Health and Fitness Roundup: In the News

health&fitness_in-the-news-March2013 Reluctant to stick to your gym routine? Exercising outdoors can increase your motivation, says New York Times columnist Gretchen Reynolds. (Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

When Exercise Stresses You Out

New York Times, March 13, 2013

For most people, exercise elevates mood. Repeated studies with humans and animals have shown that regular workouts can increase stress resistance, decrease anxiety, lessen symptoms of depression and generally leave people cheerful. But what if someone sincerely dislikes exercise and works out only under a kind of emotional duress, deeming that he or she must do so, perhaps because a doctor or worried spouse has ordered it?

Read the full article here.


The Six Best-Kept Secrets About Stress

Psychology Today, March 12, 2013

If you’re like most people living in our fast-paced world, you wish you could be less stressed. You are constantly on the lookout for ways to reduce your stress and that’s most likely why you clicked on this blog link. Perhaps you’ll learn something new to help you manage the many demands you feel on your time and energy. Or perhaps this will another one of those pop psych articles that tell you what you already knew or have read about many times before. I don’t want to promise what I can’t deliver, but I think you’ll be honestly surprised by the six secrets to stress that I’ll reveal in this blog. Even if you just learn from one of them, you’ll be on your way to better managing those worries, anxieties, and preoccupations that, though perhaps minor on their own, can add up to erode your mental and physical health.

Read the full article here.


Physical Activity Boosts Brain Power

Psychology Today, February 28, 2013

Healthy children come in all shapes and sizes. Being physically fit is more important than Body Mass Index (BMI) when it comes to getting good grades. A new study by Dr. Robert R. Rauner and colleagues from Lincoln Public Schools and Creighton University in Nebraska found that aerobic fitness has a greater effect on academic performance than weight. The study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that although BMI is an important indicator for overall health, it did not have a significant effect on test scores. “Although obesity is a concern for children, this study shows that aerobic fitness can have a greater effect on academic performance than weight,” the Journal said.

Read the full article here.


Calm Down: Why Stress and Your Health Don’t Match

Chalkboard, February 22, 2013

In her book The Slim Calm Sexy Diet, author Keri Glasman walks readers through the all-important rules of getting stronger, calmer, healthier, more balanced and yes, thinner – all goals that have likely made it across your New Year’s to-do list… but, calmer? How does getting calmer fit in to all this hubbub about our health?

Read the full article here.


The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

New York Times, February 21, 2013

While the allure of the gym — climate-controlled, convenient and predictable — is obvious, especially in winter, emerging science suggests there are benefits to exercising outdoors that can’t be replicated on a treadmill, a recumbent bicycle or a track. You stride differently when running outdoors, for one thing. Generally, studies find, people flex their ankles more when they run outside. They also, at least occasionally, run downhill, a movement that isn’t easily done on a treadmill and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain. Outdoor exercise tends, too, to be more strenuous than the indoor version. In studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding across the ground outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle.

Read the full article here.


Relax! You’ll Be More Productive

New York Times, February 9, 2013

Think for a moment about your typical workday. Do you wake up tired? Check your e-mail before you get out of bed? Skip breakfast or grab something on the run that’s not particularly nutritious? Rarely get away from your desk for lunch? Run from meeting to meeting with no time in between? Find it nearly impossible to keep up with the volume of e-mail you receive? Leave work later than you’d like, and still feel compelled to check e-mail in the evenings?

Read the full article here.


Fitness Center in a Hotel Room

New York Times, January 17, 2013

A frequent traveler, Soozan Baxter never bothers with the hotel gym. Instead, she checks with the front desk to make sure there is a tub in the bathroom, an iron in the closet and a sturdy bench or ottoman in the room. Ms. Baxter’s solution for staying in shape while on the road: a 30-minute routine designed by her Manhattan-based personal trainer, Nicole Glor, that lets her exercise without having to pack hand weights or exercise mats. “I don’t want to carry a lot of stuff with me,” said Ms. Baxter, 37, a commercial real estate consultant who travels from one to three days a week throughout the year.

Read the full article here.


Do the Brain Benefits of Exercise Last?

New York Times, January 9, 2013

It is well established that exercise bolsters the structure and function of the brain. Multiple animal and human studies have shown that a few months of moderate exercise can create new neurons, lift mood and hone memory and thinking.

But few studies have gone on to examine what happens next. Are these desirable brain changes permanent? Or, if someone begins exercising but then stops, does the brain revert to its former state, much like unused muscles slacken?

Read the full article here.


Superfoods, weight loss strategies and the boring truth about better health

Vancouver Sun, December 31, 2012

My favourite thought of the year came from CIHR researcher Antony Karelis at the University of Quebec, who told me that long-term studies on the effects of various weight loss programs are impossible to do because nearly everyone who loses weight puts it right back on again, usually within a few months. My second favourite thought on weight loss strategies came from Sheila Innis, the director of UBC’s nutrition and metabolism research program, who rather irritably pointed out that starving and stuffing lab mice is not a reliable means for designing a sensible diet for humans (though it is a fine way to learn about things like the effects of insulin on fat cells).

Read the full article here.


Communing with nature can recharge your creativity, study finds

Los Angeles Times, December 12, 2012

Go take a hike – it’s good for your brain. So says a new study that supports something called Attention Restoration Theory, which holds that exposure to nature can replenish our cognitive reserves when they are worn out by overuse. And if you live a modern urban or suburban life, your cognitive reserves are surely depleted: A typical teenager spends more than 7.5 hours per day juggling a computer, cellphone, TV and other media, and the number is surely higher for a typical adult, according to the study: “Our modern society is filled with sudden events (sirens, horns, ringing phones, alarms, televisions, etc.) that hijack attention. By contrast, natural environments are associated with a gentle, soft fascination, allowing the executive attentional system to replenish.”

Read the full article here.