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Exercise and the Gut Microbiome

The hottest area of research in medicine today is about the bacteria in your colon called the microbiome. More and more studies show that exercise, in addition to a healthful diet, helps to increase the numbers of healthful bacteria in your colon that may prevent or treat obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, inflammation and even certain cancers.

Too Much Intense Exercise May Harm You

Exercising regularly helps to prevent disease and prolong lives, and exercising intensely can prevent disease and prolong lives even more. However, a study from Karolinska Institute suggests that exercising intensely too often can harm your health, and perhaps even shorten your life.

Muscle Cramps: Prevention and Treatment

Muscle cramps occur most often at night when you are sleeping, but they also can occur when you exercise vigorously, tear a muscle, or keep one leg in an awkward position, such as sitting in a chair in the same position for a long time. Muscle cramps are classified into those that occur during exercise and those that can occur at any time not related to exercise, usually at night.

Weight Training for Middle-Aged and Older People

A review of 22 studies specifically on how to grow larger and stronger muscles found that the best way for untrained people to grow muscles is to use lighter weights with more repetitions. On the other hand, most trained athletes gained more strength by using heavier weights with fewer repetitions

Why World Records in Endurance Sports Events Keep Getting Faster

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile. In the 66 years since that world record was set, more than 1600 men have run sub-four-minute miles. The current world record is 3:43.13. The incredible improvement in world records in endurance events in all sports is mostly due to changes in training techniques.

Can You Exercise Too Much?

A recent study used accelerometers to measure the physical activity of more than 90,000 healthy people for seven days in 2015, and then followed them to 2020. The more and harder they exercised, the less likely they were to suffer heart disease (PLOS Medicine, January 12, 2021). There was no maximum amount of exercise that increased risk for heart attacks or heart disease.

Recreational Runners and Cyclists Should Lift Weights

To preserve muscle and bone size and strength, recreational runners and cyclists should do upper body and core weight lifting and resistance training. Everybody will lose muscle and bone size and strength with aging. Your bones weaken progressively after age 30, and between ages 35 and 50, about 28 percent of North American men and women suffer from bone weakening called osteopenia.

Cold Weather Exercise in 2021

This winter is more dangerous than previous winters because cold weather increases your risk for COVID-19, since it increases the time that people spend indoors where the virus can accumulate in the air. More than 95 percent of COVID-19 appears to be acquired indoors, particularly where people congregate.

All Exercise is Good, and Vigorous Exercise is Better

A new study suggests that the more intensely you exercise, the less likely you are to suffer a heart attack. Researchers followed 403,681 U.S. adults for an average 10 years and found that those who spent a greater proportion of their exercise time exercising intensely had a significantly lower risk of death from heart attacks than those who exercised for the same amount of time but at lower intensity.

Should You Breathe Through Your Nose or Your Mouth When You Exercise?

Just about everyone with an unobstructed nose will breathe through their nose when at rest or during casual activities, but most people will breathe through their mouth during exercise. The more intensely you exercise, the more likely that you will have to breathe through your mouth because you may not be able to get enough air through your nose to feel comfortable back of your mouth.

Prevent Running Injuries with Shorter Strides and Orthotics

Chronic foot, leg and knee pain during running can be caused by the foot hitting the ground with excessive force and excessive rolling in of the feet after they hit the ground. These problems can often be alleviated just by taking shorter strides to reduce the force of the foot hitting the ground, and putting special inserts called orthotics in your shoes

How to Prepare for Skiing When There’s No Snow

The best way to train for skiing is to ski, but snow isn’t always available. To prepare for a skiing trip, you need to strengthen both your heart muscles and your skeletal muscles. You can strengthen your heart for skiing with any exercise that will raise your heart rate for at least 10 minutes, at least three times a week.

Bicycles Are Most Energy Efficient

A positive outcome of the many COVID-19 restrictions has been a huge boom in bicycling. If you are a regular cyclist or are new to the sport, be proud. Humans riding on bicycles are more energy-efficient than any other form of transportation and any other animal. Vance Tucker of Duke University compared bicyclists to people and animals running, birds flying and fish swimming, as well as to people in motor-powered cars, boats, trains and planes

Why Humans Can Run Marathons and Apes Cannot

Extensive research by Dr. Ajit Varki at UC/San Diego suggest that 2-3 million years ago, our pre-human ancestors had a single genetic mutation that could explain why humans can outrun their primate relatives.

Resistance Training for Endurance Sports

A recent review of 22 scientific studies shows that adding a resistance program such as lifting weights to endurance sports such as running or cycling can increase muscle size and strength, with greater benefit from low volume, high-resistance weight lifting than high volume, lower-resistance exercise.

Benefits of More Activity

In the largest study so far of accelerometer-measured physical activity, 96,476 healthy men and women in Great Britain (mean age 62 years) wore wrist accelerometers for one week and were then followed for an average of 3.1 years. The people who were more active had a lower risk of dying, and adding intensity to their exercise increased that protection.

High Blood Sugar Limits Benefits from Exercise

A study from Harvard Medical School shows that a high rise in blood sugar after meals can limit increases in your ability to take in and use oxygen during exercise. This means that if your diet causes high blood sugar levels when you eat, you lose one of the major health benefits of exercise.

Restricting Carbohydrates Slows You Down

Restricting carbohydrates with a keto diet or fasting will tire you earlier when you exercise. Many studies show that low-carbohydrate diets impair performance in sports that require speed. On a low-carbohydrate diet, you can't train very fast and you can't move as fast in races.

Resistance Exercise You Can Do at Home

Resistance exercise is the best way to slow down the loss of muscle strength that occurs with aging, and I believe that everyone should do some type of resistance exercise (moving your muscles against an opposing force) as part of their regular exercise program.

Exercise May Change Gut Bacteria for More Endurance

An interesting study showed that after finishing the 26-mile Boston Marathon, runners had changes in the bacteria in their colons that may have helped them to run faster and longer.

Drink Sugar and Caffeine Only During Vigorous Exercise

I have often recommended that exercisers take a sugared, caffeinated soft drink for a performance boost during prolonged vigorous exercise. I still think this is good advice, but people who are exercising at a casual pace for an extended time may want to restrict their intake of soft drinks

Your Muscles Make Your Heart Stronger

When you contract your skeletal muscles, they squeeze the veins near them to pump extra blood back to your heart. The extra blood flowing back to your heart fills up your heart, which stretches your heart muscle, causing the heart muscle to contract with greater force and pump more blood back your body.

Should You Wear a Mask When You Exercise Outdoors?

The problem with wearing masks when you exercise outdoors is that they can limit your ability to breathe. This may not be an issue if you are doing casual exercise, but if you are running or cycling vigorously, you will probably find yourself gasping for air.

Don’t Straighten Your Knees When You Ride a Bicycle

The most common cause of knee pain in bicycle riders is having the seat set so high that it forces you to fully straighten the knee as the pedal reaches its lowest level. You are never supposed to fully straighten your knee when you do any kind of exercise, particularly cycling or running.

Don’t Straighten Your Knees While Running

Always try to keep at least a slight bend in your knee when you run or bike. When you run, you are supposed to land on each foot with a partially-bent knee. Otherwise you transmit the shock of your foot hitting the ground directly onto your knees, hips and back. Straightening your knees when you pedal markedly increases risk for knee pain by increasing the force on your joints.

Why You Sweat More After Exercise

It's normal to sweat more after you finish exercising than you do while you exercise. Your body temperature varies throughout the day, going from around 97 degrees in the early morning to about 99 degrees in the early evening. Exercise raises body temperature considerably.

Which Burns More Calories, Running or Cycling?

Have you wondered whether you burn more calories when you run or when you ride a bicycle? Running requires the same amount of energy per mile at any speed, but cycling is slowed so much by wind resistance that the faster you ride, the harder you have to pedal and more energy you use.

Should You Exercise During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Committed exercisers should try to continue to exercise during this COVID-19 pandemic, but they should realize that both too much exercise and exercising while sick increase risk for medical complications, such as irregular heartbeats, and death

How Often Should You Lift Weights?

You can become very strong and grow large muscles just by lifting a single set of 6 to 12 repetitions of a weight that is 75 percent of your maximum, three times a week

Sleep to Recover from Hard Exercise

Sleeping can help to prevent exercise injuries. Healthy U.S. soldiers in training are less likely to suffer exercise-related injuries such as fractures, sprains and muscle strains when they sleep at least eight hours at night.