Health and Fitness Roundup: In the News

No need to exercise "like a maniac" says the Globe and Mail's Andrew Picard in Why the sedentary life is killing us. "Activity really matters – to your heart, to your brain, to your bones and to your sexual health." In the picture above, taken at a Semperviva Yoga retreat, I'm celebrating hiking to the top of Mount Galiano on Galiano Island, BC.

Not enough sleep? Why you may be getting fatter and sicker

Globe and Mail, October 15, 2012

“You may think you can get by on four or five hours of sleep, but your fat cells beg to differ. Lack of shut-eye reduces fat cells’ ability to respond to insulin, a hormone that regulates energy, researchers have found. In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, participants were limited to 4-and-a-half hours in bed each night. After four nights of reduced sleep, their fat cells behaved like those of obese people and patients with Type 2 diabetes.”

Read the full article here.


Why the sedentary life is killing us

Globe and Mail, October 15, 2012

“Sitting is the new smoking. Get used to that expression because you’re going to be hearing it a lot. Inactivity has become public enemy No. 1. The reason sedentary behaviour is so worrisome is well-illustrated by a new study, published on Monday. The research, led by Dr. Emma Wilmot of the diabetes research group at the University of Leicester in Britain, analyzed 18 existing studies involving almost 800,000 people. The paper, published in the medical journal Diabetologia, compared disease rates between the most active and least active among a broad cross-section of adults.”

Read the full article here.


Even a short walk can boost ‘executive control’

Globe and Mail, August 28, 2012

“Jamie Burr is not one to sit around – not even when he’s meeting with colleagues at the University of Prince Edward Island, where he’s a kinesiology professor in the faculty of applied human sciences. An expert in the health effects of inactivity and a proponent of “walk-and-talk” meetings, Dr. Burr maintains that moving around makes your brain work better. “Research shows that it’s not just fitness that’s important for overall health but that sedentary time can have negative health consequences,” he adds. “People shouldn’t be sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time. Doing so affects everything from mental health to the musculo-skeletal system to cardiovascular health and brain health.”

Read the full article here.


Finding Your Ideal Running Form

New York Times, August 29, 2012

“Can people become better, more efficient runners on their own, merely by running? That question, seemingly so innocuous, is remarkably divisive at the moment, with running experts on one side suggesting that runners should be taught a specific, idealized running form, while opponents counter that the best way to run is whatever way feels right to you. Little published science, however, has been available on the subject of whether runners need technical instruction or naturally intuit the skill. Now a timely new study suggests that new runners eventually settle into better running form — just by running more.”

Read the full article here.


Changing Our Tune on Exercise

New York Times, August 27, 2012

“What would it take to persuade you to exercise? A desire to lose weight or improve your figure? To keep heart disease, cancer or diabetes at bay? To lower your blood pressure or cholesterol? To protect your bones? To live to a healthy old age? You’d think any of those reasons would be sufficient to get Americans exercising, but scores of studies have shown otherwise. It seems that public health experts, doctors and exercise devotees in the media — like me — have been using ineffective tactics to entice sedentary people to become, and remain, physically active.”

Read the full article here.


Sleep: The New Gatorade

Huffington Post, October 15, 2012

“Both professional athletes and weekend warriors alike hydrate themselves silly with any number of sport drinks, electrolyte-enhanced waters, gels, blocks, or jelly beans. Gatorade and similar products can be purchased at any grocery store, gas station, hardware store, or vending machine. Beyond athletes, these specialized hydration drinks are used by other laborers as well as the public in general. We have fully embraced the ideas of hydration and proper nutrition. The revolution has come, and what was once radical is now mainstream. What was the advantage of a few is now in the hands of many. Sure, there will be variants and nuance when it comes how we achieve our proper nutrition and hydration balance, but this is largely academic (and clever marketing). So what will be the next big performance revolution?”

Read the full article here.


The Soft American by John F. Kennedy

Sports Illustrated, December 26, 1960

“Beginning more than 2,500 years ago, from all quarters of the Greek world men thronged every four years to the sacred grove of Olympia, under the shadow of Mount Cronus, to compete in the most famous athletic contests of history—the Olympian games. During the contest a sacred truce was observed among all the states of Greece as the best athletes of the Western world competed in boxing and foot races, wrestling and chariot races for the wreath of wild olive which was the prize of victory. When the winners returned to their home cities to lay the Olympian crowns in the chief temples they were greeted as heroes and received rich rewards. For the Greeks prized physical excellence and athletic skills among man's great goals and among the prime foundations of a vigorous state.”

Read the full article here.