Weekly Fit News
How to make training more enjoyable, plus other recent research highlights
In this installment of the weekly news series, we ran some of the most recent fitness research and trending topics by Matt Berenc, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute. Below, he shares his expert opinion on everything from running speeds to carbs and even Snapchat geofilters.
Do We Run Slower As We Age?
The science: A recent Georgia State University study on marathon runners found that, for elite runners, performance started to drop around age 35; runners at the middle of the pack dip around age 50.
Expert EQX insight: “At around age 35 many of our physiological systems enter a very slow decline. Year over year, we lose small percentages of muscle mass and bone density, our hormone production starts to change, and our ability to perform at the highest level is impacted. That said, many of these declines can be dramatically slowed or even reversed with a sound training program that increases the challenge while allowing for enough recovery time. If you want to keep performance high as you age, be thoughtful about how you train (weights and cardiovascular), eat, and recover.”
Are Carbs the Ticket to Recovery?
The science: The best way to recover from and fight the stress of endurance exercise? Eat carbs during or after your workout. That’s according to a recently published paper in the Journal of Applied Physiology which found that carbohydrates were effective in helping athletes side-step negative immune system changes linked to exercise.
Expert EQX insight: “Everyone will benefit from good nutrition relative to their training, but the impacts of this study have the most relevance to endurance training longer than 60 to 90 minutes. This type of training can deplete the body the most and lead to higher levels of stress. Every individual is different in how they respond to food with exercise: Some have no problem eating on a long run; for others, it causes stomach discomfort. If eating during the workout isn’t for you, eat within 1 to 2 hours post-exercise. Some great sources of carbs are sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, berries, oats, rice, veggies, and some whole grains.”
Are Anxious Athletes More Likely to Get Injured?
The science: Elite athletes who worry about being sick might actually be more likely to get hurt, finds a study conducted at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
Expert EQX insight: “There is definitely a link between anxiety and injury risk. First, anxiety in general can impact the efficiency of your movement, making you less fluid. What were once effortless activities turn into movements the athlete needs to think or worry about. This can result in shortened range of motion, delayed reaction, or altered movement—all of which can increase risk of injury. A specific finding of this study was anxiety about illness and the link to injury. In this scenario, the athlete is likely concerned because they are noticing progressing symptoms of illness the closer they get to competition. When you are sick, your tissues are less pliable and resilient and more susceptible to injury. That coupled with the general response to anxiety independent of illness can be a recipe for injury.”
Should You Snapchat Your Run?
The story: On March 19, the route of the Los Angeles Marathon will be filled with Snapchat geofilters for spectators and competitors alike to use. The more than 24,000 runners and 500,000+ fans have a chance to make history, too, as a part of the ‘Longest On-Demand Geofilter Initiative,’ which would be about 27 miles long. Expert EQX insight: “I am generally against using your phone during a marathon for anything other than music, but using these filters can help to increase the social aspect of the run and create an opportunity to have fun with other racers and spectators. As long as you are being safe, conscious of your surroundings, and not getting in the way of other runners, you should be good to go. That said, I would encourage runners to not let social media take over. It’s like going to a concert and doing nothing but taking video or pictures—you’re not actually experiencing the performance. The marathon is the same but you had to train for months to get into this ‘concert.’”
How Important Is It to Enjoy Your Workout?
The science: Research shows that how much we enjoy exercise impacts how likely we are to do it and how much we’ll benefit from it. Expert EQX insight: “Choosing exercises or training styles that you enjoy makes training intrinsically pleasurable and motivating. As a result, you will be more consistent and have a higher level of engagement and desire to put in the work. Another benefit: It helps to reduce the mental stress of training, which can tax the body as much as physical stress. You are no longer dreading the workout. It is play and when we play, our physiology is still getting taxed—think about a kid running around—while our psychology is able to relax, roam free, and explore.”