Tag Archives: research

Research Shows Practicing Tai Chi Improves Some Chronic Conditions

A number of studies have been conducted in recent years on the effect that practicing Tai Chi has on patients with various chronic health conditions. The results provide positive evidence that Tai Chi can be beneficial in improving patient outcomes on a variety of levels having physical, psychological and behavioural impacts. Here is a basic summary of some of the research findings:
Philip W.H. Peng published a review article on Tai Chi and Chronic Pain in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine 2012. He found that Tai Chi is beneficial for providing pain relief and improving physical and psychological well-being for people with Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Low Back Pain. Tai Chi’s effects on muscular strength, cardiovascular health, bone health, stress reduction and quality of life may also prove benefical to patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Jun-Hong Yan, et al. conducted a study in 2013 on the Effects of Tai Chi in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and found that practicing Tai Chi significantly improved patients’ total scores on the Chronic Respiratory Disease Quesitonnaire and the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnare.
Hui-Ming Lo, et al (2012) conducted a study on Tai Chi and patients with Hypertension. The study concluded that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were reduced and exercise behaviour and exercise time were improved when hospital outpatients with hypertension participated in an 8-week Tai Chi exercise program.
Sukhee Ahn, et al (2012) conducted a study on the effects of Tai Chi Exercise on Glucose Control, Neuropathy Scores, Balance and Quality of Life in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Neuropathy. The results indicate that total symptom scores, glucose control, balance and quality of life were significantly better in the Tai Chi group than in the control (nonintervention) group.
Whether you live with a chronic health condition or not, you can improve your health with Tai Chi! Sign up for a class and find strength, balance, coordination, improved digestion & circulation, greater mental clarity and relief for stress.
Saddletowne YMCA offers the following Tai Chi course:
Tai Chi Level 1
Saturdays 11:00-12:30pm
Beginning April 5
M: $108 NM: $162 (12 classes)

Call 403-237-2393 to register or visit ymcacalgary.org for full course listings.

References:
Ahn, S., Song, R. (2012). Effects of Tai Chi exercise on glucose control, neuropathy scores, balance and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes and neuropathy. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Dec;18(12), 1172-8.
Lo, H.M. et al (2012). A Tai Chi exercise programme improved exercise behavior and reduced blood pressure in outpatients with hypertension. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 18(6), 545-551.
Peng, P.W.H. (2012). Tai Chi and chronic pain. Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Jul-Aug; 37(4):372-82.
Yan, J.H., Guo, Y.Z, Yao, H.M., Pan, L. (2013). Effects of Tai Chi in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. PLOS ONE (10), 1371.

Research Shows Practicing Tai Chi Improves Some Chronic Conditions

A number of studies have been conducted in recent years on the effect that practicing Tai Chi has on patients with various chronic health conditions. The results provide positive evidence that Tai Chi can be beneficial in improving patient outcomes on a variety of levels having physical, psychological and behavioural impacts. Here is a basic summary of some of the research findings:
Philip W.H. Peng published a review article on Tai Chi and Chronic Pain in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine 2012. He found that Tai Chi is beneficial for providing pain relief and improving physical and psychological well-being for people with Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Low Back Pain. Tai Chi’s effects on muscular strength, cardiovascular health, bone health, stress reduction and quality of life may also prove benefical to patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Jun-Hong Yan, et al. conducted a study in 2013 on the Effects of Tai Chi in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and found that practicing Tai Chi significantly improved patients’ total scores on the Chronic Respiratory Disease Quesitonnaire and the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnare.
Hui-Ming Lo, et al (2012) conducted a study on Tai Chi and patients with Hypertension. The study concluded that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were reduced and exercise behaviour and exercise time were improved when hospital outpatients with hypertension participated in an 8-week Tai Chi exercise program.
Sukhee Ahn, et al (2012) conducted a study on the effects of Tai Chi Exercise on Glucose Control, Neuropathy Scores, Balance and Quality of Life in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Neuropathy. The results indicate that total symptom scores, glucose control, balance and quality of life were significantly better in the Tai Chi group than in the control (nonintervention) group.
Whether you live with a chronic health condition or not, you can improve your health with Tai Chi! Sign up for a class and find strength, balance, coordination, improved digestion & circulation, greater mental clarity and relief for stress.
Saddletowne YMCA offers the following Tai Chi course:
Tai Chi Level 1
Saturdays 11:00-12:30pm
Beginning January 18
M: $90 NM: $135 (10 classes)

Call 403-237-2393 to register or visit ymcacalgary.org for full course listings.

References:
Ahn, S., Song, R. (2012). Effects of Tai Chi exercise on glucose control, neuropathy scores, balance and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes and neuropathy. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Dec;18(12), 1172-8.
Lo, H.M. et al (2012). A Tai Chi exercise programme improved exercise behavior and reduced blood pressure in outpatients with hypertension. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 18(6), 545-551.
Peng, P.W.H. (2012). Tai Chi and chronic pain. Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Jul-Aug; 37(4):372-82.
Yan, J.H., Guo, Y.Z, Yao, H.M., Pan, L. (2013). Effects of Tai Chi in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. PLOS ONE (10), 1371.

Research Shows Practicing Tai Chi Improves Some Chronic Conditions

A number of studies have been conducted in recent years on the effect that practicing Tai Chi has on patients with various chronic health conditions. The results provide positive evidence that Tai Chi can be beneficial in improving patient outcomes on a variety of levels having physical, psychological and behavioural impacts. Here is a basic summary of some of the research findings:
Philip W.H. Peng published a review article on Tai Chi and Chronic Pain in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine 2012. He found that Tai Chi is beneficial for providing pain relief and improving physical and psychological well-being for people with Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Low Back Pain. Tai Chi’s effects on muscular strength, cardiovascular health, bone health, stress reduction and quality of life may also prove benefical to patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Jun-Hong Yan, et al. conducted a study in 2013 on the Effects of Tai Chi in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and found that practicing Tai Chi significantly improved patients’ total scores on the Chronic Respiratory Disease Quesitonnaire and the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnare.
Hui-Ming Lo, et al (2012) conducted a study on Tai Chi and patients with Hypertension. The study concluded that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were reduced and exercise behaviour and exercise time were improved when hospital outpatients with hypertension participated in an 8-week Tai Chi exercise program.
Sukhee Ahn, et al (2012) conducted a study on the effects of Tai Chi Exercise on Glucose Control, Neuropathy Scores, Balance and Quality of Life in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Neuropathy. The results indicate that total symptom scores, glucose control, balance and quality of life were significantly better in the Tai Chi group than in the control (nonintervention) group.
Whether you live with a chronic health condition or not, you can improve your health with Tai Chi! Sign up for a class and find strength, balance, coordination, improved digestion & circulation, greater mental clarity and relief for stress.
Saddletowne YMCA offers the following Tai Chi course:
Tai Chi Level 1
Saturdays 11:00-12:30pm
Beginning January 18
M: $90 NM: $135 (10 classes)

Call 403-237-2393 to register or visit ymcacalgary.org for full course listings.

References:
Ahn, S., Song, R. (2012). Effects of Tai Chi exercise on glucose control, neuropathy scores, balance and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes and neuropathy. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Dec;18(12), 1172-8.
Lo, H.M. et al (2012). A Tai Chi exercise programme improved exercise behavior and reduced blood pressure in outpatients with hypertension. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 18(6), 545-551.
Peng, P.W.H. (2012). Tai Chi and chronic pain. Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Jul-Aug; 37(4):372-82.
Yan, J.H., Guo, Y.Z, Yao, H.M., Pan, L. (2013). Effects of Tai Chi in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. PLOS ONE (10), 1371.

Sitting is the new smoking

There’s been a lot of buzz recently surrounding a slew of research outlining a case that the health effects of sitting excessively throughout the day are now overtaking the health risks attributed to smoking, and by a handsome margin. In fact, one study has the mortality rate associated with obesity as tenfold that of tobacco use (35 million deaths in the US associated to obesity versus 3.5 million for tobacco). The 1990s and early 2000s witnessed a vast campaign to socially outlaw smoking that achieved significant success in increasing the stigma attached to puffing in public and around small children. The cards now appear to be falling into place to hone this same amount of focus towards increasing the amount of physical activity we achieve each day and reducing the associated health risks of being sedentary. As Nilofer Merchant, a Silicon Valley corporate strategist puts it “sitting is the smoking of our generation”.

Besides a proposed tie to reducing the production of a cholesterol-targeting enzyme called lipase, the act of sitting itself elicits only a few minor complications like circulatory issues, low back pain and tension headaches. However it’s what we’re doing – or more like what we’re not doing – while we’re sitting that can lead to an array of far more severe comorbidities including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Metabolic diseases and
  • Cancer

“A person with a desk job may burn [a few hundred] calories a day at work but that same person might burn [several thousand] in a job that requires considerable physical effort” says James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. Considering we’re sitting an average of 9.7hrs a day and sleeping another 7.7hrs, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for actively sparking our metabolism and attending to our personal health.

This doesn’t mean you have to change careers and become a carpenter with an ultra-marathon running side gig, it may be as simple as creating potential for activity throughout your daily life e.g. taking the stairs instead of the elevator when you go for breaks, parking at the back of the lot instead of the spot closest to the entrance or simply doing a couple of laps around the office on your way to the washroom. For the executives out there, why not introduce ‘walking meetings’ into your weekly schedule. “Instead of going to a coffee meeting or the conference room, I ask people to go on a walking meeting” says Merchant. “There’s something about getting physically out of the box that leads to out-of the-box thinking. You’ll be surprised how fresh air drives fresh thinking”.

There are also ways of ‘actively sitting’ including raising your desk to standing height, dialing in to meetings while you’re on the treadmill or, better still, ordering a treadmill-equipped desk! (Google “treadmill desk”). And just in case you thought this was some kind of modern revelation, here are some renowned ‘active thinkers’ of our time; Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemmingway and Mark Twain.

For more great ideas on how to expand your time away from sitting, check out this clip from Dr Mike Evans, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto entitled “23 and a half hours”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUaInS6HIGo
Geoff Starling
Strength & Conditioning Director
Eau Claire YMCA
gstarlin@calgary.ymca.ca


Sitting is the new smoking

There’s been a lot of buzz recently surrounding a slew of research outlining a case that the health effects of sitting excessively throughout the day are now overtaking the health risks attributed to smoking, and by a handsome margin. In fact, one study has the mortality rate associated with obesity as tenfold that of tobacco use (35 million deaths in the US associated to obesity versus 3.5 million for tobacco). The 1990s and early 2000s witnessed a vast campaign to socially outlaw smoking that achieved significant success in increasing the stigma attached to puffing in public and around small children. The cards now appear to be falling into place to hone this same amount of focus towards increasing the amount of physical activity we achieve each day and reducing the associated health risks of being sedentary. As Nilofer Merchant, a Silicon Valley corporate strategist puts it “sitting is the smoking of our generation”.

Besides a proposed tie to reducing the production of a cholesterol-targeting enzyme called lipase, the act of sitting itself elicits only a few minor complications like circulatory issues, low back pain and tension headaches. However it’s what we’re doing – or more like what we’re not doing – while we’re sitting that can lead to an array of far more severe comorbidities including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Metabolic diseases and
  • Cancer

“A person with a desk job may burn [a few hundred] calories a day at work but that same person might burn [several thousand] in a job that requires considerable physical effort” says James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. Considering we’re sitting an average of 9.7hrs a day and sleeping another 7.7hrs, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for actively sparking our metabolism and attending to our personal health.

This doesn’t mean you have to change careers and become a carpenter with an ultra-marathon running side gig, it may be as simple as creating potential for activity throughout your daily life e.g. taking the stairs instead of the elevator when you go for breaks, parking at the back of the lot instead of the spot closest to the entrance or simply doing a couple of laps around the office on your way to the washroom. For the executives out there, why not introduce ‘walking meetings’ into your weekly schedule. “Instead of going to a coffee meeting or the conference room, I ask people to go on a walking meeting” says Merchant. “There’s something about getting physically out of the box that leads to out-of the-box thinking. You’ll be surprised how fresh air drives fresh thinking”.

There are also ways of ‘actively sitting’ including raising your desk to standing height, dialing in to meetings while you’re on the treadmill or, better still, ordering a treadmill-equipped desk! (Google “treadmill desk”). And just in case you thought this was some kind of modern revelation, here are some renowned ‘active thinkers’ of our time; Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemmingway and Mark Twain.

For more great ideas on how to expand your time away from sitting, check out this clip from Dr Mike Evans, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto entitled “23 and a half hours”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUaInS6HIGo
Geoff Starling
Strength & Conditioning Director
Eau Claire YMCA
gstarlin@calgary.ymca.ca


How Kids Succeed…at Summer Camp!

Best-selling author and journalist Paul Tough’s new book, “How Kids Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character,” looks at opportunities that help kids thrive, grow, lead and belong. It’s a great book, and a best-seller. It lists skills that build positive character: perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control. Sound a lot like the skills children and youth develop at summer camp! Do you recall feeling some of these character traits developing in you during your days at summer camp? Did you see them around you?

Research confirms the growth we see in campers and the growth we see in our camp staff colleagues.

I recall a group of 12-year-olds returning, singing, from their hiking trip in the snow and wind. They looked well-rested, well-dressed, well-fed and comfortable. I asked them how they learnt such perseverance and optimism. They told me, clearly and proudly: “From our counsellors!”

Hiking with friends – CCH YMCA…can you guess where?

How Kids Succeed…at Summer Camp!

Best-selling author and journalist Paul Tough’s new book, “How Kids Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character,” looks at opportunities that help kids thrive, grow, lead and belong. It’s a great book, and a best-seller. It lists skills that build positive character: perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control. Sound a lot like the skills children and youth develop at summer camp! Do you recall feeling some of these character traits developing in you during your days at summer camp? Did you see them around you?

Research confirms the growth we see in campers and the growth we see in our camp staff colleagues.

I recall a group of 12-year-olds returning, singing, from their hiking trip in the snow and wind. They looked well-rested, well-dressed, well-fed and comfortable. I asked them how they learnt such perseverance and optimism. They told me, clearly and proudly: “From our counsellors!”

Hiking with friends – CCH YMCA…can you guess where?

Healthier, Smarter Students

In an article on The Globe & Mail website, writers Tamara Baluja and Kate Hammer take a look at how to build healthier & smarter students. Physical activity seems to be the key:

Canadian schools are just beginning to track the effects of physical activity on learning. Since 2008, City Park Collegiate in Saskatoon has tracked the academic performance of at-risk children involved in a regular cardio exercise program – 20 minutes, three times a week – and found startling results: a jump of 23 per cent in math scores, and a 60-per-cent improvement in reading scores.

Click here to read the full article on www.theglobeandmail.com.


Kids Health May Be Determined by Friends

In an article on the Reuters newswire website, writer Genevra Pittman takes a look at a new study by Vanderbilt University in Nashville that tells the health and level of activity of children and youth may be influenced by levels of activity of their friends:

Kids in after-school programs often increase their own physical activity if they make friends who run and jump around more than they do, a new study from Tennessee has found.

Though not completely surprising, that finding could be important as parents, after-school teachers and camp counselors try to encourage youngsters to move more and head-off obesity before it starts, researchers said.

Click here to read the full article on www.reuters.com.


Research Shows the Benefits of Summer Camp

Benefits of YMCA Summer Camp

Families have been sharing with the YMCA for years their observations that their children return from camp with strong friendships, greater maturity, good health and a love of the outdoors. Now there is research that confirms these stories.

The Canadian Summer Camp Research Project identified five areas for review: social integration and citizenship, environmental awareness, attitudes towards physical activity, emotional intelligence and self-confidence and personal development.

Funded by Canadian Camping Association/Association des camps du Canada (CCA/ACC) and the University of Waterloo, the project concludeds 5-years of research that included 16 camps from across Canada and over 1200 campers.

The research data show an increase in all five areas that were reviewed. A summary of the project and many other useful resources can be found on the CCA/ACC website.

Camp Chief Hector YMCA is an accredited member of the CCA/ACC, as well as a member of the Alberta Camps Assocation and the International Camping Fellowship.


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