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Chronic Diseases

Two of a Kind

When Colleen Evans wanted to improve her strength while healing from Lyme disease, her doctor knew exactly who could help her: fellow patient and personal trainer Shona Curley.

Like Colleen, Curley had been diagnosed with Lyme disease and was coping with its symptoms.

Take the Steam Out of Tea Time

Tea is the drink of choice for more than a billion people. Recent decades have borne witness to a raft of research suggesting that sipping the ancient beverage brings certain health perks. But it is best to brew your cuppa and then let it cool.

Breast Cancer Survivors and Group Exercise

Research shows that exercise benefits breast cancer survivors, but many do not stick with programs. What might appeal enough to increase adherence? A pilot study found that group exercise designed specifically for people surviving breast cancer resulted in more improvements to quality of life than similar exercise programming led by personal trainers. The study is available in Oncology Nursing Forum (2019; doi:10.1188/19.0NF.185-97).

Changing Behavior Changes Lives

In North America—and around the world—people are suffering or dying from the ravages of chronic lifestyle diseases that are mostly preventable. It’s troubling to write those words as a flat statement of fact, especially in an era of such astonishing medical advancements paralleled with a daily firehose of new health research that further pressure-washes what we already know.

Short, High-Intensity Weight Training and Diabetes Risk

Preliminary research on high-intensity training benefits may motivate people who prefer short training sessions and are concerned about diabetes risk. University of Glasgow researchers in Scotland found that 15-minute strength training workouts, done three times a week for 6 weeks, dramatically improved insulin sensitivity and boosted muscle size and strength among 10 young, overweight men.

Can Exercise Prevent Depression?

Fifteen minutes of vigorous activity or approximately 1 hour of moderate activity (like walking or gardening)—or a combination of light and vigorous physical activity—may significantly reduce risk of major depression, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry (2019; doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4175).

Obesity and Cancer Risks in Young Adults

Recent findings reveal a trend toward increased risk for obesity-related cancers among young American adults. The study, published in The Lancet, found significant increases in six of 12 obesity-related cancers in young adults, with even greater rises in successively younger generations. Compared with people born 1945-1954, for example, those born 1980–1989 had double the risk . . . at the same age.

Yo-Yo Dieting Tied to Heart Problems

Obesity and consistently elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels have long been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. But what happens when these metabolic risk factors fluctuate over time, as can happen when people flip-flop between diets? The answer may hail from a study in the journal Circulation involving a massive 6.7 million people.

More Long-Term Aerobic Fitness Benefits

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.

Blood Pressure, Diet and Aging

It’s official: The typical Western diet is a major driver of rising blood pressure as we age, not age itself as previously thought, according to research from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health published in JAMA Cardiology. The study revealed that members of the isolated South American Yanomami tribe, with virtually no Western dietary influences, typically have no rise in their blood pressure numbers from age 1 to age 60.

Weight Training and Diabetes

At the medical clinic where I work as an exercise physiologist, a patient came to see me; let’s call him John. He was healthy, but his fasting blood glucose levels were high. He was in his mid-40s and had low muscle mass. John was not on medication and wanted to avoid it. He asked my advice.

The State of Metabolic Health

Public health may be compromised unless people shift their lifestyle choices from bad to better, according to new research. A recent study found that only 12% of American adults are “metabolically healthy,” and current trends raise a red flag on efforts to lower associated risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other complications.

Inspiring Functionality

CLIENT: Erika Miller

PERSONAL TRAINER: Michele DeJesus, MS (movement therapy), PhD (nutrition)

LOCATION: Lexington Athletic Club, Lexington, Kentucky

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