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Abstaining from Facebook may help to live stress free life

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KATHMANDU — Days after the Facebook data scandal came out in the public, a group of researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, has found out that quitting Facebook makes the user de-stressed.

The research, led by Prof. Eric Vanman, who is a senior lecturer at the university’s School of Psychology, stated that if you abstain from Facebook activity, stress hormone cortisol drops.

Data of millions of Facebook users was used to influence the choice of voters during the 2016 United States Presidential elections by Cambridge Analytica.

According to the results published in the Journal of Social Psychology, the cortisol level dropped among the members of the group which was asked not to use the Facebook app.

To study the impact of the app of the social networking giant, Prof. Vanman and his team formed two groups, comprising 138 study participants in total.

The researchers then took saliva samples from the participants and asked one of the groups to abstain from the Facebook activity for five days while told the other to continue using the app.

After five days, their samples were again taken.

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“Taking a Facebook break for just 5 days reduced a person’s level of the stress hormone cortisol,” Medical News Today quoted Prof. Vanman as saying.

Too much cortisol, which is known to soar when a person is stressed, can compromise immune system, impair memory and make us susceptible to obesity.

Their study also suggested that staying away from Facebook might also make you sadder – at least in the beginning.

“While participants in our study showed an improvement in physiological stress by giving up Facebook, they also reported lower feelings of well-being,” Prof. Vanman says.

Also the findings, according to the researchers, may apply to all social networks.

So if you are hooked to WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram etc. abstaining from social media platforms might reduce your stress levels.

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Health

Regular physical activity may reduce heart attack risk even in highly polluted areas

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Regular physical activity may reduce the risk of heart attack, even in areas with moderate-to-high levels of traffic pollution, a study has claimed.

Higher levels of pollution were associated with more heart attacks, however, the risk was lower among those who were physically active, the researchers found in the study published in the Journal of the American Heart.

“While exercise is known to reduce cardiovascular disease risk; pollution can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease,” said lead author Nadine Kubesch from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

“Currently there is little data on whether poor air quality cancels out the protective benefits of physical activity in preventing heart attacks,” Kubesch added.

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Researchers in Denmark, Germany and Spain evaluated outdoor physical activity levels (sports, cycling, walking and gardening) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2 pollutant generated by traffic) exposure in 51,868 adults, aged 50-65.

Over a 17.7-year period, there were 2,936 first heart attacks and 324 recurrent heart attacks.

Moderate cycling for four or more hours per week cut risk for recurrent heart attack by 31 per cent; and there was a 58 per cent reduction when all four types of physical activity (together totalling four hours per week or more) were combined, regardless of air quality.

Those who participated in sports had a 15 per cent lower rate of initial heart attacks and there was a 9 per cent risk reduction associated with cycling, regardless of air quality, the researchers said.

Compared to participants with low residential NO2 exposure, those in higher risk areas had a 17 per cent increase risk in first heart attack and 39 per cent for recurrent heart attack, the researchers noted.

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