Archive for the 'Exercise' Category

Exercise Helps Relieve Depression

Riding a bike is an effective and fun way to exercise Many studies have shown that not only does exercise improve depression, but it also significantly boosts the mood of those who are not depressed.

In one study, researchers found that adults who participated in a three-month rigorous exercise program experienced improvement in depressive symptoms about as great as they would have experienced had they received antidepressant medication.

Other studies have found exercise also to be associated with a significant decline in panic disorder, post-traumatic stress and other anxiety disorders.

Experts believe that exercise’s mood-boosting effects are partly due to a rise in levels of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, such as endorphins, in the brain.

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults, who can physically tolerate exercise, get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. This can be done in 30-minute sessions, five days a week.

Read more about the “18 Reasons to Exercise” from Bay Area Medical Information

 SOURCES: Jeremy Sibold, Ed.D., certified athletic trainer and assistant professor, rehabilitation and movement science, University of Vermont, Burlington; Jennifer Mears, exercise physiologist and corporate fitness specialist, Colorado Springs, Colo.; presentation, May 27, 2009, 56th annual meeting, American College of Sports Medicine, Seattle

Source: Harvard Mental Health Newsletter

Regular Exercise Linked with Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Tennis is a good source of regular exerciseWomen over age 30 who exercised for more than an hour each week had a lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who were less active, according to a recent study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting in Seattle.

Several other previous studies have also found this same association between lack of exercise and the incidence of breast cancer.  What’s more, being physically active appears to boost the odds that breast cancer patients will survive the disease, according to a 2005 study from Harvard. 

Regular exercise also results in a tremendous number of other health benefits that will dramatically enhance any person’s quality of life.  Regular physical activity has been found to improve depression, promote a sense of well being, increase self-image and self esteem, improve quality of sleep, diminish facial wrinkles, help ward off viruses and other illness, strengthen muscles, increase energy, improve endurance, promote weight loss and burn fat, lower cholesterol and triglyeride levels, strengthen the heart, improve hypertension, lower blood sugars, decrease pain from arthritis, and improve balance and help prevent falls. 

Source: “WOMEN AGE 30+ MODIFY BREAST CANCER RISK WITH EXERCISE”, American College of Sports Medicine
Source: “Exercise and Stretching” from Bay Area Medical Information


A Low Glycemic Index Breakfast May Boost Fat Burning During Exercise

Walking on a treadmill provides moderate intensity exerciseEating a breakfast with a low glycemic index may increase the fat burning during exercise, according to British researchers.  They studied fat-burning rates with exercise after two different types of breakfast–one that had a high glycemic index and one that had a low glycemic index.  Women exercised by walking briskly for 60 minutes three hours after their morning meal.  The researchers found that fat burning remained significantly higher in those who had a breakfast with a low glycemic index. Those who ate a high glycemic-index breakfast had a lower rate of fat burning.  

In a previous study, the same researchers found that active women who consumed a low glycemic-index breakfast three hours before a 60-minute run increased fat burning by about 55% compared with those who ate a high glycemic-index breakfast.

Low and high glycemic-index foods were chosen on the basis of the International Table of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values. In the most recent study, the low glycemic-index breakfast had an index rating of 44 compared with 78 for the high glycemic-index breakfast. Test breakfasts for each group totaled 265 calories. The LGI breakfast consisted of museli, skim milk, apple juice, an apple, canned peaches and yogurt. The HGI breakfast included corn flakes, white bread, jam, skim milk, margarine and a carbonated glucose drink (Lucozade).


Carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (LGI) have less impact on blood glucose levels and insulin response than carbohydrates with a higher glycemic index. LGI foods include whole grain foods such as cereals made from oats, barley, and bran, as well as whole grain breads and most vegetables other than potatoes.  Highly processed foods made with white flour or white sugar fall in the higher glycemic index category.


Source: Stevenson EJ, et al “Fat oxidation during exercise and satiety during recovery are increased following a low-glycemic index breakfast in sedentary women” J Nutr 2009; 139: 890-97.

Restless Legs Syndrome Linked with Large Waistline

Abdominal obesity is linked with many serious diseasesPeople who have abdominal obesity are more likely to have Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), according to researchers from Harvard Medical School.  In a recent study of more than 88,000 American adults, obese men and women were 42 percent more likely to have RLS than those who were of normal weight, and those with abdominal obesity were particularly prone to RLS.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which an unpleasant, restless sensation in the legs arises after prolonged inactivity such as sitting or lying down. The longer the period of rest, the greater the chance the symptoms will occur and the more severe they are likely to be. These symptoms are typically relieved by walking or movement of the legs such as jiggling, stretching or massaging legs to get relief. As soon as the movement stops however, the symptoms recur.

The exact uncomfortable sensation of RLS varies from person to person and can be described as burning, creeping, crawling, jittery, aching, or tugging, sensation inside the legs, feet, or arms. Ranging in severity from uncomfortable to painful, the symptoms of RLS typically arise in the evening, and dissipate in the early morning hours.

Obesity is medically defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or higher. Unhealthy waist circumference is usually defined as over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women. This is determined by placing a measuring tape snugly around the smallest area of your waist. Also, you can more precisely find out if you have abdominal obesity by calculating your waist to hip ratio.

Excess abdominal fat also appears to be linked with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, migraine, stroke, diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding.  

The best way to trim excess abdominal fat is with exercise.  While any type of exercise is always helpful for those who can tolerate it, periodic, intense exercise is best for burning the fat around the midsection, according to researchers. 

It’s very important to note, however, that anyone new to exercise should start off slow and gradually build the intensity, duration and frequency of workouts. Older adults and people with chronic health conditions should always talk to their doctors before starting an exercise program.

Read more:

Source: Dr. Xiang Gao, Harvard Medical School

Exercise to the Beat of “Stayin’ Alive”

Moderate exercise is like walking to the beat of the BeeGee's song Match your stride to the old disco favorite, “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, and this will produce a pace of roughly 100 steps per minute, according to Simon J. Marshall, Ph.D., of San Diego State University.  This is the pace needed to stay in good cardiovascular shape according to new recommendations of various government and academic health institutions.  

The Department of Health and Human Services, American Heart Association, and other organizations recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, the equivalent of 30 minutes on five days per week. Walking can meet the criteria for moderate intensity exercise if the pace is brisk, approximately 100 steps per minute. 

The pace of “Stayin’ Alive” also is a good aid for those trying to learn the pace needed for CPR and has been informally recommended as a guide by the American Heart Association. 

Note: Check with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program. If you have chest pain, feel faint or light-headed, or become extremely out of breath while exercising, stop the activity at once and tell your doctor as soon as possible.

Source:  Marshall SJ, et al “Translating physical activity recommendations into a pedometer-based step goal: 3000 steps in 30 minutes” Am J Prev Med 2009.

Source: MedPage Today, March 17, 2009


Daily Exercise Recommendations Increased

Biking is a great exerciseExercising fifty minutes per day, five days per week of moderate-intensity physical activity is now recommended instead of thirty minutes per day, five days per week.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has determined that this is the amount necessary for both weight loss and prevention of weight gain. The ACSM also recommends strength training as part of a health and fitness regimen.

Greater amounts of weekly physical activity — 250 minutes or more per week — have been associated with significant weight loss, the ACSM adds.

Make it fun and exercise with a friend — these are two of the best ways to assure that you’ll stick to a regular program of exercise.  Read more about getting started on an exercise program.

Check with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program. If you have chest pain, feel faint or light-headed, or become extremely out of breath while exercising, stop the activity at once and tell your doctor as soon as possible.

Source: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, February 2009.

Regular exercise is good for the brain

Walking is an aerobic exerciseRegular aerobic exercise appears to improve blood flow in the brain, thus improving the brain’s ability to function, according to a recent study out of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.  These findings add to the growing body of literature that points to exercise being both preventive of mental decline and helpful in improving cognitive function in older adults. 

Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to improve your mental outlook, lose weight, appear youthful, and ward off viruses as well as many chronic illnesses.  Read more  about the 18 life-changing benefits of exercise and how to get started.

via Rahman FN, et al “Relationship of exercise to cerebral vasculature and blood flow in older adults” RSNA 2008; Abstract LL-NR2256-D03.
via “RSNA: Exercise May Prevent Loss of Small Blood Vessels in the Brain” MedPage Today, Dec. 1, 2008

Muscle burns more calories than fat

Resistance trainingMuscle burns calories more efficiently than fat and other body tissues. So even at rest, the more muscle tissue a person has the more calories a person is burning.

Taking a walk every day is a great way to stay healthy, but don’t forget to work on keeping your muscles strong.  Repetitive low-weight lifting not only helps with weight loss, but improves muscle strength, flexibility, endurance, dexterity, and balance.

Resistance training is repetitive, low-weight lifting and is recommended for adults of all ages who don’t have health restrictions.  Exercise two to three times weekly with at least 1 day of rest between sessions. 

It is advisable to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program, and ideally have a physical therapist or an exerercise trainer design a program to meet your specific needs.  Injuries to such fragile joints as the shoulder can easily occur from  improper techniques.

Read more about starting an exercise program from Bay Area Medical Information

Regular exercise focus of new federal guidelines

Father and son walking on the beachModerate exercise for two-and-a-half hours a week has been recommended by new federal guidelines for all adults ages 18 through 64.  This activity should be done in at least 10-minute sessions divided throughout the week, the guidelines said.

Additional health benefits can be achieved by increasing moderate exercise to five hours a week.  Also muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days a week yields substantial improvement in health.

Children benefit from an hour or more of physical activity a day, the researchers also concluded.

These recommendations came from an analysis by the 13-member Physical Activities Guidelines Committee which concluded that exercise reduces the risk of early death, coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and depression, and can improve thinking ability in older adults.

Read about how to get started on an exercise program from Bay Area Medical Information

via Department of Health and Human Services “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” HHS 2008


Regular exercise linked with improved memory

Older adults enjoying exerciseRegular exercise was associated with improved memory in older adults with mild mental decline, in this recent study from Australia.  The exercise program consisted of fifty-minute, moderate-intensity exercise, three times weekly for six months.  Walking was the most frequent activity, although some chose light strength training or other aerobic exercise. In this randomized controlled trial, 311 volunteers were aged 50 to 89 years old, and participants reported memory problems but did not meet the criteria for dementia.

This study joins the growing body of literature regarding the health benefits of exercise.  Regular exercise not only greatly extends the length of your life, but to a large extent enhances the quality of your life.  Exercise is good for every organ in your body, and there are studies that show the following benefits of exercise:

  1. Promotes weight loss and burns fat
  2. Strengthens muscles
  3. Improves balance and prevent falls in the elderly
  4. Increases endurance
  5. Increases energy
  6. Decreases pain from arthritis
  7. Improves quality of sleep
  8. Improves blood cholesterol & triglyceride levels
  9. Strengthens the heart
  10. Improves hypertension
  11. Improves sex life (erectile dysfunction, and/or sex drive, and/or energy) 
  12. Lowers blood sugar
  13. Improves immune function
  14. Lowers the risk of breast cancer
  15. Wards off viruses & other common illnesses
  16. Helps relieve symptoms of depression; stabilize mood swings
  17. Promotes a sense of well-being
  18. Improves self image and self-esteem.
  19. Diminishes facial wrinkles

Read more about the Basics of Exercise and how to get started from Bay Area Medical Information 

 via MedPage Today, Sept. 2, 2008

Lautenschlager NT, et al “Effect of Physical Activity on Cognitive Function in Older Adults at Risk for Alzheimer Disease: A Randomized Trial” JAMA 2008; 300: 1027-1037.