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Group fitness instructor self-care

Prevent Injuries for Longevity and Fun

Like many instructors, you may feel as though you’re expected to do it all and be all things to all people. However, you also need to ensure that you are sustaining your own physical and mental health. How do you keep your standards high and your teaching schedule full while also remaining healthy and injury-free? Read on to find out how three avid veteran instructors achieve balance. Their experiences and advice model best self-care practices for a long and successful career.

High-Volume, High-Intensity Exercise Is Safe for Men

No need for concern about increased death risk from heart disease among experienced middle-aged exercisers who engage in high-intensity activity, at least if they’re male. Findings from a 10-year study of 21,758 generally healthy, very active men—like marathon runners, cyclists and swimmers—showed that even for those with higher coronary-artery calcium levels, athletic pursuits did not elevate risk of death.

Social Media Influencers Give Inaccurate Health Advice

Have you been frustrated by bad health and fitness advice doled out by social media influencers? You’re not alone, and if you sense that much of the popular online health information is wrong, you’re right! A recent study of key U.K. social media influencers’ weight management blogs—presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, Scotland, in April 2019—showed that most influencers were not reliable weight management resources.

Pesticides and Produce

The eco-minded nonprofit Environ?¡mental Working Group recently released this year’s update to its popular Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™. Their Dirty Dozen™ list ranks conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that, according to their analysis of available data, tend to contain the highest concentration of pesticides and/or the greatest number of different pesticides. For instance, more than 90% of kale samples had two or more pesticide residues.

Muscle Cramps? Find Out Why

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).

Indoor Cycling: Safe for Prenatal?

You’re helping participants get set up on their bikes in your 6 p.m. cycling class when someone taps you lightly on the shoulder: Is it okay to ride if she’s pregnant? To your knowledge, you’ve never had a pregnant participant in class, and you don’t know how to respond.

The Fourth Trimester: Postpartum Exercise

It’s not over in 9 months. A new mother’s body keeps changing long after the baby arrives. Hormonal shifts, breastfeeding and risks like pelvic organ prolapse (see “3 Issues for Postpartum Exercisers,” below) complicate the weeks and months after childbirth.

Poultry and Salmonella Risk

The most recent recall of romaine lettuce linked to an outbreak of dangerous E. coli O157:H7 drives home the reality of weak links in our food production chain. That includes numerous chicken slaughterhouses, the USDA reports. The agency found that a concerning number of poultry processors audited from October 29, 2017, to October 27, 2018, flunked the salmonella performance standard for handling chicken parts, such as breast meat.

More Paths to Exercise Recovery

When it comes to balancing your training program, your mindset should be, “Tomorrow’s workout begins with your recovery from today’s.” Recovery heals the pounding, twisting and tearing of physical activity. A well-thought-out strategy for recovery is becoming ever more crucial with the rising popularity of high-intensity workouts featuring barbells, kettlebells, heavy medicine balls, explosive plyometrics and anaerobic interval training.

Sitting Is Not the New Smoking

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.

Pilates and Fall Prevention

As many as one-third of all adults over 65 years old fall each year, with consequences that include serious injury, limited activity and significant costs. Researchers at California State University, Northridge, conducted a study that shows that Pilates reformer training—as little as once per week—can effectively reduce these risks.

Kickboxing class with a woman in the foreground ready to perform an uppercut.

Kickboxing Safety: Back to Basics

Kickboxing classes may not be as popular today as they were in the late 1990s, but people still love to hone their skills with this effective cross-training option. Whether you’ve been teaching for several years or you’re just getting started, it’s always a good idea to review the foundational concepts that make up this total-body workout.

Snowboarding: Injury Prevention & Performance

Over the past few decades, snowboarding has quickly become one of the fastest-evolving and most popular winter season sports. The impressive combination of power, velocity and technique make this activity appealing to both recreational riders and high-level competitors. But speed, terrain, gravity and the unique snowboard stance also create the potential for injury.

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