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Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Girls Who Bike to School Get Better Grades

December 21, 2010 2 comments

Via Wikimedia Commons

The Holidays are upon us, which means everyone at work is on vacation and I have a lot more stuff to do and shopping to do after work. Unfortunately, my dear blog has suffered.

But I am back, and I got a good one for you.

A recent study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine looked at 1700 high school students and how they get to school. Some walk, some take the bus, some bike, etc.

When they looked at the female grades they found that girls who actively commute to school, i.e. bike or walk, did about 4% better than girls who took the bus or drove.

Active commuting to school was associated with better cognitive performance (all P < .05) in girls but not in boys, independent of potential confounders including participation in extracurricular physical activity. In addition, adolescent girls who spent more than 15 minutes actively commuting to school had better scores in 3 of the 4 cognitive performance variables (all P < .05) than those who spent less time actively commuting to school (≤15 minutes) as well as better scores in all of the cognitive performance variables (all P < .001) than girls inactively commuting.

Interestingly, they did not see this difference in the male participants of the study. Why this happens, is a bit of a mystery.

It could be that the girls are more alert when they get to school if they walk/bike, resulting in better performance. But if that were the case, you would expect to see this difference in boys who actively commute to school as well.

It could be that girls to actively commute feel better about themselves, and therefore do better in class. This would fit in with a previous study I wrote about in which girls who write about their values before class tend to get better grades.

More and more these kinds of studies are showing that innate intelligence is not as big a factor for success in school as was thought a few decades ago.

A positive state of mind is important as well, especially for girls.

Oh Sarah Palin, What Will You Say Next?

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Yes, she is like the Howard Stern of the political world. And there is a possibility that she will be the next president of the United States (Happy Thanksgiving 2012 *snicker*).

What has she done now? Well I’m not too concerned about her little gaffe calling North Korea our “allies”. Thats a mistake that could happen to anyone. Well, ok, maybe not anyone, but it’s not a huge deal.

No what I’m more concerned about are her views on childhood obesity. She made comments recently regarding Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” project.

From the Lets Move! website,

The Let’s Move! campaign, started by First Lady Michelle Obama, has an ambitious national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight.

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. One third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives; many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.

The site provides information on nutrition and suggestions for fun physical activities and steps to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sounds pretty good right?

But what does Sarah Palin have to say about Michelle Obama’s campaign? In a radio interview on Wednesday she said:

Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat.

And I know I’m going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician’s wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track.

It’s hard to know where to even start! She talks about giving parents good information about food as if it is some kind of fascist plot for the government to control its people.

I wonder, what is her stance on regulation of the nation’s water supply? Does the government have the right to tell us what we can and can’t drink? Hell, if I want to drink contaminated sewage, nay, make my child drink contaminated sewage that’s mybusiness!

Roland Martin says something similar in his opinion piece on CNN:

Libertarians and far right conservative Republicans are always talking about government intrusion into our lives, but when we look at clean water, air quality and food supply, thank God for governmental standards.

So Sarah, I know you are trying to make a name for yourself so you can make a bid at the White House in 2012, but targeting a program designed to keep kids healthy by eating proper food?

Now that’s in poor taste.

The Physics of Jumping Rope

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

63rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Volume 55, Number 16 

Abstract: CX.00008 : The aerodynamics of jumping rope

Authors:

  Jeffrey Aristoff
    (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University)

  Howard Stone
    (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University)

We present the results of a combined theoretical and experimental investigation of the motion of a rotating string that is held at both ends (i.e. a jump rope). In particular, we determine how the surrounding fluid affects the shape of the string at high Reynolds numbers. We derive a pair of coupled non-linear differential equations that describe the shape, the numerical solution of which compares well with asymptotic approximations and experiments. Implications for successful skipping will be discussed, and a demonstration is possible.

[My comments: The authors built a robot jump rope device and controlled parameters of rope rotation rate, rope density, diameter, length etc. using high speed cameras, they developed equations to describe the motion of the jump rope.

“Our main discovery is how the air-induced drag affects the shape of the rope and the work necessary to rotate it,” says Princeton researcher Jeff Aristoff. “Aerodynamic forces cause the rope to bend in such a way that the total drag is reduced.” (Leaves do this too when they bend out of the wind.) This deflection or twisting is most important in the middle of the rope and the least at the ends. If the rope is too light it might not clear the body of the jumper. (From Physorg.com)

I hope they did a demonstration. My experience is that physics conferences can be a bit stuffy.]