Exercise professionals devote fervent attention to learning the intricate mechanisms of muscle actions and understanding how the contractile proteins (such as myosin and actin) create force to do an array of exercises. But the source of that force—the biochemistry of energy—often remains a mystery. This column will discuss recent explanations that help demystify the processes happening at the molecular level, where cells channel energy from food into the work accomplished by exercise.
Before we can compare HIIT and continuous endurance training, it’s important to review how the body’s cardiovascular system adapts to an aerobic workout. During aerobic exercise, heart performance is based on heart rate, stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped per beat) and heart contractility (the forcefulness of each heart contraction). These variables increase blood flow and oxygen supply to meet the demands of exercising muscles.
If you haven’t had a client ask about it yet, you will soon. Intermittent fasting has hit the mainstream, and a lot of peo- ple are taking notice.
Proponents claim that intermittent fasting causes more rapid weight loss than other approaches; that it makes dieting easier; and that it improves blood glucose control and blood lipids. Does the current body of evidence support these claims? Let’s find out.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Long-distance running continues to attract new enthusiasts throughout the world (Tonoli et al. 2010); its unique combination of benefits can help people to control their weight, improve cardiovascular function and fend off a host of chronic health problems (van Gent et al. 2007; van Middelkoop et al. 2008). But for all these advantages, running is hard on some parts of the body, often leading to lower-extremity injuries (van Middelkoop et al. 2008).
What Are Running Injuries, and How Prevalent Are They?
High-intensity interval training is enormously popular in the fitness indus- try this year. HIIT workouts typically include short bursts (6 seconds to 4 minutes) of intense exercise (≥ 90% maximal aerobic capacity) alternating with relief breaks of varying lengths (Kessler, Sisson & Short 2012; Boutcher 2011).
The workouts include a limitless vari- ety of exercises, including
Pilates continues to grow in popularity, and its practice is now familiar to people around the world, with studios throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Enthusiastic marketers may claim that Pilates can solve everything from weight issues to problems in the bed- room, but we serve our clients well when we educate them about benefits of Pilates training that are validated by scientific consensus.
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.
Want to cut your risk of catching the flu? Preliminary findings from the U.K. Flusurvey suggest that vigorous exercise can help.
The survey, an online study run by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, has gathered data from more than 4,800 participants. The organization found that individuals who exercised vigorously for at least 2.5 hours per week reduced their risk of developing flu-like illness by 10%. There was no association between moderate exercise and diminished risk.