WHO: Diesel Fumes Cause Cancer
Diesel exhaust fumes cause cancer, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the WHO, elevated diesel exhaust from the "probable carcinogen" to the "known carcinogen" level, a move that could help exhaust be seen as a more serious public health threat. "It's on the same order of magnitude as passive smoking," Kurt Straif, director of the IARC department that evaluates cancer risks, told Time. "This could be another big push for countries to clean up exhaust from diesel engines." One of the biggest concerns? The number of people exposed to diesel exhaust. Affected groups include street pedestrians, ship passengers and crew, railroad workers, truck drivers, mechanics, miners, and people who operate heavy machinery. Diesel is now in the same category as other known hazards like asbestos, alcohol, and ultraviolet radiation.
- What Causes Cancer? 7 Strange Cancer Claims Explained
- Cancer Prevention: Rethink Your Diet as Well as Your Smoking
Why Try Interval Training Workouts? Quick Results
If you're looking to rev up your fitness routine, interval training may be your ticket. You can get more out of that spin class, run workout, or lap swim by alternating short bouts of high-intensity exercise (yes, you have to work hard!) followed by a few minutes or seconds of rest. By doing this, you stress out your cardiovascular system and build up lactic acid in the muscles—which boosts body fuel, strength, and stamina—while then letting yourself recover and prepare for the next tough interval.
The trend toward interval exercise to gain cardiovascular benefits isn't new for seasoned athletes, but the technique is gaining popularity among general fitness buffs looking for big gains in a short amount of time. And for good reason.
Evidence shows that with high-intensity interval training, participants can increase their maximum aerobic capacity—how well their body uses oxygen for energy at their greatest heart rate—higher than those who participate in a continuous exercise program, such as going for more than a 20-minute run, bike, or swim at a steady, moderate pace. The more oxygen your body can convert to energy, the stronger and faster you become. As your body adapts to the stress of interval training, your fitness level improves along with your muscle function.
But before taking your routine up a notch and risking injury, it's crucial to build a base fitness level first, notes Ed Coyle, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. For healthy people, this means typically doing 40 minutes of exercise three to four times a week for eight weeks, gradually working up to a higher heart rate level (220 minus your age is the predicted maximum heart rate, beats per minute). [Read more: Why Try Interval Training Workouts? Quick Results]
Bikes for Aspiring Cyclists
Learning to ride a bike is a childhood milestone. And there's good reason to stick with two wheels as we grow up. For one thing, it makes financial sense: With $4-a-gallon gas in some cities, commuting by bike is a cheaper option. Every type of bike is available at different price points, making it affordable for most riders. Prices range from $200 into the thousands, with average costs hovering around $500.
Biking is as good for your body as it is your wallet: In a study published in 2010 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, for example, researchers found that women who biked for as few as five minutes a day gained less weight than those who didn't ride. Other studies suggest that cyclists live about two years longer than non-bikers, and take 15 percent fewer sick days. And overall, research indicates that biking is good for the heart and helps stave off obesity, arthritis, and depression. (Expect to burn about 500 calories per hour, depending on how much you weigh, when moving at a moderate clip.) "The biggest thing is the fun factor," says cycling enthusiast Selene Yeager, author of Ride Your Way Lean: The Ultimate Plan for Burning Fat and Getting Fit on a Bike. "It's one of the closest feelings you can get to flying—it brings back the memory of your youth, it's a beautiful way to see places, and it's a relaxing form of exercise."
Once you decide to ride, the next step is weighing different types of bikes against each other and selecting the best fit. Choices include:
Road bikes. These light-weight bikes have skinny tires and drop handlebars that offer multiple options for hand position. They're ideal for riding long distances on paved or graded surfaces. They're built for speed, too, Yeager says. (Road bikes are used in the Tour de France race, for example.) [Read more: Bikes for Aspiring Cyclists]
Angela Haupt is a health reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at email@example.com.