Sometimes it’s the little things that can have a big impact on our health – and we may not even realize we’re doing something good for our brains and bodies at the moment. This week’s health news proves that it’s not just about getting your vitamins to stay sharp and healthy. For example, being musical as you age has been shown to significantly improve brain health, including vital memory function. While running has fallen out of favor when compared to strength training and even walking, runners can also take heart in knowing that there are valid weight management reasons to keep hitting the trails or treadmill.
Unfortunately, it’s not all great news: This week’s health headlines also suggest cutting back on your lip balm habit. Here’s what you need to know.
Music can help your brain
It’s never too late to live out your rock star fantasies – and now there’s an even better reason to pick up an instrument after retirement. Playing a musical instrument, singing and having a general musical ability can contribute to improved brain health in older adults, according to a study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
The UK-based study focused on 1,107 participants aged over 40, with an average age of 68, and found that those who reported playing a musical instrument – particularly the keyboard – had better overall brain function that helped them they solve problems. Musical ability also increased working memory, which is important for older adults who may have memory problems.
The study recommended the inclusion of musical engagement as part of public health interventions for healthy aging and dementia risk reduction. Have you always wanted to take music lessons? Consider it an investment in your brain health.
Running can help prevent weight gain
Strength training may be all the rage right now, but there are still advantages to running when it comes to managing your weight. A recent study from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland found that regular running helps prevent weight or fat gain. Runners, according to the study, maintain lower levels of fat mass than similarly active people, including those who compete in strength-based sports.
The key, the researchers noted, is not to replace strength training with running, but instead to combine it for optimal health. Strength training helps build muscle mass, which is critical for overall well-being — such as maintaining good bone health — as we age. If you want to implement this strategy in your life, aim for the Department of Health and Human Services recommendation of at least two days of strength training per week, plus 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity), which may include running or jogging. .
Switching arms for a multi-dose vaccine may be helpful
Right arm? Left arm? Let’s do both, says a new study from Oregon Health & Science University. The research found that alternating arms for multi-dose vaccines – such as those for COVID-19 – can result in up to a fourfold increase in the immune response, meaning the vaccine can protect you better than if you choose a single arm for your vaccines.
The study looked at 947 people who received a two-dose vaccine against COVID-19, with the second dose administered either in the same arm or in the opposite arm to the first. The research found a significant increase in antibody response among individuals who received shots in both arms, which persisted for more than a year and showed improved immunity to both the original strain of COVID and the Omicron variant. While the cause of this phenomenon is not clear and further research is needed, one theory is that giving each arm a shot activates new immune responses in different lymph nodes, potentially leading to improved memory formation.
What’s the best way to keep your immune system up when it comes to vaccines? In fact, go out and get your shots, whether it’s for COVID, the flu, or anything else your doctor recommends. .
Add it to your skin’s health lip balm
For years, people have said that using lip balm is addictive. Is that actually the case? Not quite, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t curb a crazy conditioner habit.
Experts tell Yahoo Life that while lip balm may not be physically addictive, some people become obsessed with the product and turn its use into a compulsive habit. It can make your lips worse: According to Dr. Jennifer Gordon, a dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas, signs that a person may be using too much lip balm include lips that are moist (with chapped skin), excessively dry. peeling, burning or acne around them. Scented or colored medicated lip balms and balms can dry out your lips or irritate your skin.
You might think your lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) is a good thing, but there’s a reason to avoid over-applying it. “Balms that contain SPF can sometimes not be as moisturizing,” Gordon tells Yahoo Life, “so while it’s always good to protect your lips, consider that if you’re applying it multiple times a day and you’re not going out.”