15 August 2016

What everyone needs to know from the latest lifestyle research files – the top 7

Sitting around too much proves to be a major health hazard. Just as lethal as smoking. Twice the health risk of being obese. New research tells us what exercise will offset the risks. And everyone needs to know the 2 simple lifestyle changes that could reduce our risk of developing cancer by up to 60%. And what to eat to reduce depression by 20%.

So this week, all these answers and more as part of bringing to you the top 7 hottest pieces of recent lifestyle based research. All to coincide with the talks I am giving currently in Cairns (done), Brisbane (18th and 21st) and Sydney (23rd). Plus news of the latest updates for the Meditation Gateway app and details of coming retreats, but first

                Thought for the day

Ram Dass tells of a student who went to a Zen master.

"What can you tell me about death?" the student asked.

"Nothing," the other replied. 
"I'm a Zen master. Not a dead Zen master."

                         Stephan Rechtschaffen 

The top 7 latest lifestyle based research articles

1. One Hour of Activity Offsets Risks From 8 Hours of Sitting

We have all heard by now of the dangers of too much sitting, but for those of us with sedentary jobs, there is now good news — an hour of moderate-intensity activity offsets the health risks of 8 hours of sitting.

Physical inactivity is well established to be a major health hazard associated with a modern, sedentary lifestyle. Excess sitting is claimed to lead to 5.3 million premature deaths annually worldwide, which is as many as caused by smoking and twice as many as associated with obesity.

This latest information is based upon a meta-analysis of trials involving more than 1 million individuals, and published in The Lancet. It found that the health risks of sitting for 8 hours a day can be offset by 1 hour of moderate-intensity activity, which includes brisk walking (at 5.6 km/h) or cycling for pleasure (at 16 km/h).

Also to note, even shorter periods of activity (about 25 to 25 minutes per day, which is the amount often recommended in public health guidelines) attenuated the mortality risks associated with prolonged sitting. But as the amount of physical activity decreased, the risk for premature death increased.

At present, the biological mechanisms behind these findings are unclear, but work in animal studies suggests that inactivity is linked to a decreased production of certain hormones.

Also, if you do need to sit for prolonged periods, you will benefit from breaking up those periods with short bursts of activity, such as walking for 5 minutes every hour.

Ekelund E et al. Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonised meta-analysis of data from more than 1 million men and women. Lancet. Published online July 27, 2016

What would help you to exercise regularly? 
Thought of getting a dog?
Get a kelpie. If you do not exercise that very regularly, it will eat your house!

2. Is exercise all in the mind?
Well, yes, it seems exercise does more good if you believe it will. Remarkable earlier research has shown that people who exercise in their minds – imagine themselves working out at the gym – actually do get fitter and stronger, without actually going to the gym!

This latest research established that the more people believed the exercise they were doing was doing them good, the more benefit they received both psychologically (more enjoyment, mood increase, and anxiety reduction) and neuro-physiologically. It was also demonstrated that a negative expectation also diminished the effect.

Reference:  Mothes, H et al. Expectations affect psychological and neurophysiological benefits even after a single bout of exercise. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 2016; DOI: 10.1007/s10865-016-9781-3  Published online Online: 9 August 2016

How amazing is this active mind of ours, with its conscious and unconscious powers?
Want to get the best out of it?
Have you read The Mind that Changes Everything?
It has 48 techniques to train the mind. LINK HERE

3. Do dietary factors play a significant role in the development of depression? 

Perhaps surprisingly to some, previous research has established this to be so.

Now, new Australian researched has examined the association between the dietary inflammatory
index (DII), which was developed specifically to measure the inflammatory potential of diet, and the risk of depression in the middle-aged women. A total of 6438 women with a mean age of 52 years at baseline were followed-up at five surveys over 12 years (2001–2013) – as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health.

Women with the most anti-inflammatory diet had an approximately 20 % lower risk of developing depression compared with women with the most pro-inflammatory diet.

Shivappa, N et al. Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. British Journal of Nutrition, Published online: 08 August 2016

What is an anti-inflammatory diet? Plant –based whole foods of course.
The details are all in You Can Conquer Cancer.
What is pro-inflammatory? Meat, dairy, saturated fats, processed food – of course.
What else is powerfully anti-inflammatory? Meditation of course. And exercise. And a good laugh. And gratitude. And helping others… and so on

4. Being obese shrinks the brain – but it may well be reversible
Obesity linked to brain atrophy and 10 years of premature aging.

From middle-age, the brains of obese individuals display differences in white matter similar to those in lean individuals ten years their senior, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge. White matter is the tissue that connects areas of the brain and allows for information to be communicated between regions.

Researchers discovered that an overweight person at 50 had a comparable white matter volume to a lean person aged 60, implying a difference in brain age of 10 years.

Strikingly, however, the researchers only observed this neuro-degeneration from middle-age onwards, suggesting that our brains may be particularly vulnerable during this period of ageing. They added “It will be important to find out whether these changes could be reversible with weight loss, which may well be the case”.

Ronan, L et al. Obesity associated with increased brain-age from mid-life. Neurobiology of Aging; e-pub 27 July 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2016.07.010

The obese are copping it from all directions.
Hardly a day goes by without new problems being identified with obesity.
Loosing weight makes obvious sense yet many find it difficult.
Here are the two things I have found to be most useful :

i) Mindful eating
Check it out via this Blog on how to eat mindfully

ii) The Five Two Diet
I know many people, including Ruth, who have used this partial fasting approach with great benefit. Check out this good introduction, CLICK HERE

5. Being creative eases stress as measured by cortisol levels.
Perhaps a little obvious this one, but still nice confirmation. The higher a person’s cortisol level, the
more stressed a person is likely to be. In this study 45 minutes of art-making was found to significantly lower cortisol levels.

Participants' written responses indicated that they found the art-making session to be relaxing, enjoyable, helpful for learning about new aspects of self, freeing from constraints, an evolving process of initial struggle to later resolution, and about flow/losing themselves in the work. There were no significant differences in outcomes based on prior experiences with art making, media choice, or gender.

Kaimal G et al, Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants' Responses Following Art Making.
Art Therapy Vol 33, 2, 74-78, 2016


Easy really – be creative; find an outlet..

What did you enjoy in days gone by?

Why not take it up again?

Or be brave and try something new….

6. Cancer is increasing dramatically in the elderly 
Researchers from the national Cancer Institute of the USA estimate that in 2040, survivors (those living with cancer) aged 65 to 74 years will account for 24% of all survivors; those 75 to 84 years old, 31%; and those 85 years or older, 18%.

In other words, by 2040, 73% of survivors will be age 65 and older. Remarkably, in that year, just 18% of survivors will be age 50 to 64 years and only 8% will be younger than 50 years old.

These estimates reflect huge changes when compared with figures from 1975.
There is a 6-fold increase in cancer for those age 65 to 74 years,
a 10-fold increase for those age 75 to 84 years,
and a 17-fold increase for those age 85 years or older.

In this study, researchers used data from the US Census Bureau and cancer incidence and survival numbers from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program.

Bluethmann et al. Anticipating the “Silver Tsunami”: Prevalence Trajectories and Comorbidity Burden among Older Cancer Survivors in the United States   Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev July 2016 25; 1029

This are dramatic changes. Dramatic.
What do they say about current lifestyles? Nothing flattering!
The good news?
 Cancer is highly preventable.
The bad news?
 It seems many are not looking after themselves and are setting themselves up for a very tough old age.

7. Nutrition and exercise may prevent up to 60% of cancers

Many studies have reported that adherence to health promotion guidelines for diet, physical activity,
and maintenance of healthy body weight may decrease cancer incidence and mortality.

In this major study, a systematic review was performed that involved searching PubMed, Google Scholar, and Cochrane Reviews databases. High versus low adherence to established nutrition and physical activity cancer prevention guidelines was consistently and significantly associated with decreases of 10% to 61% in overall cancer incidence and mortality.

The researchers concluded that adhering to cancer prevention guidelines for diet and physical activity is consistently associated with lower risks of overall cancer incidence and mortality.

Kohler LN et al. Adherence to Diet and Physical Activity Cancer Prevention Guidelines and Cancer Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 25(7); 1018–28. 

While this is another good piece of confirmatory research, surely we all know this by now.
Want to reduce your cancer risk dramatically, along with that of your family?
Simple solution … Eat good food most of the time and exercise regularly.
What constitutes good food? All the details are in You Can Conquer Cancer – and remember, the very best way to treat cancer, is to prevent it.

And if you want to be really thorough, throw in regular meditation as well.

Take all this to heart - and welcome to a happy, healthy old age!


In response to feedback from our early public users, there is now a free 10day trial period available for using the app, you can sign up for a month or longer periods as you like (many said they would rather join for longer), and we have improved the intuitive functionality of the app even more.

Access all my meditations via app, and then do things like customise your own sessions.

Go to the Meditation Gateway in the iTunes App Store - LINK HERE, download the app and then select which voice you prefer - mine, Ruth's or an American or Indian accent.

Happy meditating.


Brisbane - Cancer Choices - Thursday 18th August

When faced with cancer, there are many choices to make. It is easy to be confused and maybe miss something crucial. Good decision-making can be learnt.
Ian reveals key strategies for gathering accurate information and then using the intellect and our intuition to decide what is appropriate for us.

Date      Thursday, August 18th, 2016 from 7pm (arrive 6.30) to 10pm
Venue   The Relaxation Centre of Queensland, 15 South Pine Rd, Alderley      
Enquiries and Bookings   The Relaxation Centre   Telephone  07 3856 3733

Brisbane - Meditation, Stillness and Bliss - Sunday 21st August 
Stillness and bliss are genuine experiences in meditation. They are deeply comforting, deeply reassuring; quite wonderful to encounter.
During this highly experiential workshop, Ian will guide you into experiences that could well transform your meditation practice, and maybe even your life.

Date        Sunday, August 21st, 2016 from 10am (arrive 9.30) to 4pm
Venue     The Relaxation Centre, 15 South Pine Rd, Alderley, Brisbane
Enquiries and Bookings    The Relaxation Centre  Telephone  07 3856 3733

Sydney - Feed Your Body, Free Your Mind with Greg Fitzgerald  - Tuesday 23rd August

Today, it is more common than not to hear people complain that they simply do not feel well and that they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.
This evening comes as the first of two seminars separated by 21 days designed by Greg and Dawn Fitzgerald to help you turn your health around and head into Spring and Summer with the energy, health and peace of mind which is your birthright.

Date          Tuesday the 23rd of August, 2016, 7-10pm;
Venue       Dolton House, 223 Belgrave Esplanade, Sylvania Waters,  South Sydney
Bookings and enquiries   Book online at www.healthforlife.com.au 
                                                                         or phone Dawn on 95401962 or 0424246847

Ruth and I will personally lead a 7 day meditation retreat in New Zealand in October; next Aussie one, April 2017 in the Yarra Valley.

Meditation teacher training in the Yarra Valley in October.

Specific cancer residential programs – 8 days In Wanaka New Zealand in November; 5 days in the Yarra Valley in November.


1 comment:

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