Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Link Dump

Time for a big dump. Warning: I'm in a preachy mood.

Evidently, the U.S. and Canada are the two laziest countries on earth.

So get off the couch and look for ways to live longer and healthier.

Take advantage of every opportunity to exercise -- like during your daily commute.

But don’t waste your time doing sit-ups:
[A] Youngstown State University study, published in the October 2009 edition of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, separated 71 men and women into three groups. The control group did no sit-ups. The other two groups performed three sets of 20 repetitions (30 seconds rest between sets) of three distinct abs exercises for 11 weeks. Group One performed the sit-ups three times a week on non-consecutive days and Group 2 trained the abs six days per week. The ab exercises increased in difficulty every four weeks and speed was regulated by a metronome.

The results surprised even the researchers. None of the three groups of exercisers demonstrated any strength gains. Nor did they reduce their waist circumference or percentage of body fat.
And try to eat better. Don’t eat so fast. By eating at a slower pace, you’ll feel fuller and reduce your caloric intake.

And while you’re at it, dine out less often. Restaurant fare can be deceptively unhealthy:

Salads, long touted as a virtuous choice, are a prime example. At IHOP, the grilled chicken Caesar salad has 1,210 calories, far more than the patty melt, which comes in at 750 calories. At Baja Fresh, a chicken tostada has 1,140 calories and 14 grams of saturated fat.

If you figure that the average person needs 2,000 calories a day, it's sobering to learn that more than half that amount can easily be consumed in a restaurant breakfast alone. And don't forget sodium. The recommended daily limit is 2,400 milligrams a day (1,500 milligrams for those who are middle-aged, are in certain ethnic groups or have conditions such as high blood pressure). Many restaurant dishes contain more than you should have in a whole day.
But you already know that, unless you're one of the few survey respondents who believe that Taco Bell helps people lose weight.

Lastly, when you’re feeling too tired to exercise, consider Aaron Heo’s regular fitness routine:

His typical workout lasts 3 1/2 hours. An hour, sometimes 90 minutes, is cardio work, a relentless regimen of 1,000-meter sprints at breakneck speed. The rest of the time is devoted to a lengthy warm-up, followed by stamina, strength and flexibility work. That can mean 1,000 to 2,000 squats per session, along with stretching, jogging and plyometrics. Then he strains against a canvas belt held by a bigger, stronger friend or coach: back and forth, over and over again.

He does this, on average, four days a week. Another two days a week, he trains on his own.

Aaron is 10 years old.