In an earlier article (July 10, 2022), we had mentioned that exercise keeps our brains young, and pointed out that regular exercise and sensible dietary choices are key elements in keeping your brain young, as is an aptitude for learning (mastering a new language, or musical instrument). Now, a study in the European Heart Journal by J M Blodgett et al. from the University College London points out that diseases of heart and circulation is the major cause of death in adults.
And after analysing over 15,000 people across the world, they suggest that moderate to vigorous activity offers benefits. These involve simple activities such as running, brisk staircase climbing, and brisk exercising for about an hour. Many of us do a lot of sitting at our desks at work — all day, and then at home, watching TV or using our laptops.
Thus, improving our heart and health will involve simple activities such as the ones cited above, plus sports or swimming. In addition, eating ‘functional food’, as we mentioned in our article ‘Health benefits of functional foods’ on November 12, 2023 is good for our heart and health.
Sleeping is good
Researchers at Columbia University, New York point out that even sleeping well is good for our hearts. Sleep helps maintain cognitive skills, such as attention, learning, and memory, such that poor sleep can make it much more difficult to cope with even relatively minor stressors and impact our ability to perceive the world accurately.
And others at the University of Rochester point out that sleep drives metabolic clearance from the adult brain; in other words, it removes neurotoxic wastes (such as plaques called beta-amyloids which disturb communication between various brain cells) which accumulate during the active daytime work.
We adults need about seven hours of sleep each night, and switch off lights, stop reading the book, switch off TV and put our cell phones in silent mode, and have the toxins cleared.
And when we retired people sleep in the afternoon after lunch, we should do so for just about an hour and then do the brisk staircase walking and get on to exercising for one or two hours. Those who play games may also do so in the evening.
When you sleep, which is the best position you choose? Here, the website called Sleep Health offers the following advice. It depends on your comfort — to your left side or right. Side sleeping rather than upright can potentially help relieve pain, reduce the risk of snoring (and disturbing others), and improves spinal alignment by reducing back pain. It also allows faster waste removal (of the so-called beta amyloid bodies) from the brain. Which side to sleep on is your choice. But use a pillow, not just your arm, so as to reduce neck pain, stiffness and headaches. Using a mattress is also helpful. It provides adequate support to the back, neck, spine and legs.
So, have a healthy sleep and dream well — for seven hours! (Courtesy: https://www.thehindu.com/)