Physical fitness may do more than preserve a more youthful body; it may also impact the brain’s activity and function, preserving more youthful mental capabilities, according to findings published in NeuroImage (2015; doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.09.062).
University of Tsukuba researchers in Japan found that fitter older men performed better mentally than less fit older men, by solving problems in the same way younger brains would do.
Kelleher, A.R., et al. 2010. The metabolic costs of reciprocal supersets vs. traditional resistance exercise in young recreationally active adults. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24 (4), 1043–51.
A lot of people do concurrent training— cardio and strength training within the same session—because it seems to achieve multiple goals at the same time. It’s also a proven fat-burner, making it a popular choice for general fitness.
Some of us call it “afterburn”—the elevated calorie burning that lasts long after exercise is over. The scientific literature defines it as excess postexercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC (see Figure 1).
For the most part, EPOC represents the body restoring itself from physiological variables elevated by exercise. EPOC is an important physiological phenomenon for fitness professionals because it can play a contributing role in weight management.
Can New Research Prevent an Age-Old Paradigm?
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a reliable marker of physiological factors that directly affect the rhythms of the heart (Acharya et al. 2006). Acharya and colleagues explain that HRV reflects the heart’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances—stress, exercise and disease—by balancing the regulation of the autonomic nervous system, which controls bodily functions such as breathing, heart- beat and digestion.newsletter_teaser: Heart rate variability (HRV) is a reliable marker of physiological factors that directly affect the rhythms of the heart (Acharya et al. 2006). Acharya and colleagues explain that HRV reflflects the heart’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances—stress, exercise and disease.
newsletter_teaser: We usually talk of energy in general terms, as in “I don’t have a lot of energy today” or “You can feel the energy in the room.” But what really is energy? Where do we get the energy to move? How do we use it? How do we get more of it? Ultimately, what controls our movements?
High-intensity interval training has been riding a wave of popularity, and it seems everyone wants to give it a try. However, intense interval training is nothing new. Group fitness instructors have been teaching HIIT for a long time. Fartlek training, for example, was big in the 1970s. The 1980s brought us high-impact classes, and the 1990s introduced indoor cycling (think repeat hill training). HIIT is a fantastic workout and an effective way to train energy systems; build muscle; lose weight; enhance strength, power and agility; and prevent adaptation.
When you’re a sports fan, it doesn’t matter if you prefer the NBA, figure skating or the Olympics—you’re sure to admire the performances of athletes who work inconceivably hard to achieve greatness. It’s practically impossible to watch without feeling compelled to hit the gym and try some new training method, hoping to achieve your own gold-medal performance. So what’s the latest buzz in the training room?