Must Reads: Do You Live in One of the Fittest Cities?

How does your hometown stack up against other cities in the U.S.? New research reveals the cities with the healthiest residents and the most recreational parks and activities. Spoiler alert: You may want to make POTUS your new neighbor. Plus, we’ve got good news for runners who can’t jog without the right jams. One music company plans to use your phone’s accelerometer to create a smart playlist just for you. Read on to hear the full scoop on these stories and others that caught our eye this week.

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Photo: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

The Fittest Cities, Ranked

If you’re looking for the healthiest city, pay a visit to our nation’s capital and take a jog past the White House. According to new data from the annual American Fitness Index, Washington D.C. came out on top in the annual tally of health habits in American cities. Statistics like recreational activities, exercise routines, diet habits, rate of smoking, obesity and diabetes were taken into account to rank America’s largest metropolises.

Who didn’t measure up? The lowest-ranking cities included Indianapolis, Memphis and Oklahoma City. Also notable: The AFI found a nationwide drop in the percent of people who reported exercising in the last 30 days and a drop in people who eat a sufficient amount of fruit each day. (American Fitness Index)

Spotify Auto Tag Music

Photo: Pond5

Spotify Targets Runners with New Features

It’s no secret that the perfect workout playlist can often help you sweat harder, lift stronger or run longer. Spotify, a music streaming service, recently announced a new feature that can select music based on your running tempo. The app will pull data from your phone’s accelerometer in order to match your pace with songs that have a similar BPM. Plus, Spotify revealed it plans to work with musicians like Tiesto to create tracks specially produced for runners. Several apps like TempoRun and RockMyRun can already sync your tunes to your stride. But with new products competing for the spot of top DJ, we can’t wait to see which one will sprint ahead of the competition. (TechCrunch)

CrossFit’s Mat Fraser Will Not Back Down

When the pressure’s on, how do you react? Pro athlete Mat Fraser came in second place in his competitive debut at last year’s CrossFit Open, and this year he’s the man to beat. In the latest installment of Inner Strength, a series produced by Nike, watch Fraser train and discuss success, injury, discipline, and how he plans to be better than before. Prepare to be seriously inspired to crush your next WOD. (nike.com)

Rice Protein Powder

Photo: Pond5

The Dark Side of Caffeine Powder

A popular dietary supplement, caffeine powder seems more virtuous than sugar-laden energy drinks. But the stimulant can be toxic in large doses. A mere teaspoon of powder is the caffeine equivalent of 16 to 25 cups of coffee, and a tablespoon of powder can be lethal for adults. The New York Times reports that lawmakers and consumer groups are rallying for more regulation of caffeine powder after two young men died of overdose in the past year. The good news is that the recent attention could spur action, but some interest groups say lawmakers aren’t moving fast enough. (The New York Times)

Omega-3s and Omega-6s

Photo: Pond5

Can Your Diet Delay Memory Loss?

A slew of fancy apps promises to keep us sharp as we age, but what if the secret to better memory lies in what we eat? A new study published in JAMA reveals that the Mediterranean Diet, which includes foods like fish, nuts, vegetables and healthy grains, has been shown to minimize cognitive decline associated with aging. Researchers concluded that diets that support heart health may also benefit the brain. (NPR)

17 Desk Stretches That Might Save Your Life

Sneaky Desk Stretches to Try

Sitting on your rear at work all day isn’t doing your health any favors. And stand-up desks can be pricey or uncomfortable for some. Enter: Covert stretches you can do in work clothes. Officevibe, an employee engagement company, put together a list of 17 stretches to try the next time you want to release a little tension. With movements that target your hip flexors, obliques and glutes, you can try one every hour for the next few days. (Officevibe)