Four out of five US firefighters are overweight or obese, which prompted the creation of 555 Fitness, a charity that focuses on providing fitness routines, workouts and equipment for firefighters across the country. Their programme is split into three cycles – strength-building, LeanFit and multi-functional training. With all workouts provided online, daily and free of charge, the aim is to get as many firefighters as possible working out between three to five times each week. The workouts themselves vary from moves that can be done at home, to in-house based teamwork routines using actual firefighting equipment. This may involve running up and down stairs with a 15-pound water hose, or doing box jumps on the back bumper of a fire engine. All moves are designed to prepare participants for the realities of the profession, but we’re thinking they could easily be used as a routine change-up for any regular fitness junkie.
Running Unlimited has created the ‘Zone’ dome, for what it calls ‘business-class running’. Using the latest surround sound technology and high-resolution imaging, the Zone uses a large circular HD screen to provide a vast array of iconic outdoor landscapes to help liven up your run. From pacific beaches, to the foothills of the Himalayas, this shiny new piece of gym tech seems a much-needed upgrade from the dingy gym scene most of us are used to seeing while slogging it out on the treadmill. If that wasn’t enough, part of its technology matches the pace of the treads to the speed of the film being shown, allowing you to believe you may actually be running through the African savanna.
The latest fitness craze to hit the capital is Rebounce, a group workout that lets you bounce your way to a better body using mini trampolines called ‘Rebounders’. Created by ex-dancer Missie Franks, these classes incorporate dance moves such as the infamous ‘twerk’ to create a high-intensity, muscle-strengthening workout. Even those with weak joints can join in; the bounce of the Rebounders creates a low-impact, strain-free way to increase your heart rate and have some fun. Rebounding is also known to have similar effects to that of sports massaging; the ‘push’ and ‘jump’ motions involved create a repetitive ‘pump’ effect within the lymph, effectively cleaning out your circulatory system of toxins and poisons. This in itself has been proven to aid in weight loss, so not only are you shedding the pounds and getting strong without damaging your joints, you’re also having a great time doing it. Winwin situation we think.
The Disq uses a pair of retractable resistance cords attached to a belt secured around the hips. These cords thread down through ankle-cuff pulleys, coming back up to hand-held grips. The resistance of the device can be changed using a mechanism on the belt, making sure all fitness levels are catered for. So while this shiny new piece of portable gym equipment has become increasingly popular, one gym in L.A has decided to incorporate it in to a new group workout. The routine on offer at Crunch gym uses a range of dance moves and strength exercises, including lunges, burpees, squats and donkey kicks to create a fun-filled, up-tempo sweat-fest. The resistance cords allow for a high-intensity workout, while the routine itself keeps impact on the joints at a minimum. Workouts will never again be dull and boring.
However, many recent studies have been looking at the benefits
that a good fitness regime may have on our bones. Studies
have shown that after performing high-impact exercises and weight
training, bone density increased by up to 2% in participants. For
those of us looking to avoid high-impact fitness, jump on the Power
Plate; its micro-accelerations force the muscles to accommodate,
and have been proven to increase bone density in those with brittle
bones. Many orthopaedic surgeons suggest walking or hiking for
those not interested in weights, although anything that places force
across the bones is said to help maintain them. So the next time
you want to skip your workout, think about these added benefits –
who wants broken bones?
Previous research had found that those of us who eat later in the
evening have a higher chance of developing heart disease than
those of us who stop grazing earlier in the day. Now, using fruitflies,
researchers at San Diego State University and Salk Institute
for Biological Studies have found that limiting the time-span in
which the flies could eat helped prevent ageing and diet-related
heart problems. Although there’s still a way to go before such
research is demonstrated on humans, it gives us food for thought
as to when to have our dinner – no more midnight fridge-raiding.
New research suggests that too much sedentary
behaviour can cause an increase in coronary artery
calcification; this refers to the amount of calcium
contained in plaques within the hearts arteries, and is
one of the early markers of heart disease. After looking
at 2,000 CT heart scans and physical activity records
from adults in Texas, researchers found that each hour of
sedentary time could lead to a 14% increase in coronary
artery calcification. Therefore, reducing the amount of
time you sit down by just an hour a day could make a
significant difference in how healthy your heart is in future.
So turn off the telly and go for a stroll – duvet days never
seemed so dangerous.
But for some, the impact this has on the joints is too much. For this reason, Japanese doctor Hiroshi Nose developed interval walking programs, to achieve the same results with less impact. These programs consist of three minutes of fast paced walking, followed by three minutes of gentle strolling, completed for 30 minutes at least three times a week. In his original experiment of the program using walkers aged between 44 and 78, those who followed the regime for five months significantly improved their aerobic fitness, leg strength and blood pressure readings, as opposed to those who had just kept a regular walking pace. All the benefits without the pain.