We’ve all been guilty of enjoying one too many beverages, but on one too many occasions our favourite tipple can be damaging to our health.
If you’re in need of a little help to cut out the booze, then you’re in luck; an expert from the London School of Economics has recently released a free online tool to help people do just that. Professor Paul Dolan used knowledge from behavioural science to create this easy-to-use tool, which has also featured on BBC One’s ‘Lose Weight for Love’. Using a simple brain-training exercise known as ‘cognitive bias modification’, it is able to reduce any unconscious preference we may have for alcoholic drinks over non-alcoholic drinks. The tool works by training users to associate alcohol with the action of ‘pushing away’ using a smart phone, tablet or keyboard, and has been proven as effective during a recent study. Time to wave cheerio to the beerio!
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Yes, you read that correctly. Pornercise is one of the latest exercise ventures to circulate the world of fitness. Created by online site Pornhub, the regime known as BangFit is causing quite a stir amongst the fitness community, encouraging people to get into shape by sexing up their workouts. To illustrate what BangFit is all about, they’ve created a seemingly 80’s-themed animated video explaining that, during sex, we use a lot of our muscles to burn more calories than we think. The team at PornHub has therefore created several ‘Sexercise’ routines to follow, complete with options for Number of Players and Gender. You can then sync the website with your smart phone, before attaching the phone to the BangFit Band and following the ‘movements’ on the screen to get your muscles ‘working’. After the ‘routine’ ends, all players involved will get their ‘results’ including the number of calories burned and average heart rate. As if we needed an excuse to have more sex.
It’s nothing new to hear that red wine has its health benefits, but it now seems that this tasty tipple might have a few more positives in store for us. Researchers at Georgetown University have discovered that Resveratrol – found in blueberries, mulberries, grape skins and consequently red wine – can help counter the impact of a poor diet. Dr J.P Hyatt and his team concluded that the resveratrol supplement would especially counteract the impact of a high fat/high sugar diet on the hind leg muscles, helping them to contract less to be more fatigue resistant. This means that when using these muscles, they won’t tire as quickly. These findings have been added to the existing list of benefits to be had from this supplement found in red wine, including increased life span and decreased onset of diabetes. Sounds like red wine lovers everywhere have a lot to celebrate, with a few glasses of red no doubt.
In an almighty attempt to clear the air of all these fitness myths we’ve been hearing over the years, one cardiologist from California is busy mapping the second-by-second minutiae of how we move. Alan Yeung and his team at Stanford University have created an app compatible with our smart phones, fitness watches and most other electronic devices. It uses an accelerometer – a sensor that measures movement and velocity – and a gyroscope – measuring angular rotation across three axes – to analyse how we move. Participants voluntarily download the app; more than 100,000 people signed up in the first six months. A year’s worth of study has already proven that a lot of people in America are living incredibly sedentary lifestyles, barely moving in their day-to-day routines. Eventually, the researchers are hoping to find out more about how we can change our movements to improve heart health and live longer. Sounds like a worthwhile project to us.
It seems a lot of us are missing a trick when it comes to our health; the latest chat within the health community has put focus on gut microbes. Past research has shown that depriving animals of these has caused a lack in the development of immune system and brain. According to specialists including Professor Tim Spector from Kings College London, the wider variety of microbe species we have, the healthier our gut will be and the less likely we are to develop disease. The key is to eat a range of high-fibre food, packed full of chemicals such as inulin and polyphenols. Food including root veggies, berries, grapes, nuts and seeds will improve your microbe count, as well as probiotic foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented soy. Once you start adding these to your shopping list, you’ll be maximising your chances for beneficial bacteria in your gut; you’ll do even better by avoiding processed foods. Step away from the fast food restaurant…
For those of us who work hard in the gym but are lazy at heart, you’ll be happy to hear that rest might take up more of your time when you workout from now on.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham have found that extended rests between sets of weight-lifting could help to increase muscle growth. This study looked at 16 guys completing resistance training, resting for either one or five minutes in between each set; the latter group achieved a 154% increase in myofibrillar protein synthesis (MPS) whilst those taking less rest only achieved a 76% increase. Dr Leigh Breen explained that while hormonal response is superior with short rests, muscle response is usually blunted. He did suggest however, that for experienced lifters this may not be the case, and that shorter rests may actually be best. While this goes against most advice on rest given throughout the fitness community, we certainly wouldn’t mind taking an extra breather.
While some may be trying to help us quit the booze, others in the fitness world are encouraging us to enjoy our favourite drink right after we sweat.
London’s popular boutique fitness studios have started offering their gym junkies a well deserved tipple after a session. Rebels at 1Rebel can enjoy glasses of fizz and the upcoming launch of a new cocktail bar, while vinyasa hedonists at Yoga Supper Club can lap up the Echo Falls collaboration soon to arrive. Pilates studio Frame is also offering booze to their regulars with an event called Eat, Drink, Live in collaboration with Belvedere to promote drinking as a key component of a virtuous lifestyle. Core Collective has also worked in partnership with Belvedere to encourage the consumption of a post-core class vodka Spritz. In their opinion, while you’d be better off avoiding the booze altogether, a vodka soda is a much healthier option than a few post-gym pints.
It always seems easier said than done to stress a little less; work pressures and personal life can cause those cortisol levels to rocket, making us eat more and move less. The effects of stress don’t stop here; one study found stress to cause accelerated ageing by shortening the chromosome protectors in our bodies, those of which allow us to age gracefully. Long-term exposure to cortisol – the ‘stress hormone’ – was also found to impair the memory, causing frequent short-term lapses and decreased efficiency. If that wasn’t enough to have us creating zen gardens and learning to meditate, apparently stress can also decrease our sex drive by lowering testosterone levels and androgens. We can imagine that once you’re overweight, ageing fast and sexless, it’ll be hard to find your inner peace to rid your body of all those stressful hormones. So chill out, it’s time to start relaxing now.
One company promising to revolutionise London’s exercise industry, is trying to do just that with the proposal of spinning classes taken on a commuter bus. If all goes to plan when gathering the necessary legal permission, the 1Rebel bus will travel along popular commuter routes throughout London, ending each journey at the 1Rebel studio so that those on board can hop in the shower before heading to work. Charging between £12 and £15 per 45-minute class, participants will get a workout and a ride to work all at once. Not only will this make fitness fanatics and busy bodies happy, it’ll also keep the environmentalists cheerful by somewhat reducing a little of that pollution caused during the morning rush hour. Sounds like positives all round, lets hope this gets off the ground soon enough to have us spinning our way to our winter body.