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High Intensity Workouts Can Reverse Cell Damage

Exercise is good for your health, but did you know that it can even reverse damage to your cells? Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota recently conducted a study that confirmed that age-related decline in the cellular health of muscles can be corrected with exercise — and the more intense the better.

The study authors collected a group of 72 sedentary men and women who were in overall good health. The participants made up two age groups: 30 and below and older than 64. Initial baseline measures of aerobic fitness, blood-sugar levels, gene activity, and mitochondrial health were recorded for each person. The volunteers were then randomly assigned to a particular exercise routine, which they performed several times a week:

  1. Vigorous weight training
  2. High-intensity interval training
  3. Combined low-intensity cardio and weightlifting
  4. No exercise at all

After a 12-week period, each participant had his or her labs repeated. After 12 weeks of high-intensity aerobic intervals (HIIT), resistant (RT) and combined exercise training, the study saw enhanced insulin sensitivity and lean mass in all active participants. But those that performed the high-intensity interval training (HIIT) benefited the most, showing an improvement in the age-related decline in their muscle mitochondria.

This data demonstrates the benefits of higher intensity interval workouts as a means of keeping muscles strong and healthy. And that’s not all of the benefits of doing HIIT. The American Physiological Society (APS) found that resistance-based interval training can improve endothelial function, leading to an increase in nitric oxide production, better blood vessel dilation, and improved blood flow. Others advantages to engaging in higher intensity workouts include a healthier heart, reduced blood pressure, an energy boost, and an increased metabolism.

What is HIIT?

High-intensity interval training involves using 100% effort in a series of quick, intense bursts of exercise, typically 20 to 30 seconds long. This is followed by short recovery periods while your body refuels. The idea behind the workout is to get your heart rate up and start burning fat more quickly compared to traditional lower-intensity but sustained workouts, like going for a run. “The rules of HIIT are pretty simple: work really hard, rest, then work really hard again,” says fitness expert and celebrity trainer Rob Sulaver.

30-Minute HITT Plan

Interested in reaping the benefits of HITT for yourself? Try your hand at this HITT Program created by celebrity trainer Tina Hill, co-owner of Happy Hour Gym in Beverly Hills, California. Tina explains that her program is completely modifiable, especially in the event of an injury or physical limitation. “Make sure to go at your own pace,” she notes. “Sprint speeds, for instance, are different for everyone. The general idea is just to push yourself to the best of your ability.”

  1. Warm up: Walk a block, jog a block 3 times.
  2. Do 15 squats, followed by 10 jump squats.
  3. 15 push-ups
  4. 15 lunges per leg, alternating

Repeat # 2-4 three times

  1. 5 wind sprints (1/2 block, walk back, then repeat 5 times)
  2. 15 bench dips
  3. 10 burpees
  4. 20 bicycles

Repeat #6-8 three times:

  1. 5 wind sprints
  2. Finish your workout with a stretch

How to do these exercises

Squats: Sit like you are sitting down in a chair, then stand up again, making sure you engage your bum.

Lunges: Take a big step forward, bending both knees to 90 degrees, then returning feet to starting position. Alternate with the other leg. Try not to let your knee extend past your toes on the front leg.

Wind sprints: For ½ a block, run as fast as you can, then turn and walk back to where you started.

Bench dips: Sit on a bench with your bum close to the edge, one hand on each side of your hips, with fingers coming over the front of the seat. Slide your bum off the front of the bench. Bend your arms behind you, parallel to each other.  Lower yourself halfway to the ground, then push up until your arms are straight.

Burpees: Start in standing position. Crouch to the ground, placing hands on the ground. Jump back into push up position, then jump back to crouch position, and stand up. To make it more difficult, add a jump every time you stand back up.

Bicycles: Lying on your back with your hands by your ears, elbow dropped open, lift the back of your shoulders off the floor. Also lift your legs off the floor, pulling left knee in toward your chest, while the right leg is extended. Now alternate right elbow to left knee and left elbow to right knee. Keep your lower and mid back pressed into the floor.

Strength training

The Mayo Clinic study also touted the benefits of weight lifting for toning your body maintaining muscles. Research shows, however, that less than one-quarter of adults over 45 are meeting the muscle-strengthening recommendations as set by the Department of Health and Human Services. According to the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations, older adults should opt for at least two days of strength training activities per week that work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Per the National Institute of Health, here are some exercises that middle-aged and senior Americans can do to keep their muscles strong.

Upper Body Exercises

  1. wrist curls
  2. arm curls
  3. side arm raises
  4. elbow extensions
  5. chair dips
  6. seated rows with resistance band

Lower Body Exercises

  1. back leg raises
  2. knee curls
  3. leg straightening exercises
  4. toe stands

If you are new to weightlifting, start slow. Opt for lighter weights and gradually build up your resistance levels. When lifting weights, take 3 seconds to lift or push the weight into place, pause for a second, and then spend 3 seconds lowering the weight to its starting position. Make sure to breathe in as you lift or push a weight and exhale as you relax. Aim for 10 to 15 repetitions and two sets of each move.

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Not exercising worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease, study reveals.

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) We’ve all heard exercise helps you live longer. But a new study goes one step further, finding that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Wael Jaber, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic and senior author of the study, called the results “extremely surprising.” “Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker,” Jaber told CNN. “We’ve never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this.”

Jaber said researchers must now convey the risks to the general population that “being unfit should be considered as strong of a risk factor as hypertension, diabetes and smoking — if not stronger than all of them.” “It should be treated almost as a disease that has a prescription, which is called exercise,” he said.

Researchers retrospectively studied 122,007 patients who underwent exercise treadmill testing at Cleveland Clinic between January 1, 1991 and December 31, 2014 to measure all-cause mortality relating to the benefits of exercise and fitness. Those with the lowest exercise rate accounted for 12% of the participants.

The study was published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open. “Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are the most expensive diseases in the United States. We spend more than $200 billion per year treating these diseases and their complications. Rather than pay huge sums for disease treatment, we should be encouraging our patients and communities to be active and exercise daily,” said Dr. Jordan Metzl, sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery and author of the book “The Exercise Cure.”
Jaber said the other big revelation from the research is that fitness leads to a longer life, with no limit to the benefit of aerobic exercise. ResearcheExercise: It's what the doctor orderedrs have always been concerned that “ultra” exercisers might be at a higher risk of death, but the study found that not to be the case.

“There is no level of exercise or fitness that exposes you to risk,” he said. “We can see from the study that the ultra-fit still have lower mortality.”

“In this study, the most fit individuals did the best,” said Metzl, who was not involved in the study. “Once cleared by their physicians, patients shouldn’t be afraid of exercise intensity.”

The benefits of exercise were seen across all ages and in both men and women, “probably a little more pronounced in females,” Jaber said. “Whether you’re in your 40s or your 80s, you will benefit in the same way.”

The risks, he said, became more shocking when comparing those who don’t exercise much. “We all know that a sedentary lifestyle or being unfit has some risk. But I’m surprised they overwhelm even the risk factors as strong as smoking, diabetes or even end-stage disease.”

“People who do not perform very well on a treadmill test,” Jaber said, “have almost double the risk of people with kidney failure on dialysis.”

Exercise is good for your body and your mind, study says

What made the study so unique, beyond the sheer number of people studied, he said was that researchers weren’t relying on patients self-reporting their exercise. “This is not the patients telling us what they do,” Jaber said. “This is us testing them and figuring out objectively the real measure of what they do.”

Comparing those with a sedentary lifestyle to the top exercise performers, he said, the risk associated with death is “500% higher.” “If you compare the risk of sitting versus the highest performing on the exercise test, the risk is about three times higher than smoking,” Jaber explained.

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Comparing somebody who doesn’t exercise much to somebody who exercises regularly, he said, still showed a risk 390% higher. “There actually is no ceiling for the benefit of exercise,” he said. “”There’s no age limit that doesn’t benefit from being physically fit.” Dr. Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, who was not involved in the study, said this reinforces what we know. “Sedentary, Western lifestyles have lead to a higher incidence in heart disease and this shows that it’s modifiable. It’s reversible,” he explained, adding that doctors are really good at treating patients who have had cardiovascular events but they can be prevented. “We’re meant to walk, run, exercise. It’s all about getting up and moving.” For patients, especially those who live a sedentary lifestyle, Jaber said, “You should demand a prescription from your doctor for exercise.”
So get moving.
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Eat These Foods to Prevent Exercise Induced Nausea

Runner’s stomach can slow you down so eat these foods to keep up your pace!

Runners’ gut or runners’ stomach is a well-known phenomenon in the world of running. From mid-run stomach aches and bathroom breaks to other gastrointestinal complaints, athletes can be plagued with exercise-induced stomach problems. Nausea is also a common symptom among runners.

People who engage in intense workouts like high intensity training, marathons, long distance cycling and triathlons are at greater risk for nausea that is brought about by exercise. People with a history of acid reflux (also sometimes called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD) are at an even greater risk due to excessive pressure on your core.

Exercise-induced nausea can occur in athletes after high intensity or strenuous training, according to a study published in 2013 in Gastroenterology Review.  According to Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Northwell Health as well as attending emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, “Exercise-induced nausea results from reduced blood flow to the stomach during intense exercise as blood flow is directed to more critical organs such as the heart, lungs and brain.”

It can also be caused by other things like irritable bowel syndrome and other factors such as climate conditions, duration and intensity, type of exercise and hydration status. This nausea can also occur if you start and stop running too quickly, which makes it important to slowly ease your pace down when coming to the end of a run.

In some cases, this nausea may result in vomiting if relief is not sought. Slow and deep abdominal breathing can help as well as the application of a cool compress on the back of your neck or forehead.

Below are some foods that can help prevent or ease symptoms of exercise-induced nausea.

Starchy Foods

Foods such as pretzels and crackers can help absorb stomach acid, which can ease stomach upset and nausea. Grab a handful of pretzels or white saltine crackers about 30 minutes before your run.

Ginger

Ginger is a well-known ailment for stomach upset. It may work to relieve nausea in the middle of a workout as well. Grab some ginger snap cookies before a workout. This gives you both a carbohydrate benefit as well as the anti-nausea benefit of the ginger. You can also carry ginger candies on your run to pop one in your mouth if you feel a bout of queasiness coming on.

Whole Grains

Some people experience nausea while running because their glycogen stores are low. Complex carbs like whole grains may help by slowly release energy into your body and bloodstream, which can help to keep your appetite satisfied.

Nut Butters

Nut butters like peanut, almond or cashew may help reduce nausea if eaten in small portions due to their sodium content. Be careful not to eat too much as it can upset your stomach before exercise.

Coconut Water

Coconut water offers hydration and electrolytes. Dehydration and electrolyte loss (often due to sweat) can both lead to feelings of nausea. Coconut water offers sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium.

5 Ways to Make Treadmill Running More Fun

Whether it is inclement weather, a crazy schedule or travel that is preventing you from running outdoors, heading to the treadmill can be a great way to keep fitness levels up when running outdoors is unappealing. But treadmill workouts can be a dread, so here are some ways to make running in place a little more exciting. Staying in shape through terrain that is hard to work through and bad weather will fly by with these tips.

Interval Training

Interval training is one of the best ways to get a workout in on the treadmill. It gets your heart rate up while burning the maximum amount of calories through periods of both high and low intensity. Not to mention that running at one pace for a long time period can make time creep by slowly. Change things up with intervals, which offer a quick and effective way to burn a lot of calories. Switch up your incline and speed, such as jogging at a pace that is comfortable for two minutes then sprinting for 30 seconds. You can also alternate between running and doing weight lifting bursts.

Watch a TV Show

One of the benefits of indoor treadmill workouts is that many gyms have televisions near the treadmills (or on them) to distract you. Look for a movie that interests you or a TV show to occupy your mind while you run so you don’t get bored watching the clock or mileage slowly creep by. This is a great option if you have a show you love to watch. Make a deal with yourself that instead of watching the show at home on the couch, watch it at the gym. You can also download the show on your phone or iPod if you do not have TV access on a treadmill.

Workout Playlists

Music is an excellent way to pump you up for a workout, but listening to the same playlist day in and day out can be a drag. Make a specific playlist for your workouts to keep you from getting tired of the same tunes. Look for upbeat music that will not only distract you from the treadmill but will keep you motivated and going at a faster pace.

Play a Card Game

This is not a joke. Play a treadmill card game to keep things fun, like this treadmill game. Grab four index cards and write the words “jog,” “sprint,” “run” or “walk” on each card. Warm up for a mile or so and draw a card. Do whatever it says for three to four minutes until you have made it through all four.

Hit the Gym with a Friend

Take a friend with you to the gym. Chat while you work out and spend time together. Challenge each other too with fun interval workouts or races. Having a friend alongside you will make your workout more fun while inspiring you to keep pushing!

Tips to Help You Get Faster at Sprinting

Do you want to get faster but feel like you have hit a wall in terms of increasing your speed? Rest assured that this happens to many people. One of the main factors is form. Sprinting form is different than the form you have during an easy jog or run. The movement patters are similar in that one foot still needs to go in front of the other but sprinting form is more dynamic and explosive, requiring more power and muscle activation. The best way to get faster at sprinting is to nail down the basics. Follow these steps to increase your sprinting speed.

Warm Up

It is of utmost importance that you warm up your muscles adequately when you want to run hard. The harder you run, the more warmed up they need to be. Start out by walking and easy running for five to ten minutes, including dynamic exercises or drills such as skipping, butt kickers, and high knees.

Posture, Core, and Form

Ensure your torso stays upright while running – not bent forward. Your shoulders should be relaxed and away from your ears. Engage your core. Consider adding core-strengthening moves into your workouts, such as side planks with reach, to give you extra power to push forward.

When you run, try to keep your feet going in a circular motion, raising your thighs until they become parallel with the ground while driving your knees up and down.

Keep your arms in a bent position at 90 degrees. Your elbows should be driven backward to create momentum. This helps to ensure your force and momentum move in the same direction. Your sprinting arm swing is more exaggerated than that of a jog or easy run.

Focus on Landing

Your feet should land on your forefoot rather than your heel. Push off from your toes to push yourself forward, while keeping your feet flexed up in the direction of your shins. Try to run softer and quieter as well as this will not only help your sprinting speed but it may also help to reduce injury.

Breathe

You can reduce wasted energy by relaxing and syncing your breathing with the rhythm of your feet as they hit the ground.

Shorten Your Stride

Do not try to take long strides – they only waste energy. Long strides produce more vertical energy, projecting more upward motion than forward motion. Rather, focus on your cadence speed by taking shorter strides when you sprint. You will run faster and more efficiently this way.

Rolling Starts

Rolling starts are an excellent way to help decipher the difference between walking, jogging, running, and sprinting. Begin by walking, increasing your speed every ten seconds, until you get to a sprinting speed.

Increasing your sprinting speed does not happen overnight. Take part in high-intensity sprint training and your body will gradually begin to adapt to the workout’s demands. Stick with it and you will undoubtedly see improvements not only in your running fitness level but also your overall health.

4 Tips for Making Time for Running

Struggling to fit in your workouts? Here are some tips.

Let’s face it – life is busy. Whether your regular agenda includes loads of homework, housework or job work, you have a lot going on. Your desire to run is great but your responsibilities are even greater. Making time to run with an already busy schedule requires some creativity and a whole lot of commitment, but it can be done. You don’t have to spend hours a day training to achieve your running goals. Here are some excellent tips to help you squeeze in running with an already busy schedule.

Treat Your Workouts Like they are Appointments

This is one of the best ways to ensure you get your runs in. If you tell yourself you will run when you find time, you may never get your run in. There is almost always something that will come up and the day will be over before you know it. To ensure you are able to get out of the door (or onto the treadmill) for a run, treat it like an appointment and schedule it ahead of time. Write it in your planner, set an alarm on your phone for the time you want to lace up your sneakers and stick with it. You wouldn’t show up late to a work meeting, so approach your workouts with the same mentality.

It may be beneficial to check the forecast the night before in the event that inclement weather may force you to adjust your running “appointment” time.

Focus on Quality Rather than Quantity

Although you may have friends who log 50 or more miles on a weekly basis, you do not need to run that many miles (not even to train for a marathon)! There are more ways to train for a race than reaching for the stars in terms of mileage quantity. In fact, focusing on quantity is not even the best way in some cases (if adequate sleep and recovery time are interfered with in order to attain high mileage goals).

Instead, focus on the quality of your workouts. If you can only run three days a week, have a long run, an interval workout and an easy to moderate run. You do not need to run more than 30 to 60 minutes per run if you are deliberate in purpose. Seek to add more intensity to your workouts rather than miles.

Prepare the Night Before

Take time to dig out your running clothes the night before, regardless of what time of day you plan to run. If you plan to run on break at work, pack your bag the night before. Have a pre-run snack ready and make sure your phone is fully charged (or take a charger with you to work to plug it in ahead of time, thus eliminating that excuse). If feasible, go ahead and prep a post-meal snack as well so you can refuel quickly after your run.

Know It Is Okay to Miss a Run

If you miss a run for some reason, remind yourself it is okay and it does not mean your entire training plan is done-for. One or two missed runs will not ruin your fitness goals. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss an occasional run or throw in the towel altogether. Just carry on with your planned training and your body will make up for lost time!

5 Mistakes to Avoid After Running

Before you hit the sofa after a run, read through these common post-run mistakes.

When you hit the pavement (or trail) to run, your muscles are challenged while your joints are forced to work harder. Your brain goes into overdrive while you are forced to focus on each step. Once your workout ends, the recovery phase begins, which is yet another important phase in the running process. Your body needs to compensate for all stress it was subjected to so you can move to the next level of performance. Some runners take the recovery process for granted or simply make mistakes after running that can be a detriment to your healing.

Mistakes to Avoid After Running

Skipping Cool Down

You run straight to your front door and head right in to plop down on the sofa. You are done running, so why not just be done? Ending your training so abruptly is a big mistake. Your body needs a chance to cool down gradually after each workout. Intentionally wrap your training sessions up with a cool down.

When you are finished with a run, take five minutes to reduce your speed, which will slow your heart rate. Allow times for stretching at the end, which will help to prevent soreness while keeping your muscles flexible.

Failing to Rehydrate

Metabolic waste, also known as lactic acid, is produced after intense workouts. Your body needs to eliminate this waste after each workout and can only do so effectively if you rehydrate after an intense workout. Drinking plenty of water and/or electrolyte replacement drinks within two hours after a run is advised to supply your muscles with nutrients and oxygen.

For every hour you work out, increase your fluid intake by:

  • .5 liters for moderate levels of activity
  • 1-1.5 liters for intense levels of activity

Failing to Take a Break

When you work out hard, you need to take a break. Ensure you get enough sleep so your muscles, tendons and bones have plenty of chance to recover. If you deprive your body of sleep for too long, you can increase your risk of injury and strain as well as a significant drop in performance.

Failing to Replenish Glycogen Stores

You put your body through a lot each run, using up a lot of energy and burned calories. Your stores need to be replenished as soon as possible so you do not prevent muscle growth or slow your recovery, which can be a great way to increase your injury risk.

3 Pre-Race Nutrition Mistakes You May be Making

Can you have too much of a good thing? The sources say yes.

If you are like many other runners, you probably spend the months prior to a big race focusing on training. Along with paying close attention to how you work out and how often, you likely take extra measures to eat and drink well. Perhaps you are drinking tons of water, loading up on carbs and getting extra servings of fruits and beans – but is this the best way to fuel your body before a race?

Many runners lean toward extremes, which is not always the best thing to do before a race. Skimping on certain foods or overdoing drinks or other foods can have a huge impact on your performance. Here are some tips on how to avoid common pre-race nutrition mistakes to heighten your chances of securing the PR you are striving for.

Fueling Up with Tons of Pasta

You eat an extra serving or two of pasta the night before a race. You need to fuel up on carbs after all, right? And won’t you just burn through them the next day? Not so fast. Flooding your body with excessive carbs can lead to digestive issues that may send you to the portable toilet at every mile marker. Large amounts of any type of food will throw your system off.

Instead, eat moderate quantities of carbs for several days leading up to race day. Eat healthy carbs like oatmeal for one meal and pasta for another – and only eat to fullness.

Chugging Gallons of Water Before a Race

Drinking lots of water is good for you – but drinking too much can leave you not only feeling bloated but can dilute your electrolyte stores. If your electrolyte levels are off, it can lead to muscle cramping and weakness. In rare cases, a condition called hyponatremia may develop, which is a life-threatening condition that is brought on by abnormally low levels of sodium.

To prevent this, drink fluids as you normally would on the days leading up to race day. On race day, drink 16 ounces of water two to three hours before starting time to give your body ample amounts of time to process extra fluid. Then grab another cup or two of right before you hit the starting point.

Eating Too Much Fiber

Fiber is also good for you. Lots of beans, whole grains, and cruciferous vegetables should be included in everyone’s diets – especially the diet of a runner. If you eat a lot of these foods on a regular basis, your body may have no trouble eating it right before a race. But if you don’t regularly eat high-fiber foods, pre-race time is not the time to become a vegetarian. Loading up on foods high in fiber can lead to uncomfortable gas.

If you are concerned that fiber may be an issue for you, eliminate those foods three days prior to race day, including bran cereals and beans. You can still eat fruits and vegetables in modest portions. If you race weekly, simply reduce your fiber intake on race day only.

3 Keys to Efficient Downhill Running

Tips to avoid injury while keeping speed up.

Sometimes gravity is your friend. It may not be when it comes to stepping out of your car and your phone smacks down on the pavement or when you are twenty feet up a tree, but it is when it comes to running efficiently downhill. If your body is unable to handle the momentum, it will naturally put on the brakes to maintain control as you propel downward.

Efficient downhill running is comprised of a few factors that apply both on and off road. Maintaining proper mechanics and ensuring that you keep your legs under you at the highest speed you can maintain are important.

When it comes to extreme trail running, it is important to have leg speed and coordination as well as quick reaction time to avoid or use obstacles that come up along the way. To accomplish this, you should have your key muscles activated, proper running mechanics and joint stability.

Activating Key Muscles

The abdominal and glute muscles are important when it comes to forcing production and control with the body. By activating and utilizing these muscles adequately while running, you will have greater control over your legs as well, which can minimize the impact of the quads and knees that are typically beaten during downhill runs. By maintaining this control, you are taking control of gravity and keeping control over your momentum, which can make it easier to avoid obstacles while on the trail. One way to ensure you keep your abs and glutes strong and trail ready is to integrate core and strength stability work while training.

Proper Mechanics

Focusing on your running form will help you immensely. Maintaining a strong circular motion of your legs underneath your body as well as a tall posture are the foundations of efficient downhill running, as in all forms of running. This means you should lift your knees when out in front of you, allowing your foot to strike directly beneath your body then pulling your heel back around to repeat the cycle. A lot of people run wrong, with lower-leg dominance rather than running from their hips while minimally raising knees. Running this way greatly reduces your ability to keep your momentum up while running downward and can make it necessary for you to slow down much earlier than you would have to otherwise, which would adversely affect your time.

Joint Stability

When it comes to controlling your body’s forward speed and direction, your ability to maintain spinal stability is crucial. You can maintain this through your spine, hips, knees, and ankles. Aim to keep your muscles strong surrounding your joints to create this stability. You can strengthen your joints with single- and double-leg strength and balance exercises. You should strive to be able to stay stable during quick shifts in direction, not only in terms of injury prevention but also when it comes to agility and quickness.