Cardio Fitness for Cognitive Fitness

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Boy playing the chessCould more exercise make you smarter?  Yes, according to a large population study that showed a positive association between cardiovascular fitness and cognitive performance.

The authors looked at information from more than 1 million men from Sweden born between 1950 and 1976.  They analyzed the physical activity and intelligence measures in these men at age 15 and again at age 18.   Improved cardiovascular fitness at age 18 was associated with improvements in logical, verbal and other aspects of intelligence.

These results held even after adjusting for genetics and shared environment.  The authors caution that since only men were included in the study, the results might not be applicable to women.

So, whether you want to get better grades, wow your boss, or just feel better, AICR has some ideas to help you start and maintain your physical activity this holiday season.

Check out these creative ideas from AICR’s December E-news articles:

Twelve Days of Holiday Fitness

Sweat the Small Stuff

AICR’s expert panel found convincing evidence that physical activity decreases risk for colon cancer, probably decreases risk for post menopausal breast cancer and cancer of the endometrium.  Check our earlier blog postings from the AICR Research Conference on physical activity – how it impacts cancer prevention and survival and how we can improve our sedentary habits.

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    Fewer Calories. Really?

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    It’s not often we hear that holiday foods have actually decreased in calories over the years. But, according to Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab analysis of traditional Thanksgiving recipes, some of our favorites are a bit leaner today than in the 1950s.

    Ginger Carrots from AICR New American Plate CookbookGreen beans with almonds, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie recipes each weighed in at an average of 102 calories less. Dinner rolls increased by 26 calories; corn and candied carrots remained the same. The analysis compared recipes from Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks, the 1956 vs. the 2006 editions.

    According to the researchers, a Thanksgiving dinner with those eight sides plus a drumstick is 2,057 calories today compared to 2,539 in 1956.

    The catch is that the serving sizes have to be the same. With our larger plates and portion up-sizing, we may not see those calorie savings according to Brian Wansink, Ph.D., Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

    AICR’s Bottom Line: Enjoy your favorite turkey day foods, but remember that moderate portions mean more days of delicious leftovers!

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