Confession: I am kind of a couch potato.
Yes, I know, I’m a health and fitness blogger—shouldn’t I be out and about every day, happily sweating from whatever new fitness fad is out there? Sure, and I do, for the most part. But otherwise, you’ll likely find me on my couch, in my sweatpants, binge-watching TV shows on Netflix.
Let me be clear: I don’t hate exercising. But other couch potatoes—though few and far between in Washington—do. In fact, new research shows that some people may have certain genetic traits that predispose them to being less motivated to exercise. In other words, if dragging yourself to the gym is like pulling teeth no matter how in shape you are, your genes could be to blame.
We’ve long known that breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. But new research suggests that the higher the meal’s protein content, the better—especially for those trying to lose weight.
The study, which involved 20 overweight or obese females ages 18 to 20, wanted to determine whether a high protein or normal protein breakfast was more beneficial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The participants had a habit of skipping breakfast, something approximately 60 percent of young Americans do regularly.
For six days, researchers had the participants consume the following 350-calorie breakfasts: 1) a cereal-based meal with 13 grams of protein, 2) an egg and beef meal with 35 grams of protein, or 3) no breakfast at all. Every day the participants filled out questionnaires and provided blood samples. They also underwent MRIs before dinner to track brain signals associated with food desires.
For the second year in a row, Fairfax and Howard counties have been deemed the healthiest in the Washington metro region, according to a recent ranking conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
Overall, the County Health Rankings report found that rates of premature deaths are at the lowest level in 20 years. Violent crime has decreased by almost 50 percent over the past 20 years.
Results from a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in DC suggest that people who exercise sleep better, while non-exercisers are more likely to be at risk of insomnia and the serious medical condition sleep apnea.
“For the millions of people who want better sleep, exercise may help,” said David Cloud, the foundation’s CEO, in a statement.
The foundation, which polled 1,000 adults between the ages 23 and 60, found that a majority of self-described exercisers reported having had a good night’s sleep in the past two weeks. By contrast, 50 percent of non-exercises said they woke up during the night, and almost a quarter said they had trouble falling asleep nearly every night.
Yesterday marked the start of National Sleep Awareness Week, the National Sleep Foundation’s annual campaign to tout the benefits of sleep. We already know why sleep is oh-so-wonderful, but the problem is most of us aren’t getting enough of it. According to new research released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of US adults report getting less than seven hours of sleep; in DC, 25 percent of adults said they didn’t get sufficient sleep for more than 14 days in a 30-day period. So what’s keeping us all up at night? It could be one (or more) of these five things.
1) Your diet is too fatty.
Research published last year found that a high-fat diet reduced sleep quality in the study’s participants. Granted, said participants were rats, but the findings were still notable. The rats on a high-fat diet did sleep more, but in fitful stages. They were also likely to be sleepier during the day, a common characteristic observed in obese humans.
A small study suggests that wearing minimalist running shoes, Vibram FiveFingers in particular, can lead to greater risk of bone injuries in the foot among runners.
The study, which involved 36 experienced runners, found that after a ten-week testing period, those wearing Vibram FiveFinger running shoes showed increases in bone marrow edema, or inflammation, compared with runners who wore traditional running shoes.
Researchers in Utah took MRIs of the runners’ feet at the start and end of the study. In the beginning, no runner showed signs of injury. Post-study, however, 10 of the 19 runners who wore Vibram FiveFingers showed signs of edema; a couple even had stress fractures.
Results from a new study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that the Mediterranean diet works wonders for the heart.
The study, which involved 7,447 men and women already at high risk for heart disease, found that those who maintained the Mediterranean diet cut their risk of heart issues by 30 percent. The findings were so significant that researchers cut the study short after almost five years of following the participants.
The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereal. It also encourages a decent intake of fish and meat, and a low intake of dairy products, processed meats, and dessert. Red wine consumption is also moderate and paired with meals.
If you’ve ever wondered why it seems like some people get a cold every month, don’t assume they’re just weaklings. New research suggests that the reason certain people get sick more often is in their genes.
A study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association has identified a biological marker in the immune system that predicts one’s ability to fight off the common cold. The catch? It doesn’t start predicting until about age 22.
We’re calling it: In ten years, standing desks will be the norm—if we know what’s good for us.
In recent years there have been countless studies published that warn of the health dangers of sitting for long periods of time: sitting cuts years off of our lives. Sitting leads to diabetes. Sitting, well, sucks. Results from the most recent study published on the subject are no different.
Whether you’re attached or single, it’s probably safe to say there are plenty of people who are going to get lucky this Valentine’s Day. After all, research shows that a healthy sex life equals a longer life in general. Don’t believe us? Read on for more surprising facts about sex and health.
1) Romantic couples’ heartbeats sync up.
New research has found that couples in love share the same heartbeat. In the study, couples sat across from one another and mimed each other’s movements. Researchers found that partners exhibited similar heart rates and breathing patterns, and adjusted their emotions to one another. Non-couples’ hearts produced no synchrony, the researchers noted.
2) More body contact, less sickness.
“Swapping spit means swapping germs—and that’s natural vaccination,” says local doctor Yael Varnado. A study conducted among teenagers and college students found that those who had sex once or twice a week had 30 percent higher levels of immunoglobulin, an antigen that is the first line of defense against colds and flu. Those who reported more frequent weekly escapades, however, were more exposed to infectious agents.