Posts Tagged “Exercise”

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Journaling Key to Weight LossCharmaine Jackson lost half her body weight

These are my healthy news health headlines for February 21st through March 4th:

  • Journaling helps woman lose half her body weight
    Charmaine Jackson can tell you what she ate on any date for the past five years.She can tell you how much she exercised, what kind of mood she was in, how much water she drank — even if she watched television while mindlessly munching away.

    All she has to do is flip through the pages of her 14 journals.

    The reason she began her daily record keeping was simple — she wanted to lose weight and keep it off.

    It may sound extreme, but it paid off. Since she began keeping journals, Jackson is half the person she used to be — going from 260 to 130 pounds.

    “(Journaling has) really helped me get an idea of what my behaviors are, what my patterns are, how I can make change for myself for good,” she said. “You wouldn’t see it unless you look at it over time and you really get a chance to see this worked and why.”

  • Exercise, less sitting time, linked to better sleep
    Insomniacs looking for a good night’s sleep may want to hit the treadmill, take a walk or play a game of golf or tennis because a new report released on Monday shows exercise promotes good sleep and the more vigorous the workout the better.Just 10 minutes of exercise a day could make a difference in the duration and quality of sleep, the survey by the non-profit National Sleep Foundation showed.

    “We found that exercise and great sleep go together, hand in hand,” Max Hirshkowitz, a sleep researcher and the chair of the poll task force, said in an interview.

  • Doctors report first cure of HIV in a child -For the first time, doctors are reporting that they have cured a child of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.The landmark finding will help scientists better understand the nature of HIV, doctors say, and could potentially help countless HIV-positive babies in developing countries.

    “I’m sort of holding my breath that this child’s virus doesn’t come back in the future,” says Hannah Gay, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, who treated the child, a 2½-year-old Mississippi girl. “I’m certainly very hopeful that it will produce studies that will show us a way to cure other babies in the future.”

  • What Housework Has to Do With Waistlines
    One reason so many American women are overweight may be that we are vacuuming and doing laundry less often, according to a new study that, while scrupulously even-handed, is likely to stir controversy and emotions.The study, published this month in PLoS One, is a follow-up to an influential 2011 report which used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine that, during the past 50 years, most American workers began sitting down on the job. Physical activity at work, such as walking or lifting, almost vanished, according to the data, with workers now spending most of their time seated before a computer or talking on the phone. Consequently, the authors found, the average American worker was burning almost 150 fewer calories daily at work than his or her employed parents had, a change that had materially contributed to the rise in obesity during the same time frame, especially among men, the authors concluded.
  • Doctor Groups Issue List of Overused Medical Tests
    In an effort to change entrenched medical practices, 17 major medical specialty groups recommended on Thursday that doctors greatly reduce their use of 90 widely used but largely unnecessary tests and treatments.This list of “don’ts” builds on 45 recommendations made last April, under a broad initiative by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, in partnership with the magazine Consumer Reports.

    “As you look through the lists, a lot of these were mea culpas,” said Dr. Eric Topol, chief academic officer of Scripps Health, a health care provider in San Diego. Dr. Topol was not involved in creating the new recommendations. “The literature had supported these recommendations, but until now they were not sanctioned as no-no’s by the professional groups,” he said.

    Some of the recommendations reinforce existing guidelines, but others aggressively go after procedures that have little evidence of benefit and may cause harm, yet are still practiced on a daily basis.

    For example, the American Society of Echocardiography recommended against using echocardiograms before or during surgery for patients with no history or symptoms of heart disease; doctors routinely perform this test. The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging urged physicians not to perform routine annual stress testing using a nuclear heart scan after coronary artery surgery. This is also a routine test, and it exposes the patient to radiation equivalent to 2,000 chest X-rays.

  • Smoking cessation in old age: Less heart attacks and strokes within five years
    Professor Hermann Brenner and colleagues analyzed the data of 8.807 individuals aged between 50 and 74 years using data of Saarland citizens. “We were able to show that the risk of smokers for cardiovascular diseases is more than twice that of non-smokers. However, former smokers are affected at almost the same low rate as people of the same age who never smoked,” says Brenner. “Moreover, smokers are affected at a significantly younger age than individuals who have never smoked or have stopped smoking.”
  • Study disputes long-term medical savings from bariatric surgery
    In the span of 15 years, the number of bariatric surgeries performed in the United States has grown more than 16-fold to roughly 220,000 per year, gaining cachet as a near-panacea for obesity.Despite the daunting price tag, mounting research has boosted hopes that the stomach-stapling operations could reduce the nation’s healthcare bill by weaning patients off the costly drugs and frequent doctor visits that come with chronic obesity-related diseases like diabetes and arthritis.

    But a new study has found that the surgery does not reduce patients’ medical costs over the six years after they are wheeled out of the operating room.

  • The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors
    While the allure of the gym – climate-controlled, convenient and predictable – is obvious, especially in winter, emerging science suggests there are benefits to exercising outdoors that can’t be replicated on a treadmill, a recumbent bicycle or a track.You stride differently when running outdoors, for one thing. Generally, studies find, people flex their ankles more when they run outside. They also, at least occasionally, run downhill, a movement that isn’t easily done on a treadmill and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain. Outdoor exercise tends, too, to be more strenuous than the indoor version. In studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding across the ground outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle.

    The same dynamic has been shown to apply to cycling, where wind drag can result in much greater energy demands during 25 miles of outdoor cycling than the same distance on a stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should hit the road instead of the gym.

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Katherine Bouton

These are my health links for February 5th through February 13th:

  • Straining to Hear and Fend Off Dementia -At a party the other night, a fund-raiser for a literary magazine, I found myself in conversation with a well-known author whose work I greatly admire. I use the term “conversation” loosely. I couldn’t hear a word he said. But worse, the effort I was making to hear was using up so much brain power that I completely forgot the titles of his books.A senior moment? Maybe. (I’m 65.) But for me, it’s complicated by the fact that I have severe hearing loss, only somewhat eased by a hearing aid and cochlear implant.Dr. Frank Lin, an otolaryngologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, describes this phenomenon as “cognitive load.” Cognitive overload is the way it feels. Essentially, the brain is so preoccupied with translating the sounds into words that it seems to have no processing power left to search through the storerooms of memory for a response.
  • Fitness May Lower Dementia Risk -Being physically fit in midlife is associated with a lower risk of dementia in old age, a new study reports.Between 1971 and 2009, 19,458 healthy adults younger than age 65 took a treadmill fitness test as part of a broader health examination. Researchers followed the subjects through their Medicare records for an average of 24 years.After adjusting for age, smoking, diabetes, cholesterol and other health factors, the researchers found that compared with those in the lowest 20 percent for fitness in midlife, those in the highest 20 percent had a 36 percent reduced risk of dementia.

    The reason for the association is unclear, but it was independent of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk factors for dementia, suggesting that both vascular and nonvascular mechanisms may be involved.

  • Getting the Right Dose of Exercise -A common concern about exercise is that if you don’t do it almost every day, you won’t achieve much health benefit. But a commendable new study suggests otherwise, showing that a fairly leisurely approach to scheduling workouts may actually be more beneficial than working out almost daily.For the new study, published this month in Exercise & Science in Sports & Medicine, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham gathered 72 older, sedentary women and randomly assigned them to one of three exercise groups.One group began lifting weights once a week and performing an endurance-style workout, like jogging or bike riding, on another day.

    Another group lifted weights twice a week and jogged or rode an exercise bike twice a week.

  • Government says it recovers billions in health fraud crackdown -The federal government recovered a record $4.2 billion in the last fiscal year from medical providers and others who fraudulently billed government healthcare programs such as Medicare, the Obama administration announced Monday.The 2012 tally – which surpassed the $4.1 billion the government reclaimed the previous fiscal year – extends a years-long trend and reflects efforts by the Obama administration to crack down on healthcare fraud.The president’s healthcare law includes new initiatives to weed out fraudulent medical providers and bar them from receiving Medicare reimbursements.
  • Does fluoride lower your child’s IQ? Dr. Joseph Mercola says yes on the Huffington Post. Don’t trust him. -So there I was last Sunday, filling my son’s sippy cup with tap water, when my friend told me about a Huffington Post article making the parenting rounds-the one titled “Harvard Study Confirms Fluoride Reduces Children’s IQ.” I set down my Brita pitcher, knowing that fluoride was one of the few chemicals it doesn’t remove, and sighed. Well, shit.Then I read the actual article, realized it was written by Dr. Joseph Mercola, the alternative physician who distinguishes himself as not being driven by “whatever has the most profit potential,” yet who sells fluoride-free toothpaste and hundreds of other products on his website (some of which have been slammed by the FDA for illegal marketing), and felt much better. Mercola frequently overstates the science and misleads his many readers-among other things, he preaches that vaccines cause autism and that homeopathy cures it, and oh, that animals are psychic-and this story (thankfully) is no different: The study on which he based his HuffPo article did find an association between high fluoride consumption and child IQ, but the findings aren’t applicable to American kids for a number of reasons. 
  • Southern diet, fried foods, may raise stroke risk -Deep-fried foods may be causing trouble in the Deep South. People whose diets are heavy on them and sugary drinks like sweet tea and soda were more likely to suffer a stroke, a new study finds.It’s the first big look at diet and strokes, and researchers say it might help explain why blacks in the Southeast – the nation’s “stroke belt” – suffer more of them.Blacks were five times more likely than whites to have the Southern dietary pattern linked with the highest stroke risk. And blacks and whites who live in the South were more likely to eat this way than people in other parts of the country were. Diet might explain as much as two-thirds of the excess stroke risk seen in blacks versus whites, researchers concluded.

    “We’re talking about fried foods, french fries, hamburgers, processed meats, hot dogs,” bacon, ham, liver, gizzards and sugary drinks, said the study’s leader, Suzanne Judd of the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

    People who ate about six meals a week featuring these sorts of foods had a 41 percent higher stroke risk than people who ate that way about once a month, researchers found.

  • Tennis Elbow: No Long-Term Benefit From PT, Corticosteroids -A steroid injection and 2 months of physical therapy may not be the solution for lateral epicondylalgia, commonly known as tennis elbow, suggest research findings published in the February 5 issue of JAMA.Brooke K. Coombes, PhD, from the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia, and colleagues found that patients treated with a single corticosteroid injection had a 14% greater chance of poor outcome and a 77% increased risk for reinjury at 1 year relative to placebo.Eight weeks of physical therapy appeared to have no long-term benefit with the exception of decreased analgesic use. However, the physical therapy did improve short-term pain and disability outcomes at 1 month, although those benefits were lost when steroid injection was added to the treatment.
  • Longer span between mammograms okay for older women -Screening women over 65 each year for breast cancer doesn’t catch any more early tumors – but it does lead to more false positives – than screening every other year, according to a new study.The findings are based on more than 140,000 older women included in five mammography registries across the United States.”This study clearly tells us that screening every two years may be more appropriate than screening women every year,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society (ACS).
  • Old Age and Motorcycles Are a Dangerous Mix -If you’re over 40 and planning to hop on a motorcycle, take care. Compared with younger riders, the odds of being seriously injured are high.That is the message of a new study, published this week in the journal Injury Prevention, which found that older bikers are three times as likely to be severely injured in a crash as younger riders.The percentage of older bikers on the road is quickly rising, and their involvement in accidents is a growing concern. Nationwide, from 1990 to 2003, the percentage of motorcyclists over age 50 soared from roughly 1 in 10 to about 1 in 4. At the same time, the average age of riders involved in motorcycle crashes has also been climbing. Injury rates among those 65 and older jumped 145 percent from 2000 to 2006 alone.

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  • California’s Premature Birth Rate Continues To Fall -California’s rate of premature births declined slightly in 2011. A new report from the March of Dimes shows California’s rate has fallen five years in a row.The report shows overall, 9.8 percent of babies in California were born premature in 2011. Only four states have a lower premature birth rate: Oregon, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.In California, some populations had a much higher rate. For example, the premature birth rate among uninsured women was 25 percent.
  • Forbidden fruit roll-ups: USDA plans to restrict school snacks -The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing regulations to keep the nation’s students from buying gummy bears, fruit roll-ups and cheese puffs from vending machines and at campus snack bars during the school day. But it would allow high school students to buy 12-ounce sports drinks and 20-ounce diet sodas.The rules would apply only during the school day, allowing candy sales and other fundraisers to continue during non-school hours (half an hour after the school day ends) and at off-campus events. A limited number of such fundraisers could occur during the school day, and parents would be able to pack whatever they choose in their children’s lunch bags and bring cupcakes or other treats for special events such as birthdays.
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Why not!

If it gets you moving a win-win – and your pet will love you for it.

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Frequent Exercise chart

Good news regarding exercise, in light of the report on obesity that was released the other day.

More Americans exercised frequently in August (54.7%) than did in the same month in past years — continuing a pattern Gallup and Healthways have found through most of 2012. In every month this year, except for April, more Americans reported exercising three or more days per week than did so in the same month for each of the past four years.

Gallup and Healthways ask 1,000 American adults daily about their exercise habits as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Specifically, Americans report how many days in the past seven they exercised for at least 30 minutes.

The uptick in frequent exercise this year has come amid “the warmest first eight months of any year on record” in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Whether there is a direct relationship between these warm temperatures and higher exercise levels — or it is mere coincidence — is not certain.

However, that Americans’ exercise habits are seasonal — they work out more in the spring and summer months and less in the fall and winter — points to the weather playing a role in their likelihood of exercising.

Good job, America!

And, while this slight increase may be seasonal and related to the weather, it is also possible that educational efforts promoting a healthy lifestyle may be having an effect.

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Finishing the Disneyland Half Marathon last summer

Here is a good piece on why exercise is important, particularly why you should stay moving throughout the day.

Hoping to learn more about how inactivity affects disease risk, researchers at the University of Missouri recently persuaded a group of healthy, active young adults to stop moving around so much. Scientists have known for some time that sedentary people are at increased risk of developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. But they haven’t fully understood why, in part because studying the effects of sedentary behavior isn’t easy. People who are inactive may also be obese, eat poorly or face other lifestyle or metabolic issues that make it impossible to tease out the specific role that inactivity, on its own, plays in ill health.

So, to combat the problem, researchers lately have embraced a novel approach to studying the effects of inactivity. They’ve imposed the condition on people who otherwise would be out happily exercising and moving about, in some cases by sentencing them to bed rest.

But in the current study, which was published this month in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the scientists created a more realistic version of inactivity by having their volunteers cut the number of steps they took each day by at least half.

Read all of the piece.

And, keep moving……

A 7 mile easy run tomorrow in tapering mode for the Los Angeles Marathon on March 18th.

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