Bigger is not always better

Endurance athletes with small and lean bodies have higher life expectancy than bigger power athletes

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Mo Farah (left) runs longer. Usain Bolt (right) runs faster. Compare their body shape. Who is better?

Bigger is popular. It’s synonymous to growth, speed and winning. It leads legions of men, and women, to gyms and crossfit centers to increase muscles and chest size. Compared to endurance, strength training is naturally more sexy.

When compared to a sedentary lifestyle, strength training is indeed a good choice. Yet, it appears that endurance training leads to higher longevity.

A Finnish research shows endurance athletes (long distance running, cross country skiiing) had higher life expectancy (avg 75.6 years) than team sports athletes (avg 73.9) or power athletes (avg 71.9). All had higher life expectancy than sedentary population (avg 69.9).

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Biking to work

Commuting with a bike is a fun and healthy life choice

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Going to the gym or a sports facility costs time and money. Many commit to the investment, others don’t have the time or the discipline. For the latter, it is only weeks, months or years later they realize the poor health choice.

An alternative is to include a fitness activity in your daily routine. This can be cooking, cleaning up, gardening or playing daily outside with kids. It can be also walking or cycling to work.

Walking with a combination of public transport is accessible and involves little preparation to the daily routine. It is a nice way to be a bit more active.

Cycling to work can bring even more benefits. It improves your cardiovascular system, decreases risk of Type 2 diabetes, increases insulin sensitivity, helps manage body weight, helps fight depression and mood changes and reduces all-cause mortality. A Danish study showed that the 45,000 adults aged 50-65 years who regularly cycled to work or for leisure had between 11-18 percent fewer heart attacks over the course of a 20-year follow-up. The analysis indicated that some protection against heart disease was achieved with as little as 30 minutes of biking per week.

Cycling is also a low-impact activity, good for those who have knee or shin splints problems.

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Improving health with Tabata workouts

A 4mn workout shows greater improvements in fitness than 1 hour jogging.

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We all should target 90 minutes of exercise every week.

What happens when life commitments get in the way? Kids, work or emergencies can make us postpone or cancel a workout.

If you often lack the time, you can still get the training benefit with only 4 minutes of exercise.

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Plan 90mn of physical activity every week

Regular physical activity increases life expectancy.

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As much as recovery or sleep are important, regular physical activity is required.

It improves blood circulation, weight, fights stress, depression and mood changes, as well as other vital metrics such as blood pressure and blood glucose. More intense exercise like running also release endorphins, which makes us feel generally better.

In short, exercise improves life quality.

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