1) Help Your Heart
While a routine program of physical exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of premature death in people with coronary artery disease, Richard V. Milani, from the Ochsner Clinic Foundation, and colleagues investigated how psychosocial stress influences the effects of exercise training. The team followed 522 cardiac patients, including 53 who had high stress levels and 27 control patients who had high stress levels but did not engage in cardiac rehabilitation. The study subjects were offered 12 weeks of exercise classes consisting of 10 minutes of warm-up, 30 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise (walking, rowing, jogging, or similar), and then a 10-minute cool down stretch.
The classes were given three times a week and subjects were also asked to engage in one to three exercise sessions a week on their own. The researchers found that the subjects who became physically fitter during the study period (by exercising) were 60 percent less likely to die in the following six years. Exercise also helped reduce stress levels from one in 10 patients to fewer than one in 20 patients, which lowered the overall death rate for stressed subjects by an impressive 20 percent. Now that’s a great way to lower your stress and increase your life span at the same time!
Source: Richard V. Milani, Carl J. Lavie. “Reducing Psychosocial Stress: A Novel Mechanism of Improving Survival From Exercise Training.” American Journal of Medicine, October 2009.
2) Build Strong Bones
Wolfgang Kemmler, from Freidrich-Alexander University (Germany), and colleagues analyzed data on 246 older women enrolled in the Senior Fitness and Prevention Study. The researchers found that women who exercised had higher bone density in their spine and hip, and also had a 66 percent reduced rate of falls. Fractures due to falls were twice as common in control subject vs. the exercise group. The authors’ conclusion: “Compared with a general wellness program, our 18-month exercise program significantly improved [bone mineral density] and fall risk.”
Source: Wolfgang Kemmler W, et al. “Exercise Effects on Bone Mineral Density, Falls, Coronary Risk Factors, and Health Care Costs in Older Women: The Randomized Controlled Senior Fitness and Prevention (SEFIP) Study.” Archives of Internal Medicine, January 2010.
3) Grow Brain Cells
In that a number of previous studies have suggested regular exercise improves brain health, David J. Creer, from the National Institute on Aging, and colleagues studied the underlying mechanisms dictating how exercise improves information processing. The researchers prompted adult mice to use running wheels, finding that doing so increased their number of brain cells and enabled them to perform better at spatial learning tests compared to mice that did not exercise) The exercising mice were better able to tell the difference between the locations of two adjacent identical stimuli, an ability that the team found to be closely linked to an increase in new brain cell growth in the hippocampus portion of the brain.
Source: Creer DJ, et al. “Running Enhances Spatial Pattern Separation in Mine.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jan. 19, 2010.
Source: To Your Health –By: Drs. Ronald K