Here are some of the results of scientific research into exercise.
According to the World Health Organization, 360 million people have disabling hearing loss, a condition that is often considered to be an unavoidable side effect of aging. New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) published online in The American Journal of Medicine, finds that a higher body mass index (BMI) and larger waist circumference are each associated with higher risk of hearing loss, while a higher level of physical activity is associated with lower risk of hearing loss in women.
A research study headed by Victoria Leavitt, Ph.D. and James Sumowski, Ph.D., of Kessler Foundation, provides the first evidence for beneficial effects of aerobic exercise on brain and memory in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). The article, "Aerobic exercise increases hippocampal volume and improves memory in multiple sclerosis: Preliminary findings," was released as an epub ahead of print on October 4 by Neurocase: The Neural Basis of Cognition.
Physical activity is being increasingly recognized as an effective tool to treat depression. PhD candidate George Mammen's review published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has taken the connection one step further, finding that moderate exercise can actually prevent episodes of depression in the long term.
Physical fitness can boost learning and memory in children, particularly when initial learning on a task is more challenging, according to research published September 11 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Lauren Raine and colleagues from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
"There are a host of ways exercise has been shown to benefit the brain and reduce the risk of brain diseases," said study author Elinor Ben-Menachem, PhD, MD, with the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and an associate member of the American Academy of Neurology. "This is the first study in humans to show that exercise may also reduce the risk of epilepsy, which can be disabling and life-threatening."
Dr Laukkanen said: "Sudden cardiac death (SCD) accounts for approximately 50% of deaths from coronary heart disease. SCD typically occurs shortly after the onset of symptoms, leaving little time for effective medical interventions, and most cases occur outside hospital with few or no early warning signs. Finding ways to identify individuals at elevated risk of SCD would allow early interventions on risk factors to be implemented." The current study investigated the impact of high leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) combined with cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) on risk of SCD. It included 2,656 randomly selected men aged 42 to 60 years from the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, a Finnish study of risk predictors for cardiovascular outcomes and SCD in the general population. Baseline cycle exercise test and risk factor assessment were performed in 1984-89. SCD was defined as death with cardiac origin within 24 hours after onset of symptoms.
A study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) reveals that women over age 60 may need to exercise only one day a week to significantly improve strength and endurance.
The good news is that these results were achieved with a dose of exercise consistent with the physical activity recommendations for older adults. These guidelines urge moderate intensity exercise (activity that increases your heart rate and makes you sweat, but isn't so strenuous that you can't hold a conversation while doing it) on most days for a weekly total of 150 minutes.
Resveratrol has received widespread attention as a possible anti-aging compound and is now widely available as a dietary supplement; much has been made of its role in explaining the cardiovascular health benefits of red wine, and other foods. But now, new research at The University of Copenhagen surprisingly suggests that eating a diet rich in antioxidants may actually counteract many of the health benefits of exercise, including reduced blood pressure and cholesterol.
Using 27,000 stroke-free blacks and whites ages 45 and older in the United States from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study cohort, researchers examined the association of self-reported physical activity with incident of stroke.
Taking moderate-intensity exercise three times a week during the second and third trimester of pregnancy halves the risk of having a high birth weight newborn (babies with macrosomia, that is, weighing over 4 kilos) and, therefore, the risk of needing a caesarean delivery.
Physical activity reorganizes the brain so that its response to stress is reduced and anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function, according to a research team based at Princeton University.