The heart is an incredible organ, not only delivering a constant, reliable stream of life-giving oxygen and nutrients, but also responding instantly to challenges like stress, cardiovascular workouts and high-intensity bursts of energy.
The simple act of walking offers myriad health benefits—reductions in stress, blood pressure and mortality, to name a few. Despite these benefits and the accessibility of walking, the majority of U.S. citizens do not walk continuously for more than 10 minutes in an average week.
With health threats from overweight and obesity still looming, physical activity in schools continues to be a hot button. How do U.S. children rank when it comes to physical education and exercise? Here are some highlights from the 2012 Shape of the Nation Report: Status of Physical Education in the USA:
14% of students did not participate in at least 60minutes of physical activity on any day during the 7 days before the survey.
71% of students were physically active at least 60 minutes per day on fewer than 7 days during the 7 days before the survey.
A person’s ability to get up from the floor may be a predictor of mortality, according to researchers from Clinimex Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro.
The study, published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention (2012; doi: 10.1177/2047487312471759), examined information from 2,000 adults, aged 51–80, from 1997 to 2011. Participants were asked to perform what researchers termed the sitting-rising test, a useful assessment of musculoskeletal fitness. Anyone currently playing sports or presenting with musculoskeletal limitations was excluded.
Widespread media coverage on the dangers of salt, and recent public-health efforts to reduce it in foods, seem to make salt the bad guy of nutrition. Is salt harmful for people who have hypertension, and can they still consume it? What about those without high blood pressure? And can you get too little salt in your diet?
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.
Mind-body fitness pros who are trained in relaxation techniques may want to teach clients these skills as part of a comprehensive wellness strategy. Stress impacts both physical and mental well-being. Excess stress can be a causal factor in certain health issues, or it can worsen conditions that are already present. Research findings support using relaxation techniques as part of an overall treatment for stress-related disorders.
When they don’t get enough sleep, women feel less full and men have a bigger appetite, according to a recent issue of the journal SLEEP. Twenty-seven normal-weight men and women (aged 30–45) were studied under short-sleep (4 hours) and habitual-sleep (9 hours) conditions. After a short night’s sleep, fasting blood samples indicated that fasting and morning ghrelin levels rose in men, while afternoon GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide) levels fell in women. Sleep duration had no effect on insulin, glucose and leptin profiles.