If you’re thinking about tackling an ultra marathon – any race longer than the traditional 26.2-mile distance – then you might be interested to know how your body might feel in the days afterwards. According to a recent study – presented at the Association of Academic Physiatrists Meeting in California – ultra marathon runners need around five to seven days to recover fully from muscle soreness and fatigue, and even longer to return to full running speed. After taking into account other factors that might affect recovery, such as age, sex, finish time and number of years spent running, the study also found that older runners experienced a little less muscle pain and soreness than younger ones. Nonetheless, don’t let this deter your ultra marathon ambitions. Just remember to book a few days off work after the event, for some much needed post-run recovery time.
If you’re getting bored in the gym, or can’t seem to get motivated and moving, try changing things up with boxing. Not only is it a perfect cardio burner, it’s also a great way to strengthen your core; using power from the hips and waist, you’re stomach muscles also contract in anticipation of being hit. Balance, hand-eye coordination, mobility and stability are also all improved as you move quickly and fluidly between movements. If all of this isn’t convincing enough, boxing fitness also happens to be a low-cost sport that can benefit your mental health; punching a bag for 45 minutes will certainly relieve a little stress! Finally, if you’re looking for quick results that don’t just account for weightloss, then this is for you; body composition is the main outcome here, with those involved seeing better definition and lower body fat levels in no time at all. Where do we sign up?
To tackle the endless cycle of diets, weight gain and unsuccessful weight management, Cornell Food and Brand Lab researchers decided to shed light on the health behaviours of those of us who maintain a healthy weight. An online Global Healthy Weight Registry was set up to encourage adults of a healthy weight to answer questions about diet, exercise and daily routines. From the 147 participants, 96% said they ate breakfast, 42% exercised five or more times a week, 92% reported themselves as conscious of what they eat and 74% said that they never or rarely dieted. According to the study’s co-author, the stand-out finding from this research was that most slim people don’t employ restrictive diets or intense health regimes to maintain their weight. Instead – and as a recommendation to all those that struggle with weight management – these people practice easy habits, such as not skipping breakfast and listening to inner body cues. Sounds simple enough.
It seems more and more London-centric fitness boutiques are packing up and heading out to seek a little sun, attracting many fitness fanatics along with them. Redefining the boozy party scene of Ibiza is yoga collective House of Voga, offering sunset yoga classes featuring guest DJ’s, massages and nutritious grub. Adding a little more luxury is the Silver Linings Retreat, set on a private island in the Bahamas. With ballet-inspired fitness classes, paleo-styled nosh and posh products, this is pampering in the healthiest way possible. For the cycling enthusiasts looking for an adventure, Rapha’s Grande Randonnee tour starts in Tokyo and takes cyclists through the beautiful forests of Japan, climbing Mount Norikura before ending in Kyoto, totalling 874km. So, if you’re after a good dose of sun and fresh scenery, without packing on that holiday weight, a fitness retreat might just be for you. We certainly love the idea!
If your fat-burning has stalled, look no further than the extremely motivational, and somewhat slightly aggressive Viking Method, a programme that promises to shock your metabolism into chewing through fat. Designed by Svava Sigbertsdottir – a fierce fitness enthusiast from Iceland – the Viking Method is a functional training method that alternates energetic cardio moves with static ones, completing 30-45 seconds of each move. Fast-twitch exercises are used more than slow-twitch, in order to use up more energy and release more lactic acid to fire up the metabolism. One rule of this method also bans the consumption of bananas – or any carbs – 90 minutes before the workout, in order to prevent the body from deactivating the fat-burning hormones. The result? Increased strength, lower body fat percentage and a badass Viking attitude to compliment that stronger body of yours.
Scandinavia has done it again, producing another super popular and highly effective fitness method to get us shedding fat, shaping up and having fun. Developed in Sweden, Swedish Fit is a full body workout developed in collaboration with doctors and physiotherapists. Not only does it work on your cardiovascular system, muscles and joints, it also includes balance and coordination exercises to strengthen your psychomotor skills. Using a series of warm-up, cardio and muscle strengthening exercises, followed by active recovery and stretching, participants form a circle around the instructor and simply reproduce the movements they see. As a result, those taking part can expect better flexibility, balance and endurance, as well as reduced stress levels and a better posture. Not to mention the calories burned; there’s no doubt you’ll leave this scandinavian-styled class with a smile on your face.
Look out, there’s now another item to add to that ever-growing list of must-have ingredients to improve and maintain your health. Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre recently discovered that a daily dose of beetroot juice was enough to significantly improve exercise endurance and blood pressure amongst patients with a certain heart failure disease. Researchers studied 19 people to see how the inorganic nitrate supplementation found within the juice would affect their symptoms after seven days. They found that a daily dose of beetroot juice improved aerobic endurance – measured via cycling until exhaustion – by 24% after just one week. These findings also showed that consumption of the juice reduced resting systolic blood pressure by 5 to 10mmHg, which we can only assume is a very good thing. Vegetables win again!