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Article Archive

U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline

April 22, 2019

U.S. life expectancy has declined 3 years in a row, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The average American life expectancy was 78.6 years in 2017, down from 78.7 years in 2016. While that drop is small, it’s significant in that it represents the third consecutive year of decline. Experts attribute the trend to an increase in accidental and unintentional deaths from drug overdoses as a result of opioids.

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Pilates Helps Adolescents

April 22, 2019

6-week Pilates program improved core muscle endurance and hamstring flexibility among adolescents between 9 and 19 years with a history of back pain. Research findings from a preliminary study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice (2019; doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.01.006) showed that a 6-week Pilates mat exercise program with two 55-minute sessions per week can improve conditioning in both young males and young females.

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Maternal Stress and Overweight Girls

April 22, 2019

The number of children with overweight or obesity—especially among kids younger than 6—is rising in modern societies. Being overweight before preschool increases the likelihood that children will develop obesity as they grow older.

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Fitness Training Reduces C-Section Risk

April 22, 2019

Women in their third trimester of pregnancy who are highly physically active are less likely to have an acute cesarean birth than women with low physical activity levels, according to findings from the Norwegian Fit for Delivery study (a randomized controlled trial).

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Bigger Belly, Smaller Brain?

April 22, 2019

Excess body fat stored primarily in the abdominal area has been linked with lower gray-matter brain volume, according to a report in Neurology (2019; doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000006879).

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More Long-Term Aerobic Fitness Benefits

April 22, 2019

New research adds to growing evidence that current cardiovascular fitness levels affect heart disease risks as far ahead as 9 years in the future. “Even among people who seem to be healthy, the top 25% of the most fit individuals actually have only half as high a risk [of heart disease] as the least fit 25%,” said principal investigator Bjarne Nes, PhD, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

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Fitness Pros Influence Body Satisfaction

April 22, 2019

Women in a group exercise class experienced greater body satisfaction and better moods when the instructor made motivational comments related to strength and health instead of weight or appearance.

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Rewards of Lifelong Exercise

April 22, 2019

If you were to tell clients they could have the heart health of a 40-year-old and the muscular fitness of someone in their 20s when they were in their 70s, they’d likely want to know more. Well, you could tell them this: A recent study found that lifelong exercisers averaging 75 years old had the cardiovascular health typical of someone in their early 40s and the muscular health of a 25-year-old. The key is to exercise regularly, year after year.

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Creating Enjoyable Training Programs

March 13, 2019

Physical inactivity levels continue to rise in spite of widespread knowledge of the negative consequences. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers suggest the issue may not come from a lack of knowledge but from how exercise is programmed. Studies show that simply manipulating elements of the FITT principle (frequency, intensity, time and type of exercise) does not improve adherence to exercise.

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The State of Metabolic Health

March 13, 2019

Public health may be compromised unless people shift their lifestyle choices from bad to better, according to new research. A recent study found that only 12% of American adults are “metabolically healthy,” and current trends raise a red flag on efforts to lower associated risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other complications.

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Deep Breathing and Mental Clarity

March 13, 2019

Next time you want to improve your ability to pay attention, you may want to observe your breathing. Findings from a study published in Psychophysiology (2018; doi:10.1111/psyp.13091) show that the locus coeruleus—the part of the brain that produces noradrenaline (also referred to as norepinephrine)—is directly affected by respiration. The study also shows that rates of inhalation and exhalation are related to attentional performance.

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The Benefits of Plyometrics in the Water

March 13, 2019

Athletes who practiced jump training in water significantly improved jump height and peak power without increased injury risk, according to findings published in PLOS One (2018; 13 [12], e0208439). Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney compared athletes who performed jump training in water 1.2 meters (3 feet 11 inches) deep with athletes who followed their regular sports training—without added jump training—on land. Both groups trained three times a week for 8 weeks.

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The Link Between “Tip-of-the-Tongue State” and Cardio Training

March 13, 2019

It might be time to motivate your senior clients to do more cardio. Evidence suggests that aerobic exercise can improve language skills by positively affecting brain regions associated with language processing. A recent study found that fitness and language skills are related, with cardiovascular fitness levels in healthy older adults directly linked to the ability to retrieve words hovering on the “tip of the tongue.”

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Kids’ Inactivity: A Global Crisis

March 13, 2019

Children worldwide, in both developed and developing nations, are not engaging in enough physical activity, according to research published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health (2018; 15 [S251]). The report evaluated global trends using data from 49 countries across six continents. Nations with the most success in supporting active children are Slovenia, Japan and Denmark; the least successful nations are Ethiopia, Venezuela and China.

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Children Have Natural Muscle Endurance

March 13, 2019

A recent study shows that children are suited to endurance activities, not only because kids have fatigue-resistant muscles, but because they recover quickly from high-intensity exercise—even more quickly than trained adult endurance athletes. Researchers conducted the study to determine whether prepubescent children are metabolically comparable to well-trained adult endurance athletes, since it’s been established that children can complete repeated high-intensity exercise bouts more easily than untrained adults.

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More Sleep vs. More Exercise

March 13, 2019

New research reveals that many working Americans are conflicted about whether to spend time exercising or sleeping. University of Pennsylvania investigators analyzed data from 48,000 adults who participated in the American Time Use Survey between 2003 and 2016. The researchers found that for most individuals sleep duration decreased as exercise duration increased, which led to the conclusion that exercise and sleep compete with each other for time.

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College Physical Activity Classes

February 11, 2019

Findings from a recent study may lead to more opportunities for fitness professionals to teach at college campuses. Evidence suggests that requiring physical activity classes in college encourages sedentary students to become more active, while elective classes simply support those who are already active.

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Sitting Is Not the New Smoking

February 11, 2019

The evidence is definitive. Risks of smoking far outweigh the health dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to raise awareness of the hazards of inactivity, but distorted information about risks of behavioral choices can confuse the public. “The simple fact is, smoking is one of the greatest public health disasters of the past century. Sitting is not, and you can’t really compare the two,” said study author Terry Boyle, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of South Australia, Adelaide.

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