Staying Active in Cold Weather

The change of seasons causes the ambient temperature changes as well. As we are currently in the winter season, the temperatures drop. When it comes to physical activity, some individuals choose to take exercising indoors and some choose to workout outside in the cold.

However as the temperatures are low outside, the temperature of our muscles can also drop, which makes this a huge aspect for the sporting performance.

One of the biggest considerations for training in the cold is the warm up. It is very important to warm up before any type of physical activity especially cold weather, as the cold temperatures can significantly reduce muscle function. The decline of muscle temperature may result in reduced force up to 20% studies suggest, and they can take longer to build force.

As we know that the brain sends signals to the muscles via nerves, the rate of nerve conduction slows down in cold circumstances. On the other hand, muscles produce heat when they are activated, which therefore provides a protection from the cold.

Warm up before exercise is crucial in such low temperatures, and can decrease the risk of injury up to 40%. Additionally, warm ups that consist of strengthening, jumping, balance, and agility exercises potentially reduce the risk of non-contact injuries such as ACL-tear. However, exercise form is of a huge importance in such circumstances.

Some people rush the warm up section of the workout and neglect its importance, so take some quality time and put effort in to doing correct and effective warm up with good form. This will also make you feel better and ready for exercising in the cold.

Most physical activities outdoor include running, rope skipping, jumping, and others. Studies suggest that dynamic stretching during warm up could be more effective than static stretching.

Examples of dynamic stretch can be forward lunges with a twist, knees to chest, high knees, and side shuffle. Static stretches on the other hand include stretch holds for 5-30 seconds, such examples are standing hamstring stretch, shoulder, chest, back, calf, and adductor stretches.

It is suggested that dynamic stretches can help with the warm-up of muscles and improve performance more than prolonged holds of stretches. Now that we know the importance of warm up, another benefit of it is the improved muscle flexibility and readiness for the upcoming exercises.

A simple jog for 5 minutes can improve flexibility and warm up the muscles, and can help preventing muscle strains which is a quick stretch of the muscle beyond its flexibility limit. Most of the exercise specialists recommend that warm up and stretching is essential, as studies suggests that it’s a way of injury prevention.

However, the effect of warm up doesn’t last forever. It is also recommended the warm up and stretching to last at least 15 minutes prior physical activity to gain most of its benefits.

On the other hand, this means physical activity should be constantly maintained in cold weather while the muscles are still warm and loose, but if you stop and rest for prolonged time muscles gradually cool down and become less flexible which is a thing that we have to avoid. Depending on the exercise or sport, some exercise specific warm-ups may be required.

Reference:

PAY, B. Great Facts And Tips For Warming Up In Cold Weather.

Getting Back Into Routine After the Holidays

Most fitness enthusiasts view holiday season as dietary nightmare, especially around Christmas and New Year’s. However, some people stay active during this period and cheat on their diet, and some people are preferring to spend some time off with family and enjoy the festive period with no specific diet or physical activity. This can result in some excessive weight gain and loss of muscle mass which can lead to demotivation, depression and difficulties in returning to physically active lifestyle.

Most fitness fanatics see this as disaster to their physical appearance and mental wellbeing, but this is not always a bad thing. Around these festive times, allow yourself a different perspective that can help you see how slacking on your diet and training can re-energise and boost your future training and actually help you set achievable fitness goals. This short break won’t make muscle gains completely disappear or make you obese, its just going to make your first few workouts a little harder than they usually are.

In such instance it is recommended to start light weight or bodyweight in order to prepare your body for the upcoming physical stress that you are going to go through. However, first workouts should be light and body weight which will help your heart pump blood around your body and make your muscles burning without tremendous muscle soreness on the next day. There is nothing worse than lifting heavy weights after a break and then skip the next day because you are way too sore to workout again. Also lifting heavy weights after a break can increase the risk of injury that can be avoided by dropping the training load. It is also recommended to plan ahead which can make a lot of difference.

During holiday period you can take this time to figure out what your goals, also its always beneficial to sneak in a quick workout during holidays because a short workout is better than no workout at all. However, it is not advisable to jump back on your old training routine after holidays that level of physical activity is low or no activity done at all. It is recommended to start light, but consistently in order to stimulate your body’s muscles, joints, and nerves and slowly adapt them to the heavier workouts ahead.

There are few tips that can keep your fitness plan on track. It is important to schedule your workouts – by writing your workouts into your schedule, you’ll be more likely to regard them as protected time and actually do them. Another tip is to put exercise first thing in the morning, which guarantees other unforeseen duties during the day will not prevent you from exercising as many studies suggest that our will power is higher early in the day before we’ve had to exert a lot of self-control.

By devoting the first 20 to 30 minutes of each day to exercise not only makes it more likely to happen, but it also makes your early morning workout help you fight food cravings throughout the day as well. Another tip is taking an advantage of seasonal offerings, this can provide you with specials on membership fees, class packages and monthly rates after the holidays. Also squeezing in mini-workouts is very effective during such periods.

Studies have shown that walking just over a mile a day or doing three four-minute bouts of high-intensity exercise per week may be enough to help you maintain your weight and fitness level. By using the tips provided here, you should have ample time and motivation to do that much or more during or post-holiday season.

Reference:

Shepard, B., & ACE-CPT, A. R. Holiday Workout Tips.

Aliotti, G. Gina’s ‘No Gym’Holiday Workout.

Nutrition Strategies For Bodybuilding

Unlike most other sports that use resistance training as a part of their training routine, sports like bodybuilding, powerlifting, and Olympic lifting solely focus primarily on resistance training with very little accessory work. Among these sports bodybuilding’s primary goal is to induce skeletal muscle hypertrophy.

Bodybuilders follow a special type of training style, usually of a greater volume with higher numbers of repetitions and sets per each muscle group, with very little rest times in between. This leads to the fact that the sport of bodybuilding also requires a hypertrophy focused diet. Therefore it is widely accepted in literature that high carbohydrate and high protein intakes are crucial for bodybuilders in that they help fuel demanding workouts, whilst also boosting recovery, and maintaining anabolism. 

Helms, Aragon and Fitschen (2014) claim that most bodybuilding athletes would respond best to consuming 2.3-3.1g/kg of lean body mass per day of protein, about 15-30% of estimated energy intake from fat, and the rest of calories in the form of carbohydrates. On the other hand Lambert, Frank and Evans (2004) argue that bodybuilders should consume about 55-60% of their EEI (Estimated Energy Intake) in form of carbohydrates, about 25-30% in form of protein and the remaining 15-20% as fat, for both the off-season as well as the pre-contest phases (see table below).

Table 1. Comparison between recommended macronutrient breakdowns from literature

MacronutrientHelms, Aragon and FitschenLambert, Frank and Evans
Protein2.3-3.1g/kg BW25-30% EEI
CarbohydrateRest55-60% EEI
Fat15-30% EEI15-20% EEI

As pointed out earlier during both off-season and pre-contest phases 25-30% of calories should come in the form of protein. This is not only because of proteins contribution to optimal hypertrophy and prevention of muscle loss, but also due to its relatively large thermic effects which could assist in reducing or maintaining body fat levels. Antonio et al. (2015) also suggests that the consumption of a high protein diet (3.4g/kg/d) whilst following a resistance-training programme may aid with regards to body composition. Antonio et al. (2016) also denies the claims that a high protein diet might have negative health effects due to a lack of evidence in scientific literature.

The consumption of 55-60% of calories in form of carbohydrates in both off-season and pre-contest periods is considered to be beneficial in regards to maintenance of training intensity. Guidelines on this field suggest an intake of carbohydrates up to 6g/kg of body mass for male strength athletes.

When it comes to the third macronutrient that is fat it is important to find the optimal range for the individual athlete as excess dietary fat (especially saturated) can increase the occurrence of coronary artery disease whilst an intake below requirements can result in a reduction in circulating testosterone, which is extremely counter-productive. That is why Lambert, Frank and Evans (2004) recommends an intake of fat that would comprise 15-20% of the athletes’ off-season and pre-contest diet.

Finally the fluid consumption also requires close monitoring. Leiper, Carnie and Maughan (1996) express that the daily amount of fluid loss can exceed 3L in inactive populations, and this number in active populations can almost reach up to 5L.

Aydin Parmaksizoglu

IG: aydinpar

References:

(Slater and Phillips, 2011)

(Lambert and Flynn, 2002)

(Lambert, Frank and Evans, 2004)

Fresh Food is the Best Food!

Many people are aware of the relationship between food and our health. Through the choices we make every day we can change our physiological wellbeing in a positive or negative way. However, in this Covid-19 pandemic situation people tend to get more packed and processed foods, on the other hand fresh fruits, veggies and whole non-processed foods are left behind as a food choice. This might be because of the fresh foods short expiry dates or the opportunity for people to go out shopping every day, which led to stocking of long lasting products that fill up shelves in our homes.

All this can make daily food consumption monotonous and poor in macro and micro nutrients such as the quality protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals, which in theory we know a lot about but we do not apply in practice. Therefore it is necessary to change the processed foods with foods rich in quality macro and micro nutrients as well as antioxidants.

Why we should do this? Well, here are some important reasons of why we should consume whole and fresh foods more frequently to boost our diet and therefore our health:

  • The modern diet is expensive for our immune systems – nearly 70% of our immune cells are present in our digestive system which ultimately makes these cells in direct contact with the food we consume on daily basis;
  • It makes a difference in our bodies of what food source we feed it with – processed food requires less energy to digest and absorb, while non-processed food not only gives the body with quality micro and macro nutrients, but it also take part in many important vital processes within the body;
  • Food is not just a fuel, and our body is not a machine that just requires it – many people understand the importance on the food choices, and for them is important only to have sources of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, but they do not look at the quality of them. This is a huge factor, and the better the quality of the food, the better the physiological response of our bodies will be when food is digested and absorbed. So here it is, food is not just fuel, but it is also information to our bodies.

It is commonly mentioned that eating healthy and well is expensive and takes a lot of time. This can be partially true and depends on factors such as; considering your budget that is for food only, getting to know the prices and the place you buy products, planning beforehand, also good organisation while shopping, and last but not least being creative when cooking in the kitchen.

So, to save some time for menu refreshing it is always good to put some effort in our habits such as planning, organised shopping, and creative imagination in the kitchen. Also it’s good always to involve members of your household in all this as you give everyone appropriate tasks to do, as it breaks the barrier of boredom whilst at home.

A Word On The ‘Fitness Lifestyle’

If you are a new to the ‘fitness lifestyle’, have all the good intentions but don’t know where and how to start, you are not alone. Very often I come across new members in the gym that took the first step towards a healthier lifestyle yet feel a little lost in regards to both training and dieting (remember if you focus on one but ignore the other, you are making things harder for yourself).

This is perfectly understandable considering that there is so much information out there which makes things even more complicated in the eyes of a beginner. There are so many ‘experts’ out there claiming that their approach is the right one. As if this wasn’t making things hard enough, most of those claims tend to contradict each other. High carb vs high fat, vegan vs carnivore, 1 meal vs 5 meal are just a few of these examples.

First things first, if you just began your fitness journey no matter what protocol you chose to follow, you are still better off than you were before. Be proud, be happy! Even if you change nothing in your diet, you will still see some progress. But this won’t last a lifetime. Eventually as you progress you will slowly realise the importance of nutrition. You will notice that while some days you feel a lot more energetic in the gym, some other days you’ll feel simply drained. You will also see fluctuations in your weight, but you will struggle to pinpoint what is causing it. Do not worry! You do not need to know everything, and that is why we the fitness professionals are here. To help you and guide you.

As a complete beginner I strongly advise you to ignore all the nonsense that you are being bombarded by the fitness industry, and stick to the basics. So what are these basics? It is “calories in, calories out” and the balance between the two. If you want to gain mass you need to eat more calories than you burn; if you want to maintain your current weight then what you eat and what you burn should be in balance; and if you want to lose weight you will have to burn more than you consume.

Fundamentally it makes no difference if you eat your calories in the form of your favourite chocolate bar or in so called super foods such as avocados and quinoa. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying these choices are completely equal, that would be simply ignorant, but the message I am trying to get across here is that all that matters for weight loss is how much you eat and how much you burn through physical activity.

And this brings us to the next step. How can you keep track of your calorie intake? Again considering that you are a complete beginner, I would suggest you to keep things as simple as possible. Don’t even waste time on calorie tracking apps such as Myfitnesspal, that will be the second step and I will talk about that later in another post. For now the best thing you can do is to keep a food diary. And trust me even this is harder than it seems to be, as the science says that majority of us tend to cheat and lie even to ourselves about how much food we eat. So you have to be 100% honest and note down everything you eat for 10 days, whilst also keeping track of your activity (gym sessions, walks etc) and measuring your weight on a daily basis.

After this time period you will be able to look back and see what amount of food was actually your maintenance intake. Only after that you will have a better understanding of how much you’ll need to eat in order to lose or gain weight. Also if you later decide to work with a personal trainer or a dietician this will be a great log which you can share with them to help them guide you more accurately.

The Impact of Stress on Exercise

It is believed that psychological stress and physical activity are directly related to each other. However, most research on this subject reveals that physical activity is an instrument to mitigate distress. Many studies vary in their theoretical orientation and included perceived stress, distress, life events, jobs, roles, work-family conflicts but not lifetime cumulative adversity. To make this question clear, it is suggested that stress have a huge negative impact on physical activities and exercises and encourage sedentary behaviour.

Stress is a word to describe experiences that are challenging emotionally and physiologically. This can also be defined as impinging stimulus or what systems are involved and how human body reacts when a state of threatened homeostasis occurs and how the body adapt by activating physiological, biochemical and cognitive-behavioural responses in order to regain homeostasis. After stress reactions the body always follows recovery process. Stress is associated with a host of mental symptoms as well, including cognitive dysfunction, dementia, and excessive fatigue. Stress is directly associated with declined physical activity which potentially may lead to obesity that contribute to other issues such as cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, delays in recovery from exercise and dampened muscular and neural adaptations are observed with chronic stress.

It is well known that physical activity has many positive effects on the physiological and psychological well-being. However, physical activities act as a stressor to the human body, though not an uncomfortable one.  “Exercise is a behavioural subset of PA and is defined as “Physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive and has as a final or intermediate objective the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness” (Caspersen et al, 1985). When the PA and stress relationship is explored, it has typically been within the perspective of improving mental health outcomes via exercise. It is suggested that individuals who participate in physical activities and exercise have lower rates of depression, negative affectivity and anxiety. However, physical activities and exercise has shown to promote positive changes in mental health and ability to deal with stressful situations.

Moreover, exercise appear to improve individual’s depression status. Also randomised clinical trials have determined that exercise and physical activities are effective methods for improving perceived stress, stress symptoms, and quality of life, neutralizes the effect of psychological stressors on cardiac activity. The majority of studies determine an inverse association of stress and physical activity behaviours. It is important to identify high-risk situations ahead of time is useful strategy and individuals that can predict stressors are usually more able to diminish losses associated with stress. Therefore, stressed individuals need to learn the importance of exercise as a method to emotionally cope. On the other hand, as exercise is a complex behaviour for newly active individuals, they require more planning of time.

Though the majority of studies regarding the relationship between stress and physical activity concludes that stress negatively affect physical activities, some individuals are immune to changes in physical activity and thrive under the condition of stress, but this needs to be investigated further. However, most studies suggest that physical activity and exercise can reduce emotional stress and can have a positive impact on individual’s mental health.

References:

Caspersen CJ, Powell KE, Christenson GM Public Health Rep. 1985 Mar-Apr; 100(2):126-31.

Stults-Kolehmainen, M.A., Sinha, R. The Effects of Stress on Physical Activity and Exercise. Sports Med 44, 81–121 (2014)

A Further Look Into Hydration In Sport and Exercise

It is essential to consume fluids in order for our bodies to function appropriately, however evidence suggest that during exercise individuals can experience a state of dehydration which can have a negative impact on exercise performance. It is therefore necessary to restore the fluid balance along with muscle glycogen after exercise in order to avoid any negative impact on sporting performance that is to follow.

There is research available which shows that drinking during exercise can improve performance. In any exercise task that lasts longer than 30–40 minutes, carbohydrate depletion, elevation of body temperature and reductions in the circulating fluid volume may be important factors in causing fatigue. All of these can be manipulated by the ingestion of fluids, but the most effective drink composition and the optimum amount of fluid will depend on individual circumstances. Water is not the optimum fluid for ingestion during endurance exercise, and there is compelling evidence that drinks containing added substrate and electrolytes are more effective in improving performance. Therefore, drinking pure water is better than drinking nothing, but consuming specifically formulated carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink can allow for even better exercise performance.

It is important to consume enough sodium and fluid to counter the deficit of the sweat volume lost in order to maintain hydration at a fast pace. The current generation of commercially available sports drinks are formulated to meet the needs of many athletes in many different situations. Dehydration impairs performance in most events, and athletes should be well hydrated before exercise. Sufficient fluid should be consumed during exercise to limit dehydration to less than about 2% of body mass. Also, sodium should be included when sweat losses are high, especially if exercise lasts more than about 2 hours. Athletes should not drink so much that they gain weight during exercise, however during recovery from exercise, rehydration should include replacement of both water and salts lost in sweat.

Before any exercise it is essential to ensure “euhydration” or so called normal level of hydration. Therefore after exercise which results in body mass loss caused by sweat loss, water and sodium should be consumed in greater quantity than the loses, as it is important for recovery optimisation and electrolyte balance. In addition to the hydration benefits that are caused by drinking during exercise, ingestion of cold drinks has shown to have an impact on body temperature when exercising in moderate or warm environments and improves exercise capacity in hot conditions.

Finally, the choice of drink to be consumed will depend on the individual and their specific circumstances. Replacement of substrate (muscle and liver glycogen) in addition to water and electrolyte losses is important to consider for post‐exercise phase and prepare the performer for upcoming exercises. On the other hand, in terms of sustaining life, substrate depletion is unlikely to have a negative effect in healthy individuals, but water depletion, if not replaced, can have adverse effects. The current generation of commercially available sports drinks are a good compromised formulation to meet the needs of many athletes in many different situations.

References:

Consensus Statement (2004) IOC consensus statement on sports nutrition 2003. Journal of Sports Sciences 22: x 

Coyle EF (2004) Fluid and fuel intake during exercise. Journal of Sports Sciences 22: 39– 55.

Lee JKW, Shirreffs SM & Maughan RJ (2008b) Cold drink ingestion improves exercise endurance capacity in the heat. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise 40: 1637– 44.

Shirreffs SM, Armstrong LE & Cheuvront SN (2004) Fluid and electrolyte needs for preparation and recovery from training and competition. Journal of Sports Sciences 22: 57– 63.

Shirreffs, S. M. (2009). Hydration in sport and exercise: water, sports drinks and other drinks. Nutrition bulletin, 34(4), 374-379.

Sleep: More Important Than You Think!

Sleep: More important than you think!

An average person spends about one third of their life sleeping. On top of that sleep plays an even more crucial role in athletic populations, especially in those that are still at growing ages. With all the scientific data today it is safe to say that the importance of sleep regarding the recovery and health of a person is undeniable.  It is proven to support healthy cognition, mood, tissue repair, immune function as well as many other important metabolic processes in the brain and body. 

Unfortunately sleep deprivation due to various reasons has become a very common phenomenon in today’s high pace society. The effects of sleep restriction and sleep deprivation can be observed in three contributors of overall performance – mood, cognitive performance, and motor performance. Findings of an earlier study done by VanHelder and Radomski (1989) suggested that a sleep deprivation up to 72 hours would have a significant impact on the time to exhaustion which in simple terms means getting tired quicker, and in addition to that Reilly and Piercy (1994) found that sleep deprivation negatively affected sub-maximal weight-lifting performance.

Previous literature on sleep has also shown that when an athlete/person has irregular sleep, the release of growth hormone and cortisol secretion are affected, which then has a detrimental effect on recovery from both stress and exercise. Lack of sleep has been shown to also elevate pro-inflammatory cytokines, which have been recognized as facilitators of pain and can lead to effects on the immune system, decreased muscle recovery and disparity of the autonomic nervous system.

Cohen et al., (2009) completed a study which supports this claim. Within this study, participants were asked to track their sleeping pattern and were then given the active cold virus. It was discovered that those who had less than 7 hours sleep before receiving the virus, had an increased chance of developing a cold after being administered the cold virus when compared to those participants who were sleeping 8 hours a night or more.

Substance use is another very common sleep disruptor in both athletic and general populations. The most commonly used substances in this category can be listed as caffeine (stimulant) and alcohol (depressant). While it could be strategically used to enhance athletic performance during both training and competition, it is recommended to avoid the use of caffeine after lunchtime, and that is due to its considerably long half-life of 3-7 hours which then may interfere with the onset of sleep.

Since alcohol is not considered to be an ergogenic aid unlike caffeine it is suggested that athletes should either completely avoid alcohol use or stop its consumption 3-4 hours before sleep time. And that is because contrary to common perception of alcohol as a sleep aid, literature in this field claims alcohol to have a noticeable negative impact on sleep.

Light exposure is another variable that has an effect on both sleep quality and quantity. While daytime exposure to light has a sleep promoting effect later at night, exposure to bright lights in the evening can have a negative impact on circadian rhythm, and can worsen sleep quality through repressing the secretion of the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin . Therefore it is recommended for athletes, and for anyone in that matter, to avoid environments with bright lights towards the end of the day.

At times when an individual faces challenges to achieve a full night sleep, day-time naps can be implemented in order to obtain the full amount of daily sleep the individual requires. While this does not necessarily mean that one can or should replace as much of night sleep with day-time naps, it should be seen as a strategy to supplement total sleep time. On the other hand naps come with their own benefits such as a short term boost in overall performance in case of a lack of sleep (Brooks and Lack, 2006).

An Introduction to Core

The core includes all major muscles that stabilize your spine. These include the whole abdominal area from front wrapping all the way around to the back, then all the small muscles along the spinal column. These muscles help the body to bend forward, backwards and sideways, stand up straight, twist, and stabilize the spine during movement. Usually during exercise we emphasise the major core muscles like abdominals and back muscles which are normally larger such as rectus abdominis, oblques, erecor spinae, and hip muscles.

However, there are more muscles that are smaller and are located deeper than the larger muscles which normally don’t produce a lot of movement, they only contract statically in order to stabilize the spine during upper or lower body movements. Such muscles include transversus abdominis(TA), piriformis, pelvic floor, multifidi and other muscles in the hip and core. These muscles are divided into global (larger movable) muscles and local (static contracting) muscles.

During movement, the local core muscles that stabilize the spine are not automatically activated when the global muscles are engaged. When TA activates, it flattens the abdominal wall and compresses the organs which acts like weight belt that increases the pressure in the abdominal cavity. Therefore individuals that lack strength in their TA normally tend to have a bulge in the abdominal wall when standing which increase the arching of the lower back and it is associated with lower back pain. However, to achieve maximal stabilization of the spine, the TA must engage before the upper and lower limb movements, but in individuals who have lower back pain this contraction is delayed. Also another important spine stabilizer is the mutifidi muscles which assist with the spine rotation and extension, which control the motion between adjacent vertebrae. It is suggested that in order to engage the multifidi is related to the ability to contract the TA.

If the standard core exercises such as crunches, planks, and back extensions are not performed in correct form, the local core muscles are not engaged. An effective technique to learn how to activate the TA is the abdominal hollowing manoeuvre. This can be performed in different positions such as on the back, on all fours, prone, seated, or standing against the wall. In order to perform this in supinae position (on the back), bend knees and place the spine in neutral position. Then Inhale while pulling the abdomen toward your spine, after that exhale as you perform the abdominal hollowing technique, holding 5-6 seconds, repeat 10-30 times. Check the lower back stays in neutral position during the exercise, and if your back flattens, that means other muscles besides the TA are contracting.

This is a very effective exercise that activates the TA. Such exercises added to the standard core exercises can lead to better equilibrium and stability whether performing in sports or daily activities. However, most sports and physical activities depend on a stable core muscles, and having strong core prevents risk of injuries, body is more balanced and flexible. Giving the right training to core muscles makes life easier and enhances health, which its exercises are not time consuming and can be done anywhere without any equipment.

References:

LEECH, G. (2013). WORKOUT AT HOME. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY94, 87.

Liebenson, C. (2003). Functional “Core” Workout. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 7(1), 22-24.

Core strength training for patients with chronic low back pain. Journal of Physical Therapy Science (2015, ncbi.nih.gov) 

Strength Training From Home

Due to the spread of Coronavirus, the government enforced rules in order to reduce social interactions and reduce the spread of the virus. Some policies include the closing of sports clubs, fitness and leisure centres, and community sports grounds. Social gatherings of more than two people are prohibited; therefore the participation in group sports activities is brought to minimum.

While the lockdown has been implemented, there are some practical and effective training approaches that can be done from home that aim to decrease the adverse effects of quarantine. Research has shown that younger age groups are more likely to maintain leisure time sport and exercise activities (LTSE) during such period, compared with older people. LTSE levels will decline significantly overall due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, but many people have adapted their regimes with this situation by doing home-based workouts. Adherence to home-based exercises is complex and it requires a high level of intrinsic motivation.

Skipping is a great workout that can be done at home

In relation to metabolic workouts, studies suggest that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or circuit training can be conducted in different ways that can be done with bodyweight. Fitness variables such as speed, strength, power, and coordination can be developed in lockdown by using adjusted strategies (e.g., HIIT bodywork, jump squats, straight line run, push ups, etc.. ). Crucially, HIIT has shown to have a positive immunological adaptation which occurs in 48 hours interval in between sessions. A very practical and beneficial way to conduct a home training is by doing plyometric exercises, as it has a high demand for eccentric force when performing jumps, squats etc, and it is related with many benefits for sports-related performance such as speed, strength and power.

Using bodyweight training differs from traditional techniques applied at the gym, as the exercises are done in intervals which ultimately leads to increased muscular strength and endurance as well as physical capacity. Thus, it is considered that high interval training is functional due to the natural movements of the body which engage the majority of the muscles. Bodyweight exercises stimulate the postural muscles, and also improve balance and flexibility.

Pull-up bars can also be purchased for home use

Bodyweight training is considered more advantageous, as it is more accessible form of training and can be done anywhere and anytime without any equipment, compared to weight training. On the other hand there are some disadvantages of bodyweight training such as being perceived as too easy for the experienced and too hard for novice individuals. However, bodyweight is considered to have effective conditioning when properly manipulated and can result in increased strength and stamina.

Though bodyweight training requires instructions on technique and appropriate progression for results, it does not require special equipment or specific place to do it. Any form of physical activity is beneficial – either bodyweight training or weight training bring its own fruits of physiological development. However, using both training methods can effectively show optimal results and a strong functional individual.

References:

Azevedo, A. M., Petiot, G. H., Clemente, F. M., Nakamura, F. Y., & Aquino, R. (2020). Home training recommendations for soccer players during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harrison, J. S. (2010). Bodyweight training: A return to basics. Strength & Conditioning Journal32(2), 52-55.

Mutz, M., & Gerke, M. (2020). Sport and exercise in times of self-quarantine: how Germans changed their behaviour at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 1012690220934335.

Lipecki, K., & Rutowicz, B. (2015). The impact of ten weeks of bodyweight training on the level of physical fitness and selected parameters of body composition in women aged 21-23 years. Polish Journal of Sport and Tourism22(2), 64-68.