Workout Trends Debunked!
We’ve been wondering about a lot of things lately. For instance, why do our fingernails turn black when we make basil pesto? Where did all those ants in the kitchen come from? Why does it rain as soon as we get our car washed?
These are all timeless questions, of course. But today, we’d like to talk about a few exercise-related topics that have had us scratching our heads for some time. So settle down with a plate of cookies, put your feet up and watch us knock these babies down one by one.
Should I get a foam roller?
Foam rollers are these long tubes that are supposed to help you recover after a workout. The ladies above are using them after a race.
As someone who likes to push myself, but then always limps around moaning for days afterward, this sounded attractive to me.
But then I found out that the rolling part is also painful. Really painful. If you don’t dig in there, it doesn’t work.
So is it better to feel a lot of pain up front or spread out a moderate amount of pain over a few days?
That can be answered by another question:
Did you write all your term papers weeks before they were due?
If so, you should get a foam roller.
Click here for some rolling tips.
Compression gear. Should I squeeze my body into that?
Sure. Some studies say it does work, a bit.
But then others say it’s possible that it’s all in your head.
But if it’s all in your head, that’s OK. If you BELIEVE it works, it works.
Do I need that $200 sneaker?
If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s a shoe that fits. (Still waiting for that, hiking boot makers.) So I have been running in Asics for years. They cost a bit, but they make my feet happy.
And some feel that in running, a comfortable shoe is more important that wearing an expensive shoe.
If you’re new to running, get yourself over to a running shop and talk to the employees about the right shoe for you. You will be shown shoes in a range of prices, which may go up to $200. You could buy that shoe. But you don’t have to.
Find something that is comfortable and works for you, and if they do, it doesn’t matter if they are twenty quid or a hundred and twenty quid. — Roger Kerry, Associate Professor in the School of Physiotherapy at the University of Nottingham
Will you get ripped on the paleo diet?
Yes, but you’ll lose your will to live.
Does Crossfit work?
See above.Read more
How to be a bike commuting genius
Last week, we told you about how one of the keys to staying fit as we get older is to just keep moving.
Today, we’re going to tell you about one of the best ways to integrate fitness into your daily life:
There’s so many benefits that we know you’ve already heard about. We almost feel we don’t need to tell you all of them again.
But we will anyway:
- Get your sweat on. It makes you a multitasking genius, getting to work and getting in your workout at the same time. Gmap’s handy homepage calculator can tell you how many calories you’ve burned on your ride.
- Save money. Less cash spent on gas and car maintenance.
- Save the environment. Bikes are pollution-free.
- Coolness factor: Car drivers envy you as you zip by them. You carry your bike up steps.
We have a few bike commuters in the Gmap Pedometer family. And it hasn’t all been roses cycling through the wilds of Maine, New York and Bangkok.
We’ve learned the hard way (by falling) about crossing railroad tracks perpendicularly and (also by falling) about how many bags of groceries we can carry at once. (None is your hands is a good idea).
During his daily 8KM commute through Bangkok’s streets, Leon has to keep an eye on pushcarts, motorbikes and tuk-tuks in addition to the cars. His serpentine route to work clocks in at about 35 minutes, faster than almost any other method for getting to the office.
Here are a few tips we’ve learned:
- Pick routes where the cars go slowly. Heavy traffic can be your friend.
- Be ever mindful. Of said cars.
- Minimize turns against traffic.
- Be visible. Phrases like “Christmas tree” or “alien spaceship landing” should come to mind when people see you blinking and flashing along. In the daytime, wear a neon safety vest for visibility.
And for tips on staying cool in hot weather, check out this previous post.
Safe riding!Read more
Staying Fit North of 40
Let Michelle Obama show you how it’s done at 51.
I called them the Grannies in Keds.
They were the women who would power past me up the trail in Flagstaff, Arizona, where I used to live. I’d be puffing along and they’d stride right by, heads up, arms pumping, white hair and sneakers gleaming.
“Great day, isn’t it?” they’d chirp, as I tried to grunt a reply without passing out. (It took me a long time to get used to living at 6,000 feet.)
Whatever sense of victory they felt passing an unacclimated twentysomething on the trail, they earned it.
More likely, though, they weren’t concerned about lapping me. They were doing something that made them happy… and that, it turns out, is one of the keys to fitness as we age.
Many of us are lifelong exercise buffs, runners or bicyclists who wouldn’t dream of letting more than a day or two go by without getting our cardio on. We love that feeling of the burn and we like the results when we compete or look in the mirror.
But as we get older, our paces may slack off. Injuries may pile up. It doesn’t feel as good to get out there.
Our workouts become just one more thing on the to-do list, and because it’s for us rather than our families or jobs, we let it slide.
Word of advice: Stay selfish.
“Masters athletes are proving that as much as 50 percent of age-related decline, maybe even 70 percent, is due not to aging but to deconditioning – losing physical fitness by doing very little,” Margaret Webb wrote in “Older Faster Stronger: What Women Runners Can Teach Us All About Living Younger, Longer.”
That means that age-related decline may be a myth. Yes, there are some bodily changes with which we must cope. Our cardiac output, lung capacity, dexterity and flexibility all drop off as we age.
But if we stay active, we can still stay in shape.
What to Do
- Strength training. Bicycling magazine says it can conserve lean muscle mass and reduce the effects of aging on VO2 max — the maximum volume of oxygen an athlete can use. Try this workout from Prevention magazine.
- Allow extra recovery time after a workout.
- Stay happy. If your usual workout feels more like work and less like fun, think about retooling it. Webb’s book recommends a regimen of mostly long, slow training runs, for example.
“I ride to live and I live to ride, as the motorcycle people say,” says 77-year-old bicycling fanatic Terry Taylor. “I find that if I go for a 100-mile bike ride, I can solve all the world’s problems, after mine.”
Taylor has kept going even after a crash broke his hip and collarbone and bruised his brain. Check out this video created by his nephew.
“I’ve had some problems, but I’ve always gotten back on … I listen to my heart.”
Be like Taylor. Don’t give up.Read more
Three Sneaky Ways to Get Your Kids to Exercise
We Gmap Pedometer users are a sporty bunch, running, bicycling and triathloning our way through life. We know the importance of exercising – and what’s more, we love it.
But sometimes our kids aren’t so down with it.
I bet that bothers you. Here we are, busting our booties to try to stay in shape, and our kids are sitting there on the couch watching TV. Or texting.
Should we make them exercise?
The CDC says that every day, kids should exercise at least an hour. AN HOUR.
That’s even more than what’s recommended for adults, which is 150 minutes per week, plus muscle strengthening twice a week. (See the chart to the right.)
So what’s to make a kid get off their duff?
We trick them.
And here’s how.
A rewards chart uses small prizes to give kids a little shove towards better behavior – brushing their teeth, for example. When tooth-brushing becomes automatic, you no longer have to reward them, and you can work on other behavior you’d like to reinforce.
One sly trick: Tie screen time to the amount of time exercised.
No, no, we’re not saying you should beat your children. Allow them to beat on YOU.
If you’re up for it, and your kids are small enough, let your kids wrestle you. Have them try to hold you down to the floor as you try to get up. Smack each other with pillows. Let them hang from your outstretched arms. A study showed that fathers roughhousing with children is crucial to their development, and another expert said roughhousing with moms benefits kids, too.
Most kids love trying to wrestle their parents into submission. Or fake-punch them or fake-drown them.
Seems counterintuitive, right? But there’s tons of games that let kids get their sweat on. One study looked at active video games like Wii Sports bowling, Just Dance, Wii Fit, Kinect Sports and Dance Dance Revolution. They concluded they are a good alternative to sitting around.
AND their health benefits are comparable to “field-based physical activity.”
That’s doing activity in a field. We think.
Sugar, spring and spirituality
I always dread, and welcome, Lent.
The period that leads up to Easter marks the end to what I call the eating season.
That season starts around Halloween, with a harmless little snack pack of M&Ms swiped from the kids’ candy bowl.
It continues on a long, downward descent to Valentine’s Day, a funhouse slide that twists and turns through piles of turkeys, pies and cocktails. (more…)Read more