Is your cardio progress running on the same spot? Find out how to get ahead of the group
Land Softer, Run Faster
Your stride affects both your safety and your speed. Running with a forefoot strike can reduce your risk of stress fracture, and now new Harvard research shows that forefoot running puts more spring in your step. This technique immediately puts force on your arches so they act like springs, explains researcher Adam Daoud. By contrast, heel striking stretches your arches after your forefoot and heel have touched the ground, producing less energy to propel you forward. Another possible spring snatcher: too much arch support in your shoes.
Drop the Group?
People who strongly identify as members of a running group are less confident that they’ll keep exercising if their group disbands than those who embrace their own “runner identity”, a Canadian study found. Groups are fine, but go solo a couple of times a week too, advises study author Dr Shaelyn Strachan.
Stay Hot On The Court
Warming the bench can cool your hoops game. Resting after a warm-up makes you sluggish, a new Greek study found. When basketball players sat for 10 minutes after a dynamic warm-up, their sprint speed and vertical jump declined. Your body temp drops when you don’t go straight to play, possibly slowing production of muscle powering adenosine triphosphate. Playing pick-up? Jog in place or do jumping jacks for 30 to 45 seconds before going in, suggests Chicago Bulls team physician Dr Brian Cole.
Cancer-Proof Your Run
Got sunscreen? Endurance exercise can impair your skin’s natural defences. Men in a German study who ran or bicycled at moderate to high intensity for 30 minutes saw the carotenoid levels in their skin fall. The reason: your body uses these UV-blocking compounds to neutralise free radicals formed by exercise, says study author Dr Alexa Patzelt. Smear on a broadspectrum sunscreen, like Piz Buin, and hit your ears and hairline, two areas people often neglect, she says.
You, Picture Perfect?
No motivation? Imagine yourself conquering the gym. British scientists found that using your senses to paint the right mental images can help drive you to the gym and rev up your workout.
- Appearance Imagery – The desire for a healthier, more toned body is one of the primary reasons people start working out, says study author Damian Stanley. So visualise a slimmer, fitter you before starting a workout or while planning a new routine. When to use it Before you begin a new exercise plan
- Enjoyment Imagery – Dreading the treadmill? Picture a previous workout you genuinely enjoyed, or imagine trying a new form of exercise and loving it. While you’re on the belt, think about what you’ll be doing later and how satisfied you’ll feel after finishing. When to use it When you’re unmotivated
- Technique Imagery – Mentally rehearse every part of an exercise you want to learn or perform better. Visualise yourself executing perfect, controlled form and body placement. When to use it Between intervals or sets of a new exercise
- Energy Imagery – As you run or cycle, imagine moving explosively to invigorating music to help energise your muscles. When to use it During an especially tough workout