Stories from the Road

Category: Physical Health (Page 2 of 2)

Is it time to trade in your sunscreen for a shirt and a broad-brimmed hat?

Rowan Jacobsen, Outside Magazine (2019) »

For three years, his team tracked the blood pressure of 340,000 people in 2,000 spots around the U.S., adjusting for variables such as age and skin type. The results clearly showed that the reason people in sunnier climes have lower blood pressure is as simple as light hitting skin.

“Homo sapiens have been around for 200,000 years. Until the industrial revolution, we lived outside. How did we get through the Neolithic Era without sunscreen? Actually, perfectly well. What’s counterintuitive is that dermatologists run around saying, ‘Don’t go outside, you might die.’”

Vitamin D now looks like the tip of the solar iceberg. Sunlight triggers the release of a number of other important compounds in the body, not only nitric oxide but also serotonin and endorphins. It reduces the risk of prostate, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. It improves circadian rhythms. It reduces inflammation and dampens autoimmune responses. It improves virtually every mental condition you can think of. And it’s free.

This does not mean breaking out the baby oil or cultivating a burnished tan. All the experts agree that sunburns—especially those suffered during childhood and adolescence—are particularly bad. »

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A boom in fitness trackers isn’t leading to a boom in physical activity

Scott A. Conger, David Bassett, Lindsay Toth, The Conversation »

Worldwide sales of fitness trackers increased from US$14 billion in 2017 to over $36 billion in 2020. The skyrocketing success of these gadgets suggests that more people than ever see some value in keeping tabs on the number of steps they take, flights of stairs they climb, time they spend sitting and calories they burn.

The manufacturers of these devices certainly want consumers to believe that tracking fitness or health-related behaviors will spur them on to increase their activity levels and make them healthier.

Our analysis of research published over the past 25 years suggests otherwise.

We are professors of kinesiology – the science of human body movement – at Boise State, the University of Tennessee and the University of North Florida. To learn whether and how physical activity has changed in the years since fitness trackers became popular, we analyzed more than two decades of research from several industrialized nations – all conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Clinical depression and prolonged stress and anxiety increase the risk of cardiovascular disease

Medical Express »

“These findings may indicate more attention to mental health is needed to fight cardiovascular disease, particularly for people with depression or chronic stress. In the next decades, new therapies for atherosclerosis should focus on altering immune responses, inhibiting inflammation and promoting pathways of plaque resolution. These therapies have great potential for benefiting people with cardiovascular disease, and likely particularly in those with depression,” Tufanli Kireccibasi said.

5 Places Around the World Where People Live the Longest

via Travel and Leisure »

» Sardinia, Italy

The community eats a largely healthy diet consisting of whole-grain bread, beans, garden vegetables, fruits, and mastic oil, all of which are important for heart health. Also important, “They laugh and drink wine together.”

» Okinawa, Japan

“Their purpose-imbued lives give them clear roles of responsibility and feelings of being needed well into their 100s.” The people here also favor a mostly plant-based diet.

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