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Len Kravitz

Len Kravitz, PhD is a professor and program coordinator of exercise science at the University of New Mexico where he recently received the Presidential Award of Distinction and the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award. In addition to being a 2016 inductee into the National Fitness Hall of Fame, Dr. Kravitz was awarded the Fitness Educator of the Year by the American Council on Exercise. Just recently, ACSM honored him with writing the 'Paper of the Year' for the ACSM Health and Fitness Journal.

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Article Archive

Muscle Cramps? Find Out Why

September 11, 2019

Muscle cramps can stop athletes in their tracks. Although they usually self-extinguish within seconds or minutes, the abrupt, harsh, involuntary muscle contractions can cause mild-to-severe agony and immobility, often accompanied by knotting of the affected muscle (Minetto et al. 2013). And cramps are common; 50%–60% of healthy people suffer muscle cramps during exercise, sleep or pregnancy or after vigorous physical exertion (Giuriato et al. 2018).

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The Weight Debate: Obesity and Health Risks

August 16, 2019

Think of it as the point-counterpoint discussion on obesity: Is the healthcare profession overemphasizing the negative consequences of extra weight? What are the risks? Is the focus on obesity helping or hurting our clients?

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Break Up a Sedentary Day With Active Standing

June 24, 2019

It is an inspiring time to be a fitness professional. Now, more than at any other time, we have scientific evidence that physical activity and exercise are tremendously beneficial for managing and reducing chronic diseases, improving brain health, lowering blood pressure, reducing depression and anxiety, controlling obesity, and more. How do we help people gain these benefits? Three scientific reports begin to define a road map of where we are headed to effectively combat sedentary lifestyles.

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Inside the Latest Physical Activity Guidelines

April 17, 2019

The more we move, the better we live. Even a few minutes of exercise is better than sitting still.

These are just two of the conclusions in the recent report from the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, whose recommendations form a sound foundation for integrating exercise into our daily lives.

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Neuromuscular Power Circuits

April 1, 2019

The dynamic motions of sport require peak power—that is, the most strength a muscular contraction can muster in one of these quick bursts. Sporting athletes depend on peak power for jumping, running, throwing, striking, swinging and kicking. Scientists prefer the term “neuromuscular power” (to just “power” itself) because neural factors—including motor unit recruitment, muscle fiber firing frequency and synchronization of a muscle’s contractile forces—are involved.

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Exercise Is Good for Mental Health

December 6, 2018

STUDY REVIEWED: Chekroud, S.R., et al. 2018. Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1.2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: A cross-sectional study. Lancet Psychiatry, 5 (9), 739–46.

Exercise has proven benefits for improving physical health. But what about mental health? For starters, active people are nearly 45% less likely to have depressive symptoms than inactive people (Booth, Roberts & Laye 2012). But a deeper look at the connections between exercise and mental health raises complicated questions:

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Training Guidance for Sedentary Young Women

October 12, 2018

Study reviewed: Kyröläinen, H., et al. 2017. Effects of combined strength and endurance training on physical performance and biomarkers of healthy young women. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 32 (6), 1554–61.

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Getting to the Heart of Pre-Exercise Screening

September 21, 2018

A preparticipation health screening helps trainers and prospective clients safely launch into an exercise program. When the American College of Sports Medicine updated its pre-exercise screening guidelines 3 years ago, it made one major shift: It stopped recommending the use of a tool to assess cardiovascular disease risk.

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heart rate tracker

Wearable Heart Rate Trackers: Which Works Best?

August 21, 2018

How accurate are the latest wearable heart rate trackers?
That’s an important question amid the flourishing demand for wearable fitness devices and wrist-worn heart rate monitors. Approximately 1 in 6 consumers in the U.S. uses some type of wearable technology, such as a fitness band or a smartwatch (Piwek et al. 2016). Industry research from 5 years ago predicted sales of 110 million wearable devices by 2018, but shipments of 115.4 million in 2017 have already outpaced that projection (Piwek et al. 2016; IDC 2018).

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Range of Motion: Full or Partial?

March 16, 2018

Research shows there’s a time and place for both full and partial range of motion in resistance training program design.
Some training systems purposely use partial ROM for various exercises. Moreover, certain surgeries and orthopedic injuries require partial-ROM movements during rehabilitation (Pinto et al. 2012). It seems natural for personal trainers to wonder which is superior: full ROM or partial ROM? ,/p>
Two studies comparing the benefits of partial ROM and full ROM give a clearer view of the landscape.

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What Fitness Pros Need to Know About New Blood Pressure Guidelines

February 13, 2018

New guidelines on high blood pressure made headlines late last year because they suggest that nearly half of all Americans have hypertension—up from about one-third under previous guidelines. This is big news for fitness professionals because regular exercise is an excellent tool for regulating blood pressure. In this issue, we’ll review what you need to know about the new blood pressure guidelines.

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50 Ways to Cut Calories

December 13, 2017

For the first time ever, overeating is a larger problem than starvation among the world’s overall population (Buchanan & Sheffield 2017). Losing weight—and, perhaps more importantly, not regaining it—is a challenge facing millions of people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global obesity rates have nearly tripled since 1975. Further, 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight in 2016. Of these people, more than 650 million were obese (WHO 2017).

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Move 3 for Every 30

December 8, 2017

With most U.S. adults sitting 9–12 hours daily and the risks of inactivity becoming more apparent, the popular press and the scientific community concur that “sitting is the new smoking.” Indeed, there is mounting evidence linking sedentary lifestyles to cardiovascular diseases and all causes of mortality (Diaz et al. 2017).
Though the threat seems clear, one major question has puzzled researchers: Can people reduce their risks by taking short breaks in otherwise long periods of sitting still?

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Getting Better at Recovery

October 12, 2017

A growing body of research is shedding more light on the importance of resting after exercise—providing vital clues on measuring and enhancing the recovery process. These insights are welcome news to personal trainers and coaches who see the consequences of overtraining and inadequate recovery every day. This column discusses some of the latest research on assessing and managing recovery and advises on tactics that may help your clients recover from exercise.

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Exercise and Children: Better Brain Health, Less Obesity, Less Stress

May 10, 2017

Physically active young people can do better in school and improve their self-expression, self-confidence and social interaction compared with more sedentary children (WHO 2017). Indeed, two studies published in 2017 underscore the value of children getting plenty of exercise.
Let’s take a quick look at this research. Study 1. Fitness and Academic Achievement

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