MIND/BODY CONNECTION

Meds or Beds?

Becky Holman

New findings on back pain

Lots of people have back pain, and many attribute it to weak abdominals or bad posture. Many also take medication for that pain; however, the meds may be unnecessary. The pain may be coming from your bed—specifically, your worn-out mattress. A study at Oklahoma State University found that old mattresses that had lost their ability to support caused back pain in many subjects. Switching to a new mattress provided complete relief. If you have back pain and your mattress is 10 years old, there may be a connection.

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Ride to Romance

Becky Holman

Ride to Romance

So you’re complaining again that your gal is never in the mood. Take her on a bike ride. A study out of the University of Washington found that one 20-minute cycling workout increased the women subjects’ sexual arousal by almost 170 percent! That jump in libido could be due to the increased blood flow to the genitals and/or the pulsating movement on the bike seat. Either way, you can ride your way to romance—and give new meaning to the term bi-sexual.

Mess Equals Stress

Becky Holman

Mess Equals Stress

According to Daryn Eller in “Make Sense of Home Healing” in the February ’09 Prevention, “Experts suggest that humans are hardwired to seek out spaciousness, harking back to our ancestors’ need to flee predators.” That may explain why clutter creates anxiety. In other words, mess leads to stress. It pays to keep a fairly neat environment, and cleaning can actually be therapeutic. Researchers recently found that people who did 20 minutes of housework were less anxious and depressed.

Abdominal Overkill

Ron Harris

Abdominal Overkill

How much training do the abs really need? Old-time bodybuilders used to train them every day for hundreds, even thousands, of repetitions. And since the average person still subscribes to the myth of spot reduction, a question typically posed to anyone sporting a killer six-pack is, How many crunches do you do a day? Some pro bodybuilders train abs every day, while a handful of men with incredible midsections don’t do a thing for them—notably Dexter “the Blade” Jackson.

Chin Up or Pull Down?

Charles Poliquin

Chin Up or Pull Down?

Q: What one upper-body exercise not commonly performed would you like to see added to a bodybuilder’s program?

A: I’m a firm believer in chinups and pullups for upper-body mass. If you believe that the squat is the king of leg exercises, then you probably wouldn’t waste your time doing endless sets of abductor-machine work, leg extensions or (gasp!) the near-useless Smith machine, right? Well, the chinup and its variations are the squat’s equivalent in mass-building qualities and the ability to quickly improve functional strength. In fact, most bodybuilders would be jealous of the back development of top-level gymnasts and kayakers. Their conditioning programs center on—you guessed it—chinups.

Lose Fat, Not Muscle

John Hansen, Mr. Natural Olympia

Lose Fat, Not Muscle

Q: Can you please guide me in striking a balance between cardio and weight training? A few months back I wanted to add more muscle size. In order to do that, I ate too many calories, and, as a result, I’ve gained some fat. Now I want to lose those few extra pounds without losing my hard-earned muscles. How much cardio leads to muscle loss? I’ve been jogging about three kilometers daily right after my workout—my workouts last no more than 45 minutes. I’ve lost five pounds in 15 days, but I wonder whether I lost muscle or fat. Am I doing it right? Is 15 minutes of high-intensity cardio better than 30 minutes of slow jogging?