Brief Exercise Reduces Impact of Stress on Cell Aging, Telomere Study Shows

Brief Exercise Reduces Impact of Stress on Cell Aging, Telomere Study Shows

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2010) — Exercise can buffer the effects of stress-induced cell aging, according to new research from UCSF that revealed actual benefits of physical activity at the cellular level.

The scientists learned that vigorous physical activity as brief as 42 minutes over a 3-day period, similar to federally recommended levels, can protect individuals from the effects of stress by reducing its impact on telomere length. Telomeres (pronounced TEEL-oh-meres) are tiny pieces of DNA that promote genetic stability and act as protective sheaths by keeping chromosomes from unraveling, much like plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces.

A growing body of research suggests that short telomeres are linked to a range of health problems, including coronary heart disease and diabetes, as well as early death. Source.

Postnatal women benefit from exercise: new study

In a world first study of its kind, 161 postnatal women with no previous depressive symptoms were divided in two separate groups to test the effect of a physiotherapist-led exercise and education program on wellbeing.

The experimental group received an eight-week “Mother and Baby” program, including specialized exercises provided by a women’s health physiotherapist combined with parenting education.

In the second group, “Education Only” participants only received the written educational material.

The participants of both groups were assessed for psychological wellbeing (using the Positive Affect Balance Scale), depressive symptoms (using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale) and physical activity levels at baseline, after completing the program at eight weeks and then four weeks after completion.

Study coordinator, Ms Emily Norman of the University of Melbourne’s Physiotherapy Department and women’s health physiotherapist at the Angliss Hospital, Ferntree Gully, Melbourne says, “There were significant improvements in wellbeing scores and depressive symptoms in the “Mother and Baby” group compared with the “Education Only” group over the study period.”

“This positive effect continued four weeks after completion of the program,” she says.

“The number of women identified as “at risk” for postnatal depression pre-intervention was reduced by 50% in the Mother and Baby group by the end of the intervention.”

Professor Mary Galea, of the University’s Physiotherapy Department and senior author of the study says, “By improving new mothers’ wellbeing, this physiotherapy-based program has been shown to have a real impact on reducing the risk of PND.”

“However, further study is needed to explore whether the intervention effects and improved well being are maintained beyond the first three months,” she says.

Postnatal Depression is a major health issue affecting up to 13% of all new mothers throughout the world, with most cases commencing in the first three months of the postnatal period.

The study was published in the March issue of Physical Therapy, the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association. Source.

You can really see the difference if you use the Firm and Flatten Your Abs Program

For Older Women, Exercise May Cut Breast Cancer Risk

For sedentary postmenopausal women, moderate to vigorous exercise for a year reduced levels of estradiol, researchers said.

The reductions, compared with those achieved by controls, were modest but significant and were consistent with a lower risk for breast cancer, according to Christine Friedenreich, PhD, of Alberta Health Services in Calgary, and colleagues.

The finding, from a randomized trial, is evidence that such women — sedentary and mostly overweight — can “achieve and sustain high levels of aerobic exercise,” the researchers reported online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Observation suggests that increased physical activity is linked to lower breast cancer risk, but exactly how remains unclear, the researchers noted. One plausible mechanism, they said in the journal, is modification of the sex hormones.

To investigate the issue, they enrolled 320 postmenopausal women, ages 50 to 74, in a one-year trial; 160 women were randomly assigned to 225 minutes a week of aerobic exercise, the remaining 160 maintained their usual level of activity.

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New data on benefits of exercise, from Switzerland and Denmark

A just published research experiment on inactive men with high blood pressure shows that just 3 months of soccer practise twice a week causes a significant fall in blood pressure, resting pulse rate, and percentage of body fat, and is more effective than the doctor’s usual advice on healthy diet and exercise. Other parallel experiments on both women and men further demonstrates that a regular game of soccer affects numerous cardiovascular risk factors such as maximal oxygen uptake, heart function, elasticity of the vascular system, blood pressure, cholesterol and fat mass far more than e.g. strength training and just as much if not more than running.

Each of the experiments was controlled randomized studies where the soccer groups were compared to other exercise groups and inactive controls. The soccer experiments are part of a large-scale research project on soccer and health carried out at the University of Copenhagen, four Danish University Hospitals, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Schulthess Clinic in Zurich.

Project Leader and Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen Peter Krustrup recaps the results: “Our research shows that soccer is a versatile and intense form of exercise that provides a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors in a large group of untrained adult men and women,” and continues: “Based on the results, soccer can be recommended as part of the treatment for high blood pressure and as broad-spectred prevention of cardiovascular diseases.”

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Strenghten Your Core and Get Great Abs Faster

Strengthen Your Core and Get Great Abs Faster
By Adding This One Movement to Your Training Routine

by David Grisaffi

There’s one simple movement pattern that is sorely lacking in most people’s abdominal training routines. By adding this, you will also increase your chances of getting a great set of six pack abs and a tighter, slimmer waistline. Adding this simple movement to your routine will also strengthen your core, increase your overall body strength and help prevent lower back pain.

This simple movement that will provide you will all these great benefits is rotation in transverse movement patterns.  Huh? What the heck does that mean? Don’t worry, I’m going to explain in simple terms with a quick anatomy lesson and then move on to the exact exercises. 

There are four major muscles that make up your abdominal core:  rectus abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques, and the transverse abdominis.  These muscles work together to flex and rotate the spine and to compress the abdomen.  Since most movements involve more than one muscle, your workouts should try to train all these muscles in isolation and combination.  

The rectus abdominis is the most prominent abdominal muscle.  It is either the “pot belly” or the long segmented muscle that runs up and down the front of the torso.  When it is fully developed it is the muscle where you see the six pack of abs, or in some cases an eight pack.  It is the primary muscle involved in any “sit-up” type or flexion exercise. 

This muscle is often considered one continuous muscle, however is does have separate nerve intervention and you do have “upper and lower abs.” What often happens is one section stabilizes while one performs the chosen exercise.  

The external obliques run down your eight lower ribs to your hips and act as rotators along with the internal obliques.  The internal obliques run in the opposite direction as the externals, but are just underneath them.  They will not be visible when developed, but they are very important for core strength.  

The transverse abdominis is the only one of the four that does not cause or affect trunk movement.  It is important in holding your abdominal wall tight. You could say it’s  the “suck in your gut” muscle if you will.  It is also important in that it pulls on the diaphragm to force you to breath out.  

Hopefully, a fuller understanding of these four core muscles will help you to appreciate the need for rotation in transverse movement in your ab workout and their roles in obtaining a six pack of abs. They are also important for power and optimum sports performance. 

Baseball, football, tennis, and golf depend on the power generated from these abdominal and core muscles.  It is hard to find a good college or professional athlete that does not have a great looking six pack of abs.  Typically, these muscles have been trained using crunches, reverse crunches or other flexion exercises.  Those types of exercises are only half of the battle, at best.  

Both of theses exercises isolate a section of the Rectus abdominis, but normally ignore the obliques and transverse abdominis.  That is why it is so important to integrate transverse movement patterns into your abdominal workouts.  It is important, also, to have these muscles fully lengthen before contracting while they are performing.  A muscle will contract more forcefully and efficiently if it is allowed to fully lengthen.

Effective training of the abdominals, in pursuit of a six pack of abs, does not require one exercise alone.  Effective abdominal must should incorporate many of the larger transverse movement patterns, and position the performer in multiple starting stances.  All exercises should allow for complete lengthening and shortening of the muscles.  This is called the “pre-load and unload” cycle.  If you make correct use of the “pre-load and unload” cycle you will get a more forceful and efficient motion from your abdominal muscles.

Now that we have gone over the “why’s” let’s look into the “how’s”.  I am going to walk you through 3 different exercises that will give you the optimum training effect I’m talking about here.  

Exercise #1: Standing or Sitting Horizontal Woodchopper:

Start in the standing position with your feet flat and in a good athletic stance. Grasp a dumbbell with your right hand and overlap your left so you have both hands on the dumbbell. Raise your arms with the dumbbell so they are parallel to the floor out in front of your face at shoulder height. 

Slowly begin to rotate the dumbbell to your right until you can not longer rotate at your core or trunk level. Do not rotate your shoulders. This exercise comes from the core. Slowly return to the starting position and then proceed to rotate to the left. 

This will complete one repetition. Try to do 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions. Do not sacrifice your form for additional weight. Less is more! 

Exercise #2: Russian Twist Knees Bent.

This is a simple exercise and stretch. By bending the knees, the level is shorter and the amount of weight is less then the full version with your legs straight pointing towards the ceiling. This exercise uses your obliques in a transverse plan movement.

Lie on the floor on a comfortable surface

Raise you legs so that your knees are pointing toward the ceiling. Place your arms at 90 degrees to your body with your palms down. This keeps your upper body still. 

Gently lower your legs to the floor on one side keeping them at a 90 degree angle to the trunk. Return legs to the upright position.

Repeat to the opposite side. This is one repetition.  

Perform 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions.

You can also use a Swiss ball under your calves and performing the exercise in the same manner. You could also place a light medicine ball between your knees to add some resistance.

Exercise #3 : Reverse Woodchopper

This can be done standing or sitting using a dumbbell, Swiss ball or a cable system. This will depend on your experience and goals. Use proper form while doing all exercises and remember less is more sometimes.

The wood chopper series is one of the best ways for integrating the oblique musculature into a functional movement pattern. 

Think of this movement as someone baling hay.  

I will describe this exercise using a cable system, but again this can be done using a dumbbell or Swiss ball. 

Standing perpendicular to the weight stack and cable system in an athletic stance.
Use the bottom pulley or if you are using an adjustable cable system set the pulley at the bottom position. Grasp the handle with your right hand and put left hand over your right.

Draw your belly button in to your spine to add stability to your core.

Gently rotate your torso and pull the cable handle up and across the front of your chest.
To a fully extended arm position on the opposite side of you body above your head.

Keep you arms straight from start to finish.

Return to the starting position. Repeat for prescribed describer below. 

Do this exercise for 3 sets of 12-15 reps 

These are three very basic exercises that have multiple variations that can incorporate rotation in transverse movement to achieve a six pack of abs.  Always make sure you do a full amount of exercises to keep the core active and firm.  Rotate your shoulders towards the knees, in an alternating pattern as you do your crunches.  This will help to insure that the obliques are used. 

Isometric exercises can be done that will strengthen the transverse abdominis. I call this the TV tummy tuck and it can be done while sitting or on your hands and knees. But if you are in your car or at work you do these.  Suck in your gut and tighten your abdominals.  Hold for 10 seconds then slowly release.  Repeat and increase your hold time as you get used to the exercise.   In the gym do an exercise called the “plank”.  Lift your body off of the ground on your elbows and toes.  Contract your abs and relax your shoulders and neck.  Remember to breath and hold as long as possible.  

The abdominal region is best developed by rotating the motion along you transverse plane.  Resistance across your center of gravity is a good for your entire core.  This forces all four of the abdominal muscle groups to work and perform together.  This rotation in transverse movement allows for your six pack of abs to develop and the obliques to show up as a beautiful frame for them. 

These 3 exercises will get you started on the right foot. If you’d like to learn more, you’ll find over 40 exercises in my Firm and Flatten Your Abs Program at –