You may not want to sit down for this. New research finds the mere act of standing burns more calories over time compared to sitting, and anyone bent on weight loss may want to remain upright a few more hours each day. In fact, standing for six hours each day — at a ‘standing desk’ at the office, for example — could help you shed more than five pounds in one year, the new study found. Even though the notion of standing instead of sitting for a few more hours per day might seem daunting, “for the person who sits for 12 hours a day, cutting sitting time to half would give great benefits,” said study author Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez. He’s chair of preventive cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “Standing not only burns more calories,” Lopez-Jimenez said in a Mayo news release, “[but] the additional muscle activity is linked to lower rates of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes, so the benefits of standing could go beyond weight control.” One cardiologist who read over the findings agreed. “Any amount of exercise is good exercise,” said Dr. Rachel Bond, who directs Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “When it comes to sitting, we can see clear-cut detrimental effects to cardiovascular disease risk factors.” Numerous recent studies have found that…  read on >

Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? Consider strength training. It’s important for everyone, regardless of age, gender and how developed you do and don’t want to get. Strong muscles make everyday activities easier and allow you to maintain your independence throughout life. But you don’t have to go to a gym to get in these workouts. If you prefer machines to free weights yet have limited space, an all-in-one home weight machine with multiple stations for upper and lower body workouts is a great option. There are many different types of such machines and you’ll want to try out the various options to see what feels most comfortable, according to experts from the American College of Sports Medicine. Machines with weight stacks allow you to change the resistance from tens to hundreds of pounds by moving a pin. Some popular machines have rods or cables that you move to increase tension and resistance. Others use fluid-filled hydraulic pistons. And still others use your own bodyweight to create the resistance — you increase the difficulty just by sliding a lever. Many machines come with directions for a workout that targets all your muscle groups. It might take trial and error to find the right starting weight for each exercise. But as with any strength-training program, your goal for each movement is to build up to…  read on >

Commuting by car doesn’t just try your patience. An Australian study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that it can also lead to weight gain, even if you’re active on the weekends. One answer is to turn at least part of your commute into a workout. As cities with municipal bike programs like New York and Cleveland have shown, biking is a quick way to get around and get great exercise. You don’t have to be a world-class cyclist or even go very fast to gain benefits from this low-impact cardio activity. Of course, you want to take all the necessary safety precautions. That means making sure your bike is in good working order. Wear a helmet plus any other protective gear that’s appropriate for you. Obey local traffic rules and take safe routes, preferably those with a dedicated bike lane. If your commute is too long to bike the entire way, try other ideas to shorten your time in the car. For instance, park your car 15 minutes from your office and walk the rest of the way — you’ll arrive less stressed. You’ll also unwind on the way back to your car at the end of the day. If you commute with mass transit, build some activity into your mornings by getting off one stop short of your destination. If…  read on >

If you’ve just shed a lot of pounds, you might want to hold off on buying a new wardrobe full of “thin” clothes. That’s because new research finds that lost weight starts creeping back almost immediately after a diet stops. “We noticed that individuals transitioned from a weight loss intervention immediately to weight gain,” said Kathryn Ross, of the University of Florida, Gainesville, College of Public Health and Health Professions. As to why weight started to come back so quickly, Ross said, “There are a lot of different reasons. There’s not an easy answer.” It may be that people need a specific maintenance intervention where the focus shifts from how to lose weight to how to maintain that loss. Ross said people also need to understand how challenging the environment is, and how it’s geared to weight gain because of the easy and seemingly endless access to high-calorie foods. People also get a lot of positive reinforcement when they’re losing weight. Family and friends probably comment on what a great job the dieter’s doing. Once weight loss is done, however, no one pats you on the back and says, “Hey, great job maintaining your weight!” said Ross, an assistant professor in the clinical and health psychology department. There are also physiologic and metabolic changes that may make it easier to regain weight if you’re not…  read on >

The growing popularity of snowboarding and skiing has meant more injuries on the slopes, a new review shows. In 2015, more than 140,000 people were treated in U.S. hospitals, doctors’ offices and emergency rooms for skiing and snowboarding-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Snowboarders are three times more likely than skiers to be injured. In 1989, snowboarding injuries accounted for 4 percent of all snow sport-related injuries, before rising to 56 percent by 1999, according to the review. The review was published this month in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “Skiing and snowboarding are associated with a large number of injuries, with specific patterns and anatomic areas affected,” said study author and orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Brett Owens. “While some injuries are unavoidable, many are caused by skiers and snowboarders exceeding their comfort zone in either speed or technical challenges on the mountain,” Owens said in a journal news release. “It is critical to stay in control and be prepared to slow and stop to avoid contact with another person on the slope.” The most common skiing and snowboarding injuries are to the spine, pelvis, shoulders, wrists, hands, knees, feet and ankles. “Snow sport athletes can best prepare for their sport with a general preseason conditioning program, as well as familiarity and maintenance of equipment,” said Owens, who’s…  read on >

Many studies have tried to pinpoint the best time of day to exercise for peak performance and best results. But most of these studies were designed for elite athletes. For general fitness, exercise can be whenever it’s most convenient for you. In fact, the best time of day for exercise is whatever time you can do it consistently. That’s because fitness benefits come from working out on a regular basis. Consider factors like work and home responsibilities, your energy level at various times during the day, and what type of exercise you like best when picking your “prime time” for fitness workouts. If you’re a morning person whose energy fizzles by 3 p.m., start your day with a workout, even if it means waking up a half-hour early. If you need a workout buddy to stay motivated, schedule exercise when it’s easiest for both of you. If you like solitude, try off-peak hours at your gym or create your own at-home workout space. Remember that you can break up daily activity into three 10-minute segments if that’s what it takes to get it all in. Park 10 minutes away from work and walk briskly to the building. Do 10 minutes of desk exercises at lunch. Then walk back to your car to go home, and you’re done for the day. Or take a walk during…  read on >