Author: ilkka (Page 1 of 4)

Writing grants and visiting China

Things were so busy especially with grant applications and some experiments during September and three conference and university visit trips during October that I have not been writing here for a while. One of these conference and university visits was a trip to Beijing, China. Beijing Sport University invited me and other researchers and professors to give presentations and set up collaborations in terms of winter sports in particular. Trip was a success and looks like we will strengthen European-Chinese actions even further in the future. More later, maybe.

Global physical activity levels

Major study was published in Lancet yesterday reporting that 25% of the people worldwide do not exercise enough in terms of their health. According to its conclusions, policies to increase population levels of physical activity need to be prioritised and scaled up urgently. I could not agree more, but on the other hand 75% of the world population are exercising quite nicely.

Particularly Finns exercise quite a lot as Finns lead the statistics amongst the western countries. Obesity and many chronic diseases are still quite common also in Finland, which makes me to ask whether even that amount of exercise that Finns do is enough to maintain or improve health? Or are these surveys, which are not relying on objective measures to determine physical activity, even misleading? How much should we actually exercise? Maybe 2-3 hours per day, as also suggested for kids?

Further, one could think based on these data that many persons are quite well-informed and health concsious as they are exercising. However, according to this study this might not be the case, but we need to continue to inform people in regards to health hazards of lack of exercise.

Recent important articles dealing with nutrition and health

I tweeted recently few posts in regards to nutrition and human health. According to one leading expert in the field, The field needs radical reform: “Some nutrition scientists and much of the public often consider epidemiologic associations of nutritional factors to represent causal effects that can inform public health policy and guidelines. However, the emerging picture of nutritional epidemiology is difficult to reconcile with good scientific principles.”

Another article discusses Food based dietary patterns and chronic disease prevention. Can specific foods provide health benefits? Will adopting a specific food pattern prevent major chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer? You can find answers from their text.

Both articles are worth reading to guide eating decisions.

Back to basics – Orienteering is good fun!

Orienteering is one of the best exercises one can imagine. Running in a forest with a map trying to find your way according to pre-defined locations puts both your legs and brain working. No step is similar than previous one and terrain is often quite demanding. Uphills and downhills and reading map and sometimes just running fast is best natural interval training that one can figure. Good thing also is that you do not need to be running with maximal effort but you can also enjoy nature, which is good and healthy for your body also according to science. These were some of the things I figured out also today when I was orienteering. Early summer was full of rowing on a same days as our weekly orienteering events happen, but now I am back to running in the forests with a map, and how great is that 🙂

Tahko MTB – 20 years and going even stronger

An epic Tahko mountain bike race was raced today for the 20th time in a row. My first race there was in 2002 and this has been a must race since then. It did not dissapoint this year either. Simple thing is that it is tough (60K, few minutes over 3 hours max effort), and that is the reason I have done that several times, basically always when I have been in Finland. And I am not the only one as many other exercisers have also found it and this year over 2300 cyclists were doing the race. Conditions were wet and tough, but this is why we do it.

Another reason to go and do Tahko  MTB is Kuopio/Nilsiä region. If you are interested, check out more information from Tahko webpages.

How hot is your brain?

There has been some previous studies suggesting that particularly high-intensity exercise can blunt appetite and reduce food intake. New  study might have shed light in this respect. According to a new study exercise-induced elevation in brain temperature namely reduces food intake, and may thus contribute to body weight regulation.

On the other hand, we have also previously shown that food high in sugar and/or fat changes gene expression in the brain in those genes that regulate appetite. Thus, both exercise and food matter in the regulation of food intake and body weight regulation.

Earth day

Earth day was some days ago, check out the video:

Sports is for all

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

Martin Luther King Jr., Christmas speech 1967

April 4th 2018, thus today, marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, TN, USA.

In remembrance of Dr. King, I also thought to write few words on the topic, in light of sports. On 28th of August 1963, thus almost 55 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his influential speech – ‘I have a dream’. At the age of 34 and standing on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, US, in the front of about 250 000 people that came to listen, pastor King essentially called for equal rights for black and white people. In this regard much still remains to be done, but much progress has fortunately also occurred from those times.

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Altitude training – Benefits for “normal” people

Many elite athletes go high up in the mountains to do some altitude training as hypoxia (reduced oxygen pressure in the air) may give some physiological gains on top of normal training at the sea level. They still do that even if science does not really support these ideas. Some say believing is everything, but it is likely that good training camp in a good terrain where you can devote all your efforts just to training and recovering explains most of the fitness gains due to high altitude training period.

However, hypoxia or altitude training may atually be more beneficial for us “normal”people, who are not training like elite athletes. Recent evidence to support these ideas comes from a study by Camacho-Cardenosa et al. who recently showed that high-intensity interval training under normobaric intermittent hypoxia for 12 weeks in overweight/obese women seems to be promising for reducing body fat content with a concomitant increase in muscle mass.

We have also already some two years ago reviewed the acute responses of exercise and hypoxia in a human body, and health benefits of living and being and training in altitude. Acute responses are summarized in the figure below, but check out also this table for studies showing health benefits in health and disease.

Source: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2016.00116/full

Get moving in March

March is physical inactivity awareness month and here are some reasons why this is the case and what physical inactivity does to your body:

  • 150% more at risk of having depression
  • 23% higher risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • 82% higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease (severe brain disorder)
  • Plus, a scary number of other negative statistics…

These facts and good movements to counteract inactivity can be found from Australian Exercise and Sport Science association -supported Exercise Right pages, which are worth checking out.

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Copyright © 2018 Ilkka Heinonen / ileximius. All rights reserved.

The views expressed on this website do not neccasarily reflect the views of University of Turku or other institutions or organisations Dr. Heinonen represents.