Feel Good: A Bike Ride to Help Your Brain
More evidence is emerging showing how exercise can help delay or slow cognitive decline in older adults. As scientists study the relationship between exercise and the brain, new devices are coming out to help seniors stay sharp. One of them, the CyberCycle, does double duty: It’s a workout bike that also helps with cognitive function. It comes equipped with a monitor and a host of simulated routes. Riders can use the gears to shift up and down the animated hills and valleys. Gulf Coast Village in Cape Coral recently added the CyberCycle in its wellness center. “It’s beneficial for seniors because it not only requires physical action, but it also exercises the brain through the virtual reality component,” wellness coordinator Melissa Wallace said in a release.
Breathe like a rock star
Experts have extolled the virtues of controlled breathing for a while. Basically, it’s a simple way to calm your nervous system. Just take a deep breath, hold it, and slowly exhale for 5 seconds. Repeat that several times, and chances are you’ll feel more relaxed. But what if you want to kick it up a notch? Well, The New York Times recently cued up another type of relaxation exercise—rock and roll breathing. Sit up straight on the edge of a chair; inhale leaning forward, expanding the belly; exhale and curl while also tipping backward until you are out of breath. Repeat that 20 times. OK, you are literally rocking and then rolling. Not exactly like a Rolling Stone. But, hey, we all have our own ways to rock out.
Prep for breast reconstruction on your own time
The process for reconstructive breast surgery usually involves several pre-surgery visits to the doctor’s office. Unfortunately, these visits can be pretty painful. The skin needs to be stretched to prep it for an implant, typically with a saline pouch that’s injected with fluid. But these visits may soon become an unnecessary hassle. A California company, AirXpanders, has developed AeroForm, a device that women can use at home to help prep for reconstructive survey using a remote-controlled air-expanding pouch. The FDA has yet to approve it, but it is sold in Europe and Australia. “Giving the patient a sense of control is very important,” surgeon Dr. Deanna Attai told the Associated Press. “To a patient that’s going through cancer treatment, that could be a big deal.”
The yo-yo diet will only disappoint
It’s a frustrating routine to get into. Get on a new diet, lose weight, slowly get tired of the new diet, gain the wait back. And repeat. Many people suffer through the so-called “yo-yo diet”—more professionally known as “weight cycling.” A review of studies recently concluded that the odds are likely that frequent dips and gains in weight will likely lead to future weight gain. (The good news: no evidence that yo-yo dieting increased the risk for diabetes, as has been previously believed.) If anything, it’s further evidence to ditch the concept of short-term diets and promote the permanent lifestyle changes that make for a healthier life.
Not so good, Florida
About 12 percent of Florida residents have diabetes. That gives the Sunshine State the 17th highest rate in the country, according to a recent Gallup-Healthways study.
Never too late to quit
Yes, it’s quite a challenge to quit smoking at any age. No, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine took a look at death rates of smokers, depending on when they quit. Obviously, people who quit earlier in life tended to live longer. But even those who quit in their 60s had a 23 percent lower risk of death than those who continued to light up. If you need a kick-start to quit, the authors of the study recommended consulting an online program to find guidance, such as the American Cancer Society’s Quit for Life at quitnow.net.
Volunteering gets better with age
Volunteering in middle or old age is associated with better mental health, according to a study in BMJ Open. However, volunteers under the age of 40 didn’t show that association.