Americans Walk Less than Anyone, Including the Amish and their Own Grandparents

This just in via Andrew Sullivan: The average American walks 5,117 steps per day, which ranks them way below (among others) the Swiss and the Aussies, who log about 9,600 steps daily on average, AND the Japanese, who are at 7,100 steps per day.

Slackers! Sullivan links to a nice summary of recent walking research by Wayne Curtis. Turns out we're historically slothful. Writes Curtis: "In 1906, just as cars were coming into vogue, the nation was afflicted by a small outbreak of long-distance walking — multi-day walking races and long-distance walkers seemed to be tromping everywhere."

How far would the average 19th Century American walk in a day? To sort that out, researchers apparently visited the Old Order of Amish in Canada, and equipped those folks with pedometers. This, it seemed, a reasonable simulation of normal 19th Century life. Turns out the average non-motorized Amish male logs 18,425 steps per day, or roughly nine miles. 


Twinkie Defense

Drop the Pop!

Endomondo Coca-ColaA new Harvard study of nearly 1,878 Boston area high schoolers suggests that "heavy soda drinkers were much more prone to violent behavior than other teens." Doh! Apparently the effect is similar, but possibly stronger, than that of alcohol. Got issues with your Mountain Dew? Just click through to Social Workout's battle-tested soda drinking "limit" goals....

Ancient Greeks

Health Secrets of the Aegean

Evangelos KoutisOh to be Greek and living on the island of Ikaria, where people live to be 100, laughing, dancing, and, um, still having sex. The New York Times reports today on a study of Ikarian men between 65 and 100, noting that "80 percent of them claimed to have sex regularly, and a quarter of that self-reported group said they were doing so with “good duration” and “achievement.”

The dude in the picture is Evangelos Koutis, age 99. To paraphrase When Harry Met Sally, "I'll have what he's having."


Other Places


Sitting Will Still Kill You

Sitting manThe evidence is mounting that excessive sitting will, um, shorten your life. "Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25," reports the NY Times today, "reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes."

Put another way: "An adult who spends an average of six hours a day watching TV over the course of a lifetime can expect to live 4.8 years fewer than a person who does not watch TV."

Ouch. And, get this, these results hold even for people who also exercise. Exercise is critical, but lot's of sitting remains dangerous even still. The good news, however, is that there is a simple solution: Get up and move around! Run, don't walk to Social Workout, and set yourself a goal: Workday stretch breaks for example, or maybe you want to track your walking minutes, miles, or steps?

Choose your metric, and begin managing what you measure. We've got your back.



Eat Junk Food, Lose Your Mind

New Scientist Magazine
This just in from Mark Bittman (via New Scientist magazine):

Just in case you need another reason to cut back on junk food, it now turns out that Alzheimer’s could well be a form of diet-induced diabetes. That’s the bad news. The good news is that laying off soda, doughnuts, processed meats and fries could allow you to keep your mind intact until your body fails you.

Yup, too much sugar in the diet spikes your insulin levels and hurts your brain cells. Ahem, those at risk, please proceed directly to the Social Workout healthy eating goals area....



Take Back Yoga?

Harvard Business School has published Branding Yoga a case study investigating the commercialization and marketing of yoga. Prof. Rohit Deshpandé and his team compare the rise of yoga bad boy Bikram Choudhury with You Tube phenom Tara Stiles, whose sexy videos and alliance with Deepak Chopra have, so the argument goes, become the face of a new generation of yogis. The big questions: Can yoga be patented? And is it appropriate to mix and match spiritual rituals and beliefs to form an ersatz, commercialized fitness?


Online & Video


Live Long and Prosper!

Today's data-driven fitness inspiration: A new 40-plus year study of nearly 18,670 people strongly indicates that mid-life fitness makes for late life healthiness. Specifically, writes Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times, "the results show...that being physically fit 'compresses the time' that someone is likely to spend being debilitated during old age, leaving the earlier post-retirement years free of serious illness and, at least potentially, imbued with a finer quality of life."

Conclusion: Walk, run, dance, swim, cycle, stretch. Start now. Rinse, repeat. Live long, and prosper.


On Sweat, Ladies, and the Myth of Misting

The Journal of Experimental Physiology publishes a new Japanese study on the pressing physiological question of sweat, which The Times' Gretchen Reynold's notes has received "surprisingly little scientific scrutiny" — all those anti-perspirant ads notwithstanding. Apparently, what's long been known is that fitter people, male and female, sweat more than unfit people; but the new study gets at the specific differences between men and women. Here's the short take:

  • Fit men sweat the most. They start sweating early, and dump buckets. This allows them to maintain high levels of exertion without overheating. 
  • Fit women activate just as many sweat glands as fit men, BUT they generate less sweat from each gland.
  • Unfit men are (seemingly) of no interest. Ha ha ha!
  • Unfit WOMEN, however, "by a wide margin, perspired the least." Thus, they "became physiologically hotter — their core temperatures rising notably — before they began to sweat at full capacity." 

What's it all mean, and why did evolution leave the ladies drier and hotter? “Prehistoric men followed the herds, whatever the temperature, while the women, cleverly, sought out the shade," says one of expert to The Times. “It’s not a bad survival strategy."

Sweaty! (Via <a href="">mangpages</a>.)

ming said "

From the original crazy style conjecture spring and summer ..." More comments...

Live from Wall Street

Yoga is the "Fastest Growing Sport" in America

Bloomberg news visits I.AM.YOU yoga and files an in depth report on the yoga economy. Salient facts: 16 million Americans now do yoga, and the "sport" is "gaining practitioners more quickly than golf, tennis, and mountaineering." Watch video for disorienting feeling of yoga discussed by financial analysts.... (Via mizzFit.)


Acupuncture and the Super Placebo

Some people swear by acupuncture, others are skeptical. Score one for the skeptics. A new study run by the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center administered real and "fake" acupuncture to 455 patients with arthritic knees, and found that the sham treatment produced exactly the same, small, positive results as the real thing. Tara Parker Pope reports for The Times:

In the real treatment group, needles were inserted at specific points on the body and manipulated in accordance with traditional Chinese acupuncture techniques. In the sham treatment group, needles also were inserted, but not at the locations traditionally used for acupuncture. Electrical stimulation was also used, although those in the sham group received lower voltage and far shorter treatments....

Acupuncture (Via <a href="">Thunderchild5</a>.)

msh258 said "

acupuncture helped me with my migraines...who cares how!? i believe ..." More comments...

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