Exercise Tips for Health Based on Science

The information presented to the public by gyms, personal trainers, Yoga instructors, Tai Chi teachers is not based on scientific facts, but is propaganda to make money.  Simple activities, requiring little training can keep you healthy. 

1.  A new study from Loma Linda University in California finds that humor may reduce brain damage caused by the “stress hormone” cortisol, which in turn, improves memory. The research team recently presented their findings at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego.  Study co-author Dr. Lee Burk says “these findings suggest that the less stress a person has, the better their memory performance, and humor may be the key to reducing stress levels.” (1). 

The act of laughter – or simply enjoying some humor – increases the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, which provides a sense of pleasure and reward.

The investigators found that elderly individuals who watched a humorous video showed a significant reduction in cortisol levels, compared with those that did not view the video. The group that watched the funny video also showed greater improvement in memory recall, learning ability and sight recognition, compared with those who did not watch the video.   

Laughter is turning out to be not only a good medicine, but also a memory enhancer adding to our quality of life.  If you want to reduce stress and improve your memory try watching a funny movie and enjoy a good laugh. 

2.  Simple activities like walking and house work are sufficient for health.  Walking for three 10 minute intervals is just as good as walking for 30 minutes.  Regular walking can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. 

3.  Studies show that walking is just as good as running for your cardiovascular system. 

4.  Endurance training can eventually harm your cardiovascular system and lead to osteoarthritis, 

5.  The main factor in losing weight is diet not exercise. 

6.  Yoga was originally a method of enlightenment and not for health.  It had other paths than just breathing and stretching exercises (asanas).  In fact, your Guru prescribed the proper path to follow, which might not include any exercise.  You could not pay for lessons and only received more instructions when your Guru thought you had made sufficient spiritual progress. 

Contrary to the common belief Yoga is dangerous for seniors and many injuries have been documented. 

Be careful in following the recommendation of Yoga teachers for treating physical problems.  Most of them have little training in anatomy and physiology.  Consult a doctor and/or a  physical therapist. 

7.  Original forms of Tai Chi were martial arts, both armed and unarmed.  They also served to improve health and to treat some illnesses, since there were few doctors in remote areas in China.  There were also methods for treating injuries suffered in training.  It took years to master. 

Many modern Tai Chi classes teach shortened, made-up, chop-suey forms devised for profit.  It is just common sense that you cannot get as much benefit from doing a few moves as from an original long form, with more than 100 moves.  Also may teachers don’t know the self-defense aspects and teach other techniques derived from other arts like Karate or Jujitsu. 

8.  Dr. Oz, a heart surgeon and the star of the Dr. Oz Show stated if you want to live to be 100, study Qigong.  Qigong (pronounced Chee Kung) is an ancient Chinese mind/body/breath coordination exercise.  It has been shown to help treat about 200 diseases, ranging from the common cold to cancer.  Qigong for health can be done lying, sitting or standing,  Thus, it is ideal for the physically challenged.  It is easy to learn and especially recommended to seniors who want an interesting activity with movements which can be changed to avoid boredom. 

9.  Normal systolic pressure, measured as the heart contracts, is below 120; normal diastolic pressure, measured as the heart rests, is below 80.  When you lift a heavy weight, your blood pressure can rise from 120 over 80 to 400 over 200.  This can cause an aortic dissection, which requires immediate emergency surgery to prevent death.   In upper body weight training, above half your body weight will get you into the high pressure zone.  

If you have a dilation or aneurysm of the thoracic aorta or a connective tissue disorder or a family history of premature aortic complications, do not lift weights.  Serious weight lifters should have an echocardiogram.   

For more information see the Kindle or hard copy book “Healthy Exercises for Seniors and Non-Athletes”  (2).

Reference 

1.  The Effect of Humor on Short-term Memory in Older Adults: A New Component for Whole-Person Wellness.  Adv Mind Body Med. 2014 Spring;28(2):16-24.

Bains GS, Berk LS, Daher N, Lohman E, Schwab E, Petrofsky J, Deshpande P.

Abstract

Context • For older adults, the damaging effects of aging and stress can impair the ability to learn and sustain memory. Humor, with its associated mirthful laughter, can reduce stress and cortisol, a stress hormone. Chronic release of cortisol can damage hippocampus neurons, leading to impairment of learning and memory. Objectives • The primary goal of this study was to determine whether watching a humorous video had an effect on short-term memory in an older population. Design • The research team designed a randomized, controlled trial. Setting • The study took place at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California. Participants • The research team recruited 20 normal, healthy, older adults, 11 males and 9 females. Intervention • The humor group (n = 10, mean = 69.3 ± 3.7 y) self-selected 1 of 2 humorous videos-a Red Skelton comedy or a montage of America’s Funniest Home Videos-and watched it for 20 min. A control group (n = 10, mean = 68.7 ± 5.5 y) sat calmly for 20 min and were not allowed to read, sleep, or talk on a cell phone. Outcome Measures • The Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test was used to assess short-term memory-learning ability, delayed recall, and visual recognition. Salivary cortisol levels were measured at predetermined times. Results • Learning ability improved by 38.5% and 24.0% in the humor and control groups, respectively (P = .014). Delayed recall improved by 43.6% and 20.3% in the humor and control groups, respectively (P =.029). Within the humor group, delayed recall (43.6%) was significant compared with learning ability (38.5%) (P = .002). At 3 predetermined time points, significant decreases in salivary cortisol were observed in the humor group (P = .047, P = .046, and P = .062, respectively). Conclusion • The study’s findings suggest that humor can have clinical benefits and rehabilitative implications and can be implemented in programs that support whole person wellness for older adults. Learning ability and delayed recall are important to these individuals for a better quality of life-considering mind, body, spirit, social, and economic aspects. Older adults may have age associated memory deficiencies. However, medical practitioners now can offer positive, enjoyable, and beneficial humor therapies to improve these deficiencies.

  1. Eisen, M.  Healthy Exercises for Seniors and Non-Athletes.  2013,

  http://www.amazon.com/Healthy-Exercise-Seniors-Non-Athletes-Martin/dp/1494421461

 

 

 

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