exercise

Nirmal Mulaikal/WLRN

About 150 runners trotted along a 0.5K race route in Delray Beach while enjoying beers, snacking on doughnuts and raising money for veterans seeking non-invasive, drug-free therapy. 

 

No, not 5K. 0.5K — about 1,600 feet.

Too much physical exertion appears to make the brain tired.

That's the conclusion of a study of triathletes published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

Researchers found that after several weeks of overtraining, athletes became more likely to choose immediate gratification over long-term rewards. At the same time, brain scans showed the athletes had decreased activity in an area of the brain involved in decision-making.

There's nothing magical about the number 10,000.

In fact, the idea of walking at least 10,000 steps a day for health goes back decades to a marketing campaign launched in Japan to promote a pedometer. And, in subsequent years, it was adopted in the U.S. as a goal to promote good health. It's often the default setting on fitness trackers, but what's it really based on?

"The original basis of the number was not scientifically determined," says researcher I-Min Lee of Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Can muscles remember their younger, fitter selves?

Muscle physiology lore has long held that it is easier to regain muscle mass in once-fit muscles than build it anew, especially as we age. But scientists haven't been able to pin down how that would actually work.

I have become the type of person that used to mystify me. I ... am a fitness fanatic.

That was certainly not the case a year and a half ago. Back then, like a lot of Americans, I was mostly sedentary (unless you count walking to meetings). Which is ironic, because, as a senior editor for NPR's science, food and health team, it is literally my job to know better. But, with two small kids, a full-time job and recurring insomnia, I didn't have the time or energy to work out. And I'm not going tell you how much I used to weigh, but it wasn't healthy.

Why do some people not respond to exercise? A new $170 million study funded by the National Institutes of Health will attempt to answer that question.

You've likely heard the idea that sitting is the new smoking.

Compared with 1960, workers in the U.S. burn about 140 fewer calories, on average, per day due to our sedentary office jobs. And, while it's true that sitting for prolonged periods is bad for your health, the good news is that we can offset the damage by adding more physical activity to our days.

Young women, especially young women of color, tend to get less exercise than their male counterparts, and the disparities worsen after high school ends.

This is the finding of a study published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

To see if you're bending correctly, try a simple experiment.

"Stand up and put your hands on your waist," says Jean Couch, who has been helping people get out of back pain for 25 years at her studio in Palo Alto, Calif.

"Now imagine I've dropped a feather in front of your feet and asked to pick it up," Couch says. "Usually everybody immediately moves their heads and looks down."

Editor's Note: This encore story, originally published in September, seems especially relevant this week, as we all relax (aka sit! binge-watch! eat!) for the holidays.

Count the number of hours you sit each day. Be honest.

For runners of road races, spring is a busy season. As temperatures rise, weekend racing ramps up — especially for those training for this month's Boston Marathon.

It's also crunch time for the sleuths sniffing out runners who cheat to get to that crown jewel of races.

Workouts Jam To South Beach Rhythm At 305 Fitness In NYC

Jan 2, 2017
Alex Gonzalez / WLRN

Sadie Kurzban likes to warm up her fitness dance class with a pep talk.

“We’re in it together,” she tells 30 women gathered in a 1,500-square-foot studio. “There’s nothing to worry about. You’re in good hands.”

Fitness trackers remain wildly popular, but do they make us fit? Maybe not, according to a study that asked overweight or obese young adults to use the tiny tracking tools to lose weight.

The 470 people in the study were put on a low-calorie diet and asked to exercise more. They all started losing weight. Six months in, half the group members started self-reporting their diet and exercise. The other half were given fitness trackers to monitor their activity.

After two years, both groups were equally active. But the people with the fitness trackers lost less weight.

It just might be the dawn of a new era in American eating. Two-thirds of us are now more likely to go for foods marketed as lower-calorie and "better for you," and that means we're finally eating fewer calories.

But all this calorie-cutting from our cookies and cupcakes isn't just benevolent behavior on the part of the big food and beverage companies. It's also good for their bottom line.

www.futureatlas.com/blog

In a study conducted by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the School of Architecture, researchers found that participants who live in suburban "sprawling communities" faced greater risks for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. 

The study looked at the walking habits of 400 Cuban immigrants in Miami-Dade County. Dr. Jose Szapocznik, principal investigator and chair of public health sciences, believes the results from this sample can apply to the community as a whole.

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