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Jun 21, 2012

Running Less Than Twenty Miles a Week Better for Your Health than Long runs.

A new study in by Dr Carl Lavie (Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, LA) showed that the mortality benefits of running are best accumulated in shorter distances, specifically at less than 20 miles per week.   In fact, at longer distances, the researchers observed a U-shape relationship between mortality and running, with longer weekly distances trending back in the wrong direction, toward less mortality benefit.  

 Lavie stressed that the study is one of the largest to date, including data on more than 52 000 men and women participating in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS), results will likely vary among individuals with differing athletic abilities or different ages.   Running was associated with a 19% lower risk of all-cause mortality when compared with individuals who did not run.  Individuals who ran six and seven miles per hour had a significant 21% and 27% lower risk of all-cause mortality, whereas those who ran eight or more miles per hour had a nonsignificant 7% lower risk of all-cause mortality.  Running up to 20 miles per week was associated with a significantly reduced risk of death, with the largest benefit observed in those who ran between 10 to 15 miles weekly.   For those who ran 20 to 25 miles and more than 25 miles per week, however, there was a nonsignificant 10% and 5% reduction in all-cause mortality. 

Lavie noted that it is impossible to say definitively that more running is making the reduction in all-cause mortality go in the other direction, as it's possible that unmeasured variables might have influenced the results.  It's possible that runners might not be taking care of themselves in other ways.  Endurance exercise may also be associated with coronary artery calcification, diastolic dysfunction, or arterial stiffening.  For a cardiovascular protection thirty to forty minutes of running is better that ninety minutes of running.  This study is showing that more is not better when it comes to exercise.

Statins Associated With Fatigue

A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine of June showed that low energy and fatigue have been described by patients receiving statins in observational studies.  The study enrolled 1016 subjects (692 men; 324 women) with LDL levels of 115 to 190 mg/dL and no cardiovascular disease or diabetes who were randomized to simvastatin 20 mg, pravastatin 40 mg, or placebo for six months.
Results showed a significant adverse effect on energy and fatigue with exertion associated with statin use, which was more common in women than men. Both simvastatin and pravastatin contributed to this effect. The authors also point out that there was a significant relation between the reduced energy reported and actual activity, which could in turn lead to an increase in cardiovascular clinical events.
Other side effects of statin drugs include muscle pain, asthma, dementia and now fatigue.  I would question the use of statins in my patients.

What is Health & Wellness in Vail Valley?

What is Health & Wellness for the Vail Valley?

I was in southern India for the month of April and was impressed in how this country is approaching health and wellness.  India offers three different hospital systems to patients’ allopathic hospitals, naturopathic hospitals and ayurvedic hospitals.  The government is supporting the naturopathic and ayurvedic hospitals because these therapies work well for difficult cases. At the naturopathic hospital the patient is treated using all organic vegetarian foods, daily yoga, over fifty different types of hydrotherapy treatments depending on their condition, acupuncture, massages with non-toxic oils and other types of condition specific therapies. At the ayurvedic hospitals the patient is treated using specific types of foods according to their dosha such as pitta, kapha or vata.  They are also doing yoga at least three times a week and ayurvedic massages which use non-toxic oils infused with medicinal herbs depending on the condition. Ayurvedic medicine also uses panchakarma therapy an internal cleansing treatment using sweating, enemas, sinus washes, dietary changes, and herbal treatments.

These hospitals are using organic foods and many of them are doing there own farming. As a naturopathic physician myself our food is the basis of most of the chronic disease today.  In the United States studies are showing that one in two people are obese this includes Colorado which was one of the healthiest states in the country.  Allopathic medicine does not treat obesity very well unless you want to have your stomach stabled.  Our diet and lifestyle is responsible for diabetes, high cholesterol, heart diseases, one third of all cancers and high blood pressure.  Many people that I see claim their high cholesterol is genetic because everyone in their family has high cholesterol.  It’s not genetic it is because everyone in their family eats the same way.  Eating healthy is not easy for a lot of people because of their fast pace life style.  The majority of the people that I see do not really know what a healthy diet is.  We have become a society of processed, genetically modified and pesticide laden foods.  In turn, we have one of the worse health care systems in the industrial world.  It was refreshing to see India not following our footsteps and offering choices in health care.

In the United States in the early 1900’s there were twenty three naturopathic hospitals in this country in which patients were treated using a healthy diet, exercise, massages, hydrotherapy treatments, botanical medicine and homeopathy.  Then the pharmaceutical companies took over and now we have drugs that have become the fourth leading cause of death in this country.  It is sad to see that we are not taking charge of our health.  Granted as individuals we do need to be responsible for our choices. 

I find it interesting that the Vail Valley wants to become a health and wellness center.  But I see nothing being done to move in this direction.  A visitor can come here to these beautiful mountains which can be healing in themselves, exercise and have a massage in which toxic oils are used. These visitors can do this in any state.  What makes our valley so special besides the scenery?  If we want to be a health and wellness center we have to offer health and wellness.  By definition health is the general condition of a person’s mind, body and spirit meaning to be free of illness, injury or pain.  Wellness can have many different definitions the Foundation of Wellness Professionals defines it as care without drugs that can not only eliminate health problems but prevent them.  Health and wellness is about treating the cause of any illness so that a person can obtain Optimal Health.  By treating the symptoms’ of a health problem that problem will never resolve and the person will never obtain optimal health.  Our health care system needs to completely change its direction if we truly want to offer health and wellness.