Tag Archives: aerobic exercise

Give Your Brain a “Spark” with Exercise

2 Jul

mental-training[1]In his book, SPARK — The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, author John J. Ratey, MD discusses how exercise can “supercharge your mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen your thinking, lift your mood, boost your memory, and much more.” (Special thanks to my friend and colleague, John Garvey, CSCS, for sending me a copy!)

Ratey offers incontrovertible evidence that aerobic exercise actually “physically remodels our brains for peak performance.”

SPARK provides research to prove that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from mood disorders to Alzheimer’s; from ADHD to addiction.

The author also explores, comprehensively, the link between exercise and the brain, and a simple, targeted regimen to get your body moving and your mind in peak condition — growing your brain cells and building your brain in the process.

If you have even a passing interest in exercise and fitness, I would highly recommend and encourage you to check out this fascinating book.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Why Are You Still Jogging?

3 Jun

Adrian Peterson, Leon HallLong duration aerobic exercise (AE) is well-known for its impact on exercise performance, particularly with regard to enhanced maximal aerobic capacity.  However,high-intensity sprint training (HIT) can yield similar, and even better, results than aerobic exercise, with less time spent training.  Research indicates that AE is not required to improve metabolic/cardiovascular fitness and, in some cases, may be less effective than HIT.

Although AE is beneficial — and any exercise is generally better than none — there are some consequences of AE that should be considered:

  • Long-duration AE can elevate cortisol, an inflammatory hormone (released as a response to stress) that promotes muscle loss (via protein breakdown) and fat storage.
  • Chronic AE increases the amount of slow-twitch (Type 1) muscle fibers, decreasing the potential for power production and compromising anaerobic exercise performance.

HIT, in addition to yielding comparable metabolic benefit (as compared to AE), decreases overall body fat, increases lean body (muscle) mass, and promotes development of fast-twitch (Type IIa) muscle fibers.

If you’re an athlete, pick up the pace and add sprint and interval training to your cardio training regimen.

If you’re not an athlete, you too should pick up the pace.  Increasing the intensity of your cardio training applies broadly to walking, running, and biking; as well as the treadmill, elliptical, and stairclimber.

Researchers note that AE may be an acceptable exercise choice for anaerobic athletes if used minimally and far away from the competitive sport season.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Aerobic/Anaerobic Combination Training Implications

30 Jan

Tire%20flipping[1]When aerobic training is added to the training of anaerobic athletes (those who participate in sports whose demands are primarily anaerobic), the resulting process can be termed combination training.

And, although lots of athletes who participate in strength and power sports also engage in some type of aerobic training, they may want to reconsider (please refer to, Why Are You Still Jogging?).

Certainly, some sports have more of an aerobic component than others, but virtually all sports integrate alternating intervals — short bursts — of high-intensity and (relatively) lower-intensity activity.  Characteristics of anaerobic training include:

  • Absence of oxygen
  • High intensity
  • Short duration
  • Develops force
  • Burns calories even when the body is at rest

Aerobic training may reduce anaerobic performance capabilities, particularly high-strength, high-power performance (Hickson, R.C. Interference of strength development by simultaneously training for strength and endurance. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 215:255-263. 1980).  High-strength, high-power performance incorporates explosive, “all-or-nothing” movements, including sprinting, jumping, hitting, throwing, kicking, blocking, and tackling.

Not only has aerobic training been shown to reduce anaerobic energy production capabilities; combined anaerobic and aerobic training can reduce the gain in muscle girth, maximum strength, and especially speed- and power-related performance (Dudley, G.A., and R. Djamil. Incompatibility of endurance- and strength-training modes of exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 59(5); 1446-1451. 1985).

Apparently, it does not appear that the opposite holds true; several studies and reviews suggest that anaerobic training (strength training) can improve low-intensity exercise endurance (Hickson, R.C., et.al. Potential for strength and endurance training to amplify endurance performance. J. Appl. Physiol. 65(5):2285-2290. 1988. Strength training effects on aerobic power and short-term endurance. Med.Sci. Sports. Exerc. 12:336-339, 1980. Stone, M.H., et.al. Health and performance related adaptations to resistive training. Sports Med. 11(4):210-231. 1991).  In other words, endurance athletes can benefit from and improve performance by strength training.

As strength and conditioning professionals, we should be careful about prescribing aerobic training for anaerobic athletes/sports.  An athlete’s training should be designed to reflect the demands and movement patterns of his or her sport.  Aerobic training may be counterproductive in most strength and power sports.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Give Your Brain a “Spark” with Exercise

25 Jul

mental-training[1]In his book, SPARK — The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, author John J. Ratey, MD discusses how exercise can “supercharge your mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen your thinking, lift your mood, boost your memory, and much more.” (Special thanks to my friend and colleague, John Garvey, CSCS, for sending me a copy!)

Ratey offers incontrovertible evidence that aerobic exercise actually “physically remodels our brains for peak performance.”

SPARK provides research to prove that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from mood disorders to Alzheimer’s to ADHD to addiction.

The author also explores comprehensively the link between exercise and the brain, and a simple, targeted regimen to get your body moving and your mind in peak condition — growing your brain cells and building your brain in the process.

If you have even a passing interest in exercise and fitness, I would highly recommend and encourage you to check out this fascinating book.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Why Are You Still Jogging?

26 Apr

Adrian Peterson, Leon HallLong duration aerobic exercise (AE) is well-known for its impact on exercise performance, particularly with regard to enhanced maximal aerobic capacity.  However, high-intensity sprint training (HIT) can yield similar, and even better, results than aerobic exercise, with less time spent training.  Research indicates the AE is not required to improve metabolic/cardiovascular fitness and, in some cases, may be less effective than HIT.

Although AE is beneficial — and any exercise is generally better than none — there are some consequences of AE that should be considered:

  • Long-duration AE can elevate cortisol, an inflammatory hormone (released as a response to stress) that promotes muscle loss (via protein breakdown) and fat storage.
  • Chronic AE increases the amount of slow-twitch (Type 1) muscle fibers, decreasing the potential for power production and compromising anaerobic exercise performance.

HIT, in addition to yielding comparable metabolic benefit (as compared to AE), decreases overall body fat, increases lean body (muscle) mass, and promotes development of fast-twitch (Type IIa) muscle fibers.

If you’re an athlete, pick up the pace and add sprint and interval training to your cardio training regimen.

If you’re not an athlete, you too should pick up the pace.  Increasing the intensity of your cardio training applies broadly to walking, running, and biking; as well as the treadmill, elliptical, and stairclimber.

Researchers note that AE may be an acceptable exercise choice for anaerobic athletes if used minimally and far away from the competitive sport season.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Get Fit or Get Fat

19 Oct

Today, in the United States, more than 2/3 of adults are overweight and more than 1/3 are obese.  Research indicates that the overweight and obese (specifically those with excess fat weight) have a higher risk of chronic disease and premature death.  Increased exercise/physical activity is a recommended strategy for individuals seeking to effectively reduce and manage bodyweight.  In the past, exercise recommendations have focused on aerobic exercise, such as walking, biking, and swimming.  Research suggests that incorporating resistance exercise can also be beneficial to long-term weight management.

Benefits of Resistance Exercise

  • Promotes improvements in muscle mass and strength.
  • Improves flexibility and range of motion.
  • Improves cognitive function.
  • Improves energy level.
  • Decreases fat mass.
  • Increases lean body mass.
  • Increases resting metabolic rate.

“A weight management strategy that combines a reduced calorie diet, aerobic exercise, and resistance exercise may be the best combination for reducing unhealthy body fat while attenuating the losses in lean body mass and resting metabolic rate that commonly occur during periods of weight loss.” (David Sword, PT, DPT, CSCS; Strength and Conditioning Journal)

Want to get started on a resistance exercise program but don’t know where to begin?  Check with your doctor to ensure it’s okay, and enlist the help of a qualified, experienced Strength and Conditioning professional.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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