CAT | Solutions
As it turns out, sex may be just as important in your 70s and 80s as it is in your 20s and 30s, especially when it comes to a sharper brain and memory. And not just the act of sex, but your perception of sex—that is, how important you think it is to a healthy lifestyle.
Researchers from Manchester University in the UK recently examined the results of a study involving more than 1,700 seniors, and what they found was worth noting. After answering a series of questions about their sexual activity and whether or not they thought sex and intimacy were important at their age, participants completed a different kind of test: one that measured cognitive function and something called “fluid intelligence,” which refers to the ability to solve problems using logic and reasoning.
From the data collected, the research team was able to determine that the participants who scored highest on the tests were the ones who placed a higher value on sex and intimacy in their lives. Those men and women said sex was both pleasant and important, and they believed closeness and intimacy (such as touching and holding hands) were equally important. Overall, they demonstrated higher fluid intelligence and better memory recall.
The takeaway, experts say, is that it’s important for healthcare practitioners to keep an open dialogue with seniors on the topic of sexuality because it may have far-reaching benefits for both physical and mental health.
When combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, relaxing in a hot sauna may help reduce your risk of death from heart disease. This is what researchers in Finland found after following more than 2,300 middle-aged men for roughly 20 years.
The study looked at how often and how long the participants spent time in the sauna and revealed that the men who visited the sauna more frequently were less likely to die from heart disease, especially if they went more than once a week for longer periods.
According to the study results, 2 to 3 sauna sessions per week was associated with a 22 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD), while 4 to 7 weekly sessions was associated with 63 percent lower risk. Similar percentages were seen with the risk of fatal coronary heart disease (23 percent lower for 2 to 3 weekly sessions and 50 percent lower for 4 to 7 weekly sessions) and the risk of death from any causes (24 percent and 40 percent, respectively). Researchers also determined that sessions lasting longer than 19 minutes were the most beneficial—lessening the overall risk of SCD by 52 percent.
“There was an inverse relationship between sauna and (cardiovascular disease) risk, meaning that more is better,” said senior author and cardiologist Dr. Jari Laukkanen. Still, whether it has to do with improved circulation or the natural stress relieving benefits of sitting in the sauna, he and his team stressed that using the sauna should not replace other heart-healthy habits such as diet and exercise, but rather complement them as part of an overall heart health regimen.