Are your workouts too intense? Pros and cons of intense exercise

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Does excessive exercise exist?

For most people, the response is a big NO. In developed countries, we eat too much, sit too much, and center our life around sedentary activities. Framed this way, excessive exercise does not exist. Most of us benefit from more walking, more running, more biking, and more weight-lifting, any time of the day.

What happens if we don’t listen to our body and try to push our limits? Let’s go through recent studies to see the consequences.

First, intense exercise is usually defined by prolonged exercise at more than 85% of our maximum heart rate. For example, a 35 year old male would typically have a maximum of 185 beats per minute (bpm). 30mn of running, boxing or biking at more than 157bpm is a session of intense exercise. A common formula to get your maximum heart rate is 220 – your age. This is also equivalent to zone 4.5 to zone 5 on a watch with a heart rate monitor. This can give you a rough estimation if you usually do moderate or intense exercise.

Past the definition of intense exercise, results differ greatly, depending on what you are looking at.

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Accepting Imperfection

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One of my training goal is to be able to run 5 km in less than 20 minutes before the end of 2016.

I like a lot the idea of this goal. During the day, I would already imagine my legs powering me forward, the wind flowing, and the constant battle against the watch. I was already eager on sharing my success everywhere.

Recently, it started snowing. Sidewalks become a sliding game, shoes become soggy and fingers are frozen. And what was once beautiful green trails become cold, dark and snow paths like above. Result: I loose half of my speed!

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Tiger Balm To the Rescue !

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Even though healthcare is free in Canada, I haven’t taken any antibiotics or any over the counter medicine in the past ten years. No aspirin, Tylenol, Vicks, Advil. Nada.

It’s not because I reject the healthcare system. If I get bitten by a dog or a snake, I will gladly get my anti rabies or anti venomous shot. If I get pneumonia, I won’t say no to a dose of antibiotics, to the contrary. In fact, if you get sick, I highly recommend you to consult your doctor and follow their prescription.

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Shiatsu massager for athletes and muscle relief

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A massage can help relief muscle pain and tension. For those who exercise, a massage can also improve circulation, reduce muscle soreness and help remove waste products such as lactic acid. It also feels good and lets you relax, after a long work day!

Made by healthcare company TruMedic, the InstaShiatsu+ massager promises to be your always-own personal massager at home, without the hassle or expense of paying a professional.

Does it fulfill its promise?

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The Importance of a Training Plan

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You want to improve your fitness to get an extended life, better well-being, and reduce risk of chronic diseases.

Plus it will impress the ladies.

All you gotta do is exercise hard, as far as you can go, and you’ll get results.

Right?

Continue reading “The Importance of a Training Plan”

Intense training at home with Moov Now

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Moov Now is a small and colourful fitness wearable.  This is the 9-months review, after I used it extensively for running, cycling, as well as its bodyweight workouts.

I don’t have any relationship with the company Moov and have other fitness and health devices. I consider this as an objective and fair review.

In short, it’s a fun and practical fitness wearable that will get your heart pumping, be it at home or when travelling.

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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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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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Prefer Active Recovery to Rest

After a period of hard stress, either sickness or overreaching training, prefer active recovery to complete rest

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Active Recovery

Past burnout, fatigue, a sickness, or an athletic training, it’s tempting to stay in bed, watch TV, read a book or play a video game. That’s what most people think when doctors or mums recommend “rest”.

But it is better to follow an active recovery plan. You can improve blood circulation and increase oxygen brought to muscles and organs. You can decrease stress and get back in touch with friends. These shorten the number of days necessary to reach again your peak. Continue reading “Prefer Active Recovery to Rest”