Back in Canada, when my colleagues and I developed strength and fitness programs for hockey athletes, we began to notice something fascinating: Farm kids had distinct advantages when their “farm strength” was transferred to the ice. These young athletes were stronger on the puck, stronger in front of the net when battling their opponents, and stronger in odd body positions.
The health and fitness world confronts a complex paradox. Exercise causes consternation and elation, angst and joy. It can prevent—and lead to—illness and injury. Workouts can keep you out of a hospital and put you into one.
There's no denying the growth and popularity of high-intensity interval training. HIIT classes— which also ride on the coattails of CrossFit®—sometimes use fast paced, complex movements against external resistance. While this type of training can yield impressive physical and mental results, it can also lead to injuries and burnout. Why not end your sessions with a mind-body-cool-down designed to calm the nervous system and potentially lessen the chance of injury?
“I’ve been active much of my life but have also struggled with depression from a young age,” says Kris Cameron, ACE- certified personal trainer and owner of ReNu Your Life— Mobile Personal Training & Wellness in Iowa City, Iowa. “I come from a family full of depression, abuse, even suicide. About 18 years ago I was put on a very low dose of Zoloft (25 milligrams). It helped, but I also continued to be active, to work out—and I started my training career.
Concerns and subsequent warnings about the dangers of childhood obesity have made headlines for years. Despite the widespread publicity, it looks like many parents don’t see the problem when it is lurking within their own homes.
If you had to choose, would you rather spend 10 minutes more exercising or 10 minutes more preparing food each day?
A study by researchers at The Ohio State University’s College of Public Health suggests that because of the way Americans allot their time, the two may be mutually exclusive. The study found that a 10-minute increase in food preparation time was associated with a lower probability of exercising for 10 more minutes—among both men and women. The finding applied to single and married adults as well as parents and those with no children.
I don’t use the rating of perceived exertion scale for my clients because I think that method is better suited to a clinical setting. I have been using Mio watches and a couple of other similar brands for many years. They are inexpensive and easy to use. I use them for fitness assessments, especially when I have my clients do the 1-mile Rockport Fitness Walking test because I need their heart rate and time in order to calculate their aerobic capacity and get the most accurate results.
We’ve seen many activity trends come and go in the fitness industry, but perhaps none quite as “dirty” as the current obsession with mud runs and obstacle races. While some events are milder than others, many could be described as an “ordeal” that also happens to be a workout. For example, you might find yourself slopping through mud, scaling impossibly high verticals and pushing yourself to the limit—physically and mentally.
In 1988, Joan Darragh tipped the scales at 288 pounds. During a trip to Japan, she had a defining moment. “I was in a bar, and I sat on a stool built for the slighter Asian frame,” says the New York City resident. “Suddenly, the bolts on my metal stool started to pop.” She tried to pretend it wasn’t her stool making that noise, but she still kept one foot on the floor.
The frustrating thing about these headlines is that, to the letter, they are not untrue. To date, there have not been any large, randomized studies that have shown that reducing sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day (as is advised for certain special populations) has a positive outcome. But it is clear that the majority of Americans are getting far more than the 2,300 mg per day that has been found to correspond with certain disease risk factors.