Entries in Exercise (93)


Women Are More Likely to Exercise If It Feels Like Play, Not Work

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Everyone likes to have fun, and a new survey reveals many women would participate in more physical activites if it felt less like work and more like play.

The survey commissioned by the American Cancer Society finds 40 percent of women saying they would be more physically active in their free time if it didn’t feel like work.

Additional findings:

-- Women are 10 percent less likely than men to make time for physical activites they enjoy.
-- 63 percent of women say they engage in physical activity that they enjoy because it’s good for their mind.
-- 75 percent participate in physical activity because they feel it’s good for their physical fitness, while 38 percent do it to spend more time with family and friends.

The survey involved 1,011 American adults.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Exercise Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study finds that exercise can improve the quality of life for breast cancer patients, Health Day reports.

Researchers from the University of Miami examined the exercise levels and mental and physical health of 240 women with breast cancer four to ten weeks after surgery. They found that the women who were physically active suffered less from depression, fatigue and had a better quality of life during cancer treatment following surgery.

The same researchers previously found that breast cancer treatment is also improved by stress management, Health Day says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


"Drop Dead Healthy": Is the Perfect Healthy Lifestyle Possible?

Michael Cogliantry(NEW YORK) -- There are thousands of diet and exercise studies for how to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle: Don't eat that, drink more of this, run hard for this length of time, etcetera. The tips constantly change when new studies are published.

For his most ambitious project, author A.J. Jacobs followed the latest medical advice about getting healthy -- all of it -- and found out what really works.

"I was in bad shape," Jacobs said.  "I had a huge stomach.  I looked like a snake that swallowed a goat.  It was sort of the skinny fat, and you know, my diet was terrible.  I ate sugar, salt, fat.  Those were my three food groups, so I really wanted to -- I needed to do a big revamp."

Following the success of his book, The Year of Living Biblically, in which he tried to follow every rule in the Bible for a year, Jacobs, 44, spent two years trying out every diet plan, every workout routine, every self-improvement trick and technique out there.  He documented his journey in his new book, Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Quest for Bodily Perfection, which he wrote while walking on a treadmill, by the way -- a chapter every 12 miles or so.

"More and more research shows how horrible sitting is for you," he said.  "It's really bad.  It's like a Paula Deen bacon doughnut.  It's just so ... if you are sitting for more than six hours a day, that'll increase your risk for heart disease by 60 percent."

Jacobs is now a walking encyclopedia of health insight, from applying sunscreen daily, to having certain plants nearby to filter the air -- even proper water bottle care.

So what did work?  Over the course of two years, Jacobs developed definite opinions about how to maintain a healthier lifestyle.  He said people need to exercise more, sit less, meditate, pet dogs -- because studies have found it lowers blood pressure -- and cook their own meals instead of eating prepared food.

Jacobs now has a healthier diet, mostly made up of vegetables, fish and eggs.  The dietary revelation came not with what he eats, but how he eats it.

"I chew as many times as possible, because you'll eat less and we eat way too much as a nation," Jacobs said.  "There's actually a very passionate movement on the Internet called 'Chewdaism,' and they believe you should be chewing as many as 50 times a bite."

And then there were those health regimens that Jacobs said didn't work for him, such as colonics and juice fasts.

"I was not a fan of either one, and luckily the science is not there," he said.  "There's really very little science that colonics are good for you.  You don't really need them.  The body cleans out by itself."

At the end of two years, Jacobs said he managed to lose 17 pounds.  His body fat dropped from 17 to seven percent and he said he is now bursting with energy and feels great.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Diet and Exercise Beats Pills, Fads

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Surprise!  Eating a healthy diet and regularly exercising helps obese Americans lose more weight than those who turn to diet fads and pills, according to a new study.

Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical Center analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The data came from more than 4,000 obese individuals aged 20 years and older with a BMI of 30 or over.

More than half of the people in the survey reportedly were trying to lose weight at the time of the study, which was conducted between 2001 and 2006.  About 40 percent had lost five percent or more of their body fat in that time, and 20 percent of the participants lost 10 percent or more.

They found that the people who were most successful in losing weight exercised more and ate less fat than those who did not.  Those who joined weight-loss programs appeared to have the most success and patients who received prescription weight loss medication also saw success.

On the other hand, those who reported going on liquid diets, nonprescription weight loss pills and eating diet foods and products did not see a successful weight loss.

“Obese Americans who see a 5 to 10 percent weight loss are already going to see health benefits and effects on diabetes, hypertension and coronary heart disease,” said lead author of the study, Dr. Jacinda M. Nicklas, a clinical research fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.  “These are the sort of things that are tried and true.”

Nicklas said the study results are particularly relevant since more than one-third of American adults are obese, according to the CDC, and 17 percent of children and teens are obese.

Weight loss programs give people accountability because it is something they have invested in themselves, Nicklas said.  While the fads and supplements and low-fat foods have created a large market for themselves, the authors said it’s encouraging that the most successful ways of losing weight are accessible and affordable.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Do Congressmen Stay Fit?

United States Congress(WASHINGTON) -- Congressman Aaron Schock, R-Ill., known for his rock-hard, washboard abs he flaunted on the cover of Men’s Health, used campaign funds to buy P90X fitness DVDs, according to a report released by the non-profit group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The congressman’s campaign committee reportedly used campaign funds to finance a stay at a five-star hotel in Athens, Greece, buy workout tapes and reimburse his mother.

“A campaign account is not a personal slush fund,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan in a statement accompanying the report. “It’s hard to fathom how a hotel stay in Greece could be a legitimate campaign expense.”

Shock, first elected to Congress in 2008 at age 27, charged $319 in payments to exercise DVD maker P90X to his campaign, listing the expense as “health care.”

But just what is the P90X workout routine that has taken the House by storm?

In 2011, Schock posed for the June cover of Men’s Health magazine, revealing the congressman’s well cared-for muscles and six-pack abs. The 30-year-old details in the magazine his workout routine – before a five-mile run around the nation’s capital, Shock clocks in at the weight room in the House gym at 6:30 a.m. The article also revealed Shock’s, along with “a dozen or so congressmen,” affinity for sessions of P90X, the exercise video series created by Tony Horton.

The fitness routine boasts an impressive clientele, from Twilight’s famous werewolf Taylor Lautner to at least 25 members of Congress.

“The word of mouth factor has been incredibly strong since for P90X,” Jon Congdon, the president and co-founder of P90X parent company Beachbody, told ABC News. Congdon credits the program’s growth to its fast and effective results, which then leads customers to spread the word about the fitness program.

Credited as the man who sparked the fitness fad on the hill, former trainer Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is a frequent proponent of the P90X workout, which he says helps him maintain his body fat between 6 and 8 percent.  Ryan told Politico in 2010 that he leads a P90X fitness class in the House gym every morning along with former Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich. and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., which P90X creator Horton frequents every few months.

“It works because it pushes your body in many different ways so that it gets out of its plateau,” Ryan said, adding that the workout stresses the importance of muscle confusion. “And it works.”

Congdon says members of Congress have retrofit the gym to serve the workout, adding pull-up bars and plasma TVs to the House gym.

Horton himself has singled out Ryan and Rep. Heath Schuler, D-N.C., as two of the biggest fans of the workout, which features a grueling routine of arms, abs, legs and cardio. He told the Washington Examiner last year that Washington’s politicos hold their ground well compared with his Hollywood clients.

“Compared to most of my celebrity clients, I’m from Hollywood, there are a lot of divas and a lot of prima donnas, they want to be treated with kid gloves a lot of the time, but the congressmen work really hard, they are very impressive I have to say,” Horton told the Examiner.

“It’s funny, the rest of the country perceives that the [Democrat and Republican] congressmen can’t stand each other, but then you see them working out and joking together,” Congdon remarked. “It’s a bi-partisan thing.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Too Few Kids Getting Outdoors with Mom or Dad

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Nearly half of all U.S. preschool-age children don’t get outdoors at least once a day for parent-supervised playtime, researchers reported Monday, causing concern among experts who say early exercise habits could protect children from obesity later in life.

Many children might not be getting enough outdoor exercise because of barriers faced by single parents and families with two working parents, said Dr. Pooja Tandon, a pediatrician with the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, who led the research.

It might also come down to a “cultural shift as to how families spend their time,” Tandon said, citing all the gadgets and screen time occupying everyone in the house.  “There may be missed opportunities for kicking those kids outside the door when it’s appropriate and safe.”

Tandon also said that the lack of daily outdoor exercise among preschool children (defined here as those in the year before kindergarten) also might stem from parents assuming “that young children are spending their day running around, that they’re active,” she said, suggesting that some day-care centers and babysitters are not getting children outside often enough, or for long enough, to meet the 60 minutes of daily exercise recommended by the National Association for Sports and Physical Activity.

The reasons child-care providers are not be meeting these recommendations might be diverse, including  ”some real, some perceived,” Tandon said.  Yesterday’s rain should not prevent an outdoor outing today, she said.  And, she added, “Some child-care providers say children didn’t bring a jacket or they wore flip-flops.  Depending on staffing, maybe the class doesn’t go outside. ”

The good news, Tandon said, is that “these young children are naturally programmed to be active if given the opportunities.”

Tandon’s study, which appeared online Monday on the website of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, was based on parental surveys from a national study of nearly 9,000 U.S. children, a sample size representing about 4 million children.  The children, all born in 2001, were followed for several years and their parents, usually mothers, were interviewed several times, including the year before their children entered kindergarten.

Along with finding that 49 percent of children were not getting outdoors with a parent at least once every day, she and her colleagues from the research institute and the University of Washington found that those youngsters whose parents took them outdoors to play tended to be boys, children with lots of playmates and those whose parents were exercisers.

Children more often fell short of recommended exercise if their mothers were Asian, African-American or Hispanic, although the study didn’t delve into the reasons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Orgasm With Exercise Is Real, Study Says

FogStock/Thinkstock(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- Some women don't need a lover or sexual fantasy to experience sexual pleasure or even orgasm.  As a new study suggests, exercise can do the trick.

For years, fitness and women's magazines have touted the apocryphal "coregasm," but now researchers at Indiana University say that hundreds of women are getting the unintended benefits of those tummy crunches.

An estimated 45 percent of the women who responded to the researchers' online request for women who had either exercise-induced orgasm (EIO) or exercise-induced sexual pleasure (EISP) said their first experience was during abdominal exercises, followed by weight lifting (26.5 percent), yoga (20 percent), bicycling (15.8 percent), running (13.2 percent) and walking/hiking (9.6 percent).

"For me as a scientist, that's a stripped down version of orgasm, without sex or a partner," said co-author Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.

Any exercise that involves the core muscles seems to trigger that sense of pleasure -- chin-ups, climbing ropes and especially the "captain's chair," a rack with padded arm rests that allows the legs to hang free before lifting the knees to the chest.

A handful of women said they even had sexual feelings while mopping or walking.

From a physiological standpoint, "coregasm" makes sense, according to fitness experts.  In both exercise and sex, the heart rate and breathing are faster and there is increased blood flow.

Herbenick said this "exploratory" study is a first step to learning more about the "physical processes" of sexual pleasure.

"Orgasm is something we really know nothing about -- not scientifically," she said.  "[Sexologist Alfred] Kinsey mentioned it in his [Sexual Behavior in the Human Female] book in 1953, and it sort of got left there."

The study was published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Sexual and Relationship Therapy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Vigorous Exercise May Delay Pregnancy; But Not for Overweight, Obese

Hemera/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Fertility experts say exercise is important, buy maybe not how you'd expect. Women trying to get pregnant should ease up on working out, new study findings published in the journal Fertility and Sterility say.
The study, authored by Lauren Wise, an associate professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health, was based on a sampling of more than 3,600 Danish women age 18 to 40 who were trying to conceive. Researchers found that healthy women who do such high-intensity exercise as running, cycling, swimming and aerobics may be cutting down the odds of conception by overworking the body and preventing ovulation.
One exception, however, was found among overweight and obese women. High-intensity exercise was associated with a shorter time to pregnancy for this group.      
Such moderate exercise as walking and golfing was associated with shorter time-to-pregnancy, suggesting that all women seeking pregnancy may benefit from some exercise.

Though reseachers found no direct causal relationship between longer conception periods and intense exercise, they controlled factors which could justify the long delay to getting pregnant, such as caffeine or alcohol consumption, smoking habits, frequency of intercourse or other childbirths.
The message, Wise says, is if you're having trouble conceiving, you might try to lighten up on the heavy workouts and switch to lighter activity.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Effortless Weight Loss? Blocking Brain Chemical Helps Mice Stay Slim

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Blocking a marijuana-like chemical in the brain could help fuel effortless weight loss, according to the findings of a new study performed on mice.

Researchers at the University of California at Irvine engineered mice to have lower brain levels of the endocannabinoid 2-AG, a compound similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) believed to help regulate metabolism.

“Endocannabinoids are our own marijuana-like chemicals. We make them, our brains make them,” said study author Daniele Piomelli, a professor of pharmacology at UC Irvine. “Their role in the brain is to control body metabolism outside the brain.”

The modified mice ate more and moved less than their unmodified counterparts without gaining weight, even when they were fed a high-fat diet.

“These mice had what really looked like a much faster metabolism than normal mice. They burned fat calories more efficiently,” said Piomelli. Specifically, their brown fat, a type of fat that keeps mammals warm, became hyperactive, converting to heat much more quickly than in normal mice.

Despite their dismal diet and nonexistent exercise routine, the modified mice showed no signs of metabolic syndrome — a group of conditions that include high blood pressure and insulin resistance that ups the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“It was really very striking,” said Piomelli. “Striking for all of us who struggle to maintain our weight or lose some.”

The study was published Tuesday in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Piomelli said he hoped to develop drugs that could selectively diminish levels of 2-AG in the brain and, in doing so, “boost our capacity to burn fat calories.” But don’t ditch the gym membership yet, he warned. Developing the drug could take years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Heart Attack Risk May Increase in Cold Temperatures

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.) -- Frigid temperatures can be a trigger for some coronary problems, which could explain why fatal heart attacks typically peak during winter months, according to a new study.  

Researchers at the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine found that breathing cold air during physical activity can increase the body's need for oxygen. The increased need for oxygen could be troublesome for people with heart disease since the risk for cardiac arrest and death is greater, the researchers report in the study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology and The American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

During the trial, researchers studied the lung and heart function of healthy adults in their 20s and 60s, while exposing them to cold temperatures. The researchers found that since their hearts were healthy, the participants were able to keep up with the changes in the demands for oxygen being supplied to the heart.  For those with heart disease, the increased demands may be too much.

Bottom line, heart disease patients may want to be more cautious during cold weather exercise.

Copyright 2012 ABC News

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