Yoga May Bring a Brain Boost, Review Shows

Yoga May Bring a Brain Boost, Review Shows

Latest Exercise & Fitness News

News Picture: Yoga May Bring a Brain Boost, Review ShowsBy Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Looking for a way to improve your memory, gain control over your emotions, and boost your ability to multitask?

A new brain scan study may be just the incentive you need to put yoga at the top of your New Years’ to-do list.

The review of 11 published studies found a link between yoga‘s movements, meditation and breathing practices and an increase in the size of key brain areas. Those areas are involved in thinking clearly, decision-making, memory and regulating emotions.

“The science is pointing to yoga being beneficial for healthy brain function, but we need more rigorous and well-controlled intervention studies to confirm these initial findings,” study co-author Jessica Damoiseaux said in a news release. She’s an assistant professor of gerontology and psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit.

The review, published Dec. 26 in the journal Brain Plasticity, found the brain benefits of yoga are similar to those from aerobic exercise.

Why isn’t yet clear. More study is needed, the authors said.

“Yoga is not aerobic in nature, so there must be other mechanisms leading to these brain changes,” lead author Dr. Neha Gothe said in the news release. “So far, we don’t have the evidence to identify what those mechanisms are.”

Gothe is director of the Exercise Psychology Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Five of the 11 studies used brain imaging before and after newbies followed a regimen of at least one yoga session per week for 10 to 24 weeks. All used a regimen called hatha yoga.

Other studies compared brain scans of yoga practitioners and people who had never tried yoga.

Collectively, the studies pointed to a link between yoga and increased size in the brain’s hippocampus. Involved in memory and learning, the hippocampus shrinks with age and is the first part of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Yoga also appeared to expand the amygdala, a brain area involved in emotions; the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in planning and making choices; and the cingulate cortex, which plays an important part in regulating emotions, learning and memory.

Yoga practitioners were also found to fare better on mental performance tests, the study team observed.

Dr. Thomas Vidic, a neurologist at Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, Ind., who was not involved in the study, said he was not surprised by the findings.

“There have been numerous studies that show that mental and physical activity is useful [and] probably necessary — to maintaining brain function,” he said.

For now, however, “we cannot separate out what it is about yoga that is causing these effects, [but] it would be an easy guess that yoga combines both mind and body, and is thus able to activate numerous pathways,” Vidic added.

So should those who’ve never been drawn to yoga before but might like the potential brain benefits give it a go?

Definitely, Vidic said. But, he added, if you haven’t been active, start slow and join an appropriate group.

“Yoga is not for sissies,” he said. “It is a serious discipline and within this concept is the significant physical and cognitive stimulation.”

And, remember, you won’t become competent overnight. But, Vidic said, you can become an enthusiast on day one.

“I believe that everyone needs to find an activity that is physically and mentally stimulating,” he said. “And for many people yoga is a great activity.”

MedicalNews
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QUESTION


Walking can maintain your body weight and lower many health risks. True or false?
See Answer

References


SOURCES: Thomas Vidic, M.D., neurologist, Elkhart General Hospital, Elkhart, Ind., and Memorial Hospital, South Bend, Ill., and member, American Academy of Neurology; University of Illinois news release; Dec. 26, 2019, Brain Plasticity

Source: Medicinenet.com (Feeds API) – Daily Exercise

The Pluses of 'Steady-State' Training

The Pluses of 'Steady-State' Training

Latest Exercise & Fitness News

News Picture: The Pluses of 'Steady-State' TrainingBy Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — It’s hard to escape all the fanfare surrounding HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, which prevents plateaus by keeping your body at your max heart rate for very short intervals.

But another training approach called steady-state training, or SST, may be just as important, if not more so, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Steady-state training is the opposite of HIIT yet, at the same time, is complementary to it. It involves maintaining a specific heart rate below your target maximum for an extended period of time. Using a treadmill workout as an example, with HIIT you walk for two minutes and then run all out for one minute. With SST, you walk at a brisk pace the whole way through.

While HIIT is a known calorie torcher, there are plenty of pluses to SST.

It’s great for strengthening the heart: Maintaining a steady state of aerobic output forces the body to become efficient at pumping oxygenated blood through the body. A constant steady state also helps the body burn fat for fuel. There also is less chance of injury than when you change pace in high-intensity interval training.

So does SST have any downside? The answer is yes.

You are at a higher risk for stress or repetitive injury simply because you are doing the same thing for a longer period of time over and over. You have to exercise longer to see any results, and there is a higher risk of boredom.

Depending on your health and goals, one answer is to incorporate both SST and HIIT into your weekly regimen. As always, consult a professional before starting any exercise program.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.




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Pictures of the 7 Most Effective Exercises to Do at the Gym or Home (and Tips to Improve Form)
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How to Stay Fit When You're Traveling for Work or Fun

How to Stay Fit When You're Traveling for Work or Fun

Latest Exercise & Fitness News

News Picture: How to Stay Fit When You're Traveling for Work or FunBy Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — If you travel a lot for business or pleasure, you may think that the most exercise possible is lugging your bags in and out of a car or through an airport. But it’s important to get in real exercise even when you’re away from home.

If you’re a business road-tripper, look for snippets of time to move those muscles, like when you stop for gas. Any bodyweight calisthenics will do. Think: squats. There are many varieties, but the basic is a powerhouse move. Stand with feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, arms out in front of you. Bend the knees and push your hips back, lowering your body until your thighs are below your knees if possible. And then return to standing position. Do three sets of 10. At your hotel, do planks or push-ups and some crunches.

If stuck in a car or on a plane for any length of time, try isometric exercises, where you can contract your muscles without needing to move around a lot. Put the palms of your hands together and press as hard as you can. That will engage your chest muscles. Contracting your gluteal muscles can help your lower back. Remember to hold each isometric exercise for 10 seconds. Do a few sets of 10 reps each.

Once you get to your destination, if you don’t have time to hit the hotel gym, take a walk around a park (or the convention center if you’re attending a conference) during lunch, or the hotel after your meetings. If you feel adventurous, there may be hiking trails nearby.

If you have a fitness tracker, use it to motivate you to sneak in some steps throughout the day. Whatever you do, keep exercise goals realistic while you are away, but remember you can always fit in some fitness wherever you are.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.




QUESTION


Walking can maintain your body weight and lower many health risks. True or false?
See Answer

Source: Medicinenet.com (Feeds API) – Daily Exercise

Health Tip: Before You Run a Marathon

Health Tip: Before You Run a Marathon

Latest Exercise & Fitness News

(HealthDay News) — Before you accept the challenge of running a marathon, it’s important to make sure you and your body are prepared, says Rush University Medical Center.

The school provides eight marathon training tips for the prospective runner:

  • Get a checkup. Ask your doctor if your heart can handle the stress of a marathon.
  • Create a marathon training plan at least four months before the race.
  • Pace yourself. Figure out how far and fast you should run.
  • Find shoes that fit your feet, gait and body type.
  • Take a break. If you’re feeling achy or worn out, take the day off.
  • Make sure you drink extra fluids throughout your training.
  • Join a running group to stay motivated and learn practical advice.
  • Learn how to distinguish minor strains from serious injuries.

MedicalNews
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Pictures of the 7 Most Effective Exercises to Do at the Gym or Home (and Tips to Improve Form)
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Good Workouts Might Extend a Woman's Life

Good Workouts Might Extend a Woman's Life

Latest Exercise & Fitness News

News Picture: Good Workouts Might Extend a Woman's Life

SATURDAY, Dec. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — If you can tackle a tough workout, that may bode well for your longevity, new research suggests.

A woman’s risk of dying from heart disease, cancer or other causes is much lower if she can engage in vigorous exercise, scientists report.

The new study included more than 4,700 middle-aged and older women, average age 64, who were referred for treadmill exercise echocardiography because they had known or suspected coronary artery disease.

The women walked or ran on a treadmill with a gradual increase in intensity, and continued until they were exhausted.

During a median follow-up of 4.6 years, there were 345 heart-related deaths, 164 cancer deaths and 203 deaths from other causes. After adjusting for other factors, the researchers concluded that high exercise capacity was significantly associated with lower risk of death during follow-up, though the study didn’t prove a cause-and-effect link.

The annual rate of death from heart disease was nearly four times higher in women with poor exercise capacity (2.2%) than in those with good exercise capacity (0.6%), the investigators found.

The annual rate of cancer deaths was twice as high among women with poor exercise capacity (0.9%) than those with good exercise capacity (0.4%), and the annual rate of death from other causes was more than four times higher among those with poor exercise capacity (1.4%) than those with good exercise capacity (0.3%), the findings showed.

The study was to be presented Dec. 7 at a European Society of Cardiology meeting, in Vienna. Such research should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“The results were the same for women over 60 and less than 60, although the group under 50 was small,” said study author Dr. Jesus Peteiro, from the University Hospital A Coruna in Spain.

“Exercise as much as you can. Fitness protects against death from any cause,” Peteiro advised in a society news release.

Heart imaging was conducted on the women while they were on the treadmill to assess heart function. Those with poor heart function during exercise were more likely to die from heart disease during follow-up. Heart function during exercise didn’t predict the risk of death from cancer or other causes.

“Looking at both examinations together, women whose heart works normally during exercise are unlikely to have a cardiovascular event,” Peteiro said. “But if their exercise capacity is poor, they are still at risk of death from cancer or other causes. The best situation is to have normal heart performance during exercise and good exercise capacity.”

— Robert Preidt

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.




SLIDESHOW


Pictures of the 7 Most Effective Exercises to Do at the Gym or Home (and Tips to Improve Form)
See Slideshow

References


SOURCE: European Society of Cardiology, news release, Dec. 7, 2019

Source: Medicinenet.com (Feeds API) – Daily Exercise