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What Health Topics Are Most Important to You?


Some of the top health stories in 2014 featured ways to stay healthy both physically and mentally.

Some of the top health stories in 2014 featured ways to stay healthy both physically and mentally.

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

To end the year on a happy note, we thought you might like to re-visit Learning English Health Report stories that were popular with you.

We looked at the numbers. We looked at which stories you viewed most and commented on. We looked at which stories you Liked, Shared or Tweeted. By doing so, we have learned a few things about you.

Many of you like self-improvement stories. You like to read about staying healthy and living a long life. You like to know how your brain works best and what can affect your power of memory.

Many of you also like stories about people who are getting older but who are still making their dreams come true.

Here are some highlights from the Health Report for 2014. It includes comments from our international audience.

Sit Less, Live Longer

We all sit a lot. The story “Sit Less, Live Longer” explores the dangers of sitting too much. It encouraged many of you to get up from your desks and move more at work.

Many of you described in the comments section how you move and exercise during the day. Some of you shared stories of losing weight and fighting illness to enjoy a more active lifestyle.

Taras from Ukraine says, “Great article! I spend a lot of time sitting in front of the computer. So I like go to work or home on foot, it takes like two hours per day.”

And Karen from Brazil adds, “In my work I spend a lot of time sitting, but I try to work out and play volleyball every week!”

Are You Hardcore Enough for CrossFit?

In April we asked our listeners if they were committed enough to exercise to do CrossFit. Many responded.

CrossFit involves simple, intense movements. (Photo: Michael J. LaPierre)

CrossFit involves simple, intense movements. (Photo: Michael J. LaPierre)

CrossFit is a fitness trend that has been very popular in recent years. It uses very basic but very challenging exercises. Some say it is too easy to get hurt doing CrossFit. But some like the fact that you do the exercises in teams.

Rocio from Spain says this: “I think it is a very good method to practice exercise.” He says working in a team is “great motivation.”

CrossFit is not just for the boys. CrossFit trainer Daniella Estrella competes in Miami Beach, Florida for a grand prize of $21 thousand dollars. (Oct. 2013)

CrossFit is not just for the boys. CrossFit trainer Daniella Estrella competes in Miami Beach, Florida for a grand prize of $21 thousand dollars. (Oct. 2013)

But Masaki Kato from Japan says, “CrossFit is bad for the body” because the movements are too hard. He says, “To stay fit, I think it is important to do a moderate exercise” such as walking for 30 minutes a day.

How Does My Brain Work Best?

Our listeners like their brains. And they seem to like reports on how to use their brains most effectively.

For example, we wrote about a study that found if you write your class notes by hand, you will remember them better than if you type them.

Is Writing Notes by Hand Better Than Typing?

Henry from Venezuela says, “Taking notes is helpful when I put all the words down using my hand. I just take into consideration what is important to me.”

And a listener called “White Crystal” from Vietnam says, “In my opinion, when you (want to) remember something, write it. Because, when you're writing it means you're thinking about it. You use listening, understanding, seeing (and) thinking.”

The story While You Sleep the Brain Works reports that the brain cleans itself while we are fast asleep. So getting a good night’s sleep is important to good mental and physical health.

Yangfangxin Yu from China says, “I CAN NOT stay up late. Otherwise I will be stupid!”

Babies, Babies, Babies! Who Doesn’t Love Babies?

Certified nurse midwife Danielle Kraessig meets with patient Yakini Branch at a family health center in Illinois. (Jan. 2013)

Certified nurse midwife Danielle Kraessig meets with patient Yakini Branch at a family health center in Illinois. (Jan. 2013)

Our article “Women Giving Birth at Home -- On Purpose!” talks about a U.S. birth trend. Increasingly, women of color are using midwives to give birth naturally.

In the comments section, many women from all over the world share the birthing culture in their countries.

Anna from Vietnam writes, “In my country, pregnant women are taken care of carefully in (a) hospital. (A) child is very important to parents in my country. Therefore, they choose caesarean section for their baby more than natural delivery.”

And Veca from Taiwan shares her own personal birth story.

“My baby was born through natural birth at (a) hospital. The biggest impact for me is that I saw a birth of life.

It’s Never Too Late to Make Your Dreams Come True

Two stories seemed to inspire many listeners. Jerry Ried earned his first college degree at the age of 70. And Mary Moe fulfilled her dream of becoming a pilot at the age of 91.

Mary Moe achieves her dream. (Photo: Courtesy of Helen Johns, of Helen Johns Photography.)

Mary Moe achieves her dream. (Photo: Courtesy of Helen Johns, of Helen Johns Photography.)

After listening to the story of Mr. Reid, Nobue from Japan wrote, “Actually, I have some dreams in mind, and follow these dreams. … I am such a happy person that I can follow my dreams. I will give them my best shot.”

Mary Moe’s story inspired Anoosheh from Iran to write:

“I am a 56 (year) old woman. In my entire life I had some dreams but none of them (have) come true because I did not have a good situation but after I read this article I decided to … spread my wings and help myself to try (to make) one of my dreams come true and it is learning language.”

And Diego Santos from Brazil says, “I've always thought there is no age to do what you want to do. Your body could age, but your spirit can be always young!”

Thanks to all of our listeners who read and listen to the Health Report. Let us know in the comments section what you are doing to make your life healthy and happy in 2015.

Happy New Year from VOA Learning English.

I’m Anna Matteo.

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