7 WTF-Worthy Workout-Related Studies
This past year flew by, but not before scientists could bring us important results from health and exercise-related research. We’re saving lives here, people.
#1 – Forced exercise: recommended by drill sergeants and science!
A recent study [cough] using mice [cough] demonstrated that, even when forced, exercise helps protect the body against the harmful effects of stress. Researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder compared mice that were sedentary [a nice way of saying lazy?] vs. those that exercised. Among the exercising mice, one group got to run on a wheel whenever it felt like it, while another group was forced to run on a schedule determined by the scientists [PETA supporters can call (303) 492-1411 to file a complaint with the university]. After over a month of this schedule, mice were then brought to a brand new environment [probably just a cage in the lab next door]. The amount of time the mice spent in a frozen, deer-in-the-headlights position was used as a measure of anxiety. Drill sergeants everywhere will be pleased to hear that both the regular and forced exercise groups measured lower in anxiety compared to the lazy mice!
#2 – Literally less than 1% of your time is all it takes.
Got 12 minutes/week? That was enough to improve the physical fitness of inactive men, according to a new study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Men who exercised for just FOUR MINUTES A DAY, 3 days a week, showed significant gains in physical health. But, seriously, nowadays, who’s got that kind of time? According to another study from 2013, the ideal amount of time to exercise each week is 150 minutes, and interestingly, scientists claim it doesn’t matter how you accumulate this amount. For instance, you could collect all 150 minutes at once, or spread it out over 10, 15-minute intervals. But, let’s start with 12 minutes/week and work our way up, shall we?
Measure time with your very own WTFreud clock!
Coming Fall 2029.
#3 – Walking is just as effective as running.
Another recent study, following people over six years, scientists demonstrated that walking and running might similarly reduce risk associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. This comes as quite the surprise to anyone unfamiliar with the Tortoise and the Hare.
#4 – The gym is a great place to have a heart attack.
Canceling your gym membership can be tough… just ask Chandler and Ross [click here for the YouTube clip from Friends]. To make matters worse, the gym now has another arguing point. According to a recent study, the odds of surviving a heart attack are significantly higher at the gym, thanks in part to increased access to AEDs (automated external defibrillators) and probably also the super buff people who could carry you to the hospital if needed.
#5 – Exercise associated with fewer sexual side effects from antidepressants.
Let’s face it. Sexual side effects from antidepressants are a bust! Fortunately, exercise is one probable way of giving those sideffects the boot, at least for women, according to a recent study published in the journal of Depression and Anxiety. In the experiment, women who exercised showed increases in sexual functioning and desire. Interestingly, when it came down to the big finale (a.k.a., the ‘happy sneeze’), the authors mentioned that, “Scheduling regular sexual activity significantly improved orgasm function… [but] exercise did not increase this benefit.” Sorry, exercise. Where’s my calendar?
Could Lorenz & Meston (2013) be responsible for the recent ‘lululemon’ craze?
#6 – Great news! Pretend knee surgery is just as effective as real knee surgery.
In a recent double-blind study involving 146 limping participants, those who received sham surgery reported no differences in pain reduction or healing progress compared to those who received the real procedure (arthroscopic partial meniscectomy – a surgery for torn knee cartilage). There were also no significant differences between groups in the likelihood of needing a follow-up operation. This is apparently a pretty common procedure, so the results of this study bring about terrible news for surgeons, but outstanding news for the small, yet growing sugar-pill industry.
#7 – Yoga, video games, even ice-skating, all may make you a better decision-maker.
In a recent experiment published in the Journal of Marketing Research, people were less likely to overspend on a television purchase if they first experienced an increased sense of balance by playing Wii Fit, or standing on one leg. The authors believe anything that elicits the physical and mental feeling of balance could transpire into making more balanced life choices, which is why I always go to my friend Timmy “Tightrope” Turner when in need of advice.