How daytime naps could help us make better decisions

A new study, now published in the Journal of Sleep Research, examines the effects of short naps on the brain’s ability to process unconscious information.

Sleep is key in both memory formation and the consolidation of new information.

Cutting-edge technologies now allow scientists to see where in the brain learning takes place, and how sleep deprivation interferes with the brain’s neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to respond and adapt to the stimuli it receives from the environment.

What happens “under the hood” when we are asleep has also been the focus of numerous studies.

According to research that Medical News Today recently reported on, scientists were able to locate specific memories and strengthen them while the study participants were asleep using certain auditory cues.

Now, an intriguing new study focuses on the effect of daytime naps on the brain’s ability to process information that we are not consciously aware of.

Additionally, the study examined how daytime naps impact conscious behavior and choice reaction time — that is, the speed with which the brain processes new information.

Liz Coulthard, a consultant senior lecturer in dementia neurology at the University of Bristol Medical School in the United Kingdom, led the new research.

Naps help process unconscious information

Coulthard and colleagues recruited 16 volunteers for the study and gave the study participants two tasks.

In the first, a “masked prime task,” the researchers presented information to the participants very briefly so that they didn’t have time to register the information consciously.

In the second (control) task, the participants responded when they were shown a red or blue square on a screen.

Best Time for Cardio – What time of day is best for your cardio workout

Most wonder when the best time is to do cardiovascular training. But is there really an exact time to put cardio into your workout that will benefit your body? Many researchers have looked at this in a number of ways, but there has been no significant proof of when the best time of day is to do your cardio work out. However, there are many factors to consider when deciding on when to do your cardiovascular training. By following a few simple steps, you can make your cardio workout most effective.

First off, most people would agree that the best time to do a cardio workout is the time when you feel most energetic throughout the day. This allows you to use all your energy, and to maximize the effectiveness of your workout. A lot of people say that they feel best doing their cardiovascular workouts in the mornings because this is the time they have the most energy.
However, if you are not a morning person, this is probably not the best time for you. Remember, there is no specific time of day that is proven to help benefit your cardio workout. In the end, you have to choose what time works well for you.

To get the best results of cardio training, it is ideal to separate your cardio days from your weight training days. So, if you lift weights 3 times a week, try to do your cardio sessions on the days you are not weight training. This is especially important for men who are trying to gain mass. If you do your cardio workout before lifting weights this can deplete your glycogen stores, and defeat the purpose of your entire weight lifting session. Glycogen stores are your muscles main source of energy, and if you have very few of them you will not be able to push yourself through those last few reps that mean the most from your workout. For women and those who’s priorities are not to gain mass, it is alright to do a cardio workout before a low-intensity weight training session.

If your ultimate goal is to try and get both your cardiovascular training and resistance workout done in one session, you are better off doing your cardio session after your weight training. The main reason for this is because weight lifting does not deplete your glycogen stores as much as it would during a session of cardio. Therefore, if you do your cardio session after your weight training, you will still have some left over glycogen stores to get in a decent
cardio session. If you want a more effective cardio session in the same day as weight training, it is best to wait a few hours before jumping right into it after lifting weights. The reason for this is that it is important to restore your glycogen stores to stop the breakdown of protein. But, if you are trying to get both weight lifting and cardio done in one day, it is best to do your cardio session last.

People often ask if they should do their cardio training on an empty stomach. The answer to this is no. The reality of it is that if your body has no food in it, it has no easy source of energy. Therefore your body will start to look elsewhere for a source of energy. But where does it get the energy from? It will actually start to take energy from your muscles. So unless your goal is to lose muscle and become scrawny, I wouldn’t recommend doing cardio on an empty stomach. Although I would never recommend eating a meal before working out, I would try to plan a light snack about 30 minutes prior to your cardio training. This would be most beneficial to your entire work out.

Cardio equipment choice is also something that is often questioned. However, the choice of the equipment you use simply does not matter. They are all effective for cardio training, so whether you use a treadmill, an elliptical trainer, or a bike, all will lead to an effective cardio workout.

Finally, taking these simple things into consideration should help you decide what the best time is for you to do cardio. Only you can decide when and where, however knowing these simple facts may make your decision a lot easier. In order to make a cardiovascular workout effective, you must be consistent in your routine. The benefits from cardio will only be revealed if you stick to a set schedule. Also, it is important to note that every single person has a certain time of day when they feel most energetic. Try to figure out when that time of day is for you and fit your cardio workout into that time slot. You will most likely be able to push yourself the most during this time, and have an overall better workout. In the end the only person who can decide when the best time for cardio is, is you. But, if you stick to these simple rules, your cardio workout should be most beneficial.

NEW YORK TIMES: Lift Weights, Eat More Protein if You’re Over 40 — The Combination Can Help You Become Stronger

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A comprehensive scientific review of research, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, aggregated the results from the best past studies of weight training and protein. What the published review found was that eating more protein — and, as the New York Times reported, “well past the amounts currently recommended” — can amplify “the results of lifting weights, especially for people past the age of 40.” That means larger, stronger muscles and greater strength.

Follow this link to take a look at their write up: Lift Weights, Eat More Protein

To Sit or to Stand: Try a 30-Day Challenge — Sitting Too Long Can Shave Time Off Your Longevity

Dr. Sudip Bose on the treadmill

By Dr. Sudip Bose, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

Smoking one cigarette is the medical equivalent of cutting one hour off your life. You may have heard that oft-quoted statistic before.

By the same token, sitting for too long can shave time off your longevity as well.

There are some major things regarding health that are effected by the amount of time you sit vs. stand or engage in anything else active. Sitting for long periods of time can effect your cardiovascular health, it can hasten the slide towards obesity; people who have sitting jobs are about 2.5 times more obese than those who do not.

Sitting also has an effect on mortality — death. Data shows that people who sit three hours a day vs. people who sit six hours a day. The people who sit six hours a day have a 40 percent increased chance of death. If you have an office job that requires you to sit for long amounts of time, there are some things you can do to mitigate the “sitting effect” and lessen the impact of sitting on your overall health. These are small things, but if you’re mindful of them, they can help:

  • Take phone calls standing up
  • Set a timer reminder and get out of your chair every 30 minutes or so
  • Park farther away from your office and walk more
  • Take the stairs and not the elevator or escalator

All these will help with blood flow and help circulate oxygen throughout your body and especially to your brain. It can help make you more productive.

Continue reading “To Sit or to Stand: Try a 30-Day Challenge — Sitting Too Long Can Shave Time Off Your Longevity”

10 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep? According to Men’s Health Magazine, These Are Resolutions They Say You Can Actually Stick With

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Men’s Health has published a roundup of their 10 New Year’s resolutions they say you’ll actually be able to stick to. They encourage us to, “Make this year your best one yet by picking a goal that will prime you for success.” Follow this link to take a look at their write up: 10 New Year’s Resolutions to Keep

Prehistoric Women Had Stronger Arms Than Competitive Rowers Today

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This article originally appeared on Time.com.

Today’s athletes may be strong, but they’ve got nothing on prehistoric women who spent their days harvesting crops and grinding grain. According to a new study in the journal Science Advances, the average woman who lived during the first 6,000 years of farming had stronger upper arms than modern-day female rowing champions.

The study “highlights the scale of women’s labor in prehistoric agricultural communities, and the hidden history of women’s work across thousands of years of farming,” says study author Alison Macintosh, a postdoctoral anthropology researcher at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Previous research has compared women’s bones to men’s of the same era, the authors write in their study. But male bones respond to strain in a more visibly dramatic way than female bones, they explain, which has caused scientists to underestimate the true nature and scale of the physical work done by women in prehistoric societies.


Continue reading “Prehistoric Women Had Stronger Arms Than Competitive Rowers Today”

Soccer success is all about skill

A new study used analytic techniques developed in evolutionary biology to determine the impact of a player’s skill, athletic ability, and balance on their success during a game.
Source: ScienceDaily

The 15-Minute Home Workout to Survive the Holidays

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This article originally appeared on DailyBurn.com.


For most, the holiday season means a whole lot of travel, food and to-dos…and little time, space or energy for exercise. But your fitness doesn’t have to take a backseat to a packed seasonal schedule — and this home workout, made up of just five exercises (all from Daily Burn 365), is proof.


The total-body bodyweight routine is low-impact, so you won’t bother others by jumping around. And you don’t need any equipment, either. Plus, you’ll target multiple muscles in each efficient move, working your body from top to bottom along the way. All you need is 15 minutes and a space the size of an exercise mat. Follow along pre- or post-feasting with the fam — or better yet, both.


RELATED: The 7 Best Strength Exercises You’re Not Doing


The Home Workout You Need This Holiday Season


Perform each combination exercise below in order for 40 seconds each. Rest for 20 seconds between each exercise — or skip the breather and keep going if you have the stamina. Repeat the circuit at least twice for three total rounds.


Home Workout: Walk Out to Shoulder Tap Exercise


GIF: Daily Burn 365


1. Walk Out to Shoulder Tap


How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart (a). Reach down to touch the ground (try to keep your legs straight) and walk your hands out to a high plank position (b). Tap your left shoulder with your right hand, then your right shoulder with your left hand. Engage your legs, abs and glutes so your hips stay steady (c). Walk your hands back to your feet and stand up (d). Repeat.


RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Ab Workout


Home Workout: Lunge to Front Pull Exercise


GIF: Daily Burn 365


2. Lunge to Front Pull


How to: Start standing with feet a little wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Bring your arms straight up overhead (a). Lower into a sumo squat as your pull your elbows down and back by your sides (b). Stand back up, bringing arms overhead (c). Next, turn to your right as your bring your arms down to shoulder height and lower into a lunge, both knees bent to 90 degrees (d). Stand back up, bringing arms overhead (e). Repeat the turn and lunge, this time turning to your left side (f). Continue alternating sides with a front pull between each lunge.


Home Workout: Shuffle Side Punch Exercise


GIF: Daily Burn 365


3. Shuffle Side Punch


How to: Start standing with feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Hold your fists at your face like a boxer (a). Shuffle your feet, taking two steps to the left (b). Using your hips to help drive the movement, punch your right arm out to the side, palm facing downward. Then quickly bring your fist back to your face (c). Shuffle to the right two steps (d). Then punch your left arm out to the side, palm facing downward and then quickly bring your fist back to your face (e). Repeat.


RELATED: The Kickboxing Workout That’s All About Abs


4. Plyo Lunge with Bent Over Row


How to: Start standing with feet staggered so your left leg is in front, knee bent. Hinge forward at the hips about 45 degrees and straighten your arms out in front of you (a). Pull your elbows back, keeping them in close to your sides, then straight them back out to perform the row (b). Jump to switch your footing, bringing your right leg forward with knee bent (c). Repeat the row (d). Continue alternating your lunge stance with a row between each.


Home Workout: Side Plank to Boat Pose Exercise


GIF: Daily Burn 365


5. Boat to Side Plank


How to: Start sitting on a mat. Lean back about 45 degrees and bring your knees up into a tabletop position, arms straight out by your legs. You should be in boat pose with knees bent (a). Roll onto your left side to hit a side plank, legs out straight, elbow under your shoulder and creating a straight line from shoulders to hips to ankles (b). Roll back onto your butt to hit boat pose again (c). Then roll onto your right side to hit a side plank (d). Repeat, performing boat pose between each side plank.


Source: Fitness