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Sauna Use as an Exercise Mimetic for Heart and Healthspan

Some of the positive benefits of the sauna on heart health may have to do with similar physiological changes that also occur during physical exercise. For example, there is a 50-70% redistribution of blood flow away from the core to the skin to facilitate sweating. You start to sweat. Heart rate increases up to 150 beats per minute which correspond to moderate-intensity physical exercise. Cardiac output (which is a measure of the amount of work the heart performs in response to the body’s need for oxygen) increases by 60-70%. Immediately after sauna use, blood pressure and resting heart rate are lower than baseline similar to physical activity.

Why grandmasters like Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana lose weight playing chess

In 2004, winner Rustam Kasimdzhanov walked away from the six-game world championship having lost 17 pounds. In October 2018, Polar, a U.S.-based company that tracks heart rates, monitored chess players during a tournament and found that 21-year-old Russian grandmaster Mikhail Antipov had burned 560 calories in two hours of sitting and playing chess -- or roughly what Roger Federer would burn in an hour of singles tennis.

Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets - The New York Times

“Coca-Cola’s sales are slipping, and there’s this huge political and public backlash against soda, with every major city trying to do something to curb consumption,” said Michele Simon, a public health lawyer. “This is a direct response to the ways that the company is losing. They’re desperate to stop the bleeding.” Coke has made a substantial investment in the new nonprofit. In response to requests based on state open-records laws, two universities that employ leaders of the Global Energy Balance Network disclosed that Coke had donated $1.5 million last year to start the organization.

One or the other: Why strength training might come at the expense of endurance muscles -- ScienceDaily

This remodeling of the neuromuscular synapses during strength training results in the body developing more strength muscle fibers. "However, strength muscle growth occurs at the expense of the endurance fibers. More precisely, through the release of BDNF, the endurance muscles are transformed into strength muscles," clarifies Handschin. This makes BDNF a factor proven to be produced by the muscle itself and to influence the type of muscle fibers formed.

Performance-enhancing bacteria found in the microbiomes of elite athletes: Introducing this bacteria to sedentary individuals improves exercise capacity -- ScienceDaily

Colonies of bacteria residing in our guts have a powerful impact on our health. Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle meant to ward off diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Many people with metabolic disorders are not able to exercise at the level needed to see such benefits. Supplementing their microbiome using a probiotic capsule containing Veillonella could give them the boost they need for effective exercise. (Direct dosing with propionate pill would not work, as the short chain fatty acid would be broken down by digestive juices before it could take effect.) Dr. Scheiman has since spun this idea off into a company targeted at athletes. "The microbiome is such a powerful metabolic engine," says Dr. Kostic. This is one of the first studies to directly show a strong example of symbiosis between microbes and their human host. "It's very clear. It creates this positive feedback loop. The host is producing something that this particular microbe favors. Then in return, the microbe is creating something that benefits the host," he says. "This is a really important example of how the microbiome has evolved ways to become this symbiotic presence in the human host."

Exercise: Psych patients' new primary prescription -- ScienceDaily

Tomasi, in collaboration with UVMMC's Sheri Gates and Emily Reyns, built a gym exclusively for roughly 100 patients in the medical center's inpatient psychiatry unit, and led and introduced 60-minute structured exercise and nutrition education programs into their treatment plans. The psychotherapists surveyed patients on their mood, self-esteem and self-image both before and after the exercise sessions to gauge the effects of exercise on psychiatric symptoms. Patients reported lower levels of anger, anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, and overall improved moods. Tomasi, Gates and Reyns found an average of 95 percent of patients reported that their moods improved after doing the structured exercises, while 63 percent of the patients reported being happy or very happy, as opposed to neutral, sad or very sad, after the exercises. An average of 91.8 of patients also reported that they were pleased with the way their bodies felt after doing the structured exercises.

Allen Neuringer's Many Decades of Self-Experimentation - Quantified Self

Allen proceeded to test the effects of movement on his cognitive abilities. He tested memory at first. He had flashcards with faces on one side and names on the other. His A condition would be to run two miles or swim 20 laps and then review 20 of the cards recording how many he got right. The B condition would be to spend the same amount of time working at his desk before reviewing the cards. The effect was clear. His ability to memorize was better after activity. But how does one test idea generation? Allen’s method was to spend 15 minutes moving around in a “quasi-dance” manner and noted any ideas he had on a notecard, writing the date and the condition on the back side, in this case, “move”. He then compared those cards to ones generated during a 15 minute period sitting at a desk. He repeated these AB intervals over the course of weeks, accumulating piles of cards. Months later he went through the cards and evaluated the quality of the ideas, looking at whether or not they were good and how creative they were. He didn’t know which conditions they were, since “sit” and “move” were written on the back side. He calculated the number of subjectively judged “good” ideas for each condition. Again, he noticed there were clear differences. Movement helped. Movement also helped with reading. Allen rigged a book holder out of an old backpack and through his testing found out that he surprisingly reads faster while moving and retains more. But was moving always better? Allen looked at his problem solving abilities in the move and sit conditions, using a similar method that he used for testing idea generation. He found that moving tended to make problem solving easier, with one significant exception: problems involving mathematical reasoning were more difficult to do while moving.

Exercise activates memory neural networks in older adults: Study shows acute exercise has the ability to impact brain regions important to memory -- ScienceDaily

Dr. Smith's research team measured the brain activity (using fMRI) of healthy participants ages 55-85 who were asked to perform a memory task that involves identifying famous names and non famous ones. The action of remembering famous names activates a neural network related to semantic memory, which is known to deteriorate over time with memory loss. This test was conducted 30 minutes after a session of moderately intense exercise (70% of max effort) on an exercise bike and on a separate day after a period of rest. Participants' brain activation while correctly remembering names was significantly greater in four brain cortical regions (including the middle frontal gyrus, inferior temporal gryus, middle temporal gyrus, and fusiform gyrus) after exercise compared to after rest. The increased activation of the hippocampus was also seen on both sides of the brain. "Just like a muscle adapts to repeated use, single sessions of exercise may flex cognitive neural networks in ways that promote adaptations over time and lend to increased network integrity and function and allow more efficient access to memories," Dr. Smith explained.

Morning exercise for optimal metabolic impact

They found that a protein called hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1α) plays an important role and that it is activated by exercise in different ways depending on the time of day. HIF-1α is a transcription factor that is known to stimulate certain genes based on oxygen levels in tissue. “It makes sense that HIF-1α would be important here, but until now we didn’t know that its levels fluctuate based on the time of day,” Sassone-Corsi says. “This is a new finding.” Based on the work from the UC Irvine team, exercise seemed to have the most beneficial impact on the metabolism at the beginning of the active phase phase (equivalent to late morning in humans) compared with the resting phase (evening).

Two studies explore whether time of day can affect the body's response to exercise - Neuroscience News

The researchers also studied 12 humans and found similar effects. Overall, the people in the study had lower oxygen consumption while exercising in the evening compared with the morning; this translated to better exercise efficiency.

How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs

Relatively few generations ago, most of the world population was involved in agriculture and was outdoors for much of the day. This would have resulted in high levels of bright light exposure even in winter. Even on a cloudy day, the light outside can be greater than 1000 lux, a level never normally achieved indoors. In a recent study carried out at around latitude 45° N, daily exposure to light greater than 1000 lux averaged about 30 minutes in winter and only about 90 minutes in summer50 among people working at least 30 hours weekly; weekends were included. In this group, summer bright light exposure was probably considerably less than the winter exposure of our agricultural ancestors. We may be living in a bright light–deprived society. A large literature that is beyond the scope of this editorial exists on the beneficial effect of bright light exposure in healthy individuals. Lamps designed for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder, which provide more lux than is ever achieved by normal indoor lighting, are readily available, although incorporating their use into a daily routine may be a challenge for some. However, other strategies, both personal and institutional, exist. “Light cafes” pioneered in Scandinavia have come to the United Kingdom,51 and an Austrian village that receives no sunshine in the winter because of its surrounding mountains is building a series of giant mirrors to reflect sunlight into the valley.52 Better use of daylight in buildings is an issue that architects are increasingly aware of. Working indoors does not have to be associated with suboptimal exposure to bright light. A third strategy that may raise brain serotonin is exercise. A comprehensive review of the relation between exercise and mood concluded that antidepressant and anxiolytic effects have been clearly demonstrated.53 In the United Kingdom the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which works on behalf of the National Health Service and makes recommendations on treatments according to the best available evidence, has published a guide on the treatment of depression.54 The guide recommends treating mild clinical depression with various strategies, including exercise rather than antidepressants, because the risk–benefit ratio is poor for antidepressant use in patients with mild depression. Exercise improves mood in subclinical populations as well as in patients. The most consistent effect is seen when regular exercisers undertake aerobic exercise at a level with which they are familiar.53 However, some skepticism remains about the antidepressant effect of exercise, and the National Institute of Mental Health in the United States is currently funding a clinical trial of the antidepressant effect of exercise that is designed to overcome sources of potential bias and threats to internal and external validity that have limited previous research.55 Several lines of research suggest that exercise increases brain serotonin function in the human brain. Post and colleagues56 measured biogenic amine metabolites in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with depression before and after they increased their physical activity to simulate mania. Physical activity increased 5-HIAA, but it is not clear that this was due to increased serotonin turnover or to mixing of CSF from higher regions, which contain higher levels of 5-HIAA, with lumbar CSF (or to a combination of both mechanisms). Nonetheless, this finding stimulated many animal studies on the effects of exercise. For example, Chaouloff and colleagues57 showed that exercise increased tryptophan and 5-HIAA in rat ventricles. More recent studies using intracerebral dialysis have shown that exercise increases extracellular serotonin and 5-HIAA in various brain areas, including the hippocampus and cortex (for example, see58–60). Two different mechanisms may be involved in this effect. As reviewed by Jacobs and Fornal,61 motor activity increases the firing rates of serotonin neurons, and this results in increased release and synthesis of serotonin.62 In addition, there is an increase in the brain of the serotonin precursor tryptophan that persists after exercise.63 The largest body of work in humans looking at the effect of exercise on tryptophan availability to the brain is concerned with the hypothesis that fatigue during exercise is associated with elevated brain tryptophan and serotonin synthesis. A large body of evidence supports the idea that exercise, including exercise to fatigue, is associated with an increase in plasma tryptophan and a decrease in the plasma level of the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine and valine (see64,65 for reviews). The BCAAs inhibit tryptophan transport into the brain.66 Because of the increase in plasma tryptophan and decrease in BCAA, there is a substantial increase in tryptophan availability to the brain. Tryptophan is an effective mild hypnotic,67 a fact that stimulated the hypothesis that it may be involved in fatigue. A full discussion of this topic is not within the scope of this editorial; however, it is notable that several clinical trials of BCAA investigated whether it was possible to counter fatigue by lowering brain tryptophan, with results that provided little support for the hypothesis. Further, exercise results in an increase in the plasma ratio of tryptophan to the BCAAs before the onset of fatigue.64,65 The conclusion of these studies is that, in humans, a rise in precursor availability should increase serotonin synthesis during and after exercise and that this is not related to fatigue, although it may be related to improved mood. Whether motor activity increases the firing rate of serotonin neurons in humans, as in animals, is not known. However, it is clear that aerobic exercise can improve mood.

Exercise is more critical than diet to maintain weight loss: Physical activity helps to prevent weight regain when previously overweight -- ScienceDaily

The total calories burned (and consumed) each day by weight-loss maintainers was significantly higher (300 kcal/day) compared with that in individuals with normal body weight controls but was not significantly different from that in the individuals with overweight/obesity. Notably, of the total calories burned, the amount burned in physical activity by weight-loss maintainers was significantly higher (180 kcal/day) compared with that in both individuals of normal body weight and individuals with overweight/obesity. Despite the higher energy cost of moving a larger body mass incurred by individuals with overweight/obesity, weight-loss maintainers were burning more energy in physical activity, suggesting they were moving more. This is supported by the fact that the weight-loss maintainer group also demonstrated significantly higher levels of steps per day (12,000 steps per day) compared to participants at a normal body weight (9,000 steps per day) and participants with overweight/obesity (6,500 steps per day).

Inactivity Induces Resistance to the Metabolic Benefits Following Acute Exercise. - PubMed - NCBI

METHODS: Ten untrained to recreationally active men (n=5) and women (n=5) completed a counterbalanced, crossover study. Four days of prolonged sitting without exercise (SIT) were compared to four days of prolonged sitting with a 1-hr bout of treadmill exercise (SIT+EX; 63.1±5.2% V̇O2max) on the evening of the fourth day. The following morning, participants completed a high fat/glucose tolerance test (HFGTT), during which plasma was collected over a 6-hr period and analyzed for triglycerides, glucose, and insulin. RESULTS: No differences between trials ( P > 0.05) were found in the overall plasma triglyceride, glucose, or insulin responses during the HFGTT. This lack of difference between trials comes with similarly low physical activity (~3,500-4,000 steps/day) on each day except for the 1-hr bout of exercise during SIT+EX the day before the HFGTT.

Sweat holds most promise for noninvasive testing -- ScienceDaily

Last year the lab created the world's first continuous-monitoring sensor that can record the same health information in sweat that doctors for generations have examined in blood. The milestone is remarkable because the continuous sensor allows doctors to track health over time to see whether a patient is getting better or worse. And they can do so in a noninvasive way with a tiny patch applied to the skin that stimulates sweat for up to 24 hours at a time. "This is the Holy Grail. For the first time, we can show here's the blood data; here's the sweat data -- and they work beautifully together," Heikenfeld said. Heikenfeld and his students published their latest experimental findings in December in the journal Lab on a Chip. UC's study tracked how test subjects metabolized ethanol. The study concluded that sweat provided virtually the same information as blood to measure a drug's presence in the body.

Here's How Muscle Memory Works | Outside Online

The most significant adaptation to endurance training is an increase in the amount of mitochondria in your cells. When you stop training, the amount of mitochondria declines again. But the extra nuclei, which stick around, contain the genetic information that controls the formation of new mitochondria. As a result, the Temple researchers demonstrated that when you start training again, your cells are already primed to ramp up mitochondria production more rapidly if you’ve been fit before.

Resistance training even as little as once per week benefits older individuals -- ScienceDaily

"But for other measures that are important for older people, such as the ability to perform activities of daily living, once per week seemed sufficient. Muscle strength that is needed for carrying shopping bags, walking up and down the stairs and sitting down on a toilet can be improved with strength training," Walker says. Training also benefits overall well-being Overall well-being, tested through psychological measures, also improved over the 9-month training period. Similarly, there were no real differences whether individuals trained only once per week or two-three times per week. The researchers found that it was very important that people improved their psychological well-being and motivation for exercise during the study period as it was those people who continued training regularly even after the study had ended. The researchers are keen to point out that their studies show the importance of resistance training for older persons; even as little as once per week can go a long way. "We need to remember that these individuals trained hard, and safely, when they were with us. We supervised every training session closely, making sure that they used correct technique and also ensured that they always tried to improve their training loads compared with previous training sessions." Walker added.

Exercise in Morning or Afternoon to Shift Your Body Clock Forward – Neuroscience News

This study found that exercising at 7 am or between 1 and 4 pm advanced the body clock to an earlier time, and exercising between 7 and10 pm delayed the body clock to a later time. Exercising between 1 and 4 am and at 10 am, however, had little effect on the body clock, and the phase-shifting effects of exercise did not differ based on age nor gender.

Only 1115 people?!

They wanted to find out if interval training might match a continuous moderate intensity workout for overall weight loss (total absolute fat mass) and reductions in percentage body fat-the percentage of fat that makes up body weight-despite taking less time to do. Interval training describes intermittent intense effort, interspersed with recovery periods. The two most common types are high intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, which includes various exercises; and sprint interval training, which includes running, jogging, speed walking, and cycling. So they searched research databases for relevant studies that directly or indirectly compared interval training with continuous moderate intensity exercise over a period of at least four weeks. The data from 41 studies involving 1115 people were combined for thematic analysis and the results data from 36 studies involving 1012 people were pooled. Both interval training and a continuous workout reduced overall weight and percentage body fat, irrespective of starting weight or gender, the findings showed.

Exercise might improve health by increasing gut bacterial diversity -- ScienceDaily

The findings suggest that exercise at a sufficiently high intensity, to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, may support health through favourable alterations in the presence, activity and clustering of gut microbes. Such exercise-induced improvements, in cardiorespiratory fitness, often correspond with central (e.g. increased volume of blood pumped by the heart each beat) and peripheral adaptations (e.g. increased number of capillaries to transport oxygen from blood to muscles).

Protein released from fat after exercise improves glucose -- ScienceDaily

"In contrast to the negative effects of many adipokines, our study identified transforming growth factor beta 2 (TGF-beta 2) as an adipokine released from adipose tissue (fat) in response to exercise that actually improves glucose tolerance," says Laurie J. Goodyear, PhD, Head of Joslin's Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism and study co-author. Not only did exercise-stimulated TGF-beta 2 improve glucose tolerance, treating obese mice with TGF beta 2 lowered blood lipid levels and improved many other aspects of metabolism. "The fact that a single protein has such important and dramatic effects was quite impressive," says Goodyear, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Two years ago, the international research team first demonstrated that adipose tissue offers beneficial metabolic effects in response to exercise. "Our hypothesis was that exercise is changing the fat, and as a result of that change, the fat releases these beneficial proteins into the bloodstream," says Goodyear. "Before this discovery, we always just focused on the positive effects of muscle."

Exercise benefits brains, changes blood flow in older adults, study finds: Exercise can impact biomarkers of brain function in a way that might prevent or postpone the onset of dementia -- ScienceDaily

A control group of cognitively healthy older adults without mild cognitive impairment also underwent the exercise training program, consisting of four 30-minute sessions of moderate-intensity treadmill walking per week. But the program yielded different responses from each group. Unlike the group with MCI, whose exercise training decreased cerebral blood flow, the exercise training increased cerebral blood flow in the frontal cortex in the healthy group after 12 weeks. Their performance on the cognitive tests also significantly improved, as was observed the MCI group. For this study, changes in cerebral blood flow were measured in specific brain regions that are known to be involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, including the insula (involved in perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive functioning), the anterior cingulate cortex (involved in decision making , anticipation, impulse control and emotion) and the inferior frontal gyrus (involved in language processing and speech).

Exercise before surgery can protect both muscle and nerves, study suggests: Exercise expert seeks to prevent damage caused by restoration of blood flow -- ScienceDaily

They found that pre-injury exercise clearly reduced the damage to both muscle and nerve, but it did not significantly reduce the amount of oxidative stress. "We know exercise made the muscle and nerve tougher," Yan said. "The protection is very clear." While the mechanism for that protection is not yet understood, Yan's previous research has shed light on what happens to muscle cells when blood flow is restored. He likens it to wires being disconnected from a circuit board. He's even identified a compound that, in mice, helps protect the mitochondria in those circuit boards. "With this treatment, we found the circuit board, a structure called neuromuscular junction where nerve is physically connected with muscle for control of its contraction, was preserved," he said. "The wires remained connected. The function is normal. Therefore, recovery is much faster." This drug could potentially prevent nerve damage caused by the restoration of blood flow and speed patients' recovery. (It is clear, however, that exercise training achieves this through a different mechanism.)

Common Food Additive Derails Good Exercise Habits - Neuroscience News

Phosphate is plentiful in fruits and vegetables in its organic form, which does not cause problems because it is not absorbed. However, the body readily absorbs inorganic phosphate, and most people are consuming far too much of it. For example, cola drinks, processed meats, and prepared frozen foods typically contain this additive. When the researchers studied mice that were fed a high-phosphate diet, they found measureable changes in their ability to exercise. “We measured their oxygen uptake during exercise and found that their capacity for movement was much lower. The mice were unable to generate enough fatty acids to feed their muscles,” Dr. Vongpatanasin said. The researchers also looked for gene changes and found that many genes involved in skeletal muscle metabolism had changed levels after 12 weeks of the high phosphate diet. In addition, the study analyzed data from participants in the Dallas Heart Study who wore physical activity monitors for seven days. The multiethnic participants, ages 18 to 65, had no kidney or heart problems and were not on medications. Researchers examined blood test results in this group and verified that the response to phosphate in humans was similar to that in mice. Higher phosphate levels were linked to reduced time spent in moderate to vigorous exercise, while sedentary time increased as phosphate levels climbed.

People with more knowledge about benefits of physical activity may also exercise more -- ScienceDaily

While the vast majority (99.6%) of participants strongly agreed that physical activity is good for health, most were not aware of all the diseases associated with inactivity. On average, participants correctly identified 13.8 out of 22 diseases associated with a lack of physical activity. Moreover, 55.6% incorrectly answered how much physical activity is needed for health, and 80% of people failed to identify the probabilities of developing diseases without physical activity. A significant association was found between these scores on knowledge of the probabilities of inactivity-related diseases and how active a person was. Future research is needed to determine whether the results hold true equally between men and women, and whether the survey-based data correctly gauges a person's true levels of physical activity.

There Are No Shortcuts to Feeling Good at Altitude | Outside Online

For example, if you head from sea level to 7,200 feet, the oxygen saturation of your blood will drop from somewhere in the upper 90s to about 94 percent. That means only 94 percent of the hemoglobin in your arteries is carrying a full load of oxygen. If you then start exercising at a moderate intensity, that number will drop to 89 percent—the equivalent being at 9,800 feet instead of 7,200 feet for the duration of the exercise. So in each of the four groups, half of the subjects were assigned to spend three or four hours a day hiking during the two-day staging period, for an extra altitude boost. The result of all these machinations? A big fat nothing. All eight of the subgroups produced essentially identical results in the final testing at 14,000 feet.

Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model. - PubMed - NCBI

An interaction model, controlling for demographics, general consumption of healthful foods, and exercise frequency, showed that exercise frequency, neuroticism, and fermented food consumption significantly and independently predicted social anxiety. Moreover, fermented food consumption also interacted with neuroticism in predicting social anxiety. Specifically, for those high in neuroticism, higher frequency of fermented food consumption was associated with fewer symptoms of social anxiety. Taken together with previous studies, the results suggest that fermented foods that contain probiotics may have a protective effect against social anxiety symptoms for those at higher genetic risk, as indexed by trait neuroticism.