Every week we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, how keeping fit can help offset the risks of sitting all day, how to get into interval training, and the right diet to slow the spread of breast cancer.
Sitting all day isn’t as bad if you’re fit
By now, we’ve all heard that sitting is the new smoking, with Netflix binge watchers and desk jockeys alike bearing a greater risk of chronic disease. But new research published in BMC Medicine shows that while the health risks of being sedentary are still real, keeping fit can help offset some of the harm.
Researchers at Glasgow University analyzed data from nearly 400,000 people and found that time spent watching a television or computer had almost double the impact on the risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer in those with low grip strength or low fitness levels, compared to the impact on participants who had the highest levels of fitness and grip strength.
However, fit or not, you still need to get up and take regular breaks from the screen.
Learn to love HIIT
While the idea of high-intensity interval training may seem intimidating to many, new research shows that the simple act of trying a HIIT workout even one time may up your chances of liking it, and making it a regular part of your fitness routine.
HIIT has grabbed headlines in recent years, with experiments showing that just a few minutes a week of strenuous intervals can do as much for your aerobic fitness as hours of moderate jogging or cycling. The challenge, however, has been getting people to actually like this kind of strenuous workout enough to do it.
A new study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise tracked how 30 inactive men and women felt during and after different types of workouts. They did three different workouts on three different days, including 45 minutes of moderate cycling; one-minute-on, one-minute-off interval training; and a super-intense session consisting of three 30-second, all-out sprints, followed by two minutes of rest. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the moderate cyclers reported less fatigue and more happiness at the time of the workout.
But, after the participants went home and kept their own workout logs for a month, their views shifted. Almost all of the volunteers said that they found the standard HIIT workout the most pleasant. Moreover, 80 percent of them had tried at least one session of interval training in the month following the experiment.
Diet and the diagnosis
Eating the right diet may lower your risk of dying from breast cancer once diagnosed, a new study finds. In the study published in JAMA Oncology, researchers sifted through data obtained from the National Women’s Health Initiative and found a markedly better breast cancer survival rate among the women adopting a diet lower in fat and higher in vegetables and whole grains.
In the study, 20,000 initially cancer-free women were assigned to lower their daily fat intake to 20 percent of their calories (versus 30 percent consumed by the average American). Another group was only educated generally about nutrition and a healthy diet, but not asked to make any specific changes.
More than eight years later, when researchers examined the subsequent cases of cancer diagnosed, they found that, among the women developing breast cancer, those who were following the low-fat diet lowered their risk of dying by 22 percent, compared with the education-only group. The low-fat group also had a 24 percent lower risk of dying from other cancers, and a 38 percent reduction in deaths from heart disease compared with those not following the low-fat prescription.
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