Sitting will kill you!

OK, maybe the title is a bit melodramatic. After all, if you listen to the news, it’s always something that will kill you, right? I found this study interesting and wanted to put it in here, because many people who exercise believe that as long as they work out, they are totally evading the effects of other negative lifestyle habits. This study looked at 123,000 men and women between 1993 and 2006 and they found “Women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting were 37 percent more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than 3 hours a day. Men who sat more than 6 hours a day were 18 percent more likely to die than those who sat fewer than 3 hours per day. The association remained virtually unchanged after adjusting for physical activity level.”
So, was this study an aberration? Unfortunately not. A similar study in May 2010 found that men who spent more than 23 hours a week watching TV and sitting in their cars had a 64 percent greater chance of dying from heart disease than those who sat for 11 hours a week or less. Again, being physically active did not counter the detrimental effects of being sedentary the rest of the week.
I believe this goes back to today’s lifestyle. Instead of walking, we tend to drive a few blocks to go to the store; instead of walking down the hall, people send an emails to coworkers; we use computers, televisions and video games constantly.
What to do? Get up and walk to go to the store, pace around the office, next time you’re watching Amazing Race, do some push ups or stretching. For Pete’s sake, stop the Roomba and pick up the vacuum!


Water water everywhere
OK, so the source of this tidbit isn’t exactly a peer reviewed journal, but the information is important nonetheless.
Ironman now has it’s own magazine – Lava. In the Oct/Nov issue, there was an article that I thought was fascinating. In the 2008 Louisville Ironman, the temperatures were in the 90’s and humidity up around 80%. All participants were required to step on a Tanita body scale prior to the race. While not as revealing as a TSA body scan at the airport, this device is good for measuring a few different things, including body weight and water percentage (hydration levels). Here’s what they found:
• In men who tested with a hydration level above 65 percent, 97.78 percent finished the race. Men who tested with a hydration level below 55% either finished in the bottom 18% or did not finish
• In women who tested with a hydration level above 60 percent, 92.5 percent finished the race. Women who tested with a hydration level below 50% either finished in the bottom 13% or did not finish
Perhaps in another article I will go further into the strategies of race day hydration and pre-race hydration. For now, stay hydrated!


Band on the Run: Music makes you faster…sort of.
Great, now I’m going to have that song in my head the rest of the day. This study was published in Sept 2009 and found that listening to music while you exercise can make you faster…if you do it right.
The researchers chose a program of six songs, then played them either at regular speed, 10 per cent faster, or 10 per cent slower while the subjects rode exercise bikes. The subjects were unaware of the speed changes. Speeding up the music program increased 1) distance covered/unit time, 2) power and 3) pedal cadence by 2.1%, 3.5% and 0.7%, respectively; slowing the program produced falls of 3.8%, 9.8% and 5.9%.
However, perceived exertion was also higher with the fast music. That means that while the subjects sped up with faster music, they also felt that they were working harder. Apparently they were actually willing to suffer more as long as the music was pushing them along.
My legal department has advised me that I should also include this disclaimer: Listening to music through earphones may be hazardous while running or biking on populated streets with vehicles weighing more than you. Please be cautious.