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Physical fitness has been associated with better brain structure and brain functioning in adults.
The findings of a study, led by Dr Jonathan Repple of the University Hospital Muenster in Germany, suggests that increasing fitness levels through exercise could result in improved cognitive ability – such as memory and problem solving – as well as improved structural changes in the brain.
A group of researchers led by Repple used a publicly available database of 1,200 MRI brain scans from the Human Connectome Project and combined it with physical testing to assess the subjects’ physical fitness. Each one’s cognitive ability was also measured. The researchers excluded subjects with pre-existing conditions, such as neurodevelopmental disorders, diabetes or high blood pressure.
The results of the study showed that physical endurance was positively associated with the global cognition scores of the subjects taking part.
In its conclusion, the group of researchers said the results of the study suggest that physical exercise could be used as a form of preventative healthcare.
“The observed pattern of results appears to support the notion of a beneficial effect of physical fitness on cognitive function,” the study reads.
“This notion is supported by the few available experimental studies indicating that physical exercise leads to increases in memory performance and brain structural integrity.
“This concept might be of relevance for a wide range of domains in health and life sciences including prevention, clinical care and neurobiological research.
“Along with previous findings, our findings point to the potential of physical fitness as a modifiable factor that might be applied as an intervention in prevention and clinical care.”
The report was simultaneously published in the Scientific Reports journal and presented at the ECNP Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.
To read the study in full, click here.
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- Lifts your mood
- Improves learning abilities
- Builds self-esteem
- Keeps your brain fit
- Keeps your body fit & able
- Boosts mental health
- Boosts your immune system
- Reduces stress
- Makes you feel happier
- Has anti-aging effects
- Improves skin tone and colour
- Improves sleeping patterns
- Helps prevent strokes
- Improves join function
- Improves muscle strength
- Alleviates anxiety
- Sharpens memory
- Helps to control addictions
- Boosts productivity
- Boosts creative thinking
- Improves body image
- Gives you confidence
- Helps you keep focused in life
- Improves eating habits
- Increases longevity
- Strengthens your bones
- Strengthens your heart
- Improves posture
- Prevents colds
- Improves appetite
- Improves cholesterol levels
- Lowers risk of (certain) cancers
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Lowers risk of diabetes
- Fights dementia
- Eases back pain
- Decreases osteoporosis risk
- Reduces feelings of depression
- Prevents muscle loss
- Increases energy and endurance
- Increases sports performance
- Increases pain resistance
- Improves balance and coordination
- Improves oxygen supply to cells
- Improves concentration
- Helps with self-control
- Lessens fatigue
- Increases sex drive & satisfaction
- Makes life more exciting
- Improves Quality of Life
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Sometimes it can feel nearly impossible to get yourself in shape, which is why personal trainers are so helpful. Not only do they give you that extra push, but you also get the benefits of their expert knowledge and experience. Even with their guidance, however, your efforts will be in vain if you aren’t following the right diet and fitness regimen for you. To find out exactly how you can improve your fitness routine, WD spoke with top-notch personal trainers for their secrets to getting the most out of your workout and living an overall healthier life.
1. Set realistic goals and be confident.
Before starting your path to a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to be realistic about how much time you have for the results you want, and how you can achieve them. Colleen Faltus, private trainer at The Sports Club/LA in Boston, suggests compiling “a list of both short- and long-term goals. This will keep you motivated to accomplish and surpass them; it will give you focus and add some variety to your workout.” Another trick to staying focused? Be confident! Trainer Bill Trimble, founder of the workout program Extreme Bill Trimble, says, “if you’re not confident and determined you can achieve your goals, you won’t. Make sure you try to stay positive and keep your head up, even on those rough days.”
2. Get specific about what you want to achieve.
Although you may think your trainer will automatically know what you want, that isn’t the case. Trimble says telling your trainer exactly what your goals are is the key to success. A weight-loss plan, for instance, will be different from a plan for someone trying to build muscle. Your trainer will design a routine based on your individual needs and lifestyle, so letting him or her know exactly what you want up front will help you get the most out of the experience.
3. Have fun!
“Working out should be enjoyable. Your personal trainer is there to push you a little bit, but not intimidate,” says Trimble. During your initial consultation, talk with your trainer about activities you enjoy, your schedule and exercises you don’t particularly like. This way, he or she can devise a routine you’ll love. Another key factor to having fun is variation. “Incorporating other elements of fitness besides cardio will increase the likelihood of faster and more efficient weight loss,” explains Faltus. Another plus? You’re less likely to become bored if you try new things.
4. Performing each exercise correctly is imperative, so watch your form.
To achieve the best possible results and stay injury-free, follow your trainer’s instructions about proper form. This is especially important if you’re doing an at-home workout on your own. “Model the video or demonstration exactly, paying special attention to the trainer’s breathing technique and form,” Trimble urges.
5. You should begin to see results within 12 weeks.
Depending on your workout plan, the three-month mark can be a good indicator of how you’re doing. “In about 90 days, you should be able to notice results—whether it be that your jeans are a little looser, your quality of sleep is better or you just feel good all around,” Trimble says. Many people lose motivation if they don’t see results sooner, but you’re changing your physique, so 12 weeks is about how long it will take before your workouts begin building lean muscle.
6. Communication is the key to success.
As with any relationship, communication is vital when it comes to a healthy and happy experience. Faltus recommends giving your trainer feedback about how you are or aren’t liking the exercises, what is or isn’t working and anything else that’s on your mind. Most often, your trainer will check in with you before and after the workout. So use the opportunity to talk! “You know your body better than anyone else, so speak up at each session and your experience will be that much more enjoyable and exciting,” Faltus says.
7. You’re going to have bad days.
“You’re going to fall off the wagon and have off days at some point,” says Trimble. “But get right back up and begin again without getting discouraged.” The biggest problem trainers see in their clients is that their emotional confidence starts to dwindle when something goes wrong. “You have to believe in yourself and [believe] you can do it,” Trimble says. So, if you splurge on your eating one weekend, don’t beat yourself up—just give it your all during your Monday workout session.
8. If you don’t have a trainer, you can still stay motivated.
On those mornings when you just can’t get yourself out of bed, it’d be pretty nice to have a trainer waiting for you at the gym. But you don’t need a trainer if you know how to find motivation elsewhere. For one thing, Trimble recommends working out with a partner for extra encouragement. He also suggests choosing a fun workout so you’ll look forward to it. “These days, so many programs are easily accessible, such as at-home boot camp workouts, circuit training, online videos and specific plans such as the P90X workout.” And perhaps most important, be consistent. If you exercise on the same days every week, not only can you schedule around your workout, but you’ll be more likely not to miss it.
9. You have to eat right, too.
Personal trainers aren’t miracle workers, so after you leave the gym, make sure you follow the diet plan you’ve established for yourself (or with the help of a dietician). One way Trimble helps his clients eat right is by encouraging them to keep a food journal. “Nutrition can be a problem, so writing it down and being able to look at it with my clients is helpful,” he says. Not only will you be able to discuss what you’re eating with your trainer, but you’ll also become more aware of your food choices—and rethink that second piece of cake! One way Faltus suggests you start a good nutrition plan? Let yourself cheat. “Eating balanced meals filled with fruits, vegetables, grains and protein will prove successful in the long run. But remember to give yourself a ‘cheat’ nutrition day on the weekends.”
10. You’re probably not getting enough sleep.
“Lack of sleep causes a decrease in energy and motivation to accomplish both short- and long-term goals.” Not only are proper sleeping habits important for you mentally, but if you don’t rest your muscles properly before and after a good workout, you risk injury. Faltus says to “adjust your sleep schedule and get both quality sleep and a decent quantity of sleep. You’ll notice the difference in your overall performance, and your muscles will thank you too.” For some tips on how you can destress and unwind before bed to sleep better, click here.
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In every field, there will be a few different ways of doing things. Although other careers will have people doing things differently, all with the end result being positive, there are some things a personal trainer really shouldn’t ever do. When it comes to being a Personal Trainer, some things are non-negotiable as they can lead to injuries, bad experiences for clients and eventually, the loss of a client base for your business. Australian Institute of Fitness Victoria Fitness Coach, Christopher Meggyesy, lays down the 5 things a great Personal Trainer would never be caught doing.
1. LOSE FOCUS
A great personal trainer’s client focus doesn’t ever waiver. There are some Personal Trainers out there that remind me of Dory from Finding Nemo; very easily distracted. Your clients are paying for YOUR time. From the moment you greet your 10:30 client to the moment they leave, the great PT is 100% about their training. Whether it’s fixing technique, handing their client a water bottle, or just being the motivation they need, it’s all about your client. Whoever it is that just walked in the gym, they can wait. If you’re a personal trainer and you are constantly getting tied up with other things, checking your phone or chatting with other people during a client’s session, you may find some clients parting ways with you and finding someone new.
2. DOESN’T PROGRAM
The great PT will have every moment of the training session accounted for prior to beginning the session. It’s pretty obvious when the PT is umming and ahing about what’s next for the client, they’re winging it. A PT should know what is happening at each minute, what will be covered and how to get the best workout completed specific to the client within the time they have booked with them. If a PT seems to be lost, chances are they aren’t really sure of what the client needs in order for them to reach their goals. Remember, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
3. TRAIN EVERY CLIENT THE SAME WAY
Every client is different, aren’t they? They have each got their own little quirks, health concerns, and movement deficiencies. So why are there so many cookie cutter programs out there? Each program should be tailored to the client’s needs, that’s part of what your client is paying you for. One of the first things a personal trainer should be doing within the first session is asking what a client’s needs and wants are, what their goals are, what they hope to achieve and also ask about the client’s past history with exercise. A PT should understand completely what a client is capable of doing (and not doing) and working on the areas they wish to work on in order to achieve their goals. Because everyone has different goals, everyone’s session should look and feel different.
4. LOOKS AT THEIR PHONE
iPhones, Android phones, Windows phones, even your old Nokia! No matter what the brand, having one in your hand while you’re taking a session, regardless of the intention, just looks like a distraction. You may very well be timing your client with your stopwatch app, but to the outside world and any future clients that may see your session, they can’t tell the difference between timing a client, and swiping right on Tinder. Clients are paying for the time and attention of a trainer for a reason. The best PT’s should ditch their phone for the whole session and their focus directly on the client at all times.
5. DOESN’T WALK THE TALK
Let’s face it, you are your own brand. Prospective clients start forming opinions about you the second they see you. In that first second, how are you marketing yourself? That first second might come when you turn up for your 5:30am client on a Monday morning, and a brand new member to the gym sees you as you walk in the door. Do you look (and smell) like you just rolled out of bed, or do you look clean, neat and tidy with an awesome smile? Ask yourself, who are you more likely to hand over your hard money earned to? Someone who looks and acts like a professional, or the slob that just rolled out of bed? Feeling and looking fit and healthy is going to also rub off on the client’s. A client is going to feel more motivated to get up early and get a great workout completed if their PT looks like they’ve already completed it and are now feeling (and looking) fantastic.
A trainer should be there to help, motivate, assist when needed and provide the right training and fitness advice possible for each and every client. Getting to know a client is a must-have and being able to provide the right workout for each client is a necessity. If you’re a PT and you find yourself doing some of the above things, it may be time to step back and take a look at your role and look at ways you can address them and help your clients to reach their full potential once more. If you’re a client and are noticing some of these “red flags” with your own trainer, it may be time to take a look at other trainers in the area who may be able to help you succeed.
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Exercise makes you happier than having money, according to Yale and Oxford research.
- Researchers at Yale and Oxford may have proven exercise is more important to your mental health than your economic status.
- The scientists found that, while those who exercised regularly tended to feel bad for around 18 days a year, non-active participants felt bad for 35 days more on average.
- The team also noticed that certain sports that involve socializing can have more of a positive effect on your mental health than others.
It’s clear exercise has health benefits both physical and mental — but what if we could actually prove it was more important to your mental health than your economic status?
According to a study carried out by researchers at Yale and Oxford, we may have done just that.
In the study, published in The Lancet, scientists collected data about the physical behavior and mental mood of over 1.2 million Americans.
Participants were asked to answer the following question: “How many times have you felt mentally unwell in the past 30 days, for example, due to stress, depression, or emotional problems?”
The participants were also asked about their income and physical activities. They were able to choose from 75 types of physical activity — from lawn-mowing, childcare, and housework to weight lifting, cycling, and running.
Those who keep more active tend to be happier overall
The scientists found that, while those who exercised regularly tended to feel bad for around 18 days a year, non-active participants felt bad for 35 days more on average.
In addition, the researchers found that physically active people feel just as good as those who don’t do sports, but who earn around $25,000 more a year.
Essentially, you’d have to earn quite a lot more for your earnings to give you the same happiness-boosting effect sport has.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the more sport you do, the happier you are.
Too much exercise can be detrimental to your mental health
Exercise is clearly good for you but how much is too much?
“The relationship between sport duration and mental load is U-shaped,” said study author Adam Chekroud of Yale University in an interview with Die Welt. The study found that physical activity only contributes to better mental well-being when it falls within a certain time frame.
According to the study, three to five training sessions each lasting between 30 to 60 minutes per week is ideal.
More than this, however, can have the opposite effect — in fact, the mental health of those participants who exercised for longer than three hours a day suffered more than that of those who weren’t particularly physically active.
The scientists also noticed that certain sports that involve socializing — i.e. team sports — can have more of a positive effect on your mental health than others.
Despite the fact that neither cycling nor aerobics and fitness technically counts as team sports, these activities can also have a considerable positive effect on your mental health.
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