staying active

  1. Slash prostate risk by getting healthy and active

    Healthy and active men have lower prostate risk

    Prostate tumors are far more common than most people realize -- and many of them are harmless.

    They don't need to be screened, treated, or removed.

    But some tumors really can put you in a battle for your life -- and there's one easy way to help make sure you don't get one of those.

    And all you have to do is get moving, staying healthy and active.

    The sedentary lifestyle is a known carcinogen, and new research confirms that men who spend the most time off their feet not only have a higher risk of prostate cancer, but a higher risk of aggressive and potentially deadly tumors.

    The key to making sure you're not one of them is getting between nine and 18 hours of activity a week. Not exercise (although you'll want some of that, too), but hours where you're simply up being healthy and active instead of parked in a chair.

    In the new study, men with suspected prostate tumors who got this basic level of activity were 53 percent less likely to have actual tumors. And when tumors were found, they were less likely to be among the men with high-grade tumors.

    The only "catch" here is that the benefit was only found among white men -- and not at all among black men. But don't let your own race, background, or gender stand in the way of fitness, because other studies have shown how everyone can benefit from staying healthy and active.

    Regular exercise has been shown to slash to risk of cancers of the colon, breast, lung, and more -- and fitness can help increase your chances of survival if you do get any of these diseases.

    Throw in all the other benefits of fitness -- from weight loss to heart protection -- and I'd say it's time to stop sitting and start moving.

    I'll have more on another way men and women alike can slash the risk of cancer tomorrow. It's simple... it's easy... it's free... and I can guarantee you that some people won't like it.

    Stay tuned!

  2. Staying strong by staying active

    There are plenty of good reasons to stay active as you age, and volunteering is a great way to do that.

    Researchers tracked more than 1,000 men and women in their 70s for three years — all of whom were reasonably high functioning at the start. Twenty-eight percent of these seniors did volunteer work, 25 percent had child-care duties, and 19 percent had jobs. There was quite a bit of overlap as some seniors did more than one of those activities, while 45 percent of them did none of those things.

    After three years, the researchers found that working and child-care didn't prevent against becoming frail, while those who volunteered seemed to be less frail.

    Now, I'm all for volunteering – just don't do it based on the results of this study.

    For starters, it was an observational study, which is just about the weakest form of research. These studies are sometimes useful for spotting trends, or even finding areas worthy of more research – but they're not especially good at determining cause and effect, as the researchers involved in this project readily admit.

    But what really weakens the study is this: The researchers said their results could have been different simply by tweaking the definition of "frail." They also said their study indicates that everything from religion to "a strong sense of personal mastery" may play a role in avoiding frailty.

    In other words, they're not really sure what the connection is, how strong it is, or even what it means to be "frail."

    Let's just leave it at this: Whether or not volunteering prevents you from withering away, it's still a great way to stay active and engaged, which can help you live better. Last year, a study even found that seniors who volunteer may live longer – and that sounds like a pretty good reason to me.

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