Today's Post: Tuesday, 12-1-2009
Suppose you could ask a Genie to make you better able to think, reason, remember key facts, and make good decisions AND to be leaner and less fat AND to also look younger and live longer in good health. Truly you would think better, look better, and live longer.
It turns out you may be able to have ALL those things without the Genie.
The only bad news is that you do have to make an effort to get them. The good news is that the two things that do the job are tested to work!
1. Let’s start with look younger and live longer in good health. Research has already been done that shows that people who do regular exercise several times a week live longer (5 to 20 years longer) and in far better health than sedentary people. They also have stronger bones and muscles and carry less fat – and look healthier, trimmer, and better.
Research has just been published showing that the looking younger and living longer is no accident for people who do regular, vigorous exercise.
Yesterday, 11-30-2009, that I just saw online this morning, LiveScience.com has this headline:
“Exercise Prevents Aging of Cells.”
This research found that vigorous exercise prevents the shortening of telomeres, the part of your DNA that protects the ends of your chromosomes from damage, similar to the caps on the
This is what causes aging; and when the telomeres become too short, the cell they are in dies.
The researchers measured the length of telomeres in people who did regular and vigorous exercise and two groups who were healthy & didn’t smoke, but who were not regular exercisers. The two groups who were healthy & didn’t smoke were matched in age with the exercisers to make the groups as comparable as possible.
"The most significant finding of this study is that physical exercise …. leads to activation of the important enzyme telomerase and stabilizes the telomere," said Ulrich Laufs, the study's lead author and professor of clinical and experimental medicine at Saarland University in Homburg, Germany.” He went on to say that, "This is direct evidence of an anti-aging effect of physical exercise,"
Note that this is IN ADDITION to the effects of vigorous exercise to release growth hormones that facilitate cellular repair all over your body and grow new brain cells; increasing HDL & lowering small particle LDL to protect your heart; increasing your circulation, and preventing excessively high levels of blood sugar and insulin to prevent type 2 diabetes, mental decline, and heart disease.
And, this is in addition to adding muscle and strengthening your bones so you can eat more without being fat AND reducing the amount of excess fat you have.
Now it seems that in addition to all that, regular and vigorous exercise slows or stops aging entirely to some degree.
The livescience.com article ended by saying the study will be published sometime this month, December, 2009, in Circulation, a journal from the American Heart Association.
A second article today noted that cardiovascular fitness was more effective than strength training in increasing your cognitive ability while other articles have described research showing that strength tended more to go with longevity.
Clearly, you get the best overall results by doing some exercise for cardio and some strength training each week. Three sessions of each every week is ideal. It even works to do 3 days of cardio & 2 of strength training each week. Lastly, interval cardio is more effective, gets you in shape faster, and is even safer to do than much longer sessions of endurance cardio. (It produces less osteoarthritis and overuse injuries for one thing.) If you have more time to exercise, go on hikes or brisk walks in addition to your interval cardio & strength training.
(The interval cardio can be done for very little money—less than $30; in a few minutes a day; and at home -- by using a jump rope and building up the intensity and to some extent the duration slowly and by continuing to do it.)
2. The second article was in the online health news on Yahoo earlier last month. On Thursday, 11-19-2009, HealthDay News had this headline: “Diet, Cognitive Ability May Play Role in Heart Disease.”
The study this story reported on found that older people who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and have good cognitive function are much less likely to die from heart disease than those who do not. (In addition to reading useful information like this post online, which has been shown to do so, you just saw that regular vigorous cardio helps to improve your cognitive ability.)
Researchers at the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia studied the data on 3,101 women & 1,778 men who were all 70 and older for an average of seven years.
The researchers found that the people who ate three or more servings of vegetables daily had a 30 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 15 percent lower risk of dying from any cause during the seven years than those who ate fewer vegetables each day.
They also found that fewer of those who ate more fruits and vegetables got cognitive impairment.
People who scored high on cognitive functions tests were less likely to die from heart disease or any other cause during the follow-up than were those with low scores.
This study was to be presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.
Separate studies have found that eating many kinds of vegetables most days is a more important key to good health than whether a person is “vegetarian” or eats meat.
We also know that organically raised vegetables contain literally hundreds of phytonutrients that have incredibly valuable health benefits from reducing the amount and intensity of allergies to preventing heart disease to preventing cancer. (Vegetables raised with pesticides and herbicides have some of these nutrients but tend to have much less of these valuable ingredients than the organically raised ones do.)
And, on top of all that, green and other nonstarchy vegetables fill you up with virtually no calories. So the more of them you eat, and 3 to 5 a day qualifies, the less fat you will wear. In fact eating MORE of them makes you a bit less hungry for all other kinds of foods with no further effort needed on your part. Some supplements may do this according to the new press on a couple of them. But they are a bit pricey. Drug companies are working on drugs to do this. But all drugs have some side effects and tend to be pricey as well.
Vegetables do a superb job of this and tend to be relatively inexpensive besides. Even better you can go to the store and buy them. They are available now.
So, doing regular, vigorous exercise and eating vegetables at a couple of meals each day may not SOUND incredible; and both things do take some effort. But not one person in 100 has a clue how powerful these two things really are.
Now you do!