Tag Archives: exercise

Yoga Treating Back Pain

A new study indicates that yoga may be as effective for back pain as physical therapy.

The yoga protocol utilized in the study was developed by researchers at Boston Medical Center, with additional input from yoga instructors, doctors, and physical therapists. The study included 320 participants with moderate to severe back pain, all of whom received one of three approaches over a three-month time span: weekly yoga classes, 15 physical therapy visits, and clinical education surrounding ways to cope with back pain.

The findings, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, are directly in line with new guidelines for treating back pain from the American College of Physicians. concluded that yoga was as effective as physical therapy, and both groups were 20% less likely to use pain medication than those patients solely receiving education.

Dr. Robert Saper of Boston Medical Center, one of the report’s authors, states: “Yoga was as effective as physical therapy for reducing pain intensity. Perhaps most importantly, reducing pain medication use.” At the outset of the study, 70% of the patients were taking a form of pain medication; at the end of three months, the percentage of yoga and physical therapy participants still taking pain medication dropped to 50%.

As opiate overdoses are now the leading cause of death for adults under age 50, the results offer compelling reasons to find approaches for chronic pain that do not involve narcotics–including tai-chi, yoga, and massage. Saper remarks that if research shows that yoga can be as effective, perhaps it should be considered as a potential therapy that can “be more widely disseminated and covered by insurance.”

Please follow and like us:

How to Save Your Brain

A report published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) cites promising evidence indicating that active cognitive training, blood pressure management, and physical activity may collectively help stave off age-related cognitive decline and dementia.

In 2015, the Alzheimer’s Association released similar findings that identified two critical activities that could minimize the risk of cognitive decline: increasing physical activity, and improving cardiovascular health. Dan G. Blazer, a member of the NASEM committee that conducted the study and the J.P. Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at Duke University Medical Center, states: “What is good for the heart is good for the brain. Therefore, exercise and controlling high blood pressure are good for the brain.” While controlling blood pressure is good preventive practice to combat heart disease, it may also reduce memory less and dementia—likely because high blood pressure damages delicate blood vessels in the brain.

In terms of diet, a study released by Temple University found that extra-virgin olive helped fend off Alzheimer’s in mice. The mice fed a diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil showed better learning and memory skills than those who did not receive the diet. While the evidence surrounding diet is not as conclusive and plentiful as the research regarding exercise, the panel singled out diets that emphasized whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and lower levels of salts.

Cognitive training has been receiving more attention recently, referring to tools and tactics engineered to improve reasoning, problem-solving, memory retention, and processing speed. In a randomized control trial reviewed by the committee titled “Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly,” participants who received cognitive training in processing speed and reasoning deduction demonstrated less decline than those who did not, over a time span of ten years.

More than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, and the number is only expected to increase as the population ages. Statistics show that by 2050, numbers could reach up to 16 million. There is no cure, and few effective treatments. Yet the evidence suggests that these lifestyle changes may actively reduce risk, or at least delay the onset of dementia. Dr. Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, advised people to “Try and avoid the tendency to sit down, watch television for endless hours at night. Get out there, do something.”

Please follow and like us:

Looking to Improve Sleep? Solution: Exercise

Statistics indicate that almost one third of all Americans, approximately 108 million people, suffer from insomnia and poor sleep hygiene. While many turn to pharmaceuticals and sleeping pills, science offers a safer and more effective solution: exercise.

Rush University clinical psychologist Kelly Glazer Baron states that an increasing amount of research demonstrates that exercise can reduce insomnia; moreover, those who engage in physical activity have increased energy levels, and are less depressed. Further studies assessed people with clinically diagnosed insomnia disorder, as opposed to self-described ‘poor sleepers.’ The results likewise showed enhanced sleep quality.

While Arizona State University sleep researcher Shawn Youngstedt admits that while exercise is not quite as effective as sleeping pills, the considerable potential downsides of drugs and pharmaceuticals include increased infection, dementia, and other hazards.

18 million Americans also suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing temporarily stops during the night. Exercise can also assist with this; one study showed a 25% reduction of sleep apnea symptoms over a 12-week period. Youngstedt also points to the efficacy of exercise in helping with restless-leg symptoms.

A large amount of literature shows that people who exercise inevitably have better sleep, reporting an increase in deep sleep and a decrease in the number of awakenings. Moreover, most people feel less depressed, and moods are enhanced.

Attend our upcoming Sleep Workshop in West Palm Beach on July 29th, and learn more about innovative options and various techniques that can assist in healthy sleep hygiene.

Please follow and like us: