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).
What helps someone become happier depends on the person, says researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky. “However, when we research strategies, the two that are often at the top of the list are physical activity and acts of kindness,” she says. “They seem to work better because they’re more tangible.”
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.
The rates of overweight and obesity among kids continue to climb. Food choices and inactivity are considered major culprits. Are electronic devices also to blame?
Scientists from the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta have linked use of electronic devices, poor sleep patterns and obesity among Canadian 5th graders. The researchers surveyed sleep habits, food intake, physical activity levels, height and weight measurements, and nighttime use of electronic devices among 3,398 children.
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.
Your mom or grandma likely taught you their tried-and-true methods for stopping a cold in its tracks—or at least for making you feel better. Was it homemade chicken soup? Perhaps it was tea with lemon, honey and even a shot of something a bit more, er, medicinal? Have you ever tried slurping a bowl of steaming Vietnamese pho or adding hot chiles to a dish to help “sweat” out the stuff that ails you?
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.