Exercise Keeps You Young At Heart – and Other News

by DavalosMcCormack on July 24, 2008

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but endurance exercise seems to make it younger”. I hate it when people write stuff that I wish I’d written. It’s a clever line isn’t it. And what’s best of all, is that it seems to be true.

That line is the opening in a news release about a study out of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The study found that older people who did endurance exercise for a year ended up with metabolically younger hearts. Cool eh!

The researchers measured heart metabolism in sedentary older people to see how efficiently they were able to increase their uptake of energy under exertion. They found that the hearts were not very efficient at all. But after a year of training in endurance exercise – things such as walking, running or cycling – the participants’ hearts doubled their energy uptake. That’s the kind of performance you would see in a much younger person.

The researchers say this is more evidence that exercise can have a powerful impact on overall health, and even reverse some of the effects of aging.

So, the good news is that if you want to stay young at heart, keep moving.


The Family Dining Table May Be the Best Protection You Can Offer Kids

If you want to reduce the likelihood your kids are going to drink, smoke or use drugs, the most effective method is to have dinner with them on a regular basis.

The study, in the Journal of Adolescent Health, looked at 806 Minnesota adolescents and their families. They interviewed the teens when they were 13 and then followed up five years later to see how they were doing.

They found that girls who reported sitting down to meals with their families five or more times a week had significantly less substance use and abuse than girls who didn’t have regular family meals.

In the case of boys, interestingly enough, there was no difference. The researchers say they’re not quite sure why this is the case but say it may have to do with the fact that boys and girls communicate differently and so conversations at the dinner table may have a bigger impact on girls than boys.


FINALLY A USE FOR BELLY FAT

It seems that all that excess fat in our bellies and thighs is useful after all!

A study from Brazil, in the August issue of ‘Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery’ shows that fat removed from the lower abdomen and inner thighs is rich in stem cells.

The fat, according to researchers, has much higher concentrations of the wonder cells than other parts of the body. Stem cells are important because not only are they capable of self renewal, but they can also divide and produce other, more specialized, cells that scientists theorize could be used to repair or replace damaged or diseased cells, even treat diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Richard D’Amico, M.D. President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, called the findings “tremendous”, saying that it could one day enable us “to generate new tissue or bone that can be used in many of the reconstructive and cosmetic procedures we do every day is a tremendous.”

The fat was removed using liposuction. The beauty of this is that because of the growing obesity problem in the U.S. it means we’ll have an endless supply of the stuff!

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