Ramadan, the month during which Muslims around the world fast from dawn to dusk, begins tomorrow. Oft discussed benefits of fasting: Increased patience and humility, general purifying of the soul. But fasting has other effects too. In predominantly Muslim countries, stock market volatility goes way down during Ramadan, a new study shows. Which seems like pretty clear evidence that fasting quiets our brains in interesting ways. Maybe a full month of fasting isn't for you, but a day without food can be a revelation. Should you care to give it a try, a few fasting tips from the Jakarta Post aren't a bad place to start.
Should you eat before you work out? Well depends. If you want to have lots of energy and perform at a high level, for sure. If you want to burn fat, well... In a recent study, researchers divided cyclists into two groups and instructed one group to fast and one group to eat before their workouts. Cyclists who came into their ride having fasted didn't perform well on intensive training, but they burned more fat than the group who came into their rides having eaten. For those of us who will be too grouchy to even consider working out if we don't get our sandwich, consider this irrelevant.
Fasting is increasingly popular, if not quite mainstream. Cleanses are everywhere, of course. But, taken too far, not eating can screw up the metabolism, and even be fatal. Over breakfast Saturday, following yoga at MoMA, the conversation among Social Workout types turned to extended fasts and underwater swimming stunts that had gone horribly awry. One recently popular scheme is "intermittent fasting," which is more or less exactly what the name suggests. Of interest to would be fasters: Skwigg, savvy fitness blogger, takes on some of the questions around intermittent fasting this morning, in a thorough response to a reader who had just read Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon, one guide to the material. She covers in short order things like calorie deficits, glycemic indices, and "macros," which she describes reassuringly as "loopy-speak for OCD crazy people." Although, full confession, my ignorance about macros is nearly total. Just FYI.
- Hunger makes you hustle. New research shows that periods of hunger throughout the day lead to increased physical activity. If the insulin in your bloodstream never dips, certain proteins in the brain aren't activated, and you're more likely to be sedentary. Skip snacks for a few days and see what happens?
- Smoking pot helps irritable bowel syndrome, says a new study, but other new research says pot can cause mood disorders, at least in teenagers. Our "research" says pull-ups may seem when easier you're high. Do with this information what you will.
- Fitness industry observers are predicting 2010 will be a year of very low gym prices. Think $10/month. Though probably not in New York City. But, really, we're happy for all the rest of you.
- This weird yoga cat calendar is apparently extremely popular.
- Do women's breasts get especially cold in the winter? Apparently they do in Japan. Breast warmers that plug into USB drives just hit the market there.
- Caster Semenya has finally received the apology she deserves from Athletics South Africa for forcing her to undergo genetic testing after her 800m victory at the World Championships in Berlin.
- Kate Winslet won her lawsuit against the Daily Mail, which claimed she lied about her exercise regimen.
- A new study shows alternate-day fasting may be an effective weight-loss strategy for obese dieters.
- The National Institute for Health Statistic's latest report has the U.S. ranked 30th in the world in infant mortality rates.
- Michael Jordan's son, Marcus, wore Air Jordans to play in a University of Central Florida exhibition game, so Adidas cancelled their deal with the school.
- Scientists have found that adding sugar to the diet of worms decreases their lifespan 20%. Don't rush to pop open your Diet Coke. Just imagine what those worms were eating before someone dumped sugar on them.
- A new genetic test can tell you how many years of fertility you have left.
- Men suffering from erections lasting more than four hours may find relief in drugs developed for severe immune disorders.
I completed the three day Blueprint Cleanse without any cheating, and I feel slightly euphoric, as if I'm on drugs. The whites of my eyes seem whiter, my skin is glowy, and I have a ton of energy. But the scale says I've actually gained a pound. Huh? Apparently, due to water retention, it takes a few days for weightloss to show.More...
Ramadan began last Friday and continues through September 19th. No eating, drinking, smoking, or otherwise indulging from dawn until dusk as a means of gaining patience, developing humility, and cleansing the soul. For those planning to complete the F.O.S. one day water fast feat, what better place to get advice from than the fifth of the world who keeps this up for a month straight every year. In this morning's Jakarta Post, nutritionist Samuel Oetero offered these three fasting tips:
- Prior to your fast, eat red rice, whole wheat bread, whole fruits, cereals and oatmeal. Their high fiber content helps you through the day.
- Don't cut exercise completely, but keep it light, like walking or stretching.
- End your fast with a glass of fruit juice. It's a quick boost to your system, and better for you than other high-sugar alternatives.
Here's the deal: I'm going on a cleanse kick. After reading 18375839 different opinions on cleaning, I've decided the only way to find out the real story is to try them myself and see how I feel. So I'm devoting the rest of this year to trying some of the most popular cleanses around.More...
Attention serious health nuts: It's the Page Six Magazine New Year's Fitness Special! OK, it's not yet online, but buried deep behind the year-in-Tom-and-Katie-reviewed, AND various holiday Bill Murray sightings, we get "The Latest Boldface Workout!" AND "The Secret Nip/Tuck Getaway!"
Here's our resolution quid pro quo: We summarize all Page Six fitness articles for you in 2009; you spend more time stretching post-workout...or, at a minimum, you focus seriously on the features about young professional women who still live with their moms. Without further ado, then...More...