Researchers Find That Young Adults Drop Exercise with Move to College Or University

Regular exercise tends to steeply decline among youth as they move to university or college, and does not appear to revert itself, but continues on a downward trajectory into adulthood.

Newswise — Hamilton, ON (Dec. 15, 2011) – Regular exercise tends to steeply decline among youth as they move to university or college, according to a study by researchers at McMaster University.

Researchers found a 24 per cent decrease in physical activity over the 12 years from adolescence to early adulthood. The steepest declines were among young men entering university or college.

The research appears today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The study, based on Statistics Canada’s National Population Health Survey, followed 683 Canadian adolescents 12 to 15 years old, who were interviewed twice a year until they were 24 to 27 years of age.

While the children were most active, the research suggests that this advantage quickly disappears.

“This is a critical period, as the changes in physical activity during the transition from late adolescence to early adulthood represents the most dramatic declines in physical activity across a person’s life,” said Matthew Kwan, the principal investigator for the study and a postdoctoral fellow of the Department of Family Medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

“In particular, the transition into post-secondary is a one-time period when individuals become much less active.”

Risk estimates suggest 20 per cent of premature deaths could be prevented with regular physical activity. Yet, recent data show 85 per cent of Canadian adults are not active enough to meet the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a week.

Public health campaigns encourage Canadians to be more active but the McMaster researchers say little work has been done to prevent the decline in physical activity and they suggest this issue should be made a priority.

For the study, physical activity was measured by estimating the amount of total energy used during leisure activities over a three-month period during the transition from adolescence into early adulthood, including the move to college or university.

The researchers found the rate of decline in physical activity was greater for men than for women, who showed only a modest 1.7 per cent decrease in their overall activity levels; however, the women were less active in high school.

“It may be that girls experience the greatest declines in physical activity earlier in their adolescence,” said Kwan.

For comparative purposes, the researchers also examined other health-risk behaviours of smoking and binge drinking. While both increased through adolescence, the researchers found the behaviours began to plateau or decrease in early adulthood; suggesting that individuals may be maturing out of these health-risk behaviours.

Conversely, Kwan added, physical activity decline does not appear to revert itself, but continues on a downward trajectory into adulthood.

Released: 12/15/2011

Source: McMaster University

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/young-adults-drop-exercise-with-move-to-college-or-university-mcmaster-researchers

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Increased Use of Bikes for Commuting Offers Economic, Health Benefits

Newswise — MADISON – Cutting out short auto trips and replacing them with mass transit and active transport would yield major health benefits, according to a study just published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The biggest health benefit was due to replacing half of the short trips with bicycle trips during the warmest six months of the year, saving about $3.8 billion per year from avoided mortality and reduced health care costs for conditions like obesity and heart disease.

The report calculated that these measures would save an estimated $7 billion, including 1,100 lives each year from improved air quality and increased physical fitness.

Moving five-mile round trips from cars to bikes is a win-win situation that is often ignored in discussions of transportation alternatives, says Jonathan Patz, director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “We talk about the cost of changing energy systems, the cost of alternative fuels, but we seldom talk about this kind of benefit,” he says.

The study of the largest 11 metropolitan statistical areas in the upper Midwest began by identifying the air pollution reductions that would result from eliminating the short auto trips.

A small average reduction in very fine particles, which lodge deep in the lung and have repeatedly been tied to asthma, which affects 8.2 percent of U.S. citizens, and deaths due to cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, was a major source of health benefits, says co-author Scott Spak, who worked on the study at UW-Madison and is now at the University of Iowa.

“The reductions tend to be much larger during high pollution episodes, and even small changes reduce a chronic exposure that affects the 31.3 million people living throughout the region — not just in these metropolitan areas, but even hundreds of miles downwind,” Spak says.

The study projected that 433 lives would be saved due to the reduction in fine particles.

The second step was to look at the health benefits of using a bicycle on those short trips during the six months with optimum weather, when cycling is quite feasible in the region.

“Obesity has become a national epidemic, and not getting exercise has lot to do with that,” says first author Maggie Grabow, a Ph.D. candidate at UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute, who will present the study today (Wednesday, Nov. 2) to the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C.

“The majority of Americans do not get the recommended minimum level of exercise,” says Grabow. “In a busy daily schedule, if that exercise can automatically occur while commuting to work, we anticipate a major benefit in stemming the obesity epidemic, and consequently a significant reduction in type II diabetes, which is a deadly epidemic in its own right.”

Overall, the study may underestimate the benefits of eliminating short auto trips, says Patz, an environmental health specialist in the Department of Population Health Sciences, because it did not measure the financial savings due to reduced auto usage. Furthermore, the study did not try to account for the health benefits of the foregone auto trips, which would be performed on foot or via mass transit, both of which provide an additional amount of exercise.

Patz acknowledges that it’s unrealistic to expect to eliminate all short auto trips, but notes that biking as transportation is gaining popularity in the United States, and that in some cities in Northern Europe, approximately 50 percent of short trips are done by bike. “If they have achieved this, why should we not think we can achieve it too?” he asks.

Chicago and New York, among other cities, have devoted significant resources to bike infrastructure in recent years, Patz notes.

The new study, he says, should provide another motivation for making cities more bike friendly, with better parking, bike racks on buses and trains, and more bike lanes and especially separate bike paths.

“Part of this is a call for making our biking infrastructure safer. If there are so many health benefits out there, we ought to try to redesign our cities to achieve them without putting new riders at risk,” Patz says.

By lessening the use of fossil fuels, a reduction in auto usage also benefits the climate, Patz adds. “Transportation accounts for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, so if we can swap bikes for cars, we gain in fitness, local air quality, a reduction in greenhouse gases, and the personal economic benefits of biking rather than driving. It’s a four-way win,” he adds.

Released: 10/28/2011

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/increased-use-of-bikes-for-commuting-offers-economic-health-benefits

Sports Medicine Experts Offer Tips to Help Post-Marathon Recovery

Newswise — More than 40,000 runners have spent the past several months training for the ING New York City Marathon. Once they have completed the race and achieved their goals, there are measures they can take to facilitate recovery, decrease post-race discomfort and return to running without injury.

Eating immediately after the marathon, icing sore muscles, and having a gentle massage are only a few of the tips that Michael Silverman, PT, MSPT, physical therapist from the Rehabilitation Department at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, offers runners who cross the finish line.

“In recovery, marathon runners need to listen carefully to their bodies so they don’t injure themselves,” says Silverman. “Extensive training should have provided runners with a good idea of how their body works. Runners should take everything they’ve learned while training and apply it to taking proper care of their body after the marathon—they will feel better, faster.”

The following are marathon recovery tips from Silverman on ways to bounce back from a marathon:

• Eating the day after is just as important. Try to stay away from enormous meals. Eat small amounts of nutrient-rich foods every two hours. Good meals could be steak, sweet potatoes and broccoli. Berries, chocolate or yogurt parfaits are good desserts. Chicken stir fry with loads of vegetables is an excellent lunch;

• Ice your muscles often. If you are having severe muscle pain during the race, immediately go to the medical tent to ice your muscles. After returning home from the race, ice your muscles with ice packs or (preferably) an ice bath. Ice baths soothe microscopic muscle damage and inflammation. Sit in a 54 to 60-degree (Fahrenheit) ice bath for 6 to 12 minutes. Thirty to 60 minutes afterward, take a warm shower;

• Stretch correctly after the race. After finishing the race, walk for 10 to15 minutes and perform very light stretching. During the next day, perform light stretching and a light warm-up (biking or a warm shower).

• Get a massage a few days after the race. Use caution during the first 48 hours after the race, as your muscles are very sensitive. If you get a massage, schedule it for a few days after the race. Make sure it is a flushing (light) massage and be sure the therapist knows that you just ran a marathon.

• Perform low-impact, low-intensity exercise after the race. Only start exercising when you are feeling ready. This can take up to a month. Cycling, the elliptical, and exercises in the pool (swimming, underwater running) are ideal;

• Wait five to seven days after the race before running again. Begin with decreased intensity on soft surfaces and don’t run more than 25 percent of your peak weekly mileage. A good rule of thumb is: perform one week of reduced intensity training for every hour run.
.
“Feeling sore after a marathon is normal; but pain and swelling are the body’s ways of indicating that something is wrong,” says Brian Halpern, M.D., a primary care sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery and author of Men’s Health Best Sports Medicine Handbook. “The best way to handle almost every sports injury is the RICE method, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.”

Experts from Hospital for Special Surgery will also lead the ING New York City Marathon Monday Recovery event at Tavern on the Green. They will discuss different post-race recovery approaches, stretching and provide consultations. For more information on this event, log on to http://www.ingnycmarathon.org/schedule.htm.

Hospital for Special Surgery is an Orthopedic Consultant to the New York Road Runners for the ING NYC Marathon.

Released: 11/1/2011

Source: Hospital for Special Surgery

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/sports-medicine-experts-offer-tips-to-help-post-marathon-recovery

Have Brain Fatigue? A Bout of Exercise May be the Cure

Newswise — Bethesda, Md. (Sept. 19, 2011)—Researchers have long known that regular exercise increases the number of organelles called mitochondria in muscle cells. Since mitochondria are responsible for generating energy, this numerical boost is thought to underlie many of the positive physical effects of exercise, such as increased strength or endurance. Exercise also has a number of positive mental effects, such as relieving depression and improving memory. However, the mechanism behind these mental effects has been unclear. In a new study in mice, researchers at the University of South Carolina have discovered that regular exercise also increases mitochondrial numbers in brain cells, a potential cause for exercise’s beneficial mental effects.

Their article is entitled “Exercise Training Increases Mitochondrial Biogenesis in the Brain.” It appears in the Articles in PresS section of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society.

Methodology
The researchers assigned mice to either an exercise group, which ran on an inclined treadmill six days a week for an hour, or to a sedentary group, which was exposed to the same sounds and handling as the exercise group but remained in their cages during the exercise period. After eight weeks, researchers examined brain and muscle tissue from some of the mice in each group to test for signs of increases in mitochondria. Additionally, some of the mice from each group performed a “run to fatigue” test to assess their endurance after the eight-week period.

Results
Confirming previous studies, the results showed that mice in the exercise group had increased mitochondria in their muscle tissue compared to mice in the sedentary group. However, the researchers also found that the exercising mice also showed several positive markers of mitochondria increase in the brain, including a rise in the expression of genes for proxisome proliferator-activated receptor- coactivator 1-alpha, silent information regulator T1, and citrate synthase, all regulators for mitochondrial biogenesis; and mitochondrial DNA. These results correlate well with the animals’ increased fitness. Overall, mice in the exercise group increased their run to fatigue times from about 74 minutes to about 126 minutes. No change was seen for the sedentary mice.

Importance of the Findings
These findings suggest that exercise training increases the number of mitochondria in the brain much like it increases mitochondria in muscles. The study authors note that this increase in brain mitochondria may play a role in boosting exercise endurance by making the brain more resistant to fatigue, which can affect physical performance. They also suggest that this boost in brain mitochondria could have clinical implications for mental disorders, making exercise a potential treatment for psychiatric disorders, genetic disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.

“These findings could lead to the enhancement of athletic performance through reduced mental and physical fatigue, as well as to the expanded use of exercise as a therapeutic option to attenuate the negative effects of aging, and the treatment and/or prevention of neurological diseases,” the authors say.

Study Team
The study was conducted by Jennifer L. Steiner, E. Angela Murphy, Jamie L. McClellan, Martin D. Carmichael, and J. Mark Davis, all of the University of South Carolina.

Source: American Physiological Society

Via Newswise

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http://www.newswise.com/articles/have-brain-fatigue-a-bout-of-exercise-may-be-the-cure

Time Off Work for Exercise Linked to Increased Productivity

In Study, Employees Get More Done Despite Reduced Work Hours

Newswise — PHILADELPHIA, PA — Taking time out of the work week for an employee exercise program may lead to increased productivity—despite the reduction in work hours, reports a study in the August Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

In the study, one group of employees at a large Swedish public dental health organization was assigned to a mandatory exercise program carried out during regular work hours: 2½ hours per week. Another group received the same reduction in work hours, but no exercise program. (A third group worked regular hours with no exercise program.) The researchers were Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz, Ph.D., and Henna Hasson, Ph.D., of Karolinska Institute, Stockholm.

Employees assigned to the exercise program also had significant increases in self-rated measures of productivity: they felt more productive while on the job and had a reduced rate of work absences due to illness.

The results suggest that reducing work hours for exercise or other health promotion doesn’t necessarily lead to decreased productivity—and may even lead to increased productivity. The productivity gains seem to result from higher output during work hours and fewer missed work day. Drs. von Thiele Schwarz and Hasson conclude, “Work hours may be used for health promotion activities with sustained or improved production levels, since the same, or higher, production level can be achieved with lesser resources.”

About ACOEM
ACOEM (www.acoem.org), an international society of 5,000 occupational physicians and other health care professionals, provides leadership to promote optimal health and safety of workers, workplaces, and environments.

About Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (www.joem.org) is the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Edited to serve as a guide for physicians, nurses, and researchers, the clinically oriented research articles are an excellent source for new ideas, concepts, techniques, and procedures that can be readily applied in the industrial or commercial employment setting.

Via Newswise
Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/time-off-work-for-exercise-linked-to-increased-productivity

Study Finds 15 Minutes of Moderate Daily Exercise Lengthens Life

Health benefits of physical activity found to begin before people reach the half-hour standard

Newswise — HOUSTON — Taiwanese who exercise for 15 minutes a day, or 92 minutes per week, extended their expected lifespan by three years compared to people who are inactive, according to a study published today in The Lancet.

“Exercising at very light levels reduced deaths from any cause by 14 percent,” said study senior author Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Epidemiology. “The benefits of exercise appear to be significant even without reaching the recommended 150 minutes per week based on results of previous research.”

Lead author Chi-Pang Wen, M.D., of the National Health Research Institutes of Taiwan, and colleagues also found that a person’s risk of death from any cause decreased by 4 percent for every additional 15 minutes of exercise up to 100 minutes a day over the course of the study. Those exercising for 30 minutes daily added about four years to life expectancy.

“These benefits were applicable to all age groups, both sexes and those with cardiovascular disease risk,” the authors note.

If inactive people in Taiwan were to do low-volume daily exercise, one in six deaths could be postponed by their reduced risk of dying, the authors report. It would be an estimated reduction in mortality similar to that from a successful tobacco control program.

The prospective observational study involved 416,175 Taiwanese who participated in a standard medical screening program run by MJ Health Management Institution between 1996 and 2008. Participants were followed for an average of eight years.

For the exercise study, participants completed a questionnaire covering their medical history and lifestyle information. They characterized their weekly physical activity for the previous month by intensity — light (walking), moderate (brisk walking), vigorous (jogging) or high vigorous (running) – and time.

To account for occupational effects, participants also characterized their physical activity at work, ranging from sedentary to hard physical labor.

Those who reported less than one hour a week of leisure time physical activity were classified as inactive – 54 percent of all participants. Others were classified as low, medium, high or very high based on the duration and intensity of their exercise. Researchers calculated mortality risk and life expectancy for each group.

Thirteen other variables were analyzed: age, sex, education level, physical labor at work, smoking, alcohol use, fasting blood sugar, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension and history of cancer.

Those who engaged in low-volume exercise had lower death rates than inactive people regardless of age, gender, health status, tobacco use, alcohol consumption or cardiovascular disease risk.

The researchers note that the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. A third of U.S. adults meet that guideline; about 20 percent of adults in China, Japan or Taiwan meet it.

“A recommendation of 15 minutes of daily exercise should be promoted to East Asian populations,” the authors note.

The study’s findings of reduced mortality through even moderately intense exercise are likely to hold true for other populations, Wu said, even though the total amount of time spent or workout intensity required for a health benefit might differ. “These findings can stimulate people to exercise as much as they can and to not be frustrated that they can’t reach the 30 minute per day guideline.”

This is the first collaboration between Wu, Wen and the MJ Health Group, a major health screening company with more than 600,000 participants in its health database. They have formed the Asian Health Screening Cohort to conduct major research projects. Wu provides scientific expertise with Wen, who also is based at China Medical University Hospital, while MJ Health Group contributes patient epidemiological and clinical data as well as a biobank of tissue samples.

Two other ongoing collaborative projects include development of a liver cancer risk prediction model and a study of telomere length, genetic variation and cancer risk. The second project is funded by an MD Anderson Sister Institute Network Fund Grant. MD Anderson and China Medical University Hospital have a sister institution agreement.

The exercise project was funded by the Taiwan Department of Health Clinical Trial and Research Center of Excellence and the Taiwan National Health Research Institutes.

Co-authors with Wen and Wu are: co-lead author Jackson Pui Man Wai, Ph.D., of the Institute of Sport Science, National Taiwan Sport University; Min Kuang Tsai, Yi Chen Yang and Hui Ting Chan of the Institute of Population Science, Taiwan National Health Research Institutes; Tsai and Yang also are with the China Medical University Hospital; Ting Yuan David Cheng, University of Washington Department of Epidemiology; Meng-Chih Lee, M.D., Institute of Medicine and Department of Family and Community Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University and Hospital; Chwen Keng Tsao of MJ Health Management Insitution; and Shan Pou Tsai, Ph.D., The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston.

Released: 8/16/2011
Source: University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Via Newswise

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/study-finds-15-minutes-of-moderate-daily-exercise-lengthens-life

Fitness Update; Here Are SomeTips for Serious Swimmers to Help Get the Most Out of the Sport

Newswise — Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise. It’s easy on the joints and provides a terrific workout in terms of aerobic exercise and improving muscle strength.

With summer on the way, many people are gearing up to get back in the swim. Competitive swimmers may be training for triathlons that often take place during warm weather months. At a recent conference focusing on the endurance athlete at Hospital for Special Surgery, Dr. Scott A. Rodeo discussed the most common swimming injuries, why they happen, and how to treat and prevent them.

Dr. Rodeo, co-chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery and chairman of the USA Swimming Sports Medicine Committee, said the most common injury is referred to as “swimmer’s shoulder” and can affect up to 70 percent of competitive swimmers.

“Most often, shoulder pain is caused by an overuse injury,” he said. “If you think about a competitive swimmer’s number of stroke revolutions per day, per week, per month, per year, it’s phenomenal. We’re talking about half a million stroke revolutions per year.”

According to Dr. Rodeo, the main causes of shoulder pain in swimmers are:
• Muscle fatigue from overdoing it.
• Degenerative changes in the rotator cuff tendon, a condition called tendonosis.
• Impingement of the rotator cuff during the swimming stroke. The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that hook up to muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint. Impingement results from pressure on the rotator cuff from part of the shoulder blade (scapula) as the arm is lifted.
• Shoulder laxity – various muscles and ligaments play a role in shoulder stability. Looseness in the shoulder may lead to injury.

Dr. Rodeo noted that the shoulder is an inherently unstable joint. “Shoulder stability is controlled by a synchronous pattern of muscle firing. Changes in the way the muscles work due to overload or fatigue can alter shoulder mechanics and cause problems.”

Basically, by doing too much of the activity, the shoulder muscle becomes overloaded. When a muscle is fatigued, other muscles try to compensate, leading to an imbalance. The shoulder is no longer functioning normally, and this leads to pain.

Good practices can minimize the risk of a shoulder injury, according to John Cavanaugh, PT, a physical therapist at Hospital for Special Surgery. He has the following tips:
• Do not attempt to swim if you are too tired, too cold or overheated.
• Make sure to warm up properly.
• Focus on swimming technique. Poor technique can leave you more prone to injury.
• Engage in a general exercise program on land to develop muscle strength, endurance, balance and flexibility. This includes strengthening the core abdominal muscles.
• Do not swim vigorously if you have a fever, upper respiratory infection or ear infection.
• Keep in mind that a triathlon swim is completely different from pool swimming. Generally, in open water, you can’t see where you’re going and there are people all around you. Be prepared.

If shoulder pain develops, it’s important to pay attention to it so it doesn’t turn into a serious problem, according to Dr. Rodeo. He has this advice:

• Rest the injured shoulder. Take a break from the activity.
• If you continue to swim, avoid strokes and exercises that exacerbate the pain. Change your swimming stroke or do more kicking sets.
• Use ice and anti-inflammatory medication.
• If shoulder pain does not get better with rest, see a physician.
• Enlist the help of an experienced physical therapist.
• Return to swimming gradually after your pain improves.

Released: 7/15/2011
Source: Hospital for Special Surgery

Via Newswise

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/tips-for-serious-swimmers-to-get-the-most-out-of-the-sport