Long live the ThighMaster

Turns out exercise helps you lose weight. Apparently, a lot of people disagree. There’s an ongoing debate between the importance of cutting calorie intake vs. burning more calories through exercise. While we’re not going to weigh in on the debate (see what we did there), it seems like cutting calories and exercising would be helpful. In one study, 90% of people who lose significant weight and keep it off exercise at least one hour a day. While another study says increased activity does not correspond with increased energy expenditure. You can’t ask someone who gets winded walking upstairs to run for 30 minutes and you can’t ask someone used to taking in 5,000 calories a day to start taking in 1,500. Moderation and time people, moderation and time. Ok, you’ve weighted long enough. Here’s the original ThighMaster commercial. Wow, just wow. Still better than the Shake Weight, amiright?

Sweet glutes and strong immune systems in old age

A study in the UK has demonstrated the immune-boosting effects of significant exercise during old age. 125 long-distance cyclists in their 60s, 70s, and 80s were tracked and their immune systems measured. Results showed that many of these elderly cyclists—riding 100km to 300km in a stretch—had immune systems that produce the same level of T-cells as healthy 20-year-olds. The effect of this, of course, is resistance to infection and disease. As one participant put it, “If exercise was a pill, everyone would be taking it.” Dilly dilly. Here’s all the commercials in order. And here’s a short story behind the use of that phrase and its appearance in US Bud Light commercials.

Surprise! You now have high blood pressure

That’s the news 4.2 million Americans woke up to on Monday when the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released new guidelines on what is considered hypertension. Now, if your sphygmomanometer reads 130/80, then your blood pressure is considered high. But the new guidelines aren’t changing much in terms of treatment—the physicians are advising that only about 80,000 more patients will benefit from hypertensive drugs. Those newly within the high blood pressure range are pretty much just being put on notice to change their lifestyle habits. However, nearly everyone can benefit from lowering their blood pressure—here’s 10 ways to do that without medication.

A bit obsessed with Fitbit

Last week, researchers found that exercise can counteract the cognitive decline some patients experience post-breast cancer treatment. It’s the 457th publication since 2012 to use a Fitbit device in research. Or to put it a different way, this study found that 83 percent of clinical trials used a Fitbit as opposed to another brand. Researchers apparently just really prefer it. That’s good news for the company, since it now has a slew of clinical data under its belt, and it’s thinking about a run at a medical device designation a few years in the future. According to their GM of Health Solutions, “as we start going deeper down the health road with more and more advanced sensors, I’d say, just stay tuned.” Oooooh, mysterious.

‘I just can’t work out in these genes!’

Ever notice how those crazy people who workout all the time say they “feel great” afterwards, even though whenever you go to the gym for your once-yearly, new-year-new-me regimen you just feel like crap? Well turns out there just might be a genetic reason for that. Dutch researchers have identified a possible genetic inheritability aspect to whether you receive that endorphin rush after working out. We’re being a bit cagier than normal when describing the results of this study since the causal relationship hasn’t been verified yet–so maybe working out often changes how the body responds to that exercise. No results yet on how the hell those people were able to begin exercising regularly in the first place.

There’s no “good fat” when it comes to obesity

Is it possible to be simultaneously hefty and healthy? In a study presented at the European Congress of Obesity, researchers who scrutinized 20 years of electronic health records for 3.5 million people discovered that people who were overweight, but did not have any of the metabolic problems usually linked to excess weight, were more prone to develop metabolic problems. Compared to non-overweight individuals, “healthy obese people had a 50% higher risk of heart disease, a 7% higher risk of stroke, twice the risk of heart failure and a greater risk for peripheral artery disease.” The takeaway: physicians should encourage weight loss among obese patients irrespective of metabolic abnormalities.