Exercise can help us sleep better and reduce our risk for chronic disease—but does it matter when you do it?
New research on mice from the University of California, Los Angeles’s Brain Research Institute suggests that exercising during the daytime can improve your sleep and reduce your risk for health problems that are associated with a
disrupted internal clock, like fatigue during the day, difficulty sleeping, weight gain, and dysfunction of the cardiovascular and immune systems. What they did not find, as some media outlets reported, is that the afternoon is the best time to exercise in order to reap these benefits.
Researchers observed several groups of mice running in their wheels. Some were otherwise healthy and some were bred to have a malfunctioning internal clock, or circadian timing system. Some mice could run whenever they wanted, while others only had access to the wheel at the mouse equivalents of morning and afternoon (they’re nocturnal). Exercise improved the functioning of the internal clock in all of the mice, but in the mice with “broken” clocks, the effect was more pronounced in the afternoon.
Lead author Christopher Colwell, Ph.D., who has studied circadian rhythms for 30 years, says that our brain’s internal clock governs most aspects of our behavior and physiology by telling our cells what time it is and what they should be doing, like maintaining organ function (daytime) or going into repair
mode (nighttime). Aging, nervous system diseases, and exposure to artificial light at night can all disrupt our circadian rhythm and, he says, “disruption of the clock has profound influence throughout the whole body.”
Colwell says this study raises the possibility that there may be a difference in how exercise in the morning versus the afternoon affects the clock in humans, but he’s not aware of any literature on that premise.
“I’ve been getting some emails from people who exercise in the morning and they feel great and they’re saying ‘Well, should I change that?’ Absolutely not,” he says.
“Right now, we feel comfortable saying that exercise during a human’s daytime would be beneficial, while the same exercise during the normal sleep time would be disruptive to these rhythms.”
This study, which appears in the Journal of Physiology, did not
examine the effects of late-night exercise, but unpublished results from Colwell’s lab show that working out at the equivalent of 11pm disrupts the clock.
Colwell says that sweating in the morning and late afternoon and maybe even the early evening are perfectly fine, but he says, “I would caution, as I have observed anecdotally, that if your only option is exercising at midnight, you might want to skip it that day.” It can affect your sleep and throw off the
clock: We get sleepy when our internal body temperature starts to decline and vigorous exercise causes a spike in core temperature, which delays the process.
via Women's Health Magazine
You can’t exercise because the dog ate your workout plan. Likely story. But the common exercise excuses that you make for yourself can be just as absurd. You’re too tired. It’s raining. You’ve got nothing to wear. If you’ve heard them once, you’ve them all. Still, keep pushing exercise off long enough, and the joke’s on you. Here, we’ve exposed 14 silly exercise excuses and show you how to get serious about your health.
Excuse #1: You Can’t Afford a Gym Membership You must be joking: You don’t need to break the bank to bulk up. Gym discounts abound around January in the form of New Year specials, but you might have a better chance haggling down your membership fee during the off-peak months from June to August, says Shayne Adair, spokesperson for the National Exercise Trainers Association. If that doesn’t work, walking, running, and pushups were all free the last time we checked, and the there are a ton of no-cost workout videos online.
Excuse #2: I’m Traveling for Work and My Hotel Doesn’t Have a Gym You must be joking: Skipping a workout session every now and then because you’re on the road isn’t a problem, but if your job has you living out of a suitcase, it’s time to look into other options outside of your hotel. Locate a workout center on the fly with the Men’s Health’s gym finder. You can search by zip code, cost, amenities, classes offered, and equipment.
Excuse #3: I Can’t Wake Up Early Enough You must be joking: Hitting snooze two, three, four more times sounds tempting, but you’re better off bolting out of bed at the first ring, since there are tons of benefits to morning exercise. Research shows that regular morning exercise might actually help you sleep better, and that early birds workout harder. Plus, those who work out as the sun rises are more likely to stick to it than those who hit the gym later in the day. To boost the likelihood of making your morning session, pick out your gym outfit the night before. “I like putting my workout clothes right next to my bed,” says Adair. “If you get up and put on a robe instead, you’re done.”
Excuse #4: I Have to Commute for an Hour You must be joking: We hear you: You’re spent when you clock out of your 9 to 5. Going to the gym before or after work isn’t feasible for everyone, so think about heading to the gym during your lunch hour, or incorporate fitness with family hangout time. (Think Frisbee or even Wii-Sports.) Just inserting ten minutes of exercise three or four times a day can help, too. Little moments of downtime can pass unnoticed, so schedule periodic reminders to pop up on your iPhone, or better yet, add a full workout session to your calendar, suggests Alice Burron, MS, exercise physiologist and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise
Excuse #5: Weather.com Predicted Rain You must be joking: First off, a little rain never hurt anyone. But if the weather is deterring you from going to the gym, try an at-home workout. There are plenty of simple routines that you can do to break a sweat, so pop in a fitness DVD, break out the pull up bar, and try some dumbbell routines.
Excuse #6: I Don’t Have Anything to Wear You must be joking: Nobody’s expecting to be picked up at the gym, but according to a Zobha survey, 53 percent of women say that they’re more likely to work out if they have something flattering and well-made to wear. If your fashionista sensibilities are getting in the way of your fitness goals, go ahead and buy a cute outfit as added motivation.
Excuse #7: I Don’t Want to Look Stupid at the Gym You must be joking: Don’t worry about it. “There’s always going to be someone who’s going to judge, but that’s such the minority,” says Robert Reames, CPT, official trainer and nutritionist for the Dr. Phil Show and spokesperson for Gold’s Gym International. “In the gym, there’s a camaraderie of work. There’s a respect that if you’re there and you’re working out, you’re one of us.” However, when you are trying out new equipment for the first time, ask a trainer to help demonstrate the proper form and technique. Fumbling around with equipment may be embarrassing, but, even worse, it can be dangerous.
Excuse #8: I Can’t Miss Modern Family You must be joking: Don’t let the tube dictate your exercise routine, that’s what DVR and Hulu.com are for. If you insist on watching your favorite shows in real time, there are a number of ways to sneak in exercise in front of the television. Many gyms include individual TV screens with their cardio machines, so head over early and plug in your headphones.
Excuse #9: I Don’t See Any Improvement You must be joking: Keep at it. The great thing about working out is that there are tangible benefits—it just takes some time. That said, there are a number of factors that could be sabotaging your exercise efforts. Take a look at your diet and see if you’re munching on extra calories. Little tweaks can go a long way, so you might want to consult a nutritionist or trainer about how to maximize your workout and eating habits. In the meantime, rest assured that you’re getting a wealth of other benefits that you can’t see: a sharper brain, a better heart, and an energy boost.
Excuse #10: I Have a Cold You must be joking: If you’re just feeling a little under the weather, you’re probably not going to get sicker if you head to the gym. A study in the Journal of Athletic Training found that students who exercised while infected with the common cold recovered at the same rate as those stayed in. In fact, they felt a little better after working out, owing to the endorphin high. “Start off at 50 percent of your usual intensity and maintain it for a while. If you feel fine, then bump up your intensity to the normal level” says Thomas Weidner, PhD, professor of physical education, sport, and exercise science at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. A general rule of thumb: It’s okay to work out if your symptoms are "above the neck" (runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or sore throat), but stay home if you’re feeling ill “below the neck” (chest congestion, hacking cough), have a fever, or achey muscles. And seriously, wipe down any gym equipment you touch.
Excuse #11: I’m Too Tired You must be joking: “If you’re dealing with 2 hours of sleep, then it might actually be better to sleep in and come back the next day with a stronger workout,” says Reames. “But often, being tired is synonymous with lack of motivation.” Ironically, exercise can help you shake off that lethargy and boost energy. A review study published in Psychological Bulletin found that whether you’re old, young, healthy, or not, consistent exercise boosts energy. Combat your laziness with the knowledge that you’re going to feel better, stronger, and more accomplished at the end of your session.
Excuse #12: There’s Just No Time You must be joking: “Not having enough time is probably the number one excuse I hear,” says Reames. “What that really means is that exercise is not a priority.” Ouch. Talk about tough love. Once you’ve decided to make exercise a priority, put it down in writing to remind yourself why you’re motivated to stay healthy. Don’t underestimate the value of short workouts either. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to exercise for over 45 minutes for the gym to “be worth it”: a recent Massachusetts General Hospital study found that your body starts showing metabolic changes after 10 minutes of exercise, and its effects last for over an hour. Researchers documented an uptick in the number of compounds that help burn calories and blast fat.
Excuse #13: I’m Sore. My Body Needs Time to Recover You must be joking: Research shows that active recovery (a light workout on days following an intense session) helps clear lactic acid from your body, so you’ll actually be less sore if you stay active. If only part of your body is tender, work another part of your body and let the aching parts rest and recover. “Mix it up. That way your body will get the benefits of cross-training,” says Reames. “If you work out your upper body one day, focus on your legs the next. If you do cardio one day, do strength training the day after.” Prevent future soreness by paying particular attention to your warm-up and cool-down.
Excuse #14: My Workout Buddy Bailed You must be joking: Studies show that you’re more likely to exercise consistently with a workout partner than without one, but if your exercise buddy is bringing you down, it’s time to think about finding a new one. While it ultimately comes down to your individual commitment to staying fit, it helps to make friends with gym regulars or ask a coworker to tag along. Alternatively, schedule a standing appointment with a trainer. If people don’t motivate you to exercise, maybe money will.
via Men's Health
It's official!! The new gym now located at 4111 Marathon Blvd, right across the street from Central Market on Lamar. Pictures will be up shortly! Stop by and check it out!
Core fitness exercise has become synonymous with abdominal conditioning. In terms of core stability, the abdominal muscles do little. Without proper strength and conditioning of all core muscles, injury, aches and pains can occur more frequently. The core of the body is responsible for supporting the back, spine and shoulders. Core fitness exercises should aim to strengthen all muscles related to these areas.
Choosing Effective Core Fitness Exercise
In order to choose effective core fitness exercises, you must first learn the muscles supporting the core of the body. The core muscles begin at the top of the abdominal trunk and run down to the lower torso. These muscles include the:
Strength and power originate in the core of the body. When the trunk, torso and pelvis are strong and stable, power is transferred to all other muscles. Powerful contractions, such as rapid muscle movements, require a strong core. The more stable the core, the more energy transferred to the muscles leading to quicker repetitions and more effective training.
Core fitness exercises also support proper posture. Imbalances of posture can lead to improper weight lifting form, injuries, and undue pressure on the lower back. Pressure and pain of the lower back is a common symptom of weak core muscles.
The abdominal muscles are important to core stability and strength. When the abdominal muscles are weak, the lower back holds additional pressure and weight from simple daily tasks like walking. When exercising, this pressure grows exponentially leading to painful back injuries. Strengthening the abdominal muscles allows the weight of the upper body to be evenly distributed over the front and back. When weight is distributed, balance improves.
Working the Torso as a Solid Unit
The torso can be pictured as a solid unit. This unit needs to be strong and stable like the frame of a car. If the torso is weak, the muscles of the body will not perform at optimal levels. Core fitness exercises can help build stability of the core. Building strength in the core of the body does not require weights or gym machines. The most common core exercises include:
Don’t let watery eyes and a runny nose keep you from a spring workout. Avoid the pitfalls of allergy season with these expert tips.
1.)Reschedule Your Workout. Exercising in the AM makes you more likely to stick with your workout routine, according to various studies. But the prime time for fitness is also the worst time for your outdoor allergies. Generally, pollen counts peak in the morning between 6 AM and 10 AM, says Frederick M. Schaffer, MD, chief medical officer of United Allergy Services. Unless you can get yourself in the habit of rising with the sun, consider moving your run to lunchtime or immediately after work. “Trees don’t like to pollinate when it’s very warm out,” says Paul Ehrlich, MD, a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “During the day pollen is less of a problem—but in the mornings and evenings when it’s cool and there’s a breeze, the pollen just goes crazy.”In addition to avoiding peak times, regularly check your local weather forecast for days when the pollen count will be particularly high—and have a backup plan ready. Consider heading to the gym or hitting the pool when the pollen count reaches more than 900 grains per cubic meter (high)—and definitely stick with indoor workouts when the count hits 1,500 grains per cubic meter (very high).
2.)Stay Indoors When You Need to De-Stress. As if you need one more thing to worry about—your immune system may react more severely to allergens when you’re feeling frazzled, according to researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center. After skin prick tests, study subjects with a history of seasonal allergies developed raised, itchy patches on their skin that were more red and twice as big when they were stressed compared to when they were feeling calmer.
3.)Avoid Allergy-Aggravating Foods Eating fruits and veggies is never a bad idea, but during allergy season, it’s important to pick the right ones. Many seasonal allergy sufferers are also affected by oral allergy syndrome, a reaction that occurs when pollen crosses paths with proteins from certain fruits and vegetables in the body, causing your lips to tingle and swell and your mouth to itch. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, those allergic to birch or alder trees may also react to celery, carrots, parsley, fennel, coriander, cherries, peaches, pears, kiwi, plums, and apples (cooked or canned varieties may produce less of a reaction). Grass allergy sufferers should steer clear of tomatoes, celery, peaches, melons, and oranges. Those with reactions to ragweed should pass on bananas, cucumbers, melon, and zucchini.
4.)Stock Up On Superfoods. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals helps keep your body in peak condition, but several small studies suggest that adding certain food compounds or supplements may give you an allergy-busting boost. Probiotic yogurt may prevent your body from overreacting to outdoor allergens, according to a study published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy. Allergy sufferers who consumed a daily dose of yogurt containing the good bacteria Lactobacillus casei had lower levels of an antibody that triggers the release of histamine, the key player in runny noses, watery eyes, and nonstop sneezing.
A spirulina supplement, which is rich in plant-based protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C, may un-stuff your nose while enhancing your exercise performance. Allergy sufferers who took 2,000 mg of the blue-green algae daily experienced improvements in nasal allergy symptoms, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. What’s more, men who took spirulina supplements for four weeks tired less rapidly during two-hour treadmill runs, compared to men who took a placebo, according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. The men who took spirulina also burned 11% more fat than those who took a placebo.
5.)Strip Down Before You Step Inside. You’d take off muddy shoes and clothes before heading inside your house, and you need to treat pollen the same way. “What’s the first thing you do after you get home? Flop down on your couch or your bed,” says Ehrlich. “We track pollen into our homes and spread it out everywhere.” Before you leave for a workout, place a clean set of clothing in your entryway or garage so you can change as soon as you’re back. It’s also helpful to have a plastic bag handy so you can contain your affected clothing until laundry day. And remember to hit the showers before bedtime. If the pollen that’s settled in your hair gets on your pillowcase, you’ll breathe it in all night.
6.)Ditch Glasses for Dailies. Even after shedding your workout clothes and hitting the shower, your eyes are still red, itchy, and watery. What gives? If you’ve been wearing the same contact lenses for weeks, they could be the culprit.
But don’t dig out your spectacles just yet. Contact lenses create a helpful barrier between the eyes and airborne allergens, suggests a report published in Contact Lens & Anterior Eye. Thing is, your eyes pollen filters need to be changed often. In other words, pick lenses that you can toss in the trash each day. When British researchers exposed grass allergy suffers to bursts of pollen, they experienced fewer overall allergy symptoms when wearing daily disposable contact lenses than when they ditched their contacts altogether.
By: Hollis Templeton and Alyssa Wells
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