Thursday, February 11, 2010

TV watching may be harmful to your health.

Two recent studies emphasize the importance of fitness for brain health.

In one of the studies, published earlier this month in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 8,800 people who were 25 and older were followed for six and a half years. The study found that each hour of television they watched daily was associated with an 18 percent increase in deaths from heart disease and an 11 percent increase in mortality rates overall.

In the second study, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, 155 women ages 65 to 75 were put into one of two groups: one did strength training with dumbbells and weight machines once or twice a week; the other (the control group) did balance and toning exercises. A year later, the study showed that the women who had done strength training had improved their performance on tests of what researchers call “executive function”–cognitive skills like planning, making decisions, and completing a task without getting distracted.

The studies seem to indicate that regardless of weight, physical activity can improve general health.