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Exercise

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While regular exercise has long been accepted as a preventative measure for just about every disease and condition out there, including premature death, studies are finding that exercise may play a therapeutic role in combating some of today’s most threatening diseases, including cancer. It may seem counterintuitive for sick, cancer patients on potent drugs, already exhausted from treatment, to fatigue their bodies even more in daily intensive exercise sessions. But researchers are finding that these sessions are saving patients’ lives. As presented in an article that appeared in The Scientist in April, exercise fights cancer in many different ways. During exercise, muscles release myokines that decrease cancer proliferation, dampening tumor growth and metastasis. Stress hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine, are also increased, which act directly on cancerous tumors and release immune cells into the bloodstream. Epinephrine triggers the release of natural killer (NK) cells into the bloodstream, and both hormones are…

Could quarantining put you at a higher risk for disease? Studies and data analysis show that the best way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus is isolation. But could the practices of self-isolation, quarantining, and extreme social distancing put you at a higher risk for health conditions over the long term? The surprising answer is it may. Not only has the pandemic increased our over-sanitization, the very thing that, over the last century, has so dramatically (and negatively) affected the beneficial microbes that are essential to our health, but it has also brought on a complete change of lifestyle for most of us – less exercise, more unhealthy foods, added stress and the anxiety of juggling dwindling finances, job loss, homeschooling, and a lack of childcare, as well as inadequate sleep quality and quantity. All of these factors create a perfect storm for weight gain, increased disease risk, and…

David: I had constant problems with acne, leaky gut, and digestive upset. I read The Microbiome Solution a year ago, reduced meat to once a month, eliminated sugar and grains, and my meals now consist of a wide variety of vegetables, legumes, wild plants, fruits, and seeds, although most of what I consume is vegetables and fruits. My digestion has stabilized and my acne is gone! I feel great and rested like never before. However, when I exercise, after about 30 minutes I run out of energy and feel weak and tired. Yet, the next morning when I get out of bed there are no signs of fatigue whatsoever. Any advice on why I feel so fatigued when I exercise and how to fix it? Dr. Chutkan: David, when we completely eliminate grains from the diet, we are depriving our bodies (and microbes!) of complex carbohydrates that can be an important energy source for…

We all know that physical activity is one of the best ways to optimize your health, but can exercising during the COVID-19 pandemic put you at a higher risk of infection? And if you are infected, can it prolong infection and put you at a greater risk for experiencing complications? Without a doubt, exercise is one of the best things you can do for your immunity. Studies show that exercise boosts the immune system in all sorts of ways: it increases the number of T-cells (or infection fighting cells), insulin sensitivity, and the body’s ability to use oxygen, while lowering blood sugar and stress hormones. It also beneficially alters the gut microbiome, where the majority of your immune cells are located. Recent studies support these findings. A New York Times article published this week, highlights some important findings that support just how protective exercise is against infection and what a…

Are exercise classes really worth it? They cost money, require travel time to and from the gym or studio, and are oftentimes a full hour when thirty minutes is all you really need. Many of us these days are opting out of group exercise classes and are instead opening up the latest exercise app on our phones and going it alone in the comfort of our homes. But is this really the way to go? While working out alone is often easier on your schedule and wallet, you might be missing out on the huge health benefits that come from in-person, social interaction and community. Studies show that social connectedness ranks right up there with what you eat and how often you exercise when assessing lifestyle practices for a healthier and longer life. Social interaction is in fact one of the characteristics that centurion populations are built upon, and is…

“Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your gut health. Like I’m fond of saying, if you’re not moving, neither are your bowels. Runners and other people who exercise regularly actually have better bowel movements, not as hard, bigger, and more frequent – what I like to call stool nirvana. A January 2018 University of Illinois study sheds light on why exercise might be so important for our gut, as well as overall health. The study found that exercise alone can positively alter the gut microbiome…” Watch the video to learn more! While exercise has incredible benefits for the microbiome, can it help you lose weight? Check out our article Does Exercise Help You Lose Weight.

Does exercise help you lose weight? Of course it does… right? Well, maybe not. As the research piles up on exercise and its true contributions to weight loss, it turns out that while exercise has astounding benefits for health, it may not actually move us closer toward our weight loss goals – and too much exercise could in fact sabotage our goals altogether. Let’s delve into the research and find out more. Burning more calories than we consume (or the “move more, eat less” philosophy) is the gold standard for weight loss. Yet, studies show that this formula doesn’t always work. Exercise contributes only a small amount to our overall daily calorie expenditure, making it challenging to create a meaningful calorie deficit for weight loss. There are three components that contribute to energy expenditure: 1) Food digestion, 2) Basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the set amount of baseline calories your…

A high level of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) dramatically reduces the risk of getting lung and colorectal cancer (CRC) and significantly increases survival rates. In one of the most diverse retrospective cohort studies, researchers analyzed data from over 49,000 participants with a median age of 54 years. Those with the highest CRF levels (>12 METs, measured using a treadmill stress test) possessed a 77% lower risk of lung cancer and a 61% lower risk of CRC than those with the lowest fitness levels (<6 METs). Participants diagnosed with cancer who were in the highest CRF range prior to diagnosis also saw great benefits. Following diagnosis, those with lung cancer had a 44% lower risk of all-cause mortality and those with CRC, an 89% lower risk, compared to those who were less fit. American Cancer Society Takeaway: Researchers who conducted the study believe that these results act as some of the strongest evidence…

Short sessions of high intensity exercise may limit colorectal cancer (CRC) growth. Researchers recruited 20 patients who survived CRC and split them into an acute group who completed a single session of high intensity interval training (HIIT) (serum samples were collected at baseline and at 0 and 120 minutes after exercise) and a chronic group who participated in 12 HIIT sessions over 4 weeks (resting serum samples were collected before and after the 4 weeks of training). In addition, cells from the acute group were incubated and analyzed for number of cells present. Results showed significant increases in serum interleukin-6 & 8 as well as TNF-alpha – cytokines that are associated with cancer growth reduction. But these increased cytokine levels were only observed in serum collected immediately after exercise and not in those collected 120 minutes post-exercise. Journal of Physiology →Takeaway: Past studies have shown a link between exercise and CRC survival. Researchers who…

Lifestyle changes reduced the need for blood pressure medication in just 16 weeks. 129 men and women with high blood pressure engaged in 1 of the following programs: 1) diet plus a weight loss program including 3 exercise sessions per week, 2) diet only, and 3) no changes in diet or lifestyle. After 16 weeks, researchers found that the first group lost an average of 19 pounds and reduced their blood pressure so that 85% of them no longer needed blood pressure medication. In the second group, 77% of participants no longer needed blood pressure medication. The third group experienced only a minimal improvement in blood pressure. The American Heart Association’s Joint Hypertension Scientific Sessions →Takeaway: It’s important to remember that all medications pose risk. In the case of high blood pressure medicines, common side effects include cough, diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, erection problems, feeling nervous, feeling tired and weak, headache, nausea or…