Wearing ‘superhero’ compression tights won’t help you run faster or reduce your muscle fatigue

3 surprising exercise studies that made the headlines in June


Health and fitness research articles feature prominently in print and online media these days, usually accompanied by the obligatory selfie of a bright young thing with impeccably chiselled abs. You name a fitness topic and someone out there is researching it. Here are three absorbing pieces of exercise research that caught my eye in June.

Do diet and exercise affect survival after cancer?

Research says a healthy diet and exercise could increase colon cancer patients’ chance of survival

A healthy diet and exercise could increase colon cancer patients’ chance of survival and walking could improve survival rates for breast cancer survivors, according to two studies presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology conference. 

University of California San Francisco researchers looked at whether American Cancer Society (ACS) nutrition and exercise guidelines for cancer survivors – moderate exercise of 150 minutes per week, eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and keeping a healthy body weight – could influence survival rates among those with colon cancer. Their study of nearly 1,000 people found those who followed the guidelines had a 42% lower chance of death after seven years.

University of California epidemiologist Erin Van Blarigan recommends that individuals build up to exercising for at least 150 minutes per week.

Brisk walking is great exercise

“Brisk walking is a great exercise for everyone. I would also recommend that patients aim to eat at least five servings of vegetables every day, not counting potatoes, and choose whole grains over refined grains.”

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) research looking at more than 300 Australian breast cancer survivors showed those who exercised for 180 minutes per week – mostly by walking – had better rates of survival than those who did not take part in exercise.

QUT Professor Sandi Hayes says, “Engaging in some activity [or] exercise is better than none, and doing more is generally better than less.”

Find out more about these two cancer and exercise studies

 

Is it time to ditch the running tights and go commando?

Wearing your ‘superhero’ compression tights won’t help you run faster or reduce your muscle fatigue

Wearing your ‘superhero’ compression tights won’t help you run faster or reduce your muscle fatigue, research from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center suggests.

In a study funded by Nike, researchers examined the performance of 20 experienced runners who ran on treadmills for 30 minutes at 80% of their maximum capability. They placed reflective markers on the runners and used motion-capture technology to track their movements. Treadmill sensors measured the force of each step hitting the ground and the force pushing the foot back up, and tracked changes over time.

The researchers also tested the runners’ basic strength and jump height before and after each run to determine the effects of muscle fatigue. Data collection took place on two days, one while the runners wore compression tights and the other while they wore running shorts.

Lead researcher Dr Ajit Chaudhari said the theory behind compression tights is that they reduce muscle vibration, and in doing so reduce muscle fatigue. However, the study results revealed that the compression apparel didn’t reduce the runners’ muscle fatigue, didn’t help them jump higher, and there wasn’t much of an aerodynamic effect that would benefit distance runners.

Read more about this Nike-funded study

 

Excessive sitting stores up big trouble for office workers 

Office workers must change their workplace habits to offset the health risks of excessive sitting at workPhoto by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

Office workers must change their workplace habits to offset the health risks of excessive sitting at work. This is the message from researchers in Scotland, after their study showed most middle-age desk-based workers now spend as much time sitting down as older, retired people.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Physical Activity for Health Research Centre looked at data from more than 14,000 people, taken from the 2012-2014 Scottish Health Survey. For all adults in work, total reported sedentary time is higher for each age category than for those 75 and over.

The researchers also found that 45 to 54-year-old men spend on average 7.8 hours per weekday sitting down, compared with 7.4 hours for the over-75s. The weekday situation reverses at weekends –those aged 25 to 54 were the least sedentary, sitting for between 5.2 and 5.7 hours a day, while the over 75s are the most sedentary, at 7.3 to 7.4 hours a day.

Sitting is dangerous for your health

Experts say that high levels of sedentary time – more than 7 hours a day spent in any waking activity done while sitting or reclined – increases the risk of back and neck problems, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, even if people are physically active at other times of the day

Lead researcher Tessa Strain told BBC News: “Large parts of the population are dangerously sedentary, something we have underestimated. We need to tackle high levels of sedentary time in early and middle age, when patterns may develop.

“Our findings suggest that changing habits in the workplace could be an appropriate place to start, given how much time we spend sitting there every day.”

Read more out about the health problems associated with long periods of sitting

Find out what you can do to build healthier routines into your lifestyle