August 21, 2014

The Feel Good Report

The latest in health, fitness and beauty

 

(NOT SO) EASY RIDERS

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy indoor cycling in an inclusive environment that features the latest in technology, look no further than Time Trial Cycle, opening later this month in Naples. A boutique cycling studio featuring two large flat-screen TVs that display each rider’s heart rate, speed, time and distance, it features 34 Spinner Blade Ions with self-powering flywheels. After class, performance data is emailed to each rider with information on calories burned, etc. Co-owner Charla Goodnight says that class participants can test themselves against other class members and even classes across the country. If that sounds too daunting, Goodnight says you can just as easily not have your stats posted on the big screens. “Fitness is supposed to be fun and about motivating those who are struggling,” she says. “This has been my passion my whole life and I’m so excited to be able to bring this to Naples.” There’ll be three different levels of classes (from beginner to hardcore). Time Trial Cycle is located at 3080 Tamiami Trail N. timetrialcycle.com

 

STAND AND DELIVER Though standing desks are currently all the rage at large businesses, doctors now say that the real problem isn’t sitting still, it’s being still. So even if you’ve taken the smart steps to work at a stand-up desk, you need to take actual steps every 20 minutes to avoid strains on your bones and back.

 

TECH TRAINER

Here’s a little something that is so new it’s technically not out yet (but you can still buy it). One of the coolest fitness gadgets at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was the Atlas fitness tracker. While we’ve praised other similar tools in the past, this one outshines them all because it automatically tracks your body on an X, Y and Z axis and gives you live feedback as you’re working out. Best of all, it actually identifies your exercises as you do them, meaning it can count reps of pushups or jumping jacks or even alternating bicep curls. It knows if your form is off and if you cheat. And what if you’re a fan of workouts such as CrossFit, which tend to include nontraditional exercises? Atlas can learn new exercises, from rope climbing to box jumps. It’s waterproof and even knows swimming techniques. When it comes out later this year, it will retail for $225. atlaswearables.com

 

BORN TO RUN

If you’ve ever considered taking up jogging but thought you were too old to start, there’s new evidence showing it’s better late than never. A recent study found that running significantly reduced osteoarthritis risk and the need for hip replacement surgery. Walkers were reported at a greater risk than joggers. Researchers believe the risk is reduced, in part, because of running’s association with a lower body mass index.

Another study found that couch potatoes (a clinical term) lost about 10 percent of their bone density every decade between the ages of 30 and 70. However, people who engaged in regular intense and highimpact exercise, such as running, had a much slower rate of decline, losing only approximately 5 percent. So lace up those sneakers.

 

GIVING BLOOD IS GOOD FOR YOU According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, regular blood donors are 88 percent less likely to have a heart attack than non-donors. They also have lower cancer rates. It’s because blood donations lower the amount of iron in your blood; oxidized iron in blood damages artery walls and encourages the growth of tumors.

 

SEX COUNTS AS EXERCISE!

The news just keeps getting better and better for people having sex. First and foremost, they’re having sex. But now a new look at the act by researchers at the University of Quebec at Montreal found that the motion and effort put forth in a moment of, you know, actually qualifies as moderate exercise. The study looked into just how much energy is spent during sex. Researchers followed 21 young heterosexual and committed couples and had them jog on treadmills for 30 minutes to gauge their energy usage for comparison to making whoopee.

Subjects were then sent off wearing unobtrusive armbands that analyzed calories burned and metabolic equivalent of task (METs), along with questionnaires to fill out post-coitus. Once all data was collected, researchers found that MET activity for sex rated between 5.6 and 6.0. The jogging was closer to 8.5. (Sitting still rates only 1 MET.)

 

DON’T FORGET YOUR COFFEE

If you’re one of those people who has banished caffeine from your life, there’s a good chance you have no idea where your car keys are right now. It turns out that caffeine, in addition to improving attention and focus, can enhance memory. A recent study published in Nature Neuroscience had a test group look at images of everything from potted plants to musical instruments. They were then given doses of caffeine from 100 to 300 milligrams. Those who received 200 or more milligrams remembered the images better than those who got 100 milligrams or a placebo. Before you head to Starbucks and order four Ventis, know that research showed no discernible benefits over 200 milligrams.

 

ZZZZZZ Sleep quality is a sign of good health. If you fall asleep in fewer than five minutes (or at the dinner table), that’s a sign you are sleep deprived. And that has been linked to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, weight gain and Type 2 diabetes. Doctors suggest you make an effort to go to bed 30 minutes earlier to see if that helps. It should normally take between seven and 12 minutes to fall asleep.

 

MEDITATION BEATS THE BLUES

It seems the more we learn about meditation the more it seems to be a wonderful elixir for what ails us. A recent review published in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that daily meditation fights anxiety and depression as well as most prescription drugs. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University scoured data from 47 previous studies on more than 3,500 participants. They found that just 30 minutes of meditation each day can relieve symptoms of depression by up to 20 percent and anxiety by approximately 10 percent.

According to lead researcher Dr. Madhav Goyal, those numbers are approximate to what studies have shown for medicinal options. Best of all, they found that the benefits of meditation are felt quickly and without in-depth training.

 

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