Archive for the tag - study

Study: Exercise Helps Work-Life Balance.

**EXCLUSIVE** A shirtless Kellan Lutz goes on a rigorous workout by the beach in LA - jogging along the boardwalk before showing off his skills on the ringsEveryone knows that exercise is good for your mind. And most of us know that exercise helps the brain, too. But a fascinating new study shows that exercise can help balance out conflicts in life - like the push and pull of work and family life.

The study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Human Resource Management, surveyed 476 working adults about their exercise behavior and their confidence in handling conflicts at home and in the work place. The adults worked an average of 40 hours per week, and just under a third had at least one child at home.

According to the findings, the participants who exercised regularly experienced a greater feeling of competence. This feeling of competence carried over into other areas of life, including work and home. Russell Clayton, author of the study, noted:

We found that [participants] who exercised felt good about themselves [and] that they could accomplish tough tasks…

In other words, these participants felt empowered to handle and manage the difficult situations and conflicts that most of us encounter in life.

Of course, this study isn’t hard evidence. And it doesn’t necessarily prove a cause and effect relationship between exercise, empowerment and work-life balance. Instead, it’s a good starting point… and another reason not to skip the gym today.

Does Eating Slower Help You Eat Less Food?

Dear Davey,

I’ve heard that eating slower helps you eat less food. Is that really true?


Apr 12 303wolynskiHey Brad,

Your question doesn’t have an easy answer, but here’s what the latest science says.

In a recent study from the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University, researchers examined the relationship between eating speed and food consumption in both normal weight and overweight or obese individuals.

For one aspect of the study, researchers encouraged the participants to eat slowly and put down their fork in between bites. The participants were told to enjoy the meal as though there were no time constraints. After comparing data to meals eaten at a faster pace, researchers found that only normal weight individuals ate fewer calories during the slower meal. For overweight or obese individuals, slowing down didn’t mean fewer calories consumed.

Why the difference? Researchers noted that the overweight and obese group at fewer calories than the normal weight group in the study, regardless of the speed at which the food was eaten. As such, the researchers speculate that overweight individuals may have been self-conscious during the study and ate less food - thus, skewing the results.

All of that aside, there are a few concrete reasons to eat slower. Weight aside, researchers found that both groups drank more water during the slower meal. And, both groups reported feeling full longer after the slower meal.

In other words, even if you don’t eat less during the slow meal itself, feeling full for a longer period of time could reduce the total amount of calories consumed during the course of a day.

At the very least, slowing down is a great way to better enjoy your meal. By savoring our food, we can make our meals something of a more sacred ritual. And if you view your meal as a sacred experience, are you more likely to reach for a nourishing and colorful salad or a soggy, microwaved Big Mac?



15 Minutes of Exercise = 3 Years Longer Life.

live_long_and_prosper_car_sticker__55182Numerous studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between exercise and longevity, but a massive study published in The Lancet further quantifies the benefit.

The study examined more than 400,000 men and women from 1996 to 2008, and placed individuals into one of five groups depending on weekly exercise levels: inactive, low activity, medium activity, high activity or very high activity. Then, mortality risks were compared to the inactive group - and life expectancy was calculated.

The low activity group exercised an average of 92 minutes per week, or roughly just 15 minutes per day. Despite their low levels of activity, this group still benefited from a 14% reduction in all-cause mortality and a 3 year extension of life expectancy. With some very quick calculations for this group, it means that roughly every minute at the gym extended their life by 3 minutes. Not too bad.

In this way, it’s smart to think of exercise as an investment in your future. It’s like a 401k or retirement plan for your life. Invest a few minutes today for a huge benefit down the road.

Moreover, the benefit of exercise on longevity increased for each subsequent group, though with diminishing returns. Every additional 15 minutes of exercise decreased the mortality rate by another 4%.

The takeaway is pretty simple: Move more, live longer. If you want to enjoy a long stay on this planet, regular exercise is one of the best ways to ensure a lengthy and healthy life.


Eating Healthy is More Affordable Than You Think.

Healthy-Snacks-Looking-DeliciousA common excuse for eating unhealthy foods is that the more nutritious options are too expensive.

As I’ve said before, the excuse is untrue; it’s a myth. It’s totally possible to eat healthy without spending a lot of money. In fact, I even made a video about it.

A new study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest take things a step further. According to the study, fruits and vegetables are not only more nutritious than packaged snacks and side dishes, but also more affordable.

For the study, 20 snacks and 19 side dishes were analyzed. After the numbers were crunched, the study found that the average price per fruit or vegetable snack was $0.34. The price per unhealthy packaged snack was nearly double at $0.67. The nutritious vegetable side dishes averaged $0.27 while packaged side dishes averaged $0.31.

Some examples from the study:

  • Half-cup of apple: $0.26 / One Fruit by the Foot: $0.45
  • Half-cup of grapes: $0.46 / Package of M&M candies: $0.75
  • Half-cup of sweet potato: $0.31 / Stovetop stuffing: $0.38
  • Half-cup of sliced cucumber: $0.14 / An ounce of Lay’s Potato Chips: $0.27

In other words, this study challenges the notion that eating healthy is expensive. In fact, the opposite is often true. And since most Americans aren’t getting their recommended servings of fruits or vegetables, all of us would be well served - in the waistline and the wallet - to replace some unhealthy packaged foods with healthier alternatives.

Unhealthy foods also come with a hidden, long-term cost. For instance, medical expenses. Obesity accounts for 21% of U.S. healthcare costs. In fact, obese people incur annual medical costs that are $2,741 higher than non-obese people.

Of course, to be fair, fruits and vegetables often have a shorter shelf life than packaged options like M&M candies or potato chips. But remember that frozen fruits and vegetables are a great option - and are often cheaper and even more nutrient dense (as they’re picked and frozen at the peak of freshness). If you want the fruits and veggies to last longer, buy frozen!

Does this study jive with your own person experience? Let me know in the comments below!






Is It More Important to Diet or Exercise?

Diet-Or-ExerciseHere’s a question that I often get asked: “I want to have a healthier lifestyle, but I don’t have time to both eat better and exercise - so which should I focus on for best results?”

I understand that schedules are tight. But exercising without nutrition - or vice versa - is like trying to drive your car with the emergency brake on. While you may experience results through diet or exercise alone, it’s the combination of both that will really put you life - and your body - into high gear.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

In a new study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers from the Standford University School of Medicine found that focusing on a proper diet and exercise simultaneously yields better results than changing either separately.

For the study, researchers divided 200 inactive participants, ages 45 and up, into four groups that each received phone coaching. Group one received coaching on both nutrition and exercise simultaneously. Group two received only dietary advice for the first few months - and then received additional coaching for exercise. Group three received only exercise coaching initially - and then dietary advice a few months into the study. Group four only received stress management coaching. The study lasted one year.

Even despite busy schedules, those participants who received coaching for both diet and exercise were more likely to meet national guidelines for exercise and nutrition than any other group.

It’s also worth noting that improving your diet doesn’t necessarily mean taking time out of your schedule. You have to eat regardless; it’s just a matter of making smarter choices. It doesn’t take any more time to ask for steamed vegetables instead of fries when you’re out to dinner. In other words, thinking that you only have time to either eat better or to move more is really a false choice. While exercise does require a time commitment, eating smart does not.

The bottom line: Don’t sell yourself short. For best results, focus on both eating smarter and regular exercise.

Study: Health Benefits of Taking Stairs Similar to Going to Gym?

130129100118-largeResearchers from Oregon State University studied 6,000 American adults and found that a generally active lifestyle (rather than structured exercise at the gym) can be just as beneficial in improving health outcomes - including preventing metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Instead of exercising at the gym, participants found ways to make movement a part of their daily life. For example, participants could take the stairs instead of an elevator. Or walk somewhere nearby instead of driving. Use a push lawn mower instead of a sitting mower. Pace around or do jumping jacks during a commercial break.

According to Paul Loprinzi, lead author of the study, these simple additions of movement have a large and measurable effect on overall health:

We encourage people to seek out opportunities to be active when the choice is available. For example, rather than sitting while talking on the phone, use this opportunity to get in some activity by pacing around while talking… People get it in their minds, if I don’t get that 30 minutes, I might as well not exercise at all. Our results really challenge that perception and give people meaningful, realistic options for meeting the physical activity guidelines.

In fact, researchers found that 43% of the people who participated in these short bouts of movement were able to meet the government’s guidelines for recommended exercise - compared to 10% of Americans, overall.

This news is especially exciting for the many people who claim that there isn’t enough time to exercise. Everyone can make a few seconds or a few minutes to include more movement in those activities that we’d be doing anyway. And because those extra minutes translate to real improvements in overall health, there’s real reason to do so.

Does Exercising Before Breakfast Burn More Fat?

morning-exercise-fat-burnThe annoying thing about research articles is that they sometimes contradict each other. It doesn’t happen often - but when it does, the discrepancies tend to be pretty frustrating.

A few years back, I came across a study published in Strength and Conditioning which concluded that the body burns the same amount of fat regardless of hunger. Moreover, the report also found that you’re more likely to lose muscle when exercising in a depleted state. In other words, exercising before breakfast after a full night of fasting isn’t beneficial.

Today, I came across a study that has concluded just the opposite. According to researchers from Northumbria University, exercisers can burn 20% more fat when exercising before breakfast on an empty stomach. One researcher noted:

Exercise increases the total amount of energy we expend and a greater proportion of this energy comes from existing fat if the exercise is performed after an overnight fast.

So who are we to believe?

Personally, I’ve found that exercising on an empty stomach limits my performance. If I’m hungry and feeling depleted, I’m not able to push myself in the same way - and thus the intensity of my exercise suffers. Even if exercising on an empty stomach provides a slight advantage in terms of fat burned, I’m quite certain this benefit is outweighed by my lackluster performance.

I know that contradictory research can be a point of frustration. But let’s remember that there are some things about which everyone is in agreement - like that regular exercise is necessary for a healthy lifestyle. My advice would be to not get too caught up in the tiny details. Whether you exercise before breakfast, after breakfast or anytime thereafter, what really matters is that you are exercising.


Study: Sit More, Die Sooner - Even if You Exercise.

According to a new study, it's important to shift our leisure time into more active pursuits - like walking, hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

According to a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, sitting down for several hours a day increases your risk of dying.

The study, which followed 222,497 Australian adults for several years, found that individuals who sat for at least 11 hours a day had a 40% higher risk of dying within the next three years than people who sat for less than four hours a day.

And exercise doesn’t necessarily mitigate this risk. While regular exercisers had a lower risk of death than non-exercisers, the death risk still rose for active people who sat longer. In other words, your 30 or 60-minute gym routine doesn’t necessarily counteract the increased mortality risk from excessive sitting.

According to the researchers, excessive sitting can’t be blamed entirely on long work hours. In fact, it’s estimated that the average adult spends 90% of their leisure time sitting. And, if you think about the time we spend reading, watching TV, playing computer games or chatting on social networks, I’d have to agree.

The takeaway is pretty simple: Spend more time on your feet. While a stand-up desk could help, it’s important to shift our leisure time into more active pursuits - like taking hikes, walking, playing sports or enjoying the outdoors.

New Study: Look Forward to Old Age.

Lots to be happy about. More than 25 years ago, John Jolliff and Des Smith were the first gay couple to legally tie the knot in a civil union in New Zealand.

A new study, led by Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, analyzed lifestyle and health patterns in more than 10,000 people in the UK and United States.

The study had many interesting findings. For one, it found that people become happier as the move into older age - despite their deteriorating bodies and any weight gain. Researchers hypothesize that happiness levels follow something of a “U” curve, bottoming out in the mid-40s. After that, for whatever reasons, people tend to get much happier.

It’s unclear why this increase in happiness happens. Maybe older people have better coping mechanisms for dealing with hardship? Maybe older folks they put less pressure on themselves to perform in professional settings? Or maybe, with age, we learn not to sweat the small stuff. Whatever the reason, old populations have much higher happiness levels than their middle-aged counterparts.

The study also looked at exercise - and there was an interesting divide between American men and women. For women, low levels of physical exercise didn’t seem to affect mental well-being. For men, on the other hand, a lack of exercise had a large negative impact on their mental quality of life. But before women discount exercise entirely, it’s worth noting that the physical benefits of exercise - for both sexes - are substantial.

In addition, the study looked at the variable of sleep. Participants that slept, on average, between six and eight hours tended to have better physical and mental health scores than participants who slept less than six or more than eight.

Lastly, researchers found that wealthier US participants reported better mental and physical quality of life. This wasn’t true for UK participants. Researchers speculate that this may be due to universal health care in the UK - which could have a leveling factor.

What’s the takeaway? Look forward to old age, exercise and sleep well.

Were you surprised by any of the findings? Let me know in the comments below.