The Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Springs and Mineral Baths

In Japan, soaking in natural hot springs is a treasured pastime that’s steeped in thousands of years of tradition, and during my stay there, I visited a few. The experience opened my eyes (and pores) to a world of good-feeling benefits, many of which (but not all) are backed by a plethora of research.

Source: The Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Springs and Mineral Baths

I think heat is part of the stress relief.  It doesn’t have to be a hot spring – a warm blanket/etc can do wonders.  Wrapping up in one, insulating ourselves from what’s around – it’s a physical barrier.

Study: Serious Cycling ‘Keeps You Young’

A study of fit amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79 found that many were physically and biologically much younger than most people of the same age.

The 81 male and 41 female participants underwent extensive tests of their heart, lung, neuromuscular, metabolic, and hormonal functions.

Their reflexes, muscle and bone strength, and oxygen uptake were also measured, as well as mental ability and general health and well-being.

The results showed that among the cyclists the effects of ageing were far from obvious, with younger and older members of the group having similar levels of muscle strength, lung power and exercise capacity.

Source: Serious cycling ‘keeps you young’

Funny – I heard something similar about running.  So I figure some form of cardio exercise is good.

Why Your Joints Crack and Pop When You Exercise

It’s lupus!

That noise coming from your knees can be unnerving. But unless it is accompanied by pain, discomfort or swelling, there is no need to worry about it, said Dr. Michael Stuart, a professor of orthopedic surgery and co-director of sports medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

The crackling or popping sound you hear is known as crepitus. In some cases, it may be nothing more than bubbles of gas popping in your joints. It can also result from the cartilage in your knees losing their smoothness, causing bones and tissue to rub together noisily when you bend your legs.

Source: Ask Well: Noisy Knees

But what about my inner thighs saying “excuse me” to each other as I walk?

Study: Run to Stay Young

Running may reverse aging in certain ways while walking does not, a noteworthy new study of active older people finds. The findings raise interesting questions about whether most of us need to pick up the pace of our workouts in order to gain the greatest benefit.

Walking is excellent exercise. No one disputes that idea. Older people who walk typically have a lower incidence of obesity, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes, and longer lifespans than people who are sedentary. For many years, in fact, physicians and scientists have used how far and fast someone can walk as a marker of health as people age.

But researchers and older people themselves also have noted that walking ability tends to decline with age. Older people whose primary exercise is walking often start walking more slowly and with greater difficulty as the years pass, fatiguing more easily.

The good news for people who don’t currently run is that you may be able to start at any age and still benefit, Dr. Ortega said. “Quite a few of our volunteers hadn’t take up running until they were in their 60s,” he said.

Source: Run to Stay Young

Distance running does not come naturally to me.  I was a 100 m sprinter in school.  There’s some debate that sprinters are an oddity, because hunting would have suited distance runners along with some physiology clues.  Some still use subsistence hunting, where you don’t catch your prey – you just run it to the point of its exhaustion.  Me?  I’d be making myself useful picking berries and other resources…

Running is probably the easiest, cheapest sport to get into.  But not everyone knows how to run properly, which the article does not mention, and leads to injuries.  For new runners, I really suggest at least taking the occasional clinic if not joining a running group.  It helps motivation to have people to run with and you’re safer too.  But technique critique and improvement are what will minimize injuries when you’re like me.

I still run …but only when chased 😉