Breathing Technique Boosts Health and Performance

People sometimes forget just how important breathing is for our bodies; breathing is often taken for granted. By exercising your breathing, you can improve not only how your body performs when it comes to physical activities, but also your body’s general health as well. It’s why you should consider doing a five-minute breathing technique known as IMST.

The Benefits of IMST

Recent research indicates the IMST breathing technique (Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training) can have numerous benefits to the body, including:

  • Improving blood pressure
  • Increasing cognitive abilities
  • Lowering heart attack risk

…and even enhancing your athletic performance. Essentially, IMST is a form of strength training for the muscles you use to breathe.

IMST is performed using a resistive hand-held device; the inspiratory muscle trainer. It was first developed as a way for people suffering from respiratory issues; such as bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

During clinical trials, participants performed 30 inhalations a day using IMST. It was found that the systolic blood pressure of participants was lowered by 12 millimeters of mercury – twice as much as what exercising for the same amount of time achieves. The results led to more studies focusing on the benefits of IMST on vascular, cognitive, and physical health.

Further studies compared a group of subjects using IMST and a group using a sham device. Those who used IMST had significantly lower blood pressure and that their large arteries functioned significantly better as a result. These participants also performed better on treadmill tests and cognitive tests. These preliminary studies have shown the promise of IMST.

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IMST is just one of many recent advances in the health industry. Be sure to stay up-to-date with all the latest health-related news and discoveries by continuing to visit us at The Benefits Store

Breast Cancer Treatment: Less-Invasive Mastectomy

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women in the U.S. Roughly 12 percent of all American women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives. It’s estimated that around 268,600 new invasive breast cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2019 alone. One of the ways doctors commonly treat breast cancer is through a mastectomy. Unfortunately, mastectomies are often extremely invasive. A new type of mastectomy has been developed that is less invasive than traditional mastectomies. 

Breast Cancer Treatment: What is Traditional Mastectomy?

There are several types of mastectomies, and all involve removing breast tissue. A total mastectomy requires surgeons to remove the entire breast in order to remove the cancer. When this process is performed, the muscle below the breast remains. Usually, this type of mastectomy is required for women with several or large areas of DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). In some cases, the lymph nodes in the underarm areas must be removed as well. In the most serious of cases, the muscle below the breast must also be removed.

How is the New Mastectomy Less Invasive?

A new form of mastectomy has been developed in which the surface of the breast is left intact. The process is commonly referred to as a “nipple-sparing” mastectomy. During the process, breast tissue is removed while leaving the skin, nipple, and areola in place.

The surgeon then immediately rebuilds the breast after removing the cancerous tissue. So far, the process, including the reconstruction, has had a 97 percent success rate. Not only is the new mastectomy less invasive, but allowing the patient to maintain the original shape of the breast instead of losing it in its entirety can help maintain self-esteem. Recovering from cancer is hard enough as it is – the lack of confidence caused by a change in appearance can also be quite difficult to overcome.

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Learn more about breast cancer treatment and stay up-to-date with all the latest cancer-related news and advancements by continuing to visit us at The Benefits Store

4 Things to Know About Intermittent Fasting for Health

Maintaining a good diet is vital to your health. It’s one of the reasons why so many different types of diets are developed and popularized every year. If you’re looking to improve your health, one thing that you can do is to practice intermittent fasting.

A lot of people scoff at the idea of fasting; they see it as a form of starving yourself. Fasting does not have to be extreme and it can actually provide a number of health benefits. The following are four things you should know about intermittent fasting:

1. What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is the practice of not eating anything for an extended period of time. This period of time can be as little as 12 hours, although some people even fast for as many as 24 hours.

2. Is Intermittent Fasting Beneficial to Your Health?

Numerous studies have found that intermittent fasting can be beneficial. For example, the way you eat can affect your sleep-wake cycle (also known as your circadian rhythm). This means that intermittent fasting could potentially help to improve your sleep cycles. Getting good sleep is essential for both your physical and mental health.

3. How Does Fasting Affect Your Body?

Although most Americans aren’t starving, humans (and animals in general) don’t always have access to food, especially in times of hardship. The body naturally adapts to a lack of food through certain metabolic changes. For example, if you’re not consuming enough glucose, your liver will create ketones from fatty acids that your body will use as an emergency energy source.

4. How Can Fasting Promote Your Physical Health?

One of the ways that intermittent fasting can help improve your health is through a process called autophagy. When practicing intermittent fasting, your body will begin a self-detoxification process in which old and damaged cells are broken down and recycled. This helps to promote cellular replenishment in tissues, such as your skeletal muscle. 

For more information about maintaining a healthy diet, continue visiting us at The Benefits Store.

The Truth About Protein

ProteinAnyone that works out on a regular basis knows how important it is to maintain a healthy diet for best results. Most people are aware working out requires a diet rich in protein. Even if you don’t work out, odds are you’ve heard of protein shakes. Drinking protein shakes every day may not have the effect you want. Instead of drinking protein shakes or adding protein powders to your drinks, you should try to introduce a variety of different proteins to your diet.

Why is Protein So Important?

Every cell in your body requires protein because protein builds and repairs tissues. Proteins are also used to produce enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals your body needs. They are important building blocks for your muscles, bones, skin, blood, and cartilage.

So why do bodybuilders consume so many protein shakes and bars? It’s because, in order to build muscle, you have to break it down so that the body can repair it (and make it stronger). That process requires a lot of protein.

Why Should You Cut Down on Protein Shakes?

A new study was recently published in Nature Metabolism: Even though BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) can help build muscle, they have their share of drawbacks. For example, not only can consuming BCAAs negatively impact your mood and cause weight gain, but consuming too much can also reduce your lifespan. This is especially true if your diet is high in protein but low in carbohydrates. 

The better course of action is to vary your protein sources to get a variety of amino acids into your diet. For example, red meats, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, lentils, and more are healthier choices. 

Learn More About Maintaining a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is essential to maintaining good health. For more diet-related advice and to stay up-to-date on the latest health-related news, be sure to keep visiting us at The Benefits Store.

Can Exercise Help Prevent Cartilage Damage?

Individuals who are living with arthritis often experience cartilage damage. Cartilage is a connective tissue that functions as a cushion between the bones of joints. When cartilage damage occurs as a result of arthritis, that cushion disappears, often causing joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent the destruction of cartilage caused by osteoarthritis. A recently published study revealed that exercise may be the key to preventing cartilage damage.

How Exercise Can Prevent Cartilage Damage

The study revealed that exercise causes the cells in one’s joints to experience mechanical forces that help to suppress the action of inflammatory molecules, which is what leads to osteoarthritis. When a person exercises, the cartilage in their joints are squashed. This mechanical distortion is identified by living cells within the cartilage. These cells block the action of inflammatory molecules as a result.

The study revealed that the anti-inflammatory effect caused by exercise is the result of the activation of HDAC6, which is a type of protein. When the HDAC6 is activated, it triggers a change in the proteins that form the primary cilia, which are tiny hair-like structures found on living cells. While there are certain pharmaceutical drugs that block the activation of HDAC6, thereby preventing the anti-inflammatory effects of exercise, there are other treatments available that can have the opposite effect, thereby mimicking the positive effects of exercise.

Anyone living with arthritis should exercise as a way to prevent their cartilage from degenerating, as this recent study, which was published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, has shown.  The study also backs the fact that exercise has anti-inflammatory effects on the arteries’ normal blood flow, helping to prevent arterial diseases, including aneurysms and atherosclerosis.

The results of the recently published study suggest that a new therapeutic approach called mechano-medicine could help treat conditions such as arthritis. Mechano-medicine would involve the use of drugs that simulate the effect of physical activity to help prevent cartilage damage. For all the latest information about advances in arthritis treatment or for health news in general, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.