Wellness Article

ISSUE 25 E-NEWSLETTER
Even a Little Weight Training May Cut the Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke - The New York Times – by Gretchen Reynolds
Despite the muscle-building, flab-trimming and, according to recent research, mood-boosting benefits of lifting weights, such resistance exercise has generally been thought not to contribute much to heart health, as endurance workouts like jogging and cycling do. But a study published in October in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise provides evidence for the first time that even a little weight training might reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. People appear to gain this benefit whether or not they also engage in frequent aerobic exercise.

The study drew from an invaluable cache of health data gathered at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, where thousands of men and women have been undergoing annual checkups, which include filling out detailed questionnaires about their exercise habits and medical history. More than 12,500 records were anonymized for men and women, most of them middle-aged, who had visited the clinic at least twice between 1987 and 2006. The subjects were categorized according to their reported resistance exercise routines, ranging from those who never lifted to those who completed one, two, three or more weekly sessions (or whether they lifted for more or less than an hour each week). Another category was aerobic exercise and whether subjects met the standard recommendation of 150 minutes per week of brisk workouts. This exercise data was then crosschecked against heart attacks, strokes and deaths during the 11 years or so after each participant’s last clinic visit.

The findings were dramatic: The risk of experiencing these events was roughly 50 percent lower for those who lifted weights occasionally, compared with those who never did – even when they were not doing the recommended endurance exercise. People who lifted twice a week, for about an hour or so in total, had the greatest declines in risk. (Interestingly, the subjects who reported weight training four or more times per week did not show any significant health benefits compared with those who never lifted, although the researchers believe this finding is probably a statistical anomaly.)

“The good news,” says Duck-chul Lee, an associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and co-author of the study, “is that we found substantial heart benefits associated with a very small amount of resistance exercise.” (full story)

Wellness Article

ISSUE 23 E-NEWSLETTER
11 Benefits of Strength Training That Have Nothing to Do With Muscle Size
U.S. News & World Report – by K. Alec

If you want to build bigger biceps or get an elusive six-pack, strength training is an essential component for making it happen. But even if maxing out your muscle size isn’t your objective, strength training might still be the best way to hit your health goals.

“A lot of people believe that if they don’t want to look like a bodybuilder, they shouldn’t perform resistance training,” says Michael Rebold, director of integrative exercise sciences at Hiram College in Ohio. “So the only form of exercise they do is aerobic – and then they wonder why they are having trouble making significant improvements in their health,” he explains.

Plus, building muscle bulk requires specialized and intense training and nutrition, and it doesn’t happen on accident, Rebold adds.

Before your next workout, consider these 11 science-backed benefits of strength training.

1. Lower abdominal fat. In a 2014 study published in the research journal Obesity, Harvard researchers followed 10,500 men over the course of 12 years and found that strength training is more effective at preventing increases in abdominal fat than cardiovascular exercise.

“When people incorporate strength training into their exercise routine, they not only burn calories, but increase lean muscle mass, which stimulates the metabolism,” Rebold says. Muscle mass is a major determiner of basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories the body burns per day to sustain physiologic functions. (source)

Wellness Article

ISSUE 20 E-NEWSLETTER
Gratitude For The Health of It

Fitness & Wellness News – by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Don’t wait until Thanksgiving. National Gratitude Day reminds us we can be thankful year-round …

Although an exact cause-and-effect between gratitude and improved health is not clear, it does exist. Research in the field of positive psychology continues to grow, with a focus on gratitude’s impact on physical and emotional well-being.

Those who live in gratitude follow that trendy phrase, “Happiness is not about having what you want but wanting what you have.” Productive, successful people strive to achieve everything from six-pack abs to a six-figure salary. Yet, the happiest among them are those who are still A-Okay with a little extra chub around their middle and a little less chub in their wallet. Those grateful folks tend to be happier and healthier, regardless.

Healthy Perks for the Grateful
A study published in Personality and Individual Differences found grateful people tended to exercise more. They also experienced fewer aches and pains, and reported feeling overall healthier, than those who did not regularly practice gratitude. (This is likely the combined outcome of exercising more along with those thankful feelings.) They tend to practice better self-care and follow up with physician exams when needed. (read more)

Wellness Article

ISSUE 19 E-NEWSLETTER
The Best Exercise For Aging Muscles
The New York Times – by Gretchen Reynolds
The toll that aging takes on a body extends all the way down to the cellular level. But the damage accrued by cells in older muscles is especially severe, because they do not regenerate easily and they become weaker as their mitochondria, which produce energy, diminish in vigor and number.

A study published this month in “Cell Metabolism,” however, suggests that certain sorts of workouts may undo some of what the years can do to our mitochondria.

Exercise is good for people, as everyone knows. But scientists have surprisingly little understanding of its cellular impacts and how those might vary by activity and the age of the exerciser.

So researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., recently conducted an experiment on the cells of 72 healthy but sedentary men and women who were 30 or younger or older than 64. After baseline measures were established for their aerobic fitness, their blood-sugar levels and the gene activity and mitochondrial health in their muscle cells, the volunteers were randomly assigned to a particular exercise regimen.

Some of them did vigorous weight training several times a week; some did brief interval training three times a week on stationary bicycles (pedaling hard for four minutes, resting for three and then repeating that sequence three more times); some rode stationary bikes at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a few times a week and lifted weights lightly on other days. A fourth group, the control, did not exercise. (read more)