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.
Taking a moment to regain perspective before reacting to a stressful event may not only make you feel better at the time—it may also contribute to better health over a lifetime. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, studied the relationship between people’s reactions to stressful events and their overall health 10 years later.
Breast cancer survivors may effectively improve muscle endurance with Pilates chair training, which may have advantages over traditional resistance training since the chair requires less space, can be less expensive and may be more enjoyable for some people.
Mindful eating practices may help clients with a variety of health conditions to improve their nutrition habits. For people with type 2 diabetes, training in mindful eating was as effective in managing weight and blood sugar levels as conventional diabetes self-management education, reported a pilot study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2012; 112 , 1835–42; doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.07.036).
Middle-aged and older women with osteopenia who practiced tai chi over a 9-month period experienced a reduction in bone density loss and an improvement in postural control that reduced the risk of falls, according to authors of a randomized pilot study conducted in the Boston area. Harvard Medical School researchers designed the study to assess the effectiveness of tai chi and usual care compared with usual care alone for slowing bone loss in postmenopausal osteopenic women.
People with fibromyalgia may want to try meditation to help them cope with challenging symptoms like pain and depression, suggests a study published in Current Pain and Headache Reports (2012; 16: 383–87; doi: 10.1007/s11916-012-0285-8).
Heart disease patients improve their odds. With growing research supporting the long-term health benefits of meditation, doctors may soon be prescribing the practice as a means of stress reduction for patients with heart disease.