Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The student athletes completed more successful crossings than the nonathletes, by a significant margin, a result that might be expected of those in peak physical condition. But what was surprising — and thought-provoking — was that their success was not a result of their being quicker or more athletic. They walked no faster than the other students. They didn’t dash or weave gracefully between cars. What they did do was glance along the street a few more times than the nonathletes, each time gathering slightly more data and processing it more speedily and accurately than the other students.
“They didn’t move faster,” said Art Kramer, the director of the Beckman Institute and a leader in the study of exercise and cognition, who oversaw the research. “But it looks like they thought faster.”
... the finding did have a certain intuitive logic. “To the extent that athletes, in their sport, must routinely make split-second decisions in often very complex environments (e.g., whether to pass or kick the incoming soccer ball), it would make sense to me that they would have superior skill sets in processing the fast-paced information to successfully cross the street.”
Posted by Idler at 6:55 AM
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Found this rowing machine while searching for ergometer (see High-Intensity Interval training). Has the highest-rating I've ever seen on Amazon. 94 rated 5 out of a total of 100.
Posted by Idler at 7:46 PM
From: What’s the Single Best Exercise?
the burpee, in which you drop to the ground, kick your feet out behind you, pull your feet back in and leap up as high as you can. “It builds muscles. It builds endurance.” He paused. “But it’s hard to imagine most people enjoying” an all-burpees program, “or sticking with it for long.”
And sticking with an exercise is key, even if you don’t spend a lot of time working out. The health benefits of activity follow a breathtakingly steep curve. “The majority of the mortality-related benefits” from exercising are due to the first 30 minutes of exercise, said Timothy Church, M.D., who holds the John S. McIlhenny endowed chair in health wisdom at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. A recent meta-analysis of studies about exercise and mortality showed that, in general, a sedentary person’s risk of dying prematurely from any cause plummeted by nearly 20 percent if he or she began brisk walking (or the equivalent) for 30 minutes five times a week.
“I personally think that brisk walking is far and away the single best exercise,” said Michael Joyner, M.D., a professor of anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a leading researcher in the field of endurance exercise.
interval-style walking (three minutes of fast walking, followed by three minutes of slower walking, repeated 10 times). The results have been striking. “Physical fitness — maximal aerobic power and thigh muscle strength — increased by about 20 percent,” Dr. Nose wrote in an e-mail, “which is sure to make you feel about 10 years younger than before training.” The walkers’ “symptoms of lifestyle-related diseases (hypertension, hyperglycemia and obesity) decreased by about 20 percent,” he added, while their depression scores dropped by half.
“I nominate the squat,” said Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University and an expert on the effects of resistance training on the human body. The squat “activates the body’s biggest muscles, those in the buttocks, back and legs.” It’s simple. “Just fold your arms across your chest,” he said, “bend your knees and lower your trunk until your thighs are about parallel with the floor. Do that 25 times. It’s a very potent exercise.” Use a barbell once the body-weight squats grow easy.
The squat, and weight training in general, are particularly good at combating sarcopenia, he said, or the inevitable and debilitating loss of muscle mass that accompanies advancing age. “Each of us is experiencing sarcopenia right this minute,” he said. “We just don’t realize it.” Endurance exercise, he added, unlike resistance training, does little to slow the condition.
High-intensity interval training, or H.I.T. as it’s familiarly known among physiologists, is essentially all-interval exercise. As studied in Gibala’s lab, it involves grunting through a series of short, strenuous intervals on specialized stationary bicycles, known as Wingate ergometers. In his first experiments, riders completed 30 seconds of cycling at the highest intensity the riders could stand. After resting for four minutes, the volunteers repeated the interval several times, for a total of two to three minutes of extremely intense exercise. After two weeks, the H.I.T. riders, with less than 20 minutes of hard effort behind them, had increased their aerobic capacity as much as riders who had pedaled leisurely for more than 10 hours.
The only glaring inadequacy of H.I.T. is that it builds muscular strength less effectively than, say, the squat. But even that can be partially remedied, Gibala said: “Sprinting up stairs is a power workout and interval session simultaneously.”Meaning that running up steps just might be the single best exercise of all. Great news for those of us who could never master the butterfly.
Posted by Idler at 7:38 PM
The test subjects were divided into two groups: those who stayed in an urban environment and those sent to a forested area. Both groups engaged in the same activities and ate the same diet. It is thought that the chemical phytoncides, an oil that defends trees from insects and decomposition, somehow affect the chemicals in the human brain.
In other studies, it was demonstrated that there was an increase in natural killer cells that fight cancer, an increase in white blood cells, and a reduction of glucose levels in diabetics.
In the U.K. and in Europe, depression is being treated with farm work and gardening. Whether it is tending plants or animals, the act of caring for something alive in the fresh air has had a positive effect on patients with clinical depression.
Posted by Idler at 6:08 PM
Trees are good for you. Walking in the woods can reduce stress and depression, ease muscle tension, counter attention deficit disorder, and even calm an erratic heart.
You knew that anyway, but fortunately intrepid Finnish researchers have come up with interesting proof. Published in Environmental Health Magazine, the Finns have collated evidence that forests promote Human Health. Forests reduce physical and mental stress. The researchers say, " Forests represent rich natural pharmacies by virtue of being enormous sources of plant and microbial material with known or potential medicinal or nutritional value. Forest food offers a safety net for the most vulnerable population groups in developing countries, and healthy forest ecosystems may also help in regulation of infectious diseases." Despite the large amount of work on biodiversity and forests, the psychological and medicinal aspects have not been studied greatly. Perhaps their very familiarity made them elusive as a subject of study - we all know from childhood on that it is good to have a romp in the woods.
Forests may even have an anti-cancer factor, "Forest visits may strengthen the human immune system. Spending time in forest increases natural killer (NK) activity in humans. The increase was observed as long as 30 days later. Since NK cells can kill tumor cells by releasing anticancer proteins, forest visits may have a preventive effect on cancer generation and development," according to Japanese researchers.