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HPRC Fitness Arena: Physical Fitness

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Soldiers speak out in support of CrossFit

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Last week, Wired Magazine ran an article on high intensity fitness programs that are being studied and evaluated in a review of high-intensity fitness programs by the Consortium for Health and Military Performance, or CHAMP, at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Last week, Wired Magazine ran an article on high intensity fitness programs that  are  being studied and evaluated in a review of high-intensity fitness programs by the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD.

In response, Wired has published a follow up article that offers a view of CrossFit from a soldier's perspective.

 

 


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Sleep to live longer

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Getting a good night's sleep is important for health.

One way to lengthen your life is to sleep! Recent evidence suggests that men who have difficulty falling asleep, maintaining sleep, or only sleep for short periods of time may be at a higher risk of dying. In the study, men who reported to have insomnia or had insufficient sleep were much more likely to die over a 14-year period. Reduce your risk of death from all causes by sleeping!

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Marines address fitness testing

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Failing a fitness test can get a Marine passed over for promotion,perhaps ending career hopes. According to an article from KVOA.com based in Tucson, AZ, there is growing pressure to hold marines to a higher standard for physical fitness and combat readiness.

Failing a fitness test can get a Marine passed over for promotion, perhaps ending career hopes. According to this article from KVOA.com based in Tucson, AZ, there is growing pressure to hold marines to a higher standard for physical fitness and combat readiness. In response, the Marine Corps Semper Fit program is investing millions in new gyms with functional workout rooms, recreation programs, and nutrition classes.

Functional Movement screening might be a better assessment of total fitness.

HPRC Fitness Arena:
When you’re in the military, being fit is part of the job – that has never changed. Neither, it seems, has the Physical Readiness (PRT) Test.

Are PRTs still accurate assessments of physical fitness levels?  The days of calisthenics and running several miles for exercise are gone. Comfort Zones and gyms on- or off-base are filled with exercise toys such as cable cross machines, Roman benches, kettlebells, and miles of cardiovascular equipment. Most military personnel are exercising with the latest technology, or at least with free weights. Shouldn’t PRTs utilize the most current knowledge of functional exercise and movement?

“Functional movement” is defined as real-world biomechanics of body movement. Sit-ups and push-ups are not functional; they show strength and/or flexibility, but not true overall fitness.

Gray Cook’s Functional Movement Screening (FMS), however, assesses the quality of seven functional movements to determine a persons’ symmetry, grading each movement (21 being a perfect score). FMS might be a better assessment in terms of a person’s total fitness level. Most studies using FMS have evaluated the prediction of injury rates based on the level of symmetry (for example: Military Joe shows rotary stability in the left shoulder but not in the right – the asymmetry of his shoulders most likely predicts injury when climbing walls in theater).

An unpublished study by COL Francis O’Connor, MD on injury prediction in Marine Corps Officer candidates (MC) found that those who scored 14 or higher (out of 21) had a lower injury rate. A study on NFL players also had similar findings.

Should the military re-evaluate its PRTs in terms of functional movement or should it stay with its current program? Contact us here at the HPRC if you have thoughts to share.

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Check out "Life’s Simple 7"™

HPRC Fitness Arena:
An online resource by the American Heart Association lists steps that are crucial to our health.

The Simple 7™ is an easy way to figure out how to achieve good health. This online resource, provided by the American Heart Association, lists seven steps that are crucial to our health. We list their steps for you below:

  1. Don’t smoke.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight.
  3. Engage in physical activity.
  4. Eat a healthy diet.
  5. Manage your blood pressure.
  6. Take charge of your cholesterol.
  7. Keep your blood glucose at healthy levels.

With Life’s Simple 7™, you'll find out where you stand, how you're doing, and also get you your own personal heart score and health plan.

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Go to “workout hour!”

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Hanging out with your friends doesn't have to be unhealthy.

Hanging out with friends may include habits that oppose your health goals. Instead of skipping out on quality time with them, invite them to participate in an activity like a group cycling class that will get everyone moving. A healthy social life contributes to good health, so get the group moving!

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Take the stairs, not the elevator

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Improve your cardiovascular health on the stairs.

A few minutes a day of stair climbing can improve your cardiovascular health, a recent study finds. A study of sedentary college-aged women who walked 199 stair steps a day the first week, and who worked up to six ascents, or climbs, a day by the sixth week, were significantly more fit (heart rate, oxygen uptake, blood lactate levels and increased HDL) by the end than in the beginning.

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Runners: How to pace yourself on hills

HPRC Fitness Arena:
A study published this year in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests that most runners make two key mistakes: They try to run too fast uphill and don’t run fast enough downhill.

Woman running

In a study published this year in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,  the research suggests that most runners make two key mistakes: They try to run too fast uphill and don’t run fast enough downhill. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) has an article that asks the questions on the best way to run hills. Access the article here.

Fitness 2.0: Can social media help you get fit?

HPRC Fitness Arena:
More and more apps are supporting the goals of getting health and staying fit. Join them!

In 2008, the Journal of Medical Internet Research published an article titled Medicine 2.0: Social Networking,Collaboration, Participation, Apomediation, and Openness, in which the term “Web 2.0” is used. Web 2.0 refers to web applications that support collaboration and interactive information sharing online, a large part of which are the social media applications for blogging, wikis, and video streaming. The Journal article talks about the idea of a “Medicine 2.0” for web-based health and medical information, geared towards healthcare consumers, caregivers, patients, health professionals, and researchers.

Interestingly, all of this has given rise to a “Fitness 2.0” trend, allowing users to go beyond just the factual, static health information that exists and find more interactive information. It turns out that the internet can be a great resource for boosting one’s fitness level! YouTube, for example, has thousands of clips on exercise – proper techniques, expert advice – everything from the proper dead-lift technique to nutrition tips for weight loss.

These types of social media can also track fitness levels and goals of users by allowing them to enter in numbers and monitor their progress. Applications like Virtual Weight Loss, health networks like FitDay, and iPhone apps like “My Weight Loss Coach” are great ways to accomplish this. For an even simpler tracking method, use Twitter updates with a hash tag (i.e. #weightloss and #twit2fit) – a great way to get support while keeping a daily or weekly report of progress.

Another area where social media provides a bridge for exchanging health/medical information are online support/social communities. The sharing of experiences and struggles can help when things get tough or when motivation lags. With this level of personal interaction, users don't have to get healthy their own. Sites like Google Groups or DailyBurn, are easy ways to compare and discuss results with a community. When researching a health-related topic, however, keep in mind that blogs, videos, and social networks should not be primary sources of information. Look up multiple sources – no one source of information is ever perfect, so reduce the risk of bad information.

Social media is about creating connections and information, and healthy living is about consistency and knowledge. Together, they can be a great match. Social media can bring a lot of useful information and support to people looking to improve their health or fitness levels, and provides many innovative ways to stay motivated and well-informed.

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Is high endurance running harmful to your heart?

HPRC Fitness Arena:
MedicalNewsToday.com presents an article that reports on a 2009 study from the European Journal of Echocardiography that assesses the effects of running in ultra-endurance races.

Lone runner

Medical News Today reports on a 2009 study from the European Journal of Echocardiography that examines the effects of running in ultra-endurance races.

According to the article, the conclusions of the study suggest that some damage is likely to occur to the heart muscle of competitors, while 12 percent of the study group showed signs of significant cardiac damage.

The full article is here:  Ultra-Endurance Running May Not Be Good For The Heart

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