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.
Studies have shown that seated desk work can have negative health and mobility repercussions as we age. A new study suggests that physically demanding jobs can also impact function later in life.
The study included 5,200 public sector employees participating in the Finnish Longitudinal Study on Municipal Employees. The primary purpose of the study was to understand the impact of leisure-time physical activity (LPA) and occupational physical activity (OPA) on mobility limitations among older adults.
According to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine (2014; 160 , 517–25), close to 21 million adults aged 20 and older had confirmed diabetes in 2010, and some sectors of the population were more likely than others to develop the disease.
Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, the scientists looked at diabetes rates and diagnosis among adults in 1988–1994 and 1999–2010.*
Over the past several years, kettlebells have emerged (or reemerged) as a prominent fixture in fitness facilities. But are these crude tools worth their pood?*
To learn about the benefits of kettlebells, researchers enlisted by the American Council on Exercise studied 30 participants, who were divided into two groups—an exercise group and a nonexercise control group. Prior to the trials, the exercisers completed two introductory kettlebell sessions to
learn form and technique; they practiced one- and two-handed swings, snatches and other movements.
Did you know that Pilates continues to grow in popularity, and its practice is now familiar to people around the world? Maybe you’ve already experienced the effectiveness of Pilates or are thinking about taking lessons.
Good news! Researchers have proven certain benefits of this form of exercise. Shirley Archer, JD, MA, 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and IDEA’s mind-body-spirit spokesperson, discusses the benefits below.
Benefits Backed by Strong Evidence
As fitness pros, we know that a great workout can be just what a person needs to relieve stress. Unfortunately, the 2013 Stress in America™ survey showed that in the month leading up to the study, as many as 39% of Americans skipped exercise or physical activity when they were feeling stressed. The good news is that 53% of adults who do exercise say they feel good about themselves after exercising, 35% say it puts them in a good mood, and 32% say they feel less stressed.
Many athletes like to “psyche up” as part of their precompetition ritual, but does this really make a difference? And is one psyching-up method more effective than another? According to new research, imagery—visualizing oneself performing a task to the best of one’s ability—seems to be the most effective approach, at least for running sports.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm), 1 in every 3 adults has high blood pressure. A recent report suggests that isometric exercise—in which joint angle and muscle length do not change during muscular contraction—can be used to reduce and manage blood pressure.