The Top 10 Well Stories of 2017

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Following are the Top 10 most-read stories of 2017 from Well, the wellness section of The New York Times. Several of our readers’ favorites were about ways to live better lives by resetting their attitudes, while others were about ways to do something that helps keep their bodies healthy.

This article, by our Phys Ed columnist, Gretchen Reynolds, was our most popular piece of the year.

Scientists have surprisingly little understanding of the cellular impacts of exercise and how those might vary by activity and the age of the exerciser. A study published in Cell Metabolism, however, suggests that certain sorts of workouts may undo some of what the years can do. Read more »

Spin classes are popular with good reason: High-intensity exercise has many health benefits, and the classes are fun. But Anahad O’Connor explained that for some people, they can have a dangerous effect: rhabdomyolysis, a rare but life-threatening condition often caused by extreme exercise. It occurs when overworked muscles begin to die and leak their contents into the bloodstream, straining the kidneys and causing severe pain. Read more »

CreditSarah Williamson

Much of the scientific research on resilience — our ability to bounce back from adversity — has focused on how to build resilience in children. But what about the grown-ups? You can take active steps during and after a crisis to speed your emotional recovery, Tara Parker-Pope wrote. Read more »

CreditBénédicte Muller

Dying has its own biology and symptoms. It’s a diagnosis in itself. While the weeks and days leading up to death can vary from person to person, the hours before death are similar across the vast majority of human afflictions, Dr. Sara Manning Peskin wrote. Read more »

Jane E. Brody wrote about the ways we can foster positivity. Doing good things for other people, learning something new and building strong social connections are on the list. Read more »

The first step to stopping negative thoughts is a surprising one, Lesley Alderman wrote. Don’t try to stop them. If you are obsessing about a lost promotion, don’t tell yourself, “I have to stop thinking about this.” Read more »

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Roni Caryn Rabin wrote about research finding that boxed macaroni and cheese contains chemicals called phthalates, which make their way into the food through plastics used in manufacturing. Read more »

Compared to nonrunners, runners tended to live about three additional years, even if they run slowly or sporadically and smoke, drink or are overweight. No other form of exercise that researchers looked at showed comparable impacts on life span, Gretchen Reynolds wrote. Read more »

CreditTony Cenicola/The New York Times

Even light drinking can slightly raise a woman’s risk of breast cancer and increase a common type of esophageal cancer, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which represents many of the nation’s top cancer doctors. Fewer than one in three adults identified alcohol as a risk factor for cancer, Roni Caryn Rabin reported. Read more »

Some commenters attributed this article, by Roni Caryn Rabin, with helping to save their lives. It sent them to get checked for potentially deadly cancers that used to be considered rare in young people. Read more »