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Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
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
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."
The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
- Aline Guerci, Charlotte Lahoute, Sophie Hébrard, Laura Collard, Dany Graindorge, Maryline Favier, Nicolas Cagnard, Sabrina Batonnet-Pichon, Guillaume Précigout, Luis Garcia, David Tuil, Dominique Daegelen, Athanassia Sotiropoulos. Srf-Dependent Paracrine Signals Produced by Myofibers Control Satellite Cell-Mediated Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy. Cell Metabolism, 2012; 15 (1): 25 DOI:10.1016/j.cmet.2011.12.001
Monday, December 1, 2014
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.
- "Our results indicate gender may contribute to differences in cardiovascular function of obese individuals with Type 2 diabetes," said Jill Kanaley, a professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at MU. "Men saw improvement after aerobic exercise training, but the women did not experience the same benefits."
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.
The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia.Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
- 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
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."
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