Study: It’s Never Too Late to Reap the Anti-aging Benefits of Exercise

A new study finds that exercise among older adults helps ward off depression, dementia and other health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Exercise increased the odds of healthy aging as much as sevenfold, the researchers found. And apparently it’s never too late to start: Even adults who don’t begin exercising until they’re older could increase their odds of healthy aging threefold, the researchers said.

“In a growing elderly population, it is important to encourage healthy aging. Physical activity is effective in maintaining health in old age,” said lead researcher Mark Hamer, from the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London, in England.

“Encouraging physical activity in older adults is of benefit, and small changes are also linked to healthier aging,” he said.

The report was published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist and exercise physiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said it’s well known that physical activity and exercise are good for you. “Regular exercise staves off chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and depression,” she said.

“What this study emphasizes is that the ‘I’m too old’ excuse doesn’t fly, because it is never too late to get your fanny off the couch and out the door for some exercise,” she said.

The benefits of exercise include better circulation and improved bone, muscle, cardiovascular and organ health. Even the brain benefits from regular exercise, which increases communication between neurons and slows the brain tissue loss associated with aging and mental decline, Heller said.

“The question we face now is, How do we motivate and support people of all ages to get moving and keep moving? There is an undeniable resistance among non-exercisers to the notion of motion,” Heller said. “On an individual level, we can gently insist that family and friends join us in regular walks, a dance or yoga class, a game of tag, or an exercise DVD.”

Partnering with someone is a real motivator, Heller said. “Give a session with a qualified personal trainer as a holiday gift; explore fitness-class offerings at the local YMCA or community or senior centers; or sign up for a charity walk, run or swim.”

For the study, Hamer and his colleagues collected data on nearly 3,500 people with an average age of 64 who took part in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging.

As part of the study, the participants reported their level of physical activity every two years between 2002-’03 and 2010-’11.

The researchers categorized the participants by how much exercise they did each week. There were those who were inactive, those who did moderate exercise and those who exercised vigorously.

In addition, the researchers kept track of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, emphysema and Alzheimer’s disease. They also monitored the participants’ mental health and physical.

Over eight years, almost one in 10 participants became active and 70 percent remained active. The others stayed inactive or became inactive.

By the end of the study, almost 40 percent of the participants developed a chronic medical condition, nearly 20 percent were depressed, 20 percent were mentally impaired and one-third had a disability.

One in five, however, was considered by the researchers to be a “healthy ager.” There was a direct association between healthy aging and exercise, the researchers said, although they did not prove a cause-and-effect link.

People who partook in moderate or vigorous physical activity at least once a week were three to four times more likely to be healthy agers, compared with those who remained inactive, the researchers found.

Moreover, people who were active at the start of the study were seven times more likely to be healthy agers than people who were inactive and remained so, the researchers found.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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What’s for Lunch?

Japanese-style Special Octopus Lunch Set

The Menu

  • Spring Roll
  • Octopus Soup with Tofu and Winter Melon
  • Octopus Sashimi
  • Rice with Octopus
  • Pickles
  • Dessert – Sesame Ice Cream

Insomnia Linked to Mortality Risk in Men

Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, affects up to one-third of the population in the United States. In new findings, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that some insomnia symptoms are associated with an increased risk of mortality in men. These findings are published online in Circulation and will appear in an upcoming print issue.

“Insomnia is a common health issue, particularly in older adults, but the link between this common sleep disorder and its impact on the risk of death has been unclear,” said Yanping Li, PhD, a research fellow in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and lead author of the paper. “Our research shows that among men who experience specific symptoms of insomnia, there is a modest increase risk in death from cardiovascular-related issues.”

Specifically, researchers report that difficulty falling sleep and non-restorative sleep were both associated with a higher risk of mortality, particularly mortality related to cardiovascular disease.

Researchers followed more than 23,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who self-reported insomnia symptoms for a period of six years. Beginning in 2004 through 2010, researchers documented 2025 deaths using information from government and family sources. After adjusting for lifestyle factors, age and other chronic conditions, researchers found that men who reported difficulty initiating sleep and non-restorative sleep had a 55 percent and 32 percent increased risk of CVD-related mortality over the six year follow up, respectively, when compared to men who did not report these insomnia-related symptoms.

“We know that sleep is important for cardiovascular health and many studies have linked poor or insufficient sleep with increased risk factors for cardiovascular-related diseases,” said Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, a researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and Harvard School of Public Health and senior author of this study. “Now we know that not only can poor sleep impact disease risk, but it may also impact our longevity. While further research is necessary to confirm these findings, there is overwhelming evidence that practicing good sleep hygiene and prioritizing sufficient and restful sleep is an often overlooked but important modifiable risk factor in overall health.”

Source: Brigham and Women’s Hospital

A Mexican Ground Beef Dish

Ingredients

900 g ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 eating apples
450 g tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 or 3 drained pickled jalapeno chillies, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Garnish

1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup slivered almond
tortilla chips, to serve

Method

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Add beef, onion and garlic. Fry, stirring from time and time, until beef is brown and onion is tender.
  2. Peel, core and chop apples. Add to the pan with all the remaining ingredients. Cook, uncovered for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Just before serving, melt butter in a small frying pan. Sauté almond until golden brown. Serve the Picadillo topped with almond and accompanied by tortilla chips.

Source: Classic Mexican


Today’s Comic

What’s for Dinner?

7-course Western and Asian Fusion Dinner

The Menu

Spanish-style Salad with Ham

Braised Sea Cucumber with Millet

Abalone and Goose Feet in Oyster Sauce

Lobster and Angel Hair Pasta Carbonara

Dragon Fruit and Vegetables

Brazilian-style Roasted Spring Chicken

Dessert – Bread Pudding