Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Muscle Power Might Be Key to Long Life

If you want to celebrate many more birthdays, new research suggests you should speed up your weight-lifting routine.

Boosting muscle power, which is different than muscle strength, translated into longer lives, the Brazilian scientists said.

What exactly is the difference?

For example, climbing stairs requires muscle power -- the faster you climb, the more power you need. But holding or pushing a heavy object only requires muscle strength.

"Rising from a chair in old age and kicking a ball depends more on muscle power than muscle strength, yet most weight-bearing exercise focuses on the latter," said researcher Claudio Gil Araujo. He's director of research and education at the Exercise Medicine Clinic - CLINIMEX, in Rio de Janeiro.

"Our study shows for the first time that people with more muscle power tend to live longer," Araujo said in a European Society of Cardiology news release.

The study included nearly 3,900 adults, aged 41 to 85, with an average age of 59, whose maximum muscle power was assessed.

Sitting at Work All Day? Exercise Can Counter That...

If your job keeps you chained to a desk all day, you might be able to erase the ill effects with regular exercise, a large new study suggests.

Research has shown that people who spend a lot of time sitting may pay for it with a higher heart disease risk and a shorter lifespan. But the new study, of nearly 150,000 adults, indicates you can avoid those consequences by fitting in exercise when you can.

People who spent a large portion of their days sitting were more likely to die during the study period -- of heart disease or other causes.

But those risks were mainly limited to people who got little exercise, the investigators found.

It seemed that for many people, moderate exercise -- at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week -- was enough to offset the health risks of sitting.

The exception was people who sat for more than eight hours a day, the findings showed. Moderate amounts of exercise lowered, but didn't erase, their higher risk of death. They need heavier amounts of exercise for that.

"Our study suggests that doing enough walking, strenuous housework and gardening -- as well as dedicated exercise -- decreased the risks from sitting," said lead researcher Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis. He's a professor at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Do-Anywhere Upper Body Stretches

Flexibility in your upper body is important for many everyday activities you take for granted, like twisting and turning while backing out of a parking space. Try these three stretches to help keep your upper body agile. They don't require any special equipment and can even be done in your office.

Neck stretch: Do this easy stretch either standing or sitting in a chair. Slowly turn your head to the left until you feel a slight pull. Make sure the position feels comfortable, but don't tilt your head forward or backward. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, return to center and repeat to the right, again holding for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat the full movement three times.

Shoulder and arm stretch: Next, grab a small towel. Raise your right arm over your head, holding the towel so that it falls along the center of your back. Grab the other end of the towel with your left hand and slowly tug until you feel a slight stretch. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat three to five times, then switch hands and repeat.

Wall walk: "Walking" up a wall with your hands stretches your chest. Stand facing a wall, with your legs and arms shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, walk your hands up the wall until they're above the level of your head. Hold arms overhead for 10 to 30 seconds, then slowly move them back down. Repeat three to five times.

Whenever you stretch, keep these pointers in mind: Never bounce. This can cause muscles to tighten and lead to injury. Ease into every stretch with slow, steady movement. And stretch only when your body is warm -- after a workout is perfect, but to do these at work, just take a three-minute walk first.