We all know that diet and physical activity are essential to good health, but many are unaware that getting adequate sleep is equally important, if not more so. Sleep affects everything from energy and appetite to performance, mood, attention, memory, and decision making. It is the time when the brain forms and maintains the pathways that let us learn and create new memories. Recent research suggests that the body uses sleep time to remove toxins and metabolic trash from the brain (possibly including the plaques that contribute to Alzheimers disease). Habitual short sleep duration is associated with greater risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, about one third of U.S. adults get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep a night.
A study recently published in the European Heart Journal concluded that physical activity is associated with particular benefit among people with existing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Our brains tend to shrink as we age, and this brain atrophy is associated with cognitive decline and dementia. Research suggests that being more physically active may slow mental decline, in addition to slowing physical decline.
Q. I was recently diagnosed with gout. Which foods should I avoid?
More Americans are meeting recommended physical activity guidelines, but we still have a long way to go. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 24 percent of U.S. adults met the combined aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity guidelines in 2017, up from 18 percent in 2008. People who live in urban areas are more likely to meet physical activity guidelines (25 percent) than those in rural areas (20 percent), and no changes were reported among Hispanics and adults living in the South.
According to a recent British study published in the journal Scientific Reports, spending at least two hours a week outside may be good for ones health. Nearly 20,000 English people were asked how many hours they spent in natural environments like parks, forests, and beaches in the last seven days; whether they considered their health to be good or poor; and if they felt their well-being was high or low. Those reporting nature contact of at least two hours per week were significantly more likely to report good health and high well-being compared to those reporting zero. (No additional benefit was seen from spending over 3.5 to 5 hours in nature.)
A prospective cohort study recently published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that a self-reported brisk walking pace was associated with longer life expectancy...
A recent research study, published in the journal Nutrients, found that visitors to a university recreational center were more likely to select a healthier post-exercise snack when the choice was made pre-exercise. Researchers asked 256 study participants to choose between a chocolate brownie and an apple to eat upon completion of their workout. All participants also had the choice to decline both snack options. Roughly half of the participants were randomly selected to make this…
When it comes to health, further research supports the notion that steadily losing weight over time (and keeping it off) is more important than losing weight quickly.
A recent study published in Cancer Causes & Control found an association between the occurrence of low-to-moderate frequency recreational physical activity and lower mortality in individuals diagnosed with various types of cancer.