Gina Koata wrote an interesting article a few days ago in the NY Times about how much exercise American adults actually do. The sad fact is that even though we know we shold be active, most of us aren't. Some researchers are now using psychology and studying how people feel while exercising. One study on exercise found that the perception of a workout changed if there was a 5 minute cool down at the end - the participants enjoyed it more and reported they would be more likely to do it again. The advice I've heard so often is being proven true, do something you like and you're much more likely to stick with it or as Nike once said, just do it!
Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times sites 3 studies that attempt to measure just how much activity is needed to increase longevity. The bottom line is that moderate exercise, like brisk walking, for 65 minutes per day is best for life expectancy. Do not dispare, though, because even low exertion exercise like washing dishes will increase life by about 2 years. Just think what vacuuming can do. Makes me want to clean house.
This article talks about how laughter seems to help with the release of endorphines and because of that it can help pain relief. It also reminds me of the saying "misery loves company" not because laughter is miserable, but because they found that when people laughed in a group they got more pain tolerance than when they laughed alone. We are social beings. Maybe that's why I can weight lift for 60 minutes in a class, but can't lift for 5 minutes on my own!
I have a lot of patients who have had cortisone shots or are considering getting one for joint pain. I read this article a while ago, but it is still pertinent. Phys Ed: Do Cortisone Shots Actually Make Things Worse? By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS. This article sites a study in the British medical journal, The Lancet, that tried to figure out the answer. The bias of my training is to be somewhat skeptical of cortisone shots, but on the other hand I have had some patients report great results. Please follow the links to get the full rundown, but the short answer is that cortisone shots can help in the short term, but not the long term. In some cases they can make the situation much worse. This will now be something I will give all patients who are considering getting cortisone.
I'm always suggesting to my patients that exercise and activity is necessary for better overall health and well being. Little did I know that some new studies are showing that just standing instead of sitting is beneficial. Gretchen Reynolds in a NY Times article sites a study showing that even just breaking up long time sitting with a few minutes of light walking or exercise can lower glucose and insulin levels. Another study shows that standing uses more caleries than sitting. She also notes that a study from Australia correlates television watching to decreased life expectancy!. She incorporates this into her work schedule, by setting an alarm and getting up every 20 minutes for 2 minutes. So once again I say just move, even a little, and good things can happen.
Just read this post in the New York Times about a study in Neurolgy done on over 700 elderly people without dementia. The subjects were followed for 4 years. In that period 71 people developed Alzheimer's. The researchers found that those who were in the lowest 10% for physical activity had twice the chance of developing Alzheimer's. For some additional reading on this subject you should check out David Snowdon's book "Aging with Grace". This video on the "Nun Study" is very good as well. The moral of the story is to continue to be active both mentally and physically or as Nike once said "Just Do It."
Environmental Working Group is my go to website for finding the most effective and least toxic sunscreens, but it really is a treasure trove of information. I just discovered that they have a list of the the 12 fruits and vegetables that typically have the highest levels of poisons and a list of the 15 that have the lowest levels - the dirty dozen and clean 15. While it is important to get at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day and even eating produce that has been sprayed is probably not as harmful as having a high fat or processed food at least you can be educated when you’re picking your produce. Check it out. They have an App you can download to your phone so you have it handy when you’re out shopping or you can print this one. Happy shopping.