Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we look at a surprising factor in feeling younger, how sitting takes a toll on your cognitive health, how watching “Keeping Up with Kardashians” makes you less generous, and why longer workouts aren’t always better.
Could control freaks be on to something?
A surprising new factor has emerged in determining just how youthful older adults feel, which could, experts say, help them live longer. Research presented recently at the American Psychological Association convention and published in Time Health showed a link between older adults’ sense of control over their lives and a sense of feeling younger.
For nine days, the study’s participants were tracked on a number of measures, including how old they felt and how in control they were that day. Adults aged 60 to 90 showed a bigger correlation between a feeling of control and youth than those aged 18 to 36. Study author Jennifer Bellingtier of Friedrich Schiller University in Germany says this feeling of control may boost mental health, providing a greater feeling of accomplishment, which may help them make healthier choices.
Other research presented at the convention showed that physical activity—specifically walking—was associated with a lower subjective age or more youthful feeling among adults aged 35 to 69. Social interaction also has been proved to make people feel younger. (Maybe it’s time to get those weekly walks with a friend back on your calendar?)
Here’s why you need to take a break every 30 minutes
Most of us have heard that sitting is the new smoking. But why is that, and what can you do about it? A new study of office workers from Liverpool John Moores University in England, discussed in this New York Times article, found that sitting for hours without moving can slow the flow of blood to the brain.
Why is this blood flow so important? Brain cells need the nutrients and oxygen that blood provides, and even short-term drops in flow can cause clouded thinking and memory. Longer-term declines are linked to neurodegenerative diseases and dementia.
The good news is that getting up and walking for just two minutes every half-hour appears to prevent this reduction in brain blood flow and may even increase it. So set that timer on your computer or smartphone to interrupt you for breaks every half-hour, and take a spin around the office or down the hall to the restroom.
The chilling Kardashian effect
Watching materialistic shows such as “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” for as little as 60 seconds may make you more coldhearted and less sympathetic for the poor, new research finds.
The study, from the London School of Economics (LSE), found that exposure to “materialistic media” like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “The Apprentice,” glamorizing fame, luxury and wealth accumulation, stokes anti-welfare and materialistic sentiments, according to The Telegraph. And those sentiments only increased with the amount of time people spent watching these shows.
While all humans are inherently materialistic, says Rodolfo Leyva, Ph.D., of LSE’s Department of Media and Communications, we’re also very communal and social. However, when culture shifts to viewing materialism as a path to happiness, he says, it also encourages us to be more selfish and anti-social, and therefore more unsympathetic to the plight of others.
Longer workouts aren’t better for your mental health
A new study published in The Lancet found that 30 to 60 minutes of exercise every other day appeared to be optimal for good mental health. But that feel-good effect didn’t increase along with time logged on the treadmill, according to this post from Harper’s Bazaar. In fact, those exercising for more than 90 minutes at a time or more than 23 times a month reported worse mental health. Experts recommend avoiding mental and physical burnout by taking rest days.
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