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L.Srikumar Pai
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Walking to school cuts heart attacks

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Walking to one's school could reduce the risk of heart attack later in life. Children who walk down to school have lower stress levels and even smaller rises in blood pressure and heart rate while taking an exam than children who are driven to school. Changes in heart rate and blood pressure due to stress are linked to heart disease in children and the dangerous build-up of cholesterol, calcium, fat and other substances in artery walls among adults, reports the Daily Express.

Prof James Roemmich of the University at Buffalo, US, who led the study, said: "If children walked or biked, it would put them in a protective state against causes of stress they face during the school day." The study surveyed 20 boys and 20 girls aged between 10 and 14 years, says the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise.

Half the group sat in a chair and watched a slide show of being driven to school. The other half walked a mile on a treadmill. The rise in blood pressure was more than three times higher and the change in stress twice as high among those who did not walk.

Stress can affect chances of conceiving: A new study has revealed that high stress levels can reduce a woman's chances of getting pregnant. Researchers at Oxford University and the US National Institutes of Health found that blood levels of a marker for a stress hormone called alpha-amylase were consistently higher in women who were struggling to conceive. Women with high levels of alpha-amylase had a 12 per cent lower chance of becoming pregnant.

"This is the first study to find that a biological measure of stress is associated with a woman's chances of becoming pregnant that month," quoted Cecilia Pyper, from the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University, as saying.

"We found that those women with high levels of a marker for stress were less likely to succeed in conceiving. The findings support the idea that couples should aim to stay as relaxed as they can about trying for a baby," Pyper added.

"In some people's cases, it might be relevant to look at relaxation techniques, counselling and even approaches like yoga and meditation." IANS

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