Following five healthy lifestyle habits may increase life expectancy by decade or more

Maintaining five healthy habits — eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping a healthy body weight, not drinking too much alcohol, and not smoking — during adulthood may add more than a decade to life expectancy, according to a new study.

Source: Following five healthy lifestyle habits may increase life expectancy by decade or more — ScienceDaily

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Factors promoting physical activity in childhood

Researchers show that the more accurately children assess their motor competences, the more positive is the effect on their physical activity.

Source: Factors promoting physical activity in childhood: Connection between the accuracy of children’s self-assessment of their motor competence and their physical health — ScienceDaily

Deload

Deloading is a common aspect in many training routines. During a deload training is reduced in frequency, intensity, volume, or a combination of these dimensions. A deload will most often last a week.

 

Why

There are a few reasons for a deload period. The most common reasons are:

  • Avoid a plateau in performance: The concept of a deload is based on the principle of supercompensation. Simply put, the body is always trying to adapt. So after a certain amount of time/stress put on the body, it will begin to adapt and gains in strength or performance will plateau.
  • Avoid aggravating recurring injuries: If you have a past injury a deload week may be necessary to avoid another injury. A deload week is much better than months lost to injury
  • Physical and/or mental recovery: Physical recovery is an obvious reason for a deload. Recovery from fatigue is vital to improving strength, performance, and hypertrophy. Mental recovery is often overlooked. Pushing your body daily or even several times a week is draining on mental resources. Without proper recovery, those resources will deplete. A routine for improving strength will tax the nervous system even more so, so a deload week will help to maintain steady progress with these types of routines.
importance of deload for mental and physical recovery
Deloading allows for mental and physical recovery

When

For the most part, routines will have a deload week built in around the fourth or fifth week. Depending on your goal or the purpose of the routine (hypertrophy, strength, etc.) when the deload is scheduled may be different. However as a main reason for deload is to avoid injury and avoid plateaus, if you feel that you need to deload at week 3 so be it. And if you’re at week 5 and feel great, don’t feel you have to deload simply because the routine says so. Trust your body.

 

How

The way you deload matters on preference, goals, and how much you feel you need to deload. The different dimensions that can be manipulated during a deload are:

  • Frequency: Simple. If you normally exercise 5 days a week, reduce the number to 2-3 sessions a week.
  • Volume: Use the same weight and number of reps, but reduce the number of sets performed by about 60%.
  • Intensity: Using the same set/rep scheme, but with weight reduced by 40%-60%.
  • Exercise selection/modality: If you’re a hardcore weightlifter, try a week of cardio (running, swimming, biking, etc.) or vice versa. Body weight circuits is another good alternative to your usual lifting routine. Even exercise selection is a good way to deload. If compound exercises are your thing, try a week of machines, make a circuit out of it.

 

Another effective and fun way to deload is to try a whole different method of activity. For example, I discovered hot yoga during a scheduled deload last year, and have been going to yoga ever since. Get out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself to try something new, you’ll be better for it. And when you do get back to your routine, you’ll appreciate it that much more and maybe have a new passion as well.

 

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Fit Women And Dementia

Physically fit women are less likely to develop dementia, claims a recent study conducted by the University of Gothenburg and published in American Academy of Neurology.

Women who are physically fit are up to 90% less likely to develop dementia in their lives, the University of Gothenburg concluded from their study. And if the fit women did develop dementia it was, on average, 11 years later in life.

A longitudinal study, spanning decades, measured fitness levels in women with an average age of 50. Average fitness levels were determined using VO2 max and power (watts) output. The average level of fitness they calculated, was 103 watts. To be considered “physically fit” power output needed to be at 120 watts or more. “Unfit” was 80 watts or less.

One interesting aspect of the study: as in most longitudinal studies, participants drop out as time goes on. In this study, 45% of the women who dropped out went on to develop dementia.

Some limitations of this study are:

  • Small number of participants: Only 191 women at the start of the study
  • Little randomization of participants: All of the women were Swedish
  • Fitness levels measured only once, at the start of the study

https://goo.gl/AFp5JR

Poor fitness linked to weaker brain fiber, higher dementia risk

Scientists have more evidence that exercise improves brain health and could be a lifesaving ingredient that prevents Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: Poor fitness linked to weaker brain fiber, higher dementia risk | EurekAlert! Science News

Exhausted? Keep Going!

You finished your set. You feel accomplished and exhausted. There are techniques to push yourself past the exhaustion point. Three of the more common post exhaust techniques are rest pause, drop sets, and run the rack, or ladders. With all three methods, let’s assume that when you are finishing a set, you have worked to failure.

Rest Pause

I’ve mentioned this technique before, as it is an excellent way to work your muscles past exhaustion. After you’ve finished your last rep, pause for 10-20 seconds and rest. Then rep to failure. Repeat as necessary. An alternative way to implement rest pause is to maximize strength. With a weight just under your 1 rep max (80-95% 1RM) complete a rep. Rest pause for 15-45 seconds and complete another rep. Repeat as necessary or to about 10 reps.

Drop Sets

A drop set is when after finishing a set, rack the weight, select a weight 5-15% lighter and go to failure. Repeat as necessary. Ideally you want as little time between sets, so machines and dumbbells are the easiest in terms of quick changes in weight. If you’re feeling good, you can drop twice or even three times before finally resting.

Run The Rack/Ladders

Arnold used this often, which should show that it can be quite effective. The traditional way of “running the rack” is, using dumbbells, after completing a set, you immediately grab the dumbbells that are 5 lbs. lighter. Go to failure again, move to the next lighter pair. On and on until you’ve run the rack all the way down to the 5’s. A different way of doing this is to start with a weight that’s lighter than normal, and do 5-6 reps. Move on to the next pair of heavier dumbbells. Go to failure, and repeat. When you can no longer complete 1 rep with proper form, work your way down to the 5’s

So next time you think you’re exhausted and ready to go home, try these techniques.

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Rest up

…But not too much

Rest periods are a great way to change up workouts and change the intensity of a training session. Depending on your goal at the time (strength, size, fat loss) the amount of rest between sets can play a huge role. The human body is always trying to adapt to it’s environment, including your workout. Just as you should be changing the exercises you’re doing and the weight being lifted; rest periods should be varied as well.

Strength

When implementing a strength building plan, longer rest periods have been shown to be more effective. In about 3-4 minutes, the body can replenish almost 100% of it’s ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) stores, which is used for heavy, maximum effort lifts and even sprints. So with this training style, you would benefit more from resting for longer and being able to lift maximal loads for more reps and sets.

Size/Fat loss

If the goal is size and/or fat loss, shorter rest periods of between 60-90 seconds seem to be the most effective range. In this rest range, about 80% of ATP will regenerate. Another benefit of shorter rest periods is more volume in less time. Growth hormone levels are also most utilized with shorter rest periods. Studies show that levels of growth hormone and testosterone peak between 60 and 90 minutes after starting training. Additionally, some studies have found that maximum levels of growth hormone are achieved with sets of 10 reps and only 45-60 seconds between sets.

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