Monday October 15, 2018

Playing Golf May Boost Longevity And Cut Stroke Risk

The sport needs to be more inclusive and welcoming of people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds, the researchers said

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Play golf to boost longevity, cut stroke risk. Pixabay
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Want a long life? Playing golf regularly can boost longevity as well as reduce the risk factors for heart disease and stroke, a panel of international experts has claimed, while stressing on the need to make the sport more inclusive.

The panel, led by the University of Edinburgh, showed that playing golf, which is good for both the mind and body, can also boost strength and balance in older adults.

The sport is also associated with good mental health and improving the overall health of those with disabilities.

It could be because golf is sociable and gets people outdoors to connect with nature.

It can also provide moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, and its health benefits are greatest for players (and spectators) who walk round the course rather than opt for a golf cart, researchers including Andrew D Murray, from Edinburgh’s Physical Activity for Health Research Centre, explained.

While the risk of injury while playing golf is moderate, compared with other sports, golfers may be more at risk of skin cancer, he noted.

Golf
Golf (Representational image). Pixabay

The researchers suggested that golfers should aim to play for 150 minutes per week.

Players should do warm-up or strengthening exercises to cut the risk of injury and use sun-cream and wear collared shirts or blouses to minimise the risk of skin cancer,  Murray recommended.

In the study appearing in British Journal of Sports Medicine, the panel drew on a systematic review of the available published evidence (342 eligible studies) and discussions among an international working group of 25 experts in public health and health policy, and industry leaders.

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While around 60 million people play golf at least twice a year, the sport is often perceived as expensive, male dominated, difficult to learn, and not a game for the young or those on the lower rungs of the social ladder.

The sport needs to be more inclusive and welcoming of people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Fresh Grounds for Coffee: Study Shows It May Boost Longevity

The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine

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Adam Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas, carries two glasses of iced coffee, responds to a question about new research showing that drinking coffee may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily, July 2, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois.
Adam Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas, carries two glasses of iced coffee, responds to a question about new research showing that drinking coffee may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily, July 2, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. (VOA)

Go ahead and have that cup of coffee, maybe even several more. New research shows it may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily.

In a study of nearly half-a-million British adults, coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years than abstainers.

The apparent longevity boost was seen with instant, ground and decaffeinated, results that echo U.S. research. It’s the first large study to suggest a benefit even in people with genetic glitches affecting how their bodies use caffeine.

Overall, coffee drinkers were about 10 percent to 15 percent less likely to die than abstainers during a decade of follow-up. Differences by amount of coffee consumed and genetic variations were minimal.

The results don’t prove your coffee pot is a fountain of youth nor are they a reason for abstainers to start drinking coffee, said Alice Lichtenstein, a Tufts University nutrition expert who was not involved in the research. But she said the results reinforce previous research and add additional reassurance for coffee drinkers.

“It’s hard to believe that something we enjoy so much could be good for us. Or at least not be bad,” Lichtenstein said.

The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

It’s not clear exactly how drinking coffee might affect longevity. Lead author Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, said coffee contains more than 1,000 chemical compounds including antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage.

Other studies have suggested that substances in coffee may reduce inflammation and improve how the body uses insulin, which can reduce chances for developing diabetes. Loftfield said efforts to explain the potential longevity benefit are continuing.

Adam Taylor, fetching two iced coffees for friends Monday in downtown Chicago, said the study results make sense.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Coffee makes you happy, it gives you something to look forward to in the morning,” said Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas.

“I try to have just one cup daily,” Taylor said. “Otherwise I get a little hyper.”

For the study, researchers invited 9 million British adults to take part; 498,134 women and men aged 40 to 69 agreed. The low participation rate means those involved may have been healthier than the general U.K. population, the researchers said.

Participants filled out questionnaires about daily coffee consumption, exercise and other habits, and received physical exams including blood tests. Most were coffee drinkers; 154,000 or almost one-third drank two to three cups daily and 10,000 drank at least eight cups daily.

During the next decade, 14,225 participants died, mostly of cancer or heart disease.

Caffeine can cause short-term increases in blood pressure, and some smaller studies have suggested that it might be linked with high blood pressure, especially in people with a genetic variation that causes them to metabolize caffeine slowly.

Also Read: What Does Your Coffee Say About You?

But coffee drinkers in the U.K. study didn’t have higher risks than nondrinkers of dying from heart disease and other blood pressure-related causes. And when all causes of death were combined, even slow caffeine metabolizers had a longevity boost.

As in previous studies, coffee drinkers were more likely than abstainers to drink alcohol and smoke, but the researchers took those factors into account, and coffee drinking seemed to cancel them out.

The research didn’t include whether participants drank coffee black or with cream and sugar. But Lichtenstein said loading coffee with extra fat and calories isn’t healthy. (VOA)