As the exergame market continues to thrive, many professionals wonder if the virtual world can improve real-life fitness. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2011; 25 , 689–93), some games do live up to the hype. The small study included eight apparently healthy nonathlete female college students. During the intervention, the women played the Wii Fit aerobic step game and the hula game at beginner and intermediate levels.
Tai chi may be a beneficial form of physical activity for long-term cardiac rehabilitation patients, according to a study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing (2010; doi:10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2010.11.001). Study subjects were adults aged 45 and older attending phase III cardiac rehabilitation; the aim was to describe differences in physical, cognitive and psychosocial functioning between those who practiced tai chi and those did not.
Cardiovascular physical activity has long been a go-to means for improving heart health. A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2010; 24 , 2846-52) indicates that resistance training may also prove beneficial for the heart. The small study included 10 male subjects who completed two forms of exercise: upper- and lower-body resistance training consisting of 3 sets of 10 repetitions at 65% of 1-repetition maximum; and 30 minutes of cycling at 65% of VO2peak.
Widely used recommendations for determining heart rate maximum (HRmax) in women have been called into question. According to researchers, the popular formula of 220 – Age = HRmax may produce numbers too high for optimal female physical health. After studying how HR response to exercise stress testing was associated with age and death rates among 5,437 asymptomatic women over about 16 years, scientists settled on a new calculation: 206 – (Age x 0.88) = HRmax.
The American Heart Association has recently released an updated guide to CPR. The 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and ECC includes the following changes to previous CPR protocol:
Compression rate should be at least 100 compressions per minute, as opposed to “approximately” 100 per minute.
Compression depth should be at least 2 inches in adults, approximately 2 inches in children and 1.5 inches in infants.
Lloyd-Jones, D.M., et al., on behalf of the American Heart Association Strategic Planning Task Force and Statistics Committee. 2010. Defining and setting national goals for cardiovascular health promotion and disease reduction: The American Heart Association’s Strategic Impact Goal through 2020 and beyond. Circulation, 121, 586–613.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recently issued its proactive agenda for the next decade by releasing a strategic plan for measuring, monitoring and improving the cardiovascular health of Americans.
Do you have a client who experiences difficulty executing the sit-and-reach test? If so, inadequate flexibility may not be the only issue plaguing him. A study published in the American Journal of Physiology—Heart and Circulatory Physiology (October 2009; , 1314–18) found that persons over 40 who experience limited trunk flexibility may also suffer from arterial stiffness. The study included 526 nonobese adults aged 20–83 years with no known chronic disease.
Mind-body movement professionals should consider the impact that music can have on their programs. According to a new study published in Circulation (2009; 119 , 3171–80), loud music increases heart rate and blood pressure, while soft music lowers both, independent of subjective musical preferences. This study adds to the growing body
of research documenting the effects of music on mood and physiology.
One day, while I was running on a treadmill at the gym, a personal trainer approached the person next to me to share some advice. “Muriel,” she said, “if you want to burn fat, you should keep your heart rate within a specific zone.” I was so shocked at what I’d heard that I nearly fell off the treadmill!