If you’re trying to drop some weight, a fitness tracker might boost your chances of success. According to a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, fitness trackers — such as smart watches or other bracelet-style devices — helped overweight or obese people with chronic conditions reduce their body weight and lower their body mass index (BMI). Researchers found that weight loss programs lasting at least 12 weeks were the most effective, and individuals who wore commercially available trackers, such as a FitBit, lost an average of six pounds. According to the study, the devices helped remind participants to stay on track with health-related goals and participate in daily activity. But there’s a catch — according to the Mayo Clinic, while fitness trackers are a great way to keep yourself moving, there’s no substitute for keeping your diet on track.
Good sleep may stave off dementia
According to a recent study published in the journal Aging, sufficient sleep may be protective against dementia. The study surveyed 2,600 adults ages 65 and older, and found that those who slept less than five hours per night faced nearly double the risk of dementia over five years than those who got seven to nine hours of shut-eye, as is recommended.
According to another study published in Nature Communications, people in their 50s and 60s who slept less than six hours per night were about 30 percent more likely to develop dementia.
While the research isn’t yet conclusive about the link between sleeplessness and dementia, there are still lots of good reasons to try to get at least seven hours of quality sleep per night, including better brain health, mood and overall physical health.
Lifelong exercise leads to big health care savings
As individuals, insurers and governments look for ways to save on rising health care costs, exercise stands out as one way to potentially save big. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, physical activity throughout adulthood is strongly associated with decreased costs for medical care.
Researchers examined Medicare claims data from 1999 to 2008 linked to a previous study on diet and health, and found that average health annual health care costs were all lower among adults who maintained steady physical activity, increased their activity or decreased it while still remaining active. The study also found that even individuals who didn’t start exercising until after age 40 enjoyed better health and lower medical costs.