ADVERTISEMENT

Dancing toward fitness

  • Cox Newspapers
  • November 30, 2012 - 12:51 PM
Whether it's ballet or ballroom, dancing is a great way to get in shape. Along with keeping muscles toned, dancing burns body fat, stresses balance and, because it is a weight-bearing exercise, strengthens bones, according to the AARP. Bones adapt to a weight load and the pull of muscles by building more bone cells, increasing strength and density and decreasing the risk of fractures, osteopenia and osteoporosis.

The benefits can extend beyond fitness. A study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that teaching the cha-cha to a small group of older adults twice a week for six months was enough to improve their memory and cognitive function on a number of tests. Scientists know exercise raises the level of brain chemicals that encourage nerve cells to grow. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found regular ballroom dancing made people less likely to develop dementia.

COX NEWSPAPERS

Diabetic bypass better than stents?

There's good news for diabetic patients with multiple clogged heart arteries. A study by the American Heart Association found that patients treated with bypass surgery fared significantly better than those treated with drug-covered stents.

While medically coated stents (essentially tiny mesh tubes that prop open clogged arteries) are the less-invasive option to dealing with clogged arteries, bypass surgery is the safer option. Of the 1,900 patients studied, only 19 percent of those suffered a heart attack, stroke or died within five years after receiving bypass surgery. Almost 27 percent suffered the same fate after opting for drug-covered stents.

Heart bypass surgery involves cutting out the clogged part of the artery and replacing it with a portion of a blood vessel from another part of the body. This way the clog is totally removed, rather than simply kept open with a stent.

MCCLATCHY NEWS SERVICE

© 2014 Star Tribune