Latest News & Research: 6 November 2018

This week: 24-hour spinathon to fight cancer • Could supersizing portions help healthy eating? • Vitamin D link to cardio fitness

24-hour spinathon to fight cancer

Sydney indoor cycle studio, Scenic Cycle is hosting a day-long spinathon from 9am on 23 November until  the same time the following day. The event is designed to not only test participants’ physical limits, but also raise money for Movember’s fight against testicular and prostate cancer as well as its support of male mental health and suicide prevention programs.

Men die, on average, 6 years earlier than women, and largely for reasons that are preventable. According to Cancer Australia, in 2018 alone, there will be 74,644 new male cancer cases diagnosed in Australia. Of those diagnosed, 27,522 will die of the disease.

But it’s not just physical diseases that Movember looks to raise awareness of. Globally, the rate of suicide is alarmingly high, with 60% of instances being men. Around the world, on average, a man is lost to suicide every minute of every day. By 2030 the Movember Foundation aims to reduce male suicides by 25%. You can find out more about the specific initiatives the Movember Foundation supports in Australia here.

The spinathon event is being organised in partnership with Fix Physio who’s director, Mike Blackwell, has a personal connection to the work of the Movember Foundation. Late in 2017 Mike got the dreaded phone call from his brother, Paul who had noticed some swelling in his testicles and after a quick assessment, it was confirmed as testicular cancer. At just 39 years old, generally fit, with a wife and two young children, Paul was understandably in shock. Within 7 days Paul had gone in for surgery and his testicle was removed. Thankfully Paul survived but it was then that Mike realised not everyone was as lucky as his brother.

The 24hr spinathon will see teams of riders change over every two hours to complete the 24 hours together. Riders will be treated to top-of-the-range spinning equipment, motivational DJ sets, stunning global scenery filmed first hand, nutrition and refreshment stations as well as a place to rest their weary heads, and legs!

If you, your clients, participants or colleagues are looking for your next physical challenge while also making a difference, get a team of 3 or 6 together this week and register by this Friday, 9 November by emailing or and get fundraising through The Movember Foundations online donation platform.

Source: Scenic Cycle

Could supersizing portions help healthy eating?

New Aussie research has taken existing findings and turned them on their head to see whether the ‘portion size effect’ could work to help people eat more healthily.

Scientists have studied the so-called ‘portion size effect’ in some depth, with one review of the research finding that when a portion size is doubled, people consume an average of 35% more.

Despite a great deal of research into the negative consequences of portion size, very few studies have focused on the potential benefits. Could increasing portion size of healthful snacks increase their consumption?

With this in mind, researchers from Deakin University in Australia recently set out to see whether the effect would work in reverse.

The study, led by Professor Chris Dubelaar, was a coordinated effort between scientists in Australia and France. Their findings appear in the journal Food Quality and Preference.

In two experiments, participants given larger portions of healthy snacks ate more than those given smaller portions of the same snacks, leading Dubelaar to conclude that ‘The results of our current study tell us that this portion size effect also holds true with healthy foods, which opens up the potential for adjusting portion size when trying to encourage healthier eating habits.’

Source: Medical News Today

Vitamin D link to cardio fitness

Vitamin D levels in the blood are linked to cardiorespiratory fitness, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

It is well established that vitamin D is important for healthy bones, but there is increasing evidence that it plays a role in other areas of the body including the heart and muscles.

Cardiorespiratory fitness, a reliable surrogate for physical fitness, is the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to the muscles during exercise. It is best measured as the maximal oxygen consumption during exercise, referred to as VO2 max. People with higher cardiorespiratory fitness are healthier and live longer.

This study investigated whether people with higher levels of vitamin D in the blood have improved cardiorespiratory fitness.

Study author Dr Amr Marawan, assistant professor of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, said ‘Our study shows that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with better exercise capacity. We also know from previous research that vitamin D has positive effects on the heart and bones. Make sure your vitamin D levels are normal to high. You can do this with diet, supplements, and a sensible amount of sun exposure.’

‘The relationship between higher vitamin D levels and better exercise capacity holds in men and women, across the young and middle age groups, across ethnicities, regardless of body mass index or smoking status, and whether or not participants have hypertension or diabetes.’
Source: European Society of Cardiology