In more news regarding nonpharmaceutical ways to reduce hypertension, preliminary evidence shows a significant reduction in high blood pressure with consistent yoga practice, according to early study findings presented at the Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in May 2013 in San Francisco.
In addition to getting a flu shot, you may want to exercise or meditate consistently to help protect yourself against winter colds and flus. New research shows that simple preventive measures like engaging in daily physical activity or mindfulness meditation may be almost as effective as a flu vaccine for lowering the odds of succumbing to an acute respiratory infection.
In the past decade, researchers have been using modern technology to study how meditation affects the structure of the brain. They have found that between controls and meditators, there are differences in both gray matter (tissue containing neuronal cell bodies) and white matter (the connective tissue between regions of the brain).
The October issue asked readers for examples of how they are integrating mindfulness practices into classes [Mind-Body-Spirit News]. I work at a university and run a variety of programs in fitness and wellness. One series we are doing this semester is a “Reflective Hike to Yoga” series.
Pilates practice may help people with ankylosing spondylitis to improve functional capacity, reports a study published in Rheumatology International (2012; 32 (7), 2093–99; doi: 10.1007/s00296-011-1932-9).
AS is a chronic, inflammatory disorder characterized by pain and stiffness of the back and the sacroiliac joints, but it can also affect peripheral joints like the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle. Over time, breathing becomes increasingly difficult, and affected joints eventually lose all mobility.
Fitness pros may want to remind clients that getting a good night’s sleep can be as important for health as good exercise and nutrition habits. New research shows that loss of less than half a night’s sleep can impair memory and alter the normal behavior of brain cells.
Qigong, a mind-body exercise from traditional Chinese medicine, can help people with chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome to have more energy and to improve mental functioning, suggests a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine (2012; 44 , 160–70; doi: 10.1007/s12160-012-9381-6). In addition, with qigong practice came an associated increase in telomerase activity, which may shed light on the mechanism underlying the benefits of this type of exercise. Increased telomerase activity has been linked to a reduction in inflammation.
The Alexander Technique may be effective for chronic back pain and Parkinson’s-associated disability, according to a review in The International Journal of Clinical Practice (2012; 66 , 98–112; doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2011.02817.x.
IDEA member and fitness and Pilates consultant and instructor Kevin Bowen, based in Denver, has created a Pilates mat and equipment program to address the specific needs of men in their 40s, 50s and beyond, while also educating Pilates instructors about these requirements.
Bowen believes that Pilates is an ideal method of training for men in these age brackets, but he emphasizes that a program geared to the “prime male” must target a man’s changing body and his psyche.