Every week we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, how many weekly workouts are best for heart health, the right workout to fight depression, and why yes, you can catch up on sleep on the weekends.
Is there a magic number for heart-healthy exercise?
New research published in the Journal of Physiology has pinpointed the optimum number of workouts each week to fight the age-related stiffening of arteries associated with heart disease.
The study found that varying amounts of weekly exercise had different effects on different-sized arteries, with medium-sized arteries, which supply oxygenated blood to the head and neck, needing just two to three 30-minute workouts each week to stay youthful. Larger central arteries, which supply the chest and abdomen, needed four to five half-hour sweat sessions to slow down this type of aging.
“This work is really exciting because it enables us to develop exercise programs to keep the heart youthful and even turn back time on older hearts and blood vessels,” one of the researchers said in a statement.
And that’s a big deal, says Quartz, because more than 610,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. each year—accounting for about 25 percent of total deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, more than 735,000 Americans have a heart attack and 28 percent of those are a second heart attack.
The best workout to fight depression
While all movement boosts mood, one type of movement in particular is better at dealing with depression, according to a new paper published in JAMA Psychiatry and summarized in Time.
The research, which reviewed 33 previous clinical trials, found that resistance exercise training (RET), such as weightlifting and other strength training, was associated with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms, in addition to other benefits like boosting bone density and staving off other chronic diseases.
There’s still not enough information to show the exact cause of strength training’s anti-depressant effect, but other research suggests that, by increasing blood flow to the brain, movement can change the structure and function of the brain, create new brain cells and trigger the release of mood-enhancing chemicals like endorphins.
Yes, you can catch up on sleep on weekends
Good news for those who like to binge-watch Netflix during the week and sleep in until brunch on Saturdays: Turns out, you can make up for lack of sleep during the week with a weekend snoozefest.
Previous research showed that people who slept for five hours or less each night did not live as long as those who slumbered for at least seven hours. But a new long-term study by the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, written about by the Washington Post and published in the Journal of Sleep Research, found that weekend snoozers lived just as long as the consistently well-slept.
Of the 38,000 Swedes studied over 13 years, those who slept for fewer than the recommended seven hours each weekday, but caught an extra hour or two on weekends, lived just as long as people who always slept seven hours, the authors reported.
Seven reasons not to compliment someone on their weight loss
While it certainly seems kind, there are some very good reasons why this compliment is a bad idea.
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