Fast lane to Gaining Strength…

Some of us enjoy going to the gym and have no problem spending at least 50 minutes exercising. There are others who have made weight training a part of their lives simply because they feel it is necessary for a healthy living plan. For some who find it difficult allotting time for the gym it may not be necessary to spend as many minutes as you think. A study done at Lehman College in the Bronx and reported in the August issue of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise offers some new information. The study involved 34 fit young men. All had experience in resistance training. They were divided into 3 groups. The first group spent 70 min. completing 5 reps of each exercise. The second group spent 40 min. finishing 3 sets and the last group spent 13 brisk minutes performing each exercise quickly and to the point of failure (physically unable to perform another repetition). After 8 weeks and 3 sessions a week all were tested. All three groups had gained the same amount of strength. The difference was in muscle size. Whatever your goal is, gaining muscle or just supporting the health of your bones, resistance training can have significant benefits regardless of the amount of time you spend at the gym.

Are we Born Lazy?

Few of us exercise regularly even though we have been told time and time again of its benefits. Are we meant to be physically inactive? Physiologists, psychologists and health practitioners have been baffled by the fact that even though a person has the best intentions of beginning an exercise routine how easily they can be swayed to do the opposite. To find out what was going on in our brain, scientists recruited 29 men and women who expressed a desire to be active and yet never were. All were fitted with caps containing electrodes. They were seated in front of a computer screen and given their own avatar. They had the choice of moving the avatar toward an action figure or one resting. Although most of them moved toward the action figure, their brain scans showed that it took more of an effort to do so. The results may relate to the fact the our ancestors would remain quiet and rested whenever they could so as to keep a reserve of energy when food was scarce. Our brains may still be predisposed to having us remain inactive. This, of course, is no excuse since we no longer have to hunt for our food.

Resistance Training and Depression…

New research is showing that lifting weights may have an effect on lifting a person’s mood. It has already been established that exercise can reduce symptoms of depression but until recently most of this evidence had to do with studies based on the effects of aerobic exercise. In 2017 research on the positive effects of resistance training on anxiety were published in JAMA Psychiatry but that particular research did not address the effects on depression. These researchers decided to reevaluate 200 previous studies to see if they could determine if indeed weight training eased symptoms of depression. What they found was all subjects had a decrease in depression no matter how severe the symptoms were. It did not matter how often they weight-trained, whether it was 2 times or 5 times a week. What mattered was consistency. The reduction on levels of depression seemed to occur no matter what age the subject was. The results did not suggest that resistance training was better then aerobics or medication but it showed that there is also another avenue to explore when someone suffers from depression.