Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Hidden Benefits of Exercise

Even moderate physical activity can boost the immune system and protect against chronic diseases
By Laura Landro
Wall Street Journal

As millions of people flock to the gym armed with New Year's resolutions to get in shape, medical experts are offering an additional reason to exercise: Regular workouts may help fight off colds and flu, reduce the risk of certain cancers and chronic diseases and slow the process of aging.

Physical activity has long been known to bestow such benefits as helping to maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress, not to mention tightening those abs. Now, a growing body of research is showing that regular exercise can boost the body's immune system, increasing the circulation of natural killer cells that fight off viruses and bacteria. And exercise has been shown to improve the body's response to the influenza vaccine, making it more effective at keeping the virus at bay.

See: The Hidden Benefits of Exercise -

Global Economy's Next Threat: China's Real Estate Bubble

The popping of China's housing bubble could have widespread consequences
By Charles Smith
Daily Finance

We might be tempted to envy China's spectacularly resilient real estate boom: After sagging in the global financial meltdown of 2008, property values in China's urban centers skyrocketed in 2009. Shanghai's Pudong district, for example, experienced a 57% rise in a matter of months.

By comparison, residential real estate in the U.S. is up 3.4% on average from its bottom in May, but still almost 30% below its peak in April 2006.

However, those admiring China's reflated housing bubble might be careful what they wish for, as the new real estate bubble in China is even more precarious than the one which imploded in 2008.

The popping of China's current housing bubble -- considered inevitable by regional experts such as Andy Xie -- could have widespread consequences. If housing turns down in China, China's growth could slow or even decline. And since the entire world is looking to China to lead global growth, then that could spell major trouble for the "global economy is recovering" story.