These types of side-effect-free steps can quickly help lower important numbers like blood pressure, heart rate and even weight, counteracting today's unhealthy, upward trends among young people, said Dr. Vernon Barnes, physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia's Georgia Prevention Institute.
A positive attitude and family environment increases the effectiveness of the interventions, Dr. Barnes reported in one of three studies presented at the American Psychosomatic Society Annual Meeting in Portland, Ore. The study comparing breathing awareness meditation to health education and life-skills training found that all methods improved blood pressure.
Dr. Barnes, who has studied the impact of mediation on cardiovascular health for more than a decade at MCG, has documented the improved stress reactivity in black adolescents with high normal blood pressures as well as lower blood pressures in black, inner-city adolescents who meditate twice daily.
Meditation also sharpens the mind for education. "When you come to school with a stressed mind, you can't do as well," Dr. Barnes said. "The benefit of calming your mind is preparing it to learn." A review of school records showed meditating adolescents miss fewer days and generally behave better, he added.
Another study showed that the blood pressure of students in a high school-based walking program decreased after just 16 weeks compared with non-participating peers. Dr. Barnes, part of an adult team competing with a group of high school students to see which can walk the farthest, said the pedometer is an incentive to move. "You think about it: that little extra walking will hopefully benefit your health," said the researcher who finds himself making efforts to increase his step numbers daily.
"It all works together, which makes sense," he said, looking at the impact of the techniques over just a few months. While decreases in blood pressure were small – a 2.5 point reduction in pedometer wearers compared to a 3.5 point increase in the control group – it's good momentum.
"If you could maintain that decrease into your adult years, it may decrease cardiovascular disease risk," Dr. Barnes said.
Researchers also reported reductions in anger and anxiety after a dozen, 50-minute classes on the topics taught by health teachers. Psychosocial factors such as anger are known to contribute to a wide range of health problems including elevated blood pressures and heart disease in adulthood. But Williams LifeSkills workshops helped adolescents learn to analyze a situation before responding, to listen and empathize or even stand firm when necessary. "The workshop has scenarios drawn from real life," said Dr. Barnes.
Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.05.2017 | Life Sciences
23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering