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exercise

Good Cardiovascular Habits Can Knock 6 Years off Your Biological Age: New Study

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Good cardiovascular health can knock six years off your biological age, says a team from Columbia University Medical Center in New York City

The researchers tested the American Heart Association’s Essential 8 checklist and the effects of sticking to it.

To take care of the heart and blood vessels, which are linked to many diseases, adopt the Essential 8 habits: healthy sleep, not smoking, regular physical activity, healthy diet, healthy body weight, and healthy blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure.

The study, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023 in Philadelphia, examined 6,500 adults from varying backgrounds and found that sticking to the Essential 8 could significantly extend life and reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other age-related diseases.

On average, participants with the highest Life’s Essential 8 score tested six years younger biologically than their actual age.

“Reduced biologic aging is not just associated with lower risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, it is also associated with longer life and lower risk of death,” said study senior author Dr. Nour Makarem.

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Eight Habits to Take Up by Age 40 if You Want to Live Decades Longer

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Researchers who studied the lifestyles of 700,000 Americans found men who had adopted all eight by age 40 lived around 24 years longer than those who had none.

Women who did so lived 21 years longer, according to the findings.

The eight habits are: being physically active, being free from opioid addiction, not smoking, managing stress, having a good diet, not regularly binge drinking, having good sleep hygiene, and having positive social relationships.

While literally not one of those is likely to surprise any individual who has taken even a single cursory glance at a recommendation for how to improve their health, 24 years does encapsulate the importance of basic, well-researched habits.

“We were really surprised by just how much could be gained with the adoption of one, two, three, or all eight lifestyle factors,” said study author Dr Xuan-Mai Nguyen, of the Department of Veterans Affairs at Carle Illinois College of Medicine, emphasizing exactly that point.

“Our research findings suggest… the earlier the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, it still is beneficial.”

The team used data from medical records and questionnaires collected between 2011-2019 from 719,147 people enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program.

The analysis included data from adults aged 40-99 and included 33,375 deaths during follow-up.

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Brisk Walking for Just 11 Minutes a Day Slashes Risk of Premature Death by 23% Says Study of 30 Million People

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Walking at a brisk pace for just 11 minutes a day slashes the risk of a premature death by almost a quarter, according to new research.

The team led by researchers at the University of Cambridge showed how one in ten early deaths could be prevented if everyone managed to reach the threshold of 75 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity.

The study demonstrated that this would be sufficient to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke–the leading causes of death globally—as well as a number of cancers.

To explore the amount of physical activity necessary to have a beneficial impact on several chronic diseases and premature death, researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis, pooling and analyzing cohort data from all of the published evidence. This approach allowed them to bring together studies that on their own did not provide sufficient evidence and sometimes disagreed with each other to provide more robust conclusions.

In total, they looked at results reported in 196 peer-reviewed articles, covering more than 30 million participants from 94 large study cohorts, to produce the largest analysis to date of the association between physical activity levels and risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death.

The researchers found that, outside of work-related physical activity, two out of three people reported activity levels below 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, the amount recommended by NHS, Britain’s national health service.

Broadly speaking, they found that beyond 150 min per week of moderate-intensity activity, the additional benefits in terms of reduced risk of disease or early death were marginal. But even half this amount came with significant benefits: accumulating 75 min per week of moderate-intensity activity brought with it a 23% lower risk of early death.

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80-Year-old Woman Celebrates Doing a 5K Every Day Since Pandemic–1,000 in a Row!

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A Cherokee woman determined not to let the pandemic get her down began running or walking a 5K every day for 100 days.

Through lockdowns, Alpha, Delta, Omicron, and beyond, Mae Dean Erb kept on running until she completed her 1,000th 5K last Friday, two months short of her 80th birthday.

“I don’t know how she managed to do a 5K walk or run every single day for the last 1,000 days but she did,” Erb’s daughter, Julie Erb-Alvarez, told GNN. “Her milestone was celebrated by a gathering of friends and family – even some virtually. She is our hero.”

A member of the Cherokee Nation, Erb lives with her husband of 56 years, Jim Erb, in a rural town called Blackgum, near her hometown of Vain, Oklahoma.

She has by no means stopped doing these continuous 5Ks, and in fact at the time of publishing she would be on her 1,006th, noting that good habits are as hard to break as bad habits.

“I don’t hurt anywhere. I have knee issues every once in a while, with, I guess age, but it’s really wonderful thing (walk/run) to do,” she told the Cherokee Phoenix.

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101-year-old Woman Reveals Her Secret to Longevity is Dancing Every Day

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This 101-year-old woman says the secret to keeping herself young and healthy includes daily ballet moves on the barre.

Dinkie Flowers is one of the oldest women in the UK and is eager to offer her tips for longevity.

“I couldn’t live without dancing and I think it’s what’s kept me young and happy.”

“It sounds hard, but it’s never too late to start,” said the former professional dancer. “Once you know what you’re doing and being taught by a teacher you’d love it.”

She started dancing at the age of three, and still teaches lessons at her dance school called Dinkie Flowers Stage School to this day.

“I just love dancing, I always have and I always will. I’d advise anyone—and everyone—to start dancing to keep your body and mind young.

“Everyday I go and dance in the studio. The work you do keeps your body supple.”

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Short Brisk Walks Instead of Long Strolls May Cut Risk of Heart Disease, Says Key Study of 88,000

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When it comes to exercise, intensity is everything, and while a brisk daily 15-minute walk is enough to cut the risk of heart disease, a leisurely 30-minute stroll is not.

Scientists studying data from heart-rate wearables say doing more exercise doesn’t do much to reduce your risk from cardiovascular conditions unless it is of at least moderate intensity.

When people did more exercise overall but the amount of moderate to vigorous exercise they did remained the same, there was little improvement in heart health.

The researchers from the NIH Care Research Center at Cambridge add that easy activities such as washing the car or doing laundry, which have counted as exercise in earlier research, are not enough to stave off heart problems.

However, doing just two brisk walks for an hour and fifteen minutes a week or one run for the same amount of time a week is enough to keep the condition at bay.

This is considered the bare minimum for preventing the elevated risk of heart diseases like coronary artery disease and stroke connected with modern sedentary life, and should not be looked at as enough to improve cardiovascular strength.

The study collected data via an activity tracker on the wrist of more than 88,000 middle-aged adults, and followed up on their heart health for an average of around 7 years.

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Exercise Can Help Older Adults Retain Memories

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We all know exercise is good for us, but that still leaves plenty of questions. How much exercise? Who benefits the most? And when in our lives?

New research led by University of Pittsburgh psychologists pools data from dozens of studies to answer these questions, showing that older adults may be able to prevent declines in a certain kind of memory by sticking to regular exercise.

“Everyone always asks, ‘How much should I be exercising? What’s the bare minimum to see improvement?’ ” said lead author Sarah Aghjayan, a Clinical and Biological Health Psychology PhD student in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. “From our study, it seems like exercising about three times a week for at least four months is how much you need to reap the benefits in episodic memory.”

Episodic memory is the kind that deals with events that happened to you in the past. It’s also one of the first to decline with age. “I usually like to talk about the first time you got behind the wheel of a car,” said Aghjayan. “So you might remember where you were, how old you were, who was in the passenger seat explaining things to you, that feeling of excitement.”

Exercise that gets the heart pumping has shown promise in increasing brain health, and experiments in mice show that it improves memory—but studies looking at the same link in humans have come out mixed.

Seeking clarity in the muddy waters of the scientific literature, the team pored over 1,279 studies, eventually narrowing them down to just 36 that met specific criteria. Then they used specialized software and no small number of Excel spreadsheets to transform the data info a form where the different studies could be directly compared.

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Lifting Weights for Just Three Seconds a Day Helps Our Muscles Grow, According to Scientists

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People who say they don’t have time to exercise might have to rethink after scientists proved just three seconds a day lifting weights was enough to strengthen muscle.A new study by researchers in Australia and Japan found doing just one downward bicep curl a day using a heavy weight increases muscle strength by more than 11 percent.

Whole body workouts could be over in just 30 seconds if the findings hold up in other muscle groups, the scientists added.

For the study, 39 healthy university students were told to complete one muscle contraction a day ‘at maximum effort’ for just three seconds, five days a week for four weeks.

The students were split into groups who did three different types of bicep curl.

One group used their biceps to lower a weight down towards the floor, which fitness experts call an eccentric bicep curl.

Other participants lifted the weight up, called a concentric curl, or held it parallel to the ground, called an isometric contraction.

Another group of 13 students did no exercise at all.

Students who did the downward bicep curl saw their muscle strength grow by 11.5 per cent.

Participants who performed other types of curl also grew stronger, although their increase in muscle strength was smaller than for those who did a downward bicep curl.

The group of volunteers who did no exercise at all did not see any increase in their muscle strength.

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Get Your Body Moving to Put the Brakes on Early Parkinson’s, Study Says

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A new study suggests that people with early-stage Parkinson’s disease who regularly got one to two hours of moderate exercise twice a week, like walking or gardening, may have less trouble balancing, walking, and doing daily activities later.

Researchers found that those who exercised regularly over five years did better on cognitive tests and had slower progression of the disease in several aspects.

“Our results are exciting, because they suggest it may never be too late for someone with Parkinson’s to start an exercise program to improve the course of their disease,” said study author Kazuto Tsukita, MD, of Kyoto University in Japan and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “That’s because we found that to slow progression of the disease, it was more important for people with Parkinson’s to maintain an exercise program than it was to be active at the beginning of the disease.”

The study looked at 237 people with early-stage Parkinson’s. They had an average age of 63 and were followed by researchers for up to six years.

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Exercise Alters Brain Chemistry to Protect Aging Synapses, Study Finds

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When elderly people stay active, their brains have more of a class of proteins that enhances the connections between neurons to maintain healthy cognition, a UC San Francisco study has found.

This protective impact was found even in people whose brains at autopsy were riddled with toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

“Our work is the first that uses human data to show that synaptic protein regulation is related to physical activity and may drive the beneficial cognitive outcomes we see,” said Kaitlin Casaletto, PhD, an assistant professor of neurology and lead author on the study.

The beneficial effects of physical activity on cognition have been shown in mice but have been much harder to demonstrate in people.

Casaletto, a neuropsychologist and member of the Weill Institute for Neurosciences, worked with William Honer, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia and senior author of the study, to leverage data from the Memory and Aging Project at Rush University in Chicago. That project tracked the late-life physical activity of elderly participants, who also agreed to donate their brains when they died.

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