15 Convincing Reasons to Start Running Today

runnerHello Healthy asks, ” What promises a healthier body, a sunnier outlook, and the perfect opportunity to catch up? This is no infomercial. Running is one of the best butt-kicking, calorie-blasting workouts around. Still not convinced? Here are 15 big time reasons to hit the ground running.

1. Do it anywhere
Run, that is. Whether on the treadmill or in the park, it’s easy to rack up miles. Even better: Try lacing up the sneakers on that next vacation to explore a new place.

2. Visit the doctor less
It’s not only apples that can keep the doctor away. Active people are less likely to develop colon cancer. And ladies, women who regularly engage in intense workouts like running can reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 30 percent.

3. Live longer
Who doesn’t want to live forever? Not only do runners have fewer disabilities and remain active longer than their sedentary counterparts, they actually live longer. And even as weekly running times decrease with age, the healthy benefits keep on ticking.

4. Get primal
Turns out Bruce Springsteen was right after all: Baby, we were born to run. It’s what turned us from apes to humans and was used by our ancestors to outrun prey over long distances.

5. Slip into skinny jeans
Running is one of the best calorie burners out there. For a 160-lb person it can burn more than 850 calories an hour.

6. Boost memory
Exercise has been shown to help keep the mind sharp and could even reduce symptoms of dementia. Hitting the track might also protect the brain against Alzheimer’s, even among those with a family history of it.

7. Improve self-esteem
Need one more excuse to go green? Runners who ran outside and snagged a good view of nature showed increased self-esteem post-workout than those who had only unpleasant scenes to gaze at.

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Cycling May Increase Brain’s Density and Connectivity

cyclingMacLean Fitzgerald on the BrainHQ Blog posted that we often talk about the benefits of different physical exercise on the brain, but here’s a new one that’s being studied: cycling.

A recent study from the Netherlands found that people who used an exercise bike for 6 months saw an increased density and connectivity in their brain’s white matter. The finding was seen in both people with schizophrenia and people with no clinical diagnosis.

A second study from Taiwan found that people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome who used a stationary bike for 12 weeks experienced an increase of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a brain chemical involved in supporting neural plasticity processes by encouraging the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses.

For more details on this research, you can read abstracts of the Netherlands study and the Taiwan study.

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Men & Women Process Pain Differently

painMarghi Merzenich |  Neuroscience  shared that chronic pain is the most prevalent health condition that modern humans face, and there is still no silver bullet for curing it. But recent research in pain processing may help scientists craft pain therapies that work better for people suffering from chronic pain- no matter their gender.

A recent study, published in Nature Neuroscience, looked at which cells were involved in pain transmission in male and female mice. The researchers were examining the longstanding theory that transmission of pain information involves a type of immune system cell called microglia. What they found is that microglia were only operant in pain transmission in the male mice. The female mice transmitted pain signals using a wholly different type of immune system cells known as T cells.

One of the authors noted, “…understanding the pathways of pain and sex differences is absolutely essential as we design the next generation of more sophisticated, targeted pain medications.” Another mentioned that this finding is so exciting, in part because, “…for the past 15 years scientists have thought that microglia controlled the volume knob on pain, but this conclusion was based on research using almost exclusively male mice.”

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Why Does Scratching Make An Itch Worse?

Scratch1By MacLean Fitzgerald |  Neuroscience asks, have you ever wondered why scratching an itch can make it feel MORE itchy, not less? A group of researchers has been looking into this phenomenon, and has recently found that a brain feedback loop may be partly responsible for it.

The scientists, from Washington University in St. Louis, found that when you scratch an itch your brain releases a bit of serotonin to control the pain. But the serotonin can move from the brain to the spinal cord, where it intensifies the itchy sensations instead of controlling the pain.

Lead author Zhou-Feng Chen summed the finding up by saying, “We always have wondered why this vicious itch-pain cycle occurs. Our findings suggest that the events happen in this order. First, you scratch, and that causes a sensation of pain. Then you make more serotonin to control the pain. But serotonin does more than only inhibit pain. Our new finding shows that it also makes itch worse by activating GRPR neurons through 5HT1A receptors.”

To learn more, you can read this in-depth article.

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What happens when fat kids don’t know they’re fat anymore

Overweight Brother and Sister Sitting on a Sofa Eating Takeaway Food and Watching the TV

Overweight Brother and Sister Sitting on a Sofa Eating Takeaway Food and Watching the TV

By Roberto A. Ferdman from the Washing Post :

The kids are not all right. But they think they are.

A team of researchers at Georgia Southern University found an alarming rise in the lack of self awareness among children and teenagers in the United States. Specifically, way more overweight adolescents are oblivious today to the fact that they ought to lose weight than were in decades past—and it’s a big problem.

“The trend is very dangerous,” said Dr. Jian Zhang, who describes the phenomenon as a vicious cycle.

It’s also very complicated. Teenagers suffer through a lot of things, including an acute pressure of appearance. As a result, this is a worry that stems from health concerns, but requires a difficult balance in educating young people without causing or furthering anxiety about body image.

The researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an in-depth study of the nutritional status of adults and children in the United States, which tracked, among other things, the health of nearly 2,000 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 16 in the early 1990s and over 2,500 teenagers in the same age range between 2007 and 2012. As part of the study, participants’ body mass index—which is a fairly reliable measure of obesity among children, though less so among adults—was collected, along with the response to this rather straightforward question: “Do you consider yourself to be overweight, underweight, or just about the right weight?”

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Flat Apple Third Event Scheduled for August 4, 2015

Our Third Hot Spot is on Tuesday, August 4th during National Night Out.

Fitness Challenge

Healthy Lombard is participating in this cohesive effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Healthy Lombard will be hosting

Twin Fitness Challenge at

Lombard Park District’s  Paradise Bay Water Park.

Kids can participate anytime between 5 – 8 PM.

For detailed information, click on the Flat Apple 2015 Page in the main menu.

Come by, have fun, earn raffle tickets!


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Tackling the problem of childhood obesity

By Chad Hayes 
Special to The Washington Post  All right, parents, it’s time for a change.  Childhood obesity is a very real problem, and I’ve seen plenty of examples among my patients: a 4-year-old weighing 75 pounds, an 8-year-old heavier than me, a teenager weighing in just north of 350 (and climbing). It’s truly disturbing.

The fight against childhood obesity has gained an incredible amount of attention in the world of public health. Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign has a great website about nutrition, exercise and healthful lifestyles. The American Academy of Pediatrics has launched an educational site for parents about similar topics. The Department of Agriculture has developed Choose My Plate, another resource with nearly limitless information about healthful eating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled several pages of statistics regarding childhood obesity.

Schools around the country have taken steps to improve the quality of their meals and to remove unhealthful drinks and snacks from vending machines. But those efforts alone can’t solve the problem: It’s up to you to control what your kids eat.

I know, this is a touchy subject. It’s never easy for me to look parents in the eye and tell them that their child is obese, and it’s even more difficult when the child is in the room. I always emphasize that I’m not bringing these issues up because I disapprove of the young person’s appearance. That’s not the issue.

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Exercise good for brain, even for those with Alzheimer’s

older-people-exercising-gym-10495121, ASSOCIATED PRESS writes:

Exercise may do more than keep a healthy brain fit: New research suggests working up a good sweat may also offer some help once memory starts to slide— and even improve life for people with Alzheimer’s.

The effects were modest, but a series of studies reported Thursday found vigorous workouts by people with mild memory impairment decreased levels of a warped protein linked to risk of later Alzheimer’s — and improved quality of life for people who already were in early stages of the disease.

“Regular aerobic exercise could be a fountain of youth for the brain,” said cognitive neuroscientist Laura Baker of Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, who reported some of the research at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

Doctors have long advised that people keep active as they get older. Exercise is good for the heart, which in turn is good for the brain. Lots of research shows physical activity can improve cognition in healthy older people, potentially lowering their risk of developing dementia.

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The Influence of Alcohol Marketing on Teenagers

Teen-DrinkingGuest Blogger Melissa felt so strongly about this topic, she asked if Healthy Lombard would share this article byRaychelle Lohmann with our readers.  I am happy to provide her with this opportunity.  J 

The advertising industry is incredibly adept when it comes to grabbing our attention for the few seconds it takes to create a lasting impression. And this is never more true than when we’re talking about alcohol advertising. Designed to capture attention with images of alcohol and drinking that look fun, exciting, and sophisticated, it’s a kind of advertising that sells an identity just as much as it sells products. Alcohol may be ostensibly marketed towards legal drinkers, but advertisers, by design, aren’t only targeting adults. In an effort to turn today’s youth into tomorrow’s adult drinkers, alcohol advertising is increasingly targeting young people; but what effect is it having?


Alcohol Marketing that Targets Young People

There’s no doubt that binge drinking—and drinking for the sole purposes of being intoxicated—has become normalized in Western culture, and one way in which this is happening is through the media and advertising. Combined with the fact that young people tend to be more susceptible to marketing and advertising than adults, and it seems a foregone conclusion that alcohol companies would focus their efforts on this particular age group. Through a variety of different means, these advertisers are finding ways to appeal specifically to the youth market.

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