Training Edge

Industry News, insights & tools

by Laura Quaglio

To avoid the knife, check quad symmetry before retaking the field.

Reduce the Risk of ACL Re-Injury

After anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery, young athletes who play sports are especially at risk for tearing their ACL again. However, experts from the Norwegian Research Center for Active Rehabilitation say screenings and rest can offer a measure of protection. In particular, a reduced risk of re-injury has been seen among athletes who waited until their quadriceps were symmetrical in strength before returning to play. Patients also slashed their risk by half for every month they stayed off the field after surgery, up to the 9-month mark.

To Boost Memory, Time Workouts Later

Need to lock in a few facts for an upcoming exam or cert test? Don’t hit the gym right after hitting the books. In new research from the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, researchers discovered that delaying your workout for 4 hours after a study session can help you better absorb what you’ve learned, and retrieve it.
In this single-session study, researchers divided 72 participants into three groups and gave them 90 picture-location associations to review. One group exercised immediately afterward, another did so 4 hours later, and the last group didn’t work out at all. Each of the exercisers logged 35 minutes of interval training (up to 80% HRmax) on an exercise bike. Two days later, all three groups tested their recall while hooked up to an MRI scanner (van Dongen et al. 2016).
“We found that performing exercise 4 hours, but not immediately, after encoding improved the retention of picture-location associations compared to the no-exercise group,” the study’s researchers say. Furthermore, when participants in the delayed-exercise group chose a correct answer, the brain images showed more activity in the hippocampus (a part of the brain integral to learning and memory).
“Our results suggest that appropriately timed physical exercise can improve long-term memory,” the study concludes, “and highlights the potential of exercise as an intervention in educational and clinical settings.” Moreover, this study supports children’s participation in after-school sports and physical training, and it highlights an interesting benefit worth sharing with adult clients, too.
Van Dongen, E.V., et al. 2016. Physical exercise performed four hours after learning improves memory retention and increases hippocampal pattern similarity during retrieval. Current Biology, 26 (13), 1722–27.

A Milestone in Wearable Tech
AFM_Winter_TrainingEdge3 High-tech embroidery will allow clothes to “talk” to your smartphone, sharing data on athletic performance.
Credit: Jo McCulty, courtesy of The Ohio State University

Researchers at The Ohio State University are developing embroidered antennae and circuits with 0.1-mm precision¬—an optimum size for embellishing fitness apparel with sensors that aren’t bulky or uncomfortable. “A revolution is happening in the textile industry,” says John Volakis, PhD, recent director of the Electro-Science Laboratory at Ohio State, who is developing this technology along with research scientist Asimina Kiourti, PhD. “We believe that functional textiles [aka e-textiles] are enabling technology for communications and sensing¬—and one day even medical applications like imaging and health monitoring.”
This year’s embroidery is a vast improvement over the duo’s initial attempts in 2014. Today’s threads are finer, the process costs a fraction of what it did before and the work can be accomplished in half the time. (It takes just 15 minutes to create the circuitry swirl shown at left.)
Stay tuned: You’re likely to soon see this tech on athletic gear, sharing performance data with the wearer’s smartphone or tablet.

Unlock Views, Not Pikachus
Running the TCS New York City Marathon in 2017 just got easier: The only qualifier needed to make this dream a virtual reality is a Fitbit tracking device. The Fitbit Adventures feature on the free Fitbit mobile app allows users to complete this famed race course through a series of mini challenges based on user ability. Each day’s steps unlock hidden treasures and health tips, and panoramic photos transport users to the Big Apple, allowing them to enjoy iconic landmarks panorama-style simply by rotating their phone (think Google Maps street view).

Exercise and the Placebo Effect
AFM_Winter_TrainingEdge5 A positive outlook on exercise equals greater mind-body benefits. Credit: Photo by Arie Mastenbroek

Turns out The Little Engine That Could isn’t pure fiction. A recent study from the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg in Germany revealed that “our belief in how much we will benefit from physical activity has a considerable effect on our well-being in the manner of a self-fulfilling prophecy,” according to researcher Hendrik Mothes, a sports psychologist and PhD student in the school’s Department of Sport Science.
The research, published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine (2016), looked at participants’ perceptions of the health benefits of workouts, as well as their well-being and mood, before and after they rode a bicycle ergometer for 30 minutes. Those who entered the study with a positive attitude on exercise reported greater enjoyment of the workout, plus greater mood improvement and anxiety reduction, than did those who were more skeptical at the start. When brain activity was measured after the ride, the exercise optimists also showed greater relaxation at the neuronal level, and so did participants who had watched a brief pre-ride film that touted the benefits of cycling.
Mothes reports that positive expectations could have long-reaching effects on a person’s desire to maintain an exercise program. The takeaway for fitness professionals: Continue to accentuate the positives of exercise with your clients. The more they believe, the more they may achieve—and the more likely they are to enjoy the journey.

Mothes, H., et al. 2016. Expectations affect psychological and neurophysiological benefits even after a single bout of exercise. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. doi:10.1007/s10865-016-9781-3.

What’s the Best Class Length to Encourage Utilization?
If you’re rethinking your session schedule for 2017, recent survey results (Stromgren 2016)) may help you make an informed decision. Two major players in the fitness industry recently shared their findings on 2015 health club and studio usage, including facts on timing.
ClassPass, a fitness-class subscription service, revealed that sessions lasting 45–55 minutes were better attended than those in the 60- to 90-minute range. In fact, some locations reported that utilization was up to 63% greater for the shorter workouts. (In this case, utilization refers to how many available class slots were booked per session.)
Other timing issues influenced attendance, too. Cloud-based business management software platform Mindbody reported that Sunday classes were the least popular, but that late-night workouts are on the rise. In fact, workouts between 9 p.m. and midnight have shown a 48-fold increase since 2005. Before switching things up too much, though, do a quick survey of your own clients—formally or informally—to find out their thoughts on class schedules.

Planet Fitness Opens First “Judgement-Free” Youth Gym
AFM_Winter_TrainingEdge8 This facility helps youth build strength and self-esteem while it discourages bullying. Credit: Photos courtesy of Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness recently opened a mini gym in the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester, New Hampshire, as part of its national antibullying initiative called The Judgement Free Generation™. For this philanthropic initiative, Planet Fitness partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and STOMP Out Bullying™ to encourage teens to promote a culture of kindness and support in their communities.
“What makes Planet Fitness unique is we’re all about making people feel welcome and accepting them for who they are,” says McCall Gosselin, vice president of public relations and communications. “We wanted to extend that philosophy from our clubs into our community.” To that end, the Manchester gym will give nearly 1,700 kids and teens access to an elliptical machine, treadmill and free weights in a nonintimidating environment, all for just $25 per year. Its walls, painted in the company’s signature purple and yellow hues, share the company’s larger-than-life message: “You Belong.”
Diane Fitzpatrick, CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Manchester, says this gym solves a critical need among youth. “The fitness center allows us to reinforce the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, both physically and emotionally,” says Fitzpatrick. “We are confident that it will make a huge impact on our kids’ and teens’ overall health and help build their confidence and self-esteem.”
Planet Fitness and its franchisees plan to construct additional “mini Judgement Free Zones®” in Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the country.
Want to support kids and teens in your area? Check out the NASM™ Youth Exercise Specialization (YES), and help today’s youth embrace a healthy, positive lifestyle in a way that meshes with your personal mission and message.

“No Time to Exercise?” Do the Math.
AFM_Winter_TrainingEdge9 Quick health fix: 10 minutes of HIIT offers the perks of 50 minutes of moderate aerobics.

In a recent study, one group of sedentary men did 10-minute sessions of high-intensity inter¬val training, while another group did moderat¬ely intense workouts lasting 50 minutes each. After 12 weeks of thrice-weekly workouts, both groups showed equal cardio¬vascular improvements (Gillen et al. 2016).

Gillen, J.B., et al. 2016. Twelve weeks of sprint interval training improves indices of cardiometabolic health similar to traditional endurance training despite a five-fold lower exercise volume and time commitment. PLOS ONE 11 (4), e0154075.

30 Minutes a Day Can Save $2,500 a Year
AFM_Winter_TrainingEdge10 Help clients view workouts as a wise investment. Clients who list “save money” among their 2017 resolutions should exercise at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity for 30 minutes, 5 days per week. So says a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (2016). Its findings: When a research panel reviewed the medical expenses and exercise habits of 26,000 American adults, they discovered that those who had cardiovascular disease saved $2,500 on annual medical expenses if they achieved these workout goals.

Valero‐Elizondo, J., et al. 2016. Economic impact of moderate‐vigorous physical activity among those with and without established cardiovascular disease: 2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Journal of the American Heart Association, 5 (9).

The Dehydration Equation
AFM_Winter_TrainingEdge11 Frozen water everywhere? Don’t forget to drink. Clients in colder climes may need a reminder to boost their fluid intake during outdoor exercise this time of year. “Becoming dehydrated is a major mistake made by winter athletes,” says Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD, in Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (Human Kinetics 2014). In one study that compared skiers to football and soccer players, Clark says, those who hit the slopes had the highest rate of chronic dehydration.

Many factors cause athletes to underhydrate in winter. Cold temps may blunt thirst, and high altitude can dampen appetite, causing exercisers to limit their water intake from food and beverages alike. Clients may associate heat, not cold, with dehydration, so it might not be on their radar in winter. Or the avoidance of fluids may be intentional, enabling them to take fewer bathroom breaks while wearing a bulky ensemble (Clark 2014).
Clients may be surprised to learn that fluid losses can be even greater in winter. When cold, dry air is inhaled, the lungs add warmth and moisture, causing water vapor to be exhaled. (That’s why you can “see your breath” in cold weather.) In fact, performing “stressful physical activity” in cold, dry air can boost respiratory water losses by 15–45 mL/hour (IMNA 2005). Wearing insulated winter clothes can further increase losses from perspiration.
Bottom line: When discussing winter sports and workouts, remind clients to monitor beverage intake just as they would in summertime. AF

Clark, N. 2014. Winter Hydration. In Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
IMNA (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies). 2005. Chapter 4: Water. In Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Rodriguez, N.R., Di Marco, N.M., & Langley, S. 2009. American College of Sports Medicine position stand: Nutrition and athletic performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 41, (3): 709–31.

Meet our experts

AFM_Author_Quaglio Laura Quaglio, has more than 18 years of experience as a writer and editor for numerous magazines, books and websites on such diverse topics as wellness, nutrition, fitness, finance, after-school activities and parenting.

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