For many a strong core is all about having a flat tummy but in reality it’s much more important than that. It’s crucial in many every day movements and research sug
Step machines, or steppers, as the title suggests mimic the movement the body goes through when climbing stairs. They are a great way to build stronger legs and also provide a good cardiovascular workout. They are anything but an easy touch despite what some may say.
Steppers provide aerobic exercise. Working out on a stepper will develop your cardiovascular fitness, build your lower body muscles and burn calories of course! They are not an easy ride
With so many pieces of gym equipment to choose from it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed and just stick to what you’ve always used. Here we've selected some key
Whether you're thinking about hiring a PT to help you in the park, or to help you with your new home gym you've created, how do you know when it's a worthwhile investment, or not?
How do you quality control a personal trainer? It's a serious question and one that you should think about if you have hired, or are thinking of hiring, a personal trainer to help you with your workouts and exercise. With the rise in demand for personal trainers increasing, the number of courses available and the number of qualified trainers appearing on the market has also risen. But how do you know who is quality - and who is not?
Is there such a thing as quality control of personal trainers? Well yes, and no! In the UK we have the Register of Exercise Professionals that oversees exercise and fitness professionals, including personal trainers. They have a strict framework that personal trainers' must achieve or better in order for them to call themselves personal trainer. Within this framework is on-going professional development - CPD for short. They must accrue a number of points each year to retina their status. This assures you the trainer is continuing their learning and knowledge - which benefits the clients they train hopefully.
However, does someone physically interview and test every trainer every year? No is the quick and short answer to that. Gyms are more likely to have a handle on quality control purely because the trainer is in close contact with other professionals and also the gym management team. Complaints or issues should therefore be quickly revealed.
Whether you have bought equipment for your home, or are wanting to go into a commercial gym or studio environment for your workouts making sure you have the right personal trainer will still be important.
Your heart. We all know that love can make it soar, or break it. But did you realise that your lifestyle can do the same? Everyday we make dozens of decisions that affect our health, and, ultimately, how long we live. So how can you train your heart fit? Get active!
The heart is a muscle, so to condition it you have to use it – to benefit the heart, you need to perform the right exercise with the right frequency, intensity and duration.
Activities that work the heart include walking, running, cycling, rowing, cross-country skiing, jumping rope, and the various indoor variations you might find at your local gym, such
As fitness studies continues to provide new information, exercise programs are developed as a result of this research. Aerobic exercise came about consequently due to the research which showed the benefits of increasing the heart rate to cardiovascular health overall.
This is also the case with the BodyPump resistance weight training group program. Designed specifically to increase muscle tone and strength, along with other added benefits, without adding the bulk that many people do not wish to gain.
A simple explanation of the BodyPump program is as follows:
It consists of 60-minute resistance exercise using a barbell, however rather than focusing on heavy weights, the emphasis is on low-weight barbells that are used in a more rapid exercise. This is because the idea behind the program is to “exhaust” your muscles so that they strength and tone but do not add bulk.
You will complete 5-6 specific exercises but with so many reps of each one, ending up having completed approximately 800 reps in one 60-minute session; as the weights used are minimal, these are not horrible to achieve, and thus the program can become addictive. The 6 exercises consist of; squat, chest press, deadrow, clean and press, lunge, and reverse curl.
All exercises are done to music in the BodyPump program and therefore plays a key factor because there must be a rhythm. The original program which was developed by Les Mills has specific music tracks for all levels or progress. As you improve and gain confidence, there are music tracks that require more rapid movement that you are able to move up to.
Whilst it is usually taught in a group class which has the benefit of
You've read about the key anti-ageing benefits of exercise, but how do you get started? If you're new to exercising or just out the loop for a while, there are
As the ageing process begins, lots of people think these effects are inevitable however lots of other people believe that exercise can create anti-ageing benefits across a range of bodily functions. From skin, to bones, to weight and to overall wellbeing.
A proper training program can prevent both the mental and physical deterioration of ageing, helping to keep your heart in top condition, as well as maintaining muscle definition and a sharp brain. Due to this, exercise is the best total body anti-ageing tool that is available to everyone because it has the ability to keep you looking young and feeling energized which is more effective than other methods such as supplements or plastic surgery.
There is a decline in bone mass of about 1% a year after the age of 35. Whilst women lose the most bone when going through the menopause, men are also at risk of bone loss and osteoporosis which is a condition linked with a big increase in fracture risk. It can be argued that instead of prescribing patients with calcium supplements or prescription drugs, to prevent bone loss in ageing patients, doctors should prescribe a strength training program. This is because studies show that overloading the bone with loads is the best way to build bone in both the young and elderly.
Any weight bearing exercise, for example running, will help slow bone loss. In order to stimulate a bone building effect, loading the hip and spine with weight you are unaccustomed to will help achieve this - like squatting. A case study found that two women who competed in powerlifting for over 20 years had stronger bones in comparison to women who were 25 years younger and at the peak of bone mineral density.
Depression is a common aspect of ageing due to a decrease in brain transmitters such as dopamine that help us to feel motivated and upbeat which is why one of the most interesting anti-ageing effects of exercise is how it influences our stress response, hormone balance and mood. A sedentary lifestyle emphasises the release of stress hormones that are experienced during ageing, whilst we may not associate sitting down to be stressful, our bodies are not supposed to be inactive and so responds with an excessive cortisol response.
Strength training and interval programs stimulate the neuromuscular system creating the effect of better fat burning, increased cognitive function, improved energy levels, greater muscle mass in addition to the ability to handle challenging parts of life we experience.
Scientists believe that the age-related decline in strength and muscle mass is as a result of the disuse of the neuromuscular system, rather than ageing. It is important to maintain strength as studies show a close correlation between strength and longevity of life. One explanation of this is that as strength decreases, risk of falling increases with fractures caused often leading to a reduction in health ending in mortality; statistics in the UK support this as they show that 33% of people who fracture a hip in the UK die within 12 months. Therefore, strength and muscle follows the idea of “use it or lose it”.
Through the correct training habits, you can maintain your muscle and strength throughout your life, it is possible to regain previously lost muscle to prevent negative effects of inactivity if you adopt a training program in your later years. There are several reasons why muscle has a protective effect against ageing; muscle mass in the lower body is associated with the ability to survive cancer and other diseases. Muscle tissue is a major metabolic organ, it is a main consumer of glucose, and thereby a lack of muscle means that the body will not be able to cope well with the surge of insulin resistance as well as diabetes. As muscle is the storage space for the building blocks of protein, if you fall ill and possess a low muscle mass, you have fewer reserves to help combat the illness.
The art of stretching, we all know that we should stretch before and after a workout but many people do it as a cursory thing and some may not do it at all. So why is stretching important and how should it be done properly?
If you want to build muscle then stretching will help you develop a full range of movement. It will help you build full and long muscles.
Stretching assists posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position. A good example of this is if you do a lot of work at a desk with a computer, you can end up with a hunched shoulder look.
Stretching helps to prepare muscles for the work they are about to do and will elongate the muscle. This will help prevent muscles pulling or tearing during exercise and prevents strain being put upon ligaments or capsular structures.
Stretching warms muscles up and increases blood and nutrient supplies to muscles. This is also a way of preventing the muscles hurting after a workout.
Stretching will develop flexibility in general thus aiding mobility and movement. Being flexible is proven to reduce the chances of chronic back pain. Flexibility will allow us to accomplish ordinary daily tasks from bending over to tie our shoe laces and also to perform more demanding tasks as flexibility ensures that joints can be taken through a full range of motion with little effort.
There are many different stretching techniques including static stretching, dynamic stretching, PNF, myofascial and stretches often performed in yoga. Here we look at static and dynamic
Public Health England (PHE) have launched a campaign aimed at 40-60 year olds who they are concerned weigh too much, drink too much and do not exercise enough.