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Health and Fitness Roundup: News You Should Know

Health and Fitness Roundup: News You Should Know

Being an ambassador for health and fitness - which you are, if you exercise consistently and eat right most of the time - means that you should be up to speed on the latest trends.

We put together 5 health and fitness stories that are trending right now, so when those newbies at the gym or on the trail ask you for advice, you'll know what you're talking about.

A Quarter of Adults are Too Inactive, Putting Health at Risk

"More than a quarter of the world’s adults - or 1.4 billion people - take too little exercise, putting them at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and cancers, according to a World Health Organization-led study."

Some of the worst offending countries may surprise you; more than half of all adults were not active enough to protect their health in Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. 

What's the right amount of exercise? While the answer to this is based on your goals, guidelines suggest a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

Should you get calf implants?

While we're all for people doing what they want to do in order to look and feel their best, getting calf implants is a bit crazy. That said, the trend is only growing: 

"Plastic surgery procedures for men increased 43 percent over a five-year period between 2013 and 2017, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. But these procedures aren't your traditional tummy tuck or eyelid lift. Douglas M. Senderoff, a New York City plastic surgeon, is just one of many in his field who offer products with names like “perfect pecs” and “buff biceps.”

Depending on the scope of the procedure—and whether it needs to be repeated on the other side of the body—this can put you back between $6,500 and $12,000."

Pro's and Con's of Strength Training Barefoot

Barefoot running has been hot for a while now, but what about barefoot strength training?

Step into CrossFit boxes or other gyms and you'll likely see more people lifting weights barefoot than any time in recent history. Why is that? Proponents claim improved strength, proprioception, and better form. Sure, there are some dangers as well, but the benefits may be worth it.  

"Going barefoot strengthens the stabilizing muscles of the foot and ankle and makes them stronger," explained certified personal trainer Chris Divecchio, NASM.

"Shoes give a lot of stability and support, but can also make the foot and ankle lazy, leading to injury or muscle imbalance. Strengthening the small stabilizing muscles of the feet can improve balance and overall performance."

Turning Exercise into a Game

Words With Friends. Angry Birds. Pokemon. If only playing games on our phones was good for our health. 

Lucky for you, that just may be the case! Recent research is showing that gamifying fitness may help us increase activity throughout the day. 

"A July study in the Journal of the American Heart Association divided 146 people — sedentary office workers, ages 21 to 65, who sit at least 75 percent of their workdays — into two groups over 10 weeks.

In both groups, participants were given Fitbits, but only one group used the wearable along with MapTrek, a web-based game that moves a person’s digital avatar along Google Maps based on their number of steps. The group using the game competed against each other in weekly walking challenges.

The results? The group playing the map-based game walked 2,092 more steps each day and finished 11 more active minutes per day compared to the group with just the Fitbits."

If you've been struggling to keep up with your fitness goals, you may want to download a fitness tracker or other health app that can help you increase activity. 

Treat Back Pain without Opiods: See a Physical Therapist First

Back pain will affect most Americans at some point in their lifetime, so what happens when it strikes? While lots of people head straight to pain clinics, the "cure" may actually be worse than the symptoms. 

Popping pain pills for back pain won't treat the underlying condition and can lead to addiction and all sorts of other problems. What's the answer? Simple. Start with a physical therapist instead of heading to a pain clinic. 

"Researchers reviewed insurance claims for approximately 150,000 adults, ages 18 to 64, who had been newly diagnosed with low back pain.

They found that those who first consulted a physical therapist had an 89% lower probability of receiving an opioid prescription compared with those who saw another type of medical provider. They were also less likely to have an MRI or CT scan or to seek out emergency care for their pain."

That's a wrap!