The Pulse

The Numbers, Nutrition, & Genders


Bulletins from the Fitness Frontier
Bulletins from the Fitness Frontier

Average additional calories consumed by people who start their day with a helping of meat or eggs over those who consume a high-fiber cold breakfast cereal, according to a survey of nearly 16,500 people by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Move over, red wine and green tea: There's a new cancer, aging, and heart-disease fighter in town: HOT COCOA. "We found that a cup of hot cocoa has almost twice as many healthy antioxidants as a glass of red wine, four times more than a cup of green tea, and five times more than a cup of black tea," says Chang Yong Lee, a food biochemist at Cornell University and the author of a new study on antioxidant levels in beverages. Sadly, Lee knows of no benefits derived from mini-marshmallows.

Bad news, guys: In terms of life and death, men gain less from increased levels of exercise than women do. A study at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center found that as fitness levels in women rose, their mortality levels dropped by 17 percent. A comparative study found that men's levels dropped by only 8.5 percent. Bad news, gals: The risk of death for unfit women appears to be higher than that for unfit men.

The Road to Lanceville

The Best Helmet, Sunglasses, and Shoes

2004 Road Bike Review
2004 Road Bike Review
2004 Road Bike Review

Weighing less than this magazine, the GIRO ATMOS helmet is most notable for what it is not—heavy. The secret is a carbon-fiber lattice running through the shell, which allowed the company to slash the EPS foam with 26 vents. ($189; 831-420-4010,
If the one-piece, hinge-free design isn't enough to hold OAKLEY's RACING JACKET shades in place, the absorbent rubber in the nosepiece and stems will be—the stuff gets tackier as you sweat. Vented, persimmon-hued lenses bring out detail in shady tree sections but are still dark enough for intense daylight. ($165; 800-336-3994,
For its new 22-ounce VIPER ROAD shoe, PEARL IZUMI borrowed the microadjustability and foot-swaddling support of the Boa Lacing System—a Kevlar-cable setup previously perfected on snowboard boots. Simply twist the ratcheting wheel to dial in a glove-like fit. ($190; 303-460-8888,

Worldwide Wild

Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil

Trips of a Lifetime: Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil
Fitzroy, the jagged soul of Argentine Patagonia (Photo: courtesy, Argentina Tourism)

Trekking the Heart of Patagonia
[2004 Winner]
You may often find yourself slack-jawed on this journey into the Patagonian wilds, gaping at the enormous Andean condors and deep-green beech forests juxtaposed against brilliant-white glaciers. Starting from El Chaltén, an Argentinian village near the needle peak of 11,073-foot Fitzroy, backpack for almost two weeks along the base of the Patagonian Ice Cap and to 700-foot-deep Lago Argentino. You'll hike six miles a day with 45-pound packs, through rivers, steep canyons, and sloping moraines and camp under ice-enshrouded Cerro Norte and at Lago Viedma, where the ice calves into the blue water with dramatic thunder. At a remote estancia, you'll drink Argentinian malbec wine and eat lamb roasted over an open pit. While you're at it, nibble on the region's sweet, dark calafate berries; local superstition says this will ensure your return to Patagonia. If you've already caught the bug, there's an optional seven-day hiking extension through Chile's Torres del Paine National Park—ome to huemul deer, guanacos, and the pumas that stalk them.
High Point: Sipping a steamy cup of joe at 5 a.m. and photographing the surreal pink glow of sunrise lighting up the Fitzroy peaks.
Low Point: Opening the tent flap to Patagonia's infamous rainfall... again.
Travel Advisory: Don't overdo it: Getting rescued in this remote region is very difficult. Help is at least five hours away, and there are no search-and-rescue teams or reliable helicopter evacuation services.
Outfitter: Whitney & Smith Legendary Expeditions (403-678-3052,
When to Go: November
Price: From $3,550
Difficulty: Strenuous

Lakes of Patagonia Sea-Kayaking Expedition
A floatplane will take you from South America's second-largest lake, Lago General Carrera, and deposit you for ten days of sea kayaking on a remote chain of five aqua-blue lakes surrounded by towering peaks in central Pata-gonia. Entertainment comes in the form of paddling swells created by calving glaciers and avalanches. Hike or kayak from lake to lake and climb the flanks of an 1,800-foot granite wall for views of the Patagonian Ice Cap and glaciated 13,313-foot San Valent'n.
Outfitter: Earth River Expeditions (800-643-2784,
When to Go: February, March, and December
Price: $3,000
Difficulty: Moderate

Tropical Rafting
Not all adventures are created equal—specially those that end the day with a hot spring and a cold beer in a riverside cabin. When you're not kicking back on this weeklong trip, you're rafting the Class IV Rio Quijos and Rio Jatunactu, both tributaries of the Amazon. For dry-land action, hike and horseback-ride on jungle trails or take in Ecuador's famous chain of snowcapped volcanoes from 13,700-foot Papallacta Pass.
Outfitter: Small World Adventures (800-585-2925,
When to Go: November and December
Price: $1,395
Difficulty: Moderate

Marine Wildlife Preservation
Mix altruism with hedonism for ten days by helping Brazilian scientists study the sensitive tucuxi dolphin off the lush island of Ilha do Cardoso, in the Cananéia Estuary, south of São Paulo. By night, stay near the beach in a dormlike research camp; by day, walk the empty beaches or cruise the quiet inlets in a skiff, gathering information on dolphin populations and behavior in this unusual overlap of ocean, river, and rainforest.
Outfitter: Earthwatch Institute (800-776-0188,
When to Go: July, August, and September Price: $1,995
Difficulty: Moderate

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