Today’s Headlines: Heavy Lifting, Exercise, and Fruits and Vegetables

Back pain in women related to gender differences in lifting: Women with back pain might have good reason for it. “Scientists observing groups of people lift heavy boxes found subtle differences between the sexes that could increase women’s risk for chronic back problems, according to a study published online in the journal Applied Ergonomics. One important difference was the way men and women coordinated their joint movements—including knee, hip and lower back—when lifting an object from a low height. Women tended to move each joint separately, one after the other, which put most of the stress on the lower spine, the researchers said. The men, particularly those with lifting experience, moved their joints almost in unison, which is safer for the back.” (WSJ)

Six second bursts of exercise good for health: Just one minute of intense exercise may lead to big health benefits. Researchers studied a method of exercise called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in older adults to see how it would affect their health. They came in “twice a week for six weeks…[and] were instructed to bike for 6-second bursts of high intensity on an exercise bike, then rest for at least one minute. The bursts gradually increased until, by the end of the trial, they were doing 10 of them per session, for a full minute of total exercise.” At the end, participants saw “a 9% reduction in blood pressure, an increased ability to get oxygen to their muscles, and an easier go at day-to-day activities like walking the dog.” (Fox)

Five servings of fruits and vegetables maximize benefits: To maximize the health benefits from fruits and vegetables and decrease your risk of death, you need five servings a day. “An analysis of 16 worldwide studies suggested that for every portion of fruit and vegetables consumed, there was a lower risk of premature death….Researchers in the US and China found eating more fruit and vegetables was linked with a lower risk of dying from any cause, particularly from cardiovascular disease. The average risk of death fell by about 5% for every extra serving of fruit and vegetables, up to five servings a day, but not beyond.” The average American gets just three servings per day. (BBC)