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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:29 pm 
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Can fish oil prevent psychosis?

A small new study offers preliminary evidence that fish oil supplements can prevent psychosis among young people at high risk for the condition, even seven years after taking the capsules.

The results hold out hope of helping young people with mental illness remain healthy and functional by taking safe and inexpensive supplements, authors say.

In the study, half of participants were randomly assigned to take fish oil capsules for 12 weeks, while half were given placebos. Ten percent of young people who took fish oil developed psychosis, a serious condition in which people lose touch with reality, compared with 40% who were given placebos, according to the study of 81 people, ages 13 to 25. Researchers followed patients for nearly seven years.

Participants in the study had a very high risk of psychosis, such as because they had a close relative with a psychotic disorder or because they were already experiencing delusions, hallucinations or increased suspiciousness. The study, presented Sunday at the Early Psychosis Conference in Tokyo, was led by Paul Amminger and Patrick McGorry of Australia's University of Melbourne and Monika Schlogelhofer of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria.

Doctors hope to prevent young people from developing full-blown psychosis – or to help them recover quickly after a first psychotic break – because of encouraging research that suggests early intervention can halt the deterioration so often seen in schizophrenia, says Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, who wasn't involved in the study.

For example, research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy – in which people learn coping strategies to handle stress – can cut the risk of psychosis among high-risk patients in half, says Robert Heinssen of the National Institute of Mental Health.

While Heinssen says the new results are exciting, he says they need to be confirmed by independent researchers to make sure that they aren't just a fluke.

Two groups of researchers – one from Australia, Asia and Europe and one from the National Institute of Mental Health – are running their own trials. Results from the international group are scheduled to release their results at a conference in March.

If those results are positive, Heinssen says it could lead doctors to begin prescribing fish oil pills. The capsules are considered very safe, without the serious side effects caused by antipsychotic medications.

Yet Lieberman says the new results seem too good to be true. He says it's hard to believe that taking fish oil for just 12 weeks could protect people from psychosis seven years later.

Heinssen says the new results are impressive enough that doctors should at least discuss the study with their patients, giving them the option of trying fish oil.

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been studied as a way to reduce the risk of dementia and heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish, such as salmon.

Patients in the study received four capsules a day with two types of omega-3 fatty acids -- 700 milligrams of EPA and 480 milligrams of DHA – as well as 7.6 milligrams of vitamin E.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nati ... /19031251/


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:06 am 
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Study Finds Trans Fats May Be Bad For The Brain, Memory

The most infamous of all the fats, trans fats are apparently not only bad for the heart, but bad for the brain as well, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association meeting this week. The new research finds that the fats are correlated with poorer performance on tests of memory in young and middle-aged men. The authors had previously found that cocoa’s antioxidants may have beneficial effects on memory, so reasoned that trans fats, being ”pro-oxidants,” may do just the opposite. And though the results are preliminary, this is exactly what they found.

Trans fats are found in margarine, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, creamers, frosting, and other products containing oils that are designed to stay solid at room temperature.

“Our thinking was that this favorable association [between chocolate and memory] was probably mediated through chocolate’s antioxidant benefits and cell energy support,” study author Beatrice A. Golomb tells me. “Substances in chocolate increase biogenesis of mitochondria, and antioxidation benefits blood flow….thus benefiting delivery of oxygen and other energy substrates.” Since trans fats offer a smattering of negative effects on cell function, the team guessed that they might have negative effects on brain cell function as well.

To test this theory, Golomb and her team had 1,000 men (over the age of 20) and middle-aged women do a memory task: They were presented with a series of cards with written words on them, and then had to determine which they’d seen before and which were novel. Participants also filled out questionnaires to determine how much trans fat they tended to eat.

Men who ate the most trans fat performed worse on the memory task: each additional gram a day of trans fats consumed was linked to about 0.75 fewer words correctly recalled. People who ate the highest amounts of trans fats recalled about 10% fewer words than those who ate the least, which corresponds to about 11 fewer words recalled in total (the average was 86 out of 104). They found the same results in women, but there were so few women in the study that the authors say it would need to be replicated before the could be confident that the findings apply to women as well.

So why would trans fats affect memory? Golomb says it has to do with oxidative stress and inflammation in the hippocampus, the seat of learning and memory in the brain. “The hippocampus is an area of the brain strongly involved in memory,” she says. “It is also particularly vulnerable to cell death in settings of inadequate cell energy.” Oxidative stress can hamper blood vessel function, leading to inadequate blood flow and inadequate cell energy, which in turn leads to cell dysfunction and cell death. “Cell death in turn triggers inflammation,” says Golumb, “Inflammation is also linked to worse cognitive function – and also further promotes oxidative stress. Oxidative stress itself can lead to cell death, or apoptosis.” In other words, there’s a vicious cycle of oxidative stress, inflammation and neuronal death.

Golomb adds that this isn’t the first study that’s shown trans fats to be linked to cognition and behavior. Earlier research has hinted that the fats may have other unwanted neurological effects: “This adds adverse cognitive associations of trans fats to adverse associations to two other pillars of brain function – mood and behavior, in particular, aggression,” she says. “We jokingly referred to resurrecting the ‘Twinkie defense.’”

The study hasn’t been published in a peer-review journal yet, so should be considered preliminary. But cutting down on trans fats is really a no-brainer, given the host of negative physical effects they’re known to have (and their ban in New York City is apparently a testament to that). The FDA itself has made moves to restrict trans fats in U.S. food supply in general.

As Golomb says, “As I tell patients, while trans fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalto ... udy-finds/


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:49 pm 
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Happiness is the mark of a perfect body

I WAS pondering over what to discuss this week and there seems to be one strong reoccurring theme at the moment - body image.

With the summer months approaching us here in Oz, it seems that the prospect of exposing more of our body is starting to bog-down our thoughts.

The news this week about a Queensland mum, who posted a beautiful picture of herself on Facebook after being subjected to the narrow-mindedness of young girls that commented about her wearing a bikini, is the exact type of positive example that I want to lead with my daughter.

I have never felt the responsibilities towards the attitude I have on my own body, until I had a girl of my own.

I want to show my daughter that she doesn't have to be a size eight to be accepted.

Sure, I like to go to the gym to feel good.

Sure, I look in the mirror and can see that I don't look like I did at 21, but there are two ways that I can approach this.

I can obsess over the parts of me that I don't like, which will in turn instil an unwarranted fear in my daughter before she's even out of nappies.

Or I can smile at my badges of honour that tell me I've lived!

The stretch marks on my body remind me that I gave two beautiful lives to this world, the lack of perk in my boobs tells me that I was able to offer both my

children the best start in life, and the cellulite, well that's just a sign of the good life!

I may only be in my early 30s, but I want to be comfortable enough to wear a bikini well into my 40s, no matter what society thinks, or the looks I may get.

I know one day my daughter will fall victim to some sort of body image issues, but it is up to me as her mum to project a positive attitude towards it.

So bravo Queensland mum, you have proven that we should celebrate every shape and size, as long as the person is healthy and happy.

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/ne ... y/2461404/


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:29 am 
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Dr Ian Lisle defies the odds with oesophageal cancer

Mathematics professor Dr Ian Lisle was told his oesophageal cancer was incurable in 2011, but he's defied the odds and now he will share his story at a GI Cancer Institute forum into the "forgotten" gastrointestinal cancers.

Gastrointestinal (GI), or digestive tract, cancers are the most common form of cancer, affecting 23,000 Australians a year and claiming 29 lives a day, but research shows initiatives to fight the diseases are under-funded compared with their impact.

Unlike breast and prostate cancers which have an average five-year survival rate of around 90 per cent, the survival rate for most GI cancers is just 54 per cent.

Although he puts a lot of it down to luck, the University of Canberra lecturer said he worked hard to do everything he could to fight the disease when he was diagnosed close to five years ago after feeling progressively weaker.

"It turned out I was weak from having a cancer that was bleeding," he said.

"Some of these [GI] cancers don't show many symptoms until they're quite advanced."

Dr Lisle hopes to pass on some of the lessons he has learnt at Tuesday's forum.

"It's pretty bewildering for newly diagnosed patients… not only the emotional turmoil of the cancer diagnosis but suddenly you're immersed in health system," he said.

"[GI cancers] are underfunded compared to the number of deaths they cause because the survival rates are not what they should be.

"So it's hard for a survivor network to get together and drum up money and support."

Dr Lisle went into remission after an aggressive treatment program throughout 2010 including chemotherapy, 25 radiation treatments, and eight-hours of surgery to remove close to half of his stomach.

"As far as anyone knew I was cancer free," he said.

But it wasn't to be.

While in remission Dr Lisle went back to work, but a scan to clear him for a round the world trip showed the cancer had returned and things looked grim.

"When this cancer reoccurs it spreads very rapidly and usually you're lucky to last 12 months," he said.

"I was given a 'please make your plans' kind of talk by people at surgeons practice."

Dr Lisle was offered more radiation and surgery because the cancer's growth was slow, but still it returned.

He was diagnosed as incurable and offered a place on a clinical trial with a drug designed to slow the growth of the cancer.

For nine months it worked.

"[With clinical trials] you get access to a treatment for free that you normally wouldn't have access to," he said.

Almost three and a half years since his cancer reoccurred, Dr Lisle said no one expected him to have survived so long.

But he has taken advantage of every "little bit of luck" that has come his way working hard on nutrition and exercise.

"It's not an easy thing to do, about half my stomach has been removed during surgery… and exercise is not so easy when you're on and off chemo," Dr Lisle said.

"By keeping myself in good nick that's one of the things that allowed my medical team to offer me treatments that normally wouldn't be offered to patients with advanced diseases."

Although it's typically associated with poor lifestyle choices, Dr Lisle's oesophageal cancer is not caused by smoking or drinking alcohol.

"I didn't have any of the risk factors that are known for my cancer it might just be bad luck," he said.

Dr Lisle remains on chemotherapy, but is now regarded as terminally ill.

"When this chemo stops working won't have many options left," he said.

"But life keeps going even after you've been diagnosed as being incurable.

"You've got to keep living, so I have… if I can work part-time, I do."

The free public forum, hosted by charity the GI Cancer Institute, is on Tuesday, November 25, from 6.30-9pm at the Canberra Rex Hotel, Braddon.

It will include experts, patients, families and supporters and feature information about the latest research developments.

http://www.smh.com.au/act-news/dr-ian-l ... 1s7vd.html


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:38 am 
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Why you should be exercising right now

S Ravi, 49, who lives in Washington, DC, US, writes in an email interview: “In 2011, I was diagnosed with both high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. For a person who led a very active life with no history in family, was vegan, and who took pride in being fit, the diagnosis came as a shock. Not wanting to start taking medication right away I started with a lifestyle change. It was not just about the revision of my diet but also about walking whenever I could, every single day. After several months, I found that my fasting blood sugar had come down to the prediabetes range.”

Prediabetes is a condition where the person’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. “Since then I have been consistent with my walks and now walk up to 5 miles (around 8km) daily. I don’t need medication for my blood sugar yet and am hoping that I won’t need it in the near future either,” writes Ravi.

Many people with prediabetes get diagnosed with diabetes within a decade. But Ravi is unlikely to be one of them as long as he sticks to his diet and exercise regime, says Shashank Joshi, consultant endocrinologist, Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai. “I have many such patients who have successfully been able to keep diabetes at bay with a disciplined lifestyle. It requires motivation and discipline but can be done.” In other words, it’s difficult but doable.

And while walking 5 miles every day may seem a lot, the new physical activity guidelines for healthy Indians, published in 2012 in the Diabetes Technology And Therapeutics journal, suggest 60 minutes of a combination of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, work-related activity and muscle-strengthening exercises. In comparison, the American Heart Association, a non-profit, suggests just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week, plus two days of strength training, for healthy Americans, essentially white Caucasians.

So why is it that Indians need to exercise more than white Caucasians? It turns out that we lead more sedentary lives and eat a more energy-dense diet than our forefathers did. Doctors and researchers believe that a sedentary lifestyle plays a critical role in the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular heart disease among Indians.

And this isn’t a recent theory, it has been around for a long while. According to a 2013 paper published in the Journal Of The Association Of Physicians Of India, the Charaka Samhita, a foundational text of Ayurveda, has over 120 shlokas or aphorisms on exercise. Each chapter of the text prescribes certain kinds of exercise for certain diseases and clearly states that exercise can minimize the symptoms of, or even cure, over 20 different diseases, including obesity and diabetes.

Western medical literature has established that regular exercise helps reduce blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight and increase the levels of HDL cholesterol, the kind of cholesterol that is cardio-protective. HDL scavenges the harmful cholesterol and prevents it from damaging the heart blood vessels. Regular exercise is also great for managing work-related stress because it helps eliminate stress hormones from the bloodstream, thereby reducing the harmful effects of stress, improves circulation of nutrients, induces fatigue (therefore improving sleep), and regulates appetite.

Stress can predispose us to a host of illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. The mind can get used to gradual increases in stress and “forget” that it is stressed. The person continues to function as if nothing was the matter, but it can precipitate disease. It’s a bit like the “boiling frog” experiment, often used as a metaphor to explain how coping with gradual change can have disastrous consequences.

The experiment goes something like this: When a frog is thrown into hot water, it jumps out immediately, but when the same frog is put in water that is heated gradually, it boils to death. While the experiment isn’t entirely accurate, it makes the point quite effectively.

So what kind of exercise do we Indians need to do for an hour each day? Anoop Mishra, director, diabetology, Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, says the exercise needs to be broken down into 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity like brisk walking or biking, 15 minutes of work-related exercise like taking the stairs in the office building or walking during breaks, and 15 minutes of muscle-strength training with light weights. If that sounds like too much of a prescribed plan to fit into a busy life, he suggests, “Change the way you take a break in the office.” At work, you could take a walking break instead of a coffee or doughnut break.

A study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition And Metabolism in July shows that taking frequent active breaks of 5 minutes from work can manage blood insulin levels the same way that sustained 30 minutes of moderate exercise can when the same amount of energy is expended. When asked about the research results, Dr Mishra says: “Yes this may be true, but for us Indians, we must do both. Be as active as possible in the workplace, and exercise outside too.”

American explorer and educator Dan Buettner has researched the way the world’s healthiest and longest-living people go about their lives. In his book, The Blue Zones—9 Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who’ve Lived The Longest, Buettner writes that walking is a simple exercise that all centenarians do, almost daily.

I am going to put on my sneakers and go for a walk now.

http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/vGEKlD9 ... t-now.html


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:27 pm 
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How Exercising Helps You Get More Done

A lot of people don’t work out. In fact, not only do they not work out, they barely move at all. A typical workday for many consists of waking up, sitting in the car on the way to work, sitting at a desk at work, sitting in the car on the way home, sitting on the couch watching television, and then going to bed.

As you might guess, this isn’t a great way to live. But before you tell me you don’t have time for exercise, I’m going to share an important truth with you. Not only do you have time to exercise, exercise actually makes you more productive. It’s a no-brainer, must-do for entrepreneurs, career warriors, and anybody else who wants to get more done.

The Facts

Multiple studies have shown the positive effect that activity has on productivity. Brookings has an overview here of multiple studies that show how an exercise routine increases your daily energy in the short term and can increase the number of brain cells you have over the long term, giving you a major advantage at work and at home.

But exercise doesn’t even have to be extreme for you to get these benefits. A University of Georgia study showed that study participants in a low-intensity exercise group reported growing levels of energy – just like the people in the moderate-intensity group. The low-intensity participants also reported a lower level of fatigue, showing that sometimes slow and steady really do win the race.

Exercise also has an immediate effect on your mood. Getting active causes your body to release brain chemicals that reduce the discomfort of the physical exertion and give you what is often referred to as a ‘runner’s high’. When you have more energy and are in a better mood, it goes without saying that you’ll be much more productive when it comes to business tasks.

The Importance of Routine

There’s nothing like forming a good habit to boost productivity when you feel like you’re struggling. Think about all the things you do, simply by habit. Do you change out of your clothes when you go to bed? Why? Habit. You’ve always done it. It would be easier to collapse into bed and go right to sleep, but you don’t. In the same way, your morning coffee, the route you drive to work, and the way you arrange your daily tasks are all features of habit. Exercise needs to be the same way.

I’ve outlined a diet and workout routine in the past that helped me lose 40 pounds, build muscle, and get back on a healthy track. The exact routine I used may not be what you need, but it can serve as an idea and inspiration. I recommend including your exercise as part of your morning routine. That way, it’ll be done before you have time to get busy, make excuses, and give up.

When you make tasks part of a routine, you create habits. Habits then happen naturally, with little effort, which frees up your brain power and energy for other important parts of your day. By creating routines around exercise and other common tasks, you’ll find yourself better able to focus on the productive tasks needed to grow your business.

How to Motivate Yourself

One of the difficulties – and joys – that comes with being an entrepreneur is that there’s no boss standing over you making you do things. This is a joy because it means you can choose to do what YOU want to do, to follow what makes you happy. You can hit ‘reset’ anytime you need to, evaluating your own priorities and setting a new path in your life.

Unfortunately, it also means there’s no one standing over you making you do the difficult things. Things like saying no to the donut and saying yes to exercise. As a result, you have to learn how to motivate yourself. I find motivation through helping others, meeting with other business owners and my network of friends, but your particular motivators might be different. No two people are the same, and everyone has their own unique motivations.

When you learn to motivate yourself, you’ll find yourself achieving more and more each day. You won’t waste time procrastinating and you’ll be able to make wise choices with your time and your priorities. No one needs to tell you what to do next – you’ll know, and you’ll be able to get it done. It’s a win-win all entrepreneurs need to make a habit of.

How Other Successful People Work Exercise Into Their Daily Lives

When it really comes down to it, there’s no standard routine or regimen that every successful person knows about and incorporates into their schedule in an effort to boost productivity. What works for one person might not work for you. The key is to try different programs until you land on something that you enjoy and can keep up with on a consistent basis.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/sujanpatel/ ... more-done/


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:07 am 
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Rise of the screenager: WA teens average seven hours a day staring at screens, research reveals

WA teenagers are averaging seven hours a day in front of a screen – almost the equivalent of a full-time job, a new study shows.

It means “screenagers” are staring at a computer screen, television, smart phone, ­tablet, computer game or portable DVD player for more than triple the maximum two hours a day recommended by the WA Government’s Physical Act­ivity Taskforce and the Federal Health Department.

Social trends firm McCrindle Research carried out the survey of almost 1000 Aust­ralians, and WA authorities are so worried about the findings they hired demographer and researcher Mark McCrindle to brief the WA Department of Sport and Recreation this week.

Internet usage topped the list, followed by watching TV and then time spent on smartphones.

The survey results have been met with alarm from parenting and health experts who say many teenagers, while being technologically savvy, risk obesity, health problems, a lack of social skills and even a deficiency of essential vitamins provided by sunlight.

“It shows we have a generation of technology-saturated ‘screenagers’ … a whole generation just not getting out much,” Mr McCrindle said.

“In some cases they’re not getting enough sunlight or they’re just not getting basic exercise, the life skills learnt in team sport or just going for a walk and being able to ­navigate.

“Seven hours a day is a huge amount of time staring at a screen. ”

The latest Australian Bur­eau of Statistics’ Australian Health Survey found two-thirds of children aged five to 17 spent more than two hours a day on screen-based entertainment and almost half had a TV, computer or game console in their bedroom.

It comes as researchers led by a University of WA team conduct a world-first study into screen-based activity and its impact on mental health.

Sport and Recreation director-general Ron Alexander said there was “no question that our children are glued to screens for far too long”.

“If you are sitting in front of a screen all day not moving, your social, physical and mental health will suffer,” Mr Alexander said.

“The question is what to do about it?

“One thing that we must do is ensure that when we actually manage to get children outside away from the screen, that there is somewhere for them to play – a park, a footy oval or natural bush.”

Nature Play WA said “electronic screen use” was the biggest leisure activity of young people and chief executive Griffin Longley warned that the addictive world of technology had contributed to kids no longer getting close to nature.

The Heart Foundation warned that young children who watched more than two hours of TV a day were at risk of cognitive development and short-term memory problems.

Parenting WA said parents needed to take an active role in monitoring the balance of screen time in their child’s life.

MANY of their friends spend seven or eight hours a day in front of a screen, but these WA teenagers say they balance screen time with plenty of outdoor activities.

Hayley Swart, 13, Paige Kennedy, 16, Khloe Kennedy, 13 and Lochie Hardy, 13, all use smartphones or tablets but the teens said they were just as keen on sport.

Paige, a Bullsbrook College student, said she spent about four hours a day on her smartphone checking Facebook and Snapchat.

But she said she didn’t waste time playing video games, and never turned on the TV because “I just don’t find it entertaining”.

But many of her friends spent up seven hours a day or more on their smartphones, TV and playing Xbox or PlayStation games, she said.

“I’m not surprised the average teenager is staring at a screen for seven hours because all the kids in my classes are always looking at their phone every minute they can to make sure they’re not missing anything,’’ she said.

“And that’s even though you’re not even meant to have a phone at school.”

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/n ... 7139593262


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:27 pm 
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Put down the anti-depressants and start exercising

Dr. Jane Erb is director of the depression center at Boston's Brigham and Women's hospital.

She says researchers are learning more about the power of exercise in treating depression - a therapy that, in some cases, can even take the place of antidepressant drugs.

"It's really just been over the last couple of decades that there's been more focused sort of clinically validated trials that have established that there truly are appreciable effects that go well beyond placebo."

It's well known that exercise causes the release of chemicals in the brain which bring about feelings of euphoria..the so-called runner's high. But there may be other physiological things happening as well.

A recent study, published in the journal "cell," found that mice, specially bred to contain high levels of a chemical released during exercise… seemed resistant to depression brought about by stress.

The important thing, doctor erb says - even for those with major depression - is to try to keep moving.

"Anything one can do to try and counter the forces of depression, when the depression is just getting bigger - and particularly if medications aren't working - the more it can kind of help keep reins on that vicious circle."

http://www.arklatexhomepage.com/story/d ... 8Bntg7deUg


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:31 am 
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Exercising away the Xmas excess

With Christmas just three weeks away, 'tis the season to be jolly and to celebrate with plenty of food and drink.

But can you balance out the holiday indulgence by doing more exercise?

Massey University is holding a free symposium later today to answer that question.

Among the experts taking part are sports psychologist Warrick Wood and dietician Miriam Mullard.

They say one of the topics will be how exercise and nutrition work together, and how some people can be both fit and unhealthy – and vice versa.

Watch the video for the full interview.

http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/exercisin ... 2014120411


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:15 am 
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For those over 60, exercising the core muscles vitally important

MINNEAPOLIS — Dr. Jamie Peters counsels his patients on fitness for the aging, and Denis Nagan is the model patient.

Nagan, 69, has been active in sports or fitness since grade school. Peters is a sports medicine specialist caring for aging athletes and other older adults wanting to preserve or improve their fitness.

Peters advises older people to stay active, with at least three days a week of moderate activity, intensifying the effort if possible to the point of not being able to carry on a conversation. He advocates cross-training to spread the stress of exercise among different muscles. It’s particularly important to exercise the core muscles, he said, because a strong core will diminish the kind of awkward gait people adopt when compensating for joint pain. But when cross-training isn’t possible, Peters advocates walking — it’s better than not walking.

Nagan has found his own path, on the brink of qualifying as a septuagenarian, to most of what Peters prescribes. Fitness has been an integral part of his life since he joined a swim club as a kid. But in his late 60s, he found himself adapting his regimen to meet changing physical and mental health needs.

He has biked throughout his life — for transportation, for fitness and to compete, culminating in the 1,200-kilometer Paris-Brest-Paris ultramarathon bike tour. He was a runner for the same reasons, to the point of logging 50-kilometer training runs with former Olympians. But these days he’s more likely to move at a pace that fits his age and lifestyle, something that many older adults can emulate.

“I walk for utility and I walk for aimlessness,” the northeast Minneapolis resident said. A trip to pick up an item at Home Depot? That’s a two-and-a-half-mile walk. A walk downtown to the library, or to catch the Blue Line to the V.A. hospital, is seven or eight miles round trip.

“It’s been very beneficial both mentally and physically,” Nagan said. Walking lacks the cardio intensity of biking and running. Sometimes he’ll jog up a hill, just to push his heart rate and get some of the cardiovascular benefits Peters prescribes.

“My legs are strong and I can hike all day,” said Nagan. “I just can’t go as fast as I used to, and I don’t know that that’s important. There’s no reason to go fast other than you did at one time go fast.”

For a greater challenge, Nagan tackles the physically demanding ups and downs of the Superior Hiking Trail, a trail edging Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota. “If I’m in the city, I call it a walk. When I’m in the country, I call it a hike.”

Unlike many walkers, Nagan eschews headphones. That leaves his mind free to operate on two tracks. “I’m very aware of what’s going on around me. I’m always aware of who’s around, what’s around, what’s going on. I’m always tuned into the immediacy of the moment.” That includes the temperature, the breeze, the surface he’s walking on. “It’s always different even if you’re going the same route.”

Meanwhile, his mind is working subconsciously. “All of a sudden I might have a solution to a problem. The subconscious part of your mind is back there grinding away.”

That mindfulness is a carry-over from Nagan’s meditation and yoga practices, something Peters also prescribes for building core strength and balance. Why is yoga better than, say, pushups and situps? Yoga can be modified by a capable instructor to avoid positions that might impose undue stress on the body.

Lifelong athletes inevitably will find themselves making adjustments, with performance beginning to diminish after 40 or 45 years old. Peters recommends age-group competitions as a healthy adjustment for people driven to maintain high levels of fitness. “I think the healthy attitude is you set expectations that you can achieve,” he said.

Nagan finds other benefits from a less punishing exercise regimen. “The biggest is you’re not beat up all the time.” When he ran hard, “You’re always sore — there’s always something that’s sort of semi-broken. It feels good to not have to be worried about how fast you’re doing something.”

Joint issues are a common concern for aging athletes. The older a person, the greater the chance for joint pain caused by degenerative arthritis (i.e., thinning cartilage lining in the joints). Peters still emphasizes the importance of exercise, even for patients suffering from stiff or aching joints. Peters points to solid evidence that movement prolongs joint life by keeping the synovial fluid healthier and the cartilage better nourished. Here, too, it can help to emphasize core strength — a stronger core prevents exercisers from adopting one of those strange gaits, prone to cause even more problems. One low-impact way to exercise with arthritis is riding a bike or a stationary bike with mild to moderate resistance for 35 to 40 minutes a day.

Arthritis can also be addressed by relatively inexpensive steroidal injections. These can relieve discomfort for several months, Peters said. That relief makes exercise easier while allowing for a more normal gait and diminishing the chance of further injury.

Another big issue for older athletes is losing muscle mass, which can’t be replaced once lost. Peters recommends resistance activities such as weight workouts for all his patients, but especially those over 60.

Like Nagan, Peters at 61 has a stake in preserving a high level of fitness for his age. “I want to keep being able to hike high up in the mountains,” he said from Colorado, where he’d just finished a daylong hike at altitude. He runs weekly, which is as much as his knees allow, but also bikes both on the road and on a stationary bike, works out on roller skis for dryland training, and skate-skis during the winter.

Some of Peters’ patients embody the benefits of workout regimens like his. “I have the honor of taking care of a lot of octogenarians who are healthy and doing well,” Peters said. “They have a lifelong habit of staying active.”

http://www.bendbulletin.com/lifestyle/2 ... e-muscles#


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:55 pm 
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Fresh and Fit: 10 reasons to curb your alcohol consumption

Most of us drink alcohol, and plenty of us drink too much, at least sometimes. It's one of the few socially acceptable vices for us to have. I'm not going to tell you to stop drinking alcohol, because if you do so regularly, I know you're going to continue (and honestly, I will too). But there are plenty of reasons you should try to drink less than you currently are.

A new study has revealed that 90 percent of heavy drinkers aren't alcoholics. It's still a major problem, but it's not an addiction. Most people choose to drink too much, and if you fall into this category, you can also decide to cut back and drink less. You just have to make the decision to do so. With that in mind, let's discuss levels of alcohol consumption and reasons you should consider curbing your alcohol intake.

What is excessive drinking?

Excessive drinking is binge drinking, heavy drinking and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Binge drinking is defined as more than four drinks for women or five for men in a single occasion. Heavy drinking is eight or more drinks a week for women and 15 or more for men. Twelve ounces of beer (5 percent alcohol content), 8 ounces of malt liquor (7 percent alcohol content), 5 ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol content) and 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits or liquor (40 percent alcohol content) are all considered a drink.

It's easy to binge drink when you go out to the bar or have some friends over. Plenty of times you'll go over four or five drinks in a single night, and you've probably not given it much of a thought. Most of us do it for years, and plenty of people do it their entire lives. Does that mean it's safe?

Some people won't have any ill effects from drinking too much, but the more you drink, the more you increase your odds for major health concerns. You may be fine, or you may not. Either way, I want you to at least be aware of what could happen to your body.

Alcohol disrupts women's reproductive systems.

Alcohol use negatively affects female puberty, disrupts normal menstrual cycles and throws off normal hormone levels. It's been known to cause irregular menstrual cycles, complete cessation of menses, absence of ovulation, infertility and an early onset of menopause, even in amounts not large enough to cause permanent damage to your liver or other organs.

Researchers agree that heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects, but they're split on drinking a small amount during pregnancy. It seems like the safe bet is to avoid alcohol entirely, because doctors just don't know enough to tell you what it does to your baby's brain development.

Men may not get a free pass.

Fetal alcohol syndrome can cause retarded intellect, stunted growth, nervous system abnormalities, social problems and isolation. It was thought that women were the only culprit when it came to developing this disorder, but new research has shown that alcohol can negatively affect the genes in sperm responsible for fetal development. Male mice that were exposed to alcohol prior to mating produced offspring that were more likely to suffer from abnormal organ or brain development.

More research is needed on human subjects, but if you're trying to have a child, perhaps it's best for men to abstain from alcohol consumption as well.

Heavy drinking increases your risk of osteoporosis.

People reach peak bone mass at about age 35. Heavy drinking, especially during adolescence and young adulthood, can compromise bone quality for women and increase risk of osteoporosis later in life. These effects cannot be reversed, so once problems arise, they can only get worse with time.

Frequent use increases the risk of stroke in men.

The more alcohol you drink, the more your chances of a stroke go up. Men who drink more than two times a week are three times more likely to have a stroke than those who do not consume any alcohol.

Binge drinking increases the risk of high blood pressure.

Young adult men who binge drink are 1.7 times more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who don't, and heavy use in adults can increase your blood pressure dramatically, according to the American Heart Association.

Heavy drinking raises your risk of cancer.

Alcohol has been linked to cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon and rectum, as well as breast. Drinking and smoking together are a particular concern, because alcohol limits cells' abilities to heal themselves from the damage caused by tobacco.

You could develop cirrhosis of the liver.

Cirrhosis is a process in which healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue, eventually preventing the liver from carrying out its important functions. Your risk goes up the longer you've been drinking and the more alcohol you consume.

You're more likely to have dementia.

Our brains shrink as we get older, but heavy drinking can increase shrinkage in certain parts of the brain associated with memory. It can also hinder our ability to carry out higher-function tasks, thus reducing our quality of life.

You can cause or worsen depression.

There's a debate about whether depression causes us to drink heavily or the other way around, but it is clear that the two go hand in hand. Nearly a third of people with major depression have an alcohol problem, and the frequency and severity of symptoms only increase with alcohol consumption.

Your immune system will suffer.

Alcohol suppresses your immune system; increases your risk of illness; and, most notably, causes a threefold increase in your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease because you're more likely to engage in riskier sex. Don't let being drunk stop you from using protection.

http://www.nooga.com/168528/fresh-and-f ... nsumption/


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:38 pm 
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Exercising During Treatment

In the last week or so, my breast cancer support group had an email thread about exercising during treatment. How much is enough? What’s too much? How do you decide what exercises to do?

It’s also not a surprise that the cancer patients and survivors in my support group should be a little confused.

Just five years ago, the standard advice for cancer patients was to save energy and limit activity, and for cancer survivors to return to physical activity carefully and slowly. That’s probably still the advice for patients who, for whatever reason, experience shortness of breath, heart issues, or pain. But for those patients who don’t suffer completely debilitating side effects of treatment, new research reveals that exercise can not only make cancer patients and survivors feel better, it can make treatment more effective and it can reduce the amount of time needed to recover when active treatment ends.

Other studies show that exercise may even prevent cancer or reduce the risk of recurrence.

If you’re exhausted and feel like a worn out dishrag, the last thing you probably want to do is run off to do an hour on the treadmill. But you don’t have to turn into what my husband and I call a “Spandex Nazi.” Some activity is always better than none.

I’ve been active most of my life, though not at the Spandex Nazi level. I’ve always jogged, hiked, cycled, dabbled in racquetball, surfing and skiing. But cancer treatment completely wore me out. I didn’t feel up to really strenuous exercise.

Luckily, my oncology hospital offered free consultations with a personal trainer. She encouraged me to just walk, as long as I could, every day. So after I’d drop my kid off from school, I’d hike up a ridge in a county park just down the road. It’s about a mile and a half of pretty steep climbing. But I loved the feeling of accomplishment when I got to the top and was rewarded with a stunning view. Sometimes, I’d hike along the ridge for a while, sometimes, I’d go straight back down.

I treasured this hour or two each day. It was just me, my dog and nature. It did make me remember the good things in life, it did keep my muscles toned and my cardiovascular system active. As treatment progressed, I got too weak to make it to the top, but I still went. And the view was still good halfway up. And I think I felt better than I would have if I hadn’t done the daily hike.

The key, according to the Oncology Nursing Society, is to develop an exercise plan that is specifically for you. Every cancer is different. Every treatment is different. Every person is different. Ask your doctor. Ask if your hospital offers exercise consultations. Ask if local gyms have a program for cancer patients (many do).

But whether you’re a cancer patient, or a survivor, it’s a good idea to just get moving.

http://blogs.webmd.com/cancer/2014/12/e ... tment.html


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:29 am 
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Exercising a Fat Dog (and Yourself)

The chubby, inert pet dog has become a familiar household sight in richer countries. And yet there lies a possible boon to the out-of-shape among us. A recent study suggests that being told one’s pet is dangerously overweight might provide the impetus that gets an owner moving.

It might seem that having a pet dog would result in considerable physical activity, and that’s true, broadly speaking. A 2013 review of studies related to dog ownership concluded that as a group, dog owners spend almost an hour more per week walking than people without dogs. Even so, a survey from 2008 conducted in Australia found that nearly a quarter of all dog owners reported never walking their pets. This population of dog owners, studies show, actually engage in less physical activity each week than people without a dog.

A majority of dog owners, of course, are deeply attached to their pets, whether they walk them or not. That bond prompted a group of scientists, veterinarians and physicians at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, in Bethesda, Md., and other institutions to consider whether people might be willing to undertake a health-and-fitness regimen targeted at their dog, even if they had little enthusiasm for such a program for themselves.

The researchers recruited 32 dog owners who visited a veterinary clinic in Maryland. Their dogs varied widely in age, breed and size, but all were overweight or obese and, by and large, sedentary. So, too, were most of their owners (although the only criterion for their participation was that their dogs be rotund). Half the volunteers were told by a veterinarian to watch their dog’s nutrition and monitor its health. The rest were told that their dog was overweight and needed more exercise. These owners were given specific exercise prescriptions, which generally advised walking the dog for at least 30 minutes every day.

Three months later, the volunteers and their dogs were re-evaluated. Both owners and pets in the dog-walking group had lost weight. But more interesting, those who had been told only that their pets were worryingly heavy also began exercising their pets and themselves. They reported walking far more often than they did before they got health warnings for their dogs, and both they and their pets were thinner.

The upshot, says Capt. Mark B. Stephens M.D., a professor of family medicine at Uniformed Services University and a co-author of the study — it was published in September in the journal Anthrozoös — is that “love and concern for a dog can be a powerful motivation for exercise.” Which is not to say, he adds, that people should adopt a dog as a kind of fitness device. Unlike a treadmill, Marley cannot be abandoned in the basement when you tire of working out. On the other hand, no device will ever be so happy to see you lace up your walking shoes.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/1 ... gain/?_r=0


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:55 am 
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Run for the Kids 2015: Trinity Grammar students run to remember cancer victim Linus Couper

FLANKED by a squad of runners, Tom Bennett knows his good mate will be pushing him to the finish line.

Up to 100 Trinity Grammar students and graduates will take part in next year’s Herald Sun CityLink Run for the Kids in memory of former pupil Linus Couper.

Linus tragically died aged 15 in 2011 after a battle with a rare cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma.

“The experience of losing a great mate has brought the group closer. We’re a lot stronger. It’s not every day you lose a friend but we’ve all united for a very worthy cause,” Mr Bennett, 18, said.

“It will be hard to get 100 runners again because we’ve just left school, but I don’t think it’s out of the equation.”

It will be the group’s fourth Run for the Kids campaign, which has raised $17,000 for youth cancer charities Canteen and Challenge.

The running crew will take part in the short course event, which will trek through the Domain Tunnel for the first time.

The 2013 short course winner, Mitch Dyer, will again set foot on the track after placing in this year’s 5.5km run.

It will be the 10th running of Melbourne’s biggest fun run on Sunday, March 22, with the event raising more than $10 million for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

The popular 15km long course takes runners across the Bolte Bridge and through the Domain Tunnel.

Run for the Kids is expected to be a sellout, with more than 35,000 people taking part this year.

http://www.news.com.au/national/victori ... 7154836566


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:04 pm 
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10 ways to keep exercising while on holiday

So we've dealt with silly season; next comes holiday season. For anyone who relies heavily on routine to fulfil their exercise objectives, holidays can be quite the challenge.

All the familiar props are removed and as a result, more than often, so is the incentive to do any training. And that's OK, because you're on holiday, right? But it's also nice to do something to offset the extra eating and drinking that's likely to be occurring. And those post-exercise, feel-good endorphins that put you in such a great state of mind and make you better company are pretty nice too.

Here are 10 holiday training options:

1. Do a short workout. Don't feel obliged to exercise daily, but when you do, make it quality over quantity. If you're at the beach you could run really hard for 20 seconds then jog very slowly for 20 seconds, then repeat until six minutes is up (warm up first). Get down and do six minutes of core work - a mixture of strength, stability and power exercises - then get up and do another six minutes of on-off running. If you run flat out when you're supposed to, your heart rate will tell you about it. Then dive into the sea. Bliss.

2. Do an out-and-back run. Another easy one if you're at the beach, but useful anywhere that you know you can extend the course a bit the next time. The out-and-back is a good run to do solo, a good run for added intensity, and good for pacing awareness, which is important for managing fatigue in races. Aim: run one direction at recovery pace and after a set time, say 20 minutes, turn around and run back the same route at half-marathon to 10km race pace. Ideally you don't want to be more than 10 per cent faster on the way back than you were on the way out, so you want to negatively split your run, but not by too much.

3. Go for an exploratory "base" run on your own. Use the run as an excuse to discover your new neighbourhood. Take a mud map with you and enjoy the sights. Or go one-way and meet friends or family at the end point.

4. In the US? Do a city running tour where you "sweat and sightsee" simultaneously. In Europe there's Go Running tours. In fact, most cities now offer organised running tours. Free city runs are also offered out of specialised running shops, too - a more low-key, casual option.

5. Do a parkrun. In multiple cities and thousands of parks in nine countries you can do a free, timed 5km run. Even in the snow. What could be more different?

6. If you're in a hotel and not usually a gym user, do something radical and try out some of the apparatus or sign up for a class.

7. Choose an active or action holiday. It's a win-win situation. You get to exercise while you're sightseeing or just having fun. Obvious options include ski holidays and cycling holidays. My family and I will be somewhere between Vietnam and Thailand when this blog is published, on a 475km cycle trip with Grasshopper Adventures. Let your imagination run wild.

8. Take a skipping rope or an exercise band with you. And take it out of the suitcase. And use it.

9. Try pool running. It's a fave workout among elite runners. Great for training while injured; or when it's too hot to run. And it's efficient. And ladies, you can do it in a bikini. You can do some intervals, like high-intensity bursts, and some strides. But make sure you've got the technique down pat first.

10. Dance a lot. 'Nuf said. Have a good time.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well- ... on-holiday


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