New research has found that in addition to regular moderate exercise, small bouts of vigorous activity can have substantial benefits on our health as well. These can be as short as 1- to 2-minute windows of time that easily fit into our busy schedules.
This vigorous activity could be as simple as lugging heavy bags of groceries up the stairs or walking briskly on a short errand. It’s any activity that increases your heart rate or leaves you feeling out of breath and unable to speak more than a few words.
While these short bursts of activity shouldn’t replace a regular exercise routine, “the best physical activity routine for every individual is the one they can fit into their weekly or daily routine and can stick to in the long term.”
“Study: Short Spurts of Vigorous Physical Activity During Daily Life Are Associated With Lower Mortality,” JAMANetwork.com, Jan. 4, 2023.
Whether you’re genetically predisposed to a longer or shorter lifespan, research underscores that exercise is essential to avoid untimely death. In other words, physical activity plays a bigger role than genes when it comes to longevity. And while it was already known that physically active people tend to live longer than those who are sedentary, the study found that “our genes are merely a possibility.”
Exercising regularly improves our health in many areas, including cardio and bone health—both of which tend to weaken with age, resulting in health issues. Incorporating more movement and exercise into your lifestyle will increase your chances at both a long and healthy life.
“Physical Activity May Have a Stronger Role than Genes in Longevity,” UC San Diego Today, Aug. 24, 2022.
A recent study found that strength training and aerobic exercise are more beneficial in the management of migraine headaches than common migraine medications. Strength training came in number one, possibly because of its focus on muscle strengthening. This is because it focuses particularly on muscles in the neck and shoulders, common sources triggering migraine pain. Aerobic exercise came in second. Both modes of exercise beat common migraine meds topiramate and amitriptyline.
Researchers also found that patients participating in exercise focusing on non-migraine-affecting muscles also experienced reduced migraine burden. If you are suffering from migraines, finding ways to incorporate more of both kinds of exercises has potential to improve your symptoms!
“Recommending Exercise for Migraine: Just Do It,” Medscape.com, Nov. 22, 2022.
Plant-based diets center around fruits and vegetables, often focusing especially on those high in important nutrients. But eating only select varieties, even those that are nutrient-dense, may not be enough for maximum health.
One class of plant nutrients vital for optimal health are phytonutrients—organic components of plants that help promote eye, bone, joint, and heart health, as well as support immune and brain function.
However, unlike typical compounds like vitamin C which are present in many fruits and vegetables in varying amounts, phytonutrients are not evenly distributed throughout the plant kingdom. In order to take advantage of a wide array of phytonutrients, we must have an equally wide variety in our fruit and vegetable intake.
And while fruits are just fruits, vegetables are not so simple. Potatoes and carrots are roots; celery classifies as a stem; all of your leafy greens are leaves; peas are pods; and broccoli and cauliflower are flowers. Mix up your plant intake and enjoy the benefits phytonutrients can give!
“Apples and Oranges: Dietary Diversity,” NutritionFacts.org, May 15, 2012.