Monthly Archives: January 2016
Being physically or emotionally abused as a child can increase a woman’s risk-of-death, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA-Psychiatry.
The researchers surveyed nearly 6,300 adult men and women about their experiences with childhood emotional and physical abuse and followed the people in the study for 20 years. They found that women—but not men—who reported experiencing abuse as a child were more likely to die from any cause during the 20-year follow up compared to women who did not report being abused.
“It is important for us to consider not just the psychological consequences of childhood abuse, but also the possibility that there may be physical health consequences of abuse,” said study author Edith Chen of the department of psychology at Northwestern University in an email.
The study can’t determine why childhood abuse is associated with a higher risk for death, but the researchers speculate that abuse may heighten women’s risk for mental health issues, like depression, that can take a toll later on. Abuse might also lead young people to engage in activities like drug use which could effect their health. It’s also possible, the researchers note, that being abused could cause biological changes, like chronic inflammation, that could increase a person’s risk for health conditions like heart disease.
It’s not yet clear why the effect was seen much more prominently among women, though the researchers have some ideas. “We speculate that there may be differences in how men and women cope with stress, or that there may be differences in men’s and women’s biological responses to stress,” says Chen.
The current study is limited due in part to the fact that it relies on people’s self reports, and more research is needed to understand the relationship. “If these findings can be replicated with cohorts that have court-verifiedrecords of abuse, it suggests that women who survive childhood abuse maywant to be aware of the potential health implications,” says Chen, “and perhaps take more active steps to engage in healthy behaviors that could hopefully offset some of these risks.”
You’ve heard a million times that you should relax more. That loosening-up a little bit could do wonders for your health.
Turns out, it can also make you a better runner.
Relaxing your body is a main tenet of ChiRunning, a technique that incorporates principles of T’ai Chi to make your stride feel more fluid and less strenuous—and help you avoid injury. “It’ll change your perspective on running,” says senior instructor Maurice Wills.
One of the keys is tweaking your form so the impact from running is gentler on your body. Many people land on their heels. “But when you do that, you absorb three to five times your body weight,” says Wills, who co-owns a triathlon training facility called Infinity Multisport in Chicago. The shock travels up your legs, putting you at a greater risk of injury.
With ChiRunning, you aim for a mid-foot strike, with “a relaxed, floppy foot,” says Wills. Ideally your feet should land directly under or slightly behind your hips. That creates a softer landing that should help protect against aches and pains, he says.
Runners are also encouraged to engage their core and lean forward slightly (with a straight spine, not slumped over). In this position, your center of gravity helps propel you forward, so you’re not spending as much effort fighting gravity by pushing off the ground. “It’s the way Kenyans and Ethiopians have been running for centuries. And what kids do when they first learn to walk,” says Wills.
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It may look and feel like you’re about to face plant, but keep going, he says. “[Leaning forward] is definitely something that can be uncomfortable at first, but that’s a sign you’re doing it right.”
Moving with the correct alignment will transform you into a more efficient, faster runner, ChiRunning coaches say. It will also make the miles fly by: “My goal is to be the laziest runner to exist,” says Wills. “Running shouldn’t be work and it shouldn’t be painful. It should be relaxed and comfortable.”