Here’s more motivation for you to add strength exercises to your fitness programs: New research shows that strength training plays an important role in reducing risk of premature death from all causes and, specifically, from cancer—and when it comes to cancer, strength work may be even more beneficial to health than aerobic training.
Researchers from The University of Sydney conducted a data analysis of 80,306 adults collected over 14 years from the Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey. Investigators examined associations between gym-based and body-weight strength training activities and all-cause, cancer and cardiovascular-disease mortality.
Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, lead study author and associate professor at the School of Public Health, said, “The study shows exercise that promotes muscular strength may be just as important for health as aerobic activities like jogging or cycling. And, assuming our findings reflect cause and effect relationships, it may be even more vital when it comes to reducing risk of death from cancer.”
Among the findings: People who did strength exercise reduced their risk of premature death from any cause by 23% and their risk of cancer—related death by 31%. Those who met physical activity guidelines for both cardiovascular and resistance training had greater risk reduction than those who did only cardiovascular training. Strength training alone, however, did not reduce mortality risk for cardiovascular disease.
Regarding risk reduction, an important insight from the analysis is that body-weight exercises were just as effective as gym-based training. “When people think of strength training, they instantly think of doing weights in a gym, but that doesn’t have to be the case,” said Stamatakis. “Many people are intimidated by gyms, the cost or the culture they promote, so it’s great to know that anyone can do classic exercises like triceps dips, situps, pushups or lunges in their own home or local park and potentially reap the same health benefits.”
The study is available in the American Journal of Epidemiology (2017: doi:10.1093/aje/kwx345).
Article thanks to Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter (below)
Our bodies host a huge population of microorganisms, dubbed the human microbiome. In recent years, the makeup of critters in our guts has been linked to a plethora of conditions, including depression, heart disease and obesity. And now bug-friendly scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have presented initial findings from the American Gut Project, a crowdsourced initiative that analyzes people’s survey responses and faecal samples to better understand how things like diet, lifestyle and disease affect the human microbiome.
Using data from 11,336 citizens across 45 countries, the researchers discovered that plant-based foods appear to be good news for our gut microbiome. People who ate more than 30 types of plant foods per week had a greater diversity of bugs than those who consumed 10 or fewer types of plant foods weekly. The makeup of plant foods, including fibre, is likely what spurs a more robust and diverse population of microbes.
The project leaders still don’t know what, if any, impact this uptick in microbiota diversity could have on long-term health, but in the meantime, it’s not a bad idea to work more plant-based foods into our daily menus. A good place to start is with walnuts: A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate 42 grams of walnuts (about one-third of a cup) daily for 3 weeks had more beneficial bacteria—including Faecalibacterium—in their digestive tracts than they did after a 3-week period when they did not eat walnuts. It appears the bacteria hunger for the fats and fibre found in walnuts.
Article from Ideafit by Matthew Kadey, MS, RD
Could a cure for depression be found in a resistance class (such as body conditioning or pump)?
Data from a study published in JAMA Psychiatry (2018; 75 , 566–76) points to that conclusion. The meta-analysis of 33 clinical trials, featuring 1,877 participants, found a link between resistance training (RET) and a reduction in depressive symptoms.
While this study did not try to determine precisely how weight training might affect depression, Brett Gordon, MS, study author and postgraduate researcher for the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick, Ireland, offered some suggestions:
“Cognitive and psychological mechanisms [could] include the expectancy of improved mental health following exercise, social interaction and social support, and improved cognitive control. Neurobiological theories involve systems that [influence] both how depression develops and how exercise affects the brain.”
The study also found that improvements occurred regardless of training volume, a detail Gordon believes could be investigated further.
“Although a lack of consistent reporting limited our ability to more thoroughly examine features of the exercise stimulus, this finding is consistent with previous research examining the effect of RET on anxiety,” he says. “Future trials are needed to explore the optimal RET routine for improving depressive symptoms.”
Article from Ideafit’s Ryan Halvorson.
We’ve all just enjoyed and possibly over-indulged this Christmas and New Year! It’s a wonderful time to relax, spend time with loved ones and enjoy yourself so it’s to be expected that now clothing might be feeling a bit too tight for comfort! I know that I’m going to enjoy wearing a slightly baggier t-shirt to workout in over the next few weeks! If that’s you too, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s been shown that you’re likely to put on roughly 5 to 7 pounds over the winter months and festive period.
At this time of year it’s very easy to pile on a few pounds…