Short, intense workouts aren’t a new fitness trend — high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been performed and studied for decades, while the Tabata Protocol, a form of HIIT that alternates 20 seconds of all-out work with 10 seconds of rest, was developed in Japan in 1996. And according to CNET, the workouts can be very effective, too, burning more calories in less time while still providing all the great health benefits of exercise, including lower blood pressure and body fat.
But one researcher at the University of Texas has found that even tiny bursts of activity — as short as four seconds — can be beneficial. Edward F. Coyle, Ph.D., a professor in the kinesiology and health education department at the University of Texas at Austin, found that four-second sprints performed five times per hour helped burn fat and lower blood triglycerides, according to Healthline.
Study participants were asked to sit for eight hours. Five times per hour, they performed four-second sprints on a specialized exercise bike, which added up to a little under three minutes of physical activity for the entire eight hours.
Coyle’s study supports a simple idea that researchers and physicians have promoted for decades: Too much sitting is bad for you. According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who sit for eight hours a day with no physical activity face an elevated risk of dying similar to the risks posed by smoking or obesity.
For people who sit at desks all day, physicians and researchers have a clear message: Get up and move around every so often, whether that’s four-second bursts or a long walk or run after you clock out. Your heart and body will thank you.
How to choose a gym
If you want to get in shape and adopt a healthier lifestyle, you might be thinking about joining a gym. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right facility.
Decide on a location
Be sure to pick a gym that’s close to your home or place of work. Otherwise, you may find it hard to remain motivated to go since you’ll need to venture out of your way just to get there.
Meet the staff
Speak with the gym’s manager or your potential trainer to determine whether they’re dynamic, committed to safety, and have the necessary knowledge and qualifications. You should also visit the facility to ensure you like the atmosphere.
Consider your budget
Determine how much you’re willing to spend on a gym membership, and find out what’s included (access to equipment, group classes, one-on-one consultations, etc.). Don’t be afraid to compare prices from various facilities in your area to find the best deal.
Check the schedule
Make sure the gym’s hours of operation are convenient for you. If their opening hours don’t match your schedule, it’ll be difficult for you to achieve your fitness goals. If you want to sign up for classes, check the time slots for those as well.
Finally, find out if the gym you’re interested in offers a free trial for newcomers. This way you can confirm that the facility meets your needs before you commit to a membership.
4 apps to help teens improve their mental health
Does your teen often feel stressed, experience anxiety, or have trouble managing their emotions? If so, here are four applications (available on Android and iOS) that can help them.
In addition to coaching your teen through panic attacks as they happen, this app provides lessons on how to manage anxiety and find long-term relief.
This app allows your teen to track their mood each day and draw on a variety of resources, such as guided mediation and community support, to help them cope with anxiety, depression, and stress.
Your teen can use the guided breathing exercises on this app to help them with everything from alleviating anxiety to falling asleep to feeling more energized.
Designed specifically for students, this digital tool allows your teen to bolster their mental health by tracking their mood, practicing breathing exercises, and keeping a journal to express their emotions.
While using these apps shouldn’t replace speaking with a mental health professional, they can be an effective way for your teen to access support.
How to stay healthy over the holidays
It can be challenging to make healthy choices over the holiday season given that so many celebrations and gatherings revolve around food. Here are five tips to help you eat moderately and stay healthy over the holidays.
1. Load your plate with veggies
Pile vegetables, fruits, and green salads onto your plate. These foods are low in calories, high in fiber, and will keep you satiated. Don’t worry, you don’t have to forgo the turkey or any of the side dishes; just be mindful of your portion sizes.
2. Eat slowly
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register fullness once you start eating. Therefore, to avoid overindulging, try to wait five or 10 minutes before refilling your plate. By doing so, you may realize you’re already full.
3. Watch what you drink
Both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks can add additional calories, sodium, and sugar to your holiday meal. Consequently, try having a glass of water or seltzer in between the eggnog, cocktails, and hot chocolate.
4. Be active
Staying active can help make up for eating more than usual over the holidays. It can also help reduce stress and improve your sleep. One good way to keep moving is to encourage your friends and family members to go for a walk after your meal. Partaking in winter sports, such as skiing and snowshoeing, is also a great way to refresh your mind and body.
5. Take care of yourself
To stay healthy over the holidays, remember to regularly wash your hands, cough into your elbow, and stay at home if you feel sick. Don’t overextend yourself and give yourself enough time to rest in between parties.
Celebrating the new masculinity
In November, men enter the spotlight thanks to both the Movember campaign and International Men’s Day, which takes place every year on November 19. Both events aim to celebrate the positive value men bring to their families, communities, and the world. Though gender roles continue to evolve beyond the traditional model, many men are still impacted by old beliefs about masculinity.
Breaking the mold
Male stereotypes, including the belief that men shouldn’t cry, are only interested in sex, and don’t care about their appearance, continue to prevail. However, these misperceptions are slowly being deconstructed, giving many men the confidence to become their most authentic selves.
International Men’s Day is a great time to applaud the men in your life who challenge stereotypes about masculinity in their own way, especially those who:
• Work non-traditional jobs including as nurses and daycare workers
• Take care of their children or are stay-at-home dads
• Do their fair share of the housework
• Care about their appearance and are making bold fashion statements
• Express their emotions and aren’t afraid to be vulnerable
This November, take a moment to tell the brothers, fathers, spouses, male friends, and co-workers in your life how much you appreciate them.
4 ways to celebrate Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month
Did you know that every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease? Unfortunately, this progressive brain disorder causes memory loss, language problems and unpredictable behavior. However, November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and to help you mark the occasion, here are five meaningful ways to recognize those affected.
1. Go purple
Take the Purple Pledge at alz.org and commit to using your brain to fight Alzheimer’s disease. You can also wear purple to show your support.
2. Raise awareness
Talk to your friends, family members, and co-workers about the disease. Use social media to share your story and endorse the cause. Change your profile picture to include a loved one who’s fighting the disease or use the hashtags #ENDALZ and #EndAlzheimers.
3. Visit an Alzheimer’s patient
Spending time with family members and friends is important for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. It can lift their spirits and enhance their overall well-being. If you don’t know anyone who has the disease, consider volunteering at a nearby nursing home.
4. Raise funds
Host or sponsor a local Walk to End Alzheimer’s. You can also make a financial contribution to a regional Alzheimer’s organization. Your donation may help researchers find a cure.
In addition, consider making time this month to invest in self-care. After all, there are many ways to reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. This November, commit to exercising regularly, eating heart-healthy foods, staying socially engaged in your community, challenging your mind with puzzles, and getting plenty of quality sleep.
4 tips for healthy aging from Okinawa, Japan
Have you heard about the island of Okinawa in Japan? Residents of this small community often live to be more than 100 years old. Here are four tips inspired by their lifestyle that could help you live longer.
1. Grow your own food. Tend a garden and grow your own fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Doing so can help you stay active, reduce stress and provide you with fresh, tasty food.
2. Eat a healthy diet. Eat balanced, low-fat meals to prevent obesity and control your cholesterol. Drink lots of water and choose foods that are high in protein and fiber so you feel satiated for hours at a time. You should also opt for foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals such as fish, seaweed, tofu, and whole grains. In addition, try to eat plenty of fresh fruit and steamed vegetables, and limit your intake of refined sugars, salt, and alcohol.
3. Eat smaller portions. Enjoy your food slowly and mindfully, and stop eating before you feel completely full. This will help you avoid overeating and consuming too many calories.
4. Maintain a strong support network. Upholding strong ties with your family, friends, and neighbors is beneficial for your health. In addition, participating in local activities and socializing within your community can keep you feeling young.
Apply these tips to your everyday life to improve your overall well-being.