|HEALTH & FITNESS|
crucial component of fitness
important role in cancer
Late mothers more
likely to live longer!
Physical activity a
must for brain fitness
eye-related problems in winter
crucial component of fitness
Fitness entails speed, stamina, flexibility and strength. Aerobic activities like walking, jogging and cycling improve speed and stamina. Yoga exercises improve flexibility but the component most neglected is strength training. Strength is a crucial component of fitness, which becomes even more important as one ages. Adding strength training to one’s workout can help in improving power stability, functional capacity and the quality of life.
A few months of strength training can help enhance walking speed, diminution in fatigue after aerobic activities and improvement in muscle power.
Strength is the ability to overcome resistance and resistance is the maximum tension that a muscle can produce. It has been established that strength training can be safe and effective for all age groups provided the programme is properly designed.
Strength exercises with stretch band/ tube are safe and effective, as one can derive the requisite smooth resistance without exerting undue strain on muscles and joints. Strength training with maximum weights is not recommended for young people as it can cause injuries to long bones, low back and growth plates.
Resistance training with heavy weight increases muscle bulk but circulation to that part remains the same. Therefore, weightlifters have poor aerobic capacity as they train solely for strength. Strength training sessions should be scheduled on alternate days due to the fact that an increase in muscle size and strength occurs during the period of rest.
The number of repetitions chosen for each exercise depends on the amount of resistance. The maximum resistance is the maximum weight you can lift at one time.
Rest is required between the sets so that energy source is resynthesized. Shorter rest periods of less than two minutes increase muscle and blood lactic acid leading to fatigue.
Rest period of 3- 5 minutes is recommended between the sets to enhance the performance.
Some of the important strength training exercises:
Stand in front of a chair and hold on to it. Bend the right knee with ankle weights, bringing foot up behind you and keeping the right knee pointing towards the floor and slowly come back. Repeat for 8-10 times before switching to the other leg.
Hold on to the wall or a chair for balance and bring one knee with ankle weights bent at 90 degrees up to the hip level, and slowly come back. Repeat for 8-10 times and then switch sides.
Step up on a stable platform or staircase with weight supported by the balls of feet. Place one hand against a wall for support. Tuck your one foot behind the other foot heel. With your back straight, rise on the toes. Hold for a second and then return to the original position. Do 10 to 12 repetitions, then switch legs.
Stand a few feet away from a wall and place hands on the wall at shoulder level, a few inches wider than shoulders. Keeping back straight, bend elbows and push your body towards the wall until elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Push back to start and repeat for 10-15 times.
Sit or stand holding dumbbells in both hands, palms facing out. Curl the weight up towards your shoulder and return back. Repeat 8-10 times.
Sit or stand and hold a dumbbell in the one hand straight up overhead and directly over the shoulder. Bend the elbow and lower the weight down a bit behind your head to about 90 degrees. Contract the back of the arm to pull the weight back up and repeat 8-10 times.
Strength training is thus an extremely important component of fitness. It also helps in prevention and successful rehabilitation of sports injuries. It is imperative that the strength training programme is scheduled in a safe, effective and enjoyable manner to achieve optimal results.
The writer is a former doctor/physiotherapist, Indian Cricket Team
Inheritance plays important role in cancer
London: A study based in Iceland, where scientists have access to unique family tree data covering the whole population, showed that inheritance plays a part in 16 out of 27 cancers.
According to The Daily Mail, the scientists have established how often cancers occurred in first to fifth degree relatives of about 32,000 cancer patients over the past 50 years.
A total of 27 cancers were studied, including many of the most common such as lung, breast, prostate, colon and skin. For 16 cancers, relatives of patients were at a significantly higher risk of developing the disease, and in some cases the increased risk extended out to distant third to fifth degree relatives.
Cancers at certain sites of body also showed a familial association with other cancers. For example, relatives of people with stomach, colon, rectal or womb-lining cancer were more likely to develop any one of these diseases.
Stomach, lung and colon cancers were
also seen more frequently in the partners of patients, suggesting the
involvement of shared lifestyle and environmental factors. — ANI
Late mothers more likely to live longer!
London: Conceiving at an older age might have its own drawbacks, but a new research has revealed that women who continue having children late in life, might live longer than those having kids young.
A Finland University of Turku study has suggested that women who raise a family late in life, are physically more robust than others.
Scientists believe the findings suggest the rate at which a woman’s reproductive system ages is directly linked to the speed with which the rest of her body ages.
"This result is unexpected because late age at reproduction is not generally believed to be favoured by natural selection, owing to its adverse effects on both the survival of the mother and the offspring, " they write in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.
According to the BBC, the results also fit with earlier studies that showed that later a woman goes through the menopause, the longer she is likely to live.
Researcher Dr Samuli Helle said that
it might be possible that the physiology underlying both reproductive
and general physical decline was in some way linked and therefore the
ability to have children until relatively late in life might be a sign
that a woman is well equipped to live to an advanced age. — ANI
Physical activity a must for brain fitness
HOUSTON: Staying physically active in old age is the key to maintaining cognitive skills, a report says.
The 10-year study of elderly men, published in the latest issue of Neurology, says men who performed their daily physical activity with a lower intensity 10 years later had a 3.6 times stronger decline than men who maintained the intensity level.
Men who engaged in activities of the lowest intensity had up to 3.5 times greater decline than men who participated in activities with a higher intensity. There was no decline among those who increased the duration or intensity of their activities.
Activities of medium-to-low intensity, such as walking three miles per day, was associated with less cognitive decline than the lowest-intensity activity like walking less than three miles per day.
The benefit of the medium-to-low intensity activities is that it will be easier for people to participate in them and achieve favourable results, compared with activities with a higher intensity, according to study author Boukje M. Van Gelder.
The study reviewed the data of 295 men, born between 1900 and 1920, from the Finland, Italy and the Netherlands. Beginning in 1990, researchers measured the duration and intensity of physical activities such as walking, bicycling, gardening, farming, sports, odd jobs, and hobbies. Cognitive functioning was tested with the Mini Mental State Examination.
The study showed that over 10 years the cognitive decline in men who had reduced their daily physical activity by an hour or more was 2.6 times greater than the decline in men who maintained their activity.
Physical activity may improve blood flow to the brain and thereby reduce the risk of stroke, dementia, and cognitive decline. Activity may stimulate the neurogenesis, or growth of nerve cells, in the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in memory functions. This helps the brain build up a "reserve" to help prevent further mental deterioration.
Past studies have suggested a link between levels of activity and cognitive decline in the elderly, but differences in methodologies make it difficult to conclusively determine the relationship.
"The small number of healthy participants in the FINE study is a disadvantage but the study’s length is an advantage, and the results were consistent and significant," said Van Gelder of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, the Netherlands.
"Future research should include more extensive cognitive testing than the Mini Mental State Exam, which is reliable but is only a screening test."
The FINE study is a part of the HALE
project (Healthy Aging: Longitudinal study in Europe) and was
supported by a grant from the European Union. — PTI
eye-related problems in winter
Chandigarh: Watering of eyes in early morning, itching and eye dryness. If we are not careful enough, the delicate eyes can be a cause of worry in the winters. Despite favourable humidity and temperature conditions, eye flu or conjunctivitis can attack us in winters too.
"One must be careful if redness, watering and itching noticed. Avoid self- medication (use eye drops, etc) can prolong the affliction and sometimes make it complicated. Then, it is difficult to treat the problem, which becomes serious and can threaten one’s vision. Eye flu or conjunctivitis can also occur especially during rain in the winters. Again this is less frequent than in the summers when humidity and temperature are favourable for the growth of the organisms responsible for its causation,’’ says eye specialist Dr Rajan Chugh.
For the morning walkers, the watering of eyes can start or increase in this weather. The problem can also persist among the people who complain of consistent runny nose. The most effective remedy for it would be the inhalation of steam, as it is for the treatment of common cold.
"In dry winters and with excessive use of blowers and hot air-conditioners some patients may complain of irritation and sandy-sensation in the eyes because of ‘dry eye’. Use of eye-drops helps in this situation,’’ adds Dr Chugh.
Eye infections happen in this weather, especially the type which is related to asthma. Viral fever is also common during this time.
"As it is in all the infections in all the seasons, the thumb rule for healthy eyes in the winters is not to touch the eyes and resist any urge to itch,’’ he cautions.
Doctors also say that the winters can be taxing for the aged who undergo surgery during the winters. "Intense winters sometimes make very old and fragile patients undergoing eye surgery uncomfortable physically. They should be careful about catching cold or similar lung infections because of exposure.
However, the latest cataract treatment by Phacoemulsification has made life of patients much easier even in biting cold conditions,’’ says the doctors.
In the post-operative period such patients are free to bask in the sun or use heating devices in the room without any harm to the operated eye.
In winters, ailments like chilblains, cold, headache and fever usually catch us all of a sudden. In such situations, the right homoeopathic medicine, that too prescribed well in time, can be of great help. So, why do we not have our own first-aid homoeopathic kit at home? Here are three important medicines that can be used as first aid in winters when proper medical help is not possible.
Aconite the first choice
Well, if ever there can be a real antidote to the ill-effects of cold, aconite is the one.
After an exposure to cold, when the first symptoms show up, is the time to use aconite (runny nose, sneezing, itchiness in the throat or nose, shivering, etc). It is also very effective in controlling breathing difficulties after such a cause. Believe it or not, if you are quick enough to antidote your exposure within the first hour or so, aconite can abort the attack within no time.
Aconite is indicated
after an exposure to dry cold weather, cold air, etc. It is also very
useful when the symptoms are noticed due to perspiration having been
checked by sudden exposure to cold. Remember that aconite is only
indicated in the first few hours of exposure when the symptoms have
just started occurring. Three doses of aconitum napelus 30c spaced at
an interval of 10 minutes should serve as a proverbial stitch in time.
Belladonna the surest bet
All those who have used or studied homoeopathy know how sure one is while using belladonna when symptoms of inflammation set in after an exposure.
Although its stage comes after aconite, it can be used directly if one hasn’t had the opportunity to use aconite. Belladonna is indicated when inflammation sets in. Cardinal symptoms of inflammation, as we are taught, are heat, redness, swelling and pain. For example, it is indicated in conditions such as fever after exposure, sore throat (congested, painful and red on examination), headache and all other inflammatory conditions that occur due to exposure. Three doses of 30c potency of belladonna repeated after an interval of every hour should suffice.
Agaricus for chilblains
Winters are a menace for those who suffer from chilblains. Chilblains are a painful abnormal reaction of the small blood vessels in the skin when exposed to cold temperatures. Chilblains appear as small itchy, red areas on the skin. These are common on the toes, but can also affect the fingers and the face (especially the nose and the ears). Three doses of agaricus 30c in a day for a period of four days should be sufficient to control the suffering.
If one finds limited or no relief after using the prescribed medicines, make sure that you consult a professional. The above mentioned first-aid medicines should be used only when actual medical help is not readily available.
The writer is a Chandigarh-based homoeopath