Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Here's an Exercise Surprise!... Lifting Less Gets Better Results

A new study says lightening the amount of weight lifted could help weightlifters get stronger with less effort.

In traditional weight training, called one rep max, the maximum weight athletes can lift dictates the weight load for all sessions.

This study compared one rep max with an approach called load velocity profile, in which athletes lift varying weights from session to session.

In 6 weeks, athletes who used the load velocity profile became stronger than those who using rep max, despite lifting less, according to sports scientists at Lincoln University. The study, published recently in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research included 16 men, ages 18 to 29, with at least two years' weight training experience.

The authors said their findings could help improve lifters' muscle strength and power and make it easier to manage fatigue during training.

"There are a lot of factors which can contribute to an athlete's performance on a particular day, such as how much sleep they have had, nutrition or motivational factors, but with traditional percentage-based methods we would have no insight into how this effects their strength," said study leader Harry Dorrell, a lecturer in the School of Sport and Exercise Science.

The velocity-based training let researchers adjust athletes' load up or down as needed, he said in a university news release.

"It's about making sure the athlete is lifting the optimal load for them, on that particular day," Dorrell explained. "If you lift too little then you won't stimulate the body as you intend to; but if you lift too much you'll be fatigued, which increases the risk of injury."

Here's How to Prevent Sneaky Weight Gain

Slow and sneaky weight gain usually happens over time -- on average one pound a year. So it's not always obvious at first, especially if you don't regularly weigh yourself. Keep an eye out.

If this weight creep goes unnoticed year after year, by middle age, your middle may lose the sleek look you had when you were younger. Let's be honest, no one wants that.

Several factors could be to blame. Maybe you're exercising less because family & work obligations have gotten in the way of regular gym visits. Maybe you're eating more, such as having a cookie with your daily afternoon cup of tea.

Perhaps you simply don't need as many calories as you used to because of the gradual shift in body composition that can happen with age. Having less muscle and more fat can slow your metabolism, making it easier to gain weight.

But you can work to avoid or at least limit this type of weight gain. Start by doing a quick self-evaluation. Has your activity level gone down? Are you eating more than usual? If you answered yes to these questions, make the commitment to get back on track both with diet and exercise.

Heading to Work on a Bike? You Just Might Live Longer

Do you ride your bike to work? If you don't, maybe you should. Why? People who commute by bicycle are at lower risk of dying early, a new study from New Zealand finds.

Researchers from Otago University, Wellington, the University of Melbourne & the University of Auckland found that those who cycled to work had a 13% reduction in death during the study period.

Lead researcher Dr. Caroline Shaw attributes this mortality reduction to the health benefits of physical activity that aren't typically seen from walking or taking public transportation.

For the study, Shaw and her team analyzed data from 3.5 million New Zealanders.

"We studied 80% of the working-age population of New Zealand over a 15-year period, so it is highly representative," Shaw said in a University of Otago news release.

Only 3% of those studied cycled to work. In comparison, over 80% of people in New Zealand traveled to work by car.