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FitRep for Jan. 16

Jan. 12, 2012 - 11:50AM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 12, 2012 - 11:50AM  |  
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Male athletes' arthritis risk

Men who are elite athletes in high-contact sports such as football and soccer have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis than men who don't exercise at all, Swedish researchers found. The risk for knee or hip arthritis was found to be 85 percent higher in elite athletes than men who exercised little or not at all, Reuters reports. However, experts agree that any kind of physical activity has health benefits that outweigh the risk of arthritis.

No herbs for mountain sickness

Important news for high-altitude skiers and hikers: Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that herbal supplements are not effective treatments for altitude sickness, Reuters reports. Acetazolamide, a drug commonly used to prevent acute mountain sickness, may reduce symptoms for some people who use it, a review of studies indicates. But people who used antioxidants, magnesium and ginkgo biloba experienced symptoms at similar rates to those given a placebo, researchers said.

Short workouts can be effective

Lack of time is a common reason cited for not exercising, but new research suggests that several short intensive workouts a week may help lower blood sugar levels similarly to longer, more regular exercise regimens. The new study found that 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week — a total exercise time of 75 minutes a week with warm-up and cool-down included — could lower blood sugar levels for 24 hours after exercise and help prevent post-meal blood sugar spikes in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Older runners, youthful lungs

For runners age 60 and beyond, there's good news and bad news, according to new research. "The good news is that as we age, we maintain good running economy," said study leader Timothy Quinn of the University of New Hampshire. Running economy refers to how efficiently your body uses oxygen at a specific pace. The lower this "oxygen cost," the longer you can run. When it comes to oxygen cost, Quinn found that runners past age 60 "are no different than the 22-year-old runners, which is kind of amazing." Yet, as runners age, they typically slow down, Quinn said, possibly because of loss of strength, muscle power and flexibility.

Compassion affects pain

Chronic pain can hinder communication between spouses, which, in turn, can impair the affected partner's ability to cope with the pain, according to a new study. Researchers found that husbands with pain were more likely to respond negatively to hostility or lack of interest from their spouses. The finding that men, either as the spouse with or without pain, seemed to be more sensitive to their partners' responses surprised the researchers, according to a news release from the American Pain Society.

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