Men: Are you exercising and eating healthfully but not losing the weight you want? The good news is that there are more benefits to these two habits than just weight loss.
Megan Senger, professional fitness writer/editor and fitness instructor based in North Carolina, has summarized a few studies that center on men’s wellness, with comments on what the findings may mean for you.
While sodium is rampant in fast food, pizza and deli items, it can also be hiding in surprising amounts in everything from bread to ketchup to cereal. As a result, the average sodium intake of Americans is about 3,400 milligrams daily, mainly from commercial sources like restaurant meals and packaged foods. The latest advice on limiting salt intake comes in a new report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that ties lower sodium intake to less risk of chronic disease.
In another clinical trial examining the impact of time of day on training effects, researchers found that cycling at moderate intensity for 45 minutes three times per week in the evening decreased clinical and ambulatory blood pressure in 50 middle-aged sedentary men with hypertension more than either morning training or stretching (the control group).
Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of heart failure in adults without known heart disease, while Southern diets consisting of more fried and processed foods and sweetened drinks are associated with greater risk, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2019; 73, , April 30). The study looked at the association between five dietary patterns and risk of heart failure.
Active middle-aged men who were able to do more than 40 pushups had a significantly lower risk of heart disease events during a 10-year follow-up period than men who could do fewer than 10 pushups, according to a study reported in JAMA Network Open (2019; doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.8341).
New research adds to growing evidence that current cardiovascular fitness levels affect heart disease risks as far ahead as 9 years in the future. “Even among people who seem to be healthy, the top 25% of the most fit individuals actually have only half as high a risk [of heart disease] as the least fit 25%,” said principal investigator Bjarne Nes, PhD, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
In our September 2018 issue of Fitness Journal, we reported on an international study published in The Lancet that found any level of drinking above 100 grams of alcohol (3.75 ounces) per week increases heart disease risk and shortens lifespan.
“People may think they need to spend a lot of time lifting weights, but just two sets of bench presses that take less than 5 minutes could be effective [in reducing heart disease risks], according to study author DC Lee, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, Ames.
Researchers analyzed data collected over 19 years from more than 12,000 male and female adult participants in The Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study conducted at the Cooper Clinic™ in Dallas.
Good news for people who have delayed starting a training program. If the following exercise regimen is begun before age 65, studies show that the heart muscle can regain elasticity, reversing stiffening that can develop from lack of physical activity. Cardiologists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Resources in Dallas have been studying how to promote health and elasticity of the heart muscle.
Salt: Enemy of the heart or wrongly convicted?
For years, health experts have been beating us over the head about the importance of scaling back our salt intake for the sake of our heart health. Based on research findings, the World Health Organization recommends a daily consumption of less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium—one teaspoon of salt—as a preventive measure against cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association is even stingier with the salt shaker—just 1,500 mg of sodium a day for individuals at risk of heart disease.
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