Why You Should Listen to Music When You Do HIIT, According to Science

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/hiit-workout-playlist

You've heard all about the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). But if the “high-intensity” part sounds a little too, er, intense, a new study has some advice for you: Grab your headphones.

When University of British Columbia (UBC) researchers asked people who were new to HIIT to try a sprint-interval workout either with or without music, both groups came away with positive attitudes. But those who sweated to a playlist felt even better about the routine than those who’d worked out in silence.

Listening to music may make it easier for people to adopt these types of HIIT routines, say the study authors. That could help them stay in shape, they add, by allowing them to squeeze short, effective workouts into busy days.

Lots of people exercise regularly, but they do steady-state cardio (like long, slow jogs) or low-intensity activity (like walking or yoga). And while there’s nothing wrong with those types of exercise, research has shown that interval training can provide many of the same benefits—like burning calories and strengthening your heart—in less time.

"There has been a lot of discussion in the exercise and public policy worlds about how we can get people off the couch and meeting their minimum exercise requirements," said Kathleen Martin Ginis, PhD, professor of health and exercise sciences at UBC, in a press release. "The use of HIIT may be a viable option to combat inactivity, but there is a concern that people may find HIIT unpleasant, deterring future participation."

RELATED: This No-Gym HIIT Workout Gets the Job Done in 10 Minutes

To examine newbies’ attitudes and intentions toward HIIT, researchers recruited 20 men and women unfamiliar with these types of workouts. After two preliminary training sessions, the participants completed two sprint interval training workouts on stationary exercise bikes about a week apart—one with music and one without. Each session included four to six 30-second “all-out” bouts of pedaling, separated by four minutes of rest.

After each session and again after a final follow-up meeting, the participants were asked to rank the workouts in terms of how enjoyable, beneficial, pleasant, painful, and valuable they found them to be. They were also asked how likely it was that they would do a similar workout three times a week going forward.

On average, the exercisers had already expressed positive assumptions about HIIT before the study began. And it turns out, their attitudes were just as positive after trying it for themselves. That was somewhat surprising, says study co-author and PhD candidate Matthew Stork, given the intensity of the workouts. But there’s more: Overall, the exercisers rated their session with music as more positive than their session without.

RELATED: 15 Beyoncé Songs That Will Make You Want to Work Out

Somewhat surprisingly, participants’ “intention” scores (when asked if they’d continue these types of workouts) weren’t significantly different between the two sessions. Nonetheless, the authors wrote, using music to improve enjoyment and attitude toward HIIT “may eventually translate into improved [sprint-interval training] exercise intentions over time.”

It’s also possible, they admit, that the attitude boost provided by music really wasn’t enough to significantly improve participants’ intentions. But at the very least, says Stork, adding tunes to a tough workout probably won’t hurt.

"For busy people who may be reluctant to try HIIT for the first time, this research tells us that they can actually enjoy it,” he says, “and they may be more likely to participate in HIIT again if they try it with music."

The study was published in the Journal of Sport Sciences. Participants chose their own music and selections varied widely, says Stork, although they did tend to select fast, upbeat songs. That makes sense, he says, since music with fast tempos has been shown to facilitate speed increases in previous exercise studies.

As little as three 10-minute intense HIIT sessions a week can provide meaningful health benefits, says Stork, who's also a certified strength and conditioning coach. If people can incorporate these workouts into their regular routine, he adds, they may not necessarily have to get “the dreaded 150-minute weekly total.” (The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, per week.)

RELATED: A 4-Minute Tabata Workout for People Who Have No Time

Stork says that HIIT can be beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels—although he cautions that anyone with a history of heart disease or other health risks should check with his or her physician before trying a new exercise protocol.

He also recommends familiarizing yourself with the intermittent nature of HIIT before jumping right into it for the first time, and to start off with intervals that may not require you to go all-out right away.

Indoor cycling and other aerobics classes often follow an interval format (with music!) and can be a great way to get started. Just be sure to start out at your own pace, says Stork, and to talk with the instructor beforehand if you have any concerns. 

 “One of the best features of HIIT-based exercise is that it calls for relative intensities, which can account for a range of fitness levels, and can be modified in many ways,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to start off with a protocol consisting of 4 or 5 work bouts and eventually work your way up to 10 bouts over a few weeks. There’s no need to push yourself too hard or too fast.” 


Mediterranean Diet, Caffeine May Be Good for Your Eyes

The latest from: http://www.health.com/mind-body/mediterranean-diet-caffeine-may-be-good-your-eyes

THURSDAY, Oct. 20, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Eating a Mediterranean diet and consuming caffeine may lower your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness, according to a new study.

Previous research has shown that a Mediterranean diet—high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, healthy fats and fish—benefits the heart and lowers cancer risk. But there has been little research on whether it helps protect against eye diseases such as AMD, the researchers noted.

Using questionnaires, the researchers assessed the diets of 883 people, aged 55 and older, in Portugal. Of those, 449 had early stage AMD and 434 did not have the eye disease.

Closely following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a 35 percent lower risk of AMD, and eating lots of fruit was especially beneficial.

The researchers also found that people who consumed high levels of caffeine seemed to have a lower risk of AMD. Among those who consumed high levels of caffeine (about 78 milligrams a day, or the equivalent of one shot of espresso) 54 percent did not have AMD and 45 percent had the eye disease.

The researchers said they looked at caffeine consumption because it’s an antioxidant known to protect against other health problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the study did not prove that consuming coffee and following a Mediterranean diet caused the risk of AMD to drop.

The findings were to be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), in Chicago.

“This research adds to the evidence that a healthy, fruit-rich diet is important to health, including helping to protect against macular degeneration,” lead author Dr. Rufino Silva, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Coimbra, in Portugal, said in an AAO news release.

“We also think this work is a stepping stone towards effective preventive medicine in AMD,” Silva added.

Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more on age-related macular degeneration.


Stacey Cohen: Yes You Can! How To Build Your Personal Brand Muscle

The latest from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacey-cohen/yes-you-can-how-to-build-_b_12564022.html

If you’re thinking about creating a personal brand, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. Perhaps most importantly of all is to realize that th…

Read more: Personal Branding, Personal Brand, Fitness and Exercise, Diet, Diet and Nutrition, Diet and Fitness, Social Media, Social Network, Latinos, Branding, Thought Leaders, Purpose, Weight Loss, Body Image, Business News


7 Health Truths We Wish We Knew in Our 20s

The latest from: http://www.health.com/mind-body/health-tips-for-your-20s

Your 20s aren’t exactly a breeze. Most quarter-lifers are just starting to live on their own, figure out a career path, and look for a life partner, all at the same time. As a result, good-for-you habits don't always feel like a top priority—but some really do matter. That’s why we tapped our editors over 30 to share the health truths they wish they’d known in their younger years. Read on if you still think instant ramen is a well-balanced meal…

RELATED: How to Survive a Quarter-Life Crisis and Find Your True Purpose

Make friends with fat

"Fat is not the enemy. It's an essential nutrient, important for so many major functions in the body, and essential for brain health. Eat more fat!" —Beth Lipton, food director 

Listen to your body

"I wish I had known to take better care of my joints and not to ignore the signs something was wrong. I never thought about the importance of mobility exercises, stretching, foam rolling, or recovery, because I could easily go running or do CrossFit classes without feeling much pain or discomfort. It never occurred to me that maybe someday I wouldn’t be so invincible. Then, at the ripe old age of 28, everything started to hurt all the time—especially my right hip. To make a long story short, I now have permanent damage to that joint because I had ignored a lot of warning signs that I was injured. These days, I am much more diligent about foam rolling before and after every workout, warming up and cooling down properly, and generally just treating my body in a way that will ensure I’ll be able to stay active and fit for the rest of my life." —Christine Mattheis, deputy editor 

Lather up 

"Wear sunscreen every day. Seriously, every day. I apply SPF on my face and neck and whatever’s left over, I put on the back of my hands. Also, self tanner is your bff." —Tomoko Takeda, acting beauty director

RELATED: What You Can Do in Your 20s and 30s to Prevent Physical Decline in Your 50s and 60s

Eat right

"One big thing I have learned since my 20s concerns nutrition/diet and basic eating sense. I had very little nutritional literacy in my 20s, very little idea about what made up a balanced, healthy diet, and very little consciousness about how food choices affected energy levels, mindset, and a general sense of well being. I might get a bad night's sleep, then eat a Big Mac or a giant Italian hoagie for lunch the next day, each loaded with refined carbs, and then be mystified about why I would hit a carb crash and slip into a food coma for the next two hours. It wasn’t until years later (and in part by starting to work at Health!) that I picked up some basics about nutrition, cooking, creating balanced meals that gave me energy. Now my number one prerogative when I eat lunch is what will keep me feeling as energized and alert as possible, and I know the ingredients to put into the meal that will help me do this." —Michael Gollust, research editor

Strengthen, strengthen, strengthen

"I wish I had done more strength training in my 20s! I was all cardio, all the time, not realizing that you can strengthen your bones up to age 30, but after that it tends to decline. You might say I wished I stashed more in my 'bone bank' when I was younger. It's not impossible to 'save up' after age 30, but it's harder." —Theresa Tamkins, editor-in-chief, Health.com

Just do you

"Stick to what feels right for you, regardless of what a friend or a significant other is doing. At times I gave into eating or drinking in ways that didn't feel right for me because I didn't want to be different from friends, or to go along with what my partner wanted to do. You know, that social eating/drinking pressure. As I got older I realized that wasn't necessary. I can be with a friend and have a water during happy hour if I don't feel like drinking, or say no if my hubby wants to split an order of fries. It's not at all about depriving myself (in fact, looking back I felt like I was depriving myself of feeling good when I gave in); it's about knowing and honoring what feels right for you in that moment. Splurging sometimes is great, even important, but do so on your own terms." —Cynthia Sass, contributing nutrition editor

Love yourself

"This isn’t really a health truth, but more a life truth: I wish every woman in her 20s knew how beautiful she was! I look at pictures of myself in my 20s, when I often felt gawky and unsure, and wish I’d realized that I was actually so lovely—not because I think I’m such hot stuff, but because there’s this vibrant energy that you have when you’re that age that’s really wonderful and attractive. Everyone has it! Women in your 20s, own it!" —Jeannie Kim, executive deputy editor


This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Exercising

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/stop-exercising-effects

There comes a point in almost every fitness lover's life when they consider throwing in the towel after a workout—both figuratively and literally. Blame it on your looming work deadlines, or the stubborn needle on the scale, or even just plain old boredom.

That’s normal. But here’s why you shouldn’t follow through on the temptation to just quit: There are plenty of benefits to exercise, but they’re not permanent. In fact, many of those hard-earned gains will start to disappear in as little as two weeks, says Farah Hameed, MD, a sports medicine physician with ColumbiaDoctors.

Here’s exactly what you can expect to happen to your body if you give up exercise:

Within 10 days: Your brain might start to change

For years, researchers have suspected that exercise is good for your brain, too—according to one 2013 review, it might be able to help offset age-related memory loss. Now, a new study in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience found that even a short vacation from your workout might cause changes to the brain.

In the study, when a group of long-term endurance runners took a 10-day exercise hiatus, their subsequent MRIs showed a reduction in blood flow to the hippocampus, the part of the brain that’s associated with memory and emotion. The researchers point out that although the runners didn’t experience any cognitive changes over the period, more long-term studies are needed.

Within two weeks: Your endurance will plummet and your vitals may spike

After just 14 days, you might have a harder time climbing a flight of stairs or keeping up with your colleagues during the monthly kickball game. The reason you’re so winded? Skipping sweat sessions causes a drop in your VO2 max, or the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use. It can dip by about 10% after two weeks, says Dr. Hameed. It only gets worse from there: After four weeks, your VO2 max can drop by about 15%, and after three months, it can fall about 20%—“and those are conservative estimates,” Dr. Hameed notes.

Staying even slightly active can help: One 2009 study found that male kayakers who took a five-week break from their training saw an 11.3% drop on average in their VO2 max, while those who worked in a handful of exercise sessions during each week only saw a 5.6% drop.

RELATED: 11 Fitness Foods to Help You Get in Shape Faster

Even if you don’t notice a change in your speed or strength, you might experience a sharp rise in your blood pressure and blood glucose levels—something that could be more serious for people with diabetes or high blood pressure, says Dr. Hameed.

Researchers from South Africa found that a two-week exercise break was enough to offset the blood pressure benefits of two weeks of high-intensity interval training; another 2015 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that people who did an eight-month bout of resistance and aerobic exercise saw an improvement in the blood glucose levels, but lost almost half of these benefits after 14 days of inactivity.

RELATED: 20 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

Within four weeks: Your strength will start slipping

Dr. Hameed estimates that some people will notice their strength declining after about two weeks of inactivity, while others will begin to see a difference after about four weeks. The silver lining: Our strength probably diminishes at a slower rate than our endurance, and one 2011 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that when one group of men stopped doing resistance training, they still had some of their strength gains up to 24 weeks later. 

Within eight weeks: You might gain fat

Dr. Hameed estimates that people will start to notice a physical change—either by looking in the mirror, or at the number on the scale—after about six weeks. Even elite athletes aren’t immune to the rebound. A 2012 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that competitive swimmers who took a five-week break from their training experienced a 12% increase in their levels of body fat, and saw a boost in their body weight and waist circumference. (We should also point out that these athletes weren’t totally sedentary—they still did some light and moderate exercise.) And a 2016 study found that elite Taekwondo athletes who took an eight-week hiatus from exercise experienced an increase in their levels of body fat and a decrease in muscle mass, too.

RELATED: 10 Reasons Your Belly Fat Isn't Going Away

That said, there’s a difference between breaking up with exercise for good and taking a well-intentioned rest. The distinction: “You need to do some type of activity [every day],” says Dr. Hameed. For example, maybe you just ran the Chicago Marathon and can’t run another 16 miles, let alone 26—in that case, says Dr. Hameed, you should do some cross-training. (Think: cycling, using the elliptical, or even light walking.) Just don't quit moving altogether—your body, brain, and waistline will thank you. 


How to Make Yourself Poop Before a Run

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/make-yourself-poop

There’s a reason porta potty lines rope around the block at running events: Most runners want to empty out their system before going out and running miles upon miles.

It’s a valid concern—not being able to go to the bathroom before a race means you may get hit with the urge mid-run, and in turn, cramps and gas or a need to pause mid-race and make a bathroom pit stop.

“The vertical movement of running causes things to move through the colon, so not going to the bathroom before a long run or race may increase the chances of feeling something you don't want to feel while you run,” says Jason Karp, PhD, a running coach and the owner of Run-Fit.

Fear not: We polled the experts on exactly what to do to get your bowels moving first thing (plus what not to do).

Do drink coffee

Hollis Lotharius, a coach at Mile High Run Club in New York City, swears by a cup of Joe to help prompt a bathroom run.

“I am one who likes to run ‘light,’” she says. “I have found that a strong cup of coffee is the best way to dump, pun intended, extra weight prior to stepping out the door.”

And it works, says Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, Health’s contributing medical editor and a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Caffeine is what we call a cathartic,” she explains. “It stimulates the colon to contract and works as a laxative for many people.”

For the non-coffee drinkers, Lotharius has tried and tested a healthy (and yummy) alternative that works for her. “Combine 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of honey, juice from one fresh lemon, and some grated raw ginger in a mug of hot water,” she says.

Do give yourself plenty of time

“The problem is typically more about not having the time to go before the race start—because of long lines at the porta potties or getting to the race late—rather than not being able to go,” says Karp.

Unfortunately there’s no exact science to how long your body needs before being “ready” to have a bowel movement, Dr. Raj says. “But waking up extra early allows you to have enough time for the crucial steps of eating, having coffee, et cetera.”

Lotharius agrees: “I set my alarm clock an hour early,” she says. “I honestly believe that the one hour less of sleep is far better than the alternative.”

Do eat breakfast

Most people feel an urge to go to the bathroom after eating something, Dr. Raj says. “There is something cause the gastrocolic reflex,” she explains. “When you eat and the food moves into your stomach, there’s a reflex that stimulates your colon to contract a bit.”

The reflex may be more pronounced for some people than others, she adds, but having a bite first thing in the morning is a promising way to get things moving.

RELATED: The 20 Best Foods to Eat for Breakfast

Don’t park it on the toilet

It may be tempting to coax your body into going by sitting on the John for a while. But kicking back with a newspaper and waiting it out can end up doing more harm than good, Dr. Raj warns.

“First of all, if you’re sitting for a long time, that suggests that you’re not going naturally and you may be straining or pushing for a lot of that time,” she says. “Also, sitting in that position puts pressure on the veins within the anal area, which is what causes hemorrhoids.”

Instead, move about, eat breakfast, have your coffee and wait for the urge to set in. Then sit down for just a few minutes so that the bowel movement comes on its own.

Do fill up on fiber

Upping the fiber in your diet can help keep you regular and prevent constipation, Dr. Raj says (a smart move whether you’ve got a race looming or not).

Insoluble fiber is the matter in foods that doesn’t get broken down by the gut and absorbed by the bloodstream. It adds bulk to stool in the digestive system, which helps keep it passing through smoothly and frequently.

Increase your fiber intake far in advance of your race so that your body has time to get used to a higher intake if you normally don’t get enough (adults should aim to get between 21 and 38 grams of fiber per day, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine). Try adding one serving a week; eating lots of fiber in a short period of time can cause your GI tract to protest in the form of gas or cramping, issues you don’t want to deal with during a race.

Find insoluble fiber in whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Prunes are particularly rich in fiber, with roughly 1 gram per prune. A heads up: Prunes also contain fructans and sorbitol, which are fermentable sugars that can have a laxative effect, so you’ll want to see how your body reacts at a time other than right before a race.

RELATED: 20 Best Foods for Fiber

Don’t try a laxative

…even if the label says something promising, like “gentle overnight relief.”

“Laxatives can end up having a painful effect, or they may work so strongly that you’re going for several hours or even the whole next day as opposed to the one, or maybe two, bowel movements that you were hoping for,” Dr. Raj says. “Especially if your body has never seen it before, it may have a super-strong reaction.”

The same goes for smooth-move teas, Dr. Raj adds, which can cause uncomfortable cramping or abdominal pain for some people.  

Do warm up

“Typically the more active you are, the more regular you’ll be,” Dr. Raj says. “And physical activity tends to bring more activity to the colon as well.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean doing 20 jumping jacks in your living room will suddenly spur the need to go number-two, she says. But stretching out, doing a dynamic warm up, and getting your body up and moving may be worth a shot.

RELATED: 6 Dynamic Stretches That Prep You for Any Workout

Don’t stress about it

Constipation can sometimes stem from stress and anxiety, Dr. Raj warns. “So sitting there worrying about whether or not you’ll be able to clear your system while the clock is ticking can definitely block you from going,” Dr. Raj says. Focus on getting your head in the game for your run, maybe try some deep breathing exercises, to take your mind off of your GI concerns.

And if your corral is creeping toward the start line and your poop is still a no show? That doesn’t mean your run is doomed. “I don’t really know why physiologically it would be such a big problem to not have emptied your bowels before a race,” Dr. Raj says. “It’s sort of like giving birth; women are always freaking out that they’re going to need to have a bowel movement midway through. But it rarely happens, even though people are so paranoid about it.”

Karp says the bummer is when you do get a strong urge to go in the middle of a race. “Having that feeling affects you physically and psychologically,” he says, be it in the form of cramps that you need to walk off or as extra stress on your mind about whether you’ll be able to finish without needing to stop for the bathroom.

But if you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go—and tacking on an extra minute to your time is better than having an accident or running in discomfort the whole way. “Don’t overthink it,” Dr. Raj says.

Do practice in advance

Curious about sipping prune juice the night before? Planning to add extra beans and spinach to your dinner plate to wake up and “go”? Take any poop-related tricks for a trial run (literally) weeks in advance, Dr. Raj suggests. You don’t want any surprises about how your body reacts to these changes on race day.

The bottom line: “Give yourself some peaceful time in the morning, and start any new poop-related habits far in advance so that your body has time to adjust and get in sync,” she says.


Steve Siebold: 10 Ways To Stay Committed To Your Diet This Holiday Season

The latest from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-siebold/10-ways-to-stay-committed_b_12575424.html

How do you stay committed to your diet and weight loss goals when everyone else is piling the food on to their plates? The answer is mental toughness.

Read more: Steve Siebold, Dieting, Weight Loss, Mental Toughness, Holidays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Candy, Food, Dessert, Fat, Healthy Living News


Olympian Aly Raisman Has the Best Response to People Saying She’s ‘Too Old’ for Gymnastics

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/aly-raisman-age-response

For those who tuned into the Final Five this summer, you were privy to the athletic prowess that is Aly Raisman: she’s a two-time captain of the winning U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team, and she is the second-most decorated American gymnast of all time. At 22 years old, however, many people felt she was “too old” to compete this time around.

“They called me grandma,” Raisman said at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit.

With so many people cheering on her teammate Simone Biles (gymnastics’ favorite) and wondering if Raisman could even compare at her age, it’s a wonder she was able to tune out the criticism and go on to win silver in the All-Around competition and help bring her team to gold. But, she has some awesome logic:

“When Tom Brady wins the Super Bowl nobody asks him if he’s going to stop,” Raisman said. “When a hockey player wins the Stanley Cup, nobody asks him if he’s going to stop. Why should it be any different [for me]?”

That confidence is why so many people have cheered on Raisman throughout her entire career. And winning silver at the Rio Olympics felt “like gold” to her.

“It’s not always about winning,” Raisman said. “At the end of the day, people will remember you for the kind of person you are rather than the place you were on the podium.”

Now, Raisman is focusing on creating a leotard and sock line, working with nonprofit Walden Behavioral Care (which offers support to people with eating disorders), and connecting with and offering inspiration to young gymnasts.

“I take the role of being a role model really seriously,” Raisman said.


This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.


Refinery29: What The Real ‘Before’ And ‘After’ Looks Like For Weight-Loss Surgery (NSFW)

The latest from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/refinery29.com/what-the-real-before-and-after-looks-like-for-weight-loss-surgery-nsfw_b_12564438.html

Photographer Samantha Geballe started taking self-portraits in 2013, one year before she underwent gastric bypass surgery, and she continues to photog…

Read more: Weight Loss, Healthy Living News


1 2 3 93