Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Of running and hot yoga

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A couple of news articles about fitness have irked me recently. So, while my main focus is obviously nutrition, I just wanted to quickly comment on them.

This article: Jogging Outside Could Make You Dumber was written back in 2012 but my friend just shared it with me as apparently it’s making the rounds on twitter. Sigh. The study compared 12 runners who were asked to run in an urban setting to 12 who were asked to run in the countryside. It was found that there were greater levels of brain inflammation, and lower IQ scores, in those who were running in the urban setting. Problem: there could be many other differences between the two groups which caused the discrepancy in IQ and inflammation. In addition, this was a very small study. It’s entirely possible that if more people were looked at that these results would disappear. It’s also important to note that, contrary to the title of the article, the researchers do not recommend ceasing jogging or running outside. Perhaps I’ve become too stupid from running outside but I don’t think that we should stop running.

The other article that bothered me was about how there were no additional benefits to hot yoga over “regular” yoga. The study found that, based on cardiovascular data, hot yoga was actually no more strenuous than traditional yoga. In a way this is actually a positive finding; it means that people who have been medically advised not to participate in hot yoga are probably safe to do so after all. Yes, it’s important to be aware that the massive amounts of sweat you accrue are not indicative of burning a massive number of calories. Still, the study didn’t look at injuries sustained during yoga practice. Many people find hot yoga loosens the muscles and makes it easier to get deeper stretches. This may help to prevent against injury. It also makes for a nice relaxing shavasana at the end of a class. Yoga is not the best activity for weight loss but it can help people with balance, flexibility, and stress; be it hot or cold.