As kids, we were proud of our stamp collections, drawing, paintings or music skills that we would put it on display every time someone comes to our homes. Apart from studies and school almost most of us were enrolled in some hobby class which would mostly be our mother’s choice! Singing, chess, drawing, dance or some sport were the major picks for a hobby class a decade back. Though the trend continues until now we do have newer ones such as skating, abacus, foreign languages and more to put us in a whirlwind of confusion ultimately. What started as a hobby for some becomes their primary profession too later in life! It is during these times that we thank our parents who were once branded as being dictators torturing us and taking away our independence! More than being a pastime and an art form do you know that engaging in a hobby daily helps in the long term in postponing/reducing the risk of dementia? Its not only arts and crafts but even a movie with friends, concerts, travel, book clubs, surfing the net, playing games and even online shopping that helps but at a closer look it is seen that arts-related hobbies ensure maximum benefits!
Our schools focus on core subjects but also make one or two languages compulsory apart from the medium of communication based on the board of the school. Regional languages are compulsory second languages in most schools while the third language becomes one of our choice. But once out of school language disappears from our curriculum as we are stuck up with our core subjects! Still, arts degrees offer a second language even during college years. Also, there are some who are passionate about learning new languages and go to the extent of learning even three or four of them. Today, it’s become a fashion or even a passion to learn languages such as French, German or Russian as they provide excellent job opportunities within and outside the country. Besides these benefits, we have studies showing that learning a second language and being multilingual improves cognitive skills and delays the onset of dementia. The onset of certain types of dementia is delayed by as much as five years for bilingual people as they have a cognitive reserve that delays the onset. Language must be a part of the curriculum from the child’s fifth year until he/she completes college. Studies show that bilingual children who use their second language skills regularly are better at prioritizing tasks and multitasking compared to monolingual children (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/feb/18/bilingual-alzheimers-brain-power-multitasking). The executive control system is a critical area of the brain and though this deteriorates with ageing its been found that being bilingual keeps the person functioning better at every stage of life as it boosts brain performance. There is a constant stimulation in the brain which helps in building a cognitive reserve and this exists as a major reason for delaying onset of dementia.
Earlier, parents were always suggested to speak in one language to their kids as this would minimize confusion and allow them to master the language before moving on to another one. Even doctors suggested the same while nurturing small kids. It was believed that learning multiple languages confuses the brain and they face difficulties mastering either completely. But now we have found that multilingualism is not only better for improved brain performance but also stalls dementia onset. Bilinguals outperform monolinguals in selective attention, multitasking, processing new instructions and following them and performing concept-formation tasks. But they do also take time to retrieve words from memory. If you ponder, the world has got a greater number of bilinguals than monolinguals which shows that most of us are at a decreased risk of dementia. While we know that the risk is low, we still can’t answer the question of ‘why’.
Being socially active or outspoken too helps in lowering the risk of dementia-while this has been insisted upon, we do not have definite results supporting it. But those who spend time speaking to others and lead active social lives are healthier than those staying locked up inside the house. So, we don’t know whether being socially active prevents dementia or those who don’t have dementia are more socially active.
Embrace brain-stimulating activities and hobbies to delay/prevent dementia risks. We do have artists, multilinguals and actors who are down with dementia despite study results showing such benefits. But the trick here is that engaging in such activities does invoke pleasure in your mind, keeps you busy and helps you stay happy. Who knows, maybe these people have better quality of life with dementia compared to rest or are struck by this illness only during later years of life.
earning a language is never going to be a waste-learn it!
Doing pottery or craft is never going to decay-do it!
Being socially active is never going to spoil your mood-be active!
Students Should Learn Second Language to Prevent Dementia in Later Life: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/12156709/Students-should-learn-second-language-to-prevent-dementia-in-later-life.html
Can Learning a Foreign Language Prevent Dementia: https://time.com/5629779/learning-language-dementia/
Which Hobbies Help an Ageing Brain? https://www.cbsnews.com/news/which-hobbies-help-an-aging-brain/
Hitting the gym to get fit maybe an outdated practice as many individuals are now in love with the sauna to become fitter and grow healthy. Sweating has been the golden rule since olden days believed to shower good health and used for religious ceremonies too. Many countries have their own way of using heat for relaxation and saunas have been in practice for over thousands of years in Finland. Basically, a Finnish sauna is extremely dry, humidity is low and the dry heat generated by the temperature control has profound effects on the human body. The individual sitting inside the sauna room starts to sweat almost immediately after the session starts, skin temperature soars to about 104˚ in a few minutes. Body temperature too rises (but slowly) but it’s the heart’s response to heat that’s more important. Pulse rate increases by 30% and the amount of blood pumped by the heart almost doubles every minute. Most of the excess blood pumped is directed at the skin and away from the internal organs and everything together causes a rise and fall in blood pressure. Earlier it was believed that sauna sessions cause a fall in BP levels and people with heart problems or BP issues are advised against sauna sessions as much further dips in blood pressure can result in fainting.
One thing that’s important is to understand the difference between the acute effects of a sauna session and the effects that are visible during the rest period after the sauna session. One group of scientists decided to note the immediate effects of sauna use on the cardiovascular system. 19 participants were recruited for the study and all of them were exposed to 25 minutes of sauna session while having their blood pressure and heart rate checked. BP and heart rate rose immediately during the sauna visit and dropped below baseline levels that were seen before the start of the sauna session.
The same participants were also requested to undertake a short exercise program on an exercise bike during which each of their blood pressure and heart rates were measured. Comparing the numbers, the researchers found that the participants’ blood pressure and heart rate levels measured during exercising were almost same to the measurements that were noted down during the sauna session. This made them conclude that sauna sessions did pose a burden to the body of an individual. Hence, saunas can be used by those who can tolerate certain amount of stress without feeling much discomfort and those with blood pressure must be cautious as their blood pressure levels might drop further below the levels that were seen before getting into the sauna.
We do have previous studies showing that sauna sessions do have effective benefits over the body in the form of lower blood pressure, decreased risk of heart disease and better well-being which are all assumed to be due to the increase in blood flow and heart rate that happens during the session. Sauna is indeed physical strain over the body and the sweating too is heavy. But if you think that sitting inside a sauna is going to help you lose weight please don’t come to hasty conclusions. The sweating is healthy but it’s not good enough for weight loss as there is no muscle activity. In fact, it is advisable to rehydrate after a sauna session to replenish lost liquid stores of your body. For more details about sauna, its pros and cons, who can use it, who are the people advised to avoid it and ultimately, what would be the effect on those undergoing the session please visit www.firsteatright.com.
While positive effects are indeed true it is always better to consult a physician before hitting the sauna to ensure that it’s alright for your body to experience the high temperature and the dryness that goes with the session. Also, nothing can substitute the benefits of exercising. Don’t forego physical activity to involve yourself in a sauna tub but only take it alongside exercise to reap benefits.
Enjoy your work and the office becomes a heavenly abode. Despise your office job and there is no room for enjoyment but only a buildup of stress that takes a toll on your mental and physical well-being. Employees look forward to getting help from their employers to deal with stressful situations-be it meeting deadlines, dealing with resentment from subordinates or other such issues. But a new report comes with one of the most disappointing facts that most workplaces don’t offer programs that help employees come out of the workplace stress. The study mainly focused on resilience programs at work.
Stress is a Trigger Factor for Unhealthy Indulgence
People are not themselves in times of stress and resort to several unusual behaviors to get out of the stressful situation. It might be smoking, drinking excessive alcohol or even binge eating to forget about their worries and go on with life. What they don’t realize is that such irrational behavior can land them in greater troubles increasing the risk of stroke, heart disease and other health problems. Despite controlling factors such as obesity and smoking stress has proved to be a great trigger for heart attack.
The study analyzed that employees benefited greatly when resilience programs were offered by their employers. Such programs improved their health and overall satisfaction of the employee too. Another study showed that several employees felt their job to be the main hindrance for good health and some felt that they felt stressed constantly due to their job profiles. One reason for several employees quoting stress at work is due to the growing demands of companies in terms of quality and quantity of work. Many organizations cut down workforce as a result of cost cutting and burden the few employees with more work which automatically shoots up the employees’ stress levels. This is especially true in the case of youngsters who spend most of their time at work burdened with the responsibility of growing up and reaching a good position in life. Millennials are the affected lot as they wish to balance their work and family life equally not ready to forgo either.
Resistance training is the best solution for improving an employee’s mental and physical health which in turn help to improve performance at work. How people feel about their health plays a critical role in determining success of their output at work and elsewhere too. When an employee is happy and healthy, he/she is motivated to work and bring about outputs but when the same is unwell both mentally and physically the chances of reaping greater benefits at work is minimal. So, apart from delegating work and seeing to compensation benefits it’s an employer’s equal responsibility to keep his/her employees free of stress and take steps to ensure that they enjoy working for the company. Meditation and yoga are great ways to reduce stress but there are quite a few other innovative ways explained at www.firsteatright.com in which individuals can minimize
in normal scenarios when the pregnant lady is healthy without complications. Most of the deliveries previously were of this kind and a Cesarean section delivery was almost unheard of. But nowadays, women suffer from every other complication during her pregnancy tenure and physicians are pressurized to take utmost precaution to deliver a healthy baby and enable the survival of a healthy mom.
Being overdue (absence of labor beyond 42 weeks of pregnancy) poses dangerous consequences to the baby comparatively and might require the intervention of a C section. When there are no such complications it is hard to determine when the mom-baby duo have crossed their pregnancy deadline, but physicians do induce labor after a designated period to avoid any problems. This induction of labor has to be precise and beneficial for the mother and the baby outnumbering the risks involved in inducing labor.
When Pain is Blissful
Humans fear pain and try to stay away from any mental/physical pain as much as possible generally. The only situation in which humans wish to have pain is during labor without which a quick delivery is not possible. When natural labor pain doesn’t set within the safe pregnancy tenure, physicians go about inducing pain. There have been conflicting opinions and insights into such artificially induced labor pain. Amongst all this controversy a new study has come up with the fact that inducing labor after full term (39 weeks) when natural labor doesn’t set by then does not enhance health risk of the newborn baby.
There are many unanswered questions enveloped in our minds regarding pregnancy and childbirth but if one remembers that every act of nature has solid logical reasoning behind its existence we would surely lead happier, satisfied and more peaceful lives. One such grand act of nature is the pregnancy tenure of 39 weeks that’s been pre-decided for every conceiving woman. Science suggests that the developing fetus ought to reside inside the womb for a full 39 weeks to ensure complete development of the baby. Lungs and liver develop until the very end of pregnancy and the baby’s brain too almost doubles in size during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Once the baby is ready to come out, labor pain sets in. Only when this doesn’t happen we think of all other artificial methods of inducing labor and delivering the baby.
Inducing Pain Conducive for Delivery
Earlier research showed that inducing labor pain (reasons might be due to medical conditions, completion of full-term or due to requisition of the pregnant mother) before 39 weeks of pregnancy carries serious health consequences along with it. This sparked researchers’ curiosity which made them question whether inducing labor at full term also puts the baby at a grave health risk and increases the chances of a C-section delivery.
More than 6,000 first-time moms-to-be were engaged in the study that wanted to know the results of inducing labor at 39 weeks of pregnancy. Physicians have generally avoided this process as it has been believed that such artificially induction of pain paved way for Caesarian delivery. Women who deliver once by C-section are likelier to deliver babies this way which further ups the complications risk. Participants were assigned into two groups randomly where one group waited for natural labor and the other group were induced at 39 weeks.
Study results showed that inducing labor curbed the need for a C-section for every 28 deliveries (rates dropped from 22% to 19%) and those women who chose to induce labor at 39 weeks delivered nearly one week earlier than women who chose to wait for natural labor. The two groups of babies displayed similar survival rates and were also at the same risk for health problems. This study clearly proves that inducing labor at 39 weeks is as safe as natural labor and even carries with it a couple of other advantages as well-these women were at a reduced risk of preeclampsia and newborn babies were less likely to suffer from respiratory distress. Know more about preeclampsia and its severe impact on the pregnant mother from the website www.firsteatright.com. These positive results remained the same across the study population irrespective of the woman’s age, ethnicity and BMI value.
But this does not bring us anywhere close to the conclusion that inducing labor should be the routine way for delivery. This can be considered a vital option after discussing with the physician and chosen based on the pros and cons involved.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.