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Category: Quality of Life (page 1 of 4)

Canada has been ranked highest for quality of life

Through all phases of life, Canada and Scandinavian countries treat their citizens well, according to US News.

Best Countries for Quality of Life

  1. Canada
  2. Sweden
  3. Denmark
  4. Norway
  5. Switzerland
  6. Finland
  7. Australia
  8. Netherlands
  9. New Zealand
  10. Germany
  11. Belgium
  12. United Kingdom
  13. Japan
  14. Luxemburg
  15. Ireland
  16. France
  17. US
  18. Singapore
  19. Portugal
  20. China
  21. Spain
  22. Italy
  23. South Korea
  24. Poland
  25. Czech Republic

More info at US News

Starting to exercise in midlife may be as beneficial as starting early

Reserch has shown that getting fit in middle age could be as good for you as starting young when it comes to reducing the risk of an early death. But the reverse is also true.

If you have been fit and drop off in later years, there is no difference in the risk of an early death when compared to those who had always been couch potatoes. In other words, there’s no bank, no accumulation of the protective effect of exercise and for having been fit in younger years.

Nicola K S Davis, writing at The Guardian:

“If you are not active and you get to your 40s-50s and you decide to become active, you can still enjoy a lot of those benefits.”

The study, published in the journal Jama Network Open, was based on data from more than 300,000 Americans aged 50-71 who undertook a questionnaire in the mid-1990s. They were asked to estimate the extent of their moderate to vigorous leisure exercise at different stages of their life. Researchers then used national records to track who died in the years up to the end of 2011, and from what.

After taking into account factors including age, sex, smoking and diet, the team found that those who were exercising into middle age had a lower risk of death from any cause in the years that followed than those who had never carried out any leisure exercise. However, when the team looked at 10 different patterns in the way people were active over their life, it found a surprise.

Men and women who ramped up their activity gradually to about seven hours a week by the age of 40-61 reduced their risk of death from any cause in the years that followed by about 35%. The benefit was similar to that seen for people who reached and maintained similar activity from their teens or 20s onwards, or who exercised at such a level when young and middle-aged but dipped in activity in their 30s.

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Who lives alone in Canada and how does that impact their health and wellbeing?

Questions continue to be raised about the possible impacts of living alone on the prevalence of social isolation and loneliness in society.

Statistics Canada has released a study that looked at the Canadian population living alone, using data from both the Census of Population and the General Social Survey on Family. Here’s some of what they found.

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These Three Steps Might Help Prevent Dementia

There is no magic shield against Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Supplements don’t work. Yet there is evidence that some strategies may help.

Paula Span at the New York Times writes:

The three:

  • Increased physical activity;
  • Blood pressure management for people with hypertension, particularly in midlife;
  • And cognitive training.

That last recommendation doesn’t necessarily refer to commercial online brain games, said Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a neuropsychiatrist and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who served on the panel.

“It’s really the concept of being mentally active,” she said. “Find something you enjoy where you’re learning something new, challenging and stimulating your brain.”

Though the evidence to date doesn’t establish which mental workouts have the greatest impact or how often people should engage in them, “they’re not expensive and they don’t cause side effects,” Dr. Yaffe pointed out.

The blood pressure recommendation got a boost in January with the latest findings from the Sprint trial, a multisite study stopped early in 2015 when intensive treatment of hypertension (a systolic blood pressure goal of less than 120, compared to the standard 140) was shown to reduce cardiovascular events and deaths.

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If you want to be smarter, you need to sleep more

It’s been repeatedly shown that sleep is essential to how we form memories.

The human brain requires we sleep roughly one third of every day to properly process and store thoughts so they can be remembered at a later time. Depriving ourselves of sleep, especially over the long term, can disrupt this process. And it can make learning more difficult.

Researchers at the Sleep Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa have found that once you drift off, your brain shifts information from the hippocampus, which is only used to store recent memories, to the prefrontal cortex. It’s how we learn new things, and remember them for the future.

A short night of sleep may translate into learning less. Our brain requires suffecient time to store everything it took in during the day. Researchers say it’s clear that if you want to be smarter, you may need to sleep more.

Read More at CBC

Tennis tops list of sports for increasing life expectancy

Social connections look to be a major component of any sport’s longevity benefits.

James Bullen at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

What the researchers think the sports associated with the biggest increases in life expectancy — tennis (9.7 years), badminton (6.2 years) and soccer (4.7 years) have in common is that it takes two or more people to play them.

“The tennis players, they maybe take a beer or something else to drink after the game. They are two at least,” Dr Schnohr said.

Sports near the bottom of the list were more typically done alone, like jogging (3.2 years) and going to the gym (1.5 years).

“I go to a gym twice a week and I don’t talk to anybody. It’s very lonely in Denmark, I don’t know how it is in Australia. But it’s very lonely. You just do this and then you go home. And then you don’t get the social aspect. We think the social aspect is very important.”

There is good evidence that strong social bonds have a protective effect on a person’s health.

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Life expectancy for Americans falls even further

According to 2017 data, the life expectancy for Americans fell again. It’s now 78.6 years, down three-tenths of a year since 2014.

Economists consider life expectancy to be an important measure of a nation’s prosperity, but last year’s data paints a darker picture of health in the U.S.

One of the reasons for the drop is the sharpest annual increase in suicides in nearly a decade and a continued rise in deaths from opioid drugs.

Life expectancy for Americans fell again last year, despite growing recognition of the problems driving the decline and federal and local funds invested in stemming them.

Data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Thursday show life expectancy fell by one-tenth of a year, to 78.6 years, pushed down by the sharpest annual increase in suicides in nearly a decade and a continued rise in deaths from powerful opioid drugs like fentanyl. Influenza, pneumonia and diabetes also factored into last year’s increase.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal (paywall)

Sex and seniors. They are doing it. And they are liking it.

Awkward as the idea may be to younger people, sex does matter to people 65 and older. “They report benefits such as feeling more connected as a couple, feeling a greater sense of well-being. If your sex life if going well, then you are generally going to feel happier about that,” said Hinchliff.

On the flipside, if there are problems in the bedroom, it could spell trouble for the relationship: Hinchliff says people can experience feelings of frustration, depression and tension, and have more arguments with their partner.

Hinchliff has been researching stereotypes surrounding older people’s sex lives for 17 years and believes the subject matter has been woefully neglected.

To challenge the taboos, she sought the help of a local artist, who produced a series of artworks of older adults in relationships. The exhibition is now on display in Sheffield. The pieces are fun and downright cheeky.

CBC

Wharton professor Adam Grant says America should shorten the work day by 2 hours

Adam Grant, The Wharton School’s top professor, says instead of the typical 9-to-5, our work days should end two hours earlier too.

“[L]et’s make work days shorter: they should finish at 3pm,” says Grant, an organizational psychologist and New York Times best-selling author, in a recent LinkedIn post.

“We can be as productive and creative in 6 focused hours as in 8 unfocused hours,” writes Grant.

The post has since garnered thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

Research suggests Grant is on to something: In one experiment in Sweden, employees at a nursing home adopted a six-hour work day (with no change in pay), which resulted in improved productivity and worker health. Other research has also linked decreased productivity to an increase in the number of hours worked.

Read more at CNBC

Where you live has a lot to do with your life expectancy

Stilwell, Oklahoma, known as the Straberry Capital of the worlk earned a discouraging distinction: It has the lowest life expectancy in the USA — just 56.3 years. That is 22.5 years less than the comparable national average of 78.8 years.

“People who live blocks apart can have very different expectations in how long they’ll live because of the conditions in which people are living,” said Donald Schwarz, a senior vice president at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “That represents uneven opportunity for people, particularly children, to have long lives.”

Read more at the Washington Post

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