STATUS FITNESS MAGAZINE – FITNESS TIDBITS
1. Fit to Fight Alzheimer’s
Exercise may improve cognitive function in people at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (University of Maryland’s School of Public Health). Developing Alzheimer’s disease is one of the greatest fears among older adults. While some memory loss is normal as we age, a diagnosis of ‘mild cognitive impairment’ indicates more severe loss of memory and a greater risk for Alzheimer’s, for which there is no cure.
This study is the first to show that older adults with mild cognitive impairment, after following a prescribed exercise program, improved not only with memory recall, but also brain function. The findings are published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. No study has shown that a drug can do what we showed is possible with exercise.
2. Is Runner’s High Real?
If you’re an avid exerciser, you may have experienced “runner’s high.” It’s described as a feeling of euphoria during or immediately after sustained exercise. But does it really exist?
One theory is that runner’s high is due to endorphins (neurotransmitters that bind to the same receptors as drugs like morphine or heroin). Increased endorphins are found in the blood and spinal fluid of regular exercisers.
Exercise also increases levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, which positively affects mood. Endocannabinoids (related to cannabis, much like ‘natural’ marijuana) have gotten increased attention recently as a major player in runner’s high, as they stimulate the same area of the brain as marijuana.
Need a mood-booster? Get moving!
3. Intensity is Where it’s At!
Every minute of high intensity exercise counts in the battle of the bulge (University of Utah). Researchers discovered that a brief bout of intense exercise has the same effect on preventing weight gain as the current recommendation of 10 minute (or more) sessions. The intensity they are referring to is equivalent to walking at three miles per hour.
The take-home message? The intensity of the activity matters more than the duration when we’re trying to prevent weight gain.