Yoga poses Asana fitness editor Sarah Ivory digests the latest workout news and research.
Recovery Exercises For Lower Back Photo Gallery
TIME TO HYGGE YOUR HEALTH
Unless you’ve been on another planet for the past few months, you’ll know that hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga) is the Scandinavian lifestyle trend that makes you feel content. But did you know your workouts could be hygge, too?Getting out in nature is key, as being outdoors is meditative and liberating. Hiking, biking and going for a trail run are all very hygge. Or you could give one of these Scandinavian fitness trends a go.Nordic walking, aka hiking with poles, is a full-body workout that’s suitable for all fitness levels. Speak to an instructor to make sure you’re doing it right, but the keys to exert enough force through the poles to up the intensity of every stride. Find a practitioner at nordic walking.co.uk. The Viking Method is an online fitness programme that aims to burn fat with interval-style training. No kit is needed, so you can take your Smart device outside and do the HIIT-inspired workouts in the garden or park. Expect moves such as crawling, kickboxing and leap frogs. Visit thevikingmethod.com to get involved.Toughest is a popular outdoor Scandi obstacle race. The unique route is 8K and has an impressive 40 obstacles. You’ll need a hardy Nordic attitude to see it through, but think of the satisfaction afterwards. Not to mention the cake points you’ll have racked up. Visit toughest.se/en.
ROLL ON RECOVERY
Recovery exercise is the activity du jour. Over the past 12 months, fitness fans have really come to appreciate just how much active recovery such as stretching and foam rolling can boost workout gains. There’s even a slew of recovery classes available to help. But top of the recovery tool list has to be the humble foam roller, a cyclical toolthat eases knots in tight muscles. It seemed like a simple device that wouldn’t evolve until Pulse Roll hit the recovery scene. Used by pro athletes, this unique foam roller vibrates (quite hard!) to keep muscles loose, which is said to increase blood flow and encourage the flushing away of lactic acid. It runs on batteries and has three intensity settings, plus can even be used as an exercise tool for core workouts. Impressive. £99.99; pulseroll.com.
SIZE VERSUS STRENGTH
We’ve all been wowed by the size of Serena Williams’s bulging biceps, but new research suggests that big muscles aren’t necessarily the strongest. In fact, muscle size and muscle strength may be completely different things, according to an article in the journal Muscle & Nerve. How come? Because training for muscle size is about the training effect of the workout. The aim should be to do a great volume of lifting that will exhaust the muscles and cause fibres to break down, thus repairing and growing bigger. Interestingly, it seems you don’t need to lift heavy weights to exhaust the muscles – lots of repetitions with a moderate weight will do the job.Strength training on the other hand is quite different – it’s about lifting heavy loads that will produce a big release of hormones, prime the central nervous system and train fast twitch fibres to fire harder. Turns out, the bodybuilder at your gym may not be as strong as you thought!
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