David Groscup

David Groscup
David Groscup

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Top 20 Fitness Trends for 2015

Push-ups and other body weight training are at the top of the list of 2015 Worldwide Fitness Trends according to the American College of Sports Medicine. (istockphoto.com)



As you are rushing around with all your holiday preparations in the next couple of weeks, January may seem still so far away, but before you know it, you will be planning your New Year’s resolutions. While we always mourn the end of the holiday season and the extra time with family and friends, January is also a fresh start where we can make good on our vows to work toward better finances…better health..better job…better family/work balance….you know this list could be endless. To help those of us planning on focusing on healthier living and staying fit in 2015, the American College of Sports Medicine has a compiled a list of Top 20 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2015. Don’t know whether to pick up yoga or weight lifting? Pilates or Spin Class? Maybe you will find your inspiration in these top trends.
Top 20 Trends
1. Body weight training. With money woes still a concern for many as we enter the New Year, inexpensive fitness programs seem to be very popular. Because body weight training does not require a lot of equipment, basically you use your own body as the weights to strengthen your core muscles, it can be an inexpensive way to whip yourself into shape. This form of training can be found in most gyms and fitness clubs and many of the programs are designed to be much more than just push-ups and pull-ups.
2. High-intensity interval training. High intensity and fast-paced, this workout usually calls for short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short recovery time. Due to its efficiency at burning calories and building muscles it has become a favorite in the world of fitness; some health professionals warn however that there is an increased chance of injury with this type of exercise.
3. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals. As the fitness industry continues to grow in leaps and bounds, especially here in the U.S., there has been a surge in demand for fitness professionals who are at the top of their field. More colleges and universities are now offering accreditation and certification programs for specialties in health and fitness. Maybe you can check off two new resolutions at the same time and get fit while starting a new career path.
4. Strength training. Strength training is not just a “guy” thing or just for athletes in training. All men and women and even children can benefit from building stronger bones as well as controlling their weight and increasing energy levels. This type of training includes body weight, resistance tubing, free weights and weight machines.
5. Personal training. As we all know, fitness programs are not one size fits all. While your friend might love the pulsing beat and comradely of a spin class, you might have more lone wolf tendencies and prefer a more solitary form of exercise. Hiring a personal trainer to design a custom fit plan tailored to your wants and needs as well as to be your personal cheering section might be just what you need to stay on track with your New Year’s resolution.
6. Exercise and weight loss. If you are trying to lose inches off your waist as well as tone your body, then programs that combine exercise and weight loss might be the best option for you. Look for programs that emphasize the important balance between healthy eating and exercise.
7. Yoga. Yoga in all forms continues to be a favorite in the fitness community. Could it be its ability to continually invent itself that is so attractive? Yogis can do traditional forms like Vinyasa yoga or fly high with more modern versions like aerial yoga.
8. Fitness programs for older adults. Age is just a number right? Fitness programs designed for the 60+ crowd are a growing part of the fitness industry. If you are a baby boomer who wants to stay fit and active, but don’t want to be stuck in a class with twenty-something gymnasts, there are many fitness programs that are designed with you in mind.
9. Functional fitness. In many physical therapy programs, functional fitness is used to help a patient improve balance and coordination as well as strength and endurance by repeating physical activities of everyday life.
10. Group personal training. Training two or three people at the same time in a small group is becoming a popular solution for those looking for more individualized attention then you would get in a larger class, but without the higher cost of one on one sessions with a personal trainer.
11. Worksite health promotion. With the rising cost of healthcare, 2015 will see companies offering more health and fitness programs and services to keep their employees healthy.
12. Outdoor activities. It seems the call of the outdoors will never go out of style. If you prefer feeling the sun on your face and the wind at your back, maybe outdoor activities like running, hiking or skiing might be want you to need to get the blood pulsing again.
13. Wellness coaching Wellness coaching incorporates health promotion, disease prevention, and rehabilitation. Some personal trainers offer wellness coaching as part of their services.
14. Circuit training. Circuit training, a group fog 6 to 10 exercises that are completed in a sequence, is very similar to high-intensity training, but is performed at a lower level of intensity. 
15. Core training. This type of training focuses on strengthening the muscles of the abdomen, thorax, and back by exercising the hips, lower back, and abdomen. Common equipment used includes exercise balls, BOSU balls, wobble boards, and foam rollers.
16. Sport-specific training. Many athletes look for programs that help develop their sport-specific skills like throwing in baseball to increase strength and endurance during the off season.
17. Children and exercise for the treatment/prevention of obesity. With the increasing rate of obesity especially here in the United States, a focus has been placed on programs that help children maintain healthy lifestyles. Keep your kids active in 2015.
18. Outcome measurements. No matter what fitness regimen you choose, one thing you will notice in 2015 is the emphasis on outcome measurements. Healthcare professionals will be holding themselves more accountable for their ability to produce the desired health benefits for their clients. Look for clubs and studios that track the results of their programs.
19. Worker incentive programs. This survey suggests that many more companies are considering offering incentive programs to their workers for healthy behavior change in another effort to reduce healthcare costs.
20. Boot camp. More and more men and women are favoring this military style training that includes cardiovascular, strength, endurance and flexibility drills. This is a great option if you prefer intense, highly-structured workouts.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Trained Muscle Growth


We take it for granted, but the fact that our muscles grow when we work them makes them rather unique. Now, researchers have identified a key ingredient needed for that bulking up to take place. A factor produced in working muscle fibers apparently tells surrounding muscle stem cell "higher ups" that it's time to multiply and join in, according to a study in the January Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press journal.



In other words, that so-called serum response factor (Srf) translates the mechanical signal of work into a chemical one.
"This signal from the muscle fiber controls stem cell behavior and participation in muscle growth," says Athanassia Sotiropoulos of Inserm in France. "It is unexpected and quite interesting." It might also lead to new ways to combat muscle atrophy.
Sotiropoulos' team became interested in Srf's role in muscle in part because their earlier studies in mice and humans showed that Srf concentrations decline with age. That led them to think Srf might be a culprit in the muscle atrophy so common in aging.
The new findings support that view, but Srf doesn't work in the way the researchers had anticipated. Srf was known to control many other genes within muscle fibers. That Srf also influences the activities of the satellite stem cells came as a surprise.
Mice with muscle fibers lacking Srf are no longer able to grow when they are experimentally overloaded, the new research shows. That's because satellite cells don't get the message to proliferate and fuse with those pre-existing myofibers.
Srf works through a network of genes, including one known as Cox2. That raises the intriguing possibility that commonly used Cox2 inhibitors -- think ibuprofen -- might work against muscle growth or recovery, Sotiropoulos notes.
Treatments designed to tweak this network of factors might be used to wake muscle stem cells up and enhance muscle growth in circumstances such as aging or following long periods of bed rest, she says. Most likely, such therapies would be more successfully directed not at Srf itself, which has varied roles, but at its targets.
"It may be difficult to find a beneficial amount of Srf," she says. "Its targets, interleukins and prostaglandins, may be easier to manipulate."
Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Cell PressNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Aline Guerci, Charlotte Lahoute, Sophie H├ębrard, Laura Collard, Dany Graindorge, Maryline Favier, Nicolas Cagnard, Sabrina Batonnet-Pichon, Guillaume Pr├ęcigout, Luis Garcia, David Tuil, Dominique Daegelen, Athanassia Sotiropoulos. Srf-Dependent Paracrine Signals Produced by Myofibers Control Satellite Cell-Mediated Skeletal Muscle HypertrophyCell Metabolism, 2012; 15 (1): 25 DOI:10.1016/j.cmet.2011.12.001

Monday, December 1, 2014

Exercise: Women must do more to reap same positive health outcomes as men


More than one-third of Americans are obese, and these individuals often experience accompanying health issues, such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems. In response to the so-called "obesity epidemic," many medical professionals have suggested ways to improve the health outcomes of obese individuals through diet and exercise. Now, research conducted at the University of Missouri suggests certain exercises that benefit obese men may not have the same positive results for obese women. These findings could help health providers and researchers develop targeted exercise interventions for obese women.


Kanaley and her colleagues monitored cardiovascular responses, such as heart rate and blood pressure, of nearly 75 obese men and women with Type 2 diabetes. To monitor cardiovascular responses, the individuals completed an isometric handgrip test, which involves continually and forcefully squeezing an object for a few minutes, at the beginning and end of a structured, 16-week walking program.
"What this research highlights, at least using the handgrip test, is that the advantages we think exercise is going to give individuals may not be the same across genders, particularly for those who have Type 2 diabetes," Kanaley said. "This is a concern because there are high mortality rates with Type 2 diabetes, especially for women. We're trying to find successful interventions to help these individuals, and we keep assuming that exercise will do the trick -- we think when we tell people to "go train," regardless of gender, everyone will get the same results. Our research indicates certain exercises may not be enough for women, as our walking program did not show positive improvements for them."
Obese women with Type 2 diabetes might benefit from longer durations or higher intensities of exercise, Kanaley said. In addition, Kanaley said more concern should be placed on how long it takes cardiovascular function to return to normal after exercise as well as how fast the heart beats during physical exertion.
"A lot of people focus on how high individuals' heart rates get during exercise, but their recovery rates also should be monitored," Kanaley said. "When you exercise, you want your blood pressure to rise, but you don't want it to get too high. Your blood pressure should return to normal relatively quickly after you stop exercise. In our study, the recovery rate for women was not as rapid as for men. After the men trained, they got an even better recovery time, whereas women's time stayed about the same."
The study, "Exercise training improves hemodynamic recovery to isometric exercise in obese men with Type 2 diabetes but not in obese women," was published in the December issue of Metabolism.

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia.Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Jill A. Kanaley, Styliani Goulopoulou, Ruth Franklin, Tracy Baynard, Robert L. Carhart, Ruth S. Weinstock, Bo Fernhall. Exercise training improves hemodynamic recovery to isometric exercise in obese men with type 2 diabetes but not in obese women. Metabolism, 2012; 61 (12): 1739 DOI:10.1016/j.metabol.2012.07.014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Coffee Benefits Weight Loss

Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered that a chemical compound commonly found in coffee may help prevent some of the damaging effects of obesity.



In a paper published recently in Pharmaceutical Research, scientists found that chlorogenic acid, or CGA, significantly reduced insulin resistance and accumulation of fat in the livers of mice who were fed a high-fat diet.
"Previous studies have shown that coffee consumption may lower the risk for chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease," said Yongjie Ma, a postdoctoral research associate in UGA's College of Pharmacy and lead author of the paper. "Our study expands on this research by looking at the benefits associated with this specific compound, which is found in great abundance in coffee, but also in other fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, tomatoes and blueberries."
During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. More than one-third of U.S. adults and approximately 17 percent of children are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the annual medical cost of obesity is more than $147 billion.
Aside from weight gain, two common side effects of obesity are increased insulin resistance and the accumulation of fat in the liver. Left untreated, these disorders can lead to diabetes and poor liver function.
To test the therapeutic effects of CGA, researchers fed a group of mice a high-fat diet for 15 weeks while also injecting them with a CGA solution twice per week.
They found that CGA was not only effective in preventing weight gain, but it also helped maintain normal blood sugar levels and healthy liver composition.
"CGA is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation," said Ma, who works in the laboratory of professor Dexi Liu in the department of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. "A lot of evidence suggests that obesity-related diseases are caused by chronic inflammation, so if we can control that, we can hopefully offset some of the negative effects of excessive weight gain."
But the authors are quick to point out that CGA is not a cure-all. Proper diet and regular exercise are still the best methods to reduce the risks associated with obesity.
The mice in this study received a high dose of CGA, much higher than what a human would absorb through regular coffee consumption or a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
However, the researchers do believe that CGA may form the foundation of a treatment for those who need extra help. They plan to conduct more research to develop an improved CGA formulation specifically for human consumption.
"We're not suggesting that people start drinking a lot of coffee to protect themselves from an unhealthy lifestyle," said Ma, who is also a member of UGA's Obesity Initiative. "But we do think that we might be able to create a useful therapeutic using CGA that will help those at risk for obesity-related disease as they make positive lifestyle changes."
Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by University of Georgia. The original article was written by James Hataway. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
Yongjie Ma, Mingming Gao, Dexi Liu. Chlorogenic Acid Improves High Fat Diet-Induced Hepatic Steatosis and Insulin Resistance in Mice. Pharmaceutical Research, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s11095-014-1526-9

Friday, November 28, 2014

Great Article On The Muscle Building Effects Of Stretching!

Researchers have known for years that weighted stretching between sets can produce astounding results in muscle growth. Here's how to make it work for you!
My entire adult life has been dedicated to finding the holy grail of muscle growth. I've read thousands of research papers and countless books on the topic, and I've spent over a decade slaving in the lab trying to scope out new techniques—and classic ones—that bodybuilders can add to their toolbox. So I can think of a few candidates off the top of my head.
But here's a surprise: Out of all the papers I've read, the most extreme growth response was from a study I saw all the way back in high school. The author of that paper was Dr. Jose Antonio, a man who played a large part in inspiring me to pursue a career researching hypertrophy.
Through a unique approach to stretching, Dr. Antonio induced jaw-dropping levels of growth in animals, and my lab at the University of Tampa has recently striven to—you guessed it!—optimize this technique for bodybuilders.
Get ready to stretch both your mind and your muscles!

THE SWOLLEST QUAIL IN THE NEST

When muscles grow, they do so through one of two mechanisms: either by making existing muscle fibers bigger, or through the addition of new muscle fibers.2 Dr. Antonio's research was primarily centered on the second method, which is known as hyperplasia.1
While the first method of growth is more or less uniformly known and accepted by scientists, the second method has been more controversial. There are two proposed mechanisms through which individuals achieve hyperplasia, or add new muscle fibers. The first mechanism is when existing muscle fibers split. The second is when your body activates specialized cells known as satellite cells.2 The satellite cells then divide and combine to form new muscle fibers. Both of these methods require extreme mechanical stress and damage to induce hyperplasia.
JAKE WILSON AND HIS TEAM subjected quail to an extreme, chronic stretching-overload protocol which involved hanging weights on their wings for 28 days. During the month-long study, he progressively added more weight. Incredibly, Dr. Antonio reported 318-percent increases in mass for the stretched muscles! This is far larger than anything else I've seen in the scientific literature. He then counted their individual muscle fibers and discovered that the technique had indeed drastically increased the number of muscle fibers in stretched muscles.
After reading this experiment, I immediately asked myself two questions:
  1. Can hyperplasia occur in humans?
  2. Can we modify Dr. Antonio's protocol for bodybuilders?

STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT

Unfortunately, our ability to detect changes in muscle fibers in humans is quite difficult because we can't count the number of fibers from pre- to post-training in an entire muscle group. Unlike an animal model where it is possible to count every single muscle fiber, you have to make assumptions from a small muscle sample in humans. However, indirect methods in humans still point toward hyperplasia.
One of the best studies on this topic to date was performed by Dr. Tesch and Dr. Larsson back in 1982.3 These scientists found that many of the muscle fibers in highly trained bodybuilders were the exact same size as recreationally trained physical-education students. The fact that the bodybuilders had much larger muscle mass indicated that many of their muscle fibers had been newly created.
So should you duct-tape some weight plates to your arms for the next month? I wouldn't—although perhaps hanging some weights on your pet turkey might make for a bigger Thanksgiving meal. It is important to emphasize that the conditions in Dr. Antonio's study were extreme, to say the least. Luckily, when looking at studies, there are other stretching models to follow.
INTERMITTENT STRETCH OVERLOAD IS A TECHNIQUE THAT USES WEIGHTS TO STRETCH THE MUSCLE INTENSELY, FOLLOWED BY TWO DAYS OF REST.
One is known as an intermittent stretch overload. This technique uses weights to stretch the muscle intensely, followed by two days of rest. Animal research has demonstrated that this type of approach can still results in up to 50-percent increases in muscle size when the weight is not progressed, and up to 225 percent when weight is progressively increased.4

IMPLEMENTING THIS TECHNIQUE IN HUMANS

Until recently, no human studies had been performed to investigate muscle growth with intermittent stretching protocols. However, two new studies have shown that intense stretching—even without lifting weights—increased strength by greater than 20 percent in only 3-8 weeks.5,6 Because individuals weren't actually lifting weights, an increase in strength strongly suggests—and other research supports—that the muscle must be enlarging, either by increasing fiber size or quantity.
Our lab recently tried to tie together all the existing research into a training protocol that bodybuilders could use right away. Our study, led by Jacob Rauch and Jeremy Silva, focused on individuals performing seated calf presses on the leg press.


The athletes began with a weight they could lift 12-15 times until failure. However, instead of resting between sets, they let the weight from the leg press stretch their calves for 30 seconds. They repeated this process three times, dropping the weight after each stretch.
After 5 weeks we found that the stretching group doubled the muscle gains of the non-stretching group! Here's what we now believe to be the case:
  • The key to stretch-induced growth is to create both a large amount of mechanical tension and muscle damage.
  • The stretch placed upon a muscle fiber seems to be greatest after an individual has achieved significant cell swelling, or pump.
After this swelling has been increased, we believe that intermittent stretching would have its greatest chance to work.

PUTTING IT TO WORK FOR YOU

As you can imagine, stretching is a part of a normal lift. Specifically, exercises which place a muscle in its extreme range of motion—such as incline dumbbell curls for the biceps—increase mechanical strain, and thus, hypertrophy.7
However, based on the evidence above, it seems clear to us that some amount of weighted intermittent stretching is even more effective at increasing muscle growth, even in muscle groups as stubborn as the calves.

CALF PRESS ON LEG PRESS MACHINE


But a quick warning: I guarantee that this will be one of the most challenging techniques you have ever implemented, and the pump will be like nothing you've ever experienced!
For this reason, it's crucial that you only perform this technique with exercises where you can stretch the muscle without putting yourself at risk of injury. For example, don't use dips to stretch your pecs, because your shoulders would be placed in a dangerous position. Instead, try something like lying dumbbell flyes, where you hold the weight in the stretched portion of the lift.
For a one-month specialization program, I suggest performing a variation on the routine below twice a week. Use a weight you can lift for 12-15 repetitions. When you reach failure, let the weight stretch your muscles. At this point, perform a dropset where you strip the weight down by 15 percent and go to failure again. Repeat this process 2-3 more times, and you'll be—and feel—done.
Here's how you could use it for specific body parts, and a full month-long specialization routine for the calves.
  • Biceps: Between sets of standing or incline seated dumbbell curls, let the weight pull you into controlled hyperextension at the shoulder, maximizing stretch and tension on the biceps.
  • Chest: Between sets of chest flyes, allow the weight to stretch your chest while maintaining a slight bend in the elbows.
  • Traps: Following a set a shrugs, allow the weight to keep you in a depressed position without letting the weight rest against your sides.
  • Hamstrings: Between sets of Romanian deadlifts, emphasize the bottom position. Extend your hips back as far as you can with your weight on your heels for maximum tension on the hamstrings. Keep the weight as close to your body as possible.
  • Quads: Between any quad exercise, perform the classic quad stretch. Sit on the backs of your heels and place your hands behind you. Depending on your level of flexibility, you can walk your hands back for increased stretch.
  • Back: After completing a set of pull-ups, fully extend your arms and hang. Keep your feet off the ground for maximal tension.
  • Triceps: Between sets of triceps rope extensions, let the rope pull you back into a stretched position.

STRETCH TO GROW CALF SPECIALIZATION PROTOCOL

Based on weights for an individual who can perform calf presses on the leg press machine with 300 pounds for 15 reps and calf raises with 100 pounds.

WEEK 1

Day 1
TRIPLE DROPSET
  • Calf Press On The Leg Press Machine Calf Press On The Leg Press MachineCalf Press On The Leg Press Machine
    15 reps with 300 lbs.

  • Stretch for 30 seconds using weight stack. Then go to failure at 250, 200, and 150 lbs, with 30-sec weighted stretches between each drop.
Day 2
    (After 48-72 hours of rest)

  • Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf RaisesCalf Raise
    15 reps with 100 lbs.

  • Stretch for 30 seconds using the weight stack. Then go to failure at 85, 70, and 55 lbs, with 30-sec weighted stretches between each drop.

WEEKS 2-4

Increase load by 3-5% on the initial lift, and add 5 seconds to the stretch if you want additional overload.


REFERENCES
  1. Antonio, J. and W.J. Gonyea, Role of muscle fiber hypertrophy and hyperplasia in intermittently stretched avian muscle. Journal of applied physiology, 1993. 74(4): p. 1893-8.
  2. Antonio, J. and W.J. Gonyea, Progressive stretch overload of skeletal muscle results in hypertrophy before hyperplasia. Journal of applied physiology, 1993. 75(3): p. 1263-71.
  3. Tesch, P.A. and L. Larsson, Muscle hypertrophy in bodybuilders. European Journal of Applied Physiology & Occupational Physiology, 1982. 49(3): p. 301-6.
  4. Antonio, J. and W.J. Gonyea, Role of muscle fiber hypertrophy and hyperplasia in intermittently stretched avian muscle. J Appl Physiol (1985), 1993. 74(4): p. 1893-8.
  5. Worrell, T.W., T.L. Smith, and J. Winegardner, Effect of hamstring stretching on hamstring muscle performance. The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy, 1994. 20(3): p. 154-9.
  6. Handel, M., et al., Effects of contract-relax stretching training on muscle performance in athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol, 1997. 76(5): p. 400-8.
  7. Child, R.B., J.M. Saxton, and A.E. Donnelly, Comparison of eccentric knee extensor muscle actions at two muscle lengths on indices of damage and angle-specific force production in humans. Journal of sports sciences, 1998. 16(4): p. 301-8.
  8. Silva, J.E., Rauch, J., Lowery, R.P.,…..and Wilson, J.M. (2014) Weighted Post-Set Stretching Increases Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy. National Strength and Conditioning Conference, Las Vegas Nevada.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What is Occlusion Training?





There are many methods to build muscle including forced reps,negative reps, rest-pause, omni-contraction and so on. Now there is a new one. Its called Occlusion Training and is done by using light to moderate weights for your training while using knee wraps or other straps to restrict the blood flow in a muscle while being exercised. Sounds strange, right? 

The idea is to restrict the blood flow to your veins while avoiding any restriction to blood flow to your arteries. To do this you need to buy a pair of long wrist wraps and a pair of knee wraps. Prior to training your arms wrap them using the wrist straps at the top of  the biceps.Don't make the straps too tight; on a scale of 1-10 use a tightness of 5. Select a weight that is 20-30% of your 1RM and take the set to failure on your first exercise. Do the desired amount of exercises before removing the wraps. Make sure not to tighten them too much and remove them immediately after completing your arm training. 

For legs use the knee wraps and tighten them to a level of 7 on a scale of 1-10. Do your sets to failure using weights that are 30-40% of your 1RM. To train your chest and back attach both the wrist and knee wraps before training. This way you occlude the blood flow to the thorax.

How does this work? First, by restricting blood flow you fill the muscle fibers with alot of fluid which forces them to grow! Secondly, the low oxygen level in the muscle's blood causes the body to recruit larger amounts of fast twitch fibers, which are the ones responsible for the majority of muscle growth. Lactic acid buildup in the muscle increases the level of protein synthesis in the muscle, leading to further growth. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Exercise At Your Work Desk




(NaturalNews) Desk jobs are evolving. More Americans are getting off their butts at work. Corporations like Microsoft, Procter and Gamble, and Coca-Cola have begun purchasing new treadmill desks in bulk. In fact, TreadDesk's sales are expected to increase by 25 percent this year alone.

According to LifeSpan Fitness from Salt Lake City, sales of tread mill desks more than tripled a year ago in 2012.

A treadmill desk allows workers to walk a pace of 1 to 2 miles per hour while doing their office work, making them simultaneously more productive mentally and physically. The slow, steady walking pace gets blood flowing without distracting workers from their desk tasks.

"Even walking at 1 mile an hour has very substantial benefits, such as doubling metabolic rate and improving blood sugar levels," says Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic.

"Although you don't sweat, your body moving is sort of purring along."

Building a healthier work force from the ground up

As companies start to realize the importance of maintaining a healthy work force, they are beginning to implement ideas that encourage workers to lose weight, reduce stress, increase productivity, and hopefully lower insurance costs.

TreadDesks are the future workplace motivator.

"But not everyone wants one," says Georges Harik, who founded a web-based instant messaging service. Harik bought two treadmill desks three years ago for his 20 employees to share.

"Employees tend to sort through email or do other work while using the treadmills...but some workers find it too distracting to incorporate standing or walking into their work, and some feel they are just not coordinated enough to multitask as they exercise."

On the other hand, Denise Bober, human resource director for a resort hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, spends one to three hours on her office treadmill desk. She says that the subtle pace throughout the day makes a huge difference in the ways she feels at the end of the day.

"The more movement and interaction I have, the more energy I have at the end of the day."

"If I go faster, then I make too many typing errors, but if I'm just reading a report I can go faster," she said.

A daily 4 mile walk at your office desk

A generation that has shifted to more sit down jobs has become a generation more prone to developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Dr. James Levine believes movement at work may be the best medicine at this point. He says, "Even going to the gym three times a week doesn't offset the harm of being sedentary for hours at a time."

Andrew Lockerbie, of Brown & Brown, a global insurance consulting firm, says that walking on a treadmill while sorting through his emails and making phone calls has allowed him to be productive on two fronts. Lockerbie walks 3 to 4 miles a day at work, effectively burning about 350 calories a day.

"I'm in meetings and at my desk and on the phone all day," he said. "It's great to be able to have an option at my work to get some physical activity while I'm actually doing office stuff. You feel better, you get your blood moving, you think clearly."

A better company health investment for the future

TreadDesks aren't the only new workplace exercising trend. Bicycle desks are becoming more common, allowing workers to pedal their way through their work day. Giant exercise balls are replacing chairs, helping workers maintain posture as they strengthen their back, abs, and legs. Standing desks, which can be raised up and down, allow workers to stretch and get the blood moving through their body.

It may not seem like much, but just standing up at a desk makes a huge difference. Dr. Levine says, "Once you're off your bottom, it's inevitable that you start meandering around. Within two minutes of standing, one activates a series of metabolic processes that are beneficial. Once you sit, all of those things get switched off."

For companies looking to keep their workers active and alive, exercising desks will be the future. A simple standup desk runs as low as $250, while desk cycles can be purchased for as low as $150 and slid under an existing desk. Exercise balls may be a cheap alternative, while many full-blown treadmill desks range from $800 to $5,000 or more.

Over-Training Counterproductive, Expert Says

               
Challenging yourself in fitness training is good. But overdoing training is counterproductive to realizing your fitness goals, says Butler University's Adrian Shepard, assistant director of recreation overseeing fitness. Over-training, also called over-exercising, he said, happens when you're "not allowing your body the opportunity to adjust, adapt and recuperate in response to the training regimen you're taking part in."

Shepard says, besides sore muscles, there are other clear signs that a person is over-training.
They include:
  • Decrease in performance.
  • Increase in a person's resting heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Increased muscle fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns and gastro-intestinal disturbances.
  • Depression, irritability, apathy, and low self-esteem.
Fitness center staffers concerned that a client might be over-training should approach the issue tactfully, if they want to direct the client to a healthier approach, Shepard said. "Befriend them. Get to know what they're doing and why they're doing it. Find out what they are training for? Do they realize that what they're doing is harmful to their bodies?" By understanding the root of the over-training, the fitness professional can then provide helpful guidance and resources to the client.
Shepard suggests three steps to avoid over-training from day one:
1. Gradually work your way into exercise, especially if you are a beginner, are recovering from an injury, or have been physically inactive for some time.
2. Ask staff of your fitness center to take you through equipment and facility orientations. You'll learn what equipment is available, how it works and what to use for desired results.
3. If your fitness facility offers them, schedule a fitness assessment to determine your current physical health status and fitness level. This will be your baseline measurement for evaluating future progress. The assessment also identifies any potential health and injury risks in training, and helps in developing your personalized exercise program and goals
.