Physical activity is one of the best things we can do to keep our body and mind functioning well and free from disease. But whether you like exercise or not, sifting through the deluge of conflicting research, fads and advice can be overwhelming.
The last The New Scientist’s Essential Guide provides you with all the factual answers to your exercise questions. To celebrate its release, we’re making seven of our most popular in-depth articles that explore the science of fitness available for free reading through March 27.
Whether you’re looking for marathon training tips or wondering how many steps you really should take each day, unlock your free access to these premium articles by clicking on them and registering as a newscientist user for free. com.
How many steps per day do you really need?
Ten thousand steps a day has become a widely adopted goal for daily physical activity. Yet, did you know that this figure was not derived from science, but rather was a marketing tool when the first commercial pedometer went on sale in Japan? In this article, we look to the Hadza people in Tanzania, who live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle — and have exceptional cardiovascular health — to find out what we should really be aiming for. Spoiler: it’s not 10,000.
How flexible do you really need to be?
Many people struggle to touch their toes or do the splits, and we tend to think that being flexible will help with things like pain and posture. In truth, stretching can be beneficial, but probably not for the reason you think.
Why Exercising More Won’t Help You Burn More Calories
For many of us, exercise is an integral part of maintaining a healthy weight. The assumption has long been that the calories we burn must exceed the calories we consume in our diets if we want to lose weight. But, in recent years, work by Herman Pontzer at Duke University in North Carolina and his colleagues has revealed a startling new understanding of metabolism.
Their work suggests that extremely active people burn about the same calories as those who work all day at a desk. What’s going on and what does it mean for our health and waistline?
Is running or walking better for you?
It’s no secret that exercise is amazing for our health, but when it comes to the type of exercise you do, how much, and how often, things get tricky. Take the issue of running: we know it gets the heart pumping with benefits for the body and the brain, but for some people the mere thought of going for a run brings discomfort and fear. In this article, we ask ourselves if it is really necessary to pound the sidewalks or if a leisurely walk can do the trick. Whichever camp you find yourself on, there should be some welcome news.
Why Strength Training Could Be The Best Thing You Do For Your Health
Now that you’ve decided whether to run or walk, take a break to read this article before lacing up your sneakers. When it comes to fitness, building muscle power has long taken a back seat to aerobic exercise, perhaps because many people think lifting weights is about building big biceps. But strength training has some very surprising effects on our health, including improving cardiovascular fitness, and could add years to your life and protect you from some big killers. Ignore it at your peril. The good news is that you don’t have to pump iron to get the boost.
How to avoid hitting the wall during a marathon
When it comes to exercise advice, there are certain phenomena where it really helps to have science on your side. One of them is hitting the wall during a run, aka “bonking” – that feeling where your legs turn to jelly and you think you just can’t keep going. We know it’s the result of depletion of energy stores, but science can now help explain why it only happens to some people from time to time, and offer helpful tips to prevent it from happening. this does not happen to you. If you’re training for a long run, this is a must read.
How the way you move could change the way you think and feel
Finally, let’s look at what exercise can do not for the body, but for the brain. The potential impacts here are considerable, but science journalist and author Caroline Williams literally wrote the book on the powerful mental effects of the activity. In this article, based on his book Moveyou’ll find that whatever you want from your mind – more creativity, better resilience, or higher self-esteem – evidence shows that there are ways to move the body that can help.
New Scientist’s Essential Guide #16: Exercise
For a detailed guide to exercise, what it does to us, how much you need, and how to make it easier for you, check out the latest The New Scientist’s Essential Guideavailable in print and in new scientist application.