We've already highlighted the best diet tips of the year, but we've learned just as much about how we exert our bodies. Here are a few of the biggest fitness news items of the year.
- Instant metabolism boost: Want to increase your body's fat-burning potential? It only takes an hour of exercise to change your body's DNA to increase your metabolism, a new study said. In fact, the effects can be seen in as little as 20 minutes — good to remember the next time you're slogging away on the treadmill.
- One-minute intervals: Here's another reason to love those high-intensity intervals: a study found that just one minute of high-intensity intervals followed by one minute of rest, for a total of 20 minutes, can increase your energy, regulate your blood sugar, and increase your body's oxygen production. It doesn't take much to keep your body healthy, so take a minute to sprint, up the resistance on your indoor bike, or just stop and do jumping jacks!
- 2.5 minutes, 200 calories: Is 20 minutes too long? Well then here's even better news: another study found that just 2.5 minutes of high intensity can boost your metabolism to spur an afterburn of up to 200 more calories a day.
- Sitting is worse than smoking: You probably heard the news this year — sitting too much can be deadly. In fact, a report earlier this year said that 10 percent of all deaths are caused by a sedentary lifestyle. That's higher than the amount of deaths from smoking, so even if you exercise for just 30 minutes a day, the news is a good reminder to keep doing what you're doing and stay active throughout the day.
- Jog to live longer: What's the secret to a long life? It may just be taking time to enjoy a nice leisurely jog. Researchers found that people who jogged at a slow or average pace lived longer than nonjoggers. So even if you consider yourself not a runner, adding a slow jog to your weekend can help your life expectancy.
- Yoga injury: Think of yoga as a healing practice? For many, it's just the opposite, said The New York Times earlier this year. Many experienced yogis suffer injuries ranging from strokes to broken bones to permanent disabilities, which they say were the result of their practice. The takeaway? Yoga can be just what your body needs, but just make sure you don't push yourself past your limit.