Contrary to popular belief, recent research shows wearing a back belt while doing heavy lifting isn’t as effective at preventing injuries as previously thought. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported those who routinely wear back belts 2–3 times per week reported the same number of lower-back injuries as those workers who either only wore a back belt 2-3 times a month or who never wore them at all.
According to the journal Nature, the elderly can significantly increase their cognitive skills by simply developing a regular walking regimen. Of the 120 sedentary, elderly individuals tested, those who increased their stamina by walking three times a week, between 45–60 minutes each time, were more adept at switching mental skills quickly than those who aborted walking in favor of stretching and toning. Such news should be received favorably by many drivers, considering those quick-thinking skills are the same needed when operating a vehicle.
Those in high-stress jobs are often the first to forgo a formal vacation. Don’t do it. Researchers found the chances of an at-risk, middle-aged man dying from a heart attack are reduced by one-third when he takes an annual sojourn. The results, reported at an American Psychosomatic Society meeting, back the researchers’ deduction that vacation time away from the office helps reduce stress, thereby facilitating sound health.
Look Good, Feel Better (LGFB) is in the business of makeovers. Not the talk-show variety; the kind with a purpose. LGFB’s mission is to help improve the confidence of women with cancer by providing a free service teaching basic beauty techniques (from skin care to choosing a wig) to improve not only outer but inner beauty. LGFB believes by beginning with improving the tangible, each woman can better face her disease and treatment with an increased sense of optimism. Since its inception in 1989, more than 200,000 women have participated in the program.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology reported overweight persons have a six-times higher chance of developing arthritis in their knees than those with a normal body mass index (BMI), and the clinically obese are eight times more likely to develop arthritis. Researchers from the University of Ulm in Germany found the connection between obesity and osteoarthritis to be the result of the strain of excessive body weight upon the knees through mechanical actions rather than a metabolic link.
Exercise is an extremely important element in overall health, and, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), can benefit both mother and baby in a normal, healthy pregnancy. Physicians have given the OK to a moderate, already established exercise routine for pregnant women, but advise that any new regimen should be discussed with a primary care provider.
While many types of exercise may be beneficial to your health, only a few can increase bone strength. Researchers at Washington University recently studied the effects of both resistance (weight training) and impact training (aerobic exercise, running) on 27 non-active women. Both styles of training put pressure on the skeletal framework, thus provoking a rise in calcium absorption. One group performed only resistance training while the other did only impact training. After nine months, both groups increased bone density by 2 percent.
Don’t believe anyone who professes you’re too old to build muscle mass or that men develop strength faster than women. A University of Maryland research team recently focused on both age and gender in relation to strength change from training and detraining, or non-activity, in 41 individuals. According to the study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, younger subjects (ages 20–30) demonstrated only a slightly greater increase in strength than their elder counterparts (ages 65–75) after nine weeks of training.
The University of Arizona’s Program in Integrative Medicine recently received a $2 million loan from its medical school in an effort to remain open. The program was suffering from a $1 million debt and was in fear of being closed. Founded by integrative guru Dr. Andrew Weil, the clinic was one of the first to combine traditional Western medicine with a complementary course, which considers mind-body-spirit, to form a unifying approach to healing.