Healthy Living: Recent Research

Recent research has come to light that helps build a foundation of good health habits.

Sleep: How Much?
While sleep researchers say there is no ‘magic number’ for sleep hours and that sleep can vary over the short-term (just ask runners the night before a marathon:) research points to the positive health outcomes for a habit of sleeping at least 7 hours per night. THIS RESEARCH STUDY of 500,000 people found that sleeping 7 hours seems to be the optimal duration for benefiting thinking skills and mental health. And THIS RESEARCH STUDY followed 68,000 people for 16 years and found that those with a habit of sleeping 7 hours had less weight gain to a statistically significant degree compared to those with a habit of sleeping 6 hours or less. Also these findings remained statistically significant after researchers controlled for other major variables involved in weight gain: physical activity and dietary consumption levels. In sum, your body can handle the occasional night of poor sleep. However, making a habit of being well within the 7-hour window for sleep seems to benefit brain health and weight control.

Diet: Eat More of This!
Instead of what to remove, THIS RESEARCH FINDING focuses more on what to add to the diet. This research, based on 185 studies and 58 clinical trials, found that people who eat more fiber reduce their risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes (some of the most common major diseases) by up to 30%. And, from the clinical trials, these outcomes were greatest when daily intake of dietary fiber was between 25g to 29g. To bump up fiber, focus on fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and oats. Eating bread and pasta, in whole wheat options, with at least 4g of fiber per serving can help increase fiber intake.

Alternative to Coffee for Increasing Attention 
I don’t know about you but, I love my morning coffee! It’s a great way to start my day. Yet, when in need of a boost in the afternoon, having coffee too close to bedtime can disrupt my sleep. THIS RESEARCH FINDING suggests that just 15 minutes of chewing gum led to subjects being more alert improving attention and concentration - even work productivity. So, it may be that caffeine in the morning and gum in the afternoon could be an easy way to stay focused during the day, with fewer downsides.

Work the One-Legged Stance Into Your Movement Practice

One-Legged Stance

Balance quickly diminishes after the mid-50s increasing the risk of falls and other adverse health outcomes. THIS RESEARCH FINDING followed a sample of people aged 51-74 years over a 7-year time period to find out if the ability to complete a 10-second One-Legged Stance could predict health outcomes. Researchers found that those subjects who couldn’t pass the test had a higher risk of death from any cause over this time period.

Whether you’re over or under 50, the One-Legged Stance is an ability worth building. As the picture above illustrates, to test your performance, stand on both legs, and raise one foot off the floor until your thigh is at a 90-degree angle to your hips. Try to hold for 10 seconds, and then repeat on the other leg. You can work the One-Legged Stance into your daily routine, like doing it while waiting for your morning coffee to brew. Or by doing more single-leg exercises, such as STEP UPS and SINGLE-LEG DEADLIFTS.
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Thanks for reading! 


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Experiment of One Coaching covers topics ranging from running, strength training, health & wellness, sports nutrition to travel. I usually post once or twice a month.