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Why it's risky to be a bad-ass

At Matter, physical therapy professor Eric Robertson writes about a very rare condition called rhabdomyolysis — it's what happens when chronically overworked muscle cells rupture and overload your kidneys with massive amounts of protein. The results are painful, reasonably disgusting, and potentially deadly. Rhabdomyolysis used to be something you only had to worry about if you were, say, part of an elite military squad or a professional athlete. But as more average folks have gotten into elite physical training regimens through programs like CrossFit, the profile of people damaged by rhabdomyolysis is changing. Training like a bad-ass can bring along some of the physical risks of being a bad-ass. Maggie 30

The physics of pull-ups

Some people are naturally better than others at pulling off the elusive pull-up, writes Kyle Hill at Scientifica American. For them, it's all about mass-to-arm-length ratio — ideally, you want a low mass and short arms to minimize the amount of energy it takes to pull your body upwards. But Hill insists that the less genetically fortunate can learn to do pull-ups, too. It's just something that takes dedicated training. Maggie

Stationary bike weight-loss success story

Sumit sez, "This is the wacky story of how I biked across the country on my exercise bike and lost a lot of extra pounds in the process - complete with charts and graphs of calories burned vs. weight loss and bullet points and all sorts of other happy mutant happiness."

Sumit is also "the Seattleite who brought you 'Rope Bondage for Laptops' and 'Putting a Wood Floor on Carpet.'"

My VRATUS - How I Rode My Exercise Bike Across the Country (and Lost 20 lbs Along the Way) (Thanks, Sumit!)

Treadmill desk advice sought

After reading Neal Stephenson's essay on using a treadmill desk in Some Remarks, I've decided to try it for myself. But I don't want to ditch my beloved desk (a wooden kitchen table) -- instead, I was thinking I'd raise it on blocks to standing height, get a treadmill, and wedge the handlebars under the desk so that I could walk while using it. Does anyone have any recommendations for a treadmill model? It looks like it's really hard to use a manual treadmill without holding onto the handle-bars, so I'm guessing that means I'll need a motorized one. But motorized treadmills all seem to have their controls in the front, which I envision wedging under the desk, rendering them inaccessible. Have you tried this? Got any ideas? I think I probably want something like this, but available in the UK, and cheaper if possible. Cory

The zen of the underwater treadmill

Something I enjoy: Specialized equipment that looks completely and utterly ridiculous when you watch people using it out of context.

Case in point, this advertisement for the HydroWorx X80 Underwater Treadmill. You have never seen Olympic-caliber runners look sillier. (Sadly, it's not entirely underwater. When I first saw the name of the clip, I was really hoping for guys in scuba gear.)

Also: I've apparently reached the age where current Olympians look to me like they ought to be too young to drive. Crap.

Thanks, Eli Kintisch

Gweek 053: Fitness for Geeks

Click here to play this episode. Gweek is Boing Boing’s podcast about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

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Please insert your Sir Mix-a-Lot joke here

Humans' have exceptionally rounded rear ends compared to our primate relatives. Turns out, that beefed-up gluteus maximus helps stabilize our upper body when we run, keeping us from falling forward. Read more about the biology and theoretical evolution of running at the Harvard Gazette. (Via Nicholas Thompson) Maggie

Bone-conducting underwater MP3 player saves me from terminal physiotherapy boredom

I had hip surgery back in January to correct a weird and unsuspected birth defect, and while the operation was a smash success, my physiotherapy regime calls for six months’ worth of deep water running, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: wearing a float-belt and running up and down a pool full tilt (without touching the bottom) for 40 minutes three times a week.

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Juggling is good for you in lots of ways

Here's Scot Nery's list of eight reasons why normal people should learn to juggle. My old roommate, Possum Man, was a hell of a juggler, and though he took it up as physiotherapy for an arm injury, it quickly built to an avocation. Flaming torch and machete juggling was always a favorite at our parties.
#2 Got The Hunchies?
The average person spends 312 hours per day at a computer. Your back and neck get outta whack, your wrists start hurting and your legs fall asleep. You can combat this crappy feeling by doing light exercise - juggling is perfect. To hone the art of juggling, you need to think about standing up straight, relaxing, and using your hands correctly.

#3 I can't de-stress you with my eyes
It's nice to learn something new, do something active and get away from what seems important in your life. You can lose your tension through tons of hobbies, but juggling is a great combination of physical activity, brain stimulation, joy of success, and visual stimulation. Here's another scientific study...

8 Reasons Normal People Should Juggle

(Photo: WJD2008 - 7 JUGGLING BEANBAGS, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from madaboutasia's photostream) (via Kottke)