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Oct 20

Taylor Swifts Music to Be Featured in Apple Fitness Workout Programs: Get Ready to Sweat, Swifties – Billboard

Theres never been a better time for a Swifties to start their fitness journeys. In a Thursday (Oct. 13) Instagram post, Apple Fitness+ announced that its newest set of exercise programs will be designed around the music of Taylor Swift, featuring songs specially curated for yoga, treadmill and HIIT workouts.

In the post, Apple unveiled its three new workout programs by recreating the cover of Midnights, Swifts tenth studio record due out Oct. 21, along with two of the albums special edition covers. Each version of the pop stars album features a different photo on the cover; in one of them, she leans backward on a piano bench, her right knee bent.

In Apples version, titled Yoga with Jonelle, the cover instead features an instructor in almost the same position, lying on a yoga mat with her right knee held to her chest in a stretch. And in place of the Midnights tracklist, Apples take on the Midnights cover includes a workout playlist.

Get ready to sweat, Swifties, reads Apples caption, which does not reveal when the Tay-themed workouts will be released. In our next Artist Spotlight, you will be able to work out to the tunes of @taylorswift, including tracks from her monumental new album Midnights. Its time to #CloseYourRings and pre-add #TSMidnights on @applemusic now.

Swift songs new and old are featured on the playlists for Apples workouts which also include Treadmill with Scott and Hiit with Anja from her Fearless (Taylors Version) deep cut Breathe with Colbie Caillat to her Evermore fan favorite, Right Where You Left Me. There are several Midnights tracks scattered across the three workout playlists, but the exact titles arent yet revealed; instead Apple simply wrote TS Midnights Track in spots where songs from the upcoming album will go.

The 11-time Grammy winners partnership with the brand marks the latest of Apple Fitness Artist Spotlight series, which dedicates full workout playlists to a single artist. Previous workouts have featured music from Mary J. Blige, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Katy Perry, BTS and more.

See how Apple Fitness+ recreated the covers of Taylor Swifts Midnights for the platforms new Taylor Swift-themed workouts below:

See more here:
Taylor Swifts Music to Be Featured in Apple Fitness Workout Programs: Get Ready to Sweat, Swifties - Billboard


Oct 20

Willingness to pay for a group and an individual version of the Lifestyle-integrated Functional Exercise program from a participant perspective – BMC…

Study design and sample

Data was taken from the LiFE-is-LiFE study (registered on 12/03/2018 under clinicaltrials.gov, identifier: NCT03462654), a multi-center, two armed, single-blinded, randomized non-inferiority trial, including community-dwelling, German-speaking people aged70 years at risk of falling, who were able to ambulate 200m without personal assistance [10]. Participants were randomized to either LiFE or gLiFE. Data was obtained at three time points (baseline, 6 months, and 12 months). WTP was assessed at 12 months.

LiFE consisted of seven home visits (1h) where a trainer presented activities for balance, strength, and general physical activity, adapting the performance and uptake of the activities to the needs of the participants. The trainer gave instructions on how to independently execute these activities and helped in implementing these activities in an individual participants daily routine. In gLiFE, the program was taught by two trainers in seven sessions (2h) to groups of 8 to 12 participants. The intervention sessions followed a detailed curriculum as trainers were not able to adapt flexibly to each individuals preferences. In both intervention arms, the participants received 2 additional booster phone calls 4 and 10 weeks after the last intervention session. A detailed description of the interventions (including a TIDieR checklist) can be found in the study protocol [10]. The development of the conceptual gLiFE framework and a content analysis as well as a qualitative analysis of the acceptance of the two program versions were published separately [13,14,15].

Intervention costs for gLiFE and LiFE which incurred for the training sessions and booster phone calls were calculated as costs per participant based on personnel and material costs and travel expenses, assuming group sizes of 12 (scenario 1, base case), 10 (scenario 2), or 8 participants (scenario 3) in gLiFE. Assumptions underlying the calculation of different scenarios are presented in Table A1 (Additional file 1). For each scenario, the amount of costs from the participant perspective was derived by subtracting different hypothetical levels of subsidy (e.g., by a health insurer) of 0, 50, and 75.

Participants WTP was elicited using Payment Cards, which are commonly used for assessing WTP for healthcare interventions [16]. Using response categories from 0, 5, 10, 20 to more than 100, participants receiving LiFE or gLiFE were asked about the amount of money they would surely be willing to pay as well as the amount they would definitely not be willing to pay for one training session of the respective program. The WTP for one training session was determined as the mean between these two values, which was then multiplied by the number of training sessions to obtain the total WTP for the intervention.

The following sample characteristics were considered in the analyses: intervention group (gLiFE/LiFE), age, sex, marital status, net household income, health insurance status (statutory vs. private), number of chronic conditions, healthcare costs, baseline fall status (non-faller vs. faller in the previous 6 months), motivation to exercise, satisfaction with the program, and training frequency (number of LiFE activities performed per week) at 12-month follow-up.

For the calculation of healthcare costs, costs from inpatient and outpatient service utilization, as well as medication and formal care use in the previous 6 months before the baseline assessment were considered. Resource utilization was monetarily valued in Euro () based on standardized unit costs [17] and inflated to the year 2018 [18].

Motivation to exercise was measured based on the autonomous motivation score of the Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire (BREQ-3) [19], ranging from 0 to 4, with higher scores indicating higher motivation.

Satisfaction with the program was measured on a 5-point Likert scale (higher scores indicate higher satisfaction) and by a German school grade system using response categories from 1 (best grade) to 6 (worst grade).

The WTP was descriptively analyzed for persons with different sample characteristics for the total sample as well as for gLiFE and LiFE separately. Potential determinants of WTP were examined by linear regression models including the group variable (gLiFE/LiFE), sex, age, income, number of chronic conditions, healthcare costs, and motivation to exercise as independent variables. The mean net benefit from the participant perspective was calculated for different intervention scenarios (varying group sizes in gLiFE) and levels of subsidy by subtracting intervention costs from the WTP. The incremental net benefit of gLiFE over LiFE was determined by linear regression models adjusted for the potential determinants mentioned above.

Skewness of data was taken into account using a bootstrapped sample with n=1,000 replicates. All analyses were conducted using STATA/SE 16.0 [StataCorp. 2019. Stata Statistical Software: Release 16. College Station, TX: StataCorp LLC]. The significance level was set to 0.05.

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Willingness to pay for a group and an individual version of the Lifestyle-integrated Functional Exercise program from a participant perspective - BMC...


Oct 20

How to Start Exercising Again (And Stick With It!) – Better Living

When life gets hectic, exercise is usually one of the first things to fall to the sidelines. And Im no stranger to the fact that the longer you put it off, the more frustrating it can be to get back in the groove.

But, if at this very moment youre stressed, your energy stinks, your favorite jeans dont fit quite as comfortably as you remember, and you get winded halfway up a flight of stairs, it may be time to lace up those sneakers and get back in shape.

Theres nothing wrong with wanting to tone up and drop some unwanted pounds.

But making exercise and living an active lifestyle can do so many other incredible things for your body and health that many of us take for granted.

You should start exercising again because

The American Heart Associations journal Circulation, reports that upwards of 250,000 deaths in the United States each year are associated with a sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity. [1]

And even a small amount of exercise can provide benefits.

A 2020 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found the lifespans of sedentary people significantly improved after doing just 11 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous activity. [2]

If you stick with an exercise and strength training program, and youre eating enough protein, your body will respond by building more muscle to adapt.

More muscle means youll get stronger and reduce the risk of injury, but it will also help support your joints, improve bone density, and boost immunity. [3, 4, 5]

Increasing muscle also raises your bodys metabolic rate, encouraging it to burn more fat. [6, 7]

Fit Fact: Per pound, muscle burns 7 to 10 calories daily while fat burns only two to three. So, try to add more muscle with strength training!

Exercising regularly can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, which is also a risk factor for heart disease. [8]

Several studies have also shown that exercising regularly can improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure. [ 9, 10, 11]

But it also stimulates nitric oxide in the body, which promotes healthy blood pressure by relaxing and expanding blood vessels, allowing blood to flow freely while delivering oxygen and nutrients to our cells. This means your heart doesnt have to work as hard. [12]

Several studies have shown that exercise can help ease anxiety and depression while lowering stress hormones like cortisol that can trigger weight gain. [13, 14]

Research has also shown that exercise can improve sleep quality while also improving focus, productivity, self-confidence, and body image. [15, 16 ]

Exercise increases the health of your body, but it can also improve your sense of well-being, putting more pep in your step every day.

You cant put a day and time on when youll be fit. It entirely depends on your body, including factors like your age, gender, fitness level, and how often you work out.

If you exercise regularly, you should definitely notice positive changes within 2 to 4 weeks. Stick with it until the 3 to 4-month mark, and youll see and feel significant positive changes to your health, fitness, and body. [17]

Its important to understand that transforming your body takes time, and it doesnt happen overnight. The fitness models and influencers you see on social media take years to build their bodies. Many even use photo filters.

While exercising may be difficult at first, you will improve. And remember, you cant out-train a poor diet.

Professional health organizations recommend exercising 150300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

The Mayo Clinic recommends at least 300 minutes to assist with weight loss and to reap the most health benefits. [18]

Theres no reason to do a combination of both. Besides doing cardio like walking, jogging, or cycling, aim to do strength training at least two times per week.

Be sure to add mobility and flexibility movements to help with exercise recovery.

Use these simple tricks to kick excuses to the curb and finally get fit.

After years of inactivity, I thought I had little time to exercise. But once I analyzed what I was and wasnt doing, I realized it was poor time management all along.

The demands of school, work, and family can leave us little time for ourselves. But take a day or two and keep track of yourself to see if you can find at least 10 or more extra wasted minutes. The time spent on social media or shopping online can be used to exercise instead.

If time isnt your issue, maybe youre discouraged because you didnt see results from a previous workout program, or its okay to admit, maybe you just dont like to exercise.

Keep reading because we have more tips to help you get over the exercise slump.

If injury or illness has kept you from being active, consult with a doctor or medical professional before starting any exercise program.

Understanding why you want to get in shape will help motivate you to exercise on those days when your fitness enthusiasm wanes and the excuses roll in.

To get started, grab a notebook, fitness journal, or app on your phone and write out why you want to get in shape.

Healthy whys might look like this:

Your answers should not be based on societal expectations, pressure from family or friends, or what youre seeing on social media.

Wanting to look better fuels many of us to get in shape, but it doesnt always motivate us to stick with our fitness goals in the long term.

To further motivate you, try to connect your why to an emotion.

For example:

Or

The answers should be personal to you and what you want to achieve. Look back at your answer anytime you want to skip a workout or quit to help motivate you to push through.

Youve figured out why you want to get in shape. Next, lay out some simple fitness goals you can achieve within a reasonable time frame.

Examples of unrealistic and unhealthy fitness goals:

A slow and steady approach to your health and fitness goals always wins.

Examples of realistic fitness goals:

Larger goals are fine too. But break them down into small actionable steps so you can see what steps you need to take to achieve them and how much time it will take.

And you may progress faster than expected.

What would this look like? Say you want to lose 20 pounds. Make that the long-term goal and plan out a strategy to lose 1.5 pounds a week for the next 4 months.

Always add your workouts to your calendar, just as you would appointments or meetings. This will help you carve out those dedicated exercise blocks of time, even when youre busy during the week.

Improving your fitness levels 100% requires staying consistent and a schedule can help you stay on track.

Give yourself a big check or star every time you complete a workout so you can look back on your accomplishments. Then, for every 10 workouts accomplished, reward yourself with something small, like a fresh addition to your workout wardrobe or a piece of that artisan chocolate youve been eyeing.

I enjoy working out later in the day. But if you dont have time in the afternoons or evenings, try waking up a little earlier to get in a half-hour walk or short strength training session to check it off your list first thing in the morning.

Some studies show that the morning is best for burning fat, but exercise performance may be better later in the day, which can help build strength and increase endurance. A more recent study has revealed evidence that the best time to exercise may be different for men and women. [19]

Ultimately, the best time to work out is when you make the time.

And whether you prefer the gym, the comfort of your own home, or the great outdoors, it doesnt matter as long as you get moving.

Youre excited to get back in shape, I get it. But going beast mode after loving life on the couch for the last several months isnt the best idea. As a beginner, its best to start slowly and then ramp up the activity.

If you do too much activity too quickly after being sedentary, that initial DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) can be a bit much and may discourage you from continuing.

Instead, stick with beginner-friendly workouts and then increase difficulty after a few weeks. Fitness magazines are great resources to learn from and you can check out tons of free beginner exercise videos on YouTube.

If youre not sure where to start or what exercises you should do for your fitness level, consult with a fitness coach for advice on what would be appropriate.

Below Ill tell you why getting a fitness coach through an app like Future is a game-changer that can make getting in shape and exercising again stress-free.

If you really want to get in shape, you have to do workouts that are challenging, but you also have to be consistent. Throwing a workout once every couple of weeks wont cut it.

So if cardio on the treadmill sound less than stellar, skip it and get yourself moving in a way you enjoy so youll stay motivated to keep going.

Start walking at the beach or park. Take hikes, cycle, rock climb, swim, surf, kayak, roller skate, ice-skate or ski. Take a yoga, pilates, kickboxing, or dance fitness class. If youre competitive, try joining a local sports league or club. If youre into gaming, fire up a fitness game like Just Dance or Fitness Boxing.

Easy to do anytime, low-impact, and free walking can improve bone strength, build muscular endurance, reduce stress hormones, improve cardiovascular fitness and burn calories. [20]

And studies continue to show walking consistently is super effective for gradual and sustained fat loss. [ 21]

A recent study by the National Institutes of Healthfollowed over 6,000 patients for four years. They found that the magic number to prevent weight gain was walking at least 8,600 steps. [22]

Aim for 7000-10,000 steps per day or walk briskly for 30 minutes five times a week. To get the most benefits, youll want to get your heart rate up exerting yourself at a moderate intensity. You should be slightly breathless but still be able to hold a conversation.

To help keep track of your steps get a simple pedometer or download a step-tracking app on your phone. The only issue with a phone app is that you will have to carry your phone at all times.

Consider getting a fitness watch and activity tracker. Features vary from model to model. They all track your steps, but most will also track your heart rate, distance traveled, calories burned, time standing, and minutes spent exercising.

Some even have built-in training and recovery programs that allow you to track your fitness goals as well.

Activity trackers on Amazon start around $40 on the low end. The Amazon Halo is currently $79.99 while fitness watches popular from brands like Amazfit, Samsung Galaxy, FitBit and Apple Watch will be a bit of an investment running you a couple hundred and up.

But if youre serious about making exercise a part of your lifestyle these watches can be an invaluable motivational tool that can help you keep track of your progress. I have one and its definitely worth it.

Once youre feeling a little more confident, start adding in strength and resistance training.

Strength training can help balance sugar, improve sleep quality and build bone density, but it also helps you build muscle and increase your metabolism. And the more muscle we have, the more calories we burn.

For strength training, you can use weights like dumbbells and kettlebells and machines at the gym.

If youre working out at home and have little space, resistance bands are inexpensive, great for building strength, and can be tucked in a drawer.

Resistance and strength training exercises include:

When using weights, kettlebells, resistance bands, or machines, start with a lighter weight amount, where you can complete one set of 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. It should be challenging, but not straining or painful. By the end of the set, feel ready for a break.

Then rest for 30- 60 seconds between exercises.

You can start with one set the first and second week, eventually building up to three sets of 10-12 reps.

Aim to incorporate strength training at least twice a week, training different muscle groups on different days. And be sure to include rest days in between training sessions.

If you dont enjoy working with weights, try taking up pilates or yoga, which both use bodyweight exercises and poses to increase strength and balance.

Think you need a long block of time in to get the benefits of exercise? Not true.

Studies show that mini-workouts throughout the day can be just as effective as longer workouts. [23]

Mini workouts:

Exercising in 10-minute blocks is also a great way to ease your body and mind back into a routine.

On days when youre not in the mood to work out and can use a little extra motivation, pop in those earbuds and turn on some high-energy tunes to get you moving. It can make all the difference.

Studies show that when you play high-energy music with faster beats (that you enjoy), youll exercise harder and longer without feeling like youve put in any extra effort. [24]

It totally works for me!

As an alternative to music, listen to an audiobook or to an episode of your favorite podcast on days when wanting something a little different.

See more here:
How to Start Exercising Again (And Stick With It!) - Better Living


Oct 20

Wellness Wednesday – Do you have a holiday wellness plan? – The City of Asheville

Surprise the holiday season is right around the corner! Starting with Diwali and Halloween in October, continuing with Da de los Muertos and Thanksgiving in November, and concluding with Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Years Eve in December (to name a few), the final weeks of the year includes festivities, traditions, and celebrations that can add stress, strain finances, and make staying active and eating healthy more difficult.

Making a holiday wellness plan can help you stick to your goals and avoid playing catch up with a long list of New Years resolutions. Whether youve already been working on a goal or are just starting, its important to set realistic expectations and track your progress. Some people like to keep a personal journal. For others, a weekly chat with a friend works better and provides accountability. Do whatever works best for you.

Once youve established your overall goal for the holidays, break it down into smaller goals that are manageable. The holiday season is a long stretch. Most of all, remember that the holiday season is supposed to be about celebrating and connecting with the people you care about.

The combination of cooler weather, the end of daylight saving time, and holiday gatherings make it more challenging to maintain a regular exercise routine if youre used to walking, jogging, biking, skating, rolling, or running on greenways, sidewalks, and roads around town. The popular outdoor Skate Night hosted by Asheville Parks & Recreation (APR) at Carrier Park continues through the end of the year, offering a fun and active end to some weeks.

APR also offers a variety of indoor dance, fitness, and movement classes each week, including some designed for older adults and individuals with disabilities. For those with a more competitive streak, APRs sports leagues include youth basketball and adult basketball and volleyball. Programs, classes, and events can be searched on APRs website.

Tempie Avery Montford Community Center hosts special nights with glow-in-the-dark basketball and access to its indoor climbing wall. Multiple APR community centers schedule open gym time throughout the week with specific times reserved for basketball, volleyball, table tennis, and pickleball. Fitness centers at Linwood Crump Shiloh and Stephens-Lee community centers have recently been completely renovated and memberships are free through the end of the year!

Tis the season for sweet treats, cream cheese, and lots of food. Sticking to your holiday wellness plan doesnt mean putting these items on the naughty list. There are dishes that dont make an appearance any other time of the year, so feel free to savor small servings of those you really love and be sure to add fresh fruits and vegetables whenever you can.

If holiday gatherings throw a wrench in your regular meal schedule, eat a small snack at your normal mealtime to keep your body on track. If youre heading to a potluck, offer to bring a healthy seasonal dish like roasted pumpkin hummus or apple walnut slaw.

For some people, stress and the holidays are synonymous. In addition to traveling to spend time with people you love, errands, chores, kids extracurricular activities, and end-of-year work commitments ramp up. Taking time to meditate, read a book, or watch a movie are great me time relaxation activities. Going out more and staying out later can also make getting seven to eight hours of sleep challenging, but sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on your overall wellness.

Is that sale too good to pass up? Should you buy just one more present? Allocate a specific amount of money you plan to spend on gifts, food, decorations, and other expenses to avoid breaking your budget. Setting a budget and sticking to it is important for your financial wellness all year, but can be a key step during the holidays.

Twice a month, Asheville Parks & Recreation shares a resource or tip that can help in the development of intellectual, emotional, occupational, environmental, financial, spiritual, physical, or social wellbeing. For previous Wellness Wednesday articles, check out the archive.

More:
Wellness Wednesday - Do you have a holiday wellness plan? - The City of Asheville


Oct 20

‘Meeting women where they’re at’: How Daughters of the West is breaking down exercise barriers – ABC News

It's a chilly Tuesday night in West Footscray, Melbourne,where 30 women are gathered at a community centre, hearing from a proud Yorta Yorta woman from the Koorie Heritage Trust about Aboriginal culture and history.

The women listen attentively and ask thoughtful questions.

Once the session is over, they break out into three groups.

Each group does a different type of exercise.

Some women take on a high intensity circuit, while others do low impact chair exercises.

Do you have a story idea about women in sport?

Email us abcsport5050@your.abc.net.au

The Daughters of the West program run by the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation in partnership with local government and community health services is breaking down the barriers that stop women from exercising.

The pilot program ran in 2017 following the success of Sons of the West, which was initiated by the Foundation in 2014 to encourage men to take care of their physical and mental health.

Daughters of the West has grown and adapted to changing circumstances since that pilot, including two completely online programs in 2020 and 2021 when Melbourne was in lockdown.

Alyce Vella is Community Health and Wellbeing Manager at the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation and is responsible for the respective initiatives.

She says the programs are gender sensitive, recognising that some issues of health and wellbeing such as family violence, cancer and alcohol consumption require different approaches.

But the model remains the same: 10weekly sessions, consisting of one hour each of education and exercise.

The exercise sessions are facilitated by trainers and sport science students from Victoria University, while psychologists are available to chat one-on-one with participants.

"There was a real need to develop something accessible and suitable for communities in the west," Alyce said.

"Communities in the western suburbs of Melbourne experience greater health inequities compared to other parts of the state.

"This relates to a range of poor health outcomes such as obesity, low intake of fruit and vegetables, and low physical activity rates."

This year, the Foundation is running programs across 13 different sites in Melbourne's westand regional Victoria, which will attract between 500 and 800 participants across all locations.

Tonight's location is home to simultaneous sessions in English and Vietnamese.

The education components are delivered first, before the groups come together to exercise.

This breaks down the language barrier to those participating and provides the women with the opportunity to make new friends.

Alyce is proud of the "strength and great relationships that bi-cultural workers form with their communities" that underpin the success of the program.

Quyen participated in the pilot five years ago, after a friend suggested it.

In 2020, she began to facilitate the Vietnamese women's program, first online and now face-to-face for the first time this year.

"Before I started the program, honestly I never did exercise," Quyen said.

"I'm busy with my family, I feel like I have to cook, clean and do everything for everybody else before me. I don't have any time for myself."

"Now I'm lucky enough to introduce the program to Vietnamese women.

"They're like me family first.

"I feel a really close connection with these ladies.

"We created a walking group so each week we'd walk around the oval and chat."

One participant in her 30s, Suzie, mentioned that she had previously played local football, and continues to train at her old club.

"I feel part of a community, it's hard to leave once you're part of it," she said.

"If I'm going to do exercise it's probably going to be in a group. I rarely have motivation to go on my own."

Like community sport, Daughters of the West is held at the same time each week.

It's something for participants to put in the diary, and an opportunity not only to exercise but to spend time with other women they know, making it more meaningful.

The womenin West Footscray havefound a safe and supportive environment to learn and exercise.

And they were unanimous in their love for a recent Bollywood dancing session.

"You couldn't wipe the smile off my face," Suzie said.

"I'd never done that before,it was a new experience for me."

Julie, whose daughter put her onto the program, takes her dogs for walks and previously attended Pilates classes but stopped when the pandemic hit.

She says that she's "not a gym person".

"But I find this environment is really welcoming and comfortable."

Many women face additional barriers that make exercising difficult.

The recent harmful debates around trans women's participation in sport has left trans, gender diverse and non-binary people feeling excluded and unsure about the response they will receive when approaching their local gym or sporting club.

Meanwhile, some women with disabilities face physical accessibility issues as well as tiring stigma and discrimination.

For others, a lack of care options makes visiting the gym near-impossible.

In June, Fitness and Lifestyle Group, whose portfolio includes Fitness First and Goodlife gyms, announced they would close their childminding facilities at 89 gyms across Australia.

They cited a "drastic reduction" in use of the services since the pandemic began, making the service financially "unsustainable".

Over two months since the closure, the gyms' Facebook pages continue to be subject to comments from disappointed patrons.

It's illustrative of how essential childminding facilities can be in empowering women to take care of themselves.

It's something that is front of mind for the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation.

"Working with councils and community health services that may have childcare on site is something we emphasise with our partners, to ensure women have those options," Alyce said.

"We have some sites that run during the day but delivering the program after hours is an enabler as well. Inclusivity is a big focus."

That emphasis on inclusivity is why Daughters of the West has continued to offer an online option this year, even as face-to-face sessions returned.

The team has found that participants use it to catch up on sessions they miss or join in if they are unwell or isolating.

For some however, it is still the only option they are comfortable with.

"There is still a bit of COVID hesitancy and social anxiety," Alyce said.

"Anecdotally, people are saying 'I'm still a bit hesitant.'

"It's about meeting people where they're at and building their confidence."

ABC Sport is partnering withSiren Sportto elevate the coverage of Australian women in sport.

Danielle Croci is a policy officer and freelance writer and podcaster specialising in women's sport.

Link:
'Meeting women where they're at': How Daughters of the West is breaking down exercise barriers - ABC News


Oct 20

After breast cancer: 5 changes you can make to stay healthy – The Conversation

Every year, more than 20,000 Australians mostly women are diagnosed with breast cancer. If youre one of them or know someone who is, the great news is that 92 out of every 100 women will survive for five years or more after their diagnosis.

But women are often surprised by the life-altering side effects from their cancer treatment that can continue for years after, such as pain and fatigue. And many live with the dread of their cancer returning, even after they pass the celebrated five-year survival mark.

So, what can you do to improve your chances of living a longer, healthier life after a breast cancer diagnosis?

Move more and sit less. Ideally, this includes gradually progressing towards and then maintaining about 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of planned, regular exercise a week. This involves a mix of aerobic exercise (such as walking) and resistance exercises (that target specific muscle groups), done at a moderate or high enough intensity to make you huff and puff a bit.

Observational studies show associations between exercise and living longer and prevention of cancer recurrence. And theres some preliminary evidence from clinical trials to support this too.

Women with breast cancer who exercise and are more active, have better quality of life, strength and fitness, and fewer and less severe side effects during active treatment.

Women with better diets that include a high intake of vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains and fish have been shown to live longer after a breast cancer diagnosis than those who have a diet high in refined or processed foods and red meat.

This is due mainly to the benefit of a good diet on reducing the risks of other health conditions, such as heart disease, rather than having a direct effect on the risk of dying from breast cancer.

Many women, particularly older women or those with early stage breast cancer, are actually at higher risk of dying from heart disease than their breast cancer. A high quality diet can help maintain a healthy body weight and heart health.

There has been growing interest in specific diets (such as ketogenic or low-carbohydrate diets) and fasting during cancer treatment. But the most recent guidelines state theres no evidence yet to say these are of significant benefit.

More research is being done following findings from a 2020 study, which suggested a fasting mimicking diet (low calorie, low protein) on the days prior to and of chemotherapy, produced a better response to treatment. However, compliance with the diet was difficult only one in five women in the study were able to stick to the fasting diet for all their chemotherapy treatments.

Excess body weight has also been linked to poorer survival after breast cancer diagnosis. But so far there havent been any clinical trials to show the opposite: that weight loss following a breast cancer diagnosis can improve survival. Trials are underway to answer this question.

Weight gain is common following breast cancer treatment. The causes for this are complex and carrying extra weight can make some of the side effects of treatment worse. Our recent study of women following breast cancer treatment, found that when they are supported to lose a modest amount of weight (5% of their body weight), they improved their physical quality of life and reduced their pain levels. They also reduced their risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Read more: Cancer in the under 50s is rising, globally why?

Besides these well-established tips, a small body of research suggests two more behaviours, related to our body clock, can impact health after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Disrupted sleep common among women with breast cancer can remain for years after your treatment has ended.

Women with breast cancer who regularly struggle to fall or stay asleep at night compared those who rarely or never are at greater risk of dying from any cause.

And its not just about how well, but also how long you sleep. Sleeping longer than nine hours per night compared to seven to eight hours is associated with a 48% increased risk of breast cancer returning. But, studies are yet to tease apart the possible reasons for this. Is increased risk of cancer recurrence a result of sleeping longer or is sleeping longer a consequence of progressing or recurrent disease?

Preliminary research suggests when you eat matters. Delaying the time between the last meal of the day (dinner or supper) and first meal of the next (breakfast) may help reduce the chances of breast cancer returning.

When women reported fasting overnight for fewer than 13 hours compared to 13 or more hours after a breast cancer diagnosis, it was linked to a 36% increased risk of breast cancer coming back. But the studys authors note randomised trials are needed to test whether increasing the amount of time fasting at night can reduce the risk of disease.

Read more: Olivia Newton-John gave a voice to those with cancer and shifted the focus to the life of survivors

The World Cancer Research Fund has developed a list of recommendations to reduce cancer risk and reduce the risk of cancer coming back. But our research has found most women arent meeting these recommendations after their breast cancer diagnosis. Changing habits after breast cancer can also be harder, mainly due to fatigue and stress.

Starting exercise after treatment can be intimidating and even frightening. Its a good idea to start small, for example: aim to increase exercise by 10 to 15 minutes each week. Having an exercise buddy really helps and there are lots of exercise programs for people whove had breast cancer.

Common questions about exercising after a breast cancer diagnosis include how to avoid the swelling and discomfort of lymphoedema, which develops in about 20% of breast cancersurvivors who have had lymph nodes removed. People also worry about exercise and wig discomfort or irritation from radiation. Specific advice is available.

Similar to exercise goals, rather than striving for a perfect diet, you can aim to eat more vegetables each week.

Sleep can be challenging if youve been worrying about a cancer diagnosis or treatment but tips for getting the recommended seven to nine hours sleep each night include exercising earlier in the day, avoiding snacks before bed and good sleep hygiene.

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After breast cancer: 5 changes you can make to stay healthy - The Conversation


Oct 20

What is metabolic conditioning? – Livescience.com

You may have heard of it before but what is metabolic conditioning? The term has been around for decades, but it only recently crossed over from the world of elite athletes into everyday gyms. It refers to specific exercises designed to consume the maximum amount of calories in a specific amount of time, so it can help you get the most out of a training session. When its done correctly, it can increase lean muscle mass, improve the efficiency of the energy pathways in your body and help with faster weight loss.

To help you understand everything you need to know about this form of training, we spoke to an exercise physiologist and combed through the latest research.

Metabolic conditioning (also called MetCon or metabolic training) focuses on increasing the bodys energy delivery and storage during physical activity.

Our bodies produce energy to fuel physical activity through three different biochemical responses in the body:

Metabolic conditioning focuses on the immediate and intermediate pathways, known as anaerobic exercises. These dont require oxygen to generate energy. However, theyre too high-intensity for the body to sustain for longer than a few minutes. But by crafting a clever workout program, you can tap into these pathways and make your workout more efficient.

Speaking to Live Science, exercise physiologist and Noom (opens in new tab)Coach Hope Choplin said. In its simplest terms, metabolic conditioning is simply a pattern of work versus rest periods used to elicit a response that increases the efficiency of any of these energy systems. The workouts utilize exercise to impact both immediate and intermediate body fueling pathways, by leaning into a specific time and intensity interval to help the body more efficiently use energy.

Choplin is an ACSM certified clinical exercise physiologist who has a wide range of experience. Based in the UK, she has over ten years' worth of experience creating group exercise programs for people with cardiac and peripheral artery disease. She also has experience in corporate wellness and currently works as a health coach at Noom (opens in new tab).

The primary purpose of metabolic conditioning is to help your body become better at producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is the molecule that carries energy around the body, says Choplin. Generally moderate- and high-intensity workouts attack these energy systems and improve their efficiency.

Metabolic conditioning can also prime the body to react more quickly during physical activity.

For example, a 2017 study into male soccer players published in the International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching (opens in new tab) found that conditioning exercises resulted in players able to jump higher, sprint repeatedly, change direction with the ball and improve their kick. Researchers concluded that conditioning enhanced the performance of players during high-speed soccer-related tasks.

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. Despite the two approaches being very similar, metabolic conditioning forces the body to go all out, using maximum effort. HIIT exercises, on the other hand, look to utilize around 80% of the bodys energy.

The rest periods in between are different too. Whereas HIIT exercises use longer or shorter rest periods depending on the exercises, MetCon rest periods are usually short, around 10 or 20 seconds.

When it comes to exercises used in HIIT and metabolic conditioning, HIIT workouts focus on cardio for example, running on one of the best treadmills (opens in new tab) and exercises that use body weight for resistance. Metabolic conditioning exercises are more likely to encourage the use of weights.

There are plenty of benefits to metabolic conditioning. It is an efficient use of time, it improves the body's ability to react quickly in sports settings, and it can increase the amount of calories you burn both during and after a gym session. It also increases lean muscle mass and reduces body fat, according to this 2018 study published in PLoS One (opens in new tab).

However, there are a handful of drawbacks to the exercise regime too. It could increase the risk of injury, as it requires you to move quickly with weights, and it's not suitable for everyone (such as pregnant people or those with complicated heart conditions.)

It's also quite tricky to pin down the "best" routine, as the exercise regime needs to be tailored to individuals and their fitness levels.

If youre unsure of what youre doing or how to create a routine, this may be a great time to seek the advice of a trainer, advises Choplin.

The particular benefit of metabolic conditioning is that it increases the bodys metabolism and continues to increase it long after exercise. This results in a higher calorie burn post-exercise than many other physical activities, extending the period in which the body is burning fat.

MetCon workouts can burn tons of calories quickly, says Choplin. These workouts have been shown to burn calories, as well as being effective in increasing lean muscle and decreasing body fat, positively altering body composition.

Many coaches and athletes report a reduction in body fat and studies appear to back this up. For example, a study published in PLoS One (opens in new tab) in in which researchers put participants through a 16-week HIFT (High-Intensity Functional Training) program similar to CrossFit found that all those who took part had reduced body fat and increased lean muscle mass, with some losing as much as 12.4% of their body fat.

If youre looking to include a metabolic conditioning workout into your fitness routine but are unsure where to start, heres a great short workout from Choplin that requires no equipment. Always start with a few minutes of warm-up before any workout, such as jogging in place, jumping jacks or torso twists, advises Choplin.

During the following workout, spend 20 seconds on each activity, followed by 10 seconds of rest.

Lateral shuffle with ground tap: Engaging the core and keeping the body low in a soft squat position, shuffle from side to side, touching the ground at each side.

Squats: With feet hip-width apart, bend the knees and extend the buttocks backward as if you are sitting in a chair; then rise all the way up to stand.

Repeat these two exercises in a circuit for four rounds (remembering the 10-second break), then take a 60-second rest break.

Power jacks: Jumping the feet in and out as with regular jumping jacks, alternate between pushing the hands out in front and straight overhead.

Sprint and hold: Bring one knee at a time toward the chest (think high knees), but balance on one foot after every other rep for a sprint, sprint, hold pattern.

Repeat these two exercises in a circuit for four rounds (remembering the 10-second break), then take a 60-second rest break.

Mountain climbers: In plank position, bring alternating knees to chest in a running motion.

Push-ups/modified push-ups: Slowly lower the chest towards the ground, keeping the body straight in a plank position. Push up to return to the start. For modification, keep your knees on the floor.

Repeat these two exercises in a circuit for four rounds (remembering the 10-second break), then cool down and stretch.

This article is not meant to offer medical advice and readers should consult their doctor or healthcare professional before adopting any diet or exercise regime.

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What is metabolic conditioning? - Livescience.com


Oct 20

So long, senior centers and nursing homes. Older adults don’t want to spend their time in places where they are seen as victims in decline. -…

At 104 years old, Sally has more stories than you can imagine. As a young woman during World War II, she was the embodiment of Rosie the Riveter, working in New York Citys defense factories. She went on to break barriers as one of the first women recognized as a full journeyman in a California shipyard. She has been one of the most dedicated and oldest members ofSAGE, the LGBTQ+ older-adult advocacy group.

But the pandemic hit her hard. She moved into a skilled nursing facility, and her vibrant life changed. She missed her friends and wasnt herself. When SAGE was safely able to reopen in-person services, Sallys pre-pandemic spirit was rekindled she could see and talk with her friends and join in the reopening festivities.

Read: Should I move to a 55 and older community when I retire?

Sallys story is a powerful reminder of an important service offered by older adult centers: connection. As leaders of SAGE and Wallis Annenberg GenSpace, we advocate for our older adults, and when we talk with our members, its not the food, housing, or exercise classes that keep people coming back its the connection.

Read: This is how boomers are reinventing retirement living

September is National Senior Center Month, but we try not to use that term. Instead, were working to redefine the traditional senior center. In our experience, older adults dont want to spend their time in places built around the notion that they are victims in decline. They want to be in places that empower them to learn, have fun, and grow. Our spaces should reflect this difference and be designed in a way that embraces the idea of new stages in life instead of ages.

More: Can nursing homes move beyond their bad reputations?

Thats whyGenSpacewas created. Our innovative center in L.A.s Koreatown offers older adults opportunities to find new hobbies, pursue creativity and health, and meet new people in a welcoming environment.

We held focus groups of older adults to better understand how to create a space that serves the needs of its members. Those focus groups informed the design and programming of GenSpace, so older adults feel supported and seen.

Read: Forget pickleball and golf. These communities centered around farms or gardens are redefining retirement

Weve continually heard from our members that GenSpace is the one place where they feel welcome. So far, weve seen a great response from the community, as our classes fill to capacity and we offer more programs to meet demand.

At SAGE, weve been advocating and supporting LGBTQ+ older adults for 42 years. When we opened our first SAGE Centers, LGBTQ+ older folks passionately embraced our spaces as the only elder-focused places where they truly felt at home. Weve seen the power of creating a community and never has it been more important.

And while we are aware of the increasing interest and need for spaces like ours, the country is not prepared to handle the pending age shift.

By 2034, adults aged 65 and older will outnumber children for the first time. This new wave of older people will have longer lifespans and smaller family and support networks while facing more housing, transportation, caregiving, healthcare and technology challenges.

Related: Forget pickleball and golf. These communities centered around farms or gardens are redefining retirement

Our ecosystem of services, resources, and facilities that support older adults is seriously lagging. Not only do we not have the necessary resources, but we arent prepared to offer older adults what they need to thrive.

Furthermore, centers today often arent designed to serve the disparate needs of our increasingly diverse population. LGBTQ+ elders, for example, experience acute levels of social isolation, while Black and brown elders struggle with serioushealth disparities, as illustrated during the COVID pandemic.

These are some reasons why LGBTQ+ elders and older adults of color, who are more likely to age in poverty and with serious health problems, need community centers more than anybody.

Investments to support older adults are growing, which is encouraging. California is one of five states implementing aMaster Plan for Aging (MPA), which provides a road map to transform the infrastructure and services available to each states rapidly aging population. New York state and Vermont are drafting MPAs now. But more is needed as demand grows for spaces that help older adults stay active and connected.

Also on MarketWatch: The number of baby boomers and Generation X who plan to work past age 70or foreveris stunning

By revolutionizing spaces and services for older adults, we can breathe new life into these traditional community institutions and turn them into destinations that older people want and need. We can and must give older adults a vibrant next phase of their lives so other people like Sally can party and connect with their community until theyre 104 and beyond.

Michael Adamsis the chief executive officer of SAGE (Advocacy and Services for LGBTQ+ Elders), the worlds largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ older people.

Jennifer Wongis the director of Wallis Annenberg GenSpace, a new community center for older adults in Los Angeles. GenSpace provides older adults with a place to pursue creativity and connection while working to change the way people think and talk about aging.

This article is reprinted by permission fromNextAvenue.org, 2022 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

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So long, senior centers and nursing homes. Older adults don't want to spend their time in places where they are seen as victims in decline. -...


Oct 20

TGH Heart and Vascular Institute Expands Access to Cardiac Rehabilitation with Virtual Program – Florida Hospital News and Healthcare Report – South…

Tampa General is partnering with Recora to provide an innovative virtual cardiac service for patients to recover at home across the hospitals 23-county service area.

October 18, 2022 For the first time in the Tampa Bay region, theTampa General Heart & Vascular Instituteis transforming the future of cardiac care by partnering withRecoraon a virtual cardiac recovery program for outpatient cardiac rehabilitation patients across the academic medical centers 23-county service area.

Driving innovation and operational excellence through strategic collaborations is a pathway to providing advanced health care to our patients and their families every day, said John Couris, president and CEO of Tampa General Hospital. Our new partnership with Recora brings cardiac rehabilitation care into patients homes providing a convenient and impactful program that improves access and the quality of care.

The partnership will blend Tampa Generals clinical and academic expertise in heart care and rehabilitation with Recoras proven, comprehensive cardiac recovery programto provide patients with everything they need to restore their heart health at home.

A key component of recoveryfrom a major cardiovascular surgery or procedure is gradually increasing supervised exercise.With the virtual recovery program, patients can easily access and continue their cardiac rehabilitation with Tampa General, regardless of where they are located in the state, be it at home, on vacation, or visiting family. By improving access through a virtual program supported by knowledgeable, on-demand care teams, Tampa General expects to improve patient participation and ultimately, provide patients with a better quality of life following hospitalization for a heart condition or a heart surgery or procedure.

Recoras Cardiac Recovery Program for rehabilitation patients includes:

Recora Recovery Kit:The kit includes an internet-enabled smart tablet that can be set to English or Spanish and other tools such as resistance bands and a blood pressure monitor that can be used by patients of all ages.

Recora at Home:A personalized program that goes beyond virtual sessions to include educational tools, support groups and a 24/7 chat with the Recora Care Team.

Recora Care Team:A dedicated team of multidisciplinary providers, including physicians, nurses, exercise physiologists, health coaches, dietitians and other specialists.

Recoras Cardiac Recovery Programmoves beyond 12 weeks of rehabilitation exercise to deliver comprehensive care management that focuses on a patients overall health and wellness.In addition to cardiac rehabilitation exercise, Tampa General patients will be able to receive nutrition counseling, support groups, and social support services, among other resources, through the Recora program. Dedicated nurse navigators also interact closely with patients to assist them through the care process, answering questions and providing support. All of this is with the goal of improving a patients cardiovascular risk factors and health and preventing another cardiac event.

Recora currently serves more than 30,000 cardiac patients in the U.S. across health systems, health plans and medical groups and has garnered industry-leading results that include:

15% hospital readmission rate for Recora patients, versus the national average of 43% across Medicare patients with heart failure at six months.

87% Recora cardiac recovery program completion rate, versus the national average of 26%.

94% of Recora patients adhere to their cardiac medication.

80% improvement of distance and strength gains among Recora patients.

Today, one in four people in the U.S. die of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although cardiac rehabilitation is considered the standard of care,just 16% of eligible patients start the program and 26% finish all sessions.Tampa General has made the decision to change that, said Recora CEO Abhishek Chandra.We are excited to extend Tampa Generals care delivery to patients within their own home, through a personalized and convenient cardiac rehabilitation curriculum that can engage patients in continuing a healthier lifestyle.

Tampa General patients who meet the criteria for cardiac rehabilitation can receive a physicians order for the cardiac recovery program when theyare discharged home from the hospital. The hospitals patients can also visithttps://www.recora.com/partners-for-patients/tampa-general-hospitalor call 813-421-8945 to learn more. The Tampa General/Recora team will ask screening questions to determine a patients eligibility.

Tampa Generals participation was coordinated throughTGH Innoventures, which, among other things, provides Tampa General with a platform to invest resources and funds into emerging companies.

As part of its commitment to serving the greater Tampa Bay area, Tampa General Heart & Vascular Institute collaborates withUSF Health Morsani College of Medicineto provide comprehensive, next-generation care powered by cutting-edge research for patients with complex heart and vascular conditions.Recovery and improvement of cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular health are part of the institutes focus on caring for the whole patient.U.S. News & World Reporthas recognized Tampa General Hospital as high performing in Cardiology & Heart Surgery, as TGH ranks among the top 10% of hospitals in the nation for 2022-2023. Tampa General also earned high performing recognition by U.S. News as one of the best hospitals for heart failure and heart attack care for 2022-23. Patients come to TGH from across Florida for the clinical and academic expertise of the world-class team.

In-person cardiac rehabilitation from Tampa General is available at the TGH Outpatient Rehabilitation Center, 509 S. Armenia Ave., Tampa. For more information, call813-844-7706.

ABOUT RECORA

Recoras mission is to redefine the future of heart health. Recoras Cardiac Recovery Program for health systems, medical groups and health plans, makes it easy to recover from a cardiac event through immersive programs delivered online. With Recora, health care providers are able to establish a longitudinal relationship with patients and help them live longer, fuller lives. To learn more, visitrecora.com.

ABOUT TAMPA GENERAL HOSPITAL

Tampa General Hospital, a 1,040-bed, not-for-profit, academic medical center, is one of the largest hospitals in America and delivers world-class care as the regions only center for Level l trauma and comprehensive burn care.Tampa General Hospital is the highest-ranked hospital in the market inU.S. News & World Reports2022-23 Best Hospitals, and is tied as the third highest-ranked hospital in Florida, with seven specialties ranking among the best programs in the United States. Tampa General Hospital has been designated as a model of excellence by the2022 Fortune/Merative 100 Top Hospitals list.The academic medical centers commitment to growing and developing its team members is recognized by two prestigious Forbes magazine rankings first nationally inthe 2022Americas Best Employers for Womenand sixth out of 100 Florida companies in the 2022Americas Best Employers by State.Tampa General is the safety net hospital for the region, caring for everyone regardless of their ability to pay, and in fiscal year 2021, provided a net community benefit worth more than $224.5 million in the form of health care for underinsured patients, community education, and financial support to community health organizations in Tampa Bay.It is one of the nations busiest adult solid organ transplant centers and is the primary teaching hospital for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. With six medical helicopters, Tampa General Hospital transports critically injured or ill patients from 23 surrounding counties to receive the advanced care they need. Tampa General houses a nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center, and its 32-bed Neuroscience, Intensive Care Unit is the largest on the West Coast of Florida.It also is home to the Jennifer Leigh Muma 82-bed neonatal intensive care unit, and a nationally accredited rehabilitation center. Tampa General Hospitals footprint includes 17 Tampa General Medical Group Primary Care offices, TGH Family Care Center Kennedy, TGH Brandon Healthplex, TGH Virtual Health, and 21TGH Imaging powered by Toweroutpatient radiology centers throughout Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Palm Beach counties. Tampa Bay area residents also receive world-class care from theTGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Tracknetwork of clinics, and they can even receive home visits in select areas throughTGH Urgent Care at Home, powered by Fast Track.As one of the largest hospitals in the country, Tampa General Hospital is the first in Florida to partner with GE Healthcare and open a clinical command center that provides real-time situational awareness to improve and better coordinate patient care at a lower cost.For more information, go tohttps://www.tgh.org.

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Oct 20

Can games paired with brain stimulation boost working memory? – Medical News Today

A persons working memory may decline with age or if they have dementia, Parkinsons disease, or have had a stroke. When this occurs, the loss can affect their day-to-day quality of life, turning even simple tasks into often-demoralizing challenges.

Prof. Gail Eskes explained working memory to Medical News Today, and why it is so important.

Working memory is the brains mental scratchpad, she noted, and it can be used to keep in mind, and work with, a variety of different types of information.

For example, she offered, you use working memory when you are keeping in mind someones phone number once youve looked it up, or keeping in mind an image of a map of the city in order to plan a way to get to your destination.

Your working memory ability is important for all kinds of activities, said Prof. Eskes, such as reading a newspaper, doing math at a restaurant to figure out a tip, making decisions, and problem-solving.

Prof. Eskes is a member of the Department of Psychiatry, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, and Division of Neurology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She is the co-author of a new study describing a possible means of helping people regain their working memory.

Researchers from Dalhousie, the University of Trento in Italy, and Birmingham University in the United Kingdom contributed to the study, which found that cognitive training alongside transcranial direct current stimulation significantly strengthens working memory.

Dr. Jacqueline Becker, a clinical neuropsychologist and health services researcher at Mount Sinais Icahn School of Medicine in New York, who was not involved in the study, told MNT that with working memory training, the brain can rewire and reorganize itself as a result of repeated training and practice.

This is based on neuroplasticity, which refers to the brains ability to change and adapt as a result of an experience, Dr. Becker explained.

Similarly, she said, [t]ranscranial direct current stimulation can also affect the brains plasticity, by activating and increasing activity within specific brain networks.

In the study, the direct stimulation is provided by a light 2 milliAmpre electric current applied to the scalp.

The study appears in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

The study authors refer to their system as COGNISANT, which stands for cognitive needs and skills training.

The studys senior author is assistant professor Dr. Sara Assecondi of the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences at the University of Trento. She explained how the two aspects of COGNISANT work together: In our study, working memory training and brain stimulation target the same brain area the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex an area associated with processing spatial information.

The repetition of the same cognitive task, at a level of difficulty that is just enough to be challenging but still engaging, promotes brain plasticity [] Brain stimulation further boosts plasticity, giving cognitive training an extra kick, particularly effective in those individuals who need it more.

Dr. Sara Assecondi

The memory training proposed in the study takes place online. Prof. Eskes, who developed it, explained how it works.

With our software, one can train using a range of information, like hearing and working with numbers or words, or seeing and working with items in space, or landscape images, etc, she told MNT.

This training software was designed to help any adult who wants to enhance their capacity or efficiency of their working memory. It can be done anywhere using a computer with access to the internet, she noted.

Participants in the study ranged in age from 55 to 76 years, a span that includes potential beneficiaries who may possess a range of online skills.

We have tested it with adults and patients of all adult ages, and usually the training can be done independently, although different people have different levels of comfort with computer use, said Prof. Eskes.

For this study, explained Prof. Eskes, we used a therapeutic game we have named N-Igma, and it uses the n-back technique in which the players must keep track of a stream of information and indicate when they see a match to an item they saw n turns ago, where n represents an unspecified numerical value.

The number of items they have to keep track of adapts to their performance, so they are working at a challenging, but not impossible, level. To keep it game-like and interesting, we also give them lots of feedback, and they can keep track of their score as they go along, the researcher added.

These therapeutic games are intensive and challenging, but we also try to keep it engaging and fun, Prof. Eskes told us.

We develop approaches to promote healthy aging, so our technique really may be useful to anyone who starts to experience some kind of memory decline, said Dr. Assecondi.

Although characterized by huge variability, the older healthy adults are the more likely they are to show a lower working memory, and that is when the combination of working memory training and brain stimulation is more effective, she told us.

From the results of the study, it can be inferred that older adults (greater than 69 years of age) with executive dysfunction may derive the most benefit, noted Dr. Becker.

It may also be that COGNISANT is most appropriate for people whose working memory has declined beyond a certain threshold, although what that threshold might be is unclear for now.

With the data available, said Dr. Assecondi, its difficult to estimate an optimal level of working memory loss for the approach to be effective. Indeed, this would be important information for future development and use within the healthy population.

We would need to collect a large amount of data to obtain a fair representative sample of the healthy population, and this is indeed something we would be interested in exploring, she added.

With my group, she said, using state-of-the-art statistical approaches, I am working on ways to predict the effectiveness of cognitive intervention from baseline abilities, but we are still in the early stage.

There is still much research to do, acknowledged Dr. Assecondi, but from our work and that of other laboratories around the world, we know that the combination of cognitive training and brain stimulation holds promise, not only in slowing down the cognitive decline of healthy adults, but also in clinical populations.

I hope to contribute to developing an effective low-cost technique that can be used at home and tailored to the individuals specific needs, reaching those who would otherwise be unable to access such technology, she said.

The authors are now working with the University of Birmingham and Dalhousie University to identify partners who can help bring COGNISANT to market.

Home-care technology will ultimately allow individuals to take therapy into their own hands, concluded Dr. Assecondi, empowering them to age according to their terms.

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