A New Survey Has Found That People Spend Less Than One Percent Their Lives Exercising

Hate exercising? Most of us do. While the rush of endorphins that hits after you collapse on a treadmill is nice, it’s often not enough of an incentive to go back to the gym (or the running track, or your bike) for another go. Instead, you might want to veg out with your iPad or make the most of you time here on earth eating that burger monstrosity which has a calorie count higher than the number of steps you’ve ever taken in a single day. But while we’d like to continue living in blissful ignorance about our exercise habits until the new year rolls around again, a new study has made it impossible to sit up (counts as exercise!) and not take notice of how little time we devote to physical fitness.T

The study was funded by Reebok and conducted by Censuswide, which looked at how we’re all spending the approximate 25,915 days (an average of 71 years) that many of us will live. And the results are sobering. According to the survey, which studied more than 9,000 people around the globe, we spend less than one percent of our lives devoting time to physical fitness (approximately 180 days), while spending more than 41 percent of it (10,625 days) staring at screens, and 29.7 percent of our lives sitting down. That’s approximately 7,709 days of just sitting, and while it doesn’t sound so bad (although many of us would probably prefer to spend more of that time laying down) it’s definitely something that could contribute to both lower life expectancy as well as a lower quality of life. And if you’re reading this and thinking “I’ll definitely put that on my resolutions list,” you should know that the average human breaks a New Year’s resolution less than three months after setting it.

It’s unlikely that any of us are going to take Reebok’s suggestions and run around the world or climb Mount Everest, but the results are a gentle reminder that you might want to buy a new pair of running shoes and at least try to make it outside to take a nice walk every couple of days. After all, the sense of self-satisfaction you’ll get from knowing you did something to make yourself a little healthier might actually spur you to do more. Or it may just give you enough of a lift that you’ll live just a little longer anyway. As long as you don’t reward your hard work with a double bacon cheeseburger.

How to Heal Yourself With Yoga

Modern ways of living are altering by the minute and, likewise, the worldwide illness profile connected with those ways of living is changing swiftly. According to the Medical Study Council of South Africa, low- and middle-income countries are particularly influenced. A 2005 worldwide research study on disease found that chronic conditions of way of life comprised 60 % of deaths in the world, two times the variety of deaths for “all transmittable conditions (HIV/AIDS, consumption, malaria), maternal and perinatal conditions, and dietary insufficiencies combined”. The killers? Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory illness and strokes come up as leading contenders.

Chronic illness of way of living– otherwise called “non-communicable conditions” or “degenerative conditions”– are a classification of diseases grouped together due to the commonness they share in danger elements as an outcome of prolonged direct exposure to unhealthy lifestyles, namely bad diets, ill-managed tension, cigarette smoking and lack of exercise.

What’s more startling is that the conditions are preventable, usual risk factors are mainly modifiable and for that reason something can be done about them. The fact is that most people understand that they have to manage their anxiety, stopped smoking, change their diets and get some exercise, however the typical issue in taking action is knowing exactly what to do. The gung-ho impact goes into where a specific excitedly, and often unrealistically, makes an effort to modify his/her way of living. The intent is honorable, however the approach unsustainable.

I commonly recommend individuals to detox psychologically, physically and emotionally or spiritually when attempting to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Take it one step at a time, make small, convenient and measureable modifications along the way. Changing your diet without changing your training, or even introducing training, is an uneven method, the exact same goes for changing your mindset about living healthily yet not implementing a new eating and workout plan. Becoming healthy ought to be a holistic procedure and should encompass all 3 human aspects. Get in some ancient help …

Traditionally, yoga is a healing procedure with physical, mental and spiritual benefits for the professional. It rests in an air of positivity to one’s self and others, and can form the perfect foundation for a change in way of living. It should be specified that yoga is not a religion, however rather a lifestyle, a modification in attitude and a modification in body. Yoga can be considereded a collection of physical and spiritual techniques, each following a path leading to a goal of physical, mental and spiritual/emotional harmony.

The yoga practice most typical in Western societies is Hatha yoga, which follows the physical course and practices asanas (physical postures) and pranayama (breathing workouts), mudra (body gestures) and shatkarma (internal cleaning).

According to Dr Timothy McCall, MD, yoga practitioner and author for the YogaJournal.com, yoga is “arguably the most comprehensive method to fighting anxiety ever created. Anxiety isn’t simply a factor in conditions commonly identified ‘stress-related’, such as migraines, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, but it appears to add to such major killers as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.”

The impacts of yoga are a recently investigated subject, with research studies starting to record the effectiveness of yoga for such conditions as back pain, numerous sclerosis, sleeplessness, cancer, heart problem, and even consumptions. According to McCall, these studies are also increasingly documenting the how instead of the exactly what.

“Among its numerous beneficial effects, yoga has actually been shown to enhance strength, versatility andbalance, boost immune function, lower blood sugar level and cholesterol levels, and enhance mental wellbeing … Among yoga’s most popular results, obviously, is tension reduction.”

Ineffective management of anxiety negatively influences a large range of wellness conditions. Workout itself is viewed as a stressor by the body, although one with ultimate favorable results on the body and mind. Yoga provides the perfect solution for those who are not dealing with existing tension or are looking for a means to begin effectively handling stress levels and initiating an exercise regimen.

To establish a recognition for the positive results of yoga, the function of anxiety in illness and how relaxation aids in prevention and recuperation, we explore the free nervous system (ANS), which has the duty of regulating the performance of vital body organs such as the heart, intestines and liver. This system has 2 branches that work at the same time, however on the other hand to each other: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nerves (PNS). In shorts, when there is an increase in SNS activity, there is a drop in PNS activity, and vice versa.

The integrated effort of the SNS, together with the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, lead to a number of modifications in the body which assist an individual to deal with stress by making energy and oxygen easily available. These modifications consist of a boost in blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar levels. Blood flow and oxygen are, in impact, rerouted far from internal body organs such as the guts, to the limbs instead, therefore preparing the person for “battle or air travel”.

The PNS, nevertheless, does the exact reverse, imaging the anxiety reflex with reducing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure– for that reason, starting recuperation after a crisis or difficult incident. Blood flow and oxygen are then redirected back to the internal body organs, resulting in the onset of relaxation.

The yoga methods of Hatha yoga activate both the SNS (asana) and the PNS (pranayama), thereby stimulating and hindering the stress reflex, which leads to an increase in blood flow and oxygen, in addition to an induced mental and physical state of relaxation.

Evidence from recorded researches done at the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation in India exposes why yoga is an ace in the hole in the health toolbox: more active practices, followed by unwinding ones, result in deeper relaxation than unwinding practices alone. This study has been backed up by the American National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Its research from a 2011 study, in which 313 grownups with chronic or repeating low-back discomfort were assessed, recommended that “12 regular yoga classes resulted in much better function than normal medical care”. Another study by the NCCAM revealed that individuals with chronic low-back pain who practiced yoga had “considerably less impairment, discomfort and depression after six months”.

The good news is that the useful impacts of yoga can be experienced instantly after the first class!

A University of Illinois research revealed that just 20 minutes of Hatha yoga can “enhance intellectual function, boosting focus and working memory”. Individuals in the research likewise experienced significantly enhanced brain function than after 20 minutes of aerobic workout.

There Are Now More Obese People Than Skinny People in the World

The number of obese people in the world now outnumber the underweight people, according to analysis of the trends of adult body-mass index in 200 countries over the last 40 years. The major study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, shows that the number of obese has risen to 641 million from 105 million in 1975.

The proportion of obese men has more than tripled (3.2 percent to 10.8 percent) and obese women has more than doubled (6.4 percent to 14.9 percent) since 1975. At the same time, the proportion of underweight people fell more modestly, by around a third in both men (13.8 percent to 8.8 percent) and women (14.6 percent to 9.7 percent).

“Over the past 40 years, we have changed from a world in which underweight prevalence was more than double that of obesity, to one in which more people are obese than underweight,” says senior author Majid Ezzati from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

“If present trends continue, not only will the world not meet the obesity target of halting the rise in the prevalence of obesity at its 2010 level by 2025, but more women will be severely obese than underweight by 2025.”

In South Asia, almost a quarter of the population are still underweight. In central and east Africa, levels of underweight are higher than 12 percent in women and 15 percent in men.

The authors warn that global trends in rising obesity should not overshadow the continuing underweight problem in poor countries.

Almost a fifth of the world’s obese adults, 118 million of them, live in six high-income English-speaking countries – Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK and the US. In Australia, about 27 percent of the population are obese.

Manny Noakes, the research director of the Health and Nutrition Program at CSIRO, says the numbers are alarming and impact not only on increasing chronic diseases but also on the environment.

“Heavier populations consume more fuels as well as food which is not sustainable,” Noakes says. “The low cost of junk foods and beverages is a contributor. Appropriate food policies and universal nutrition and healthy weight programs particularly targeting preconception are urgently needed.”

Standing Desks Make Students Fitter and Smarter

We do go on about our standing desks. And while all of us standinistas might feel sharper and smarter, a systematic review of standing and treadmill desks in the workplace “showed mixed results for improving psychological well-being with little impact on work performance.” Perhaps we are just too old; a newer study led by Ranjana K. Mehta at Texas A&M; has come to a different conclusion, finding real cognitive improvements in high school students who used standing desks.

Mehta tested a group of high school students in the fall semester using four computerized tests and a portable brain imaging device to study brain activation patterns. After they used standing desks for 27 weeks, she tested them again. She is quoted in a news release:

“Test results indicated that continued use of standing desks was associated with significant improvements in executive function and working memory capabilities,” Mehta said. “Changes in corresponding brain activation patterns were also observed.”

Another Texas A&M; professor had something to say about this:

“There has been lots of anecdotal evidence from teachers that students focused and behaved better while using standing desks,” added Mark Benden, Ph.D., CPE, co-researcher and director of the Texas A&M; Ergonomics Center. “This is the first examination of students’ cognitive responses to the standing desks, which to date have focused largely on sedentary time as it relates to childhood obesity.”

Benden previously studied students with standing desks to see if they could assist in fighting childhood obesity, (they did, with students burning 15 percent more calories; read TreeHugger’s coverage about that aspect) but also found that students were more engaged and involved.

“Standing workstations reduce disruptive behaviour problems and increase students’ attention or academic behavioural engagement by providing students with a different method for completing academic tasks (like standing) that breaks up the monotony of seated work,” Benden said. “Considerable research indicates that academic behavioural engagement is the most important contributor to student achievement. Simply put, we think better on our feet than in our seat.”

Benden, an engineer, even started a company, Stand2Learn, which makes adjustable standing desks for schools. No doubt it will do well; the results of the two studies are really impressive, showing that giving students standing desks “can effectively increase energy expenditure and physical activity as well as ensure (and enhance) cognitive development and educational outcomes.”

And Professor Benden, trademark that line “we think better on our feet than in our seat.” It’s a keeper.

How Yoga Stretching Compliments Strength Training

Yoga stretching is a more targeted and exact approach to stretching, because it emphasizes both the breathing and the positioning of the body. With emphasis on breathing, it’s possible to focus directly on the body part being stretched and then to be able to “breathe into” the stretch, in order to stretch more deeply. By emphasizing proper form, it’s less likely you will overstretch and cause harm to the muscles. Proper preparation is key to strengthening muscle and yoga stretching can make the road there both safer and more comfortable by putting the emphasis on paying attention to your breath and form.

Yoga stretching has been shown to stretch muscles to get you ready to exercise, protect you by helping you maintain proper breathing and all important form while exercising. This allows your muscles to release the tension that builds up during exercise, which ultimately allows your muscles to relax after working out. This final relaxation stage is vitally important because the time between workouts is when your muscles repair and strengthen themselves.

Stretching is vital before beginning exercise, because it warms up the muscle and prepares it for the coming strength training. Muscles settle into positions they are accustomed to so that when we do something different, the muscle can actually feel tight and can tear if we do anything too quickly. Yoga stretching can be as gentle or as vigorous as you need it to be, to prepare for your strength training.

Yoga stretching elongates the muscles gently and progressively, thereby preparing them to safely lift weights or do weight bearing exercises. Yoga also helps you focus on your breathing. This is important because holding your breath is the worst enemy of proper exercise technique. It’s also the most common mistake that even experienced athletes make, so proper breathing can’t be overemphasized.

Stretching after you finish strength training is equally important because it helps the muscles let go of the tension the exercise has built up during the session. That tension is necessary to build your muscles, but a constantly clenched muscle is likely to cramp and hurt.

An added benefit is that yoga stretching provides complete relaxation for all of your muscles, including those that you may not realize may be holding tension from your strength training. For instance, when you lift weights, your facial muscles will tense whether you are conscious of it or not. This makes yoga stretching even more beneficial, because a brief set of yoga moves can relax your muscles from head to toe.

Yoga stretching and strength training are not mutually exclusive, but in fact have been proven to work well together to make an effective partnership in your quest for flexibility, strength and good health. In order for muscles to strengthen, they must be ready for the work required to build that strength. Yoga stretching lengthens muscle to prepare it for a safe and successful strength training session.

Do You Really Need to Take 10,000 Steps Per Day?

If you’ve recently invested in a fitness tracker of some description, you’re probably familiar with nagging messages reminding you to take 10,000 steps per day. But where does this ballpark figure come from, and is it an accurate measure of how much activity we need to get through each day to stay healthy?

As Benjamin Pineros at Techly reports, the 10,000 step figure is actually the result of a marketing campaign dating back to 1964. Riding the wave of a sporting craze triggered by the Tokyo Olympics of that year, a company called Yamasa Tokei launched a pedometer called Manpokei. Translated literally, it means “the 10,000 step meter”, and thus the default step goal was set.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with walking 10,000 steps every day: it’s a lot better for you than the 3,000 to 4,000 average, for a start, and it should lead to you covering about 8 km (5 miles) and staying active for up to 2.5 hours a day. But you shouldn’t treat the target as a scientifically proven goal, or think that all you have to do to stay healthy is reach it.

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare recommends a target of 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day, while the UK National Obesity Forum says that anything up to 10,000 steps makes you a moderately active person. It’s perhaps the roundness of the number that’s helped it to catch on rather than something a little lower.

And it’s all relative anyway. “If you run three times a week, you’re not going to get fitter by walking 10,000 steps,” diet and fitness expert Laura Williams told the BBC. “You’re already quite fit. You’re going to need to do more to get fitter than someone who is chronically unfit and inactive. For them, walking 5,000 or 10,000 steps a day will improve their fitness.”

So while apps from the likes of Fitbit and Jawbone might push for that 10,000 figure, choose something that’s tailored to your own circumstances. And even if you are managing to consistently hit that target, it’s important to combine it with a healthy diet and make sure your heart rate is getting sufficiently pushed while you clock up those steps.

“The current recommendations for adults are to accumulate between 2.5 hours and 5 hours of moderate physical activity per week, which can be broken down to 30 to 60 minutes activity a day on five days of the week,” says Stephen Parnis of the Australian Medical Association.

That’s probably a better target than 10,000 steps each day… though it’s worth repeating that all those steps won’t do you any harm at all.

These Apps Will Help You Surpass Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that special time of year where everyone in the world talks a big game. 2016 is here and we’re all planning ambitious things: you’re finally gonna quit your job; it’s time for you to travel more; you’re gonna kick that soda habit! While it takes little to no brain power to make a New Year’s resolution, it’s infamously harder to keep one.

Reaching the 21 days it supposedly takes to form a new (and better) habit can get a little easier if you have some help, especially if it’s in the palm of your hand. There are a plethora of both Apple and Android applications that can aid you in doing everything from ditching cigarettes to picking up more paperbacks.

While there are general goal tracking apps – like Strides – if you have weird aspirations, there are also many special programs designed for the most common of resolutions. We’ve rounded up some great options to help you actually make 2016 a year of change.

The Resolution: Quit Smoking

The App: LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach – Dare to Quit Smoking
Cost: Free
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Device: Apple

The Livestrong app allows you to set goals and then track your progress. You can chat with other smokers trying to break the habit, record cravings and also get an idea of how much money you’ve saved by quitting. User reviews say the app is crucial in determining just how many cigarettes you’re puttin’ back a day, and ultimately it makes you much more conscious of your behavior. Complaints include that the interface wasn’t designed to be user-friendly and that it is, at times, buggy, kicking people off unexpectedly.

Similar Apps: There are a lot of similar apps with comparable features – but many have a price tag. For iPhone users there’s Smoke Free, and for Android try My Quit Coach.

The Resolution: Drink More Water

The App: Water Alert
Cost: Free with in-app purchases
Rating:4.5 Stars
Device: Apple

Water drinkers are quick to extol its many benefits: more energy, better skin, and improvements to their diets. So, why not start 2016 with your recommended 9 to 13 cups a day? Drink More Water lets you set daily reminders and interval reminders with notifications to encourage you to guzzle some H20. Similar to a calorie tracker, the app lets you submit your water intake by container size, something you can customize to match your receptacle of choice. You can set goals and even use in conjunction with an Apple Watch. Again, reviewers complain about the ads.

Similar Apps: For Android, try Drink Water Alarm, or try the original, Waterlogged, which just fell in popularity after changing to a more expensive pay format.

The Resolution: Lose Weight

The App: My Fitness Pal
Cost: Free
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Device: Apple and Android

Trying to cut back on your consumption in 2016? We got you. A longtime favorite among the App store’s calorie counters, My Fitness Pal helps you log every single thing you eat. While it may seem like a daunting task, My Fitness Pal makes it as easy as a few clicks, and includes pre-logged calorie totals for numerous name brand grocery items and restaurant selections. Users can set a daily goal, and My Fitness Pal will track up to it. Reviewers say that the brand’s customer service is quick to respond. However, some complain that there are too many advertisements.

Similar Apps: If My Fitness Pal isn’t cutting it for you, try Lose It! for comparable functionality, or, if you’re willing to pay the monthly fee, Weight Watchers Online.

The App: Runkeeper
Cost: Free
Rating:4.5 Stars
Device: Apple and Android

This is the year you’re gonna sign up for that half-marathon, right? Well, it’s time to start training. Incorporating a run into your daily routine is made easier with app Runkeeper. The program tracks your pace, the average miles per minute you travel, and also the calories you burn in real time, with audio updates. Users can set a running plan or chose one of the set training programs, and interact with a community. While the program works with Apple Watch, a lot of people seem to be having issues with the latest December update. The program can drain your battery life, but people seem to like the wide variety of features.

Similar Apps: Android users can try Runtastic, while iPhone owners should check out Under Armour’s Map My Run.

The Resolution: Balance Your Budget

The App: Intuit’s Mint Money Manager
Cost: Free
Rating:4.5 Stars
Device: Apple and Android

It’s official: you spent way too much money at Starbucks in 2015. Make sure that doesn’t happen in the new year with an app that will tell you, monthly, how much money you’re spending and where you’re spending it. Mint, from the makers of TurboTax and Quickbooks, syncs with your bank account and automatically breaks down line item purchases into different categories like food and rent. Mint lets you create a budget and input transactions into categories you create on your own, as well. Users like that it emails you a weekly breakdown of your expenditures and that it makes it easy to check balances on several accounts at once. Some complain that there are some bank connectivity issues and that a lot of smaller banks aren’t supported, though.

Similar Apps: Android users like My Budget Book (although it costs $3.19 to purchase), and while GoodBudget has similar functionality, it isn’t necessarily as pretty to look at.

The Resolution: Read More

The App: Goodreads
Cost: Free
Rating:4.5 Stars
Device: Apple and Android

In a time when books are quickly converted into movies, many just skip a step and buy the ticket rather than the paperback. Looking to up your fiction consumption? How about Goodreads. The app, which is an offshoot of the website, lets you follow friends so you can see what they’re reading and bookmark novels that you “want to read.” You can log what you’ve read this year, rate books, and give yourself a reading challenge. The app also sends personalized recommendations and lets you scan barcodes if you want to remember something you spot on a bookshelf. Users love the new 3D touch features and find the ratings and reviews easy to find. The only frustrating aspect is that you can’t actually read any books through the app. But that’s what the library is for, right?

Similar Apps: A little different than Goodreads in functionality, but OverDrive lets you sync your books from multiple libraries into one place – AKA your Kindle books and your iBooks can be all in one place.

Yoga vs. Gym: Which Workout is Better?

Is your favorite workout the best workout? That’s a question asked frequently by anyone who wants to get fit. Which exercise yields the best results?

A new study put two popular fitness routines to the test, yoga classes and gym workouts. Researchers from the University of Texas’ Health Science Center in San Antonio asked volunteers to try three different workouts. One group did yoga (focusing on stretching, balance and core strength), another did gym workouts (ramping up their heart rates on treadmills and other pieces of gym equipment), and the third group was asked to stay consistently active in whatever way they chose.

Each group exercised for one hour at a time and for three hours per week.

Dr. David Hughes, assistant professor and clinical exercise physiologist at UT and the lead researcher for the study, thought his gym workouts would be the clear winner.

But the real winner? That surprised everyone.

Hughes found that all of the workouts were equally effective in terms of fitness. Each participant was tested for body fat and physical function before and after the study, and the results were similar across the board. All the participants in the study lost roughly the same amount of body fat: about 4 percent. The participants in the yoga group excelled in one way over their gym rat peers: they were better at stretching and reaching.

According to the study, the key to fitness is consistency. No matter the workout, if you keep with it, you will gain fitness.

“You can just go out and be active, 10 minutes at a time, but for heaven’s sake, find something you enjoy and lock in and do it and if you don’t enjoy it, experiment until you find what you do,” said Hughes.

So which workout is the best workout? It’s the one that gets you out the door.

This Fitness Tracking App Pays You to Walk More

Having a hard time motivating yourself to exercise? What if somebody offered to payyou work out? That’s the idea behind Bitwalking — an app, digital currency and marketplace that pays its users 1BW$ (Bitwalking dollar) for every 10,000 steps they take.

The idea behind the app is about more than simply bribing people into getting up and moving more — its founders actually hope that it will be able to give people in developing countires another source of income. The company has set up “Bitwalking hubs” in Malawi, for instance, designed to help users learn to manage, trade and spend the digital currency they earn bitwalking.

On the surface it sounds like a noble idea, but Bitwalking payouts have to come fromsomewhere. According to the BBC, the company is looking for partners to help foot the bill, potentially trading walking payouts for data on Bitwalking users. Advertisers or sports brands could use this information to see how active their target market is, for instance. Even so, you’ll have to wait awhile before before trying the service out — for now, Bitwalking is invite only.

Scientists Say ‘Runner’s High’ is Like a Marijuana High

That happy, invincible feeling you get when you’re floating through the air at the peak of a workout?

You’ve probably heard that it’s something called endorphins that your body produced during prolonged exercise. That idea, which has been around since the ’80s, is based on the theory that these chemicals interact with receptors in the brain to reduce your perception of pain and some thought they may also give you that euphoric boost.

A new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences challenges that notion and puts forth a different theory: That that “high” it could be due to different substance called endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids can basically be thought of as the body’s self-produced marijuana and, like cannabis, can impact a wide range of physiological processes, including appetite, pain, memory and mood.

Now the new research was only in mice, so it’s unclear how it will apply to humans, but what the researchers found is almost certainly intriguing enough to inspire followup studies.

Researchers from the Central Institute of Mental Health of the University of Heidelberg took mice and gave them running wheels. They found that after the runs, the mice were less anxious and tolerated pain better.

Then they used drugs to block the animals’ endocannabinoid system. The results were striking. The animals were as anxious after running as before running and more sensitive to pain.

“We thus show for the first time to our knowledge that cannabinoid receptors are crucial for main aspects of a runner’s high,” the researchers wrote.

There’s been a lot of other interesting research on the subject of runner’s high recently. In August, scientists at the University of Montreal published their work on a different animal study involving the hormone leptin, which is nicknamed the “satiety hormone.”

Leptin, which regulates energy stores, signals to the body when it has enough fuel and energy. The researchers said it’s possible that when you are in the middle of a workout, your leptin levels may fall, and this could “send a hunger signal to the brain’s pleasure center to generate the rewarding effects of running.”

In a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, they compared normal mice with genetically engineered mice that lacked a leptin-sensitive protein called STAT3 that relays the leptin signal to release the reward chemical dopamine. The normal mice logged an average of six kilometers a day on a running wheel. But the genetically engineered mice ran nearly twice as much as the normal mice — 11 kilometers — each day.

If these studies are confirmed, the big question out there is whether these beneficial effects one day be bottled to help people exercise more to improve their health. It’s looking more and more like a possibility.