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The 10-minute mantra to a longer life

How you react to stress can affect your heart and the ability to ignore is key to the ability to pay attention studies and research tips for a healthier you

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Response to stress is more important than its frequency

People who are easily stressed and experience negative emotions due to it are more likely to develop heart diseases, a US study suggests. Researchers from Penn State and Columbia University examined 909 participants in the age group of 35 to 80. Their electrocardiogram reading was taken regularly and they were interviewed every day for eight days in a row. Researchers found that participants who reported a lot of stressful events in their lives were not necessarily those who had lower heart rate variability. Those who perceived the events as more stressful and experienced more negative emotions had lower heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is a measure of autonomic regulation of the heart. Higher heart rate variability is better for health as it reflects the capacity to respond to challenges while lower is a sign of higher risk for heart disease. The study was published in Psychosomatic Medicine

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Walking for even 10 minutes can ward off early death

Researchers from University of Pennsylvania examined a previous study involving some 3,000 men and women in the age group of 50 to 79. The participants were asked to wear accelerometers for seven days for that study. It was found that the people who were least active were five times more likely to die compared to people who were more active every day. People who sat less and moved around more tended to live longer. What came as a bigger surprise was that one doesn’t need vigorous exercise to make the difference. Even 10 minutes of light activity every day can be beneficial, the researchers noted. The study appeared in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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Ignoring specific information can improve search

The ability to explicitly ignore information that is not relevant improves efficiency and allows people to search for objects sooner than others, a US study claims. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University asked participants to search for specific letters represented in different colours on a computer screen. When the participants were asked to ignore one colour throughout the experiment, their reaction time slowed at first, but after sometime, they were able to find the target letters faster than those who were not asked to ignore any colour. Researchers pointed out that attention is believed to enhance the processing of important objects but what is even more important is the ability to actively suppress competing stimuli. The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.

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Fruits and vegetables can help combat weight gain in adults

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in flavonoid molecules can help adults minimise the risk of weight gain as they age, a recent study suggests. Flavonoids are naturally occurring compounds with properties similar to antioxidants. Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston examined data on 124,000 health professionals. Half of the participants consumed up to 247mg of flavonoids every day. After every four years people gained 1kg to 2kg of weight on an average. Those who ate more fruits and vegetables with flavonoids gained less weight compared to others. The study was published in the journal BMJ.

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Parental pressure can push young athletes towards drugs

Athletes who are constantly under pressure from their parents to do better are more likely to end up using drugs, a British study claims. Researchers from the University of Kent examined perfectionism and attitudes towards doping in 129 male British junior athletes with an average age of 17 years. The study found that it was only parental pressure that showed a positive relationship with positive doping attitudes. The other factors investigated were an athlete’s striving for perfection, his concerns about making mistakes and pressure from his coach to be perfect. The researchers said they will carry out a similar study to examine the effect of parental pressure on young female athletes. The study was published by the Journal of Sports Sciences

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