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A Fit Alternative

Posted Feb 21 2013 10:10pm
Posted on Feb. 18, 2013, 6 a.m. in Exercise
A Fit Alternative

Ohio State University (Ohio, USA) researchers submit that the human body has an innate sense of how to vary speed to optimize energy when it is on the move in the natural environment. As many exercise efficiency studies are conducted on treadmills, they do not necessarily reflect real-world situations as to energy expenditure and endurance preservation. Manoj Srinivasan and colleagues enrolled 36 college students were asked to travel a distance longer than a football field, either on pavement outdoors or inside a school hallway. Each was given a stopwatch, and told to arrive at the destination specific time, not before and not after – but exactly on-time. Subjects were not told whether to walk or run, and could set their own pace. The team instructed for the subjects to complete two extreme trips: at one extreme, the subjects were told to make the trip in 2 minutes – so they could do so at a leisurely pace if they chose; at the other extreme, they were allotted only 30 seconds, so they had to run at a very brisk pace. The team was most interested in what the subjects would do when they were allotted travel times between the two extremes, finding that a transition region existed where the subjects mixed the trip between walking and running. Regardless of any variable – fitness level, height, weight, leg length, amount of time given for the trip, whether they were indoors or out – all subjects employed a mixture of walking and running. The team observed that the subjects seem to naturally break into a run, or slow down to a walk, to save energy while ensuring they arrived at the destination on time. The study authors conclude that: " Humans and other animals might also benefit energetically from alternating between moving forward and standing still on a slow and sufficiently long treadmill.”

Leroy L. Long III, Manoj Srinivasan.  “Walking, running, and resting under time, distance, and average speed constraints: optimality of walk–run–rest mixtures.” J. R. Soc. Interface, 30 January 2013.

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Tip #127 - Delay Death with Vitamin D
The therapeutic role of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," for bone health, has become well established. A number of recent studies now link vitamin D deficiency to adverse health consequences such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and some infectious diseases.

Johns Hopkins University (Maryland, USA) researchers reported that low blood levels of Vitamin D are associated with a 26% increased risk of death from any cause. The team analyzed data collected on 13,331 adults during a 6-year period after which the subjects were followed for 9 years. People with Vitamin D levels of less than 17.8 ng/mL had a 26% increased rate of death from any cause, compared to people with the highest Vitamin D levels (more than 32.1 ng/mL).

Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA) reported that those individuals taking vitamin D supplements are at a 7% lower risk of death, as compared to those who did not supplement.

As well, Vitamin D inhibits the body’s inflammatory response and thus reduces the turnover of leukocytes (a type of white blood cell). The length of the leukocyte telomere (the endcap of the chromosome) is a predictor of aging-related disease, whereby it shortens as a result of increased inflammation. A team from King's College, London School of Medicine (United Kingdom) found that people with longer telomeres have higher levels of Vitamin D stored in their bodies. The team reports that: “The difference … was … equivalent to five years of telomeric aging,” suggesting that people who have higher levels of vitamin D may age more slowly than people with lower levels.
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