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Category: Physical Activity (page 1 of 4)

The fat-burning heart-rate zone is a myth

Your primary goal should be to get active and stay motivated to keep moving.

Scott Douglas writing for the Washington Post:

If you’re the kind of exerciser who constantly checks your heart rate to ensure you’re in the fat-burning zone, you should stop. You’ll probably never meet your weight-loss goals that way. That’s because there’s no special fat-burning zone that’s key to getting lean.

And

Your body primarily fuels itself by burning a mix of stored fat and carbohydrates. The less active you are at a given moment, the greater the percentage of that fuel mix comes from fat. As your intensity of activity increases, the percentage of carbohydrates in that fuel mix also increases. At rest, fat constitutes as much as 85 percent of calories burned. That figure shifts to about 70 percent at an easy walking pace. If you transition to a moderate-effort run, the mix becomes about 50 percent fat and 50 percent carbohydrates, and it moves increasingly toward carbohydrates the faster you go.

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Doctors are saying gut health is as important as heart heath

Increasingly researchers are finding that your intestines not only digest food, but may also regulate mood, emotion, and play a central role in your body’s response to disease.

What you eat feeds every single cell in your body.

Sushrut Jangi, The Boston Globe:

Avoid processed deli meats and red meat while feeding the dense jungle of bacteria in the colon with fibers, fruits, and vegetables. Siegel says unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles rife with fast foods and processed meats are contributing to the rise in colon cancer among young people. A lot of people go to the deli and buy very expensive turkey breast and think they are eating healthy, Siegel says. Shifting away from the standard Western diet to the Mediterranean diet — composed primarily of plant-based foods, olive oil, fish, and mixed nuts — supports both gut health and a healthy heart. Sprinkling food with curcumin — the activated ingredient in turmeric — may dampen inflammation. Routine exercise staves off obesity, which does wonders for the gastrointestinal tract and reduces cancer risk. While particular diets are effective in treating specific gut conditions, consult with a gastroenterologist or nutritionist before pursuing anything radical.

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Tennis tops list of sports for increasing life expectancy

Social connections look to be a major component of any sport’s longevity benefits.

James Bullen at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

What the researchers think the sports associated with the biggest increases in life expectancy — tennis (9.7 years), badminton (6.2 years) and soccer (4.7 years) have in common is that it takes two or more people to play them.

“The tennis players, they maybe take a beer or something else to drink after the game. They are two at least,” Dr Schnohr said.

Sports near the bottom of the list were more typically done alone, like jogging (3.2 years) and going to the gym (1.5 years).

“I go to a gym twice a week and I don’t talk to anybody. It’s very lonely in Denmark, I don’t know how it is in Australia. But it’s very lonely. You just do this and then you go home. And then you don’t get the social aspect. We think the social aspect is very important.”

There is good evidence that strong social bonds have a protective effect on a person’s health.

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The myth of those very expensive running shoes

“Runners should be instructed to choose a certain type of running shoe over another shoe no more so than a blue shoe over a red shoe,” writes Chris Napier in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

From The Globe and Mail:

A decade ago, an Australian sports-medicine physician named Craig Richards launched a ferocious broadside at the running-shoe industry. Writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, he and two colleagues argued that there was no evidence whatsoever that modern running shoes prevented injuries – and that, as a result, such shoes should be considered “unproven technology with the potential to cause harm.”

That critique went mostly unnoticed at first. But a year later, in 2009, the bestselling book Born to Run ignited a surge of interest in barefoot and “minimalist” running, and a corresponding wave of scorn for conventional running shoes. Richards and his colleagues suddenly looked prescient – the progenitors of a new, evidence-based approach to footwear.

As the years have passed, though, demonstrating the superiority of other types of running shoes has proven to be more difficult than expected. As a new editorial in the same journal now argues, we’re still waiting for evidence about the injury-preventing powers of running shoes – except that the critique now extends to newer approaches such as minimalist shoes, supercushioned maximalist shoes and even the suggestion that you should simply choose a shoe based on comfort.

The editorial, from physical therapists Chris Napier of the University of British Columbia and Richard Willy of the University of Montana, identifies a series of logical fallacies that permeate current debates about running shoes.

The best running shoe, it could be argued, is the one that is most comfortable for you, will get you out the door, and is on sale.

 

Scottish doctors are issuing prescriptions for hiking and birdwatching

Doctors in the Shetland Islands have started issuing prescriptions for beach walks, hiking, and birdwatching to help treat chronic and debilitating illnesses. Doctors on the island have been authorized by the health authority to issue “nature prescriptions” to patients to help treat mental illness, diabetes, heart disease, stress, and other conditions.

The health authority, NHS Shetland, is not suggesting that nature prescriptions will replace conventional medicines, but to supplemented usual treatments.

More at The Guardian

How physical activity helps mental wellbeing

There are various ways that physical activity helps mental wellbeing, including:

Improved mood – Studies show that physical activity has a positive impact on our mood. One study asked people to rate their mood after period of exercise (i.e. walking or gardening) and after inactivity (i.e. reading a book). Researchers found that people felt more awake, calmer and more content after physical activity. For more information and a link to the study, go to the Mental Health Foundation website.

Reduced stress – Being regularly active is shown to have a beneficial impact on alleviating stress. It can help manage stressful lifestyles and can help us make better decisions when under pressure. Research on working adults shows that active people tend to have lower stress rates compared to those who are less active.

Better self-esteem – Physical activity has a big impact of our self-esteem – that’s how we feel about ourselves and our perceived self-worth. This is a key indicator of mental wellbeing. Those with improved self-esteem can cope better with stress and improves relationships with others.

Depression and anxiety – Exercise has been described as a “wonder drug” in preventing and managing mental health. Many GPs now prescribe physical activity for depression, either on its own or in conjunction with other treatments. It is effective at both preventing onset of depression and in terms of managing symptoms.

More at Sport England

Children’s intelligence tied to three things – exercise, sleep and limited screen time

Evidence-based research has found three behaviors that lead to higher scores on tests of mental ability in children: at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, nine to 11 hours of sleep a night, and no more than two hours a day of recreational screen time.

According to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, for kids between the ages of eight and 11, it should include at least 60 minutes of physical activity, two hours or less of recreational screen time, and nine to 11 hours of sleep. Yet, in a new study, only one in 20 US children met all three of these recommendations.

The research, published on Thursday (Sept. 27) in the academic journal Lancet Child & Adolescent Health (paywall), used data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, a 10-year, longitudinal, observational study of over 4,500 children between eight and 11 years old, from 21 study sites across the US, and compared their daily exercise, technology, and sleep habits to the guidelines. The researchers then assessed the participants’ “global cognition” with standards developed by the National Institute of Health.

They found that only 5% of children met all three recommendations. Sixty-three percent of children spent more than two hours a day staring at screens, going over the screen-time limit; 82% of children failed to meet the guidelines for daily physical activity; and 49% did not get the recommended hours of sleep. Twenty-nine percent met none of the recommended standards.

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth

More at QuartzNY Times, Science Daily

Sex and seniors. They are doing it. And they are liking it.

Awkward as the idea may be to younger people, sex does matter to people 65 and older. “They report benefits such as feeling more connected as a couple, feeling a greater sense of well-being. If your sex life if going well, then you are generally going to feel happier about that,” said Hinchliff.

On the flipside, if there are problems in the bedroom, it could spell trouble for the relationship: Hinchliff says people can experience feelings of frustration, depression and tension, and have more arguments with their partner.

Hinchliff has been researching stereotypes surrounding older people’s sex lives for 17 years and believes the subject matter has been woefully neglected.

To challenge the taboos, she sought the help of a local artist, who produced a series of artworks of older adults in relationships. The exhibition is now on display in Sheffield. The pieces are fun and downright cheeky.

CBC

People prefer being lazy because our brains are wired that way

Feeling a bit lazy this morning? Don’t feel like going to the gym? Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Why do people tend to sit around doing nothing when we know it’s unhealthy to be so inactive? Researchers at the University of British Columbia think they’ve figured out the exercise paradox.

Seems our brains are built to pick whatever’s easier.

“The exciting novelty of our study is that it shows this faster avoidance of physical inactivity comes at a cost — and that is an increased involvement of brain resources,” said Matthieu Boisgontier, a postdoctoral researcher at UBC and senior author of the study.

“These results suggest that our brain is innately attracted to sedentary behaviours.”

Read more at CBC

The study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia

Sprinting for 26 miles, Eliud Kipchoge crushes the world marathon record in a time that almost defies description

For years, the only thing missing from Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon resume was the world record. No longer. In an astonishing performance at the 2018 BMW Berlin Marathon, Kipchoge took marathoning into a new stratosphere by clocking 2:01:39 — the first man ever under 2:02, and a full 78 seconds faster than Dennis Kimetto’s four-year-old world record.

It was a performance so far superior to anything we’ve seen before that comparing it to another marathon feels inadequate. This was Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in basketball, Usain Bolt’s 9.58 in the 100-meter dash.

Kipchoge’s splits — 61:06 for the first half, a ridiculous 60:33 for his second half — sound made up. But they were real, and they were spectacular.

Read more at Let’s Run, The Atlantic

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