By Laird Harrison
During a week of canoeing in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, something odd happened. I had only a thin inflatable pad between me and the rocks and roots. My mosquito bites itched. And some of my companions snored.
But getting away from the hum and glow of civilization relaxed me so much that I slept better than in my comfortable bed at home. In the mornings, I was ready to paddle a canoe and haul it on long portages.
It turns out I’m not alone. One new study out in the past week shows that access to nature improves sleep (at least for men.) Another shows that people who sleep more get fewer colds.
And yes, sleep improves athletic performance, but not in the way you might think. Continue reading How Sleep Affects Athletic Performance
by Karen Ashley
Personal trainers are playing a large role in Americans’ exercise routines, a new survey shows.
The survey of 300 people in the United States who work out at least three times a week found that 43 percent have used the services of a personal trainer.
Among the other findings: Continue reading Exercisers Prize Personal Trainers
A friend of mine ran into a disappointment recently. She had to drop out of a 100-mile race because her kidneys hurt for 30 miles. And she was peeing blood. Still, she came in second in the 100-kilometer (62-mile) division of the race.
Me, on the other hand, I recently walked the last mile of an eight-mile run because of a cramp in my calf. Continue reading How Much Pain is Too Much?
It’s pretty hard to exercise too much. That’s the conclusion from a new analysis of physical activity published in June in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
The authors combined results from six studies with a total of 661,137 people. In each of these studies, the researchers asked participants how much of their leisure time they spent exercising. Then the researchers kept track of who lived and who died.
Continue reading Can You Exercise Yourself to Death?
By Laird Harrison
Just about everyone I know has at least flirted with a low-carbohydrate diet — Atkins, Zone, Paleo, Southbeach — and lots swear by the weight-loss effects.
But a low-carb diet for athletes goes against the standard recommendations of sports nutritionists. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) personal training text book recommends pancakes as a healthy alternative when traveling.
So I was fascinated to talk to some researchers at the ACSM Annual Meeting in May who have examined the effects of a low-carb diet for athletes. Continue reading A Low-Carb Diets for Athletes?
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has captured a lot of attention lately because of its simple message: If you exercise hard enough, you can get just as fit in less time.
Even the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services buys this concept to some degree. It recommends at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate exercise, but it also says a minute of vigorous exercise equals two minutes of moderate exercise. Continue reading High-Intensity Interval Training May Not Save Time
If you’re thinking about quitting sports because you’ve gotten a few injuries as you age, think again. You might be exchanging your shinsplints for a heart attack.
That’s the implication from the latest studies on physical activity and aging. Continue reading Quitting Sports May Be as Dangerous as Smoking
Just how much will walking on a treadmill at your desk… wait, what was I saying? Sorry I was distracted there for a second by my treadmill.
Oh, right: How much does a treadmill interrupt your work? The answer is important because lots of evidence shows that sitting too much shortens your life, even if you set aside some time to exercise. Continue reading Treadmill Desk Distraction Measured
If you thought that a casual stroll or a little gardening provides all the exercise you need, no one can blame you. That’s been the implication of official health recommendations for years.
But a new study suggests that you get more benefit from sweating and puffing than you do from just moving around. Continue reading Vigorous Exercise More Valuable
You hit the gym day after day, becoming lean and powerful. But you come home to find the love of your life sprawled in front of the TV every time with a bowl of potato chips.
Even some personal trainers say getting your partner to work out can be harder than bench pressing 500 pounds. Continue reading Get Your Partner to Work Out: 4 Tips