TIME health

How Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg and Other Powerful Tech Execs Stay in Shape

Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets - Game Two
Bob Levey—Getty Images Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban at the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2015 in Houston, Texas.

From running to surfing

Highly successful people often push themselves both inside and outside the office.

Though it can be difficult to find time to exercise when you’re working around the clock, several tech executives have found techniques, routines, or sports that resonate with them and help them grow.

Here’s a look at what the CEOs of Facebook, Microsoft, and others do to stay in shape.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg works out three times a week.

Zuckerberg said in a recent Q&A session on Facebook that he made sure he worked out at least three times a week. Sometimes he even takes his adorable puppy Beast along with him on his runs.

Here’s what Zuckerberg said when Arnold Schwarzenegger asked him about his workout habits:

Staying in shape is very important. Doing anything well requires energy, and you just have a lot more energy when you’re fit … I make sure I work out at least three times a week — usually first thing when I wake up. I also try to take my dog running whenever I can, which has the added bonus of being hilarious because that basically like seeing a mop run.

GoPro CEO Nick Woodman loves to surf.

Woodman, the highest-paid CEO in the United States last year, fell in love with surfing when he was just 8 years old. In college he joined a fraternity located on the beach, and he surfed with his friends multiple times per day. Woodman still loves to surf, and that is reflected in the office environment at GoPro, according to CBS News.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is an avid cricket player.

Cricket is more than just a sport and a hobby for Nadella, who took over as the CEO of Microsoft in 2014. It taught him valuable lessons that influence how he runs Microsoft.

“Growing up in India, my dream as a boy was to play cricket professionally,” he told Geekwire. “The sport had a very rich heritage at my school and I went on to play school and junior cricket as a bowler (right arm off spin). At a certain point, I realized that I had reached my limit and luckily discovered my next passion in engineering and technology!”

Square CEO and interim Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey goes hiking in his spare time.

Dorsey has an intense schedule. He sticks to a rigid routine that amounts to an 80-hour workweek, as CNN Money reported back in 2011.

But he takes Saturdays off, which is when he finds the time to squeeze in some physical activity. He goes hiking on Saturdays, while Sundays are for “reflection, feedback, and strategy.”

Sebastian Thrun, the former Googler credited with building the company’s “moonshot” factory, is a dedicated cyclist.

Thrun, who now leads his own education company called Udacity, is an avid road cyclist who regularly completes 100-mile bike rides, according to Fast Company. He also snowboards and kite-surfs, and he has run half a dozen marathons.

Google cofounder Sergey Brin is an adrenaline junkie.

Brin, who now serves as the president of Google’s new parent company, Alphabet, is a daredevil at heart. Gymnastics, high-flying trapeze, springboard diving, ultimate Frisbee, and hockey are just a few of Brin’s favorite hobbies. Brin tried out many of these sports when he studied at Stanford, where he met fellow Google cofounder Larry Page. He has been known to bring Googlers to athletic complexes that offer these types of activities for team bonding experiences.

Billionaire tech investor Mark Cuban gets at least an hour of cardio per day.

Cuban, a regular host on the ABC reality show “Shark Tank” who owns the Dallas Mavericks, incorporates cardio workouts into his everyday routine. He told The Dallas Morning News:

I try to do cardio for at least an hour, six or seven days a week, knowing I’ll miss a day or two now and then because of travel. I do elliptical and the stair gauntlet; play basketball; and take kickboxing and Latin fusion aerobic classes at Lifetime Fitness.

Former Cisco CEO John Chambers runs 2 to 4 miles almost every day.

Chambers, who served as the CEO of Cisco for 20 years until last month, described how running helped him unwind when speaking with The Wall Street Journal:

I jog to … stay in shape, but also because I like to eat. For the first part I think of something personal or in business that’s on my mind, and for the last part I just enjoy it.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is in the gym at 5 a.m. every morning.

Cook is a self-described fitness nut, as Adam Lashinsky wrote in his profile of Cook for Fortune earlier this year. He wakes up around 4:30 or 5 a.m. daily to get to the gym several times a week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk exercises about twice a week.

When you work nearly 100 hours each week, finding time to exercise can be really difficult. But Musk says he finds time once or twice a week to squeeze in a cardio workout on the treadmill and lift weights, according to Auto Bild TV.

Alexa von Tobel, CEO of LearnVest, goes to the gym almost every day and brings coworkers with her.

In LearnVest’s early days, von Tobel focused so much on her business that she didn’t go to the gym or visit the doctor regularly. But now she goes to the gym almost every day.

“I’m healthier, I’m happier, I sleep better. And all of that is important,” she told Business Insider in a previous interview. “When my life is better, my company is better.”

Sometimes she brings coworkers along with her for a meeting.

“I do my workouts in the morning, and often I’ll take someone from my team,” she told Fast Company. “The person I’m meeting with can pick the class, whether it’s a spin or barre class, or going for a power walk. It’s hard to run and talk — I haven’t mastered that yet.”

Mint.com founder Aaron Patzer runs and lifts weights.

Aaron Patzer believes physical activity is crucial to being successful.

“You cannot work 14 hour days without getting a good workout in as a break,” he told Men’s Health.

In addition to lifting weights, running, and rock climbing, Patzer also loves climbing trees, which he has been doing since age 3.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

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TIME Exercise

Working Out Doesn’t Keep Your Brain Young: Study

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Klaus Tiedge—Getty Images/Blend Images

Being physically active has a lot of health benefits, but the latest research questions whether it can help the brain

Exercise can help the heart, lower the risk of diabetes, keep blood pressure in check and help you maintain a healthy weight. But researchers say you shouldn’t expect it to keep your brain alert.

In a study published in JAMA, Dr. Kaycee Sink, director of the memory assessment clinic at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and her colleagues come to the somewhat surprising conclusion that exercise doesn’t help elderly to maintain their brain function. Previous studies that found people who were more active documented less decline in mental abilities over time. And the theory behind the relationship made sense — physical activity can improve circulation and keep brain neurons nourished and fed with the nutrients they need to keep working properly.

MORE: How Exercise Helps Curb Alzheimer’s Symptoms

But when Sink and her team put the idea to the test with a group of 1,635 elderly, sedentary people aged 70 to 89 years, they found that exercise didn’t provide the benefits they expected for most people. The participants were randomly assigned to either a moderately vigorous exercise regimen of walking or a health education program that was interactive but didn’t involve as much physical activity. After two years, the scores on a battery of cognitive function tests for the two groups were about the same. The relationship held even after the researchers adjusted for the potential effects of other factors that could contribute to cognitive abilities.

The idea that exercise doesn’t help the brain “flies in the face of conventional wisdom,” says Sink. “But it’s possible that exercise isn’t beneficial in this group above and beyond any health education.”

MORE: Here’s the Amount of Exercise That Lowers Breast Cancer Risk

She did find that among specific subgroups, the physical activity did show some improvement in brain function. Those aged 80 years or more, for example, as well as the frailest participants, seemed to show benefits in executive functions such as recall, memory and learning. That suggests that timing and duration of physical activity may be critical.

She cautions, however, that people shouldn’t turn back to the couch. It’s also possible that what the results show isn’t so much exercise’s lack of benefit, but the health education program’s impressive effect. The education program involved interactive activities to teach the seniors about healthy behaviors, and was not simply a series of lectures that the participants absorbed passively. The study participants met regularly and made friends with their fellow classmates, and looked forward to the sessions as social outings. That social stimulation may be as important as physical activity in keeping brain functions sharp, says Sink.

Because the volunteers in the study were older, Sink says that the exercise may not have started early enough or lasted long enough for it to have significant effects on the brain. “We certainly can’t rule out that exercise is something that needs to start earlier,” she says. “Life long healthy habits are probably important.”

MORE: This Is Your Brain on Exercise

And, she says, there are other health benefits of exercise beyond the brain. “Even though we couldn’t prove that exercising is better for the brain than attending education classes, exercise is still good for the body in m any ways,” she says. “So I would say to continue to exercise and stay physically active, but also try to stay cognitively and socially active as well.”

TIME Exercise/Fitness

You Asked: Does Compression Gear Really Work?

Compression Clothing
Illustration by Peter Oumanski for TIME

It’s the latest craze in active wear. But so far the known benefits are iffy.

From shorts and socks to sleeves and tops, athletes everywhere—amateur and professional alike—are squeezing into super-tight “compression” garments in an effort to boost performance and recovery.

While pinpointing the start of a trend is tricky, the compression craze seemed to spark back in 2001, when NBA star Allen Iverson scored 51 points the first night he wore a long compression sleeve on his right arm. Iverson’s doctor had improvised the sleeve to treat Iverson’s swollen, bursitis-stricken elbow. But after seeing “AI” light it up, other players quickly adopted the accessory.

Many of today’s popular basketball players, including LeBron James, still wear compression sleeves or leggings. And the trend has spread to other sports. Along with Nike and Under Armour, upstarts like 2XU and Tommie Copper have blossomed as compression gear manufacturers.

By squeezing and compacting the flesh of your arms, legs, or torso, these garments supposedly increase blood circulation, which helps deliver more oxygen to your muscles while speeding the removal of acids and the other byproducts of physical activity. There are other purported mechanisms of action, all of which supercharge performance while speeding recovery. That’s the theory, at least. The only thing missing is the proof.

“So far there is little evidence to suggest that wearing compression garments during an event can improve performance,” says Dr. Mike Hamlin, an associate professor of exercise and sports science at New Zealand’s Lincoln University.

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Hamlin has studied the effect of compression garments on short-term recovery. And while his research observed recovery improvements among rugby players who wore compression leggings, those improvements only came from donning the leggings for 24 hours straight following exercise. Other researchers have found similar benefits among weightlifters who slipped into compression body suits, but only when those suits were worn continuously for more than a day following exercise.

Hamlin mentions one 1996 study that found trained volleyball players were able to increase their average—but not maximum—leaping height when wearing compression shorts. But he says there’s “little evidence” that endurance athletes perform better while wearing compression tights and tops. A recent study from Indiana University looked into lower-leg compression among distance runners and failed to find meaningful gains.

Which takes us back to Allen Iverson and his sleeve. Iverson’s doctor improvised the arm compression as an aid for the player’s inflamed elbow—not to boost Iverson’s performance. And when it comes to medical conditions that involve swelling or poor blood flow, compression is still a “mainstay” of treatment and recovery, says Dr. Thomas Wakefield, a professor of vascular surgery with the University of Michigan Health System.

Particularly for lower body blood clotting and venous circulatory issues, Wakefield says compression garments are helpful either in place of or in addition to blood thinning drugs and other forms of treatment. There’s some evidence compression may help control muscle cramps and restless leg syndrome, though Wakefield says its unclear whether compression might be helpful.

MORE: How Exercise Helps Curb Alzheimer’s Symptoms

While mixed, there’s also some evidence that compression can provide a small performance benefit when it comes to explosive movements: a basketball player leaping repeatedly for a rebound, say, or a soccer player suddenly sprinting a few feet for a loose ball. But a 2013 review of the existing research on compression doesn’t rule out the possibility that the placebo effect may explain these performance gains. (You can’t really trick an athlete into thinking she’s wearing compression garments if she’s not, the authors of that review write.)

So here’s the compression gear story, compressed: there are certainly medical conditions for which compression clothing can be beneficial. And when worn for lengthy periods—a day or more following exercise—compression appears to help with muscle recovery.

But for now, the question of whether compression gear can amp up your athletic performance is still up in the air.

TIME Exercise/Fitness

How Coke Is Subtly Blaming You for Obesity

SEC Launches Investigation Into Coca-Cola's Earnings History
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Which is more important for weight loss: diet or exercise? While science has one answer, soda manufacturers have another

For years the message from medical experts to the increasingly hefty American population has been the same—watch what you eat, and exercise. But since everybody eats, but not every person is physically active, the focus has really been more on the former rather than the latter. Diet is an easier target, too, because the biggest culprits are simple to spot: fried favorites, calorie-dense fast food, sugar-sweetened beverages and processed foods that pack a lot of fat-building carbohydrates and sugar. Eat less of these, the white-coat brigade keeps telling us, plus more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and it’ll be easier to control weight, avoid putting on extra pounds and bypass serious diseases like heart problems and diabetes. The problem is, the messaging hasn’t worked. Obesity rates have continued to climb in recent decades. (While they’ve started to level off, there still aren’t many signs that they are beginning to drop.) So some people are now changing the mantra: instead of focusing on what you put into your body, turn your attention to what you do with the energy, stored up in the form of fat, that you’ve packed away. Worry less about your diet, and get active so you can burn off the unwanted calories you consume to keep your weight in check.

MORE: Here’s the Amount of Exercise That Lowers Breast Cancer Risk

The sugar-sweetened beverage industry has hungrily adopted the message. Facing mounting pressure to improve their products, both when it comes to calories and overall nutrition, they’re eagerly shifting the attention—or blame—from their fare to the American public. It’s not us, they seem to be saying, but you. You’re just not moving enough to burn off all the calories you’re taking in. First, the makers of Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, and Pepsi, along with the American Beverage Association, launched Mixify, a campaign that encourages young soda drinkers to “mixify” their balance of sugared drinks and exercise, giving license to indulge more if they’re more active. But the latest soda-backed program is the Global Energy Balance Network, a collaboration of leading medical experts with a mission to urge Americans to focus on finding a better balance between what they eat and what they burn off (which, for the mainly sedentary American population, is about getting more active.) The network is supported by Coca-Cola, though initial invitations to scientists failed to mention that.

MORE: This Is Your Brain on Exercise

What’s particularly insidious about this new spotlight on exercise and energy balance is that it’s good medical advice that’s being promoted in a misleading and potentially harmful way. There simply isn’t strong evidence to show that exercise alone, at least at the level that anyone other than a marathoner maintains, can actually help people to shed pounds. “The notion that we can exercise away a bad diet is absolutely unfounded,” says Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center and professor of pediatrics and nutrition at Harvard, “and contradicted by many research studies.” Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, assistant professor of family medicine at University of Ottawa, agrees. “The average person who sees me is definitely under the impression that the ticket to the weight loss express is exercise,” he says. “These are well-intentioned people who want to change their weight or health status predominantly through exercise without paying much attention to their intake, because they don’t believe their intake is an important or valuable contributor to their weight.” No doctor or public health official would argue with the soundness of getting more exercise. Loads of studies show the benefits of being physically active on the mind, heart, metabolism and more. But in these new campaigns, this scientifically solid advice is being tweaked to encourage the less scientifically valid idea that extra calories from processed foods or sugared drinks can be so easily worked off. “By grabbing onto causes that are beyond reproach and tough to argue with, like ‘exercise is good for you,’ Coca-Cola is getting involved in a way that isn’t in the best interest of public health,” says Freedhoff. The campaigns want us to believe that we can figure out how many calories we’re taking in, then exercise the appropriate amount to work off that additional input. But people are notoriously bad at measuring how many calories they consume and work off–and, even more significantly, our bodies don’t work that way. Calories that come in don’t simply turn into fat and sit inertly as a back-up source of energy if it’s not used. A body that gets exposed to a lot of excess sugar, such as from sodas or carbohydrate-rich processed foods, isn’t the same as one that only sees a smaller amount. Consistently high levels of sugar can change the way the body breaks it down. Like a car that’s repeatedly driven at high speeds and needs to rely on the brakes more often in order to stop, the biological metabolic brake system—in this case the insulin that processes sugar—starts to wear down and become less efficient. That’s the first step toward weight gain and diabetes.

MORE: Strenuous Exercise May Not Be That Bad for You After All

If weight were as simple as burning off the calories that come in, then foods that are high in calories, such as nuts, would be a “nightmare,” says Ludwig. Instead, study after study shows that people who eat more nuts, which are also brimming with protein, healthy unsaturated fats and fiber, tend to lose weight and weigh less than those who don’t consume them. The key, he says, is insulin. The more processed and refined a food is, such as baked goods and carb-heavy snacks like chips, the quicker the body digests it, and the more insulin the body pumps out to break down the food. The more insulin that circulates around, the more fat is sequestered away, since the excess calories far exceed what the body needs so it stores the fat away for future use. That’s why the idea of just working off the calories you eat doesn’t quite capture all the hormonal and metabolic changes that occur in the body when food comes in. “If you’re a toaster oven, then the calorie balance model is for you,” says Ludwig. “If you’re a human, it’s not helpful. By the calorie balance theory, we should cut back on everything. There should be no difference in cutting back on fruits and vegetables than from cutting back on soda. Instead, we all intuitively know that’s not the case. Eating too much fruit is not the road to obesity.” But there is a certain appeal to the notion of being able to compensate for that can of soda with a jog around the block. And the beverage makers know that, which explains why they’re backing the exercise message, similar to the way that the tobacco industry supported and ultimately biased results of studies claiming that light or low tar cigarettes were less harmful. In response to a recent New York Times article about Coke’s involvement in the network, the company released a statement: “At Coke, we believe that a balanced diet and regular exercise are two key ingredients for a healthy lifestyle and that is reflected in both our long-term and short-term business actions,” the company wrote. But the soda makers’ strategy of shifting responsibility onto consumers and making it their choice to work off what they eat or drink misses the point. Consumers do have choices to make, but Dr. David Katz, co-founder and director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, likens the American public to flood victims, caught in a dangerous current of sugar-sweetened beverages, fast food, calorie-dense but nutritionally barren options and forced to “swim” by adopting a healthier diet or becoming more physically active. But, notes Freedhoff, “Without a levy, even the best swimmers get tired.” Until the food environment in which Americans find themselves changes dramatically — such as with taxes on sugared sodas, bans on advertising sugared foods to children and stricter vetting of health claims, like the energy balance message being promoted now, Americans will continue to be carried along with the unhealthy tide toward obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. “If you want to live a healthful life and maintain a healthy body weight, you need to go out of your way to live abnormally in an environment where normal isn’t healthy,” says Freedhoff. “It should really be the other way around.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the affiliation of Yoni Freedhoff. He is at the University of Ottawa.

TIME

Why Workers in Turkey Are Encouraged to Be Late For Work

Scenes Of Istanbul
Julian Finney—Getty Images

It’s a new health initiative

Can giving people time off incentivize them to exercise? That’s what the governor of the Erdine province in Turkey is betting on.

Our Cure is Sport is a new health initiative that will be implemented in the western Turkish province of Erdine. Government workers who participate in the program will be allowed to clock in an hour later than their usual start time, according to Turkish news site Haber 7. Workers will be helped to find a sport that suits them and have access to a dietician.

The initiative is one way in which Turkey is fighting obesity, which has become a growing problem in Europe over the last few years. With 61.9% of its adult population overweight and 27.8% obese, Turkey ranks third in the region by prevalence of obesity, and has the seventh largest percentage of people who are overweight, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The European country with the highest percentage of obese and overweight population is the Czech Republic.

This is a fairly recent trend: reports show that obesity has increased by 44% from 2002 to 2014, according to the Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK). The reasons for this rapid weight gain? Many of them will sound familiar to those heard in and about the U.S.: fewer opportunities to be physically active and the increased consumption of processed foods, according to Middle Eastern news website Al-Monitor. Additionally, however, extra weight has long been sought after, with proverbs such as: “A man without a belly is like a house without balcony.”

Still, obesity rates in America, nearly 35%, are higher than anywhere in Europe, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And while Americans may finally be eating less, 80% of us are not getting enough exercise, according to the CDC. And while some employers encourage working out during the workday, at most companies, that idea is not widespread enough to be considered culturally acceptable.

So far, 70 people have asked to take part, though it isn’t clear whether people will be monitored to make sure they really are using the hour to work out. Either way, it’s something that employers in the US should look into, as it might help them cost costs in the long run. Obese people cost employers more than double normal weight employees in covered medical claims, sick days, short-term disability, and workers compensation: $8,067 versus $3,830 per year, according to the Center for Advancing Health (CFAH).

Time for treadmill desks?

TIME Exercise/Fitness

3 Kettlebell Moves for Beginners

Improper technique can cause ineffective and even dangerous workout sessions

One of the greatest and most versatile pieces of exercise equipment is also one of the most ignored and improperly used pieces of equipment. It has been around for centuries and can quickly take your fitness to a whole new level. Whether you want to work on strength, cardio, or a combination of the two, this piece of equipment can do just about anything.

So what is this mysterious device I speak of? It’s the kettlebell, of course.

You may have seen these around your gym and just thought they were another one of those “gimmicky” pieces that seem to pop up out of nowhere. But in fact, the kettlebell has been used all over the world for years as a tool to increase strength, cardiovascular health, power, and mobility.

While more and more gyms are starting to carry kettlebells, most people don’t know how to use them. And swinging one around without proper technique can not only be ineffective, but it’s also dangerous.

First, some form tips

Before we get to the moves, you need to know some basic things about form.

Your hips are the main “movers” in many kettlebell exercises. For example, while a Kettlebell swing may look like your arms are the main driving force, it is actually the hips. In fact, when you’re performing kettle bell swings properly, your arms should not be doing any work aside from holding on to the kettlebell.

Your wrists should always be in a neutral position during kettlebell movements; they should never bend backwards or forwards.

Your grip should always be loose. You want to hold on to it, definitely, but at no point should you have a death grip on the kettlebell.

Find your rhythm. Kettlebell movements are largely based on momentum, so it’s important to find your own rhythm and pace, which will keep you safe and offer the benefits.

3 Movements to Get Started

The basic swing

Start with your feet hip width apart with both hands on the handle. Your grip should be loose but stable (no flying kettlebells, please). From here, hinge your hips backwards as far as you can, while bending your knees slightly. Swing the kettlebell between your legs and then swiftly push through your hips to straighten your legs and swing the kettlebell up to chin height. This takes practice, so start with a light kettlebell until you get the hang of it. Repeat this 10-15 times.

kettle-bell-swing2
Jennifer Cohen

The kettlebell push press

Start with the kettlebell in your right hand at your chest with your hand in a neutral grip position (also known as the rack position). Lower into a squat, bending your knees to 90 degrees (not shown). From here, straighten your legs, press your right arm overhead and rotate your wrist to palm forward. Your legs are used to create momentum, so this movement will be a quick one. Make sure you keep a neutral wrist throughout the entire movement. Repeat this 6-8 times before switching to the left hand.

push-press-kettle-bell
Jennifer Cohen

The kettlebell clean

Start with your feet hip width apart, holding the kettlebell in front of you with your right hand. Your palm should be facing you. Lean down and lower the kettlebell below your knees. In one motion, stand up straight again and curl the kettlebell to your chest, back into the rack position. You don’t want the kettlebell to hit your wrists. You’ll probably have to try a few times to find your rhythm so that the kettlebell with settles nicely into your wrist, so be gentle. And don’t give up. Repeat this 6-8 times before switching to the left side.

kettle-bell-clean
Jennifer Cohen

Want to find more ways to stay fit? Here are 5 Fitness Trends That Are Having a Moment

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME Exercise/Fitness

13 Fun Ways to Work Out With Your Dog

woman-running-with-dog
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The versatile furry friends can do anything from running to yoga to boot camp with you

Dogs make the best workout buddies. They never complain about hills or cancel on you last-minute. And they’re always stoked to follow you out the door. That energy can be contagious: research from Michigan State University found that canine owners were 34% more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week than folks who didn’t have a dog. Even if you’re just taking your pup for a walk, that counts. (Move at a brisk clip and you can burn as many as 170 calories in half an hour.) But there are lots of other activities you and Fido can do together—all while strengthening your bond.

Check out these fun ways to get fit with your furry pal.

Running

Because dogs are creatures of habit, they can help you keep up your weekly mileage: Once your pup gets into the routine of a morning run, she won’t let you wimp out if it’s drizzling, or you’re just feeling bleh, explains J.T. Clough, author of 5K Training Guide: Running with Dogs($8; amazon.com). “She’ll wait by your sneakers, tongue out, tail wagging,” says Clough, who runs a dog-training business on Maui. “Her excitement can be enough to change your attitude.”Concerned your little pooch won’t keep up? No need to worry, says Clough: “The truth is most small dogs have more energy than the big breeds.” Just be careful in the heat and humidity, since dogs don’t sweat like we do. And if you have a flat-faced breed (think pugs and Boston terriers), keep your runs under five miles, Clough suggests, since these dogs have a harder time taking in air.

Stand-up paddleboarding

It’s almost as if stand-up paddleboards were designed for canine co-pilots: Dogs of all sizes can ride on the nose (while you get a killer ab workout). Pick an ultra-calm day on a lake or bay for your first excursion together, so your pup can develop his sea legs. If you’re struggling to balance the board, try paddling on your knees, which lowers your center of gravity, until your dog is comfortable. Still, odds are you’ll both take a dip, which is why Clough recommends outfitting your dog with a life preserver. It’ll make it easier for you to lift him back onto the board, too: Most doggie vests have an easy-to-grab handle, like the NRS CFD (from $35; amazon.com).

Is your dog a born swimmer? Bring a stick or throw toy and play fetch once you’ve paddled out.

Kayaking

You can also take your dog out for a spin in a sit-on-top kayak. Smaller breeds may perch up front, while larger dogs might feel safer closer to your feet. Teach your buddy to get in and out of the kayak on land first; then practice in the shallow water close to shore. (If he seems nervous about sliding around, you could lay down a small mat or piece of carpet so his paws can get some traction.) The trick is to keep the first few outings relaxed and fun (read: brings treats!). Stick to inlets and slow-moving rivers without too much boat traffic. You can let your dog paddle alongside you if he wants to swim. If not, that’s okay too: “He’s getting lots of stimulation just by riding in the boat,” says Clough—all while you ton your arms and core and burn hundreds of calories.

Cycling

Is your dog so exuberant on walks you worry she might one day pull your arm off? If so, try letting her keep up with you as you pedal: “Biking is perfect for dogs with tons of energy,” says Clough. “They are totally psyched to flat-out run.” Meanwhile, you’re getting a great workout (cycling can torch 500-plus calories per hour) and building your leg muscles.

If your girl likes chasing squirrels and skateboards, consider using a device called the Springer. It attaches the leash to your bike’s frame or seat stem and absorbs much of the force of sudden tugs ($130; amazon.com).

Biking with your dog may actually help with any behavioral issues she has, Clough adds. “The biggest problem I see with dogs is that they’re not getting enough exercise.” Indeed, veterinarians at Tufts University’s Animal Behavior Clinic say aerobic exercise stimulates the brain to make serotonin, a hormone that helps dogs, especially those who are anxious or aggressive, to relax.

Rollerblading

This is another great way to burn off a dog’s excess energy—as long as you’re an expert inline skater, that is. If not, “it can be disastrous,” warns Clough. “Your dog will be like ‘Woohoo!’ and you’ll be like, ‘Where’s the break?!” But even if you’re super confident on wheels, she suggest rollerblading in an area free of traffic, like a park or boardwalk, so you can enjoy the excursion as much as your pal. Chances are, you’ll have so much fun you’ll forget you’re seriously working your core.

Dog-friendly boot camp

Fitness classes designed for people and pups—like Leash Your Fitness in San Diego and K9 Fit Club in Chicago —are becoming more and more popular. In a typical class, you’ll run through high-intensity moves for strength, balance and cardio while your four-legged companion practices obedience drills. “I recommend that people at least try out a class,” says Clough, who helped launch Leash Your Fitness. “The focus is more on the person’s workout than the dog’s,” she explains, but your dog is learning to feel comfortable in a distracting environment—and that will make it easier to take him along on other fitness adventures.

Dog yoga

Yep, “doga” is a thing, and it turns out pooches are naturals at this ancient practice. Can’t picture it? Think about your girl’s morning stretches: She probably does a perfect cobra, right? In a doga class, you’ll help her try more poses—and she’ll (hopefully) act as a prop for your own poses. But really doga is all about the pet-human bond. There’s often some doggy massage and acupressure involved. And while you’re in such close contact, you’ll have the opportunity to do a regular health check, feeling for any lumps beneath her fur.

Active fetch

You throw the ball and your pup goes bounding after it. But who says you have to just stand there? While he’s retrieving, bust out some muscle-building moves like crunches, lunges, squats, and more—until you’re both panting and worn out. Better yet, race him for the ball and squeeze in some sprints. Fetch can be a game you play, too.

Soccer

Believe it or not, some dogs love soccer—especially herding breeds like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. Pet brands sell soccer-style balls (resistant to sharp teeth) in different sizes, like the 5-inch Orbee-Tuff ball from Planet Dog ($20; amazon.com). Once your boy learns to “kick” or “dribble” with his nose or paws, get your heart rates up with keep-away, or by punting the ball and racing for it.

Not a soccer fan? Try engaging him with other toys (like rope tugs) and activities (such as hide-and-seek). “Put yourself into kid mood, come up with a game, and show him,” Clough suggests. “He’ll most likely play it with you.”

Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing

Cold weather doesn’t mean you have to leave your dog cooped up. Some breeds—like Huskies and St. Bernards—have snow in their DNA, but many dogs enjoy a good romp in the white stuff. And whether you’re on snowshoes or skis, you’ll get in a low-impact, total-body workout. But the best part comes later, when you both curl up for a snooze by the fire.

If your dog gets chronic snow build-up between the pads on her paws, you can outfit her with booties. Brands like Ultra Paws (from $32; amazon.com). and Ruffwear ($90; amazon.com) make rugged footwear for winter walks.

Stair-running

Thanks to the vertical element, climbing stairs (or bleachers) makes your quads, hamstrings, and glutes work extra hard. You’ll tighten up your lower half, while Spot burns off the biscuits.

Join a canine charity race

You have the perfect training buddy. Why not work toward the goal of finishing a dog-friendly race? Events for four-pawed runners and their owners—such as the Fast and the Furry 8K in St. Paul, Minn. and the Rescue Me 5K9 in Irvine, Calif. —are held all over the country.

Don’t have a dog?

You can still work out with one. Call a local animal shelter and volunteer to take dogs out for walks or runs. Pound puppies are often desperate for exercise and attention, and your commitment to your new furry pal is great motivation to stick with a fitness routine. Best of all, as an anxious or unruly dog learns to walk on a leash and behave in public, you’ll be improving his chances of finding a forever home.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME Exercise/Fitness

How Exercise Helps Curb Alzheimer’s Symptoms

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Pamplemousse—Getty Images/OJO Images RF

Most studies so far have focused on the importance of physical activity before you develop Alzheimer’s. But can it treat the disease once you are diagnosed? Two studies hint that may be the case

At the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in July 2015, scientists report some encouraging news about the benefits of exercise. In the first studies to look at physical activity among people already diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s, moderate to high intensity workouts may not only slow down the biological symptoms of Alzheimer’s—but may lead to improvements in cognitive functions as well.

In one study involving 200 people with mild or moderate disease, Dr. Steen Hasselbalch from the University of Copenhagen and his colleagues randomly assigned some participants to an hour of exercise three times a week for 16 weeks, while allowing the remainder to continue without a regular activity regimen. After a phase-in period, the exercisers were working at a moderate to intense level, achieving 70% to 80% of their maximum heart rate for at least half of each session.

MORE: Your School Grades Affect Your Risk of Dementia

That level of intensity is important, says Hasselbalch, to achieve results. Compared to the control group, the exercisers showed fewer symptoms such as anxiety, changes in mood and depression that are common among Alzheimer’s patients. Overall, those who were more active did not show any changes in cognitive functions, but when Hasselbalch looked at the results more carefully, he found that participants with milder disease who exercised actually did perform better on intellectual skills after the 16 weeks. They were tested on memory, language, mental speed and other executive functions.

“It’s been shown with other diseases that exercise can have beneficial effects,” he says. “Now we have shown it’s also important for dementia. So if you now have this alternative treatment, it sends a message that you can do something even after diagnosis to treat dementia.”

MORE: Two New Alzheimer’s Drugs Offer Hope—With Caveats

Because the people exercised in a group setting, he says that simply being part of that social situation and getting out of the house and interacting with others appears to reduce the mood-related symptoms of Alzheimer’s. “But if you really want an effect on cognition, then you have to exercise hard.”

He admits that his study did not delve into how the exercise might be contributing to the improved cognitive changes, but he will be analyzing the blood and cerebral spinal fluid collected from the participants to study that further.

MORE: Alzheimer’s May Show Up in Saliva

Such changes are what Laura Baker, from Wake Forest School of Medicine, and her team did with another group of early stage Alzheimer’s patients. They wanted to see what biological changes exercise might have on the Alzheimer’s process, and focused on 70 patients with mild cognitive impairment and diabetes, both of which significantly increase the risk for Alzheimer’s. Some were randomly assigned to simple stretching exercises, while others were told to exercise four times a week and, like those in Hasselbalch’s study, had to work hard enough to raise their heart rate to 70% to 80% of its maximum for 30 of the 45 minutes of each session. Baker then studied their cognitive function tests, brain imaging and levels of Alzheimer’s proteins in their cerebral spinal fluid.

She found that those who exercise rigorously increased the blood flow in the areas of the brain responsible for memory and higher level processing. The result was a dramatically increased score, by 80%, on average on the cognitive tests than those who just stretched, even after accounting for age-related changes in thinking. More intriguing, the exercisers also showed on average a 14% lower level of the protein tau, which is a good indicator that brain neurons are dying and Alzheimer’s processes are well underway, at the end of the study compared to before they began the exercise regimen.

“What’s encouraging to us is that we don’t have treatments now; there’s nothing for Alzheimer’s patients,” says Baker. “The possibility that a non-medicine intervention could actually change the disease — we’re just very encouraged by these results,.”

While the exercise regimen wasn’t an easy one — it qualifies as moderately intense physical activity, which for a group of older adults who are likely sedentary to begin with is certainly a challenge, both Hasselbalch and Baker say that with the right execution — by working with participants and by gradually increasing their exercise level — achieving the amounts of activity needed to help their brains is possible. Baker also points out that it’s time to start studying the combined effects of new medications that are being tested for Alzheimer’s and increased physical activity. Together, she says, they may hold the key to actually slowing down and possibly even reversing progression of the disease.

TIME Exercise/Fitness

Find Out How Many Calories to Cut For Weight Loss

A new NIH calculator gives you a personalized plan in minutes

Forget the number 2,000—a new government calculator uses the latest research to spit out an exact calorie count and exercise regimen you’ll need to hit your weight loss goals.

The calculator, called the Body Weight Planner, is now available online for public use, but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has used it in research since 2011. “We originally intended the Body Weight Planner as a research tool, but so many people wanted to use it for their own weight management that we knew we needed to adapt it with more information about how to achieve a healthy lifestyle,” said Kevin Hall, PhD, one of the creators of the tool and a senior investigator at the NIH, in a press release.

Read more The Best Way To Make Your Exercise Habit Stick

The calculator asks your weight, sex, age and height—standard measures often used to prescribe a calorie plan. But it also incorporates more recent research about exercise to further personalize your plan, asking you to estimate your physical activity level on a scale of 1.4 (sedentary) to 2.5 (very active), to name your goal weight and to pick a date by which you want to reach it.

Most of us get about that far in thinking through a weight loss plan, but the calculator doesn’t stop there. It also asks you to name a percentage by which you plan to increase your physical activity and tells you what kind of exercise, how much, how often and what intensity level it’ll take to get there. Adding in a routine of light running isn’t the same as starting intense swimming, and in a distinctive feature, the calculator doesn’t weigh all physical activity equally.

The resulting calculations tell you three things: the daily number of calories you’ll need to eat to maintain your current weight, the calories you’ll need to reach your goal in your specified time, and the calories you’ll need to maintain your goal once you’ve met it. You can then use SuperTracker, a meal-planning tool developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to devise a meal plan based on your calorie stats. =

For people motivated by microscopic proofs of progress, there’s even an expert version of the calorie calculator that breaks down your goal by day, so you can see exactly how your weight loss will likely progress—decimal by decimal—if you stick to your program.

Read next: Here’s The Amount Of Exercise That Lowers Breast Cancer Risk

TIME Cancer

Here’s the Amount of Exercise That Lowers Breast Cancer Risk

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Getty Images/Brand X—Getty Images/Brand X

A new study calculates how much weekly exercise can reduce fat levels enough to lower the chances of developing breast cancer

More than 100 studies have found that physical activity can lower breast cancer risk; the most active women tend to have a 25% lower chance of developing the disease than the least active women. But how does exercise help?

Christine Friedenreich, scientific leader of cancer epidemiology and prevention research at Alberta Health Services, and her colleagues had identified body fat as a possible pathway to lowering cancer risk. In an earlier study, they found that women exercising 225 minutes a week showed dramatic drops in total body fat, abdominal fat and other adiposity measures.

MORE: New Genetic Test for Breast Cancer Would Be Cheaper and Easier

That inspired the team to examine more closely the effects of the commonly recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week on body fat measures. They compared these effects to a doubling of that amount of activity, to 300 minutes a week, to see if more exercise had a greater effect in lowering body fat.

Reporting in JAMA Oncology, Friedenreich found that indeed, among 384 non-active women past menopause, some of whom were normal weight and others who were overweight or obese, those randomly assigned to exercise for 300 minutes a week over the year-long study lost more body fat than those who were active for 150 minutes each week. The women didn’t change their diet or any other aspect of their lives; they just exercised their allotted amount, by walking, running, cycling or using an elliptical machine or treadmill.

MORE: Many Breast Cancer Patients Get Unnecessary Radiation

Overall, the women exercising 300 minutes weekly lost 1 kg—about 2.2 pounds—or 1% more body fat than those in the 150 minute group. The former also lost more abdominal fat and had a bigger drop in their waist to hip ratio. They did not, however, lose significantly more weight.

That last finding is important because many physical activity and cancer studies focus on weight as an outcome and correlate pounds lost with cancer risk. But Friedenreich wanted to specifically tease apart what physiologic effects exercise has on the body, specifically on fat, since fat levels have been linked to a higher risk of a number of cancers, including breast cancer.

MORE: Here’s How Well Your Genes Can Predict Your Breast Cancer Risk

While the women who exercised more saw the biggest drops in their body fat measures, those who followed the recommended amount of activity—150 minutes each week—also melted away some of their fat. But the finding suggests that more is better, and for preventing cancer, it may take more than the recommended amount of exercise to produce a benefit.

“The exercise guidelines were developed with [heart disease] outcomes in mind,” says Friedenreich. “So at that level, they can have an effect on blood pressure, cholesterol levels and waist circumference. But for cancer prevention, we may need to exercise at higher volumes. So yes, doing 150 minutes of activity a week is good, but if you can do more, then from a cancer prevention perspective, 300 minutes is better.”

The fact that exercise can lead to a drop in body fat is especially important for cancer of the breast, she says, since fatty tissue is the primary source of hormones that can drive breast cancer after menopause. Fat also plays a role in the body’s immune and inflammatory responses, both of which are also involved in cancer. “I’m sure that doctors are advising their patients to be more physically active to prevent heart disease or diabetes,” says Friedenreich. “So we’d like to add cancer to that list of chronic diseases that exercise can potentially prevent or help to lower the risk.”

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