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Feel Good: Save Your Heart Through Exercise

Plus: How to get even fitter in your old age.



Doctors have known for a while that exercise is good for the heart. But what came as a surprise in a recent study was exactly whom it helped benefit. A study published in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology tracked the heart health of more than 5,000 people over a span of 15 years. It found out that overweight people who didn’t exercise tended to have high rates of stoke or heart disease. Not surprising. What did stand out was that overweight people who did routinely work out ended up having just as healthy of hearts as those who had an average weight.

Getting older, getting fitter

Cyclist robert marchand just keeps getting better with age—even at 103 years old. Marchand was the subject of a study in The Journal of Applied Physiology concerning age and cardiorespiratory fitness. The Frenchman had set a record at age 101 when he cycled 15 miles in an hour on an indoor track. Afterward, he worked with researchers who put him on an optimized workout routine. Two years later, he set another record when he went for 16.7 miles in an hour. The study showed that he was essentially fitter than he was two years ago and had the aerobic capacity of an in-shape 50-year-old. The results were remarkable for a centenarian, and it did show that, with hard work, you can improve your fitness at any age.

Backache? Try massage before pills

When it comes to acute back pain, it’s time to try a few other options before resorting to medication. The American College of Physicians recently revised its guidelines on treating lower back pain, recommending alternative therapies like massage, heat wraps or yoga. This comes after a review of 150 studies on the matter, showing that sometimes medication to relieve pain can lead to unwanted side effects. However, if trying the other techniques doesn’t work, the new guidelines recommend ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce inflammation.

And we thought it was social media

A new study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that the more time you spend scrolling through social media, the more likely you’ll start to feel lonely. 

How to come back from a cramp

It happens to the best of us. You’re chugging along on a nice run and then a cramp knocks you for a loop. But it doesn’t have to knock you out. The Washington Post recently asked a few fitness experts about what do to after a cramp, and these were their suggestions:

Rest and rehydrate. Grab a Gatorade or high-sodium sports drink. It’ll take about 7 minutes to absorb, but it’s a start to replace lost hydration.

Take deep breaths. In and out through the nose. It’ll relax you and let the tension out of the muscle.

Stretch. But not at first. Take weight off the affected muscle, then lightly stretch.

In the grip of arthritis

About one in four Americans suffers from arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a 20 percent increase from 2002.

Try a night shower to relax

A morning shower can serve as a nice boost to get your creative juices flowing in the morning. But if you’re finding it difficult to relax in the evening, maybe switch up your routine. Body temperature plays a key roll in inducing sleep. As the body cools in the evening, it signals that it’s time to rest. Taking a shower warms the body, but then it rapidly cools, helping induce sleep. The key is timing, according to Shelby Harris of New York’s Montefiore Medical Center. Try to shower about an hour and a half before you go to bed.

Americans living longer—but with a catch

in the near future, Americans can expect to live well into their 80s, on average. A study published in The Lancet projected that life expectancy of people born in 2030 will be more than 83 years for women and about 80 for men. (It’s currently about 2 years less for each gender.) This is good news, but compared to other first-world countries the U.S. is lagging behind. South Korean women, for example, will have a life expectancy of 90-plus years. Americans are behind because of high obesity rates, lack of preventive care and relatively high infant death rates, among other factors.

Signs of an aging population

About a quarter of the U.S. population is expected to suffer from hearing loss by 2060, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University. That’s up from 15 percent currently.

 

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