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Improve Your Fitness and Health in Just One Minute

By Maire,

Got a Minute? Let’s Work Out

According to a lovely new study, a single minute of intense exercise, embedded within an otherwise easy 10-minute workout, can improve fitness and health.

Just one minute.

This is good news for busy people who have tried, unsuccessfully, to fit even short workouts into their schedules. The overall time commitment for interval-training sessions is not quite as slight as many of us might wish. Consider, for instance, an interval session in which someone rides a stationary bike as hard as possible for 30 seconds, followed by four minutes or so of easy pedaling. If that person completes four of these intervals, with two or three minutes of warm-up and cool-down added at the beginning and end of the workout, the entire session lasts for almost 25 minutes, a time commitment that some people might consider unsustainable.

These concerns reached the laboratory of Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario. He and his colleagues have conducted many of the most influential recent studies of high-intensity interval training, and many of the scientists there regularly exercise with interval training.

They, too, had noticed that interval-training sessions were not quite as truncated as some people hoped and had begun to wonder if it might be possible to lower the overall time commitment.

But if so, they wondered, how low could someone go in terms of time and still gain health and fitness benefits?

To find out, the McMaster researchers recruited a group of 14 sedentary and overweight but otherwise healthy men and women. They focused on these volunteers, because sedentary, overweight people often are on the cusp of serious health issues such as diabetes, which might be kept at bay with exercise, but sedentary people also often cite a lack of time as their reason for not exercising.

They invited the volunteers to the lab, where researchers took muscle biopsies and measured their aerobic endurance, blood pressures and blood sugar levels.

Then they asked the volunteers to complete a truly time-efficient, interval-training program using computerized stationary bicycles. Each session consisted of three 20-second “all-out” intervals, during which riders pushed the pedals absolutely as hard as they could manage, followed by two minutes of slow, easy pedaling. The riders also warmed up for two minutes and cooled down for three, for a grand total of 10 minutes of total exercise time, with one minute of that being the intense interval training.

The volunteers completed three of these sessions per week, leading to 30 minutes of weekly exercise, for six weeks.

Then they returned to the lab to be retested.

Their bodies were, it turned out, quite different now. The men and women had increased their endurance capacity by an average of 12 percent, a significant improvement. They also, as a group, had healthier blood pressures and higher levels within their muscles of certain biochemical substances that increase the number and activity of mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of cells, so more mitochondria mean better endurance and fitness.

Interestingly, the male volunteers also had significantly improved their blood-sugar control, but the female volunteers had not. The researchers suspect that fundamental differences in how the genders burn sugar or fat to fuel exercise might affect how each responds to some aspects of interval training. But more research is needed with both men and women before scientists will be able to understand the import of this difference, Dr. Gibala said.

In the meantime, the message from the study that most of us will grasp at is, of course, that one minute of exercise is all you need. But Dr. Gibala would like people to remember that 10 minutes of overall exercise time is involved for a total of 30 minutes per week.

He also suspects that, with this study, scientists are plumbing the lowest limits of worthwhile exercise time. “We’ve dropped from 30-second all-out intervals to 20-second intervals,” he said, “because for many people those last 10 seconds were excruciating.” Most of us, however, can complete 20-second all-out efforts without wishing to cry, he said.

Halving the intervals again, however, to 10-second efforts, probably would mot provide the same benefits, Dr. Gibala said, although “maybe if you did more of them, it might work.” He and his colleagues are studying these and other questions related to interval training.

For now, relying on one minute of hard exercise to ease you through the holidays with your health intact seems feasible, he said. And the exercise does not need to be cycling. Sprint up stairs in 20-second bursts, he said, or even run hard in place. The point is that time constraints shouldn’t keep anyone from exercise. In the time it took to read this column, you could be done with your workout.

Beat the Heat – 6 Tips for Exercising in the Summertime

By Maire,

When Summer hits and warm temperatures rise, just thinking about heading out for a workout can be draining. However, it’s actually not all in your head — working up a sweat during the serious summer heat puts a lot of added stress on your body. Mayo Clinic explained that hot weather leads to a more dramatic increase in body temperature. Therefore, your body sends more blood to circulate through the skin as a way to cool off, but, at the same time, increases your heart rate. The humidity makes high temperatures even worse, because it prevents sweat from evaporating off of your skin.

We all know the heat can make you feel bogged down, but it can also be harmful if you aren’t careful. The most important thing to remember above all else is staying hydrated. According to Livestrong, adequate hydration not only aids in maintaining your fluid levels, but also helps to cool your core temperature. When the temperatures soar, these six tips will help you keep your cool so you don’t have to miss a workout.

 

  1. Invest in a water bottle

Carrying water with you is an absolute necessity if you’re exercising outside. There might be a drinking fountain or two nearby, but you’re going to need more than a few sips to keep yourself cool. Classic plastic models aren’t always the best choices either. Even if your water might be chilly when you leave the house, the extreme heat will go to work on the liquid pretty fast. It’s a good thing that today, there are a multitude of water bottle brands that are designed to keep your beverage cold much longer than a plain, plastic bottle.

  1. Get out there early, or late

During the Summertime, it might be wise to avoid your lunchtime workout and opt for a more cooler time of day. Not only will it save you the heat, your body won’t feel as much of the exhaustion from the scorching temperatures. According to Active.com, unless you are training for an event that takes place in the daytime heat, you should avoid exercising from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m because it’s the hottest part of the day. Generally, the early morning is the best time to workout, especially if it’s going to be scorcher that day.

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  1. Wear loose, light-colored gear

The lighter colors will help reflect heat and while performance fabrics are the best option (since they are designed to keep you cool), cotton materials also help the evaporation of sweat.

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  1. Try something different

Biking, running, and tennis are fantastic exercises any time of the year, but they can all prove extremely challenging during the heat of Summer. If it’s just too hot for your go-to activity, try something different. Swimming is an incredible workout and if you live on the coast, why not take a stab a surfing? You’ll still be able to enjoy the outdoors, but the exercise will be more manageable from the cool water.

  1. Head indoors

Active.com says that runners should be particularly wary of hot weather if they live in an area with a lot of pollution. So, hitting the treadmill or elliptical in the gym is probably a safer bet.

If you insist on putting in some time outdoors, consider adapting your workout. Kenny Boyd, athletic trainer for the football team at the University of Texas, told U.S. News and World Report to try just the core part of your workout outside. You can use the gym for your warm up and cool down.

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  1. Listen to your body

The most important thing is to listen to your body. If you’re out in the heat and begin feeling dizzy, faint or nauseous, stop immediately. Overall, just be smart about your expectations. No need to try to set a new record in 100-degree weather.

Fit-3

Fit Radio Users – Meet Morgan B.

By Maire,

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Meet Morgan B. This is her Fit Radio Story:

 

My name is Morgan and I currently live in Colorado. For me, Colorado is the best place for anyone who is super active and loves the outdoors. Personally, my favorite activities include camping, hiking (Summer or Winter), and bike riding.

I love Fit Radio because it always keeps me motivated with the newest music and pushes me with every beat!

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Do you love Fit Radio? Tell us about your experience for your chance to be featured! Click here to learn how.

Why Fitness is Beneficial for Cancer Patients

By superadmin,

Exercise is not the golden key in seeking a cure for cancer; however, it is the foundation on which any fight against the disease must be staged.

People always describe the fight against cancer in very combative tones and
metaphors. You don’t just beat cancer, you “kick its ass,” you don’t just deal
with cancer, you “battle” it. Regular exercise is like Rocky getting up earlier than
everybody else to drink an all-protein breakfast and fit in an hour run so that he
can eventually go up against Apollo Creed. If you’re up for a fight with cancer,
then you’re in for the most important fight of your life, and you’d better be fit
enough to go the distance. More