• Categories

  • Syndicate

  • Archives

Something For Everyone

Posted by wmagnus On December - 2 - 2009

In 1962 when Zero Mostel first appeared at the Alvin Theater on Broadway and performed the opening lines of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, arguably Stephen Sondheim‘s best work, he never imagined that we would today hijack the first lines of “Comedy Tonight” as the title for a blog post. That is, however, exactly what has happened. It turns out that exercise is good for almost everyone. The National Academy of Science has published in their online proceedings two significant studies regarding cardiovascular fitness. Both studies reveal important exercise benefits and associations, one for youth on the rise the other for older adults with significant disease. “Tragedy tomorrow! Comedy Tonight!”

For the young: The National Academy of Sciences has published a study from a group of international researchers that shows that fitness in youth was associated with higher cognitive function later in life. Specifically, male subjects with greater cardiovascular fitness between 15 and 18 years of age exhibited significantly greater intelligence scores than subjects with decreased cardiovascular fitness. This news may be unsettling to the high school nerds that I grew up with, but it’s also not entirely surprising. The researchers do point out that it’s not completely clear whether the growth factors released by exercise result in higher IQs or whether smarter people exercise more.

For the old: Doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have in next week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published their findings with regard to Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). They found that it’s never too late to push cardiovascular fitness. Patients with PAD, whose vessels are already heavily damaged and diseased do much better with exercise. Why? It turns out that exercise definitely causes angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels so that blood can flow around the damaged, diseased vessels and reach tissue to keep it healthy.

Her Take: PAD is a serious disease, most often seen in diabetics and older individuals. It is painful because there is reduced bloodflow to working muscles. While patients should seek the advice of their physician before beginning an exercise program, general exercise guidelines for PAD patients include daily workouts with frequent rest periods, starting with low-impact non-weightbearing activities, avoiding workouts in cold air or water, paying close attention to their feet, close supervision by a professional, and walking as much as is tolerable.

Comments are closed.