How Exercise Can Help in Peripheral Artery Disease

IT’S SOMETIMES CALLED “window-shopper’s disease.” As walking brings on leg cramps and pain, people with peripheral artery disease must frequently stop for breaks. When they rest, pain subsides. When they resume walking, PAD pain kicks back in.

PAD is common among older adults. About one in every 20 Americans over age 50 has PAD, with up to 12 million people affected overall, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

People may mistakenly believe painful walking is part of normal aging. However, PAD is linked to higher risks of cardiovascular complications such as heart attacks or strokes. PAD shouldn’t be suffered stoically or in silence. If you have symptoms, you need a medical evaluation.

Full story at US News

Regular exercise can keep the body decades younger

In a new study involving people over 70 who have exercised regularly for years, scientists discovered that the participants’ hearts, lungs, and muscles were in equivalent shape to those of people in their 40s.

Researchers from the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University in Muncie, IN recently assessed the physical condition of people in their 70s who have been exercising regularly for decades.

The team compared the health measurements of these participants with those of their more sedentary peers and with the measurements of healthy people in their 20s.

Full story at Medical News Today

How much should seniors exercise to improve brain function?

To boost their reasoning skills and the brain’s processing speed, seniors may need to exercise for 52 hours over a period of 6 months, concludes a new study. The good news is that low-intensity exercise such as walking has the same benefits — as long as it’s carried out for this length of time.

As more and more research keeps pointing out, exercise does wonders for our brain.

For instance, a recent study that Medical News Today reported on shows that running protects our memory from the harmful effects of stress.

Full story at Medical News Today

How physical exercise aids in stroke recovery

The after-effects of a stroke can be life changing. Paralysis, speech problems and memory loss occur in varying degrees of severity, depending on the location and amount of brain tissue damage. How far a stroke patient can recover is largely determined by the ability of the brain to reorganise itself. Understanding what can improve this ability is therefore essential in developing the best therapies for rehabilitation.

Voluntary physical exercise is known to have a positive effect on a person’s overall well-being. It delays memory loss in old age and improves cognitive ability. A new study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, has linked the positive effects of exercise on the brains of mice to their better recovery after a stroke.

Full story of physical exercise aiding in stroke recovery at Science Daily

Higher weekly activity levels linked to lower risk of five chronic diseases

Higher levels of total physical activity are strongly associated with lower risk of five common chronic diseases — breast and bowel cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, finds a study in The BMJ.

Many studies have shown the health benefits of physical activity. This has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend a minimum total physical activity level of 600 metabolic equivalent (MET) minutes a week across different ‘domains’ of daily life.

This can include being more physically active at work, engaging more in domestic activities such as housework and gardening, and/or engaging in active transportation such as walking and cycling.

Full story of higher activity and lower chronic diseases at Science Daily

Exercise to improve skill and coordination can help reduce lower back pain, new research shows

A new Cochrane Review published today shows that targeting exercises to muscles that support and control the spine offers another strategy to reduce pain and disability caused by lower back pain.

Lower back pain is one of the most common health conditions worldwide. It can have substantial health and economic costs as people experience disability and general ill health, leading them to need time off work.

Motor control exercise is a popular form of exercise that aims to improve coordination of the muscles that control and support the spine. Patients are initially guided by a therapist to practise normal use of the muscles with simple tasks. As the patient’s skill increases the exercises become more complex and include the functional tasks that the person needs to perform during work and/or leisure activities.

Full story of exercise to improve lower back pain at Science Daily

Can exercise help people with Parkinson’s disease?

Exercise may help people with Parkinson’s disease improve their balance, ability to move around and quality of life, even if it does not reduce their risk of falling, according to a new study published in the December 31, 2014, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the study, 231 people with Parkinson’s disease either received their usual care or took part in an exercise program of 40 to 60 minutes of balance and leg strengthening exercises three times a week for six months. This minimally-supervised exercise program was prescribed and monitored by a physical therapist with participants performing most of the exercise at home. On average, 13 percent of the exercise sessions were supervised by a physical therapist.

Falling is a common problem for people with Parkinson’s, with 60 percent falling each year and two-thirds of those falling repeatedly.

Full story of exercise and Parkinson’s disease at Science Daily

Endurance runners more likely to die of heat stroke than heart condition

Heat stroke is 10 times more likely than cardiac events to be life-threatening for runners during endurance races in warm climates, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The authors noted the findings may play a role in the ongoing debate over pre-participation ECG screenings for preventing sudden death in athletes by offering a new perspective on the greatest health risk for runners.

Two of the most recognized causes of sudden death during an endurance race are arrhythmic death, sudden death usually caused by undetected heart disease in a young and seemingly healthy person, and heat stroke; however, the authors noted sudden death from an undetected heart condition often receives more attention from the medical community and the media.

Due to the increasing popularity of races over 10 km (6.2 miles), or endurance races, researchers sought to determine how many life-threatening events during endurance races were caused by heat stroke compared to cardiac events. A life-threatening event was defined as an event requiring mechanical ventilation and hospitalization in an intensive care unit.

Full story of runners and dangers of heat stroke at Science Daily

Too much prolonged high-intensity exercise risks heart health

Overdosing on high intensity exercise may actually increase the risk of death from a heart attack or stroke in those with existing heart disease, suggests German research published online in the journal Heart.

Similarly, a second Swedish study in the journal suggests that young men undertaking endurance exercise for more than five hours a week may increase their risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm in later life.

Both sets of findings indicate a J-shaped curve for the health benefits of exercise, with more not always meaning better, and raise questions about the intensity and duration of physical activity at different times of life, says a linked editorial.

Full story of exercise and heart health at Science Daily

Exercise provides hope for kidney disease patients and their vulnerable hearts

Leicester doctor has become the first renal physician in the country to be awarded the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinician Scientist Award. The fellowship, worth more than £1 million, will fund a five-year study into the effects of exercise on heart disease in patients with chronic kidney disease who are on dialysis.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately eight per cent of the population and is increasing due to rising obesity, diabetes and hypertension levels. Surprisingly, heart disease — not kidney disease — is the primary cause of death for patients on dialysis who are up 100 times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than members of the general population.

Unfortunately traditional methods used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, for example controlling diet, lowering cholesterol and good management of diabetes, have shown to be completely ineffective at improving outcomes in this patient group.

Full story of exercise and kidney disease at Science Daily