What are your views on moral aspects of sport?

A PhD student at Dalhousie University is studying moral aspects of sport, and he needs your help completing a short questionnaire.  The questionnaire is completed online, and available here.  You do not need to have experience playing sport to participate in this study. Anyone can participate, as long as you can read English and are 18 years of age or older.

A short description of the survey:

Should religious clothing be banned from sports, even if it doesn’t enhance performance? Are initiation rituals inherently wrong? Should coaches value equal playing time above winning? Is fighting in hockey a good thing?  Click here to take a quick survey about moral issues in sport. Your opinions are very important and will help researchers better understand how to promote more civil and productive debates in sport! Email Shea (Sb@dal.ca) for more info! 

Full details can be found here.


Category: Miscellaneous | Tagged | Comments Off

Kick start your physical activity this spring with the “good enough” workout!

spring exerciseEver notice how much more active you are in the spring/summer? You’re not alone. Research has shown that energy expended during leisure time activity is significantly greater in the warmer months of the year – at least in areas where a distinct four seasons are experienced. In the winter, when you can’t see past the snow outside your window, you’re more likely to reach for the TV remote (and that box of cookies) than to go for a walk outside. Today, you may look at photos of yourself from last August and wonder what the heck happened over the past 8 months. Unless you’re particularly motivated and bucked the trend, you may find your current self but a pasty and pudgy version of last summer’s. For those of us living in southeast Canada, and northeast US – this winter has been particularly rough. So far, the spring has also been underwhelming.

Personally, when I haven’t been able to get a decent workout in a while, as time passes I become progressively less motivated to get back into the exercise routine. With every day of inactivity I sense as though the hurdle that I need to overcome to be active again becomes greater.

Part of the problem is that I enjoy intense workouts. When I take some time off, I know I won’t be able to bring the same level of intensity I did when I was regularly exercising for some time. And this very thought is what discourages me from getting back into it.

Alas, it is time to get moving again. But how to overcome your feeble motivation?
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Category: Physical Activity | 4 Comments

Does sex tonight impact your workout tomorrow?

A commonly held belief among many athletes and coaches (particularly male ones) is that sexual intercourse the evening before a competition spells disaster on the big day. Thus, many high-level athletes practice abstinence prior to competition. Muhammad Ali was an outspoken proponent of this rule, as was Marv Levy, head coach of the Buffalo Bills, who separated his athletes from their partners leading up to the SuperBowl.

In conversations with my male friends, the anecdotal consensus certainly was that any bedroom activity decreased the intensity of next day’s workout. Though, of course, this is MUCH less relevant than it would be to competitive athletes. Naturally, I decided to look into this issue more seriously and see if there is any scientific evidence to back up the idea that knockin’ boots the night before might negatively influence athletic performance.
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Category: Obesity Research, Peer Reviewed Research, Physical Activity | 4 Comments

Morning workout vs breaks from sitting – which is better for blood sugar?

Today’s guest post comes from Dr Meredith Peddie. You can find more on Meredith at the bottom of the post.

“Sitting is the new Smoking”… we’ve all heard it…. It even made an appearance on Criminal Minds last week (sorry New Zealand TV is probably months out of date)… and yes, there is an ever growing number of studies that indicate that people who sit for long periods are at greater risk of developing, and dying from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.  There are also studies that indicate that people’s pattern of sitting might also affect their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (longer periods of interrupted sitting are worse than short bouts that are regularly interrupted with activity).  However, the vast majority of these studies are observational in nature, meaning that they can’t tell us if changing peoples sitting patterns will actually reduce their risk of developing and dying from the above mentioned diseases.

Unfortunately, a study in which you actually changed peoples sitting patterns and then waited to see if that affected whether or not they would develop cancer or cardiovascular disease would take years, and require a large number of people…. So that is where our study comes in… we decided to investigate whether different patterns of activity and sitting would affect risk factors for cardiovascular disease in a very acute setting.  Specifically, our study was designed to compare the effects of prolonged uninterrupted sitting, a single continuous bout of physical activity combined with prolonged sitting, and sitting with regular activity breaks on postprandial metabolism.  

To do this we conducted a randomized cross over study in which 70 healthy, normal weight men and women participated in three intervention days, one in which they sat continuously for 9 h (except then they had to get up to use the bathroom), one in which they walked briskly uphill on the treadmill for 30 min and then sat for the remainder of the 9 h, and one in which they performed regular activity breaks (1 min and 40 sec walks on the treadmill every half an hour – giving us a total of 30 min on the treadmill over the 9 h) sitting in between each break.

During this time we fed them three times, and collected blood samples at regular intervals for the analysis if glucose, insulin and triglyceride.  – Sound familiar? Yes, our study is very similar in design to a study Travis conducted as part of his PhD, and to the study David Dunstan conducted in Australia, however, the key differences are we used healthy, normal weight adults as participants (not children or overweight adults) and had an intervention day which was designed to mimic someone meeting the current physical activity guidelines, but still spending a lot of time sitting.

What did we find?


Peddie et al., 2013 (Source). Click to enlarge.

Regular activity breaks resulted in a 39% reduction in plasma glucose, and a 26% reduction in plasma insulin when compared to prolonged sitting.  But what was surprising was that we also found a 37% reduction in plasma glucose and an 18% reduction in plasma insulin when regular activity breaks were compared to 30 min of physical activity combined with prolonged sitting. 
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Category: Guest Post, News, Sedentary Behaviour | Tagged | 11 Comments

Watching this interview may be bad for your health

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed on the local Global TV morning show here in Halifax, talking about the health impact of sedentary behaviour.  It was a fun interview, and we covered a lot of the main reasons why sedentary behaviour is bad for your health. And no, the irony of going on TV to talk about the health impact of TV was not lost on me (sitting is bad for you; sitting in front of a TV is very bad for you).  In particular, the McDonald’s product placement proved my point about the ubiquity of food ads on TV.  I think it went well (Peter told me that I no longer look like a grad student – so mission accomplished!), so I thought I’d post it up here.  Enjoy!


Category: Interview, News | 4 Comments

You’ll need running shoes to see this theatre production

SleepNoMoreTravis and I have been blathering on over the years about the downsides of prolonged sitting. We may have even made a few of you as paranoid as we’ve become about keeping sedentary time down to a minimum. We’ve told you to drink plenty of water while at work so that you are forced to get up and go to the bathroom. We’ve suggested you have walking meetings, have a standing or treadmill desk, or at least a peddler under your desk to keep your feet moving. Hopefully, none of you have lost your jobs on account of our advice. We’ve even discussed the merits of stepping in place during commercial breaks if you happen to be spending your evening glued to the television.

But in some instances, prolonged sitting is just out of our control. On long-haul flights, for example, despite my best efforts to get up as often as I can and walk the isles, I still spent plenty of hours with my behind firmly planted in my seat. Those darn “fasten seat belt” lights seem to come on at the slightest whisper of turbulence, and depending on your seating arrangement, the passengers seated beside you might grow aggravated with your frequent request to get past them to “stretch your legs”.

I also believed enduring prolonged periods of sitting would apply when attending a theatre production. That is, until I attended Sleep No More in New York City. You see, in this show, which is loosely based on Shakespeare’s MacBeth, there is no stage on which the 20 or so actors perform and there are no seats in which the audience sits. Instead, actors and audience members interact with one another throughout 5 floors of a fictional 1940s hotel named the McKittrick. Multiple scenes occur concurrently throughout the vast space, and audience members are free to move around and do whatever they please.

But sitting, the audience does very little of. In fact, most of the time you are walking around the hotel, poking in and out of various rooms, playing with anything you want (books, piano, random clothes, rotary phones, etc.) And at other times, you are sprinting trying to follow the ensuing action.
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Category: Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour | 3 Comments