21st Century Fitness

It seems like everyday you hear about a new do-it-all fitness regimen or a new study showing that the exercises that you once thought were best are actually bad for you. In our 21st Century Fitness series, we consult the brightest minds to try to cut through the fat and find out what it really takes to be fit and healthy today.

The Nature Fix

Feb 13, 2017
Mark Stevens via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0/Flickr http://bit.ly/1hYHpKw

Monday, we’re talking about the restorative power of nature. For centuries, great minds like Beethoven, Tesla, and Einstein have extolled the benefits of the outdoors. But these days, our lives are increasingly lived indoors and onscreen. Wondering if we could all use some more exposure to the natural world, the writer Florence Williams set out to explore the science of “our deep, cranial connection to natural landscapes.” She’ll join us to discuss how nature can make us healthier, happier, and more creative.

In America today, nearly 10% of the population has diabetes; more than two-thirds of us are overweight or obese; and one out of 10 kids are thought to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The journalist Gary Taubes blames all of these afflictions on one culprit: sugar. In a new book, Taubes argues that sugar is the “principal cause of the chronic diseases most likely to kill us…in the 21st century.” Taubes joins us to make the case against sugar and why we’d be healthier without it.

The Science of Fat

Jan 4, 2017
Laura Lewis via Flickr/CC, http://bit.ly/2ix26sf

Body fat is a source of shame for many people, something to be hidden, fought, and burned away. But fat, says the biochemist Sylvia Tara, isn’t just unsightly blubber, it’s an essential and deeply misunderstood organ that’s vital to our existence. It enables our reproductive organs, strengthens our immune system, protects us from disease, and may even help us live longer. In a new book, Tara explores the science behind our least appreciated organ, and she joins us Wednesday to talk about it.

Greg Westfall (cropped), via CC/Flickr, https://goo.gl/GWoald

For years, Daniel Kunitz lived the life of the mind. His body though “became a trash depot.” Then he started running, which led to swimming, weightlifting, and eventually CrossFit. His health and his life steadily improved. Kunitz’s personal quest got him wondering how fitness culture has changed through the years. Why were the Greeks so buff? Why do guys do dumbbell curls? How have women changed exercise as we know it? Kunitz joins us to share what he’s learned about the evolution of fitness.

Jan Willemsen via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/1SchCBc

Dan Buettner has been working for years to identify hot spots around the globe where people enjoy exceptionally long, happy, and healthy lives. He calls these places “Blue Zones.” People living in Blue Zones often grow old without suffering chronic diseases like cancer, obesity, and diabetes. There are just five of these places in the world, but Buettner thinks the habits and practices common to Blue Zones can be adapted by people everywhere. He joins us Monday to explore the Blue Zones recipe for longevity.

Noakes Foundation

 


Professor Tim Noakes is one of the most widely respected authorities on exercise and fitness, and he’s built his career by challenging conventional beliefs, including his own. The idea of carb-loading before endurance races: he came up with that. These days he promotes a high-fat low-carb diet, even for athletes. And he’s not a big fan of sports drinks. Noakes joins us Thursday to talk about eating better, drinking less, and running against the grain to achieve better athletic performance.

Headspace

Oct 27, 2015

When was the last time you stopped for a few minutes to reflect on the present moment? Not the thing you screwed up yesterday, or the meeting you’re worried about tomorrow, but the here and now. Meditation and mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe says those few minutes are key to decreased anxiety, better sleep, and improved focus. He’s the creator of a popular app that guides users through meditation, and Tuesday he joins Doug to talk about finding “Headspace” in your life.

Pierre-Selim via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/1GRp27B

For years, science has told us that intelligence originates in the brain and that the body is just a vehicle to be controlled and piloted. But what if we’ve got it wrong? The cognitive scientist Guy Claxton thinks we do. The mind, he says, is more like a chat room, where the body’s systems share information and debate the best actions. So it’s the really the body, not the mind, that constitutes the core of our intelligent life. Claxton joins us Wednesday to explore the intelligence in our flesh.

Natural Born Heroes

May 7, 2015

  Thursday, our guest is journalist Christopher McDougall who wrote the book that kicked off the barefoot running movement. While he was writing, McDougall came across the story of a Greek foot messenger who accomplished remarkable athletic feats during World War II. It got him thinking about what makes a hero, and he learned it’s not chance and you don’t have to be superhuman. McDougall is in Utah and joins us to explore how normal people can develop their natural skills to be ready in a crisis.

In an online video, biomechanist Katy Bowman guides a tour of her home. It’s a lot of the usual stuff, but what’s missing is all the furniture. Katy and her family don’t have a couch or recliners or even chairs at the kitchen table. That’s so they have every possible opportunity for physical movement, which is a central idea of Bowman’s philosophy. She wants people to improve their health and their well being by exercising less and moving more and better. She joins us Monday to explain how and why.

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