Category Archives: Fitness

Just 11 Minutes A Day of Aerobic Exercise Can Matter

A new study has found that just 11 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic activity per day can reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, or premature death. Activities like walking, running, cycling, and swimming are considered aerobic and can be measured by heart rate and breathing intensity. Moderate intensity activities are those that allow you to talk but not sing, while vigorous intensity activities make it difficult to carry on a conversation.

Previous research has linked higher levels of physical activity with lower rates of chronic disease and premature death, but it has been difficult to determine how the amount of exercise impacts these outcomes. To explore this, researchers from the University of Cambridge looked at data from 196 studies involving more than 30 million adult participants who were followed for an average of 10 years. The results of the study were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The study focused on participants who did the minimum recommended amount of exercise per week, which is 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic physical activity per week, or 22 minutes per day. Compared to inactive participants, those who met the minimum requirement had a 31% lower risk of dying from any cause, a 29% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, and a 15% lower risk of dying from cancer. The same amount of exercise was linked to a 27% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 12% lower risk of developing cancer.

Even people who got just half the minimum recommended amount of physical activity benefited. Accumulating 75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, which is about 11 minutes of activity per day, was associated with a 23% lower risk of premature death. This amount of activity was also enough to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 17% and cancer by 7%.

The study found that beyond 150 minutes per week, any additional benefits were smaller. Therefore, even a small amount of daily physical activity can have significant health benefits, and it’s important to make physical activity a regular part of your routine.

Simple One Weight Workout

You probably picture using a set of two, one in each hand, when working out with dumbbell. As a strength and conditioning coach, I can tell you that there are just as many exercises you can do with one dumbbell as there are with two. You can effectively train your entire body using a single dumbbell.

There are five exercises you can do to strengthen your legs, hips, arms, shoulders and core. It’s important to pick a weight that’s manageable for you to do all the exercise reps with good form and read the detailed descriptions for each exercise. That means avoiding moving your body in ways that compensate for muscle fatigue or weakness in the area you’re trying to work, such as doing a bicep curl while swaying your back as you curl the weight up with momentum from your back muscles. This video shows you how to pick the right weight.

If you’re new to working out or just returning after a break, be sure to ease back into it. You can check out my series on how to reboot your workout for a safe and effective path back to fitness that makes training a fun part of your lifestyle. The dumbbell should be held with both hands at chest level.

If that isn’t possible, hold the inhale as you squat down to a level where your hips align slightly below your knees.

Push through your feet and return to a standing position.
Keep your weight in your feet, legs and hips.

If deep squatting is difficult, use a low chair or sturdy box as a base to squat down and gently sit on with each rep. Hold the dumbbell in your right hand at your side while you stand on your left leg.

Inhale and then hold the inhale as you hinge from your hips to bend over halfway while extending your right leg behind you so that your chest and back leg create a long line parallel to the floor.

Repeat on the opposite side

Keep a soft bend in both legs if the back of your leg is too tight. To help with balance, you can perform these without weight while holding the side of a wall. Take a plank position with your feet a little wider than hip distance apart to help counterbalance the weight and movement when you lift the dumbbell to make a rowing movement in one arm.
With your right hand, hold the dumbbell on the floor. Lift the weight by bending your elbow and hugging it against your rib cage as you exhale.

Lift your arm and return the weight to the floor while holding it in your hand.
After doing the reps on the right side, switch to the left side.
You can perform this exercise from a basic hands-and-knees position in which you’re on all fours. Stand with the dumbbell in your right hand, held up at shoulder height, lightly resting in your shoulder.

Put your left hand on your hip and step your left leg out to the left, with your right leg straight and bent like a half squat.

As you step back into a standing position, both feet point straight forward as you push off your left leg.

Inhale from standing, hold the inhale as you perform the lunge, then exhale as you push back to standing. Inhale and exhale as you push the weight overhead.
If you want to switch the dumbbell to the other hand, do all your reps on one side.
If the overhead press is too much, you can modify it by touching your feet and knees on the floor.

The goblet squat exercise requires you to hold the weight on each end at your chest.
Lift your arms and touch the weight to the floor on the side of your body.
Inhale and return to center, then exhale and repeat to the left side to strengthen your hips and core.

Because you’re alternating the movement side to side, instead of doing two sets of eight to 10 reps on each side, you’ll do one alternating set of 16 to 20 reps.

If your single dumbbell is too heavy for this exercise, don’t use it until you get stronger; instead, interlace your fingers in a double fist that you can tap to the floor.

Depending on your current fitness level and how these exercises feel, one round of this sequence should take about eight to 12 minutes to complete. Always remember to focus on form. If you want the best results, repeat this circuit two to three times per workout.

Safety Tips for Cold Weather Exercise

There is nothing inherently wrong with exercising in the cold. It can be a perfectly healthy activity. Many people benefit from outdoor activity in winter, especially those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

One must simply take the proper precautions. However, the risks of dehydration, hypothermia, and frostbite are very real. Also, your body works harder to maintain core body temperature.

But there are some simple things you can do to mitigate the risks. It is also important to consult your doctor before creating a new exercise plan. You should stop immediately if you experience pain.

Check the local forecast for temperature and windchill. When the air temperature is 5 degrees Fahrenheit frostbite can occur within just 30 minutes. Lower air temperatures and wind chill factors can induce frostbite even quicker.

Some people like smokers, people with heart and vascular diseases are predisposed to frostbite.

Unfortunately, some people are more susceptible than others to injury or ill health when exercising in the cold. The ACSM lists men, Black people, smokers, and those with heart and vascular diseases among the groups predisposed to frostbite. Anyone with asthma, especially exercise-induced asthma should be careful in cold weather. Asthma can be made worse by cold and/or dry air.

Dress in layers. Three layers to be precise. An inner layer that touches your skin and draws sweat to the outer layers. A middle layer that is the main insulator. Then a third outer layer that protects one from wind and rain but also allows body moisture to escape.

Footwear should also be able to vent moisture. Overly insulated or completely waterproof/impermeable shoes or boots are not ideal. The build up of sweet will leave your feet cold and while frostbite is a concern something like trench foot is more likely.

Stay healthy and be careful.

New Data Reveals Effectiveness of Fitness Trackers

Your fitness tracker may be doing more for you than just letting you know how many steps you took today, it might have encourage you to walk more.

A new study revealed its finding that in 16,000 participants monitoring exercise increased an individual’s activity.

Researchers did an analysis of the data from 141 study comparisons and 121 randomized control studies to find out what the impact of exercise monitors had on day-to-day activity. Monitors included phone apps and products like Fitbits.

The study found that using fitness apps created an increase by an equivalent of 1,235 steps per day and increased moderate to vigorous physical activity by 48.5 minutes a week. The study did note that impact on sedentary time was insignificant.

Study authors stated the effects are very relevant when it comes to health and disease risk, especially for those who are only moderately active or not meeting current guidelines. Study authors stated that while many studies have been done on fitness monitors since their inception into our culture this is the largest study to date.



Walking v. Hiking

In 2018 a survey found walking to be the most popular form of fitness with about 111 million Americans saying it was part of their fitness routine. About half as many Americans, 57.8 million, hit the trails to hike in 2020.

Both are pandemic safe and good, basic exercise. How different are hiking and walking though? Is one or the other a better workout?

Walking is typically considered to be an urban or suburban activity done on pavement, a gym track or treadmill. Hiking is always done outdoors on natural terrain, additionally changes in elevation making hiking a different activity than walking.

Both hiking and walking are fairly low-impact cardio that are good for managing cholesterol and blood pressure. Walking and hiking are all both widely recognized as heart healthy activities for all ages and even people with heart conditions. While hiking typically results in more calories burnt in less time most experts don’t consider one to be better than the other.

Both can also improve lung and heart performance, and both will assist in losing weight.

If you are having a hard time deciding which activity to participate in here are a few things to consider. As stated, hiking typically burns more calories in a shorter amount of time. Walking is a cheaper option as it doesn’t require any special gear like trail shoes or hiking boots. It may also require a gas expenditure to go hiking depending on where you live. Walking is also considered to be slightly safer was it is usually done on flat, man-made surfaces while hiking has higher instances of stumbles, falls and things like injured ankles. Being in nature on a hike may have a greater impact on mental wellness, however.