Thursday, July 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Exercise good sense, and get off the couch

By Lee Bowman
Although science has established that we feel better, sleep better and remember better when we get regular exercise more or less every day, it’s also clear that most people don’t.
Studies suggest that 97 percent of American adults get less than 30 minutes of exercise per day. The spiral away from physical activity has been blamed on everything from lack of time to lack of safe places to work out.
Some guidelines set 150 minutes of workout a week as a minimum goal, while other recent research suggests even 15 minutes a day may be sufficient to improve heath.
One Canadian study of more than 2,300 adults, published earlier this month, found that when it comes to reducing risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the benefit from exercise is about the same whether the 150 minutes comes in short spurts over five to seven days or all in one weekend-warrior gulp.
Even so, motivation is hard to come by. In fact, our genes may work to keep us sedentary.
A recent study of rats at the University of Missouri suggests that certain genetic traits may predispose rodents, and presumably humans, to be motivated to exercise or remain sedentary. Researchers bred rats who liked to run with other rodents similarly inclined — and also inbred a couch-potato strain — over 10 generations, then looked at differences in body makeup, cell metabolism and genes in each group.
They focused on more than 17,000 genes in the brain and found 36 that seem to play a role in motivation to exercise. The study was published in April in the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.
But what if we’re forced to exercise? Another rat study, done by researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder, found that, at least as far as stress reduction and mental health are concerned, the benefits of exercise apply no matter if the activity is voluntary or imposed.
Over a six-week period, rats either ran on a wheel as they liked or were put on a mechanized wheel that forced them to run for a similar period of time. Later, when they were stressed in the lab and then tested for anxiety, both groups showed they were much less prone to stress and anxiety than a group of rats that had never exercised. The report was published in February in the European Journal of Neuroscience.
Of course, few adults are required to exercise. And it appears relatively few children are, either.
According to a national assessment of physical activity in schools — the National Association for Sport and Physical Education’s “2012 Shape of the Nation” report — only Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and New Jersey mandate 150 minutes of physical activity for elementary school students, as recommended by the association. Louisiana, Montana, Utah and West Virginia require 225 minutes for middle schoolers and Montana, Utah and West Virginia mandate the same for high schoolers, again following the association’s recommendations.
Even with the mandates, a 2011 report on recess and PE in more than 1,700 elementary schools in 47 states found that just under 18 percent offered at least 150 minutes a week of PE. But 70 percent did offer at least 20 minutes of recess a day.
The researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago noted that students were much more likely to get the minimum of 150 minutes of exercise in states that had a law requiring PE than in states that only recommended or did not address physical education.
Physical education requirements are also scarce at four-year colleges and universities, a new study by researchers at Oregon State University shows. Brad Cardinal, a professor of exercise and sport science and colleagues, randomly selected 354 colleges and looked at their physical education requirements going back to 1920.
That year, 97 percent of the schools required students to take PE classes; today, just 39 percent require any exercise courses. Cardinal notes that other studies show even though many colleges offer recreation centers and fitness facilities, they tend to be used mostly by students who are already among the most physically fit.
The study was published in June in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.
— Contact Scripps health and science writer Lee Bowman at bowmanl@shns.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com

Scripps Howard News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    USDA predicts record almond haul in California

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Teens lead the way in fight against cancer

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Diplomas all around for professor and sons

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Consumption guidelines for Cache Creek fish updated

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

     
    Local singer/songwriter will perform Friday on KDRT

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Davis Flea hosts night market Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Free technology help offered to seniors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Contestants sought for Yolo County Fair Queen contest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Parents can learn all about IEPs

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Museum sells market bags as fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    City of Davis recruits for its advisory commissions

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Zip Book: Request it, read it, return it

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Forum

    Water trains through Davis

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Water storage must be a priority

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    The real problem isn’t conflict, it’s violent conflict management

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Act now to support middle school students

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Don’t tell me I can’t help him

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    UCD coach has navigated a Maze of experiences

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lethargic and roster thin, Post 77 loses Area 1 opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Pence outscores Phillies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Quincy Amarikwa: years in the making

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Area sports briefs: Nelson earns All-Academic honors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Youth roundup: Aftershock finishes second in tournament

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    Majka makes winning look easy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Transportation fellowship goes to Aggie

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Arts

     
    ‘South Pacific’ storyline still making waves

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    ‘The Miracle Worker’ auditions set for WOH

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, July 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8