21 ½ minutes = 5 years

Is It Possible to Increase Your Lifespan?

21 ½ minutes = 5 years? Sorry Doc, but the math doesn’t add up. Maybe we should shed some light on this concept. According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, adults who include at least 150 minutes of physical activity in their routines each week (that’s 22 ½ minutes a day) live longer than those who don’t.
Elliptical-800x449The researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the National Health Interview Study mortality linkage, and U.S. Life Tables to estimate and compare the life expectancy at each age for adults who were inactive, somewhat-active and active. “Active” was defined as doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. They found that participants were estimated to gain as little as 2 years and as much as 5.5 potential years of life through moderate exercise alone.

Is There Proof That Exercise Lengthens Life Span?

Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes that protect your DNA and genetic information. Telomeres are like the plastic caps on the end of yotelomeres-image-nasaur shoelaces that protect the laces from becoming frayed. Shorter telomeres have been linked in previous research with cell aging and increased risks of age-related diseases like cancer and dementia, as well as premature death. In a study by Dr. Dean Ornish, researchers looked at 35 men with prostate cancer. 10 of those men were put on a strict lifestyle modification including moderate exercise, a plant-based diet, and yoga. Researchers found that telomere length actually increased among the men who were assigned to undergo the lifestyle intervention by an average of 10 percent. This is the first study to show that humans have the ability to lengthen their lifespan by exercise and diet.

Don’t you think it’s time to lace up those sneakers?

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Exercise Halts the Dementia Gene

How Does Exercise Affect the Onset of Dementia?

Dementia is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. today, and experts say the next generation could see twice as many people suffering from it, particularly in old age. But avoiding the brain-deteriorating disease could be as simple as remembering to exercise just a few times a week, according to a new study, which appears to inhibit the expression of the “dementia gene.”

exercisingOver the course of 18 months, researchers from the University of Maryland measured the brain sizes of elderly participants who were divided into four groups. The activity levels of each of the participants were gauged in conjunction with whether or not they possessed a gene known as APOE-e4, which has been associated with an increased risk of dementia.

Up to 30 percent of the population possesses this gene, and the research team wanted to see whether or not physical exertion affects its expression. What they found is that those with APOE-e4 who exercised at least three times a week experienced a lesser overall decrease in brain mass, a common sign of dementia, compared to those who engaged in little or no exercise.

“We found that physical activity has the potential to preserve the volume of the hippocampus in those with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, which means we can possibly delay cognitive decline and the onset of dementia symptoms in these individuals,” stated Dr. J. Carson Smith, one of the study’s authors. “Physical activity interventions may be especially potent and important for this group.”

Exercise alone is hardly the best approach, as nutrition is equally if not more important for preserving brain function, it is vital for maintaining good health, especially in old age. Though it defies the outdated conventional thinking of the past, consuming more saturated fats in the diet will feed your brain the nutrients it needs for proper repair and function. That means getting off the bad advice of the 70’s through the 90’s and getting off the nutrient deficient low-fat craze. The best saturated fats come from foods like coconut oil, pastured butter, ghee, and pastured animals. “The brain thrives on a fat-rich, low-carbohydrate diet, which unfortunately is relatively uncommon in human populations today,” wrote neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter in his best-selling book Grain Brain.

Preventing Dementia

How Does Exercise Prevent Brain Deterioration?

Dementia is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. today, and experts say the next generation could see twice as many people suffering from it, particularly in old age. But avoiding the brain-deteriorating disease could be as simple as remembering to exercise just a few times a week, according to a new study, which appears to inhibit the expression of the “dementia gene.”

GETTY_H_122812_OldPeopleWalkingForExerciseOver the course of 18 months, researchers from the University of Maryland measured the brain sizes of elderly participants who were divided into four groups. The activity levels of each of the participants were gauged in conjunction with whether or not they possessed a gene known as APOE-e4, which has been associated with an increased risk of dementia.

Up to 30 percent of the population possesses this gene, and the research team wanted to see whether or not physical exertion affects its expression. What they found is that those with APOE-e4 who exercised at least three times a week experienced a lesser overall decrease in brain mass, a common sign of dementia, compared to those who engaged in little or no exercise.

“We found that physical activity has the potential to preserve the volume of the hippocampus in those with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, which means we can possibly delay cognitive decline and the onset of dementia symptoms in these individuals,” stated Dr. J. Carson Smith, one of the study’s authors. “Physical activity interventions may be especially potent and important for this group.”

What Else Can Be Done To Prevent Dementia?

Published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, the above study provides new insights into the mind-body connection, and the importance of physical exertion in maintaining a healthy brain. Though exercise alone is hardly the best approach, as nutrition is equally if not more important for preserving brain function, it is vital for maintaining good health, especially in old age.

Avoiding certain foods and chemical exposures and embracing better dietary and lifestyle habits will duly help in the fight against dementia. Though it defies conventional thinking, consuming more saturated fats, for instance, from foods like coconut oil, raw, organic butter and ghee, and free range organic animals, will feed your brain the nutrients it needs for proper repair and function.

“The brain thrives on a fat-rich, low-carbohydrate diet, which unfortunately is relatively uncommon in human populations today,” wrote neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter in his recent New York Times best-selling book Grain Brain.

The low-fat diet still being propagated by many health authorities, on the other hand, which ends up driving people to eat more sugar and grain instead, is actually a major cause of brain degeneration. Even “whole grains” and other types of so-called complex carbohydrates can be damaging, especially when they contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners in lieu of naturally flavorful and satiating saturated fat. “By removing these carbohydrates from the diet, harbingers of inflammation, the true source of problems that plague our brains and hearts, and increasing the amount of fat and cholesterol we consume, we can not only protect our most valuable organ, but also potentially, undo years of damage.”

Can Chiropractic Care Improve Brain Function?Cervical-Adjustment

Mapping of brain activity before and after chiropractic adjustments of the spine and the neck reveals that chiropractic care stimulates cognitive function. In a study involving five hundred adult volunteers, researchers used cutting edge technology to create maps of functioning in the cortical portions of the brain before and after chiropractic adjustments of the cervical spine. Researchers found that “cervical adjustments activate specific neurological pathways” in the brain, potentially stimulating cognitive function (JMPT1997;20:529).

Exercise and the Size of Your Brain

How Does Exercise Benefit Your Brain?

Moderate but regular exercise can boost the size of the parts of the brain that shrink with age, according to scientists who believe that light physical activity is one of the best ways of preventing senile dementia. A study involving 120 people aged between 60 and 80 found that walking briskly for 30 to 40 minutes a day three times a week was all that it takes to “re-grow” the structures of the brain linked with cognitive decline in later life. The effect was equivalent to stopping the aging clock of the brain by between 1-2 years and is one of the first scientific studies demonstrating the power of physical exercise in delaying the onset of mental decline and boosting brain regeneration, scientists said. Couple-walking-250x200Brain scans taken before and after the year-long study showed that two regions of the brain in particular, the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, grew in volume among the group undertaking light aerobic exercise, while they continued to shrink in those who were given only stretching tasks. The exercise group also did better at cognitive tasks which tested things like memory, language ability and attention, which are known to decline with age, than the second group that did not exercise.

“The results suggest that brain and cognitive function of the older adults remain plastic and highly malleable. There is not this inevitable decline that we used to think there was. We can improve brain function by relatively modest amounts of physical activity,” said Kirk Erickson of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. Dr. Erickson continued, “Between six months and one year of regular physical activity can actually increase the size of the prefrontal cortex regions and another region of the brain called the hippocampus. With modest amounts of exercise we are able to increase the size of these structures… the hippocampus increased by about 2% over a one year period. That may sound like a modest amount but that’s actually like reversing the age clock by about one to two years.”

Erickson, K. et al, “Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 108 no. 7, 3017–3022.