Could Tennis Be One Secret to a Longer, Healthier Life?

iStock
iStock

Scientists love telling us what needs to be done to achieve longer, healthier lives. We know that exercise is good for heart health—ideally 45-minute sessions, three to five times per week—and some research suggests that team sports improve mental health.

As The New York Times reports, another new study is highlighting the surprising health benefits associated with certain sports in particular. Researchers say tennis is linked to a 9.7-year increase in life span, compared to 6.2 years for badminton, five years for soccer, 3.7 years for cycling, and 3.2 years for running.

These findings, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, are based on analyses of the lifestyle choices and exercise habits of 8600 Danish people who participated in health exams and lengthy questionnaires over the course of about 25 years. Some of the participants died during that time, and researchers compared their life spans with the type of exercise they did and how often they did it. Unsurprisingly, while the study showed no causation, all sports were associated with a longer life when compared with people who led sedentary lives. The breakdown of those sports, and how good they are for your health, is where it starts to get interesting.

Even when the researchers controlled for different factors such as education, socioeconomic status, and age, tennis still came out on top as the best sport for longevity. These findings seem to support those of a 2017 study of more than 80,000 British people, which found that players of racket sports tended to liver longer than joggers.

Dr. James O’Keefe, a co-author of the new study, told the Times it’s not clear why some sports are correlated with increased longevity more than others. However, he theorized that the social aspect of certain sports plays a critical role. “We know from other research that social support provides stress mitigation,” he says. "So being with other people, playing and interacting with them, as you do when you play games that require a partner or a team, probably has unique psychological and physiological effects.”

[h/t The New York Times]

High Levels of Arsenic Found in Bottled Water From Whole Foods and Dr Pepper

iStock/mediaphotos
iStock/mediaphotos

If you're concerned about drinking unfiltered water from your tap at home, bottled water isn't automatically the safer option. As USA Today reports, tests conducted by the California nonprofit Center for Environmental Health (CEH) found that the arsenic levels in two popular bottled water brands exceed those found in the state's tap water.

The affected brands are the Keurig Dr Pepper-owned Peñafiel and Whole Foods-owned Starkey. The arsenic content in each product hasn't prompted a federal recall, but CEH discovered that it does violate state guidelines. CEH sent notices to both companies informing them that their products must be printed with health warnings disclosing the presence of arsenic under California’s consumer protection law Proposition 65.

Arsenic is safe, and often unavoidable, in very small amounts, but in high concentrations it can be harmful. Drinking water with unsafe levels of arsenic can lead to cancer, reproductive problems, and developmental issues in children.

An earlier report released by Consumer Reports in April found that the same brands analyzed by CEH had twice the federal limit of arsenic in their bottled water. Keurig Dr Pepper stopped production of its Peñafiel water, which is sold at Target, Walmart, and elsewhere, for two weeks following Consumer Reports's tests. Starkey water bottles are sold at Whole Foods.

Even if they meet safety standards, many popular water brands contain trace amounts of arsenic. Consumer Reports has found acceptably low arsenic levels in Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Deer Park, Fiji, and Poland Spring products.

[h/t USA Today]

These ASMR-Ready Headphones Promise to Lull You to Sleep

AcousticSheep
AcousticSheep

What do hushed whispers, gently tapping fingernails, and Bob Ross’s voice have in common? They’re all examples of triggers that may cause what’s known as an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), or, as Dictionary.com succinctly explains it, a “calming, pleasurable feeling often accompanied by a tingling sensation” that can be triggered by soothing stimuli. ASMR has recently been recognized as an effective relaxation technique for those looking to calm their nerves; now, ASMR enthusiasts and novices alike can experience it in the form of a sleep-ready headband.

Upon first glance, SleepPhones: ASMR Edition may look like just a fabric headband, but the device actually features flat speakers tucked into soft, stretchy, eco-friendly material. Unlike regular headphones, SleepPhones can be worn comfortably to bed, even if you sleep on your side, and they come preloaded with content designed to help you relax. They feature eight hours of built-in ASMR content by 16 different ASMR artists (or ASMRtists), including but not limited to tracks with rhythmic tapping and "peaceful Italian whisperings."

A close-up of the SleepPhones speaker technology
AcousticSheep

The speaker components of SleepPhones
AcousticSheep

Using SleepPhones is designed to be a stress-free experience. The speakers have the ability to play for 20 ad-free hours with a mere three-hour charging time in between. There are also zero cords involved, meaning you won’t get all tangled up as you lie down or if you have a tendency to toss and turn at night. The small button located in the back of the headband allows you to start, pause, or skip tracks and control the volume.

For people looking for ways to relax beyond yoga and meditation, ASMR may be the way to go. One study observed that subjects watching ASMR videos not only reported feeling that aforementioned pleasant tingling, but were also found to have reduced heart rates.

You can get a pair of your own SleepPhones on Kickstarter with a pledge of $75 or more. They come in three different sizes with seven colors from which to choose.

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