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Exercise Improves Young Brains, Too
Selenium and CoQ10 Provide Lasting Benefits
Walking, cycling, climbing stairs and other aerobic activities may improve brain function not only in older people, but also in younger folk, according to a Columbia University study published in Neurology. The study recruited 132 people between 20 and 67 years old that didn’t exercise and had below-average fitness levels. Half stretched and toned four times a week for six months and half exercised aerobically on a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical machine. When they were evaluated for their executive function thinking skills—regulating behavior, paying attention and achieving goals—the aerobics group improved twice as much as the stretching group. “The people who exercised were testing as if they were about 10 years younger at age 40 and about 20 years younger at age 60,” says study author Yaakov Stern, Ph.D.
Swedish seniors that took coenzyme Q10 and selenium during a fouryear study were still benefiting 12 years later with a reduced cardiovascular mortality risk of more than 40 percent. In the original study, Linköping University researchers gave 443 independently living seniors over 70 years old either a placebo or 200 milligrams of CoQ10 and 200 milligrams of selenium per day. Those on the supplements showed a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, improved heart function, less hospitalization, more vitality and a better quality of life. Twelve years later, the researchers examined autopsies and death certificates, and found the supplement-takers had a lower risk of death compared to the placebo group, even if they had diabetes, high blood pressure or ischemic heart disease.
Prenatal Yoga Reduces Caesareans and Labor Pain
First-time mothers that practiced yoga beginning in the 30th week of pregnancy had fewer caesareans, fewer low-weight newborns and milder and briefer labor pains. They were also less likely to require painkillers or labor inducement. The Mangalore, India, hospital study, published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, included 150 women 20 to 35 years old that were pregnant for the first time and had no prior yoga experience. Half of the women did not do yoga, while the other half took 30-minute yoga classes once every week or two. Women in the yoga group were also more comfortable after giving birth.
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