How to Exercise for Brain Health

A man in blue sneakers about to lift a weight.

You have many good reasons to become more physically active: Doing so can boost mood, help maintain a healthy weight, and keep muscles strong. Now a growing body of evidence suggests that workouts may have brain benefits as well.

Much of the research on brain health and exercise is focused on aerobics. Yet a recent analysis from the University of Canberra in Australia found that certain nonaerobic activities can also help improve brain function in people over 50.

“Even when people did have some level of decline already, they were actually able to improve their cognitive function,” says the study’s author, Joseph Northey, a Ph.D. candidate in sport and exercise science.

We reviewed the most recent research to find tips on optimizing your exercise routine to help improve your brain health and keep your mind sharp.

Take a Brisk Walk

If you don’t exercise now, it’s easy to start. Just walk out your door and keep going.

It’s fine to start small. Build up from 10 minutes walking a day until you get to at least 30, says Elissa Burton, Ph.D., a research fellow in the school of physiotherapy and exercise science at Curtin University in Australia.

And if you can, pick up your pace. Getting your heart rate up will maximize the benefits to your brain, according to Helen Macpherson, Ph.D., a dementia research fellow at Deakin University in Australia. That means you should be exercising at an intensity where you start to find it difficult to have a conversation.

Do More Than the Minimum

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults get 150 minutes of this sort of moderately intense aerobic exercise each week, which is five 30-minute workouts. But the biggest boost in brain health in the Canberra study was linked to exercise sessions of 45 to 60 minutes.

So try consolidating some workouts into a longer session. Or gradually work up to 45 to 60 minutes, five days per week.

Try Tai Chi

This Chinese martial art, which consists of slow, rhythmic movements, was one of several types of exercise tied to improved cognitive functioning in the recent Canberra study.

Plus it’s low-impact, which can be good for people who haven’t been active in awhile, Northey says. It’s also easy on your joints.

To learn the proper technique, it’s best to seek out a local class, Northey says. You can find instructors near you who are certified by the American Tai Chi and Qigong Association.

Resistance Training Can Help, Too

Resistance training, exercise that causes muscles to contract, is meant to strengthen, but it may also help protect against cognitive decline. And you don’t need weights or other equipment, Northey says. The CDC recommends resistance training at least twice per week. Here are three tips to get you started:

Stand up, sit down, repeat. As long as you’re steady on your feet, try standing up from a chair without using your hands. Do this in sets of five or more anytime you find yourself sitting around the house.

Make daily tasks harder. Choose stairs over elevators and escalators. You’ll get an aerobic workout and build muscle at the same time.

Join a class. Northey’s study found that group programs incorporating resistance and aerobic training were beneficial for the brain. Check out the offerings at your local YMCA or senior center, and remember to talk with your doctor before you start any new exercise program.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the September 2017 issue of Consumer Reports on Health.

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MINUTE OF EXERCISE A DAY COULD PREVENT OSTEOPOROSIS, FINDS STUDY

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No more excuses

Many people think that getting fit means devoting your life to the gym and slogging it out for hours. And unsurprisingly, that can be pretty off-putting.

But increasingly we’re realising that short workouts can be much more effective than long ones, if you just know what to do.

It turns out that just a minute’s exercise a day can have a hugely beneficial impact on your health.

According to a study by the Universities of Exeter and Leicester, women who do 60-120 seconds of high-intensity weight-bearing exercise a day have four per cent better bone density than those who do less than a minute.

Women who exercise for over two minutes have even stronger bones, with density six per cent higher than those who do under a minute.

After the age of 30, people tend to lose more bone mass than they gain, and the higher your bone density, the lower your likelihood of developing osteoporosis.

You’re also less likely to have bone fractures in old age.

The study was conducted on over 2,500 female participants, and it’s women who are most at risk of osteoporosis, with bone density declining significantly after the menopause.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, a tenth of women aged 60 are affected by osteoporosis, and this rises to two-thirds of women aged 90.

What’s more, one in three women over the age of 50 and one in five men of the same age will suffer from osteoporotic fractures.

But further research needs to be done to work out how best one should undertake exercise in order to improve bone density the most.

“We don’t yet know whether it’s better to accumulate this small amount of exercise in bits throughout each day or all at once, and also whether a slightly longer bout of exercise on one or two days per week is just as good as one to two minutes a day,” said lead author Dr Victoria Stiles.

“But there’s a clear link between this kind of high-intensity, weight-bearing exercise and better bone health in women.”

To reach their conclusions, the researchers asked their participants to wear activity monitors for a week and then compared this data to measurements of their bone health.

The activity data was broken down into single seconds to understand how people move in their daily lives.

“We wanted to make every second count in our analysis, because short snippets of high-intensity activity are more beneficial to bone health than longer, continuous periods,” Stiles said.

“We were careful not to ignore short bursts of activity throughout the day.”

Many people, although not consciously exercising, engage in non-exercise activity thermogenesis – or NEAT – over the course of the day, and this can be enough to improve your health.

If you want to increase your bone health, start with simply trying to walk more, and from there you can incorporate short bouts of running too.

There are limitations to the study’s findings though.

“Because this is a cross-sectional study – which assesses data taken from a subset of the population at a particular point in time – we can’t be sure whether the high-intensity physical activity led to better bone health, or whether those with better bone health do more of this exercise,” Stiles clarified.

“However, it seems likely that just one to two minutes of running a day is good for bone health.”

It’s not the first study to suggest you can drastically improve your health with just a minute’s exercise either: earlier this year, researchers from McMaster University found that 60 seconds of intense exercise broken up into 20 second blasts as part of a ten-minute workout can be as effective as a 45 minute endurance workout.

No more telling yourself you just don’t have the time to keep fit then.

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Children ‘exercise less as they get older’

Older children racing

The number of children doing an hour of exercise a day falls by nearly 40% between the ages of five and 12.

Figures suggest that by the final year of primary school, just 17% of pupils are doing the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

A spokesman for Public Health England described the drop in activity levels as “concerning”.

More than a third of children in England are overweight by the time they leave primary school.

A new survey from Public Health England and Disney looked at the effects of physical activity on children’s emotional wellbeing

More than 1,000 children aged five to 11 were questioned, with their parents acknowledging that being active made their children feel happier (79%), more confident (72%), and more sociable (74%).

But the survey also found that children’s overall happiness declined with age, with 64% of five-and six-year-olds saying they always felt happy, compared with just 48% of 11-year-olds.

Boy jumping

“Children’s physical activity levels in England are alarmingly low, and the drop in activity from the ages of five to 12 is concerning,” said Public Health England’s Eustace de Sousa.

“Children who get enough physical activity are mentally and physically healthier, and have all-round better development into adulthood – getting into the habit of doing short bursts of activity early can deliver lifelong benefits.”

Currently, just 23% of boys and 20% of girls, between the ages of five and 15, meet the national recommended level of activity, according to an NHS report published last December.

“Not being very good” was cited by many children as the reason they did not take part in some physical activities, with older children more likely to be self-conscious than their younger counterparts: 29% of 11-year-olds compared with 17% of five-year-olds.

As part of the Change4Life campaign, Sport England and Disney have joined forces to launch a 10 Minute Shake Ups programme, encouraging children to take part in accessible activities across the school holidays.

“The 10 Minute Shake Ups provide a load of fun activities to get kids moving more,” said Olympic marathon swimmer Keri-anne Payne, who is backing the campaign.

“Being active is not just for Olympians, it’s for everyone. ”

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You Asked: Am I Gaining Muscle Weight or Fat From My Workout?

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Apart from an iced latte here and a skipped workout there, you’ve been good about sticking to your new health regimen. So it’s frustrating to step on the scale and see your weight has hardly budged. Or worse, you’ve put on a few pounds.

But wait, doesn’t muscle weigh more than fat? You have added pushups to your workouts…

Unfortunately, the odds that you’ve added even a small amount of muscle, let alone a few pounds of the stuff, is highly unlikely, says Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center. “Unless you’re actively body-building”—think hour-long, three-days-a-week weight room workouts—“it’s very hard to gain a pound or more of muscle.”

Even if you are hitting the weights regularly, you’re not going to gain muscle weight rapidly, especially in the beginning. “It’s going to take at least four to six weeks of consistent training to experience significant gains,” says Michele Olson, an adjunct professor of sports science at Huntingdon University. Unless you’re engaged in some Arnold-level lifting, the two or three pounds you’ve added aren’t muscle.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fat, either. “In the short term, almost any changes in body weight, either up or down, are going to be from fluid shifts,” Cheskin says.

Cut added salt from your diet, and you’ll lose a lot of retained water very quickly. Or, if you weigh yourself after a hard, sweaty workout but before you rehydrate, you’re likely to have dropped a few pounds. “That can be gratifying, but it’s not meaningful,” Cheskin says.

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A new exercise program could also cause you to retain some extra fluid. “When you start working out and you’re sweating, your body is smart, and it understands that its volume of fluid is not at the level it typically would be,” Olson says. In order to prevent dehydration, your body responds by storing extra water, which can cause your weight to increase by a few pounds. The same thing can happen as the summer temperatures tick up and your body adjusts to the added heat and increased rate of sweating. (Combine the onset of summer with a new, intense workout schedule, and you can expect to add at least a few pounds due to water retention.)

On the other hand, you may drop a few pounds when fall temperatures arrive or you quit exercising. “If you’ve been working out a lot and you suddenly stop, I guarantee you will lose some water weight,” Olson says.

MORE: The TIME Guide To Exercise

All of these short-term factors help explain why most exercise physiologists and weight-loss counselors tell people not to get too hung up on the number on the scale. Your body weight is not a static measure or one composed solely of your proportion of fat to muscle. It’s going to slide up and down based on a lot of variables that don’t have much to do with your health.

That doesn’t mean you should trash your bathroom scale; some researchsuggests that overweight adults who weigh themselves regularly are more likely to stick with the diet and exercise routines that help them shed pounds.

But you’re better off weighing yourself just once or twice a week—first thing in the morning, after you pee but before you eat—and keeping track of how your weight shifts over a period of several weeks or months. The long-term pattern of weight gain or loss is a better indicator of how you’re doing. “Especially if you get upset by those day-to-day fluctuations, it’s better not to torture yourself,” Cheskin says.

The best way to keep tabs on your body weight has nothing to do with scales. “Just ask yourself if your clothes are fitting you better or looser, or if you have more energy, or if you feel healthier,” Olson says.

If you answer yes to these questions, whatever you’re doing is working.

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EXERCISE CAN BE PUNISHING – BUT HERE’S HOW TO STOP THINKING OF IT AS A PUNISHMENT

Image result for EXERCISE CAN BE PUNISHING – BUT HERE’S HOW TO STOP THINKING OF IT AS A PUNISHMENTThe fitness industry is said to be worth £4.4bn in the UK alone. But, despite medical research telling us that exercise will help us live longer, the majority of people do not engage with health and fitness. Could it be that exercise is still considered a punishment – as it was in Victorian prisons?

Or do we just need to increase the fun and social aspect to exercise to get more of us working up a sweat?

Medical research suggests exercise is good for our health and will help us all live longer. But a report by the British Heart Foundation says that 20 million people living in the UK are physically inactive.

To be considered active, the Department of Health recommends adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. So it begs the question: why do close to a third of the country’s population struggle to meet this recommended amount of exercise, when doing so could prolong their life?

A reason why inactive people may not engage in enough exercise is because it is not perceived to be a fulfilling or satisfying leisure pursuit. Other competing pastimes of a more sedentary nature, such as watching TV, reading and gaming, are seen by some as being more enjoyable.

Exercise as punishment

The treadmill was devised as a form of punishment for convicted criminals in the Victorian era. At this time, prisoners had to undertake long hours of hard labour by walking on treadmills to grind flour. This form of punishment was abolished in the late 19th century for being too cruel.

Exercise also has a long history of being used as a form of correctional behaviour in schools. Indeed in 2014 the then-Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, proposed to ban exercise being used in schools as a form of punishment for fear that it would put children off being active.

Given that exercise has a lengthy historical association with the use of discipline for the purpose of punishment and obedience, can 21st century society ever be truly accepting of exercise as a leisure pursuit that can have personal fulfilment?

At present, the high volume of inactivity levels in the UK suggests a large amount of people are not motivated to take exercise. Getting people to be more active, therefore, would require a shift in people exercising because they want to rather than having to.

Making it social

My research explores the role of social psychology for the development of interventions that make physical activity a fulfilling pursuit for long-term condition sufferers. This is because social psychological science has consistently demonstrated that people are motivated to seek social connections in order to fulfil their psychological needs as human beings. For example, “the belongingness hypothesis” states that people have a basic need to feel closely connected to others.

So it is important people have positive social exercise experiences that enrich their quality of life and, in doing so, make the pursuit of exercise a more satisfying and worthwhile activity. This can be achieved by creating exercise environments that provide individuals with a shared sense of social connectedness, creating opportunities for people to form friendships, meaningful attachments and mutually supportive relationships.

For example, the EuroFit programme takes a unique approach for improving men’s health and fitness by allowing fans to train in the environment of a professional football club they support. City Ride events are another example, where families and friends of all ages and abilities can enjoy cycling together through the streets of a vibrant traffic-free environment. Similarly, walking sports offer a social atmosphere of fun, laughter and camaraderie for those who may have difficulty participating in high impact activities.

Connecting people in dynamic and socially rewarding exercise environments has the potential to offset the drudgery often associated with exercise and make it a leisure pursuit worth doing.

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What Type of Exercise Is Best for the Brain?

Image result for What Type of Exercise Is Best for the Brain?Exercise is just as good for the brain as it is for the body, a growing body of research is showing. And one kind in particular—aerobic exercise—appears to be king.

“Back in the day, the majority of exercise studies focused on the parts of the body from the neck down, like the heart and lungs,” says Ozioma Okonkwo, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “But now we are finding that we need to go north, to the brain, to show the true benefits of a physically active lifestyle on an individual.”

Exercise might be a simple way for people to cut down their risk for memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, even for those who are genetically at risk for the disease. In a June study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Okonkwo followed 93 adults who had at least one parent with Alzheimer’s disease, at least one gene linked to Alzheimer’s, or both. People in the study who spent at least 68 minutes a day doing moderate physical activity had better glucose metabolism—which signals a healthy brain—compared to people who did less.

The brain benefits of exercise go beyond disease prevention. Okonkwo has also shown that people who exercise have greater brain volume in areas of the brain associated with reasoning and executive function. “We’ve done a series of studies showing that increased aerobic capacity boosts brain structure, function and cognition ,” he says, “Other people have found exercise can improve mood.” Okonkwo’s research has also shown that exercise can diminish the impact of brain changes on cognition, not just prevent it. “Exercise is the full package,” he says.

Exercise likely improves brain health through a variety of ways. It makes the heart beat faster, which increases blood flow to the brain. This blood delivers oxygen—a good thing, since the brain is the biggest consumer of oxygen in the body. Physical activity also increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which i s known to help repair and protect brain cells from degeneration as well as help grow new brain cells and neurons, says Okonkwo .

In one study. Joe Northey, a PhD candidate at the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise in Australia, showed that when people ride a stationary bike, they experience increased blood flow to the brain, and within that blood are a range of growth factors that are responsible for cell growth and associated with improved brain function. “Considering exercise can also reduce the risks associated with common lifestyle diseases that impact the brain, such as high blood sugar and hypertension, it is further motivation to try to incorporate exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle,” says Northey.

MORE: The Simple Reason Exercise Enhances Your Brain

Aerobic exercise, like running and swimming, appears to be best for brain health. That’s because it increases a person’s heart rate, “which means the body pumps more blood to the brain,” says Okonkwo. But strength training, like weight lifting, may also bring benefits to the brain by increasing heart rate. The link between resistance training and better brain health is not as established, but research in the area is growing.

For now, Northey recommends a combination of the two. “Combining both is ideal,” he says, for all of the other benefits exercise bestows on the body. “In addition to improving your brain function, you should expect to see improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength, as well as reducing the risk of obesity, diabetes and hypertension amongst other diseases.”

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This is what you should eat after different types of exercise

Eat well afterwards to get the most out of your exercise

Congratulations! You’ve make it through your workout. But the job isn’t done just yet – because if you really want to get the most out of your exercise, you need to put some thought into what you eat afterwards.

And according to Anna-Jane Debenham and Alex Parker, dietitians from nutrition consulting business The Biting Truth, it’s not just about protein.

Although important, particularly for muscle repair, “having protein on its own, although it may seem ‘trendy’, isn’t ideal in a lot of cases”.

Instead, they say snacks containing both carbohydrate and protein will “allow your body to recover and repair effectively”. And don’t forget to replace all those lost fluids (hey, we all get sweaty!) with extra water.

Failing to refuel or rehydrate after exercise can result in a host of problems, including earlier onset of fatigue, reduced speed and endurance, poor concentration and gut upset, Anna and Alex warn. Not to mention the fact you might not be getting the full benefits of all that effort!

Here, they explain why post-exercise nutrition is so important…

Don’t just wait until your next meal to eat

Restricting calories after a workout can be counterproductive, and after the extra strain you’ve put on your body, nutrition is even more crucial.

Anna and Alex explain: “During exercise (especially resistance training), the body shifts towards a catabolic state (muscle breakdown) which then transitions back to an anabolic state (muscle building) within the first few hours of completing your workout.”

Essentially, this means there’s a 60-90 minute “window of opportunity” after your training session, where you have a chance to replenish the stores of carbohydrates in the liver and muscle cells, as well as encourage muscle repair.

What to eat after… cardio

Running, dancing, boxing – all great cardio workouts, and they can leave you seriously pooped. “The key is replenishing carbohydrate stores,” say Anna and Alex, “and adequate hydration is essential.”

They recommend a slice of wholegrain bread with peanut butter and banana: “This snack provides high-quality carbs, protein and heart-healthy fats, and is full of potassium which helps soothe muscles.”

Other snacks you could reach for after a cardio workout include a plain banana, some nuts, or some wholegrain toast with either ricotta and fruit, or cottage cheese and tomato.

What to eat after… strength training

If you’re lifting weights and your goal is to gain muscle, Anna and Alex say: “An energy-rich diet with adequate amounts of protein is just as important as your well-developed strength-training programme.”

So, after strength training, your food intake should be low in fat and high in nutrients. “Consuming carbohydrates in conjunction with protein allows the protein to be used for muscle growth and repair,” they explain.

They recommend smoothies as a great option for fitting in a lot of nutrients in one go – you can just blend up your ingredients (such as berries, low-fat yogurt and/or oats) and you’re sorted.

What to eat after… HIIT

HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is all the rage, hailed as a speedy way to burn more fat and build more muscle compared to traditional workouts. And putting your body well and truly through its paces (no one ever said HIIT was easy) means refuelling well is crucial.

Anna and Alex suggest an onion and pepper omelette plus some fruit, and their top tip is to include pineapple.

“Aside from their protein content, eggs are high in leucine, which triggers muscle protein synthesis,” they explain. “The vitamin C in the capsicums [peppers] is essential for maintaining the healthy cartilage you need to cushion your bones. Research suggests bromelain (an enzyme in pineapple) may help reduce exercise-induced inflammation.”

(Photo: Neville Williams)

What to eat after… stretching and toning-based exercise

What you decide to eat after classes like yoga, Pilates or barre depends on what your fitness goal is: whether you want to lose weight, boost your core strength, or increase your overall muscle mass.

“If your goal is weight loss, then a nutrient rich meal within 60 minutes of your workout is essential, as the meal will be more efficiently digested,” say Anna and Alex. “If your goal is to improve strength, then protein is key.”

They suggest two hard-boiled eggs with multigrain toast, or something like a slice of roast vegetable and feta frittata would be ideal.

To help repair tired muscles and replenish energy stores after yoga, Anna and Alex say: “Your body needs a hit of protein, some low-GI carbohydrates and fruits or vegetables.” Try a small tub of Greek yogurt with a couple of spoonfuls of muesli containing nuts and fruit, or a small can of tuna, four-bean mix and some chopped veggies.

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This is the Astounding Impact Exercise has for Older Americans

Beyond keeping in shape, exercise can reverse the effects of aging on your body and fight brain decline.

Exercise has long been touted as an essential aspect of a healthy lifestyle, so it will come as no surprise to hear that if you don’t exercise, you should start.

What may surprise you, however, is the astounding effects exercise can have during your golden years. Beyond keeping in shape, exercise can reverse the effects of aging on your body and fight brain decline.

Sound too good to be true? Fortunately, research backs up these claims.

Reverse physical aging

After the first few decades of your life, you likely noticed your energy levels were sapped earlier in the day than they used to be and that it was harder to keep healthy. Generally, these changes are only exacerbated with time.

“Even the most athletically fit cannot escape these changes,” the National Institute on Aging said. “Take marathon runners, for example. An NIA-funded study found that their record times increased with age — aging literally slowed down the runners.”

At its most basic level, aging changes your cells. For example, lung tissue loses elasticity and rib cage muscles shrink, so the amount of air you inhale in a breath decreases, according to the NIA. Your gut produces fewer digestive enzymes, making it difficult to absorb nutrients. Your heart’s blood vessels accumulate fatty deposits.

Enough of the bad news. The good news is you can fight the breakdown.

For example, researchers found that high-intensity interval training can slow the decline of aging. Also called HIIT, this type of training involves doing a workout that goes back and forth between intense exercise and recovery periods.

Study participants did both HIIT workouts and resistance training — working out with weights — for 12 weeks, and researchers said HIIT was the workout that made the biggest difference to aerobic capacity and cells in the muscles.

Before being scared away by the words “high intensity,” consider all the workouts you can do. For example, one workout designed for seniors involves running and walking on a treadmill in this pattern:

  • Work interval: 20-second sprint
  • Rest interval: 90-second walk
  • Repeat 4-6 times
  • Cool down: 5-minute walk

If running isn’t your thing, incorporate the same pattern of exercise and rest in any activity you like such as swimming, cycling, weightlifting and so on.

Fight brain decline

Perhaps the idea that exercise can reverse aging’s physical effects makes sense, but understanding how it strengthens brain function is a little harder to grasp. Well, here’s the scoop.

Multiple studies have found that physical activity, particularly aerobic exercise, enhances cognitive function. That means exercise helps with activities in the brain including memory, attention span, language skills, logic and reasoning. These studies show exercise has “substantial benefits” according to an article published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest journal.

Exercise isn’t the only way to fight cognitive decline. Socializing and cognitive activities like doing puzzles or learning a language can also help. Still, “physical activity has the most support as protective against the deleterious effects of age on health and cognition” according to an article in the Journal of Aging Research.

These deleterious, or harmful, effects include more than just occasional forgetfulness. Physical activity can help delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in people who are 65 or older, according to research in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal.

All 1,740 participants were cognitively intact at the beginning of the study. After six years, the people who exercised at least three times per week had a lower rate of dementia than those who exercised less.

“These results suggest that regular exercise is associated with a delay in onset of dementia and Alzheimer disease, further supporting its value for elderly persons,” the researchers write.

Get started

As research shows, there is every reason you should exercise, even if you never have before. Don’t let common myths about exercise — such as exercise not being safe — get in your way. Of course, before you start any exercise program, you should always consult with your physician.

ComForCare of Palm Beach Gardens is the premier provider of private-duty, non-medical home health care allowing people to age comfortably, safely and happily in place. Services include meal preparation, light housekeeping, grooming and hygiene help, transportation assistance, medication reminders and more. Caregivers can even go on walks with those they care for or help them safely complete approved exercise routines. To learn more, visit comforcare.com/palmbeach.

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The Core Exercise Trainers Love (No, It’s Not A Plank)

We’re not here to play games: The truth is, there’s no magical workout move that does it all. However, there are certain exercises that set you up to move better and lift things more easily. Many of these involve strengthening your core, because a strong midsection is essential for every workout, sport, and fitness activity — not to mention daily life. And that’s where the core reach (also known as the dead-bug exercise) comes in.
This move — think of it as a flipped-over version of a moving plank — is functional, safe, and strengthens the same muscles you use for everything from doing squats to hauling groceries. It’s also especially useful for runners because it teaches trunk stability and control while you’re moving your arms and legs in opposition. This mirrors what you do when you’re walking and running, explains Ashleigh Kast, trainer at Drive Clubs in New York City and founder of Sophisticated Strength. This stability helps establish a more efficient stride pattern that controls breathing and prevents lower back pain often caused by poor running form.
You can include the core reach as part of your warm-up before a gym workout or run, or try it as a quick exercise first thing in the morning. Plus, it’s simple to increase or decrease the intensity level depending on where you are in your fitness journey. Just lace up a pair of supportive and cushiony adidas UltraBOOST X sneakers and follow along with brand ambassador Jera Foster-Fell. Time to kick-start your workout.
The Core Reach
Start lying on your back with arms extended straight in the air with wrists over shoulders. Bend your knees to a tabletop position, making 90-degree angles with your shins parallel to the floor. While pushing your low back against the ground, extend your right arm overhead and your left leg outward until they hover a few inches off the floor, but not so low that your back arches. Immediately return to the starting position, and repeat on the opposite side. Do 10 reps on each side, alternating arms and legs each rep.
“The most common mistake I see people make is beginning with the back arched,” Kast says. Fix this by flattening your back on the floor before you start moving, and be conscious to maintain that position throughout the entire exercise.
“This move is an amazing opportunity to begin linking your breath to your movement, which is key for mastering any exercise or sport,” says Kast. Inhale as you lower your arm and leg and exhale as you pull them back in.
Just Getting Started? Try This Beginner-Friendly Variation
Keep your arms extended by your sides on the ground or directly overhead. Bring your legs into that same tabletop position and — keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees — lower your right heel to tap the ground. Return your leg to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg. By shortening the length of your legs, you reduce the load on your core, thus requiring less stability, and you’re using your arms to help you balance. Do 10 reps on each side, alternating legs each rep.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY MAGDALENA KMIECIK
For More Of A Challenge, Add Some Weight
While holding a five- to 10-pound medicine ball (a kettlebell or single dumbbell does the job, too), extend your arms directly above your head and perpendicular to the floor. Keep your arms in place while extending one leg at a time. The goal here is to create maximum tension in the body, so imagine you’re trying to crush the ball between your hands. This tension helps stabilize your core and adds work for your upper-body muscles. Do 10 reps on each side, alternating legs each rep.
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A few minutes of light exercise, rather than a sweaty gym workout, is all that is needed to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, study suggests

Even small amounts of physical activity can offer health benefits that protect against diabetesEven small amounts of physical activity can offer health benefits that protect against diabetes, new research suggests.

A new study found that even a little exercise wards off insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes which can result from a high-fat diet.

Insulin resistance occurs when the cells of the body stop responding to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in the body.

Exercise can prevent insulin resistance by prompting the body to remove damaged cells and enhancing the quality of mitochondria, the cell’s energy powerhouses.

Type 2 diabetes affects 4.5 million people living in the UK and 29 million people in the US.

Even small amounts of physical activity can offer health benefits that protect against diabetes

The study also casts doubt on the previously held view that increasing the quantity of mitochondria could help fix some consequences of a high fat diet, including insulin resistance.

The researchers found that the benefits from physical activity were not affected by the quantity of mitochondria.

Lead researcher Megan Rosa-Caldwell, a doctoral student at the University of Arkansas, found that mice genetically engineered to have higher quantity of mitochondria were not more protected against high-fat diet induced insulin resistance.

How was the research conducted?

The researchers fed all the mice in the study a Western diet high in fat.

The genetically engineered and control mice were further divided into a group that was allowed to exercise, and a sedentary group.

Their results showed that physical activity, regardless of the amount of mitochondria, offered similar health benefits against insulin resistance.

Even a little exercise wards off insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes which can result from a high-fat diet

Study found even a little exercise wards off insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes

The researchers said that it appears that exercise’s ability to help remove damaged cells and enhance the quality of the mitochondria may be more effective for preventing insulin resistance.

But they said these aspects need to be further tested.

Exercise offers ‘the greatest protection’

Ms Rosa-Caldwell said that with rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes continuing to increase, understanding the cellular processes that help or hurt insulin resistance can help doctors better tailor effective preventative measures such as exercise.

She added: ‘For now, physical activity is the greatest protection, but further research may enable us to prevent and treat insulin resistance, and subsequent diabetes, more effectively.’

The research was published in the journal Experimental Physiology.

[“Source-ndtv”]