every year.
  • High school athletes suffer 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers led the association to issue a national report card on youth sport safety, giving the nation a C- for 2010…….

Kids’ Team Sports Often Lacking in Exercise
Soccer, softball and baseball players found to be inactive for about 30 minutes per practice session

From the December 7 Health Day news item by Robert Preidt

HealthDay news imageMONDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) — Playing team sports does not guarantee that a child will get the U.S. government-recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day, a new study reveals.

Using accelerometers, a type of sensor that measures physical activity, researchers studied activity levels of 200 children aged 7 to 14 while they took part in practices with their soccer, baseball or softball teams.

Overall, only 24 percent of the children met the 60-minute physical activity recommendation during practice. Less than 10 percent of participants aged 11 to 14 and less than 2 percent of female softball players reached the guideline, said Desiree Leek, of San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego, and colleagues….

…The findings were released online Dec. 6 in advance of publication in the April 2011 print issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.



December 9, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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