Healthy Us: Brain, bone, heart and mental health

UGA research shows exercise improves brain function
Published in Sport Sciences for Health, the study followed 51 older adults, tracking their physical activity and fitness measurements. The participants performed tests specifically designed to measure cognitive function and underwent MRIs to assess brain functioning. The results showed that getting in more steps and moving around a little bit more can be helpful to brain health and sustaining independence.

“This paper is exciting because it gives us some evidence that when people whose brain networks aren’t functioning optimally engage in physical activity, we see improvement in their executive function and their independence,” says Marissa Gogniat, lead author. “We’re not saying you need to radically change your life — take the stairs, stand up and walk around a little bit more.”

Bone strength exercises

All exercises for bone strength have one or more of the following attributes, according to Harvard Health Publications:

  • Provide resistance (dumbbells, elastic band, body weight). Muscle contractions tug on bones to stimulate bulk.
  • Weight-bearing (walking, running dancing, tennis, etc.), unlike swimming or bicycling.
  • Provide impact. Higher impact (jumping, pounding) provides more effect than lower impact.
  • Higher velocity. Impact increases as speed increases. Jogging or fast-paced aerobics strengthen bone more than a stroll.
  • Sudden changes of direction. Studies show athletes who play sports such as soccer and squash have greater bone density than long-distance runners.
  • Improve balance. Exercises that target balance may not be best for building bone, but they will help keep you from falling, so they also serve a bone-protecting function.

Support group for hearing impaired
The UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic holds a monthly “Aural Rehabilitation” group led by a clinical doctor of audiology to talk about hearing challenges, tips and communication strategies. Family members are encouraged to attend to better understand hearing struggles. Meetings are held in Aderhold Hall, 5th floor. For more information, email Kerry.Cohen@uga.edu.

  • Six activities to get your heart pumping
  • Going for a brisk walk
  • High intensity household chores such as mowing the lawn
  • Active commuting (taking the stairs or walking to your destination)
  • Yoga or lifting weights twice a week
  • Letting loose with fun activities such as dancing or pick-up basketball
  • Add “exercise snacks” to your day such as a 10-minute jump rope session

Binge watching TV linked to blood clots
Watching television for four hours or more a day is linked to a higher risk of developing dangerous blood clots, according to findings in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology and reported by Harvard Health Publishing. The study included 131,000 people ages 40 and older without venous thromboembolism. Participants who reported watching television at least four hours a day were categorized as prolonged viewers, while those who watched less than 2.5 hours per day were deemed never-viewers or seldom-viewers.

Follow-up ranged from five years to nearly 20 years and found that prolonged television viewers were 1.35 times more likely to develop VTE compared with never- or seldom-viewers. The findings don’t prove cause and effect, but the connection makes sense as sitting for long periods causes blood to pool in the legs and can raise blood clot risk.

UGA study seeks participants for attention study
A research study conducted through the UGA College of Education seeks 40- to 60-year-old men and women to take the over-the-counter supplement citicoline or a placebo to measure whether the supplement alters attention. The total time commitment is six hours, and participants can earn up to $200 for their time. For more information contact Megha Sequeira: ugaexercisepsychology@gmail.com.

Positive psychology
Positive emotions are linked with better health, longer life and greater well-being. On the other hand, chronic anger, worry and hostility increase the risk of developing heart disease. Harvard Health Publishing reports that the relatively new field of research on positive psychology explores how people and institutions can support the quest for increased satisfaction and meaning. Here’s advice for increasing your positive emotions:
• Feel good: seek pleasurable emotions and sensations.
• Engage fully: pursue goals and activities that engage you fully.
• Do good: search for meaning outside yourself.
• Gratitude: express appreciation for what you have in your life.
• Savor pleasure: place your attention on pleasure as it occurs, and consciously enjoy the experience as it unfolds.
• Be mindful: focus your attention on what is happening at the moment and accept it without judgment.
• Self-compassion: console yourself as needed; take the time to nurture yourself, and build motivation to try again.

Pool therapy or physical therapy for back pain?
A small, randomized trial published in January by JAMA Network Open — an international, peer-reviewed, open access, general medical journal — suggests that aquatic therapy has the edge for reducing chronic low back pain. Researchers divided a group of 113 people into two groups with one group doing two 60-minute physical therapy sessions per week, while the others took part in two 60-minute sessions of pool exercises per week. After 12 weeks, about half the people in the pool therapy group showed an improvement in their pain scores compared with only 21% or fewer in the PT group. And a year later, the pool exercises still felt better than the land exercisers.

Two common prescription drugs now available over the counter
In 2020, the FDA announced two popular symptom-relief drugs can now be sold without a doctor’s prescription. One is diclofenac sodium topical gel, 1% (Voltaren Arthritis Pain), and the other is olopatadine (Pataday), which comes in eye drop form to relieve itchy or red eyes from pollen, ragweed, pet dander and other such allergens.

BoomAthens
BoomAthens
This article was written by the BoomAthens Staff.

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