On Jan. 9, I had a similar feeling watching the National Football League wild-card game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. An outrageous helmet-to-helmet hit by the Steeler Ryan Shazier gave Giovani Bernard a concussion, but astonishingly, it didn’t result in a penalty — the hit was apparently within the rules. The Bengals’s Vontaze Burfict’s savage shoulder-to-helmet hit on the defenseless wide receiver Antonio Brown caused another concussion (he couldn’t play in the next week’s divisional playoff), but at least Burfict’s recklessness drew a three-game suspension.
The negative publicity surrounding the game was more evidence that, despite its colossal cultural and economic success, the N.F.L. is in deep trouble, and can’t seem to find a way out. The still accumulating evidence of brain-damaged former players — Ken Stabler, who died in July, is the most recent one to show evidence of brain trauma — is a huge legal liability. The failure of the league to take effective actions to protect the brains of current players puts it into willful-negligence territory. Other than increasing some on-field penalties, the league has done almost nothing to protect players now or in the future. And the sports media are mostly shills paid by the networks to entertain audiences and please the league, with little interest in using their pulpit for the cause of player safety.
Exercise is extremely healthy and should be pursued for reasons other than weight loss.
Constrained Total Energy Expenditure and Metabolic Adaptation to Physical Activity in Adult Humans
Herman Pontzer, Ramon Durazo-Arvizu, Lara R. Dugas, Jacob Plange-Rhule, Pascal Bovet, Terrence E. Forrester, Estelle V. Lambert, Richard S. Cooper, Dale A. Schoeller, Amy Luke
•We measured total energy expenditure and physical activity in a large adult sample •Above moderate activity levels, total energy expenditure plateaued •Body fat percentage was positively related to total energy expenditure •Activity intensity was inversely related to total energy expenditure
Current obesity prevention strategies recommend increasing daily physical activity, assuming that increased activity will lead to corresponding increases in total energy expenditure and prevent or reverse energy imbalance and weight gain [ 1–3 ]. Such Additive total energy expenditure models are supported by exercise intervention and accelerometry studies reporting positive correlations between physical activity and total energy expenditure [ 4 ] but are challenged by ecological studies in humans and other species showing that more active populations do not have higher total energy expenditure [ 5–8 ]. Here we tested a Constrained total energy expenditure model, in which total energy expenditure increases with physical activity at low activity levels but plateaus at higher activity levels as the body adapts to maintain total energy expenditure within a narrow range. We compared total energy expenditure, measured using doubly labeled water, against physical activity, measured using accelerometry, for a large (n = 332) sample of adults living in five populations [ 9 ]. After adjusting for body size and composition, total energy expenditure was positively correlated with physical activity, but the relationship was markedly stronger over the lower range of physical activity. For subjects in the upper range of physical activity, total energy expenditure plateaued, supporting a Constrained total energy expenditure model. Body fat percentage and activity intensity appear to modulate the metabolic response to physical activity. Models of energy balance employed in public health [ 1–3 ] should be revised to better reflect the constrained nature of total energy expenditure and the complex effects of physical activity on metabolic physiology.
For a couple of years it has been possible to hide a small electric motor in a bicycle. These units supply about 100 watts of power - not enough to run a bike, but enough to make a massive performance difference. There has been a suspicion that some riders may be using this form of cheating - now one has been caught. This may have been going on for some time - there is a lot of cynicism about the sport that is probably warranted.
Bicycle riders in the Netherlands and Denmark mostly don't wear helmets yet their injury rate is less than a tenth that of Americans per mile of bicycling. The fact that so many bike and the infrastructure is vastly better than the US has a good deal to do with this. Some cycling advocates suggest one of the problems may be helmet requirements. That suggests, particularly to women, that bikes are too dangerous to use. Sort of a chicken and egg problem if you want more cycling.
It has also been suggested that people who wear helmets take more risks. Now a study finds that to be true in some cases. It would be curious to see if football became safer if helmets and some of the padding was not allowed...