The Benefits Of Regular Exercise May Surprise You

Eat healthy and exercise! If you’ve heard this once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. It’s easily one of the most often repeated phrases these days. But how much good does exercise actually do? Besides helping you achieve your weight loss goals, what other benefits can you derive from it?

Those are excellent questions, and as it turns out, there have been a variety of studies conducted on the subject.  Here’s a quick summary of what science has to say about the matter:

The human body is a wondrous machine, and the only machine we know of that gets stronger the harder and the more often you give it a good workout.  In addition to building muscle and improving your balance, it also makes you significantly less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes and even cancer!

The Department of Health and Human Services (Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans  recommends that adults between the ages of 18 to 64 get at least two and a half hours of moderately intense exercise a week. If you follow their guidelines, you’ll live longer.  How much longer?  Well, studies have shown that their recommended amount of exercise conducted on a regular basis will add anywhere from three to seven years to your lifespan.

If all that wasn’t enough reason to consider adding regular exercise to your weekly schedule, consider that there have been a number of studies that indicate better physical fitness enhances cognition as well. In a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was revealed that people over the age of fifty who built regular exercise into their weekly routines scored consistently higher on cognitive tests after six months than those who led a more sedentary lifestyle.

All that and weight loss too?  What’s not to like?

Sunshine Can Be Good For You In Moderation

Summertime always brings the back and forth debate about the sun and the dangers it poses to the forefront of everyone’s mind. This is helped along by the plethora of sunscreen commercials that play on television during this time of year.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the sun and its effects, both good and ill. Let’s start with the bad news.  As anyone who has spent any time in the sun knows, too much sun causes painful sunburn. However, worse than that is  overexposure to the sun’s rays can increase your risk of getting certain kinds of skin cancer.

Those are obviously not good things. The best way to guard against those kinds of threats is to invest in a good broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.  For optimal protection, you’ll want to apply your sunscreen 15-30 minutes before venturing outside for a day of fun. Be sure to take time to re-apply it at two-hour intervals.

Note that in addition to protecting from the threats outlined above, a good sunscreen will also help protect your skin from the aging effects caused by the sun.  If you want to keep your young, healthy-looking skin, good sunscreen protection is a must if you go outside.

Having said all that, the simple truth is that you don’t want to actively hide from the sun.  After all, sunlight is essential to generating vitamin D in our bodies.

The catch is that if you’re wearing sunscreen, then the sun’s rays won’t trigger vitamin D production in your body, so it’s a good idea to spend at least fifteen to twenty minutes a day in the sun without sunscreen.  Taking that approach will give you the best of both worlds, so grab your hat, grab your sunscreen and go enjoy the day!




Pain Becomes More Prominent With Age

Talk to anybody older than you and sooner or later, they’ll tell you all about their aches and pains. Their stories serve as a friendly warning of what you have to look forward to as you get older. Everybody seems to believe that as we get older, more aches and pains seem to creep into the picture, but is it actually true?

As it turns out, unfortunately, it is.  A new study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control reveals that more than fifty million older adults experience chronic pain every year.  The aches and pains stem from a variety of common sources.

The sources include, but are not limited to:

  • Stiffening joints
  • Arthritis
  • Longer recovery times from common injuries like slips and falls
  • Longer recovery times from surgeries
  • Cancer

This is just a basic list.  To make matters worse, a significant percentage of older people (40 percent!) do not receive timely or adequate treatment or care for the pains they suffer.

A related study conducted by researchers at the Translational Research Institute for Pain in Later Life at Cornell University did an in-depth review of nearly a hundred separate studies that evaluated a wide range of pain management treatments for the elderly.

This study revealed several intriguing findings, including:

  • Older patients tend to view pain treatments as a form of weakness, and conversely view tolerating pain as a sign of strength and resiliency. As such, many are simply less likely to seek treatment at all.
  • Patients are significantly less likely to seek treatment if they don’t have a close, trusting relationship with their doctor.
  • Patients who suffer from any form of cognitive or sensory impairment may not be able to accurately describe the pain they are feeling to their caregivers.
  • Older adults simply don’t absorb medicines as well as younger folks, and their bodies are less capable of flushing toxins from their systems.

The bottom line here is two-fold.  First, yes, more aches and pains can be expected as we age. Second, is that although there are certainly challenges with regards to treating aches and pains as we get older, such treatment is possible with proper care and good communication with your doctor.

Some Helpful Indicators Of A Broken Bone

So you got yourself in an accident and you really hurt your arm, leg, hand, foot, or other extremity.  You’re worried now that it might be broken, but pain is pain. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether a bone is genuinely broken or if you’re suffering from a simple strain or sprain.

Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to know, but there are a few specific things you can look for that can indicate a break, rather than something less serious.  Here are a few:

Deformity – Let’s start with the obvious.  If the extremity you injured is bent out of shape, it’s probably fairly serious and a good sign that you’re looking at a break.  In cases like these, delay is not your friend.  Contact your doctor immediately.

Swelling and/or Bruising – This is always present when you have a break but unfortunately, it’s present any time you suffer from a strain or sprain too.  By itself then, this is suggestive, but certainly not definitive.

Reduced Motor Function – This is another suggestive symptom that isn’t definitive in isolation, but it’s certainly a sign post that you could be looking at a break.  Obviously, if you’ve broken a bone, you’re going to be faced with a serious lack of mobility. It’s certainly true that the same could be said of serious sprains, albeit usually with less pain than you’d feel if attempting to move a broken bone.

Grinding – This one is a pretty clear indicator.  If you can feel two bits of bone grinding together when you flex or move the extremity you’re worried about, you can bet that you’re looking at something more serious than a simple strain.

Again, it’s not easy to know for sure if you’re dealing with a break or something less serious so don’t take any chances.  If you get hurt, your next stop should be your doctor or the nearest emergency clinic, just to be sure.