Leg exercise is critical to brain and nervous system health

New research shows that using the legs, particularly in weight-bearing exercise, sends signals to the brain that are vital for the production of healthy neural cells. The groundbreaking study fundamentally alters brain and nervous system medicine — giving doctors new clues as to why patients with motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy and other neurological diseases often rapidly decline when their movement becomes limited.

Source: Leg exercise is critical to brain and nervous system health: In a new take on the exercise truism ‘use it, or lose it,’ researchers show neurological health is an interactive relationship with our muscles and our world — ScienceDaily

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Following five healthy lifestyle habits may increase life expectancy by decade or more

Maintaining five healthy habits — eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping a healthy body weight, not drinking too much alcohol, and not smoking — during adulthood may add more than a decade to life expectancy, according to a new study.

Source: Following five healthy lifestyle habits may increase life expectancy by decade or more — ScienceDaily

Expert consensus finds that higher protein intake benefits adult bone health

A new expert consensus has reviewed the benefits and safety of dietary protein for bone health, based on analyses of major research studies.

Source: Expert consensus finds that higher protein intake benefits adult bone health: In seniors with osteoporosis, dietary protein intake above currently recommended levels may help to reduce bone loss and fracture risk, especially at the hip, provided calcium intakes are adequate — ScienceDaily

Even moderate alcohol drinking linked to heart and circulatory diseases

Regularly drinking more than the recommended UK guidelines for alcohol could take years off your life, according to new research. The study shows that drinking more alcohol is associated with a higher risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure and death.

Source: Consuming more than five drinks a week could shorten your life: Even moderate alcohol drinking linked to heart and circulatory diseases, study finds — ScienceDaily

Can you really be obese yet healthy?

A new paper has called for an end to the term ‘healthy obesity,’ due to it being misleading and flawed. The focus should instead be on conducting more in-depth research to understand causes and consequences of varying health among people with the same BMI.

Source: Can you really be obese yet healthy? — ScienceDaily

The Many Benefits of Sauna Use

While not exactly a new thing, using the sauna has been shown somewhat recently to have tremendous health benefits. More and more quality research is coming out demonstrating that regular sauna use is so beneficial for people in so many ways.

 

Then and Now

Sauna is a Finnish word referring to the traditional Finnish bath and/or bathhouse itself. A sauna as thought of today, is originated in Finland. A modern sauna is usually a simple, wooden room, with varying heat sources in the center. The most common heat source is an electric heater, filled with rocks. The way a sauna achieves such high temperatures without harming people is by controlling the humidity and air flow.The lower humidity in saunas compared to steam rooms is what allows for higher temperatures.

 

Benefits

There are many benefits of regular sauna use. Let’s dive right in.

Circulation

  • Heat causes increased blood flow
  • Oxygenation of cells, organs, and tissue
  • Mitochondrial boost
  • Metabolic waste flushing
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate

 

Performance

  • Elevated heart rate: As mentioned above a sauna session will elevate heart rate to a level similar to medium intensity exercise
  • Increased levels of IGF-1: Some studies have shown increases by as much as 200%-330%! IGF-1 is a hormone that causes anabolism (muscle growth), and recovery from exercise. Both leading to increased muscle growth
  • Increased insulin sensitivity: Great for overall health and muscle growth
  • Increase in heat shock proteins(HSP): Also aids in muscle growth by preventing catabolism (muscle breakdown) and increasing MPS (muscle protein synthesis)
  • Reduces DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)

 

Overall health/longevity

  • 48% lower risk of heart disease
  • Increased insulin sensitivity: Insulin resistance/poor insulin sensitivity is a common factor in many metabolic disorders
  • Increase in FOXO3: Gene associated with longevity and protects against DNA damage
  • Heart rate increase: Regular elevation of heart rate increases heart health
  • Heat Shock Proteins: HSP activate FOXO3 which help to prevent heart, brain, and metabolic disorders. HSP also increase lifespan and are associated with centenarians
  • Lower levels of stress
  • Increases in attention and memory
  • Myelin growth: Myelin is the sheath around nerve cells facilitating signal transmission
  • Neurogenesis: Growth of new brain cells
  • 24% or 40% (depending on frequency) reduction in all cause mortality
  • 27% or 50% (depending on frequency) reduction in cardiovascular death
  • Up to 65% reduction in Alzheimer’s and/or dementia (depending on frequency)
health benefits of sauna use
Inside a sauna

Infrared Sauna

As this technology is somewhat new, less data is available. What has been observed thus far is that full spectrum ( as opposed to only mid or near spectrum) offers the most benefits. Infrared saunas are preferred more and more as there is less heat, so they are more bearable to some. Similar to more traditional saunas, infrared saunas can provide the following benefits:

  • Detox
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Mood enhancement
  • Similar circulation benefits
  • Cell health
  • Wound healing
  • Oxygenation

 

How Much and How Often

Is probably what you want to know now. Most of the data shows that benefits start at a frequency of 2-3 sessions a week, but more robust benefits are observed at a frequency of 4-7 sessions per week. As far as duration and temperature, that hasn’t been determined exactly, but a sweet spot seems to be about 174 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes.

 

 

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Paleo and Whole 30

There are many different diets and ways of eating. A popular way of eating somewhat recently is the paleo diet. And related to the paleo diet is the whole 30 diet.

Paleo

Short for paleolithic, and also called the “caveman” diet. The paleo diet, put simply, consists of only foods a caveman could have eaten. So think natural, unprocessed foods. Meat, fish, leafy greens, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Fruits are also permitted. The paleo diet is similar to a ketogenic diet, but without the emphasis on fat; a more balanced macronutrient profile.

Benefits

Like the ketogenic diet, the paleo diet greatly improves many health markers. By eliminating gluten, lectins, sugar, dairy, and legumes, foods that cause inflammation are avoided. Calorie counting and tracking are not required, and eating to satiation is encouraged. More specifically, the paleo diet has been shown to improve:

  • Glucose control
  • Lipid profiles (in as little as 21 days)
  • Diabetes markers (HbA1C, triglycerides, diastolic blood pressure, weight and BMI, and HDL)
  • Fat mass
  • Cardiovascular fitness
paleo and whole 30 food
Paleo and Whole 30

Whole 30

The whole 30 diet is similar, as far as foods permitted and restricted, to the paleo diet. They differ in that the paleo diet is intended as a way of eating, as in long-term. The whole 30 diet, was formulated as just that: a diet. Whole 30 is intended as a dramatic and at least at first, short-term, way of changing diet and breaking bad eating habits. The “30” in the name stands for, you guessed it, 30 days. Encouraging people to change their habits to be more mindful of food choices for at least 30 days and notice the difference. The whole 30 diet also encourages cooking, which is a great way to make sure you’re eating better quality meals. Like the paleo diet it’s based on, whole 30 boasts many health benefits including:

  • Weight loss
  • Improved markers for diabetes, thyroid, and other metabolic disorders
  • Digestion and/or gut issues
  • Skin
  • Energy levels
  • Sleep

 

 

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