Author: Club Director

Breathing Technique Can Calm You Down – Box Breathing

A simple breathing technique used by first responders and Navy SEALs in stressful and life threatening situations called box breathing can help to de-stress and calm you down in just a few minutes.

Box breathing is a form of present, deep, conscious breathing in which each exhaled breath is drawn out to last longer than the inhalation. This type of breathing signals the brain to tone down the sympathetic nervous system, which stops the adrenal glands from releasing adrenaline and other hormones responsible for the fight or flight responses to danger. Box breathing also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system that releases relaxing chemicals to counterbalance stress responses of the sympathetic nervous system.

Special forces commandos and first responders are just some of the pros who use box breathing to stay calm even in the toughest situations they may encounter, and they have vouched for its effectiveness at managing stress levels whenever hard decisions need to be made on the fly with people’s lives on the line.

Humans have two responses to danger: to either stand their ground and fight; or flee the situation for their lives. This is called fight or flight response, and it has not changed much over the course of time; it will trigger when anything stressful is encountered be it a dangerous situation or a message from a lover announcing a break up.

Fight or flight responses main purpose is to keep a human alive in the presence of deadly danger, and it exerts powerful effects on the body which can increase strength and rate of the heart beat and raise blood pressure. Such changes ensure the body will have enough energy to either run for your life or fight off an attacker.

Once stressed the body can take up to three quarters of an hour before it winds down to a normal state. Modern society seems to have an endless supply of all sorts of trigger that can work to keep a person locked in stressful states for long periods of time.

Box breathing can offer a natural way to prevent stress, and interrupt the fight or flight response that normally overrides normal functions of the mind and body. Box breathing is a deep form of breathing that triggers alpha waves linked with constructive activity in the brain that are emitted when a person experiences an inspiration.

This form of deep breathing is almost as simple as counting. Simply inhale with the diaphragm while counting to 4 and fill the lungs to maximum capacity, hold the breath for 4 and then exhale slowly to a longer count of 4.

Ensure to avoid the kind of agitated breathing that shoves the shoulders into the ears as that is shallow stress breathing and will keep the body in fight or flight mode rather than relaxing the stressed mind and body.

When filling the lungs try to expand your stomach, as filling the stomach with air opens up space in the belly for the diaphragm which will move down in order to make room for the expanding lungs.

Once the five count box breathing technique is down pat you can alter the ratio between inhalation and exhalation to trying to exhale to a longer slow count of 8. After that move to deep breathing ratios of 8:16; 10:20; 22:44; or 30:80.

One needs not to be a highly skilled professional to benefit from box breathing, everyone has stress. All you need to do is to remember to take deep calming breaths whenever you feel stressed to regain your calm within minutes. Relax, unwind, and enjoy.

Read the full story.

Source: WorldHealth.net

Any amount of running linked to significantly lower risk of early death

Any amount of running is linked to a significantly lower risk of death from any cause, finds a pooled analysis of the available evidence, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

If more people took up running – and they wouldn’t have to run far or fast – there would likely be substantial improvements in population health and longevity, conclude the researchers.

It’s not clear how good running is for staving off the risk of death from any cause and particularly from cardiovascular disease and cancer, say the researchers. Nor is it clear how much running a person needs to do to reap these potential benefits, nor whether upping the frequency, duration, and pace — in other words, increasing the ‘dose’ — might be even more advantageous.

To try and find out, the researchers systematically reviewed relevant published research, conference presentations, and doctoral theses and dissertations in a broad range of academic databases.

They looked for studies on the association between running/jogging and the risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

They found 14 suitable studies, involving 232,149 people, whose health had been tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years. During this time, 25,951 of the study participants died.

When the study data were pooled, any amount of running was associated with a 27% lower risk of death from all causes for both sexes, compared with no running. It was also associated with a 30% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and a 23% lower risk of death from cancer.

Even small ‘doses’ – for example, once weekly or less, lasting less than 50 minutes each time, and at a speed below 6 miles (8 km) an hour, still seemed to be associated with significant health/longevity benefits.

Check the full story.

Source: ScienceDaily

Early retirement can accelerate cognitive decline

Early retirement can accelerate cognitive decline among the elderly, according to research conducted by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Plamen Nikolov, assistant professor of economics, and Alan Adelman, a doctoral student in economics, examined China’s New Rural Pension Scheme (NRPS) and the Chinese Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey (CHARLS) to determine the effects of pension benefits on individual cognition of those ages 60 or above. CHARLS, a nationally representative survey of people ages 45 and above within the Chinese population, is a sister survey of the U.S. Health and Retirement Survey and directly tests cognition with a focus on episodic memory and components of intact mental status.

With a higher life expectancy and decline in fertility in developing countries, the elderly population has become the largest demographic source in Asia and Latin America, generating an urgent need for new, sustainable pension systems. However, research suggests that these retirement plans can be detrimental, as retirement plays a significant role in explaining cognitive decline at older ages.

“Because of this large demographic boom, China introduced a formal pension program (called NRPS) in rural parts of the country. The program was introduced on the basis of an economy’s needs and capacity, in particular to alleviate poverty in old age,” said Nikolov. “In rural parts of the country, traditional family-based care for the elderly had largely broken down, without adequate formal mechanisms to take its place. For the elderly, inadequate transfers from either informal family and community transfers could severely reduce their ability to cope with illness or poor nutrition.”

The researchers discovered that there were significant negative effects of pension benefits on cognition functioning among the elderly. The largest indicator of cognitive decline was delayed recall, a measure that is widely implicated in neurobiological research as an important predictor of dementia. The pension program had more negative effects among females, and Nikolov said the results support the mental retirement hypothesis that decreased mental activity results in the worsening of cognitive skills.

“Individuals in the areas that implement the NRPS score considerably lower than individuals who live in areas that do not offer the NRPS program,” Nikolov said. “Over the almost 10 years since its implementation, the program led to a decline in cognitive performance by as high as almost a fifth of a standard deviation on the memory measures we examine.”

“For cognition among the elderly, it looks like the negative effect on social engagement far outweighed the positive effect of the program on nutrition and sleep,” said Nikolov. “Or alternatively, the kinds of things that matter and determine better health might simply be very different than the kinds of things that matter for better cognition among the elderly. Social engagement and connectedness may simply be the single most powerful factors for cognitive performance in old age.”

Check the full story.

Source: ScienceDaily

When It Comes To Chocolate Darker Is Healthier

Those with a sweet tooth will be happy to know that in moderation, dark chocolate is good for cardiovascular health, according to a study collaborative study between Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra and the University of Gothenburg that was published in the journal Nutrition.

A few squares of dark chocolate, especially those containing 90% cocoa content can help to greatly improve blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to this study.

30 healthy participants between the ages of 18-27 were divided into 2 groups: one group eating 20g of chocolate containing 55% cocoa content, and the other eating 20g of chocolate with 90% cocoa content. Participant blood pressure was taken at baseline, then again after 30 days.

Eating chocolate was found to improve blood pressure, but those in the 90% group had more dramatic results; those in the 90% group after one month showed an average reduction of 3.5 mmHg in systolic and 2.3 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure, while those in the 55% group had an average reduction of 2.4 mmHg in systolic and 1.7 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure.

Based on their findings the team concluded that eating small amounts of dark chocolate can be of benefit to the cardiovascular system regardless of age, but they noted while the findings provide a positive correlation between dark chocolate and cardiovascular biomarkers how they affect other factors of a healthy lifestyle requires further research.

“The extent to which cocoa may interact with other healthy lifestyle strategies remains to be explored, and further research is needed to clarify the underlying mechanisms and to define optimal amounts of regular cocoa-rich dark chocolate intake,” says lead author Dr. Telmo Pereira.

A study published in Heart investigating the health benefits of chocolate involving 21,000 participants taking note of eating habits also observed cumulative evidence between chocolate intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Flavanols found within dark chocolate may be responsible for a lot of these health benefits as multiple studies have shown direct links between eating flavonoid rich foods and human health. Many foods contain flavonoids which have been explored for antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor properties.

Choose your chocolate with scrutiny as not as types of chocolate have flavanols, which are also what gives chocolate the slightly bitter taste. Many commercially available chocolates have been stripped of the beneficial flavanols in favor of more mellow taste.

Check the full story.

Source: WorldHealth.net

Fitness Programme: OCR Obstacle Course Racing Programme, 8 Weeks

Workout.TrainingProgramme1Introduction

  • This is a an intense training programme that targets the whole body.
  • It spans over eight weeks (add a Max Week as week 3 and 7).
  • Bodyweight exercises make up most of the programme.
  • The number of sets and reps are suitable at an intermediate level. Scale basis your current form.
  • The programme is perfect preparing for an obstacle course event.
  • You will be in the best shape of your life after completing the programme. Promise!
  • Good luck and have fun!

Download

Click to download the programme and start an intense period: Obstacle Course Racing Programme

Dog Ownership Associated With Longer Life

According to a study and separate meta-analysis published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes dog ownership, provided it is a responsible and good relationship, may be associated with longer life and better cardiovascular outcomes, especially for those who are heart attack and stroke survivors who live alone.

“The findings in these two well-done studies and analyses build upon prior studies and the conclusions of the 2013 AHA Scientific Statement ‘Pet Ownership and Cardiovascular Risk’ that dog ownership is associated with reductions in factors that contribute to cardiac risk and cardiovascular events,” said Glenn N. Levine, M.D., chair of the writing group of the American Heart Association’s scientific statement on pet ownership. “Further, these two studies provide good, quality data indicating dog ownership is associated with reduced cardiac and all-cause mortality. While these non-randomized studies cannot ‘prove’ that adopting or owning a dog directly leads to reduced mortality, these robust findings are certainly at least suggestive of this.”

Research indicates that social isolation and lack of physical activity have negative impacts on human health. Both studies examined how dog ownership affected health outcomes. In the past, dog ownership has been indicated to alleviate social isolation, improve physical activity, and lower blood pressure; dog owners are thought to have better cardiovascular outcomes than those who are not.

Close to 182,000 people were reported to have had a heart attack of those 6% were dog owners; close to 155,000 people had an ischemic stroke of which 5% were dog owners in the study. Compared to nonowners dog ownership was associated with a 24% decreased risk of all cause mortality; 31% lower risk of death due to heart attack or stroke; 33% reduced risk of early heart survivors living alone; and a 27% reduced risk for early death for stroke survivors living alone.

Reduced risk of death associated with dog ownership may be due to increased physical exercise and decreased loneliness/depression; both possible explanations have been connected to dog ownership in previous studies. Even though this study draws from a large sample possible misclassification of factors such as relationship status, change in ownership, or death of a dog could have affected the outcomes in this study.

“We know that social isolation is a strong risk factor for worse health outcomes and premature death. Previous studies have indicated that dog owners experience less social isolation and have more interaction with other people,” said Tove Fall, D. V. M., professor at Uppsala University in Sweden. “Furthermore, keeping a dog is a good motivation for physical activity, which is an important factor in rehabilitation and mental health.”

“The results of this study suggest positive effects of dog ownership for patients who have experienced a heart attack or stroke. However, more research is needed to confirm a causal relationship and giving recommendations about prescribing dogs for prevention. Moreover, from an animal welfare perspective, dogs should only be acquired by people who feel they have the capacity and knowledge to give the pet a good life.”

In the systematic review and meta-analysis over 3.9 million participants from 10 separate studies were involved; 9 studies included comparison of all cause mortality outcomes for dog owners and non-owners, and 4 compared cardiovascular outcomes of non-owners and dog owners. Compared to non-owners dog owners had a 24% decreased risk of all cause mortality, 65% decreased risk of mortality after a heart attack, and a 31% decreased risk of mortality due to cardiovascular related problems.

“Having a dog was associated with increased physical exercise, lower blood pressure levels and better cholesterol profile in previous reports,” said Caroline Kramer, M.D. Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and an Endocrinologist and Clinician scientist at Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes at Mount Sinai Hospital, part of Sinai Health System. “As such, the findings that people who owned dogs lived longer and their risk for cardiovascular death was also lower are somewhat expected.”

Studies included in the analysis included those in which participants were adults aged 18+, evaluated dog ownership at the start of the study, reported all cause or cardiovascular mortality, had original data from an original prospective study, were retrospective, and provided an absolute number of events that occurred and reported non-fatal cardiovascular events.

“Our findings suggest that having a dog is associated with longer life. Our analyses did not account for confounders such as better fitness or an overall healthier lifestyle that could be associated with dog ownership. The results, however, were very positive,” said Dr. Kramer. “The next step on this topic would be an interventional study to evaluate cardiovascular outcomes after adopting a dog and the social and psychological benefits of dog ownership. As a dog owner myself, I can say that adopting Romeo (the author’s miniature Schnauzer) has increased my steps and physical activity each day, and he has filled my daily routine with joy and unconditional love.”

Read the full story.

Source: WorldHealth.net

Machine Learning Identifies Potential Anti-Cancer Molecules in Food

The internet is rife with myths and articles making dubious claims about certain foods and their anti-cancer properties. We have all seen the articles of questionable scientific merit gracing social media suggesting that such-and-such foods can cure cancer, the majority of which are highly questionable. A new study offers a unique kind of insight into the potential true effectiveness of food in fighting cancer.

Investigating molecules in food with machine learning

There is no doubt that there are many foods that contain a myriad of active molecules, and perhaps some of these food myths may have a grain of truth to them. A team of researchers decided to do some real myth-busting and put a variety of bioactive molecules found in foods to the test to see if they might potentially help to combat cancer.

The research team chose to use the power of machine learning to help assess a total of 7,962 biologically active compounds encountered in dietary sources. These molecules were compiled into a database and fed into a machine learning algorithm, which determined that of these compounds, there were 110 molecules that appeared to have anti-cancer properties.

Read the full story.

Source: Life Extension Advocacy Foundation

 

Walking For Longevity

Walking is one of the best ways to enjoy outside while firming thighs, lifting the bum, that helps lower risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Research suggests every hour spent walking may add two hours to lifespans.

Aerobic doctrine has dominated exercise discussions and health since the 70s. Outdated no pain, no gains slogans hold that benefits of exercise depend upon working hard enough to boost the heart rate to 70-85% of maximum sustained for 20 to 60 minutes at least 3 times a week. Such intense workouts carry risk for injury, and discourage many.

Running is the poster boy for aerobics, that with preparation and precaution is great for health and fitness, but it is not the only way to exercise for health. Maybe seeing the sweat drenched, hard breathing runners counting pulse rates can make others assume less intensive exercise is a waste of time, but in fact that is far from the truth as moderate exercise is excellent for overall health; walking is the poster boy for moderate exercise.

Benefits of any exercise depends on 3 elements: duration, frequency, and intensity of exercises. Walking is less intensive than running, meaning longer periods of time are required or getting out more often to match the benefits of running. Current American Heart Association and American College of Sports Medicine standards suggest all able bodied adults to participate in moderate intensity exercise including brisk walking for at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, or intense aerobic exercises including running for at least 20 minutes a day 3 days a week. One can mix and match to suit health, personal abilities and preferences, and daily schedules with walking, swimming, biking, gardening, dancing, golfing, whatever it is to keep/get the body moving. Add up all the things it takes to do most activities and walking just seems like the perfect anywhere, anytime, free, activity.

Literally hundreds of studies show the benefits of regular exercise on health. Walking has been shown to decrease risks of cardiovascular events by 31%, and decrease risks of dying by 32%, benefits which were equally robust in both sexes. Protection from risks was evident even at shorter distances of 5.5 miles per week at a casual pace of 2 miles per hour; subjects walking faster for longer distances had the greatest benefits.

Cardiovascular benefits are biologically plausible, as with all forms of regular moderate exercises walking improves cardiac factors such as blood pressure, obesity, cholesterol, mental stress, diabetes, respiratory disease, and vascular stiffness and inflammation. Should cardiac protection and lower death rate not be motivation enough walking can help to protect against dementia, peripheral artery disease, colon cancer, and erectile dysfunction.

Walking is not slow running, some speedwalkers can zip past joggers. At any speed walkers have one foot on the ground at all times, runners become entirely airborne at some point during each stride; what goes up must come down which is what makes running high impact, subjecting the body to stresses.

Walking on trails and streets is great for health as it gets the body outside, walking stairs can help up cardiopulmonary function, and can be twice as taxing as a brisk walk on the level, and 50% harder then walking on a steep incline or lifting weights. Even at slower paces climbing stairs will burn calories 3 times faster. A Harvard study showed men who averaged at least 8 flights of stairs a day enjoyed 33% lower mortality rates, men who walked 1.3 miles a day at a level incline had 22% lower mortality rates.

80 steps per minute represents a leisurely pace; 100 steps per minute represents a moderate pace; 120 steps per minute represents a fast pace. 12 average city blocks are one mile, and an average stride length can count approximately 2000 steps in about a mile, a pedometer can help better track progress.

Research shows that walking 7 hours spread throughout the week can help get 3-5 times the recommended amount of leisure time physical activity levels which can help to reduce risk of death by 39%. Achieving minimum recommended amounts of physical activity of at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise can lower risk of death by 31%, as published in JAMA International Medicine. Walking just 30 minutes a day has been shown to lower risk of premature death by 20%.

Ready, set, steady, walk your way to better health, happiness, well being, and longevity.

Check the full story.

Source: WorldHealth.net

Read More Books to Increase Longevity

Despite the recent popularity of the Kindle and other e-readers, sales of printed books are increasing. In 2015, there were 571 million units sold in the United States, compared to 559 million the previous year. Reading books is a popular way of relaxing and escaping stressful thoughts, as well as passing the time. Reading can also preserve structural integrity in the brain, as people age. Now, it is believed to have the added benefit of helping us to live longer.

Becca R. Levy, a professor of epidemiology at Yale University of Public Health, and her colleagues, analyzed data provided by the Health and Retirement Study (a nationally representative sample of American adults, 50 years of age or older). 3,635 men and women were included in the study, and all self-reported their reading habits. For approximately 12 years, they were followed-up, and their survival was monitored. Those who read books for up to 3.5 hours weekly were 17% less likely to die over the 12 year follow-up, compared to those who did not read books. Those who read for over 3.5 hours per week were 23% less likely to die. Over the course of the 12 years, the adults who read books survived almost 2 years longer than the adults who did not read.

Check the full story.

Source: WorldHealth.net

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Reverses Aging

The Mayo Clinic has determined that intense aerobic exercise has the potential to reverse the aging process in adults. Though everyone knows exercise is beneficial, there are plenty of questions regarding which types of exercises are the best and what age groups benefit the most from specific exercises. According to the Mayo Clinic, high intensity cardio can reverse some cellular aspects of aging.

The Study’s Aim

The purpose of the study described above was to pinpoint evidence that would assist in the development of exercise recommendations and targeted therapies for people of varying ages. Researchers monitored molecular and metabolic alterations in individuals of varying ages across a period of about three months. They collected data 72 hours after those in randomized groups performed an array of different exercises.

Study Details

Mayo Clinic researchers tested high-intensity interval training (HIIT) against combined training and resistance training. Each style of training boosted lean body mass as well as insulin sensitivity. However, HIIT and combined training heightened aerobic capacity as well as mitochondrial functionality for skeletal muscle. This is especially important for senior citizens who often endure declines in mitochondrial content and functionality.

HIIT even boosted muscle protein content that improved energetic functions and spurred the enlargement of muscles. This bolstering of muscle protein was common in older adults who engaged in high-intensity intervals. The research team keyed in on one of their most important findings: exercise boosted the cellular machinery necessary for the construction of new proteins. Protein creation and synthesis reverse some of the problematic effects of the aging process.

The take-home message is that HIIT is ideal for aging adults as it benefits the body at the molecular level as well as metabolically. HIIT reverses certain manifestations of the aging process within the human body’s protein function. Engaging in resistance training is also advisable as it allows for the establishment of considerable muscle strength. HIIT is certainly beneficial yet a strict reliance on this style of exercise won’t significantly boost muscle strength unless combined with resistance training.

Check the full story.

Source: WorldHealth.net