AMES, Iowa- The New Year’s resolutions of weight loss and fitness can be better achieved if you have a gym membership, according to a new study from Iowa State University. The study led by Duck-chul (DC) Lee, an assistant professor of Kinesiology at ISU said that people who belong to a health club exercised more, and had better heart health. The benefits are even greater if you have had a gym membership for over a year.
“It’s not surprising that people with a gym membership work out more, but the difference in our results is pretty dramatic,” Lee said, in a news release. “Gym members were 14 times more aerobically active than non-members and 10 times more likely to meet muscle-strengthening guidelines, regardless of their age and weight.” Lee said it is recommended that adults get 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, and 75 minutes of vigorous activity. “You have to do both aerobic and resistance exercise,” said Lee. “You can meet the aerobic exercise guidelines by doing exercise or physical activity outside like running bicycling, but meeting the resistance exercise guideline, it’s more difficult or challenging to do that outside the gym.
Exercise resistance is done by lifting weights, and differs from running or biking.
We get it: Sometimes a workout just isn’t in the cards. Distractions creep in–a long meeting keeps you from the pile of work you’ve barely dented, a food- and booze-filled vacation saps your return-to-real-life motivation–and before you know it, it’s the end of the week and you’ve literally done squat…as in, not a single squat. Well, don’t sweat it.
Or, more accurately, do sweat it, but just once or twice a week, and you’ll still be able to keep yourself in the healthy lane, says a new study out of the University of Sydney in Australia. Scientists at the school analyzed a mass of data on more than 60,000 people and discovered that active adults–including those who exercised only once or twice a week–had about a 30% lower risk of death from all causes than adults who pretty much never got off their asses. As long as they hit at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week, their health was measurably better.
By that criteria, just two nice, long runs or one gritty lifting session would meet the standard. And who can’t manage that? “It’s very encouraging news that being physically active on just one or two occasions every week is associated with a lower risk of death,” said associate professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, Ph.D., in a press release.
Of course, he added, if optimal health is your goal, you’ll need to exercise considerably more than the minimum amount recommended–but we’re pretty sure you knew that already.
So don’t despair if you miss a few days; just try not to end any week without squeezing in a solid workout or two.
And the next time you can’t manage one of the long, leisurely gym sessions you’re accustomed to, try one of these super-efficient routines to get your heart pumping and muscles firing fast.
Trainer: Jeremy Scott, trainer at Jeremy Scott Fitness in Scottsdale, Arizona. Benefit: Pushups work your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. Squats challenge your glutes, hamstrings and quads.
Combine the two with plyometric variations, and you’ll build total-body strength and power while melting fat, Scott says.
NARRAGANSETT–It’s Thursday, 9:30 a.m., and most of the businesses at Mariner Square Plaza in Narragansett are not yet open. One, however, is already filled with life: The Studio. Behind its signature red door and handcrafted wooden sign on the window, several middle-age women have gathered for their ballet class.
They are not destined to dance at the Bolshoi, nor are they practicing for a recital. But they are devoted and ready for class every week–motivated by their love of ballet and inspired by the passion of their teacher, Marilyn Smayda, owner and artistic director. “Let’s go, let’s go,” Smayda beckons the women in the dressing room, who are eager to chat and catch up with each other’s lives. “Leave five minutes earlier next time,” she warns them with the smile of a good friend and the discipline of a drill sergeant.
Dressed in everything from shrugs to leggings, each dancer dutifully rushes across the large wooden dance floor to her spot on the barre. Melodic strains of a waltz by Shostakovich fill the room and immediately the pli? warm-up begins. “Motivational arms,” Smayda calls out. “Shoulders down, elbows up, follow your hands.” Ballet class has started, and Smayda is right where she belongs–at the helm. Owning a studio with a niche for older dancers was not what Smayda had envisioned when she embarked on her ballet career at the tender age of nine. “I never wanted to teach,” she said. “I wanted to dance.”
In fact, Marilyn Miller of Snug Harbor wanted so desperately to be a professional dancer, that she dropped out of South Kingstown High School in 1959 to join the fledgling ballet company ‘American Festival Ballet’ (the seedling for Festival Ballet in Providence). My father was not happy, but my mother thought it might be good life experience,” recalled Smayda, whose exceptional talent had caught the attention of the company’s director. Sixteen-year-old Smayda boarded a plane for a 15-hour flight to Germany, her first time away from home.
But Smayda soon realized that the chaos of performing throughout Europe left little time for her to develop her own skills as a dancer. The company was ill-prepared to nourish its dancers artistically, despite its talented corps de ballet and accomplished prima ballerina Sonia Arova, who had danced with Rudolf Nureyev. “The reality was awful,” said Smayda who, with the wisdom of a 74-year-old, believes that she should have gone to New York City to study ballet. One year later, Smayda came home disheartened. “I returned to Lydia Pettine’s [the Providence studio where Smayda had trained].
I went to the barre and said ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ “ For 17 years, Smayda turned her back on dance. She finished high school, worked as a flight attendant, married and had a son.
She earned her degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Rhode Island and settled in Jamestown, where she still resides. Although she had stopped dancing, she never stopped moving. While taking an aerobics class, Smayda met jazz dancer Erja Fischer, who noticed Smayda’s dancing skills and urged her to teach at her studio.
After much coaxing, Smayda said, “I was dancing again and it felt great!” Smayda took ballet seminars in New York City and completed the prestigious Vaganova course on the Russian style of ballet at Bryn Mawr College. With four women she had met with Fischer, Smayda formed a dance ensemble which performed in Rhode Island.
But when Fischer closed her studio, Smayda knew she couldn’t stop again. She and her fellow dancers pooled their resources and incorporated a new business; The Studio was born in 1994. Converting an old furniture store in Mariner Square was a concerted effort. “We all used our skills to re-furbish it,” said Smayda.
The dance studio flourished, with each woman teaching her own specialty. Smayda focused on ballet and pointe, while her business partners each taught jazz, modern and tap. From children to adults, The Studio trained many aspiring dancers and coordinated dozens of recitals.
Eventually Smayda’s colleagues decided to pursue other interests, but Smayda retained full ownership. “I wanted to keep it going,” she said. By 2000, Smayda recognized a gradual shift in her student population. Children’s enrollment declined, but adults were steady.
Ballet and special tap and jazz workshops all attracted diverse, mature dancers. From 20-somethings who wanted to continue their training…to middle-age women who had left dancing to start families…to older dancers who had always wanted to learn but had not had the chance–Smayda’s studio fits the bill. “I think it fulfills a need for all of them that is hard to find elsewhere,” Smayda said.
For 53-year-old mother of five, Connie Lind of North Kingstown, that need is both physical and mental. After a ballet class I am a new woman. I walk into class tired, harried and physically tense and when I leave I am relaxed and free,” said Lind. Lind, who started dancing at The Studio 10 years ago, has found that ballet in her middle age has been therapeutic for her problematic hips–affording her a “deep stretch” that other exercise could not achieve. “Ballet is a wonderful complement to my weekly exercise,” she said.
Lind has seen firsthand the all-encompassing benefits of dance in her life. “Ballet is good for my posture, my strength, my flexibility my focus and my peace of mind. It keeps my feeling younger and happier. And I love the camaraderie with my fellow dancers,” she said. “My life often seems too busy for ballet, and then I remind myself, I cannot imagine my life without ballet.
So I pack my ballet bag and head out the door.” Narragansett resident and Lind’s classmate Ann Zarrella did not begin dancing until she was 62, but like Lind, she has come to love the mind-body connection that dance enhances. “I had taken a yoga class, but it was not the right fit,” said Zarrella. “I called The Studio and told Marilyn I had absolutely no ballet experience.
She encouraged me to try the class. I was hooked.” Zarrella, who will turn 80 next month, believes that ballet gives her a complete workout. “We all know how important movement is to help slow the aging process,” she said.
“The Studio has provided a wonderful outlet for expressing my love of classical music,” said Zarrella. “The experience of meeting wonderful people is frosting on the cake. Marilyn is an outstanding dancer, teacher and an inspiration to those of us who are relatively new to the art form.” Smayda is humble about her studio’s appeal. “We have wonderful teachers and the students work hard,” said Smayda.
She is proud that her studio still promotes classical ballet in an era where many facilities have turned solely to competitive dance. “We take dance seriously. I think adults are drawn to teachers who have a passion and respect for what they’re teaching,” said Smayda, who jumps, pirouettes and stretches with the agility and flexibility of someone half her age. Although The Studio still offers a handful of classes to young children, its mainstay is the older student. “It’s technique, music, conditioning for the whole body, mental therapy, a support group…it’s tough and it’s fun,” said Smayda. “Ballet has everything.
I love all parts of it. And I don’t plan to stop now. I need this.”
The Studio offers ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and fitness classes for dancers of all levels.
18–A full-service gym with treadmills, stationary bikes, free weights, showers and rentable workout clothes, even sneakers, is scheduled to open at the end of January at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The ROAM Fitness gym was first planned to open in the fall, but delayed because of construction setbacks, said Cynthia Sandall, co-founder of the Oregon-based startup. ROAM Fitness plans to operate 20 airport gyms in five years, she said.
About 100 travelers a day are expected to use the BWI gym, according to ROAM. It will open in a new corridor of the airport that will include a new security checkpoint and the capacity for more international flights, a major area of growth for BWI. The airport already offers walking trails and bike rentals.
BWI’s restaurants have increasingly offered healthier fare.
In 2014, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine rated BWI the best airport in the nation for healthful meal options.
___ (c)2017 The Baltimore Sun Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Nowadays, push-ups are either mocked, considered useless, or worse, forgotten about altogether. That’s a huge mistake, and one that we need to address ASAP.
Why Do Push-Ups?
- They’re great for the shoulders. Push-ups not only improve timing between the scapulae, shoulders and elbows, but they also work to open up the upper back. One of the reasons we have so many shoulder problems today is because we don’t put a strong enough emphasis on proper push-up technique.
- They’re great for the core. If you want to get stupid-strong, you need to bench press.
But one of the downsides to the bench press is that it’s performed on your back. In a push-up, you have to unify or tie together your upper and lower body. Your core is the tie that binds, and if it’s weak, unstable, or imbalanced, it’s going to affect your ability to do the push-up correctly.
- They can be done anywhere. There’s always enough space to get a quick and dirty push-up workout in.
How Do You Do Push-Ups?
I can’t tell you how many “experienced” lifters I’ve worked with who have absolutely no clue how to perform a proper push-up.
Seriously. No clue. Here are some areas that need focus:
1 – The Upper Body
Too many people want to think in absolutes.
Either they want the elbows flared out to 90 degrees, or they tuck them in hard by the sides. Neither option is great for your shoulders.
With the elbows flared excessively, a ton of stress is placed on the shoulder joint. It’s also an incredibly disadvantageous position biomechanically, so not only will it feel like crap, but you’ll perform like crap, too. On the flip side, tucking the elbows in hard to your sides isn’t a great idea, either.
While most do this with the intent of sparing the shoulders, what ends up happening is that this excessive tucking causes the humerus to glide forward in the glenoid fossa. In normal people talk, you start to get an “owie” in the front of your shoulder. Instead, find a balance.
Make a 45-degree angle with your elbows, or simply “make an arrow.” This cue works like a charm for shoulder health and performance.
2 – The Lower Body
This part is easy. Just keep the lower body tight. Sure, you can squeeze the glutes and flex the quads, but you don’t need to go full-blown high-threshold when you’re doing a standard push-up.
Instead, find a normal amount of tension for the task at hand. Save all those high-tension strategies for when you’re doing those single-arm, blindfolded push-ups on a medicine ball.
3 – The Core
This is arguably the most important part of the body when performing a push-up. After all, tying together the upper and lower body is the reason we perform push-ups versus bench presses.
Find and hold a neutral spine position throughout. If you laid a PVC pipe or broomstick on your back, you should have three points of contact:
- The back of the head
- The upper back
- The buttocks
If you want extra credit, make sure that you only have a slight (1 inch) space in between your lumbar spine and the stick. This will make sure your abs are optimally engaged.
Now getting into this position may be relatively easy, but the hard part is staying there when you actually do the movement. What you tend to see is a lowering of the body, followed by deepening lordosis, a caving of the upper back, and a head that droops towards the floor. Instead, lock the spine in throughout and you’ll not only get a great upper body workout, but a great core workout as well.
4 – Natural Movement
Most people make push-ups unnatural and unathletic.
If you’re thinking about “pulling” your shoulder blades together when you lower yourself down, stop! When most people think about pulling the shoulder blades together, they inevitably slam them together at the beginning of the movement and run out of motion at the scapulae. At this point, they continue to lower down, and all of that movement (and stress) moves to the shoulders.
To remedy this, think about making the movement athletic again. Don’t think about pulling the shoulder blades together. Simply think about moving the scaps, shoulders, and elbows at the same time.
But if you’re really patterned to first pull the shoulder blades together, you may need to think about the opposite: bending the elbows first. It sounds counterintuitive, but thinking about bending the elbows first will typically clean up the movement in a matter of reps.
5 – Reaching
The second critical element of a great push-up is to focus on reaching at the start and the finish. Many athletes are locked into a poor position through their upper back and thorax:
- The thorax is pushed forward, which doesn’t give the scapulae a place to rest.
- The scaps are looking for stability, so muscles such as the rhomboids become overactive and “pin” the shoulder blades back and down.
Push-ups are a great tool to help remedy this, but only when done correctly.
You may have seen that bro on Instagram cranking out sets of 50, 75, or 100 push-ups, but you’ll note that he never actually finishes a rep. Sorry, but that’s making things worse. Instead, think about finishing each rep.
Keep the chest out while simultaneously reaching long through the arms, or thinking about pushing the body away from the floor.
When done correctly, it should feel like you’re stretching the area in between your shoulder blades at the start and finish of each rep.
How Do I Make Push-Ups Harder?
It’s funny when someone says, “Push-ups are easy!
Can’t we find a way to make them harder?” Then when you actually watch them do some push-ups, their hips are dragging the floor, their shoulders are all over the place, and their neck is protruding like an 80-year-old with osteoporosis. Push-ups aren’t the sexiest exercise, but first learn to do them correctly before seeking new challenges. Once you do that, there are three routes you can typically take to make them harder:
1 – Strength-Focused Progressions
Use these if you want to go full-blown meathead and just get super strong.
These include anything that increases the external resistance:
- Weighted vests
- Plates loaded on your back
2 – Stability-Focused Progressions
These are great options if you want to bulletproof your body and make sure things are in balance. It’s not uncommon to see super strong guys who have shoulder or lower-back problems, so doing stability-focused progressions can clean up those weak areas and fix them up for the long haul. Stability-focused progressions would include any exercise where there are elements of instability involved: unstable surface push-ups (TRX, Blast Straps, Jungle Gym, gymnastic rings, etc.) and push-ups with the hands on medicine balls.
3 – Rotation-Focused Progressions
Strong and explosive athletes have a tendency to get locked in the sagittal plane (driven into extension). If this becomes excessive, they lose access to their frontal and transverse planes, which can cause injuries up and down the kinetic chain. To remedy this, offset push-up variations can be crucial in getting trunk rotation back.
Push-up variations in this category can include: offset variations off a box (see video), offset variations with one hand on a medicine ball, and push-ups to a single-arm support.
Based on your needs and goals there are tons of different options at your disposal.
And if you want the best of all worlds, simply rotate your emphasis every 2-3 months to help build a strong, well-balanced, and bulletproof physique.
This might just be the toughest ab and core exercise you’ve never tried. Take a look.
NEW The bodysaw is very similar to the ab wheel rollout.
The goal of both exercises is to resist extension of the lumbar spine (avoid arching your back too much). To do the bodysaw, start by getting in a plank position with your feet on something slippery such as Valslides, a slideboard, furniture sliders, a paper plate, a TRX, etc. From there, maintain that body position and push back and forth on your arms, like this:
Go back only as far as you can handle while still maintaining your original spine position. If you start to arch excessively and/or feel them in your lower back, you’ve gone too far. They’re a lot tougher than they look, so it probably won’t take much range of motion to feel them working.
Once you’ve got that down and it feels easy, you can progress to doing them on one leg at a time or, if you want to get really frisky, doing them with straight arms starting from the bottom of a push-up position, which extends the lever arm and makes them pretty brutal.
Straight Arm Bodysaw
Don’t jump into this version too fast, though, because you don’t want to hurt yourself.
The bodysaw has a few advantages over the ab wheel rollout:
- Most people feel them more in their abs.
- Bodysaws don’t fatigue the shoulders like rollouts can, so they’re easier to pair with upper body exercises.
- They’re more user-friendly for people with preexisting shoulder injuries and/or poor shoulder mobility.
They’re easier on the lower back too.
If you can do a ton of weight or a ton of reps on this exercise, you’re doing it wrong. Here’s how to make it really work.
If you can do a ton of weight or a ton of reps on this exercise, you’re doing it wrong. Here’s how to make it really work. Isolation ab exercises are mostly a way to improve the mind-muscle connection with the abs.
When doing isolation work, the goal is not to use more weight or do more reps – it’s actually to try to fail with as few reps as possible! This indicates that you’re good at tensing your abs hard, so they fatigue sooner. If you have to do 20 or 30 reps to feel your abs, you suck at recruiting them.
When doing an isolation exercise like the cable crunch, there are two things you have to do:
- Before starting a rep, contract the abs as hard as possible. Imagine you’re about to get punched in the gut. Every rep should start this way.
- When initial tension is established, CURL your torso. (It’s not a flexion, it’s a curl/rolling action). When you roll forward and reach the end of the range of motion, again tense the abs as hard as you can and return to the starting position.
The Most Important Point
The goal isn’t really to “crunch” but to shorten the distance from the pelvis to the sternum.
Your hips come forward as your upper body “crunches.” Try to touch your junk to your chest.
Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look.
He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world’s top athletes and bodybuilders.
Beverley’s first 24-hour fitness club is coming to the Flemingate centre. Anytime Fitness will offer 24/7 access to the club, which will benefit from an investment of more than ?500,000 in fit-out and gym equipment. It will be the first Anytime Fitness club in East Yorkshire, occupying a first-floor unit with a ground-floor entrance close to Debenhams.
Franchise owner Neel Sodha said Anytime Fitness would be the newest, largest and best-equipped gym in Beverley and for miles around, catering for today’s increasingly busy lifestyles and varied work patterns. It will open in May, following the fit-out which has already begun at the 7,500sq ft unit. More news: ‘Unfit mum’ jailed after tragic death of Poppy, 4, who was fed drugs
Mr Sodha said: “We believe Anytime Fitness will be very popular with professional people who want to be able to work out in a high-quality environment, at times and in a place convenient to them. “We will draw our members from Beverley and a number of miles around, either because they live or work in Beverley, or want the experience we will offer that they can’t get anywhere else in the area. “This will be a club, not just a gym, and it will have a club community.
It will be a place where the staff will go out of their way to get to know the members and make them feel welcome. “It will be a place where members can make friends and take part in social events. For example, we’re looking to tie-up with Flemingate’s Parkway Cinema to organise cinema nights for members.”
Mr Sodha, whose family specialises in running franchise businesses, said the Flemingate club would feature a studio for exercise classes as well as communal workout areas. The changing rooms will have individual shower cubicles.
Personal trainers will be available and Anytime Fitness plans to use Flemingate’s outdoor public space for exercise classes and group activities in the spring and summer months. Mr Sodha said Flemingate was perfect for the Anytime Fitness model, which focuses on convenient, well-lit and safe locations, well-served by parking and public transport. “Flemingate fits the Anytime Fitness model to a tee.
It’s a great location, with a large 24-hour car park on site, the rail station just two minutes’ walk away and bus station also close by,” he said. “Beverley is also a large and affluent community with lots of professional people who are concerned about looking after their health and wellbeing.”
Opened in November 2015, Flemingate has seen a series of additions in recent months, including health and beauty retailer Superdrug, fashion stores Outfit and River Island and coffee brand Starbucks. Graham Tait, Flemingate Centre manager, said: “Anytime Fitness adds yet another element to the mix at Flemingate. It enhances what is already here and brings a unique proposition to Beverley and the surrounding area.
“We’ve been looking for a gym operator for Flemingate and Anytime Fitness was the one we identified as being a perfect fit, in terms of quality and convenience to people’s increasingly busy lives. “We want to bring businesses to Flemingate that will contribute to the centre as a whole and Anytime Fitness will certainly do that.” Mr Tait said the gym would also attract more visitors to the ?70m centre near Beverley Minster.
“Anytime Fitness will add footfall to the centre, which will be great for the retail and leisure outlets, and the fitness club will also benefit from access to the 800 people who now work at Flemingate.
“It’s also another example of Flemingate bringing a business to Beverley that otherwise could not be accommodated in the town,” he said.
We might like to think we’re brilliantly unique, but we share the majority of our DNA makeup with all the other humans on the planet, and slight genetic variations make us who we are. Now, this information is being harnessed to help both athletes and the average Joe achieve their fitness potentials. This technology is the next step in the personalised fitness dominated by Fitbits and other tracking devices.
It is science that Olympic athletes including Greg Rutherford premier league football teams are said to swear by. Most recently, health firm DNA Fit rolled out its Elevate software, which enables clients to access workouts built around their genetic coding on their smartphones and other devices. To fetch this data, clients swab the inside of their mouths, and post off the cotton bud to the DNA Fit lab.
There, technicians test for sensitivity to fats, lactose, gluten, carbohydrates, salt, alcohol and caffeine, among others things. A week or so later, a 25-page diet report and 15-page fitness rundown is sent back. As well as determining whether a person is particularly sensitive and prone to putting on weight after eating certain food groups, DNA markers can pinpoint if a person is more predisposed to training for endurance – such as cycling or running – or power – including weight lifting, high intensity resistance training and sprinting.
Even details like the number of reps per exercise and recovery times are said to be lurking in our DNA. Trainers use this data to tailor efficient workouts and diets to help their client maximise their health.
The exercise it takes to burn off high-calorie foods – in pictures
“Thanks to the lowering cost of genotyping analysis researches studies are now possible at a fraction of the cost, this helps the science move forward,” DNA Fit founder, Avi Lasarow told The Independent. This is how the team informs the training plans with Elevate, he explains.
Nicholas Jones, the head of firm DNA Sports Performance, has worked with the England rugby and hockey teams and carried out studies into using genetic markers to enhance fitness at Lanchashire University. In a study on rowers published in the ‘Biology of Sport’ journal, Jones pinpointed whether participants fell into the endurance or power bracket. “If you match your genotype with your training the likelihood of significant improvement was 21 times more in the power test and 28.5 times more in endurance, test compared with people who were mismatched,” he told The Independent.
“Let’s flip that to yourself who’s just at the gym after Christmas and you want to get fit. You go to gym you and don’t see improvements. You don’t get more strong or powerful you get disgruntled and leave after four weeks.
Whereas if you had done the genetic test you’d be much more likely to see the results you’re after quicker. You’re more likely to carry on in the gym as a result,” he argues. However, sceptics aren’t so convinced.
Focusing on 45 of the 10million gene variants in the human body, as such tests do, gives only a small glimpse into our genetic profiles. “If you want to know how good someone is likely to be at sport, you’ll probably get a better idea by looking at them and their body shape,” Mark Thomas, professor of evolutionary genetics at University College London told The Telegraph. Maintaining a healthy diet is also key to hitting peak levels of performance.
“You have to think about environmental factors,” says Jones. “Take Team GB runner Mo Farah and his twin brother. Side by side you can see photos of them. His brother is quite overweight and isn’t a world class athlete.
His environment has identical genes to Mo but his environment hasn’t allowed him to use the potential of the genes.”
So, genetic test or no, at the end of the day none of us will become an Adonis without putting the hard work in at the gym.