Ballroom Dancing Improves Heart Health

It has been pointed out that there is not such a notion “It’s too late now to think of an exercise program”.
Researchers led by Dr. Romualdo Belardinelli, director of cardiac rehabilitation from the Lancisi heart Institute in Ancona, Italy took a close look at 110 patients with stable chronic heart failure. The average age of the patients was 59 years and 89 of them were men. The group was assigned different physical activities. Forty-four patients used an exercise bike or exercise treadmill three times a week for 8 weeks. Forty- four other patients chose to participate in 21-minutes of ballroom dancing consisting of waltzes (alternating slow and fast) three times per week. A third group of 22 patients had no exercise. Heart rates during exercise training and dancing were similar at 110 respectively 113 beats per minute. Cardiopulmonary fitness improved at a similar rate in both groups. Oxygen consumption increased by 16 % in the exercise group and by 18% in the dance group. In other words, exercise fitness had significantly improved in these two groups.

Quality of life as measured by the Minnesota Living With Heart Failure Questionnaire improved significantly more in the ballroom dance group, particularly in the emotional domain.

Ballroom Dancing Improves Heart Health

Ballroom Dancing Improves Heart Health

The findings are not just of significance to patients with heart failure. It is the observation that ballroom dancing seems to be a more effective way to get people into an exercise program who otherwise would not be interested in this. For some people it is simply more enjoyable to dance and enjoy social interaction as an additional benefit than running on a treadmill.

More information is available about:

1. Fitness: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/fitness/

2. Health for adults: http://nethealthbook.com/health-adults/

3. Health for seniors: http://nethealthbook.com/health-seniors/

Reference: The Medical Post Dec. 19, 2006, page 17

Last edited November 2, 2014


Exercise Can Reverse Risk Of Heart Disease

A growing health concern is cardiovascular illness. As a rule the risk increases with unhealthy life style choices. The most common neglect is the lack of physical activity, and a couch-potato existence is a sure recipe for poor health. Often juvenile “couch potatoes” lay the groundwork for health problems in their middle age years.
Jennifer Robbins of Duke University in Durham, N.C. led a follow-up study on a group of participants. The objective was to examine, how much impact an exercise program would have on the overall condition of the participants. Fitness parameters included weight, waist circumference, visceral and subcutaneous fat, cholesterol levels and metabolic score.
In a control group 61 subjects were instructed not to change their dietary habits or exercise habits for 6 months. Researchers expected that the general health condition of these people would stay the same. What was observed, however, was a deterioration of all the fitness parameters. The sedentary group actually got worse! At the end of the study, all the 61 were offered to participate in one of the exercise programs offered to the other groups. 53 participants decided to take part, and they were enrolled in a low- intensity, medium-intensity and high- intensity exercise program. The two lower groups managed to reverse the detrimental effects of inactivity on cardio-vascular risk in a half-year exercise program. The researchers noted also that the ones who had deteriorated the most during the sedentary period achieved the most improvement from the exercise program.

Exercise Can Reverse Risk Of Heart Disease

Exercise Can Reverse Risk Of Heart Disease

Exercise Physiologist Jennifer Robbins and her team concluded, that the study result gives encouragement to those who don’t exercise and feel bad about it, as they will reap the most benefits. The results also give doctors more incentive to make physical exercise part of a prescription regimen. With a word of recommendation from the physician patients are more likely to enrol in an exercise program and stick with it.

More info about:

Heart disease: http://nethealthbook.com/cardiovascular-disease/heart-disease/

Fitness and exercise: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/fitness/ 

Reference: The Medical Post, June 20, 2006, page 47

Last edited Nov. 1, 2014


Life Extension Through Calorie Restriction

Animal experiments in the past have pointed out that overfeeding resulted in less life expectancy of the animal. Experiments with primates showed that withholding food did not compromise the health and vitality. To the contrary: the chimp lived well and even lived longer. Experiments with rodents are still very much removed from the application to humans, and to get closer to the facts, new research has enlisted the help of humans. Participants were randomized to 1 of four groups in a study that went on for half a year. The first group received caloric restriction of 25% of baseline requirement. A second group had 12.5 % caloric restriction, group three 12.5% more exercise with a structured program. A fourth group consumed a very low-calorie diet of 890 kcal until 15% weight reduction, which was followed by a weight maintenance diet.
At 6 months, fasting insulin levels were significantly reduced from baseline in the intervention groups. Core body temperature was reduced in the group with calorie restriction and the group with calorie restriction with exercise.
These findings suggest that 2 biomarkers of longevity (fasting insulin level and body temperature) are decreased by prolonged calorie restriction in humans. The metabolic rate is lowered as a result. DNA damage was also researched, and in the intervention groups (calorie restricted diets) it was lower. The 6-month study suggests, that calorie restriction may not mean deprivation, but less “wear and tear” on the metabolism.

Life Extension Through Calorie Restriction

Life Extension Through Calorie Restriction

Studies of longer duration are required to determine if calorie restriction has the capability to slow down aging in humans.

More on calorie restriction: http://nethealthbook.com/news/calorie-restriction-makes-live-longer/

Reference: JAMA. 2006; 295:1539-1548

Last edited Oct. 31, 2014


More Is Not Always Better In Exercise

Physical activity and good nutrition are the keys for a healthy immune system. Dr. David Nieman, PhD, from the Appalachian State University of Boone, N.C. has found that exercise and nutrition play a strong role in boosting immunity. His past research showed that women who walked briskly for 30 to 45 minutes five days for 12 to 15 weeks had colds half as often as inactive women. This is true even for the aging population, where immunity tends to decline; some research has shown that fit elderly people have better-preserved immune systems.
It is tempting to conclude, that more exercise would lead to even better benefits, but the research results are quite different. Exercising for too long (beyond 90 minutes) appears to cause a steep drop in immune function that can last up to 24 hours. In the 1987 Los Angeles Marathon, Dr. Nieman surveyed 2,311 runners and found those who raced were six times more likely to get sick afterward compared with those who dropped out of the race for non-medical reasons. Runners who trained more than 96 km per week during the two months before a race doubled their chances for sickness compared with those who trained less than 36 km per week.
In lab tests on marathon runners who ran on a treadmill for 90 minutes to 3 hours at 80% aerobic capacity, the level of immune cells had decreased (neutrophils, monocytes, natural killer cells, T cells and B cells). All these players in the immune system leave the blood and concentrate on the effort to do repairs and maintenance on the muscles. As a result the front line soldiers are unavailable for defense when viruses are present.

More Is Not Always Better In Exercise

More Is Not Always Better In Exercise

The best strategies for active as well as not-so-active individuals remain similar.
-Minimize life stresses-mental and emotional.
-Avoid over training and chronic fatigue.
-Curb exercise if you have a fever or systemic infection.
-Eat a well-balanced diet with adequate energy.

More about fitness: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/fitness/

Reference: The Medical Post, October 11, 2005, page 19

Last edited October 29, 2014


Less Death Rates From Breast Cancer With Exercise

At the 95th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Orlando / Fla. the results of a study regarding the effect of exercise on breast cancer survival rates was presented. Dr. Michelle D. Holmes and co-workers (Harvard University in Boston) reported about data from the Nurses’ Health Study. About 2000 patients with breast cancer were identified in the period of 1984 to 1996 who were followed until the end of 2002. At that time 209 had died from their breast cancer. The investigators were able to control the data for all the other factors such as smoking, obesity, and many other factors except for the amount of exercise per week that these women were doing. The highest risk group was the one that did not exercise and the death rate of this group was set as 100% as can be seen in this table, which I constructed based on the published data.

The various groups as indicated on the bottom of the table were the hours exercised per week from 0 hours to more than 15 hours per week (this was expressed as metabolic equivalent of a brisk walk). It can be seen that survival from breast cancer can be influenced by as little as 3 to 9 hours of a brisk walk per week (about 20% reduction in death rate) and reaches a plateau at 9 to 15 hours of exercise per week (around 50% reduction in death rate).

Less Death Rates From Breast Cancer With Exercise

Less Death Rates From Breast Cancer With Exercise

The authors of the study said that when the data was expressed as recurrence of breast cancer, the same results were obtained. This study would indicate that even 30 minutes of exercise per day will reduce mortality in a patient with breast cancer. Also, it is known from other studies that exercise will be more effective in terms of cancer prevention in general including prevention of breast cancer.

Percentage of breast cancer death rates decreases with exercise (hours of exercise per week depicted)

Less Death Rates From Breast Cancer With Exercise1

Breast Cancer Death Rate Decreases With Exercise


Link to breast cancer chapter of the Net Health Book.

Link to Fitness: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/fitness/

Last edited October 26, 2014


Osteoporosis In Males Is Common

A new study from the University of Toronto/Ontario has shown that contrary to the conventional teaching ostoporosis is not only a problem in females, but also a problem in males. The Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos) showed according to the epidemiologist Natalia Diaz-Granados that in Canada 16% of all women above the age of 50 and 5% of men above the age of 50 developed osteoporosis.

In the past men were thought to be more or less immune to osteoporosis, but this is not so. The results of this study were presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Minneapolis. 1,768 of the 2,884 men who were recruited into CaMos were eligible for the study, because they had not taken oral corticosteroids for three months, and bone scans were taken to measure bone density of their upper femurs (upper thigh bones). 89 men (or 5% of the group of 1768) showed osteoporosis. The mean age of this group was 65 years ranging from 50 to 96.

The researchers studied the high risk factors in men with osteoporosis and found that they were remarkably similar to the risk factors in women with osteoporosis. I have summarized the findings here in tabular form.
The study also showed that for men hip fractures seem to be more lethal than for women as within a year after a hip fracture from osteoporosis more men die. If a physician sees a patient and notices 2 or more of the risk factors identified in the table above, a bone scan to screen for osteoporosis should be done.

Osteoporosis In Males Is Common

Osteoporosis In Males Is Common

There are many more unanswered questions with regard to life styles and nutritional information. It is not known from this study whether the men were physically less active and whether there was a higher alcohol abuse and /or nutritional dysbalance with associated vitamin deficiencies. The authors stated that future research will focus on these factors and on whether biphosphonates (alendronate or Fosamax) are as useful in men with osteoporosis as they are in women.

Risk factors for osteoporosis in men
Risk factor: Explanation:
weight less than normal this may point to poor nutrition, lack of calcium, vit. D etc.
older men bone loss occurs slowly with age, both in men and women
history of smoking smoking reduces blood supply to the nutritional vessels in the bone. This leads to less bone forming cells (osteoblasts)
family history of osteoporosis one or more genes code for osteoporosis. More research needed in this field to develop new medications
history of fracture beyond the age of 50 osteoporosis leads to brittle bones with more fractures. A fracture in this age group should make the physician suspicious of osteoporosis or a metabolic bone problem

Based on an article in The Medical Post, page 78, Oct. 14, 2003.

Link to a chapter of osteoporosis in my Net Health Book.

Last edited December 9, 2012


Exercise Saves Lives In Women Over 65

A recent study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Vol. 289 No. 18, May 14, 2003) has found a profound effect of exercise on the survivial of elderly women. Dr. Gregg et al. have followed 9518 women aged 65 or older for a total of 12.5 years with a follow-up visit in between at about the 6 year point. They found that women who exercised (walking, aerobics etc.) and who were compared with a control group who was sedentary (no form of exercise), had the following improved survival rates.

These findings were independent of other factors up to an age of 75 years. In other words, age, smoking, weight and a number of pre-existing diseases did not influence these improved survival figures from the effect of exercise. However, when a woman had a significant chronic disease or was older than 75 years of age, the survival improval from exercise was not as strong as indicated in the table above. Also, the follow-up visits showed that those women who exercised continually, had the highest survival advantage.

Exercise Saves Lives In Women Over 65

Exercise Saves Lives In Women Over 65

The bottom line: increasing and maintaining a physical exercise program will likely lead to a longer life. At the same time the exercise program needs to be started early enough to be of benefit to those who are older than 75 years of age.

Disease and death rate reduction from exercise in women aged 65 and over
Reduction of:
Effect of risk reduction:
overall death rates 48%
cardiovascular disease 36%
cancer 51%

Some of the Associations that were contributing to this important study were: The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Atlanta, Ga), the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pa), the Prevention Sciences Group, Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California (San Francisco) and the University of Minnesota and Section of General Internal Medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis.

Here is a fitness link: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/fitness.php

Last edited December 9, 2012


Framingham Study…Obesity And Smoking Lead To Loss Of Life

The Netherlands Epidemiology and Demography Compression of Morbidity Research Group has published an important medical research paper in the Jan. 7, 2003 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine (Ann Intern Med 2003;138:24-32).

The lead researcher, Dr. Anna Peeters, explained that the group has revisited the Framingham Heart Study 40 years later and analyzed survival statistics of the group of men and women who enrolled in this longterm study between 1948 and 1951. The population at the beginning of the study was aged between 30 and 49. The snap shot, after 40 years had elapsed, is the subject of this analysis. In order to make it easier to understand, I have tabulated the data as seen below.

This study shows that life style choices do matter: being overweight shortens your life by 3 years on average, being obese shortens it by 6 to 7 years.

Add the risk of smoking, and you end up shortening your life by 7 years in the case of being overweight (4 years more than without smoking) or more than 13 years, if you are obese.

Framingham Study...Obesity And Smoking Lead To Loss Of Life

Framingham Study…Obesity And Smoking Lead To Loss Of Life

This study was based on 3,457 participants who 40 years ago had a life expectancy of 85 years, if they were in the normal weight category and did not smoke.

The death rates were much higher than the researchers expected. The researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam stated as a conclusion: ” just think about two things: Don’t get fat and don’t smoke”.

Years of life lost 40 years after Framingham Heart Study Was Started:
Non-smokers: Smokers:
  Male Female   Male Female
overweight *: 3.1 3.3 overweight*: 6.7 7.2
obese** : 5.8 7.1 obese ** : 13.7 13.3
* overweight:BMI25 to 29.9 ** obese:BMI = 30 and higher

Here are some links to my Internet based Healthbook regarding risks for heart attacks and strokes:

Heart disease: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/cardiovasculardisease_heartdisease.php

Strokes: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/cardiovasculardisease_strokeandcerebralaneurysm.php

Two things will lead to a normal weight (as you likely have heard before):

Proper nutrition…


…and proper exercise (fitness):


Last edited December 10, 2012



More Exercise Leads To More Health

Based on an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2002;288:p.1994-2000) Dr. Mihaela Tanasescu and his group from Loma Linda University in California have followed more than 44,000 health care professionals every 2 years for 12 years.

He asked the question whether a difference could be found between light, moderate or heavy exercise in the prevention of heart attacks.

Here is what they found: 1700 new cases of heart attacks as a result from hardening of arteries were mostly found in those who did NOT exercise or were in the LIGHT aerobic category. The more the persons exercised, the more pronounced the heart protective effect was. For instance, the group of men who engaged in a heavy exercise program had developed 17% less heart disease than the group with the light exercise program. Contrary to the marathon runner studies that had reported a detrimental effect at the high end, this study did not find this effect.

Also, this study is one of the first to show that weight training and other muscle strengthening activities also reduced strokes and heart attacks. Up to now the medical community was of the opinion that body building type muscle training might not prevent strokes or heart attacks.

More Exercise Leads To More Health

More Exercise Leads To More Health

The authors concluded that a combination of aerobic exercises(brisk walking, running, sports etc.) with muscle strengthening exercises(body building, stretching exercises, weight lifting etc.) will give the most beneficial heart protecting health effect. Try these useful related links to chapters of my free Internet based Nethealthbook:

Hardening of the arteries:


Last edited October 25, 2014