Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Stand up for health’s sake

Sitting down for just two hours can significantly increase your blood pressure.

Sitting is linked to increased risk of disease of the heart and circulatory system and it doesn’t matter if you exercise it’s the sitting that is the problem.

Blood pressure was statistically significantly elevated after two- and four-hour bouts of sitting in healthy older adults” according to scientists at Birmingham University’s school of sport, exercise and rehabilitation.

Sitting for less than two hours is significantly safer so getting up and walking around can reduce the risk.

Although the research focused on the over-70s it’s the same across all age ranges.

The American Cancer Society reported last year that people sitting for more than 6 hours a day had a 19% higher death rate than those who spent less than 3 hours seated.

Research at Liverpool John Moores University showed that prolonged sitting slows blood flow to the brain and may raise the risk of dementia.

So overall it’s clear that sitting damages health. “There is growing evidence supporting the longer-term health effects of prolonged sedentary behaviour across the life course” said the researcher at Birmingham who presented these results  at the British Science Association’s annual meeting last week.

It is important to make people aware that they need to try and reduce sitting time as well as going to the gym” she added.

So get up off your bums for you health’s sake!

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Daytime naps maybe not so beneficial

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line_figure_sleep_desk_1600_clr_10066Although many people have extolled the virtues of day-time naps (not to mention siestas) including famously Winston Churchill, experts are now suggesting that people who do so are at greater risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

Feeling sleepy in the day may be a warning of metabolic syndrome,a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess fat round the waist, and high blood sugar.

This condition is thought to affect 15 million people in the UK who are at risk of developing more serious conditions and having a sleep for 40 minutes during the day increases the risk and if you sleep for 90 minutes the risk increases by 50% according to research by Dr Tomohide Yamada at the University of Tokyo.

The research supports guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation that naps of 20-30 minutes increase alertness.

I remember reading somewhere…

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Many Brits couldn’t run for a bus

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typical_day_bus_stop_500_clr_15648A British Heart Foundation (BHF) survey has found that almost half of all women and over 40% of men would be breathless running to catch a bus.

However its survey of 2,000 adults found that almost half of the people questioned said they could run half a mile although 1 in 5 said they could only manage 100 yards.

38% said they weren’t up to joining a gym and 28% thought running was for those who were already fit.

The BHF said that heart and circulatory disease  affects 7 million people in the UK and is responsible for over 150,000 deaths a year.

That’s one person dying every 3 minutes!

The charity is launching a new campaign next month called MyMarathon which urges people to run the length of a marathon – 26.2 miles – over a month. Check out details here.

Keeping physically active is one of the…

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Loneliness bad for your health

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P1000496Loneliness can increase the risk of heart disease by a third and should be treated as seriously as smoking and obesity.

That’s according to researchers at the University of York. And the risk might be even higher if  loneliness leads to inactivity and a poor diet.

A million older people in Britain say they are chronically lonely. A figure that is expected to rise by 600,000 in the next twenty years.

Other studies have shown that lonely people are 50% more likely to die early, a similar risk to drinking and smoking.

Dr Victoria Valtorta, who led the research, said “What it doesn’t tell you is whether people are at greater risk of developing disease or if people who are ill are less likely to recover if they’re lonely”

She analysed 23 studies involving 180,000 people and concluded that lonely people were also more likely to get heart disease…

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