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Combat Aches & Pains with Exercise

Posted May 04 2013 10:08pm

While massage is commonly believed to be the best modality for relieving muscle soreness, emerging evidence suggests that actively warming up the muscles with exercise may be an effective alternative.  Lars L. Andersen, from the National Research Center for the Working Environment (The Netherlands), and colleagues recruited 20 women to do a shoulder exercise while on a resistance machine.  The women shrugged their shoulders while the machine applied resistance, which engaged the trapezius muscle between the neck and shoulders.  Two days later, the women came back to the lab with aching trapezius muscles, and they received a 10-minute massage on one shoulder and did a 10-minute exercise on the other shoulder. The exercise again involved shoulder shrugs; this time the women gripped an elastic tube held down by their foot to give some resistance. The team found that, as compared to the shoulder that wasn't getting any attention, massage and exercise each helped diminish muscle soreness.  The effect peaked 10 minutes after each treatment, with women reporting a reduction in their pain of 0.8 points after the warm up exercise and 0.7 points after the massage. The study authors write that: “Coaches, therapists and athletes can use either active warm-up or massage to reduce [delayed onset muscle soreness]  acutely, e.g. before competition or strenuous work, but should be aware that the effect is temporary, i.e. the greatest effects occurs during the first 20 min after treatment and diminishes within an hour.”

Andersen, Lars L.; Jay, Kenneth; Andersen, Christoffer H.; Jakobsen, Markus D.; Sundstrup, Emil; Topp, Robert; Behm, David G.  “Acute effects of massage or active exercise in relieving muscle soreness: Randomized controlled trial.”  Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 21 March 2013.

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Tip #156 - Social Ties May Slow Memory Decline
Staying connected with family and friends can beneficially impact memory as we age. Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA) researchers studied 16,638 men and women, ages 50 and over, to assess the impact of social integration on changes in memory during a six-year period. The team found that the study participants with high social integration at the start of the study encountered slower rates of memory decline over time, as compared to the less socially integrated subjects. Memory among the least socially integrated declined at twice the rate as that of the most socially integrated.

Among men, social activity in midlife may slash the risk of dementia. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland, USA) studied 147 male twin pairs for 28 years. Among the twins, those who participated in social activities at home, visited with family and friends, and engaged in club activities and hobbies were less apt to develop dementia.

Be sure to stay in-touch with loved ones on a regular basis. Your network of family and friends not only provides moral support and encouragement, it might also help delay a declining memory.

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