It might be healthier to run a mile than a marathon

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woman running jogging exercise

  • Training for a marathon may not be the best way to get fit in 2018.
  • Shorter bursts of high-intensity exercise can confer some of the same health benefits as long-distance running.
  • One of the most popular forms of this workout is called ‘interval training,’ or HIIT.

 

If completing a marathon is on your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2018, you might want to think again.

As it turns out, that intense feat of human endurance may not be the most efficient ticket to a healthier you. Instead, a regular fitness routine focused on short intense workouts may confer faster results.

That wisdom appears to apply not just to running, but also to a variety of heart-pumping workouts that fall under the umbrella term of "interval training."

Quick bursts of exercise carry some of the same benefits as longer workouts

Interval training "can provide similar or greater benefits in less time than traditional longer, moderate-intensity workouts," Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, told Business Insider in April.

One of the most popular forms of this style of workout is high intensity interval training, or HIIT. It’s also the form of training that has been studied the most.

plank woman fitness gym exercise workout

High intensity interval training involves committing to short bursts of sit-ups, jumping jacks, or planks performed at your maximum capacity. After each 30- to 45-second interval, you rest to catch your breath and then move on immediately to the next exercise. At the end of the workout (which could be as short as seven minutes), your whole body should feel it.

Tabata training, named after the Japanese National Institute of Fitness and Sports researcher Izumi Tabata, is an HIIT workout made up of several four-minute exercises. Tabata and his team became some of HIIT’s pioneers after publishing a seminal 1996 study suggesting that short bursts of intense strength training could have better results than a traditional workout.

The principal behind interval training isn’t limited to push-ups and jumping jacks, though — it also applies to classic forms of exercise like running and walking.

For a recent study, a large group of daily runners were split into two smaller groups — one that ran less than an hour each week and one that ran more than three hours per week. At the end of the study, the group of daily runners who only spent an hour running each week saw almost the same heart health benefits as those who ran for more than three hours.

A 2012 study comparing a group of runners who did traditional, continuous runs with a group of runners who did interval training found that both groups achieved nearly the same results. There was one small difference, though: The interval trainers had better peak oxygen uptake, an important measure of endurance.

Additionally, a recent study in the journal Diabetologia found that doing walking interval training — an hour of alternating between three minutes of brisk walking and three minutes of stopping — helped people with diabetes control their blood-sugar levels far better than simply walking at the same pace continuously.

More is not always better when it comes to fitness

Unlike shorter jogs and interval training plans, distance running comes with some serious health risks.

There’s some evidence to suggest that prolonged, intense exercise — such as the type necessary in the weeks and months before a marathon and during the race itself — can have some unhealthy side effects, from reduced immune function to digestive issues.

Working the body to its maximum, some research shows, can reduce the body’s natural ability to fend off upper-respiratory infections including colds and the flu. Short bouts of activity, on the other hand, improve immune function. Quick workouts appear to not only reduce your chances of getting sick, but also to reduce the severity of an illness when you do come down with something.

Up to 71% of long-distance runners experience abdominal cramping and diarrhea as well. (The latter is so frequent that runners have a term for it: "runner’s trots," also known as "runner’s diarrhea.") Many runners also experience acid reflux — a condition with symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, coughing, hoarseness, and asthma — during and immediately after a long run.

So if running marathons isn’t your thing, try a shorter, daily exercise plan — but make sure that whatever regimen you choose is one you can keep doing regularly.

SEE ALSO: The 10 most popular workouts of 2017

DON’T MISS: 11 fitness ‘truths’ that are doing more harm than good

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An exercise scientist explains what everyone gets wrong about stretching

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Nutrition experts ranked the best diets to try in 2018 — here are the top 11

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If you’re trying to prioritize healthy eating habits in 2018, remember that not all diets are created equal. Often, the ones that garner the most attention aren’t the best.

For its annual list of the best diets, US News & World Report ranked 40 eating plans based on criteria including how easy the diet is to follow, its effects on weight loss (both short- and long-term), how nutritional and safe the diet is, and how well it helps prevent diabetes and heart disease.

The ranking drew on the expertise of a panel of dietitians and nutritionists, but didn’t account for the costs associated with the diet plans or how exercise fit into the programs.

Here’s which diets ranked above the rest to make the top 10.

SEE ALSO: 9 dangerous diseases that could be prevented by vaccines within the next decade, from HIV to cancer

DON’T MISS: The definitive, scientific answers to 20 health questions everyone has

No. 10 (tie): Vegetarian diet

The vegetarian diet is simple: no meat allowed. Ideally, meat is replaced with other sources of protein, as well as fiber-packed veggies, fruits, and whole grains to help keep you feeling full.

Unlike a vegan diet, which ranked 19th on the US News & World Report list, vegetarians can eat animal products like milk and eggs, which can be good sources of protein.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 10 (tie): The fertility diet

The aim of the fertility diet is to help women who are having problems getting pregnant. Developed by Drs. Jorge Chavarro and Walter Willett of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the fertility diet includes 10 science-backed steps to help boost fertility in women. The steps emphasize eating vegetable proteins and oils and drinking whole milk. The plan also suggests taking a multivitamin that contains folic acid.

The diet was named one of the easiest to follow.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 9: Ornish diet

Developed by Dr. Dean Ornish, this diet looks at food on a "spectrum," with some things being healthier than others — essentially, the less processed the better. The diet emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and some types of fatty foods containing omega-3 fatty acids.

The diet was ranked one of the best for heart health.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tried the meditation craze that requires no sex, drugs, or talking for 10 days

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Jack Dorsey

  • Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Twitter and Square, said in a tweet on January 1 that he completed a 10-day silent meditation over the holidays.
  • He used the hashtag: #Vipassana. This type of meditation comes from an ancient technique used to calm the mind and find a way out of suffering.
  • An increasing number of tech moguls from Tim Ferriss to Marc Benioff swear by meditation as the key to their success.

 

Over the holidays, dual-CEO Jack Dorsey took a break from running Twitter and Square to try a silent meditation known as Vipassana for 10 days.

Vipassana — an ancient Buddhist meditation technique that frequently involves 10 days of silence — is gathering fans in Silicon Valley. The practice aims to calm and focus the mind through a strict code of silence and promises increased awareness, self-control, and peace. In a tweet, Dorsey revealed that he carried out the practice over Christmas and New Year’s.

jack dorsey tweet vipassana meditation

"Just finished a 10 day silent meditation. Wow, what a reset! Fortunate & grateful I was able to take the time," Dorsey wrote on Twitter.

An increasing number of tech workers, from author-podcaster Tim Ferriss to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, swear by meditation as the secret to their success. Companies are embracing the idea that employees’ mental health is directly tied to their performance, with Facebook and LinkedIn shelling out for on-the-clock "life coaching" for mid-level managers. At Benioff’s behest, Salesforce will add a meditation room on every floor of its new tower in San Francisco.

Dorsey’s decision to try Vipassana meditation shows the lengths that some tech moguls will go to find peace in and out of the workplace.

Vipassana is an extreme type of meditation

Vipassana, which means to see things as they are, dates back thousands of years to the teachings of the Buddha. After his enlightenment, the spiritual leader was said to rediscover the ancient practice and share it with millions of people across northern India.

The practice fell out of popularity until Burmese-Indian meditation guru S.N. Goenka began teaching classes on Vipassana in India in the 1970s. By the time he died in 2013, Goenka’s students had established 200 retreat centers around the world for meditation.

In Goenka’s tradition, beginners are required to learn the art of Vipassana over a 10-day silent retreat. Participants abide by a set of rules: no sex, drugs, lying, stealing, religious worship, reading, writing, or physical contact. Communication is strictly prohibited, whether by speech, gestures, or notes.

Supporters say that such a disciplined approach allows the mind to turn inward and reflect. The result is a purging of negative thought patterns and habits and an understanding of how one creates suffering and how to be free from it, according to online resource Dhamma.org.

Silicon Valley goes all in

The Bay Area Vipassana Trust organizes the largest annual retreat in the US with over 240 participants, and is working to establish a center in Silicon Valley. Karen Donovan and her husband, Tim, have been teaching classes in Goenka’s tradition for more than 20 years and oversee the non-profit group.

"Most people come to our courses because they’re seeking some kind of peace of mind, some perspective on the things that are making them unhappy in their lives," Donovan told Business Insider. She added, "people who just want to learn to meditate" can find instruction elsewhere.

A schedule for a typical day of one of their retreats shows how intense it can be.

vipassana meditation schedule

All retreats are paid for by the donations of grateful past participants.

Donovan was unsurprised to learn that Dorsey has dipped his toes in Vipassana. Many of the volunteers who support the Bay Area Vipassana Trust, through teaching or serving on a committee, come from the tech industry. Donovan and her husband hold their massive annual retreat in Occidental, California, around the holidays to accommodate their schedules.

"We love the idea of serving so many students at that time of year when so many companies have forced shut downs, like in the tech world," Donovan said.

She suggested that Vipassana may appeal to high-profile tech bosses like Dorsey because it requires critical-thinking and logic.

"Anyone who thinks about how the mind works and realizes how they suffer starts to look around for some relief. Our practice of Vipassana means’insight,’" she said.

Dorsey uses meditation to run both Twitter and Square

On December 21, Dorsey fired off his last tweet before a 10-day meditation: an emoji showing hands clasped in prayer. He returned to Twitter on New Year’s Day — hashtag "#Vipassana."

Since 2015, Dorsey has served as the CEO of both Twitter and Square. Dorsey finds balance by following a uniformed schedule. He spends mornings at Twitter and afternoons at Square. And in 2015, he said he begins his day at 5 a.m. with a brief meditation.

Tech workers took to Twitter to praise Dorsey for his Vipassana practice.

jack dorsey vipassana meditation twitter

jack dorsey vipassana meditation twitter

The Twitter CEO didn’t reveal much else about his meditation, other than saying that the "only music I wanted to listen to after 10 days of silence" was Kendrick Lamar’s "Damn" album.

SEE ALSO: How dual-CEO Jack Dorsey manages to run both Twitter and Square

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Tim Ferriss explains why everyone should try meditating

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Exactly Why You Need To Warm Up Your Car When It’s Cold

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Much like the act of wearing live hamsters as a merkin, whether or not to warm your car up in cold, cold winter is something nearly everyone seems to have an opinion about. We’ve tackled the issue before, and I’m still on Team Warm, but there’s still a lot of controversy around this important question. Let’s take another look.

The big argument against warming up your car before driving off on a cold morning is that, essentially, modern cars can handle it. And that’s not wrong—a modern, fuel-injected car with today’s sophisticated engine management systems can accomodate startup in very cold weather quite quickly.

Oh, and if you don’t have a modern, fuel-injected car, and drive old carbureted relics like myself, then there is no question: warm that thing up. Let it idle for a minimum of five minutes before you take off. Get that oil splashing around in there. Give that carb a bit to wake up and stop freaking out. Don’t rush it.

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There’s a few reasons why a carbureted car wants to take more time to warm up in very cold weather: first, it’s likely older, and that means getting less-viscous oil to as much of the engine as possible is even more important; same goes for getting some heat into all the cold, brittle rubber hoses and connectors and so on.

The big reason is that in the cold, gasoline doesn’t evaporate as well, so the gasoline is harder to vaporize when cold, and can go into the cylinders in liquid, droplet form, where it will cling to the walls and do nobody any good.

When the engine is cold, the combustion is uneven and poor; the carb chokes off some of the air to compensate and runs richer, but less efficiently. As things heat up, everything starts to improve, and once the car is warm enough, the fuel can properly vaporize, and the car starts to idle and run smoothly. This just takes some time.

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Even on a brand new car, you’d still likely want to wait 30 seconds or so for that cold, molasses-thick oil to work itself up from the oil pan, but, generally, it’s true you can start up and drive off, and that the car will warm up quicker when driving.

I agree that this is accurate, and I also think it’s still a bad idea, and you should let the car idle for at least a couple of minutes, maybe five or so.

Why do this, when the car can technically handle a near-immediate takeoff? Because being able to do something and that something actually being good are two very different things. If we go back to that hamster merkin thing I mentioned at the top, yes, I could employ a hamster to act as an ersatz pubic wig, but that does not mean doing so would benefit me in any way.

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The same goes for not letting your car warm up a bit. Even if the car can start and drive nearly immediately, every rubber thing in that engine is still hard and cold and brittle, those fluids are still highly viscous, and while driving is possible, putting any load on that engine isn’t doing it any favors.

It’s not just me saying this—actual intelligent, non-morons agree, like the folks at Team O’Neil Rally School, who drive cars in sub-zero weather all the time:

Look, if you know you can drive it gently while the engine gets up to temperature, fine, have at it: but for most people, we don’t really know.

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Will you need to accelerate suddenly to avoid danger? Who knows? It could happen. Will you have to detour and end up going up a steeper hill that requires more power? It can happen. And, remember, any hill will put your engine under load.

Ultimately, what’s the point of risking it? Why put yourself in a position where you could be needlessly causing engine damage?

Even well-written, well-researched articles that are against warming up, like this one from PopSci, admits that taking it easy for the first five to ten minutes is crucial:

“Of course, hopping into your car and gunning it straightaway will put unnecessary strain on your engine. It takes 5 to 15 minutes for your engine to warm up while driving, so take it nice and easy for the first part of your drive.”

Their other big argument against warming up a fuel injected car revolves around that the fuel mixture is more rich when cold, and gas is a solvent that washes away oil, which is true, but ignores the fact that when driving, you’re injecting even more gasoline into the cylinders as you accelerate.

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There’s also other safety factors: when your car’s interior is freezing cold, and the steering wheel is so cold it hurts to touch, you’re not going to be driving at your best. You’re distracted, uncomfortable, and can’t manipulate your controls as well as you should.

Plus, there’s often associated visibility issues. Scraping windows is fine, but why not give the car’s defroster a chance to do its job? Those embedded wires get a rear window clear remarkably well, and most modern cars have defrosters that actually work. Give them a chance.

I’m not talking about idling for an hour here, just five or ten minutes or so at the most. Get up a touch earlier, and make your commute safer and less miserable.

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If you’re worried about the environmental impact, consider that you’re also extending the life of your engine and many components inside it when you allow them to get up to something close to a normal operating temperature before you take off, and keeping your car going longer is better for the environment.

(Also, for some people, “warming up” means letting the car sit at idle for like, 20 minutes; no matter what you drive that’s a bad idea, and a clear misconception.)

Plus, an engine at normal operating temperatures is more efficient and pollutes less than a cold one. So I’m thinking that any extra pollutants you’re putting out while idling should be at least partially compensated for by driving on an engine at higher operating temperatures.

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So, let’s recap: yes, modern cars can be driven in very cold weather almost immediately following start up. But the idea that there’s zero detrimental impact on the car when you do so is ridiculous.

Your car will operate better when it’s heated up a bit—again, we’re just talking a few minutes, not an hour—you’ll be more comfortable, you’ll drive safer, you’ll see better, and I bet you’ll get a little better-looking.

Seriously, what are you trying to prove, anyway? Nobody will ever love you because your drive right off in cold weather. Take moment and let the car warm up.

It’s worth it. And so are you.

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Win Powerball By Spending $150 Million More Than the Current Jackpot

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The Powerball jackpot currently sits at $460 million, one of the largest ever. But the pot isn’t that big—even if you bought every combination, you’d lose out, by a lot.

There are 292,201,338 possible Powerball number combinations. Each ticket costs $2, meaning you’d need more than $584.4 million to guarantee a victory. If you take into account that the lump sum of today’s drawing is $291 million, you’d be spending a little less than double your pre-tax winnings.

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What’s a better way? Well, If I knew I wouldn’t be working at Lifehacker, writing this article. But, lottonumbers.com does track the most common numbers pulled, so you could give those a shot. You could buy a few tickets to (ever so slightly) increase your odds, have an office pool, or let a computer pick numbers for you.

Or you could just ignore Powerball. Again, the odds are 1 in 292.2 million that a single ticket will win. You’d be better off investing your $2—assuming a 6.6% rate of return, you’d end up with $4 in 10 years. That’s double your money!

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This device will tell you just how bad your hair is

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If you’ve ever wanted a more precise analysis of your hair, if you want to add a little tech to your hair care routine, or if you just don’t trust your hairstylist, Schwarzkopf has you covered. Henkel Beauty Care and its Schwarzkopf Professional brand are launching a hair analyzer that can supposedly give you a much more detailed assessment on the health of your hair. Using near-infrared and visible light sensors, the device can measure moisture level, inner hair quality and true hair color and can help your hair care professional come up with a personalized color and care plan.

We’ve seen tech make its way into the hair care realm more and more in recent years. Withings and L’Oreal came up with a smart hairbrush that can tell you when you’re brushing too hard and Dyson’s Supersonic hair dryer has a microprocessor that keeps tabs on the temperature of the air it’s pumping out. L’Oreal has also turned to VR in order to train new hairstylists.

Schwarzkopf’s SalonLab Analyzer is part of a trio of products aimed at tailoring a person’s hair care to them. There’s also a Consultant App that assists the hairstylist through the analysis process and can show a client what a new hair color will look like on them ahead of time. The app also helps come up with personalized hair product recipes that can be mixed in the salon with the SalonLab Customizer.

The SalonLab system will hit hair salons in the US and Europe sometime this year but Henkel will also be showing it off at CES 2018, which kicks off in Las Vegas on January 9th.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

Image: Henkel Beauty Care

Source: Henkel

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