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Thursday, January 15, 2009

New studies on fitness, fatness, baldness, and more

Baldy: iStockphoto
  • Other than looking good, is there any real benefit to the trend of skin-tight workout clothes? According to research conducted at Charles Sturt University in Australia, not so much. Eleven participants went through a standardized workout, first wearing compression garments and then not. Everything from heart rate to rate of perceived exertion to lactate buildup were monitored. The only difference found was the perceived amount of muscle soreness 24 hours after the workout. Whether that justifies the skintight clothes in contact with your flab is another debate.
  • Is it too late for Greg Maddux to change his mind? Researchers at the University of Virginia believe that a daily dose of MK-677 can increase the muscle mass in the arms and legs of older adults without serious side effects. A double-blind two-year study published in November showed that the drug restored 20 percent of the mass associated with aging for a sample of 65 patients between 60 and 81 years old.
  • WADA can take away gold medals, but can it put hair back on a bald man's head? Finasteride is apparently a key component in several products hoping to slow unfortunate balding. Since 2005, it's also been on the list of banned substances as a potential masking agent. But as of 2009, finasteride will be legal thanks to improvements in testing procedures, meaning many athletic foreheads are unnecessarily shiny.
  • In this installment of "I can't believe people spent money researching this," a survey has proven that sports fans aren't the healthiest of folks. Fans at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock eat more fast food, drink more alcohol, skip breakfast, and eat fewer vegetables than their counterparts. Sports gurus had a higher body mass index and tended towards binge drinking. And we thought all-you-can-eat wings for Monday Night Football was such a healthy habit.
  • Go to any NBA game and you'll see a special kids' section for Henry's Heroes or Leroy's Leaders. But, other than free tickets, just how well-paved are athletes' philanthropic intentions? According to an analysis of 89 player charities conducted by the Salt Lake Tribune, only 51 cents of every dollar actually went towards charitable benefits (below the 65 cents deemed acceptable). The lack of efficiency doesn't appear to be malicious, but instead a lack of organization and experience, with players selecting friends and family to key positions. And don't think it's all about the name: both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have closed their charities.