Tag Archives: research studies

Fun Workouts Boost Weight Loss

workout fun

So you’ve been exercising for years and still aren’t losing as much weight as you’d expect? Get this: Science is now telling you to have more fun and to see better results. A new French and American research study is now suggesting people may lose more weight during physical activity that feels more like playtime than a torture session at the gym. This study suggests that your attitude toward physical activity influence what you eat after a workout and ultimately whether or not you drop pounds.

Many people who start exercising do not lose as much weight as expected. In fact, some people actually gain weight after starting a workout routine despite the extra calories burned at the gym. Here’s why: A lot of people who push their physical limits eat whatever they’d like after an intense gym visit. Previous studies have explained this phenomenon as an increase of appetite hormones post sweat session—that people really were ravenous after working hard. While this may explain the physiological part of it, this new study is hoping to prove that psychology can explain the rest. (Try these 7 ways to keep your appetite in check.)

Scientists recruited 56 overweight women and tasked them to complete the same one-mile outdoor course, with lunch to follow. Half of the women were told that this course will be rigorous exercise and to monitor their exertion levels. The rest were told that this is meant to be a walk for pleasure where they can listen to music and enjoy themselves. Upon completion of the course, the women were asked to estimate her mileage, calorie expenditure, and mood. Women in the first group reported feeling much grumpier and more fatigued even though the two groups estimates of mileage and calories burned were almost identical. (more…)

Bike Commuters Rejoice! Protected Lanes Proven Effective

green bike lanes

Have you ever been driving down a road and totally blind-sided by a biker? Or have you been that biker who feels unsafe peddling down certain streets? A new research study released this week by Portland Statue University is hoping to prevent either scenario from happening.

The study examines new protected bike lanes installed by PeopleforBikes and the Green Lane Project throughout each of five chosen locations: Austin, Chicago, Portland, OR, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. These bike lanes (often painted bright green!) are separated from the regular traffic by curbs, parked cars, posts, or planters in efforts to organize the street and make it safer for all. These protected bike lanes are new to the US, so little research has been done on their effectiveness. Until now.

The study targeted one or two lanes in each city and set up video surveillance primarily at intersections to evaluate their effectiveness and overall usage. They also surveyed bicyclists, drivers, and nearby residents to get personal and practical feedback on their implementation and affect on the community.

What did they find? Here are some of the staggering stats:

Fast Food Makes Us Less Patient

On every family vacation I can remember, my mom and I have taken a picture of us literally stopping and smelling the roses, or whatever flower is available. “Stop and smell the roses” is something my grandpa always reminds us to do, and it’s a good thing to remember in the hustle and bustle of our lives.

drive through

However, it’s becoming more difficult for many of us to take the time to appreciate the small things in life. Many will say that’s because people are less patient. A new paper says that’s true, and it’s at least partially because of fast food restaurants.

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When it Comes to Workouts, Anything is Better Than Nothing

workout time

You know the drill: Wake up, work all day, come home exhausted and yet your to-do list seems to have grown longer. The last thing you want to make time for is a workout. You’ve worked hard and feel exhausted—why go running?!

When I hear this from my clients, or when I think these thoughts myself, I pose two questions:

1) Will I feel better or worse after I finish my workout? 

2) Will I regret going to work out? 

Chances are, your answers are BETTER and NO, respectively. But I get it! It’s hard to justify turning off Netflix and leaving your comfy couch to spend even a few minutes boosting your heart rate. But find your reason to remember that it is worth it. We don’t exercise simply to look smokin’ in our summer bikini; hopefully, you also exercise to feel strong, to have more energy, to sleep better and stress less, and to bring out the best version of yourself. If you don’t have 60+ minutes to devote to burning calories, that’s okay!

Anything is Better Than Nothing. 

A recent article from Shape.com explained how your brain responds to running. There’s a lot of science in the piece, but the take-away is that running definitely boosts your mood and the more in-shape you are, the better you feel. How’s that for incentive to get out and move more? (more…)

6 Unbelievably Basic Ways to Live Longer

Cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancers, and diabetes are the four main groups of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). They’re also a main cause of preventable, premature deaths.

stop smoking

New research shows that over 15 years 37 million premature deaths due to NCDs can be prevented. How? By reducing or curbing only six modifiable risk factors: tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, salt intake, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity. As in, if you keep up your bad habits, chances are you won’t live as long. If you drop them, and get healthier, you’ll likely live longer, and our guess is your quality of life will improve too.

How, exactly would changing these 6 factors improve your life expectancy and reduce your risk of premature death?

Tobacco Use – Kick the habit to reduce risk of death by at least 30 percent, and up to 50 percent

  • Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death, and is responsible for 5 million deaths per year worldwide.
  • By reducing tobacco use by 50 percent, risk of dying from the four main NCDs would drop by 24 percent in men and 20 percent in women.

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Are Beautiful People Better Athletes? Scientists Say “Yes”

athletes

Have you ever been attracted to someone who’s a super talented athlete, but not necessarily model-material? What about the opposite: Have you “known” that someone would be good at a sport based on how good looking they are?

The first phenomenon is known as “speed goggles”, or seeing fast athletes as more attractive than slow ones, and chances are we’ve all done it. (No wonder A-Rod was able to hook up with screen siren Cameron Diaz!) But what about the reverse? The idea that someone will perform better in athletic competition if they are generally regarded as beautiful or handsome. Have you thought this, and does the theory hold up?

A study performed at the University of Zurich put this idea to the test: Researchers asked participants in the study to look at portraits of cyclists competing in the 2012 Tour de France days before the start of the race. They ranked each athlete on a scale of 1 to 5, based on level of attractiveness. (more…)

Weight Discrimination – Real, and Wrong

Should body weight be considered a protected class under Civil Rights laws? According to 3 out of 4 people asked in a new study, the answer is yes.

different weights

New research from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity shows most Americans support policies addressing weight discrimination. In fact, at least 60 percent of Americans are supportive of policy efforts to address weight discrimination across the country.

According to Rebecca Puhl, PhD, study author and deputy director of the Rudd Center, “More than two-thirds of adults in the United States are affected by overweight or obesity, meaning they are also vulnerable to the stigma and discrimination that these proposed policies and laws would help prevent.”

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The New Anti-Aging Secret for Younger Looking Skin: Exercise

Some of us know all to well that as we age, there are dramatic changes to our skin, and not usually for the better. Crow’s feet, laugh lines, sagging skin, the works. But now, science is proving that moderate cardio exercise can reverse these natural processes at any age.

exercise aging

The New York Times recently reported on a study from McMaster University in Ontario, one of the big names in exercise physiology research. Essentially, scientists found the above to be true: that exercise can slow or even reverse the signs of aging skin. How? Well, they’re not quite sure how it works—one theory is that an increase in a certain muscle protein called myokines helps halt and reverse the process. Regardless of the actual process, researchers say they have clear proof that it does work—and that younger looking skin could be just a few workouts away. (more…)

Wacky But True: Study Using Voodoo Dolls Proves “Hangry” is a Real Thing

voodooFor years I felt original for using what I thought was my own word to describe how cranky, snippy, and sassy I get when I haven’t eating in a long time. The word is “hangry”, a fusion between hungry and angry, and it describes pretty perfectly the mood that affects many of us when we have low blood sugar. Hearing the first few people use my word was exciting and unifying, like we were apart of the same witty food-pun club! But lately I’ve been hearing it more than ever, so I am reluctant to admit that perhaps I did not, in fact, invent the word hangry. (I’m also being overdramatic, so perhaps I am currently hangry.)

At any rate, science has recently solidified the use of this word: A new study shows that being hangry is a real thing, or at least proves that being hungry definitely affects a person’s mood.

Researchers from Ohio State University set out to prove that low blood sugar is indeed the underlying cause of hunger-induce crankiness. (Read the full NPR report here.) But they didn’t just want to look at how strangers interacted, they wanted to know how we treat our loved ones when we’re hangry, so they studied spouses. 107 couples were recruited for the study and each given voodoo dolls. (more…)

Q&A: Which Should Come First, Cardio or Resistance?

cardio weights 

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably always wondered if there is more of a benefit to lifting before you run, or if the exercises should be performed in the reverse. (Sweat then strength or strength then sweat?) It’s an age old question, but finally, we have an answer.

Well, kind of.

According to a recent study from the Department of Biology of Physical Activity at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, it turns out that the order doesn’t matter all that much. Fitness experts long ago discovered that the combination of cardiovascular exercises along with resistance increases the effectiveness of both exercises, but the order that works best appears to be based on personal preference more than any physiological differences. (more…)