Research highlights that reflect on some simple things we can do to improve and/or maintain our health:

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30 MINUTES OF WEIGHT TRAINING 5 TIMES A WEEK for a total of 150 minutes may reduce men's risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 34%, according to a Harvard study. By adding 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week, such as brisk walking or running, they may be able to reduce their diabetes risk by up to 59%. While combining the two types of exercise produces the best results, even moderate amounts of weight training alone are beneficial. Since the study only involved men, researchers aren't sure whether these results apply to women.

FEWER THAN 6 HRS. of sleep a night significantly increases the risk of stroke symptoms, such as numbness or weakness down one side of the body, dizziness, loss of vision, or a sudden inability to speak, in middle aged to older adults of normal weight and who are at low risk for obstructive sleep apnea. Not getting enough sleep may lead to the development of traditional factors for stroke risk. 

VITAMIN D supplements may help protect against the spread of viral infections among older people during the winter flu season. A US study shows than an environmental factor, such as lack of sunlight or vitamin D may be one reason why infections spread so rampantly in winter months. More research is needed to establish this link conclusively but supplementation may be a cost effective way to boost vitamin D levels in older adults.

2 YOGA CLASSES a week for 8 weeks significantly improved balance in a small group of stroke survivors. Researchers believe the combination of postures, deep breathing, and meditation may be more therapeutic than traditional exercise. Improvement in balance was greater than in other post stroke exercise clinical trials, and benefits occurred even when individuals started yoga six months after having a stroke. Participants reported increased confidence in the ability to maintain their balance, which led them to attempt more challenging activities.

27% INCREASED RISK OF HEART ATTACK was found in people who own a car and a television compared to those who own neither, according to a study on work and leisure activity levels of 29,000 people in 52 countries. Owning a car or TV is considered an indicator of a sedentary lifestyle. However, one of the findings highlighted that any amount of leisure time exercise helps to reduce the risk of heart attack.

 

Source:  Ellen Niemer

Susan Arruda