Six minutes a week exercise as good as an hour a day – for elite athletes

New research suggests a mere six minutes of intense exercise a week can do as much to improve a person’s fitness as one hour a day, reported Canadian Press May 30. The research, which will be published in the June edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology and was conducted by McMaster University, found that people who undertook “modified interval training” that consisted of cycling at breakneck speeds for short bursts boosted their endurance just as much as those who spent hours a week biking at a moderate pace. But other fitness experts are skeptical and suggest the research only applies to elite athletes. Norm Gledhill, a professor in the School of Kinesiology & Health Science at York University, said it’s highly unlikely most people would be willing to engage in the intense level of activity required, even for brief periods of time.

Gledhill also commented on the study on a “CTV National News” item aired May 30. He said: “The general public could never ever do that protocol. That protocol is really, really hard.”

  • Canadian Press also reported that Gledhill and his crew would oversee annual physical testing of National Hockey League draft-eligible players testing Friday and Saturday at an airport-district hotel. More than 100 prospects, three-quarters of them North Americans and the others from Europe, are expected for the off-ice assessments and for interviews with NHL teams considering picking them, said CP in a story published in major dailies across Canada, including the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail.

Plea bargains – open to abuse?

In April, Attorney General Michael Bryant said the government has no recourse for going after Karla Homolka for her part in the mysterious death of her younger sister Tammy because of the terms of the plea bargain, which added an extra two years to her original 10-year sentence, reported the North York Mirror May 29. Steven Skurka, a noted criminal defence lawyer and adjunct law professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, says Homolka’s bargain was textbook negotiating. “I look at the deal as great lawyering by George Walker,” he said, adding that the case showed the plea bargaining system isn’t foolproof. “Is it open to abuse? Absolutely because there will be cases where all the information isn’t available in good faith and people honestly make mistakes. There will be situations where either the Crown or the defence will be remiss in their obligations or duties and not fulfill their functions. Sure it happens but I believe that’s the rare case. In a normal course it works very effectively.”

Labatt joins buck-a-beer fray

You don’t have to be small to compete in the buck-a-beer business industry, Canada’s largest brewer signalled Monday when it launched Labatt Genuine Honey. A bottle of the honey brew will cost about a loonie, reported Canadian Press May 30. Roger Heeler, professor of marketing at York’s Schulich School of Business, says Labatt’s new product could present other challenges for the company. “The danger for Labatt is consumers will wonder why other Labatt’s products are not at this price,” said Heeler. And if Genuine Honey is perceived as being of lower quality than other Labatt products, Heeler said: “It could start to weaken its image of higher-end products.”

How a few crayons can fight AIDS in Africa

It is a battle that defies the odds, but Nicole Ghanie and Julia Smith are using coloured markers and tubes of paint as ammunition against HIV/AIDS, the biggest killer in this region of western Kenya, reported the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix May 31. The Canadians are participating in a Kenyan-based non-governmental organization’s (NGO’s) project to show how the mostly female survivors can use art to illustrate the effect AIDS has had on their lives. By creating visual images, the widows and children are highlighting their strengths and building awareness about the disease and its impact on their families and community. “It’s an amazing story. They are the most vulnerable people in the country, yet these widows and other groups like them have formed a powerful support network that enables them to cope under horrendous circumstances,” explains 25-year-old Ghanie, who works for the Ottawa-based Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and graduated with a degree in environmental studies and political science from York University in 2004.

Comic’s dream a reality with role in boxing film

When comedian/actor Lou Eisen landed a part in the new Russell Crowe boxing movie Cinderella Man, it meant a chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity to work closely with his hero – legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee, reported the Winnipeg Free Press May 31. A veteran of more than two decades in standup comedy, Eisen began performing while attending Toronto’s York University in 1982-83.