In today's digest:
- Regular Yoga practice shown to significant reduce stress, menopause & depression symptoms, and increase quality of life
- Hypoxic Training significantly improves VO2max in trained runners
- Doctors issue strong warnings about LED lights
Regular Yoga practice shown to significant reduce stress, menopause & depression symptoms, and increase quality of life
A recent study was conducted to compare the benefits of 3 months of yoga practice vs. exercise and "doing nothing" in post-menopausal woman.
While both the "yoga group" as well as the "exercise" group showed a clear drop in stress levels (lower cortisol hormone) compared to "doing nothing", the Yoga Group came out as the clear winner: the women in the Yoga Group experienced a significant drop in stress levels as well as menopausal and depression symptoms. In addition, they reported a stronger improvement in "quality of life" even when compared with the "exercise" group.
Hypoxic Training significantly improves VO2max in trained runners
WARNING: this is a high-risk form of training and you should get expert advice prior to engaging in this form of training.
Intermittent hypoxic training (training with reduced oxygen availability) has been shown in this recent study to significantly increase aerobic capacity (ventilatory threshold and VO2max) in trained runners, in as little as 6 weeks of training.
What is even more interesting is that these benefits were maintained even after 4 weeks of NO training.
Important Note: Hypoxic Training means "reduced oxygen availability", such as training at altitude (mountains or altitude chambers).
HOWEVER: contrary to popular belief, so-called "altitude training masks" do NOT replicate this environment - they make it harder to breath but do NOT reduce oxygen availability, at least based on the scientific evidence available to-date.
If you want to read more about hypoxic training, this is a good article.
Doctors issue strong warnings about LED lights
LED lights are prevalent: they are replacing normal lightbulbs at home, but also on the streets of the cities we live in. Scientists have been screaming for years about the negative health effects of these LEDs, and it's only now that this is getting media attention.
What's the problem with LED lights?
"Light" consists of 4 wave-lengths: blue, green, yellow and red.
The most harmful one for the human eye is the "blue": too much blue damages the retina of the eye, disrupts sleep and some hormones, and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (increases stress level).
Light is measured by its "color temperature": the higher the temperature, the more "Blue" it contains.
- Candlelight (or light from a fire) has a temp of 1800K.
- The "good old" incandescent light-bulb: 2400K.
- Sunlight (during the day): 5000K-6000K.
- LEDs: 4000K to 5000k.
- TVs, tablets, smartphones: 7000K-10000K!!
The fact that LEDs have more than DOUBLE the amount of "blue light" vs. candlelight (or sunlight). Electronic devices have 6x to 7x!
It's one thing to have occasional exposure to blue light from the sun during the day, it's another thing to "continue to get high exposure" AFTER sun-set, when our body is designed to operate in a "low blue-light environment".
So what can you do?
- Make sure you don't have LEDs in your home.
- Minimize exposure to electronic devices (computers, tablets, smartphones) in the evening.
- Use "blue-light blocking glasses" in the evening. (I use these nerdy ones!)
- Install filters on your laptop to filter out blue light: I use Flux.
If you're interested in reading more about how blue light impacts your sleep and health, this is a nice and simple article.