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Tag: Exercise

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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Fitness myths that do more harm than good

Myth: Exercise doesn’t help counter the negative effects of aging.
Truth: Regular exercise has key benefits for the brain and

Myth: A sluggish metabolism is the main reason you gain weight as you age.
Truth: Our metabolisms barely budge after age 30, according to the National Institutes of Health. Something else is to blame.

Myth: To stay in shape, you need to work out only once or twice a week.
Truth: Once or twice a week won’t cut it for sustained health benefits.

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Exercise is good for our mental health, but only up to a point

It’s well known that exercise can improve our physical fitness, prevent chronic diseases and improve our mental health. So it may seem logical that the more you do, the better it is for us. However, a new study suggests that’s not always the case, at least when it comes to mental health.

When digging further into the numbers, the researchers noticed an interesting pattern: People who exercised for a moderate amount of time (about 45 minutes per session) saw better mental health results than those who favored marathon workouts. Similarly, sweating three to five times a week was associated with a bigger reduction in poor mental health days than either not exercising at all or hitting the gym more than five times a week, according to the research. Together, these results led the researchers to conclude that exercising for two to six hours a week may be the sweet spot for mental health.

Read the whole article at Time.

More at BBC

About those 2-minute walk breaks you take during the day… Keep doing them. The benefits add up.

Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times:

Walk for two minutes. Repeat 15 times. Or walk for 10 minutes, thrice. The benefits for longevity appear to be almost exactly the same, according to an inspiring new study of physical activity patterns and life spans.

It finds that exercise does not have to be prolonged in order to be beneficial. It just has to be frequent.

Most of us who are interested in health know that federal exercise guidelines recommend we work out moderately for at least 30 minutes per day at least five times per week in order to reduce our risks of developing many diseases or dying prematurely.

Exercise might be the best medicine we have against mental decline

Business Insider:

A study published this week in the journal Neurology suggested that women who were physically fit in middle age were roughly 88% less likely to develop dementia (defined as a decline in memory severe enough to interfere with daily life) than their peers who were only moderately fit.

Neuroscientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden studied 191 women whose average age was 50 for 44 years. First, they assessed their cardiovascular health using a cycling test and grouped them into three categories: fit, moderately fit, or unfit.

Over the next four decades, the researchers regularly screened the women for dementia. In that time, 32% of the unfit women were diagnosed with the condition; a quarter of the moderately fit women did. But only 5% of the fit women developed dementia.

 

Study finds link between aerobic exercise and brain health

This study was different from most, in that it looked at the participants’ maximum oxygen consumption during aerobic exercise — known as the V02 max.

Yet again another study indicates exercise, this time aerobic exercise, is important in slowing the brain’s aging process.

David DiSalvo, Forbes:

What these results tell us about the role exercise might play in slowing the development of Alzheimer’s is difficult to nail down. While studies like this suggest that exercising more strengthens the brain against the debilitation leading to severe dementia, definitive answers are still elusive. We don’t know, for example, the amount of exercise that makes a difference, if specific types of exercise are better than others, or whether starting exercise later in life can forestall the progression of dementia.

What we do have are solid indications that we should think of exercise and brain health in a similar way to exercise and heart health. Some of the same benefits exercise provides the heart—like improved blood flow and lower inflammation—also benefit the brain. More evidence along those lines keeps coming, further supporting the case that staying active is a better policy for brain health than the alternative.

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