Explore the health and wellbeing issues concerning gymnastics, gardening and gene therapy.
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Didn’t we all dream of being Nadia Comaneci when we were young, with this—frame and those mind-boggling routines. It takes years of consistent training to reach that level. But the benefits of gymnastics are not just for the medal winners. Anyone can give the parallel bars a go with the help of a good coach. Core strength is crucial to the gymnast. A sustained hand stand couldn’t be achieved without it. This is core conditioning at it's ultimate, the kind that could keep childhood and adolescent asthma away. In fact, gymnastics is especially beneficial for kids. Studies show that children who partake in physical movement classes lay down more neuro pathways and are better achievers in school than those who—out in front of the television or computer at home. There is also a proven link between self-esteem in young people and physical activity. Kids who do participate in after-school programs like gymnastics have better school attendance records and are less likely to partake in substance abuse. All the jumping action in gymnastics increases bone density. These kids won't have much of a problem with osteoporosis when they're older. But people of any age can jump into gymnastics. Go on, stretch yourself. Here’s a delightful way to blossom into good health, put on your gardening gloves and get down with Mother Nature. If you start young, you could be planting the seeds for good health later on in life. A recent study of 40,000 people by the University of Arkansas found that those who tiptoed through the tulips at least once a week had higher bone density, placing them in a lower risk group for fractures and osteoporosis later on in life. It’s probably due to all the weight bearing motion, the pulling of weeds, the pushing of—the lugging of bags. Add these together with a nice dose of vitamin D from the sun, which helps your bones absorb calcium and you’ve got great density. But gardening is not only good for the body, it’s good for the brain too. A 16-year Australian study, following over 2000 people found that those who gardened were less likely to develop dementia. The brain is stimulated with gardening. There is a lot to learn and creative composition to think about. It’s also a fantastic way to increase your social network if you get into community gardening. With all these benefits, you can see why gardening very quickly becomes a lifestyle for a lot of people. Dig in. It looks like modern medicine is getting to the very root of the cause of disease. Following the successful mapping of the human genome, it appears everyone of us has at least half a dozen defective genes, passed on to us from either our father or our mother or both. We have two copies of each gene, one from either parent and if the diseased gene is the dominant one, then look out. You may be up for anything from cystic fibrosis to Huntington’s to being prone to malaria. Diseased genes usually cause enzymes to malfunction and proteins to be mismanufactured and it all goes downhill from there. Gene therapy is about to end all that. Scientists have found a way to replace faulty genes with correctly functioning ones, so that the body can then start to make all the right enzymes and proteins, thus stamping out the root cause of disease. Ingenious! Just under 3000 conditions have been attributed to defective genes. Gene therapy will make many people’s lives drug and surgery free in the future.