More flexible and variable than dumbbells or kettlebells, sand bells are sand-filled disks that can be lifted, slammed, tossed, curled, or flipped like a heavy pancake. The following playful workout mixes high-intensity cardio and strength training with two levels of progression, creating a user-friendly class for any participant.
Sand Bell HIIT Details
FORMAT: strength and cardio conditioning
TOTAL TIME: 55 minutes
Exercise is good for the aging brain. Indeed, the right kind of exercise can protect against neurodegeneration, the natural decline of brain functions that accompanies aging.
You could encourage your older clients to play “brain games” on computers or mobile apps. Alas, multiple studies say this approach helps only with the specific cognitive functions the games use (Bamidis et al. 2014). Hence, a computer game that requires a lot of visuospatial processing tends to improve visuospatial processing—but not much else.Read More
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.Read More
New research may help solve the problem of why many people who increase their activity fail to lose weight. Although exercise burns calories, previous studies have shown that many people compensate for the increased activity by eating and resting more, thus negating some potential weight loss benefits.Read More
Fifteen minutes of aerobic exercise done immediately after practicing a new motor skill improves long-term retention of that skill, according to findings reported in NeuroImage (2018; doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.03.029). Lead study author Fabien Dal Maso, assistant professor at the University of Montreal, said, “This shows that exercise is not only good for the body; it is good for the brain.” Researchers conducted the study to explore brain mechanisms underlying motor learning and the impact of cardiovascular exercise on motor memory consolidation.Read More
Need more convincing reasons to do a moderate-intensity workout on days when skipping training is attractive? New study findings show that energy expenditure increased for at least 22 hours after bouts of moderate-intensity (50% of peak) exercise, leading to an additional 64 (±119) kilocalories burned per day. Prior research had shown that high- but not moderate-intensity exercise increased resting energy expenditure.Read More
If you’re looking for a good cross-training technique for your more athletic clients, suggest they practice hot yoga, which may boost aerobic performance while minimizing exercise stress.
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, researchers recruited 10 elite female field hockey players for observation. All athletes participated in 60-minute hot-yoga classes (30 degrees Celsius/86 degrees Fahrenheit) over 6 consecutive days, during which they did not engage in any other exercise. Following the intervention, the athletes played in a national-team camp.Read More
In the past decade or so, the word functional has become a fitness industry buzzword, often referring to training systems and movements that take a different or unique approach, but not describing the approach with much specificity. Although there may be gray areas when it comes to defining functional training, most fitness professionals can agree that it focuses on enhancing natural movement through all planes of motion, thereby improving performance efficiency in everyday activities.Read More
As “head coach” of the circulatory/cardiovascular system, the heart pumps blood throughout the body, supplying oxygen and nutrients to tissues. Actually, two circulatory systems work as a “team”: Systemic circulation carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the body and sends deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Pulmonary circulation transports oxygen-poor blood from the heart’s right ventricle to the lungs, where it picks up a new supply of oxygen-rich blood that it carries to the heart’s left atrium (PubMed Health 2018).Read More
Do you remember recess? That break in the monotonous school day when you could run wild and free, lost in playful movement? The glory of the playground lingers in many of your participants’ memories too, and you can help to recreate that experience by taking your next class a little less seriously.
Turning the group fitness studio into a playground is a great idea for stressed-out, time-crunched, social media–weary adults who need a break from responsibility. So grab a whistle, cue the bell and get ready to inject some fun into everyone’s day!Read More
Healthy aging is more than the absence of disease, according to the World Health Organization: “For most older people, the maintenance of functional ability has the highest importance” (WHO 2015).
Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging in Vancouver, British Columbia, echoes that statement: “When looking at the healthy aging market today, the focus is all about function. The World Report on Ageing and Health (WHO 2015) focuses on function as a key element, because loss of functional abilities significantly impacts life quality. Having a chronic health issue, like diabetes or high blood pressure, is manageable, but if I can’t stand up, everything changes.”Read More
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.Read More
Want to outwalk the grim reaper? Pick up the pace, say researchers. A new study from the United Kingdom suggests that quicker walking may add years to your life.
The study’s primary aim was to examine the impact of walking pace and volume on all-cause mortality. To determine this, researchers looked at mortality records for 50,225 individuals from Scotland and England who had self-reported their walking data via interview.
Maybe you’ve thought about integrating exergaming—exercise combined with video games and other elements of technology—into some of your classes or sessions. Don’t forget to include older adults. A recent study found that seniors with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a precursor to Alzheimer’s, showed significant improvement in certain complex thinking and memory skills after exergaming.Read More
Many people fixate on the number of exercise calories they burn. New research, sponsored by Les Mills International, shows that even when two group fitness activities (indoor cycling and a resistance workout) were matched for duration and caloric expenditure, they did not have equivalent metabolic effects—which could influence long-term training results. Lead study author Nigel Harris, PhD, said, “The type of exercise used to burn those calories . . . impacts the long-term positive effects that exercise has on the body.”Read More
Strength training classes don’t have to adhere to a classic “sets and reps” template. Why not climb your way up and down this fun fitness ladder for a fast and furious total-body workout? Repetitions are high, but so is the frequency of change, keeping interest piqued during intense work sets.
Strength Ladder Details
GOAL/EMPHASIS: total-body strength training
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour
Fitness pros have a unique opportunity to take a leadership role by guiding their female clients toward a healthier, movement-oriented lifestyle. This women’s health research update discusses contemporary scientific findings you can use to educate your clients and plan up-to-date programs. The five topics, chosen because of the strong influence they have on women’s health, are type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, anxiety disorders and menopause.Read More
Step classes are still alive! Many participants remain eager for creative yet easy-to-follow choreography. You can keep yours simple while retaining some of the frills that people enjoy. Here’s an example: This class starts with one 32-count step combination for the warmup and continues with four variations on that combo during the main segment. Try this choreography during your next step class.
Step With Variations Details
GOAL/EMPHASIS:cardiovascular workout with classic 32-count step choreography
While some participants don’t stick around for the cooldown, those who do are rewarded with the many benefits that stretching offers. Help students go a little deeper with a very simple yet versatile tool: a stretching strap.
Straps are great to have in your fitness toolbox (and relatively inexpensive for the program manager’s budget). They not only assist with proper positioning and numerous techniques but also nullify the “I’m not flexible enough” excuse.
Before we get to the stretches, consider these options:
IDEA Fitness Journal