March 27, 20024 | No 363

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Ask Gilad

Ask Gilad

What are the best exercises to improve knee strength? I don’t have any equipment, and I want to do it from home.

 

Improving knee strength is key to overall leg health, particularly for activities that involve running, jumping, or even walking. Here are some effective exercises you can do at home without any equipment to strengthen your knees and the supporting muscles:

  1. Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your body as if you’re sitting back into a chair, keeping your knees behind your toes. Go as low as comfortable, then slowly return to the starting position. This exercise strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, which support the knees.
  2. Lunges: Start by standing straight. Step forward with one leg and lower your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle and not pushed out too far. Then, push back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Lunges target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
  3. Calf Raises: Stand up straight, then push through the balls of your feet and raise your heel until you are standing on your toes. Then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. This exercise strengthens the calf muscles, which support the knee.
  4. Straight Leg Raises: Lie on your back on the floor or a mat. Bend one knee and place your foot flat on the floor. Keeping the other leg straight, lift it to the height of the opposite knee, then lower it back down. This exercise strengthens the quadriceps and hip flexors.
  5. Side Leg Raises: Lie on your side with your legs straight. Raise the top leg as high as comfortable, then lower it back down. This works the abductors and glutes, which are important for knee stability.
  6. Hamstring Curls: Lie flat on your stomach. Slowly bend your knees to bring your heels as close to your buttocks as possible, then return to the starting position. This strengthens the hamstrings, which support the back of the knee.
  7. Step-ups: Find a step or a sturdy box that is about knee-height. Step onto the box with one foot, pushing through your heel to bring your other foot up so you’re standing on the box. Step back down and repeat, then switch legs. This exercise works your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
  8. Glute Bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes at the top, then lower back down. This strengthens the glutes and hamstrings.

Remember, consistency is key to seeing improvements. Start with a moderate amount of repetitions and sets, and gradually increase as your strength improves. Also, if any exercise causes pain beyond normal muscle fatigue, consider modifying the exercise or consulting a physical therapist to ensure it’s appropriate for your specific situation.

 

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THINGS WE FIND INTERESTING

We enjoy sharing interesting findings with you and hope they pique your interest too. While we may not always endorse or agree with everything we share, we strive to provide information that can aid you in your pursuit of mental and physical wellness.

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A healthier diet is linked with a slower pace of aging, reduced dementia risk, study shows

Date:March 14, 2024
Source:Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

 

A new study conducted by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and The Robert Butler Columbia Aging Center has found that a healthier diet is associated with a reduced risk of dementia and a slower pace of aging. The study sheds light on the biological mechanism behind this protective effect, which was previously not well understood.

The researchers used data from the second generation of the Framingham Heart Study, the Offspring Cohort, which began in 1971. The participants were 60 years or older, free of dementia, and had available dietary, epigenetic, and follow-up data. The cohort was followed up at nine examinations, approximately every 4 to 7 years, with data collection including physical examinations, lifestyle questionnaires, blood sampling, and neurocognitive testing (starting in 1991).

Out of the 1,644 participants included in the analyses, 140 developed dementia. To measure the pace of aging, the researchers used an epigenetic clock called DunedinPACE, developed by Belsky and colleagues at Duke University and the University of Otago. This clock measures how quickly a person’s body is deteriorating as they age, acting as a “speedometer for the biological processes of aging.”

The study found that higher adherence to the Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet slowed the pace of aging as measured by DunedinPACE, and reduced the risks of dementia and mortality. Notably, the slower pace of aging accounted for 27% of the diet-dementia association and 57% of the diet-mortality association.

The findings suggest that the slower pace of aging partially mediates the relationship between a healthy diet and reduced dementia risk. As a result, monitoring the pace of aging may inform dementia prevention strategies. However, the researchers note that a portion of the diet-dementia association remains unexplained, and they recommend continued investigation of brain-specific mechanisms in well-designed mediation studies.

The authors also suggest that additional observational studies be conducted to investigate the direct associations of nutrients with brain aging. They emphasize the importance of confirming these observations in more diverse populations before considering the monitoring of biological aging as a tool for dementia prevention.

In conclusion, this study provides evidence for the role of a healthy diet in reducing the risk of dementia and slowing down the aging process, with the pace of aging acting as a partial mediator. Further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind this association and to develop effective strategies for dementia prevention.

 

The full article is here.

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  • Vitamin E (As DL-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate)
  • Vitamin B1 (as Thiamine Mononitrate)
  • Vitamin B2 (as Riboflavin)
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  • Copper (as Copper Gluconate)
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