The Making of a Gym Rat
If we all know exercise is good for us, why do some folks run marathons, while others happily camp out in front of the TV? It may be that some of us were simply born to be couch potatoes.
When Judy Cameron, an Oregon Health & Science University neuroscientist, housed monkeys in various-sized cages and monitored how much they moved about, she discovered some were sedentary, while others were up to eight times more active. How much room a monkey had to roam made no difference. When inactive monkeys were transferred to more spacious digs, they remained sedentary.
Other researchers have found the same with mice, leading to speculation that activity level may be largely genetic, and that the same propensities may exist in people. The evidence suggests that "if you're a couch potato, suddenly becoming more active may be harder than you think," says Cameron. It is likely to take deliberate planning and conscious effort—not just a resolution—to hit the gym.
The number of Americans who have high blood pressure. According to a study, physicians' warnings to limit sodium intake are unheeded by most who have hypertension.
Kids Under Pressure
Parents teach their children to walk, to talk—and to develop eating problems. Mothers preoccupied with weight tend to encourage their daughters to diet as early as age 5, a study suggests. By the time daughters turn 9, even thin girls may fear getting fat.
Words turn out to be more dangerous than actions, according to the Pennsylvania State University research. Young girls count calories when their mothers speak to them about weight, but not when mothers simply keep fatty snacks out of reach. In addition, the girls most likely to develop weight worries are those who pick up from their mother's statements—which may be subtle—her desire for a slim kid.
We Can Work It Out
Want to predict the outcome of a spousal spat? Tally up pronouns.
The person who says "we" the most during an argument puts forward the best solutions, according to a study in Psychological Science. "We"-users may have a sense of shared interest that sparks compromises and other ideas pleasing to both partners. "You"-sayers, on the contrary, tend to criticize, disagree, justify and otherwise teem with negativity.
But sometimes criticism comes in handy. When one partner complains that he or she feels under attack, the other can ease the tension by rephrasing sentences to use the winning "we."
Not Now, My Show's On
Couples who have a TV in their bedroom have sex half as often as those who don't, report Italian scientists. The effect is especially strong among couples over age 50.
An Upside to Infertility?
Fertility treatment is notoriously rough emotionally, both on individuals and relationships. But about a quarter of women and a fifth of men think that infertility actually helped their marriage, according to a study.
University of Copenhagen research found that men who actively dealt with their feelings about childlessness, whether by seeking advice or talking with friends, felt closer to their partners. On the other hand, men who avoided their emotions—burying themselves in work or avoiding conversations about pregnancy—felt their marriages floundered.
Women's ratings of marital closeness didn't follow a noticeable pattern. But studies by the same scientists show that both men and women can cut back on infertility-related stress by sharing their feelings—or make stress worse by avoiding them.