July 19, 2020

Stretching May Promote Heart Health, Lower Diabetes Risk and More…

In today’s digest we bring you articles on Stretching May Promote Heart Health, Lower Diabetes Risk, The Workout That Burns 350 Calories In 13 Minutes, 6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Better Workout in Less Time and 5 Science-Based Hacks to Enhance Your Health and Fitness. Hope you enjoy them…

Stretching May Promote Heart Health, Lower Diabetes Risk

Key Takeaways A recent study suggests passive stretches can help improve vascular function and reduce arterial stiffness. Helping this functionality is an important part of cardiovascular health as well as other conditions. If you’re looking to add these type of stretches to your workout routine, a trainer suggests doing them after you exercise rather than…

Key Takeaways

  • A recent study suggests passive stretches can help improve vascular function and reduce arterial stiffness.
  • Helping this functionality is an important part of cardiovascular health as well as other conditions.
  • If you’re looking to add these type of stretches to your workout routine, a trainer suggests doing them after you exercise rather than before.

Stretching as part of exercise warmup and cooldown has often been advised by trainers and coaches for better athletic performance, but a recent study in the Journal of Physiology suggests the strategy could provide heart health benefits as well.

Researchers recruited 39 men and women and assigned them to either a non-stretching control group or a program that involved doing four specific leg stretches for a few minutes per day, five days a week, for 12 weeks. Those stretches were:

The stretches were passive, sometimes called static, which means they held each stretch for 45 seconds, then took a 15 second rest, and held a stretch again. Participants did a set of five holds for each stretch.

After 12 weeks, those in the stretching group showed better blood flow in the lower legs and upper arms compared to the control group, and also compared to their blood flow at the start of the study period. This improvement in flow is important for cardiovascular health, researchers concluded, and provides a way to lower risk for major issues like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

What This Means for You

Regardless of age, body type, and fitness level, stretching is one of the most widely accessible methods of getting your body moving. It costs nothing, can be done anywhere, and won’t take up much of your time. If you aren’t used to exercising, it’s worth talking to your doctor about incorporating exercise and a properly executed stretching regimen into your routine.

Stiff Muscles, Stiff Arteries, Big Problems

Vascular function is the ability of an artery to dilate and constrict, and it’s considered an important marker for determining cardiovascular health. Changes in this type of function often precede a rise in arterial stiffness, which can have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system, leading to issues like:

  • Hypertension/high blood pressure
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Renal disease
  • Kidney disease

A study in the journal Hypertension found that aerobic exercise has a demonstrable effect on reducing arterial stiffness, even at a modest amount of activity, such as cycling three times a week for 30 minutes per session. Not only can exercise make arteries more pliable, that study noted, it can also reduce inflammation.

It’s not just the heart that can be affected by poor vascular function, according to Scott Kaiser, MD, geriatrician and director of geriatric cognitive health for Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. There’s also a strong connection between vascular function and brain health, he says.

“When your vascular system is not operating as well as it should, that absolutely affects the brain, because it depends on blood flow,” says Kaiser. That can lead to numerous cognition issues, such as vascular dementia, a condition caused by improper blood flow to the brain.

Introducing simple stretches may be a good way to get started with improving vascular function overall, and reaping benefits along the way.

How to Get Started

The stretches detailed in the recent research are easy to do, anytime and anywhere, especially those you can do while standing. But if you’re incorporating stretches like these into a larger workout routine—which is advisable—it’s helpful to know best practices for timing, suggests trainer Aaron Leventhal, CSCS, owner of Minneapolis-based Fit Studio.

Passive stretching like researchers studied is best done after a workout, Leventhal says, because they can help during a cool-down sequence after muscles have been fatigued and shortened during exercise. This type of stretching isn’t advisable before a workout, however, and can actually have negative effects.

A study in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found that static stretching as part of a warm-up immediately prior to exercise can be detrimental to muscle stretch and performance in running and jumping. The effect is so common that it even has a term: “stretch-induced strength loss.”

A pre-workout routine should, instead, involve dynamic stretching. Leventhal says this type relies on movement instead of holding a stretch passively. Ideally, he adds, you’ll want to “stretch” in a way that is similar to the exercises you’re about to do. For example, if you’re going to do a high-intensity interval session, dynamic stretching would involve gentler versions of what’s included, like lunges, high kicks, and hip stretches with a twist.

By focusing on stretching correctly, you can improve your workout performance, and as the recent study notes, you may be getting a heart health boost at the same time.



Stretching May Promote Heart Health, Lower Diabetes Risk was originally published at https://www.verywellfit.com/stretching-may-promote-heart-health-lower-diabetes-risk-5071353






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The Workout That Burns 350 Calories In 13 Minutes

Let’s be honest – when it comes to exercise, most of us are in constant search for the workout that burns the most calories in the shortest amount of time. And while running can be a great fat-burning routine, not everyone enjoys this cardio activity and that’s alright because science suggests that you don’t have…

Let’s be honest – when it comes to exercise, most of us are in constant search for the workout that burns the most calories in the shortest amount of time. And while running can be a great fat-burning routine, not everyone enjoys this cardio activity and that’s alright because science suggests that you don’t have to pound the pavement any longer in order to incinerate fat.

In fact, you can burn far more calories by doing high-intensity weight training, according to multiple studies on this subject. When the researchers at the University of Southern Maine estimated energy expenditure during exercise, they discovered that weight training burns up to 71% more calories than it was originally presumed.

Weight training alone can increase muscular strength and your basic metabolic rate, while aerobic workouts fortify your cardiovascular system, so it’s no wonder that combining both in one workout is the most powerful approach to fat burning.

We’ve so far seen a great deal of effective fat-burning workouts based on weight training, but the latest routine detailed in a brand new study coming from North Dakota State University beats everything we’ve seen in the past. According to the findings that were presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, with this routine the study participants were able to torch close to 350 calories in just 13 minutes!

That’s double the number of calories burned by running at a 10-minute mile pace for the same amount of time, and almost 40% more than you would burn by performing CrossFit’s Cindy workout for 20 minutes!

In the North Dakota State University study, male subjects performed as many reps of a resistance exercises at 50% of their 1-rep max as they could in 30 seconds, then paused for 15 seconds. The program included three sets of six different resistance exercises performed on the same way in a consecutive order for a total of 13 minutes.

Then, the researchers assessed both aerobic and anaerobic energy expenditure during the 13-minute workout and found out that on average, the subjects had burned up to 346 calories, which is a ground-breaking discovery, given the fact that no other workout has shown such impressive results so far.

According to the lead author of the study, Jake Erickson, the key to these results was the ultra-short, 15-second rests between sets. By giving your body less time to recover between bursts of intense physical activity, you’re able to burn a lot more calories. For example, the control group who performed a similar workout but had longer rests burned around 15% less calories, even though they used heavier weights.

We’re assuming that you’re pretty interested in how exactly this amazing workout looks like, so let’s cut to the chase – here’s the workout that will help you move in the fast lane to a super lean body.

The 13-minute fat loss workout

Perform as many reps as possible (AMRAP) of the following exercises in a consecutive order, using a weight that’s 50% of your 1-rep max.

  • Bench press: 3 sets x AMRAP, 15 seconds rest
  • Bent-over row: 3 sets x AMRAP, 15 seconds rest
  • Bicep curl: 3 sets x AMRAP, 15 seconds rest
  • Lying triceps extension: 3 sets x AMRAP, 15 seconds rest
  • Leg extension: 3 sets x AMRAP, 15 seconds rest
  • Lying leg curl: 3 sets x AMRAP, 15 seconds rest



The Workout That Burns 350 Calories In 13 Minutes was originally published at https://www.fitnessandpower.com/training/workout-routines/workout-that-burns-350-calories-in-13-minutes







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6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Better Workout in Less Time

Photo: Pond5 Plyometrics — or high-intensity exercises that stretch and then quickly shorten your muscles (think jump squats or plyo push-ups) — are already known for their quick calorie-blasting, body-toning results. “The technique was originally designed to develop explosive speed and power in Olympic athletes, but the benefits extend out to the average Joe and…

6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Better Workout in Less Time

Photo: Pond5

Plyometrics — or high-intensity exercises that stretch and then quickly shorten your muscles (think jump squats or plyo push-ups) — are already known for their quick calorie-blasting, body-toning results. “The technique was originally designed to develop explosive speed and power in Olympic athletes, but the benefits extend out to the average Joe and Jane in both body and mind,” says Adam Rosante, NYC-based trainer and creator of the popular bodyweight interval workout WaveShape.

“The intensity of firing up your big muscle groups with such speed sends your heart rate through the roof and burns a ton of fat.” Plus, Rosante explains, when your brain is forced to process the mechanical speed required of plyo moves, it has the potential to improve overall cognitive function.

But there’s better news yet: There may be an even more efficient way to do this powerhouse type of workout.

Plyometrics Exercises: The Power of Cluster Sets

Though many people stick to the standard two or three sets of 10 to 15 reps, flipping that format on its head might actually improve your performance, according to a new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Exercisers who did cluster sets — 10 sets of shorter reps ranging from only two to five — were able to jump higher and reach greater takeoff velocity during their workout, which could result in more explosive power.

The sweet spot is sets of three to five reps, found Lee E. Brown, Ph.D., study coauthor and director of the Center for Sport Performance at California State University in Fullerton. Do fewer than that and you can’t maximize the eccentric (or muscle-lengthening) phase of the movement, which will lessen your velocity. Go for more than five and you’ll get too fatigued to maintain your max jump height. It’s important to note that ample rest is also key to helping you reach maximum power and jump height throughout every rep, says Brown. Aiming for 30 to 45 seconds between sets allows you to start each set feeling fresh.

Want to know what cluster sets feel like? We had Rosante design the following plan, a mix of moves to tone your entire body and rev your heart rate in no time. Do 10 sets of three to five reps of each move — using momentum from the previous rep to drive speed and power — and rest 30 seconds between sets.

Your Quick Plyometrics Workout in 6 Moves

6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Quick Total-Body Workout

Photo: Twenty20

1. Plank Squats

How to: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and begin to lower the body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair, until thighs are parallel or close to parallel with the floor (a). In one fast motion, drop the hands to the floor and jump your feet back to a plank position, making sure the body remains in a straight line from head to toe (b). Immediately jump your feet back to the squat position to complete one rep (c).

2. Plyometric Push-Ups

How to: Start in a plank position with wrists directly under the shoulders, body in a straight line from head to toe (a). Lower your chest to the floor and then push up explosively with enough force for your hands to leave the floor for a second, and then land softly (b).

3. Broad Jumps

How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart and begin to lower the body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair, stopping just before your thighs are parallel with the floor (a). Jump up as high as you can and forward, and focus on landing softly on your feet (b). Immediately return to the quarter-squat position and repeat (c).

4. X-Overs

How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and begin to lower your body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair until thighs are parallel with the floor (a). Jump straight up explosively and as your feet leave the floor, cross your right leg in front of your left, then uncross so you land with feet shoulder-width apart to complete one rep (b). Immediately lower back into the squat and repeat, this time crossing the opposite leg in front.

5. 180 Jump Squats

How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart and begin to lower your body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair, stopping just before your thighs are parallel with the floor (a). Jump up, turning your body 180 degrees mid-air, in order to land facing in the opposite direction (b). Immediately lower into your quarter-squat again, and jump and turn in the opposite direction, so you land in starting position to complete one rep (c). (For more squat variations, head here!)

6. Pass, Fall, Go’s

How to: Kneel on the ground and hold a weighted ball with both hands against your chest. Explosively push the ball forward from your chest and release it far as possible (a). Follow through by falling forward and catching yourself with your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart (b). Push back up and take off sprinting to the ball (c). When you get to the ball, that’s one rep (c).

Originally published December 2014. Updated February 2018. 

Read More
50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core
5 Easy Arm Exercises for a 30-Minute Workout
3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners



6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Better Workout in Less Time was originally published at https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/plyometrics-exercises-workout/







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5 Science-Based Hacks to Enhance Your Health and Fitness

Having a solid workout plan and following it is critical for success in your health and fitness journey, but it can only take you so far. As great as exercise is, it’s not the full story. If you complement your training with the following health hacks, you’ll be well on your way to seeing even…

Having a solid workout plan and following it is critical for success in your health and fitness journey, but it can only take you so far. As great as exercise is, it’s not the full story. If you complement your training with the following health hacks, you’ll be well on your way to seeing even better progress and taking your well-being to a whole new level.

Best of all? Most aren’t that hard to do and take only a few minutes out of your day.



Hack 1: Take the Stairs to Live Longer

Can’t hit the gym today? Not to worry. There are other ways to squeeze in activity. Taking the stairs is fast and easy and will only take a few minutes. Most people are still under the assumption that you need to exercise for so many minutes straight for it to count, but that isn’t the case.

Let’s say you work in a multilevel office building. If you can find the time and reasons to walk up 20 flights of stairs over the course of the day day—bathroom breaks, delivering a message to a coworker, and a few flights on your coffee break all add up!—that’s a good amount of activity you’re squeezing in. Almost as much as a full cardio workout.

Taking the stairs at work.

In a 2019 study, researchers from McMaster University in Ontario noted that exercise “snacks,” as they called them, can help to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and may also positively correlate with longevity and cardiovascular health.[1]

No stairs around? No problem. Any kind of short bout of activity that gets your heart rate up will count toward reaching this goal.

Hack 2: Get Nuts About Nuts for a Healthier Heart

Fats are slowly making a comeback in today’s nutrition space, but are still not well-regarded in many circles for the benefits they provide. While keto lovers eat fat as the main macro in their diet, many people are still a little fearful of what adding fat will do to their waistline. It’s time to get over this hump.

One particular fat-dense food you want to start getting more of is nuts. They are a powerhouse food as they not only contain the right fats—unsaturated fats—but also come packed with protein and fiber.

Nuts are a well-balanced food that make a great snack anytime. The only caveat? They are higher in calories, so make sure you’re paying attention to your portions. Don’t let the calorie count put you off, however. Far too many people disregard nuts entirely because they are worried about gaining weight.



A small serving of nuts amounting to 5-10 grams of fat will help boost satiety at any meal and can help you eat fewer calories a day. Research also notes that nut consumption can be linked to lower risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.[2-4] What’s not to love?

Hack 3: Experiment with Intermittent Fasting to Increase Longevity

Intermittent fasting has been around for a beat now, and more people are catching on to this alternative way of eating. Its reported benefits include the following:

  • Improved energy throughout the day
  • Easier time managing your body weight
  • Improved insulin sensitivity[5]
  • Enhanced cognitive focus during the fasting period[6]
  • Improved recovery after exercise if you time your food properly with your workouts
  • Increased wellbeing late in life[7]
Alarm clock with knife and fork as hands.

Many people enjoy intermittent fasting because it saves time. If you don’t have to prep so many meals for the day, you’ll save that time and you’ll also save the time you’d spend sitting down to eat.

With today’s busy lifestyles, time is everything. Plus, when you have more calories to consume in a shorter time period, you also have more flexibility with meal choices. For instance, instead of planning a meal containing 300 calories, you may be able to have one that contains 600 calories, which opens doors to a wider variety of foods.

Hack 4: Exercise in the Morning for a Better Day

You may think that some exercise is better than no exercise, as long as you get it done, right? This may not be correct. If you are in the habit of exercising just a few hours before bedtime, you actually may be disrupting your sleep because of it.

Few things will improve your health as much as quality sleep, so don’t let exercise jeopardize that. Ideally, you’ll want to exercise in the morning as often as possible for a few reasons.

To begin with, morning exercisers are more likely to stick with it. Because you are likely routine oriented in the morning, if exercise is part of that routine, you’ll become more consistent. There are fewer things crowding out that workout in the morning than in the evening; for example, socializing with friends or simply fatigue from the day.



Second, exercising in the morning will wake you up for the day ahead. You’ll feel invigorated heading out the door to work, and chances are, you’ll be more productive at work, as well.

Finally, as many people find that exercise helps to regulate their appetite, you may learn that exercising first thing in the day can help you keep your calories in check.

Hack 5: Give Your Brain a Break for Peak Performance

In a new study published in the journal Cell, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that rats learned best if they were subjected to a maze they didn’t know how to navigate and then given time to rest.[8] During the rest time, their minds would replay the maze, which augmented the learning process.

Reading a book outdoors.

If, however, the rats were immediately presented with a threat or challenge that kept their brain occupied after they ran the maze, they didn’t learn as well and didn’t get through the maze as quickly the second time as they did after they got a rest.

The moral of the story? If you’re trying to learn something new, work on it and then rest. It turns out the brain is a lot like muscle in this regard. It needs that recovery time to rebuild and repair.

Keep these five health hacks in mind and try to work them into your lifestyle. If you can adopt even a couple of them to start, you’ll be on your way to superior health.

References
  1. Jenkins, M. E., et al. (2019). Do stair climbing exercise “snacks” improve cardiorespiratory fitness. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 44(6), 681-684.
  2. Kris-Etherton, Penny M., et al. (2001). The effects of nuts on coronary heart disease risk. Nutrition Reviews, 59(4), 103-111.
  3. Afshin, Ashkan, et al. (2014). Consumption of nuts and legumes and risk of incident ischemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100(1), 278-288.
  4. Kendall, Cyril W. C., et al. (2010). Nuts, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. British Journal of Nutrition, 104(4), 465-473.
  5. Anson, R. Michael, et al. (2003). Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effects of dietary restriction on glucose metabolism and neuronal resistance to injury from calorie intake. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100(10), 6216-6220.
  6. Li, Liao Liao, Zhi, Wang, & Zhiyi, Zuo (2013). Chronic intermittent fasting improves cognitive functions and brain structures in mice. PloS one, 8(6).
  7. Carlson, Anton J., & Hoelzel, Frederick (1946). Apparent prolongation of the life span of rats by intermittent fasting: one figure. The Journal of Nutrition, 31(3), 363-375.
  8. Kay, Kenneth, et al. (2020). Constant sub-second cycling between representations of possible futures in the hippocampus. Cell, 180(3), 552-567.e25.



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