Think crunches for belly-fat are just the thing? Think again. The most dangerous type of belly fat—the kind that resides deep within the abdomen and sneaks into the spaces between internal organs—laughs in the face of your crunches, weight-lifting and resistance-training in general. A study of adults aged 18-70 found aerobic exercise such as jogging, however, can ‘significantly reduce’ this fat (also called visceral or liver fat), and decrease your risk of developing heart disease or diabetes.
“When it comes to increased health risks, where fat is deposited in the body is more important than how much fat you have,” said Cris Slentz, a Duke University exercise physiologist who led the study. “Resistance training is great for improving strength and increasing lean body mass. But if you are overweight, which two-thirds of the population is, and you want to lose belly fat, aerobic exercise is the better choice because it burns more calories.”
Participants in the study jogged 12 miles per week for eight months.
Need more incentive to hit the pavement? What if we told you that looking svelte pays—a lot. That’s the theory behind University of Texas economist Daniel Hamermesh’s new book, Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful (there’s even word for the economics of beauty: pulchronomics). According to Hamermesh, below-average-looking men earn 17 percent less than George Clooney types, while below-average-looking females bring in 12 percent less—and this held true for all sorts of professions, like teaching and football stardom, where beauty isn’t exactly part of the job description. Ugh. Wonder if the beauty bias will make any difference for the just-announced cast of this season’s Dancing With the Stars? The contest pits Boomer TV journalist Nancy Grace against Gen Y reality star Kristin Cavallari; rock heir Chaz Bono against 90s songstress Chynna Phillips (daughter of The Mamas & the Papas’ John and Michelle Phillips); and talk-show host Ricki Lake against George Clooney’s ex-girlfriend.
In good news … Scientists say the ‘Black Death’ plague is not coming back (whew); banks are temporarily waiving fees for folks burdened by Hurricane Irene; a new Iowa State study shows how “collaborative dialogues” between middle-aged couples can help keep memories sharp; and it turns out that marriage can literally help mend broken hearts—married men and women live years longer after coronary bypass surgery compared with unmarried people who have the same surgery.
… and in saying goodbye: The last of the great Delta Bluesman, David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards, died Monday at 96. Edwards, who was thought to be the oldest surviving member of the legendary first generation of Mississippi Delta blue performers, was still playing 100 shows a year until 2008.
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