The studies you need to know in 2013
Burger-proof your heart, build a six-pack
Eating junk food causes a jump in blood triglycerides: a risk factor in heart attacks. But do some light cardio an hour after your Big Mac and, the University of Kyoto found, markers return to normal. Whats more, a University of Michigan study shows exercise forces the carbs into your muscles, rather than becoming fat, giving a new meaning to supersizing.
Getting strong is a walk in the park
Skipping your lunch break for another sandwich inhaled at your desk makes you physically weaker and it's nothing to do with a missed gym session. Sunshine strengthens the muscles in your arms and legs, according to a recent study published inMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
This latest research looked at 419 adults, comparing vitamin D levels to muscle, and found greater strength in type-II (fast-twitch) muscle fibres in subjects with the highest levels. Arms benefited most. The easiest way to get your RDA is 15min exposure to direct sunlight. So you'll look better in your T-shirt simply by wearing one.
Have children to live longer
TheJournal of Epidemiology & Community Healthfound a 49% reduction in the risk of premature death in fathers. Start taking care of someone else and you'll take care ofyouin the process.
Tune out to double your sperm count
Theres a switch you can flick to increase your chance of procreation: the off button on your TV. Men who spend 20 hours or more in front of the box each week were found to have a sperm count half that of less square-eyed men. The study in theBritish Journal of Sports Medicinelooked at men aged 18-22, ruling out any decrease due to age. If you clock two TV hours a night and around four at weekends (blame Olivia Munn) its time to get up.
Diet drinks make you drunker
Ever wondered why some nights you get more drunk than others, despite consuming the same amount of alcohol? You could be spiking your own drink. Choosing sugar-free mixers makes your spirit more intoxicating than plumping for full-fat, according to Northern Kentucky University.
A lack of sugar in your stomach causes alcohol to be absorbed more quickly and could even be the difference between being safe to drive and over the limit. Instead, order a vodka and cranberry: the natural sugars slow digestion, and compounds in cranberries block the formation of dental plaque. A good mix.
The fastest way to get a six-pack
Simple answer: deadlifts. Ditch the crunches and abs-specific moves because new science has proved compound exercises work your core muscles more effectively. Australias University of Ballarat found that deadlifts activate 60% more of your midsection than planks. Construct your workout around full-body moves and leave that six-pack stencil at home.
Find your T-spot
Before you choose what time to train, consider your testosterone levels, which vary throughout the day. Coinciding a hard session with peak T levels will give you best results.
Research in theJournal of Clinical Pharmacologyfound that testosterone is at its lowest between 12-2pm, so that lunchtime workout may not be as productive as an early morning gym session. You'll see the biggest peak between 4-6am (fair play if you make that slot), but hitting the weights room between 6-10am will yield almost as positive returns.
A smarter pre-run warm-up
Your staying power in an endurance event increases by 26% if you avoid stretching beforehand, according to theScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. Dont just start hammering it, though: warm up with a light version of what youre about to set a new PB on.
Double your reaction time in bed
Notthatkind of reaction time. Research by Stanford University found you'll reduce your reaction speed from half a second to a quarter of a second by getting an extra two hours sleep pet night the study compared participants after 10 hours' kip as compared to eight. It means an early night before the big game could give you the winning edge. If thats not possible, a 10-30min nap will have similar benefits. You snooze, you dont lose, it seems.
The equation: (5x4) x 6 = endurance
Some fitness algebra for you: 5g of creatine four times a day for six days ups your cardio endurance by about 20min. Its the magic bullet for fat-burning, according to Texas A&M University.
Youll be able to cover a cool 20% more distance if you have an ice-cold drink before you run, found theJournal of Sports Medicine. Pre-cooling is nearly as important for stamina as cooling down afterwards, especially in hot conditions. NB: We dont mean Coors.
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