Are you in menopause? Then you’re probably familiar with the challenges that many menopausal women experience: hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, irritability and depression. These symptoms— alone or combined—can compromise a woman’s quality of life. Even worse, menopausal symptoms can create a domino effect. For example, night sweats can cause sleep problems that lead to chronic sleep deficits, which in turn may significantly affect mood, anxiety levels, alertness and mental acuity.
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.
It may sound counterintuitive, yet new research from the University of Missouri, Columbia, suggests that eating fewer, larger meals may prove healthier for obese women than eating smaller meals more often. More specifically, consuming three substantial meals per day instead of six small meals may decrease obese women’s risk of developing heart disease.
In last month’s issue, it was reported that only a small portion of the population walks for extended periods on a regular basis. According to researchers from Spain, women should take up the activity to reduce stroke potential.
Encouraging Iyengar yoga students to continue attending class at least once weekly may make a significant difference in their stress levels and in their quality of life, according to study findings published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012; doi: 10.1155/2012/408727).
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.
Pregnant women suffering from depression in their second trimester slept better and experienced less depression and anxiety when they participated in a weekly yoga and tai chi practice, according to researchers from the University of Miami Medical School.
They conducted the study to determine whether a nonpharmaceutical intervention could successfully help pregnant women with a variety of symptoms. The tai chi and yoga participants practiced in a group for 20 minutes per week over a 12-week period. Control group members did not change their routine activities.
When it comes to optimal endurance exercise performance, fuel source and utilization play a major role in success. The contribution and expenditure of fats and carbohydrates for the synthesis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) during exercise are regulated by several factors, including activity, duration and intensity, as well as the person’s age, training status, diet and gender. Proteins contribute a minor 1%–8% of fuel needs during submaximal exercise (Isacco, Duché & Boisseau 2012).