Tag Archives: endurance

To Train Well, Train Your Brain: The Difference Between Finishing and Failing

Famous athletes are often admired for their great skill, superhuman strength, or fantastic endurance. What many forget that there is something an athlete needs even more than these attributes: a trained mind.

Mental preparation has increasingly become important as sports have evolved. Sports psychology is a discipline completely devoted to the study, and adages like “mind over matter” are common in everyday speech. Although there is still much to learn about how the brain works in connection with fitness, athletes can learn many mental strategies to help improve their game.

Endurance athletes know how important keeping one’s mind in control is. In long races, the body will eventually send messages of pain to the brain and the athlete will want to stop. To finish, you must be able to not only keep going, but also keep up a good pace. Pain and injuries are inevitable; giving up is not. (more…)

Talk Test Found to be a Powerful Tool for Endurance Athletes

As a runner, I love to run in groups. The time passes by faster as we all share stories, get to know each other better, and typically laugh the miles away. I’ve grown accustom to talking while I run. In fact, I often fear I talk too much when I run. However, new studies have been conducted regarding talking while exercising and the findings may have me upping my chatter for the sake of my fitness.

Recently, exercise scientists from the University of New Hampshire confirmed the effectiveness of the “talk test”- a relatively simple and low-tech method used to measure exercise intensity.

The rather simple test required the participants to recite the Pledge of Allegiance while exercising at different intensity levels. Their heart rates and maximal oxygen consumption, or V02 max, were measured during the test. Those who spoke comfortably were at their lower end of exercise intensity. Those who could no longer speak comfortably were at the upper end of the intensity guidelines.

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Pre-season Yoga for Skiers

There is nothing worse than spending the rest of your glorious ski vacation in bed because your legs are too sore to do anything else. You want to keep skiing, to do a little shopping or go out dancing after a day on the slopes, but that is just not going to happen if you are out of shape. The black diamond advanced moguls, blue intermediate groomed runs or green beginner bunny slopes will get the best of you if you do not prepare ahead of time.

Whether you are a hot shot on the hill or you just want to look hot in your brand new ski outfit, the following yoga pose and its equivalent rating of intensity will help keep you on your feet.

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Sprint Your Way to Heart Health

We’ve all heard at one time or another that exercise is good for heart health and preventing cardiovascular disease. In fact, that’s why we call it “cardio.” For many years, doctors and fitness professionals (including me!)  have told patients and clients to be sure to get regular steady state cardio most days of the week for at least 30 minutes a day. While this advice is still solid, new research is showing that when it comes to exercise and heart health, sometimes a sprint is better than a marathon.

According to new research recently published in the American Journal of Human Biology, when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease in adolescents, short-duration high-intensity exercise may be more beneficial for the heart than traditional endurance training that emphasizes a lower intensity for a longer amount of time. Researchers from the University of the West of Scotland recruited a group of volunteer school-aged children, and found that after seven weeks of regular exercise, those adolescents who did a short series of 20-meter sprints that only took minutes had just as many heart-health benefits as students who ran at a moderate intensity for 20 minutes, three times a week.

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Your Ultimate 10 to 1 Workout

Are you searching for a new exercise routine to get motivated again? There are hundreds upon hundreds of different workout routines and the goal is to find one that works for you. Again, I can never emphasize this enough: the exercise routine that works for your friend or spouse may not work for you. Every “body” is different. So, I recommend searching different styles of workouts until you find one that you enjoy and get the best results from.

The 10 to 1 workout (or 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 workout) was designed to target the entire body as a whole while increasing your heart rate, stamina, and improving your cardiovascular endurance level. The exercises below are coupled together and to be completed as a super-set: do one exercise immediately followed by the other starting at ten repetitions and working your way down to one repetition. For example, the first two exercises are reverse pull-ups and squat jumps. Start by performing ten reverse pull-ups followed by ten squats jumps then move immediately to nine, eight, seven and so on of each exercise without stopping. This will blow your heart rate out of the water and get that sweat dripping right off the end of your nose.

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How Fitness Improves Your Sex Life

There’s really no delicate way to approach this subject. Sex, although it’s amazing and natural, is entirely taboo, but we can’t ignore the importance of it in our lives. Not only is sex vital to the survival of the human species but good sex is vital to the mental health of most everyone. That’s not to say that a lack of sex is bad, because abstinence can be a fabulous thing but bad sex- that’s just no fun for anyone. This is why I’m here to tell you that regardless of how old you are or what stage of a relationship you are in, physical fitness is the ultimate catalyst for a healthy sex life. It sounds like a no-brainer, but exercise does more than make you hot and sculpted (although that’s probably plenty to up the ante a bit!) By nurturing your physical fitness you will experience:

Increased stamina If you can huff and puff your way to the finish line of  a marathon then it becomes that much easier to do the same in your sex life! The stamina you build during your workouts will directly follow you into the bedroom.

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Use High Intensity Interval Training to Blast Fat Fast

High intensity interval training (HIIT) or cardio interval training is a type of training that helps improve performance or current fitness level with the use of short training sessions. It is a form of cardiovascular training that is designed to burn body fat in a quick and extremely intense workout routine.

HIIT sessions can be modified to meet the needs of any exerciser or trainee, but most sessions range from ten to twenty minutes. Intervals are short bursts of activity that vary in intensity levels. A 2:1 ratio is often used in HIIT styles of training, which means the athlete would alternate sprints of thirty seconds and a fifteen second jog or walk, that would then be repeated until the workout session is over. (Don’t forget to warm up and cool down, too!)

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Healthy Lifestyle Trumps Genetics

If you think that your weight and health is predetermined by your family genetics, think again. Two large studies from Northwestern Medicine have found that a healthy lifestyle is the most important factor on cardiovascular health. Hooray!

In the first study, researchers found that the majority of people who adopted healthy lifestyle behaviors in young adulthood maintained a low cardiovascular risk profile as they aged into their 30s. A high cardiovascular risk profile can result in a higher incidence of heart attack and high blood pressure, among other health problems.

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Kids’ Distance Running Picks Up Steam

all ages runAttend any middle school cross country meet and take a look at the participants. Hidden among the 6-8th graders you might very well see some younger runners. In recent years, the average age has fallen and now you can see scores of first and second graders running distance. My own 7th grade daughter runs cross country and has for three years. On her team are three second graders and a handful of higher elementary students. What has brought on the popularity of running for the younger set?

Many children have grown up watching their parents run for fun or exercise and become interested. Often, distance runs, such as the Marine Corps Marathon, also sponsor Fun Runs, runs of 1-3 miles that are specifically geared toward kids. Many think that children are competing in these runs for the rewards of trophies and medals, but you might be surprised. Most often, children indicate that they run just for the fun of running. Schools have begun cross country teams and groups have sprung up all across America to help get kids interested in running. One such group is Girls on the Run International, a non-profit that provides schools and communities with the steps for a 12-week running program for young girls. At the completion of the program, the participants can run a 5K. Kunz began the program with just 13 girls and now numbers more than 70,000.

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Plank Variations to Shake Up Your Workout

The plank exercise is one of the most effective core exercises in today’s fitness world. ACE (American Council on Exercise) ranked the plank as one of the top ten exercises for the body, stating that it is a great tool to build core and low back endurance, while it also improves the ability of the stabilizer muscles.

The plank can be modified to accommodate all fitness levels or be modified if you are experiencing any pain.

The plank exercise  can also be used as a testing mechanism. You can assess your core strength and progress by maintaining the exercise for as long as you can and then retest on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis to keep you motivated and give you something to train for. (more…)