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RESEARCH ROUND-UP


Science Snapshots


The heart repairing, cancer preventing, brain calming benefits of exercise: we round up some of the latest research in the area of health, fitness and wellbeing


MENDING A BROKEN HEART


disease or failure could be partially repaired by exercise. Researchers from Liverpool John Moores University in the


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UK showed that healthy rats undertaking the equivalent of 30 minutes’ strenuous exercise a day demonstrated activity in 60 per cent of previously dormant heart stem cells. After two weeks of exercise, there was a 7 per cent increase in the number of cardiomyocites – the ‘beating’ cells in heart tissue. While an exercise programme is normally included in cardiac


rehab, “maybe to be more effective it needs to be carried out at a higher intensity, to activate the resident stem cells,” says Dr Georgina Ellison, who led the study. ■ Waring, CD et al. European Heart Journal (2012)


BOOSTING MALE FERTILITY I Exercise may help repair the damage caused by heart disease 68 Sports Management Handbook 2014-2015


n research by Harvard University, men who undertook 15 or more hours of moderate to vigorous exercise each week had, on average, sperm counts that were 73 per cent


higher than those who exercised for less than five hours a week. Mild exercise had no effect. Sedentary activity, measured by the number of hours spent


watching TV, had a negative effect on sperm count: those who watched 20 or more hours of TV each week had a 44 per cent lower sperm count than those who watched very little TV. However, researchers warn that too much exercise can


be harmful to sperm production. Previous studies involving professional marathon runners, elite cyclists and triathletes have reported poor semen quality among these groups, caused by the stress to the body brought on by prolonged periods of intense exercise. ■ Gaskins, AJ et al. British Journal of Sports Medicine (2013)


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egular and strenuous exercise can reactivate dormant stem cells, leading to the development of new heart muscle – indicating that the damage caused by heart


Exercise can boost sperm count by up to 73 per cent


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