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New tool to measure the speed of aging: Your handshake

New tool to measure the speed of aging: Your handshake
11 Feb

Stony Brook University

A strong handshake can say a lot about a person: it can indicate power, confidence, health or aggression. Now scientists at Stony Brook University and the Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) say that the strength of a person’s grasp may also be one of the most useful ways to measure people’s true age.
In a new study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, IIASA researchers Warren Sanderson, Professor of Economics with joint appointment in History at Stony Brook and Serguei Scherbov show that hand grip corresponds to other markers of aging such as people’s future mortality, disability, cognitive decline and ability to recover from hospital stays.

For their new research, Sanderson and Scherbov reviewed findings from over 50 published studies that focus on people around the world and of all ages. Since the measure is already commonly used, data is readily available. Read More 

Too much sitting, too little exercise may accelerate biological aging

Too much sitting, too little exercise may accelerate biological aging
10 Feb

Older women with low physical activity and 10 hours of daily sit time had even ‘older’ cells
January 18, 2017
University of California – San Diego
Elderly women who sit for more than 10 hours a day with low physical activity have cells that are biologically older than their chronological age by eight years compared to women who are less sedentary, research shows. As a cell ages, its telomeres naturally shorten and fray, but health and lifestyle factors, such as obesity and smoking, may accelerate that process. Shortened telomeres are associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and major cancers. 

Does balance go south starting at 40?

Does balance go south starting at 40?
10 Feb

Harvard Health Letter

Balance exercises can help prevent falls. And here’s a reason why you shouldn’t wait to work on your balance skills: A small study from Harvard researchers, published online Oct. 3, 2016, by Frontiers of Neurology, suggests that the vestibular system in the inner ear (which helps detect motion and maintain balance) starts to decline early in middle age and gets worse with each passing decade. Researchers tested 105 healthy people, ages 18 to 80, and measured how sensitive they were to different types of motion. People age 40 or older had trouble perceiving motions correctly and passing a standardized balance test. The older they were, the harder it was to pass the test. And using information from other studies, the researchers speculated that as many as 150,000 people may die each year from falls related to vestibular problems. While that’s speculation, one thing is certain: it’s never too early to improve your balance.

Read more

Avoid workout injuries

Avoid workout injuries
10 Feb

By Heidi Godman

Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

You might be focused on outcomes when you exercise: stronger muscles, weight loss, or other aspects of better health and wellness. But if you don’t focus on the exercise, and what it takes to do it safely, you may set yourself up for workout injuries.

Start strong

Safe exercise requires planning and careful execution. Start by finding the best exercise for your ability. For example, if you have joint pain, you can avoid workout injuries by choosing exercise that relieves joint pressure, such as swimming or cycling. If you have balance problems, a supervised exercise program with a personal trainer might be a safer bet. Discuss the options with your doctor, a personal trainer, or a friend; and get the okay from your doctor before starting a program, especially if you have heart or lung disease.

Effective exercises for osteoporosis

Effective exercises for osteoporosis
16 Dec

Harvard Women’s Health Watch

Staying active can strengthen bones and preserve mobility.

If your doctor has recently diagnosed you with osteoporosis, or if you’ve already had a fracture, you might be avoiding exercise for fear of breaking another bone. Yet staying active is exactly what you should be doing right now.

“If you’ve already had one fracture, the risk of an additional fracture is very high, so you have to do everything possible to lessen the likelihood that will happen. You need to try to increase bone density and prevent falls, and that’s where exercise is so important,” stresses Dr. David Slovik, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Exercise reduces your risk not only of falling, but also of fracturing a bone if you do fall. A recent analysis published in BMJ found that programs of balance, strength, and resistance training reduced the odds of falls resulting in fractures by more than 60%. 

Stronger muscles lead to stronger brain

Stronger muscles lead to stronger brain
15 Dec

Medical News Today

Written by Ana Sandoiu

A study led by the University of Sydney in Australia has found that gradually increasing muscle strength through activities such as weightlifting improves cognitive function.
[Elderly woman showing off her muscles]
Stronger muscles reduce cognitive impairment in elderly patients.
The study was conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) at the University of New South Wales and the University of Adelaide.

The results have been published in the Journal of American Geriatrics.

The trial involved a Study of Mental and Resistance Training (SMART) carried out on patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) between 55-68 years old. Patients with MCI have a higher risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. READ MORE

12-week exercise program significantly improved testosterone levels in overweight, obese men

12-week exercise program significantly improved testosterone levels in overweight, obese men
08 Dec

November 4, 2016
Source:American Physiological Society (APS)

Twelve weeks of aerobic exercise significantly boosted testosterone levels in overweight and obese men, with the greatest increases seen among vigorous exercisers, according to research presented at the Integrative Biology of Exercise 7 meeting in Phoenix.

Researchers from Tsukuba University and Ryutsu Keizai University in Japan previously found that a combination of diet and exercise was effective in increasing the testosterone in this population. For this study, however, they looked specifically at the effect of regular aerobic exercise on testosterone levels.

“Testosterone is a male sex hormone, and low circulating testosterone levels lead to various health disorders in men. Obesity, one of the biggest problems in the world, results in reduction in circulating testosterone levels in men,” the research team wrote. Fatigue, decreased sex drive and decreases in muscle and bone mass are some of the common symptoms of low testosterone in men.