Men's Fitness Focus /mensfitnessfocus Men's Fitness Focus Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:56:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 5 Common Foods for Weight Loss (Video) /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-13-5-common-foods-for-weight-loss-video.html /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-13-5-common-foods-for-weight-loss-video.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 5 common foods for weight loss (with the Health Ranger):

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MMA fighters and UFC’s Dana White respond to Meryl Streep’s claim mixed martial arts… “are not the arts” /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-11-mma-fighters-and-ufcs-dana-white-respond-to-meryl-streeps-claim-mixed-martial-arts-are-not-the-arts.html /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-11-mma-fighters-and-ufcs-dana-white-respond-to-meryl-streeps-claim-mixed-martial-arts-are-not-the-arts.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Meryl Streep is one of the Hollywood elite. As a result, she is also a raging leftist whose grip on reality seems to dwindle more and more each and every day. This past weekend, things got even more out control when Meryl Streep took the stage at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards ceremony.

During her acceptance speech of the Cecil B. DeMille Golden Globe lifetime achievement, Streep took numerous shots at President-elect Donald Trump as well as his supporters, eventually stating, “Hollywood is crawling with foreigners and if you kick them all out all you have to watch is football and mixed martial arts — and those are not the arts.” The problem with Streep’s comment isn’t just that it unfairly discriminates against a large group of people — the problem is that large group of people is extremely diverse. You could argue that the sport of mixed martial arts is far more diverse than the liberal haven which is Hollywood, California. (RELATED: See more reports of liberal insanity at

The entire MMA community had cross words for the misinformed Streep. Bellator MMA president Scott Coker tried his best to educate the actress, stating, “The global sport of mixed martial arts celebrates male and female athletes from all around the work who work years tirelessly honing their craft and – yes – art. They come from every country and every walk of life.”

UFC President Dana White referred to her as an “uppity, 80-year-old woman,” the World Series of Fighting’s Twitter account took a jab at Streep’s movie “Ricki and the Flash” not being art either, and former UFC competitor Don Frye called her “an idiot.” It is perhaps UFC reporter Megan Olivi who had the best response to Streep, though. She pointed out the gross hypocrisy of the actress (and other leftists) in a polite manner via her Twitter.

Furthermore, Streep implying that mixed martial arts isn’t filled with people from diverse backgrounds. Of the current UFC champions, five of them are not from the United States. The organization is filled with people from all walks of life. Of course, who could expect Meryl Streep — living deep inside of the Hollywood bubble — to know that off the top of her head? Football and mixed martial arts are both interesting, so there’s little doubt that she would know anything about that.

After all, have you seen Florence Foster Jenkins? Yeah, neither has anyone else.



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FDA admits cybersecurity vulnerabilities in pacemakers, insulin pumps and MRI systems /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-09-fda-admits-cybersecurity-vulnerabilities-in-pacemakers-insulin-pumps-and-mri-systems.html /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-09-fda-admits-cybersecurity-vulnerabilities-in-pacemakers-insulin-pumps-and-mri-systems.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 People who use various medical devices, such as pacemakers, insulin pumps and MRI systems, already have enough to be concerned with just in terms of dealing with their medical conditions. But on top of that, now they also need to deal with the issue of cybersecurity vulnerabilities that affect these devices and that have been admitted by the FDA.

FDA acknowledges that medical devices are at risk

Not just the computer systems of large corporations, governments and financial organizations are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. The FDA is now admitting that medical devices, and in turn the patients who use them, could be victims of hacking. “Cybersecurity threats are real, ever-present and continuously changing,” admitted Suzanne Schwartz, a senior Food and Drug Administration official. “And as hackers become more sophisticated, these cybersecurity risks will evolve.” Unlike hacks that involve other computers and are mere inconveniences in the big picture, threats that involve medical devices are potentially life-threatening, such as in the case of certain heart devices. This is certainly not what any patient who uses a device like this or their loved ones wants to hear.

How the FDA has attempted to address the risks

In light of these security risks, it is clear that the FDA needs to develop rules and policies that will help to identify these vulnerabilities and then address them, with the goal of reducing the threats to these devices that many patients rely on. The FDA has taken some actions in recent years to try to do that:

  • It published a 30-day document providing guidance on cybersecurity issues.
  • In 2014, it published a document explaining how medical device manufacturers need to deal with cybersecurity threats when they are developing various new products. This did not address products that were already being sold at the time the document was published.
  • In 2015, it told hospitals to stop using a particular infusion pump made by Hospira Inc. because a security risk could open the door for hackers to control the device from a distance

The FDA will need to stay on top of this issue and do as much as possible, because there has been mounting evidence in recent years that these threats and bugs in medical devices are real. In addition, the issues of cybersecurity risks and hacking seem to worsen over time.

What manufacturers need to do

Manufacturers of medical devices that could potentially be affected by cybersecurity threats should be extremely vigilant as well. They need to determine which products that are already on the market are at risk for threats and then determine a way to remedy the situation. If threats are severe enough to require such severe action, they need to remove products from the market that have risks so severe that they cannot be remedied. They also need to develop new products with cybersecurity threats at the forefront of their minds by designing products to be more insulated from cybersecurity threats. With all their products, they need to have ways for security experts to quickly and efficiently report potential cybersecurity threats. Finally, they need to openly communicate with medical organizations, patients and the FDA regarding any information about cybersecurity threats.

Technology can lead to many medical advances but often also brings down sides such as cybersecurity threats. Patients who use medical devices that could be affected by cybersecurity threats should stay well informed and educated about what to do. Find out if the devices you use are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Discuss the issue of cybersecurity threats with the doctor who prescribed the device, and ask them for advice.


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Fitness trackers could be sending your data to healthcare providers, bumping up your premiums /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-08-fitness-trackers-could-be-sending-your-data-to-healthcare-providers-bumping-up-your-premiums.html /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-08-fitness-trackers-could-be-sending-your-data-to-healthcare-providers-bumping-up-your-premiums.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Fitness trackers like Fitbit pose a major privacy and security risk to users, warns a new report from the Centre for Digital Democracy.

Fitness trackers and smart watches, which are sold by companies including Fitbit, Apple, Jawbone, Misfit and Samsung, collect a wide range of personal, physical and health data about users. Companies could sell this information to advertisers, or even to your employer or health insurance provider. Users could suffer consequences ranging from targeted advertising to raised insurance premiums to job discrimination or even identity theft.

On top of which, there’s no evidence that the devices actually improve people’s health.

Treasure trove of data

The wearable devices monitor everything from physical activity to heart rate, sleep, stress levels and calorie consumption. As devices get more advanced, the information they collect becomes more and more valuable to malicious actors.

“Biosensors will routinely be able to capture not only an individual’s heart rate, body temperature, and movement, but also brain activity, moods, and emotions,” the report warns. “These data can, in turn, be combined with personal information from other sources—including health-care providers and drug companies—raising such potential harms as discriminatory profiling, manipulative marketing, and security breaches.”

The companies admit to collecting and analyzing user data — it’s part of the “service” provided — and to sharing it with third-party apps that users sign up for. Those third parties, in turn, may also pass along your data.

The first and most likely place for your data to end up is in the hands of advertisers. Targeted advertising using personal data has become big business in the age of the Internet. But there is also nothing to stop companies from selling your data to your health insurance company, which could use it to calculate increased premiums.

In fact, the list of companies and groups in the market for your private information is nearly endless.

The information collected by these devices “could enable profiling and discrimination—based on ethnicity, age, gender, medical condition, and other information—across a spectrum of fields, such as employment, education, insurance, finance, criminal justice, and social services, affecting not only individuals but also groups and society at large,” the report warns.

Even if a company promises never to share your data, the information could still be compromised by a cyber attack. Databases containing large amounts of diverse information, such as health care records, are now one of the favorite targets of malicious hackers.

“The opportunities for data breaches will increase, with hackers accessing medical and health information at insurance companies, retail chains, and other businesses,” the report says.

Do they even help?

Furthermore, studies now suggest that fitness trackers don’t actually lead to much improvement in exercise behaviors.

One study, published in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, found that people who used a Fitbit Zip for a year did show sustained increases in activity level, but only by an average of 16 minutes a week. This was “probably not enough to generate noticeable improvements in any health outcomes,” the researchers wrote.

It takes very little exercise — about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to five times a week — to dramatically improve your health profile. That is, 90 to 150 minutes a week. An extra 16 minutes isn’t enough to make much difference.

The researchers found no evidence that Fitbit wearers were any more likely to lose weight or improve cardiorespiratory fitness or blood pressure.

Another recent study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people using wearable devices lose less weight than those using standard weight loss techniques.


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Desk jobs, fast food and the daily grind contribute to middle-aged health crisis /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-06-desk-jobs-fast-food-and-the-daily-grind-contribute-to-middle-aged-health-crisis.html /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-06-desk-jobs-fast-food-and-the-daily-grind-contribute-to-middle-aged-health-crisis.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Public Health England (PHE) has a mission to inform its citizens that the typical modern lifestyle is ruining health. PHE is part of the Department of Health in the United Kingdom. BBC reveals an astounding statistic:

Eight in every 10 people aged 40 to 60 in England are overweight, drink too much or get too little exercise, the government body warns.

PHE wants people to turn over a new leaf in 2017 and make a pledge to get fit.

Health officials say the “sandwich generation” of people caring for children and ageing parents do not take enough time to look after themselves.

We are living longer, but are in poorer health because we store up problems as we age. The campaign’s clinical adviser, Prof Muir Gray, said it was about trying to make people have a different attitude to an “environmental problem”.

“Modern life is dramatically different to even 30 years ago,” Prof Gray told Radio 4’s Today programme. “People now drive to work and sit at work.”

By taking action in mid-life… you can reduce your risk not only of type 2 diabetes, which is a preventable condition, but you can also reduce your risk of dementia and disability and, being a burden to your family,’ he added.

Many people no longer recognise what a healthy body weight looks like, say the officials – and obesity, which greatly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, is increasingly considered normal.

A sedentary lifestyle can be your undoing

Although physical fitness is not the equivalent of overall health, along with a good diet, it is a great start. By now, the health risks to our bodies and minds of getting no exercise have become well established. Adding years to our life expectancy is not desirable if we are talking about extra years as a physical or mental cripple. An alarming thought is that we will increase our risk for mental degradation by being sedentary. But that is what modern research points to. also reports that being unfit in middle years hastens brain deterioration, citing a study that was published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found that being unfit at age 40 correlated with a reduced brain volume at age 60, and that the brain shrinkage denotes accelerated brain ageing. 1,583 participants who were free of dementia or heart disease were studied, and then again twenty years later. MRI brain scans were given along with a treadmill test. As quoted in the article, lead researcher Dr Nicole Spartano, of the Boston University School of Medicine opined,

“While not yet studied on a large scale, these results suggest that fitness in middle age may be particularly important for the many millions of people around the world who already have evidence of heart disease.”

To drink or not to drink, that is the question

Moderate alcohol consumption is a strategy employed by some of us as a coping mechanism – alcohol can take the edge off of stress and anxiety. But immoderate alcohol use can cause more problems that it solves – it can interfere with our normal daily functioning, and enable us to ignore issues that need to be addressed. Cutting back on the amount of alcohol consumed can in itself solve problems, not the least of which is our health concerns as we enter our middle years.

Abusing alcohol in our youth can seem to be without consequence, but the partying lifestyle is not sustainable. Our wake-up call may come in the form of failing health in later years, forcing us to confront our poor choices. Is now the time to forge a new path in the new year? Yes! You can ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable in turning a new leaf. You don’t have to go it alone – your loved ones can aid you in remaining firmly resolute. The worst you can do is to beat yourself up for past failures. No matter how many breaths and heartbeats you have left, it is up to you to make the best of it, from this day forward.

Know that willpower is not a commodity of limited availability, to be conserved for emergency use only, but more like a muscle group that responds with additional capacity as you exercise it. You can start small and think big – bad habits can be overcome incrementally. And of course for some people, like alcoholics, diabetics, and pre-diabetics – the only solution is to stop drinking alcohol altogether.


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Doctors now trying to ban high school football to protect teens from concussions /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-03-doctors-debate-should-high-school-football-be-banned-due-to-concussion-concerns.html /mensfitnessfocus/2017-01-03-doctors-debate-should-high-school-football-be-banned-due-to-concussion-concerns.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 (Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of college football and the NFL. In fact, football is the only sport I follow.)

The National Football League is the most profitable professional sports association in the country, but if some doctors and a growing number of Americans get their way, the sport may someday go the way of the dinosaurs.

As reported by ABC News, doctors are increasingly advising parents to keep their kids – boys, mostly – out of football in junior high and high school – a decision that would likely keep them from ever playing the sport at the college or professional level because they would be too far behind in their skill development. And, increasingly, parents are taking the advice.

But some doctors want to go further than that; they want to ban the sport altogether at the high school level, because they believe kid players who suffer serial concussions during their high school football careers are more likely to suffer debilitating brain damage later in life.

Pediatricians are especially concerned about how to turn early scientific studies into useful advice for parents, coaches and school board members.

Banning the most popular of sports?

In an op-ed for the medical journal Pediatrics, doctors from many institutions – including the University of North Carolina and Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City – discussed and debated the benefits and drawbacks of pushing for a ban on high school football.

The opinion piece primarily discussed exploring physical risks associated with high school football, where three experts gave answers to a hypothetical scenario in which a small-town pediatrician is asked to decide whether to advise local school officials to cancel an existing football program.

The concern among healthcare professionals is about concussions and their potential role in the development of CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy – and that has led many to begin focusing on the dangers of tackle football.

In recent years, ABC News reported, posthumous examinations of a number of former professional football players have revealed that they had been suffering from CTE. Currently, the condition can only be diagnosed posthumously, but the lifetime risks for an average football player, especially a high school player, are not yet known.

CTE is a degenerative disease process in which the buildup of an abnormal protein, called tao, occurs. It is also found in dementia patients, and has been linked to the slow destruction of brain tissue. Scientists believe that it is caused by repetitive brain trauma, especially in the form of concussions, according to experts at the CTE Center at Boston University. Symptoms include aggressiveness, memory loss, confusion, impulse control issues, anxiety, depression and dementia that progressively worsens.

Associate Professor of Orthopedics Dr. Andrew Gregory, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, told ABC News that new research and focus on concussions has been key in helping to raise awareness of the problem. However, he added that he didn’t want parents to become so afraid that they kept their children out of organized school sports altogether.

“I do worry about the anxiety in general,” he said. “We don’t want the message to be that kids shouldn’t participate in sports because of risk of injury.” He added that the real question is, “What can we do to make kids safer?”

NFL already working to improve player safety

The NFL and other institutions are constantly researching ways to make the game safer and less physically debilitating for players – which comes at the behest of owners who have a lot of money invested in their teams. This includes ways to change rules to decrease unsafe contact and improving equipment like helmets and shoulder pads. Much of this research is passed down to the collegiate and high school level.

But that’s not enough for some who simply want to ban a sport tens of thousands of athletes try to play and tens of millions of people around the world enjoy watching.

Dr. Lewis Margolis is in the “ban” camp. He says that current evidence points to football as being more dangerous to the brain than other sports, and there is a lack of evidence indicating that the benefits – building character and physical fitness – outweigh the risks.

“High school football players have, by far, the highest risk of concussion of any sport,” he wrote. “In football, the rate of concussion is 60 percent higher than in the second ranking sport, lacrosse.”


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Another study links diet soda to weight gain /mensfitnessfocus/2016-12-18-another-study-links-diet-soda-to-weight-gain.html /mensfitnessfocus/2016-12-18-another-study-links-diet-soda-to-weight-gain.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 A recent study has added more weight (pun intended) to the argument that artificial sweeteners do not help people in controlling their weight – in fact, the consumption of diet drinks actually contributes to obesity.

This latest investigation on the subject was conducted by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore, Maryland. The researchers analyzed data compiled from 1984 to 2006 as part of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.

After correcting the data of the 1,454 study participants for lifestyle factors such as smoking, gender and diet, the team found a link between obesity levels, body size and the consumption of diet soda.

Chronic low-calorie sweetener consumption was shown to contribute to obesity, particularly abdominal obesity.

The study confirmed the results of previous studies showing a link between artificial sweeteners and obesity, and since the data involved a large sample group studied over a long period of time, the findings can be considered definitive proof that such a link exists.

From the study:

“Our finding of low-calorie sweetener use and weight gain is consistent with results from two longitudinal studies, with six to nine years of follow-up, reporting an association between consumption of low-calorie sweetener containing beverages and increased weight gain. The finding of increase in waist circumference with low-calorie sweetener use is consistent with prior work on the association between diet soda with increased waist circumference.”

How do artificial sweeteners contribute to obesity?

Although it is unclear exactly how artificial sweeteners cause weight gain, there are a few theories that may provide at least part of the answer.

One study, published in 2014 in the journal Nature, showed that artificial sweeteners alter the composition of gut flora, causing glucose intolerance in both mice and human subjects. The “deleterious metabolic effects” of non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) can contribute to obesity.

Another theory is that artificial sweeteners can trigger the desire to overeat:

“Low-calorie sweeteners, with no caloric density, actually may cause the brain to abandon sweetness as a calorie gauge. Therefore, individuals who consume low-calorie sweeteners may compensate by over-eating in order to experience the expected satiety.”

The researchers concluded that artificial sweetener use leads to “heavier relative weight, a larger waist, and a higher prevalence and incidence of abdominal obesity.”

The lie we’ve been told by Big Soda is that low-calorie products can help people lose weight, when the opposite is true. If you’re going to drink a soda, you might as well have the real thing – sugar and all.

Just because a product has a low amount of calories does not necessarily mean it’s good for you or that it will keep you slim. In fact, diet sodas have a real impact on metabolism and it’s not a positive one.

Other good reasons to avoid artificial sweeteners

And there are plenty of other good reasons not to drink diet sodas – artificial sweeteners are not only useless in controlling weight, they are harmful to the body in many other ways.

The most commonly used NAS in diet sodas is aspartame, which breaks down into formaldehyde after being ingested. Formaldehyde accumulates in the body, damaging DNA and leading to various types of cancer.

Aspartame has been linked to brain cancer, leukemia, strokes, heart attacks, brain damage, nervous system damage, seizures and sexual dysfunction.

Aspartame is just one of the toxic artificial sweeteners in common use – many of the other sweeteners such as saccharin and neotame are also linked to health risks.

Drinking sodas is a bad idea to begin with, but it appears that the normal varieties – the ones loaded with refined sugars – are actually less harmful than diet sodas.

Why not avoid sodas altogether and satisfy your sugar cravings with natural sweeteners such as honey, molasses or maple syrup? Once you get over your refined sugar or diet soda addiction, you’re likely to find that the natural stuff not only tastes better, but makes you feel better, too.


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The serious health consequences of putting your laptop on your lap /mensfitnessfocus/2016-12-18-serious-health-consequences-caused-by-putting-your-laptop-on-your-lap.html /mensfitnessfocus/2016-12-18-serious-health-consequences-caused-by-putting-your-laptop-on-your-lap.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Laptops are overtaking desktops for personal use. One of the main reasons why a laptop seems to be the preferred device these days is its ability to be used virtually anywhere, including your bed, couch or a bench in the park.

However, if you like to use your laptop while you’re sitting on the sofa, enjoying the outdoors or waiting for a plane, you’d be wise never to rest it directly on your lap. In spite of what its name might suggest, research has shown that your lap is, paradoxically, not the ideal place for a laptop.

Toasted skin syndrome

People who spend vast amounts of time reading, studying or playing games on a laptop resting on their lap could develop “toasted skin syndrome.” A medical report has found that placing devices like laptops next to the skin for extended periods of time can lead to an unusual-looking mottled skin condition or rash caused by long-term heat exposure.

This condition, also known as “erythema ab igne,” develops over time and depends on how much the laptop is used on the lap and how hot it gets. While the syndrome is generally harmless and resolves itself when further exposure is prevented, it can cause permanent skin coloration. According to Swiss researchers, Drs. Andreas Arnold and Peter Itin from University Hospital Basel, the syndrome may also cause skin damage that leads to skin cancer in very rare occasions.

“There is a risk of skin cancer that can occur from erythema ab igne but it’s very uncommon,” said Dr. Neil J. Korman, a dermatologist and director of the Clinical Trials Unit at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. “It’s more of a theoretical risk,” he added.

Male fertility issues

Male infertility is perhaps the most serious risk associated with laptops. According to researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the scrotum is very fragile and adapted to keep sperm at a relative temperature.

However, setting a laptop on your lap may increase the temperature of the scrotum upwards of 35 degrees above the normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees, which negatively impacts sperm production and may even cause infertility.

Cancer risks

According to dermatologist Anthony J. Mancini, prolonged skin inflammation can potentially increase the chances of squamous cell skin cancer, which tends to be more aggressive than the more common form of skin cancer.

Furthermore, electromagnetic fields produced by laptops can possibly induce currents within the body at unsafe levels. For one study, published in the Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health, researchers from the University of Siena, Italy, evaluated five commonly used brands of laptops.

They found that the electromagnetic field (EMF) values were within the safety guidelines created by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. However, they noted that the radiation values became alarmingly high when the laptop was used close to the body, which could potentially induce tumor development. Furthermore, the researchers pointed out that the EMF values were considerably higher than the values recommended by two recent guidelines for magnetic field emissions from computer monitors.

After studying the effects of electromagnetic fields from laptop use, the Italian researchers concluded that laptop companies should change the name of the product to prevent improper use and protect users’ health.

Luckily, most of these issues can be prevented; keeping your laptop off your lap is a good start.


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Physical activity throughout older age linked to higher psychological well-being /mensfitnessfocus/2016-12-17-physical-activity-through-older-age-linked-to-higher-psychological-well-being.html /mensfitnessfocus/2016-12-17-physical-activity-through-older-age-linked-to-higher-psychological-well-being.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Sure, you know exercise is good for you. It improves cardiovascular health, keeps your weight in check, slows down the aging process, and tones and strengthens your body. But have you ever noticed the increased feelings of happiness after working out?

Researchers studying the effects of exercise have consistently found a positive link between exercise and improved mood and mental well-being. These scientists, however, have racked their brains over the question whether happier people are more inclined to exercise or does physical activity result in a joyful, more optimistic mood and greater mental well-being?

“Researchers have long studied how physical activity can lead to improved mood and feelings of well-being, however, less well understood is whether being happy and optimistic might actually encourage a person to be physically active,” explained lead author Julia Boehm currently of Chapman University.

Do we exercise because we’re happy or are we happy because we exercise?

Most likely, well-being and physical activity go hand-in-hand, creating a bidirectional relationship where each element is incessantly fueling the other. However, a new large-scale study by collaborating researchers from the Chapman and Harvard University found that adults over 50 with positive emotions and great optimism were more likely to be physically active.

For their study, published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the research team followed 9,986 adults over the age of 50. During the 11-year study, the volunteers were assessed up to six times. They were questioned about the frequency and intensity of their physical activity both at work and in their spare time. Based on these answers, the participants were placed into one of four groups: sedentary activity, low activity, moderate activity, and high activity.

Notably, the team found that the volunteers with the highest level of psychological well-being at the start of the study were likely to participate in higher levels of physical activity. Furthermore, they noted that people who displayed both high levels of psychological well-being and high levels of physical activity at the start of the survey were also more likely to stay active more than a decade later.

As stated by Julia Boehm, psychological well-being could be a novel way of not only enhancing mental health but also increasing physical activity which could lead to improved overall health of aging people.

A sound mind in a sound body

In recent decades, science has reaffirmed that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is an essential aspect of preserving your physical and psychological well-being, reported Psychology Today. While we can no longer ignore the link between positive emotions and healthy behaviors, such as regular exercise, the question which one comes first remains unanswered. Essentially, this doesn’t really matter since we should all strive to increase our activity levels a bit more while trying to see the world through rose-colored glasses to create psychological and physical balance.

Honestly, there is probably no answer to this “chicken or egg” question. Once you get the bidirectional loop of positive emotions and physical activity running, regular exercise will result in an increase in psychological well-being, and vice versa. These findings should inspire you to improve both mental and physical well-being to help maintain a healthier lifestyle, which is a significant contributor to longevity.


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Deep breathing: Creating a rhythmic inhaling pattern can help boost your memory, emotions and sense of smell /mensfitnessfocus/2016-12-16-deep-breaths-creating-a-rhythmic-inhaling-pattern-can-help-boost-your-memory-emotions-and-smells.html /mensfitnessfocus/2016-12-16-deep-breaths-creating-a-rhythmic-inhaling-pattern-can-help-boost-your-memory-emotions-and-smells.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Breathing is essential to life. It provides cells and tissues with the oxygen they need to function properly. Yet we rarely pay any attention to the most natural thing all of us do all the time. On average, we take about 16 breaths per minute, or more than 20,000 a day while we are at rest.

Proper breathing is one of the most powerful ways to enhance physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. For the first time, Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered that the rhythm of our breathing creates electrical activity in the area of the human brain where emotions, memory and smells are processed.

The study, by lead author Christina Zelano, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues, was published in the Journal of Neuroscience earlier this month.

Breathe in, breathe out

Breathe in, breathe out. A simple act that creates rhythms of neuronal firing in the brain. In the study, the researchers revealed how breathing synchronizes these rhythms in the human brain, producing varying effects on memory and emotional judgments. These effects on behavior and memory strongly depended on whether the person inhaled or exhaled, and disappeared if breathing was through the mouth.

Zelano and colleagues first discovered the differences in brain activity induced by breathing while studying seven epileptic patients who were scheduled for a brain surgery. Before their surgery, a surgeon implanted electrodes into their brains to pinpoint the source of their epileptic seizures.

Through these implants, the scientists were able to obtain electrophysiological data straight from their brains. After analyzing the recorded electrical signals, the team concluded that the patients’ brain activity fluctuated with breathing. The activity occurred in the specific brain areas – olfactory cortex, amygdala and hippocampus – linked to the processing of emotions, memory and smell.

These increased activity levels prompted the researchers to investigate further the relationship between breathing and cognitive functions such as fear response and memory recall. To this end, they recruited around 60 volunteers to take part in experiments to test memory function and fear response.

The advantage of rapid breathing in dangerous situations

For the first experiment, the test subjects were shown pictures of faces that represented either fear or surprise. During the test, they were asked to quickly indicate which emotion was being expressed while their breathing patterns were measured.

The individuals were able to recognize a fearful face more quickly during inhalation through the nose. Furthermore, they found no improvements in time when the subjects had to identify surprise or when they were breathing through their mouths. Thus, the effect was specific to fearful stimuli and nasal breathing.

As reported by Dr. Zelano, these findings imply that rapid breathing may render an advantage when someone is in a dangerous or stressful situation.

“If you are in a panic state, your breathing rhythm becomes faster,” Zelano said. “As a result you’ll spend proportionally more time inhaling than when in a calm state. Thus, our body’s innate response to fear with faster breathing could have a positive impact on brain function and result in faster response times to dangerous stimuli in the environment.”

In a second experiment, the volunteers had to remember a set of different objects shown to them on a computer screen. When they were asked to recall these objects, the researchers noted that recall times were better if the images were encountered during inhalation. Once again, there were no improvements when the volunteers were asked to breathe through their mouths.

It would seem that breathing is not only beneficial for our cells and tissues, but also plays a crucial role in brain activity and behavior. Furthermore, these findings shine new light on the fundamental mechanisms of meditation or yoga breathing.

“When you inhale, you are in a sense synchronizing brain oscillations across the limbic network,” Zelano noted.


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