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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are many benefits of regular sauna use. Let’s dive right in.
Heat causes increased blood flow
Oxygenation of cells, organs, and tissue
Metabolic waste flushing
Improved blood pressure
Elevated heart rate
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)
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)
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:
Lowered blood pressure
Similar circulation benefits
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.
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.
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.
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:
Lipid profiles (in as little as 21 days)
Diabetes markers (HbA1C, triglycerides, diastolic blood pressure, weight and BMI, and HDL)
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:
Improved markers for diabetes, thyroid, and other metabolic disorders