Week of September 11 (A Day of Rememberance)

I still tear-up when I show the 9/11 video to my high school students. We’ll never forget  . . . . Our family observed a moment a silence today which generated a lively discussion with my 10 year old twins and 5 year old.

Week in Review

This past week included the Cambridge Fun Run, which was Laura’s first 5k. Everyone crushed their personal best records. Those who ran were Chelsea, Carma, Lynn, Amanda, Laura and myself. Amanda’s sister-in-law from D.C. joined us and Robin, from Westford, reunited with us. The two most memorable moments were when Lynn sprinted past Amanda and a 5-year old, and when Laura crossed the finish line!

Randie’s back!! We missed you.  Now we have to “hog tie” Donna L. (I told her on Facebook that we’re coming to hog tie her and bring her to boot camp). Mondays are when we typically add heavy weights, and boy did we work our legs. Between medicine ball tosses, push-up taps, and ground to overhead dumbbells, our legs were talking to us all the way into Thursday’s class. On Thursday, we focused on endurance with modified-fartleks on the soccer field, shuttle-runs on the Green Monster, partner rows and Nordic hamstring curls. We welcomed Celeste and Art from Westford, who didn’t skip a beat. It’s nice to see another couple working, sweating and smiling together . . . soon Dana’s husband will be back, plus Dan and Sue once they tie the knot.

100 Day Challenge

We’re getting closer to kicking-off the Challenge. October 17 is the day! There are still some spots http://100dayvtchallenge.wordpress.com/

Boot Cancer

The Boot Cancer Fitness Challenge is just around the corner! Youth (5-17 years), Partner and Individual categories. Youth is a minimum pledge of $5.00 and Adults is a minimum pledge of $50.00. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Details at www.bootcancer.org. Competitors and Volunteers must register online.

Volunteers are needed for the Youth Category and Adult Category. All volunteers are to register at: http://www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=1944844

No Longer is “Lack of Time” an Excuse

The usual excuse of “lack of time” for not doing enough exercise is blown away by new research published in The Journal of Physiology. 

The following are excerpts from the article, High-Intensity Interval Training Is Time-Efficient and Effective, Study Suggests (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311123639.htm)

The study, from scientists at Canada’s McMaster University, adds to the growing evidence for the benefits of short term high-intensity interval training (HIT) as a time-efficient but safe alternative to traditional types of moderate long term exercise. Astonishingly, it is possible to get more by doing less!

“We have shown that interval training does not have to be ‘all out’ in order to be effective,” says Professor Martin Gibala. “Doing 10 one-minute sprints on a standard stationary bike with about one minute of rest in between, three times a week, works as well in improving muscle as many hours of conventional long-term biking less strenuously.”

HIT means doing a number of short bursts of intense exercise with short recovery breaks in between. The authors have already shown with young healthy college students that this produces the same physical benefits as conventional long duration endurance training despite taking much less time (and amazingly, actually doing less exercise!) However, their previous work used a relatively extreme set-up that involved “all out” pedaling on a specialized laboratory bicycle. The new study used a standard stationary bicycle and a workload which was still above most people’s comfort zone -about 95% of maximal heart rate — but only about half of what can be achieved when people sprint at an all-out pace.

This less extreme HIT method may work well for people (the older, less fit, and slightly overweight among us) whose doctors might have worries about them exercising “all-out.” We have known for years that repeated moderate long-term exercise tunes up fuel and oxygen delivery to muscles and aids the removal of waste products. Exercise also improves the way muscles use the oxygen to burn the fuel in mitochondria, the microscopic power station of cells.

Running or cycling for hours a week widens the network of vessels supplying muscle cells and also boosts the numbers of mitochondria in them so that a person can carry out activities of daily living more effectively and without strain, and crucially with less risk of a heart attack, stroke or diabetes.

But the traditional approach to exercise is time consuming. Martin Gibala and his team have shown that the same results can be obtained in far less time with brief spurts of higher-intensity exercise.

To achieve the study’s equivalent results by endurance training you’d need to complete over 10 hours of continuous moderate bicycling exercise over a two-week period.

The upside of doing more exercise is well-known, but a big question for most people thinking of getting fit is: “How much time out of my busy life do I need to spend to get the perks?”

Martin Gibala says “no time to exercise” is not an excuse now that HIT can be tailored for the average adult. “While still a demanding form of training,” Gibala adds, “the exercise protocol we used should be possible to do by the general public and you don’t need more than an average exercise bike.”

As the evidence for HIT continues to grow, a new frontier in the fitness field emerges.


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