Latest News & Research: 21 January 2020

This week: Marathon running may reverse ageing risk • Anytime Fitness hits all seven continents • Snap Fitness plans for local and overseas growth in 2020

Marathon running may reverse ageing risk

As the new year gets under way, many clients will doubtless be sharing their resolutions and goals with you – and it’s highly likely that at least one of them will have mentioned their intention to run a marathon. It’s a big goal, and one that’s been strived for by ever more people in recent times, as an almost 50% increase in participation over the past decade illustrates (even though the past couple of years have seen a slight decline).

Now, research has found that training for and running a marathon could be an excellent choice for people looking to improve their cardiovascular health.

A total of 138 people running in the 2016 and 2017 London Marathons participated in the study, which appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

None of the participants had completed a marathon before, and none had any significant medical history or preexisting heart disease. They were also all running a maximum of 2 hours a week before starting the study.

Just over half of the participants were female, with the average age of the group being 37 years. The researchers advised each of the runners to follow the marathon's Beginner's Training Plan, which consisted of about three runs every week for 17 weeks leading up to the race. As the weeks went on, the weekly exercise became more intense.

Before the participants began their marathon training, the research team measured their blood pressure and aortic stiffness using cardiovascular magnetic resonance.

The researchers calculated the biological age of each individual's aorta using their actual age and the aortic stiffness measurements from three levels of the artery. They then took the same measurements between one and three weeks after the marathon.

An analysis of the average finish times of 27,000 runners suggested that the participants were running between 10 and 21 km a week in training. Of the participants, the men took an average of 4.5 hours to complete the race while the women took 5.4 hours.

When the researchers compared the measurements from before and after the race, they found that both blood pressure and aortic stiffness had reduced in the first-time marathon runners. Notably, the changes in aortic stiffness were equivalent to a 4-year decrease in vascular age. Interestingly, older male runners who were slower and had a higher baseline blood pressure gained the most from the training regimen and race.

Commenting on the findings, senior author Dr Charlotte Manisty, who works at the Institute of Cardiovascular Science at University College London and Barts Heart Centre in London, UK, said: ‘Our study shows it is possible to reverse the consequences of ageing on our blood vessels with real-world exercise in just 6 months. These benefits were observed in overall healthy individuals across a broad age range and their marathon times are suggestive of achievable exercise training in novice participants.’

People with greater arterial stiffness and hypertension may benefit even more from this form of exercise, although future studies would need to test this theory. However, it is not possible to conclude that exercise alone produced the above effects. The healthier lifestyle choices that often accompany marathon training, such as a better diet and sleeping pattern, may have had a part to play. It is also possible that some participants adopted a different training regimen to the recommended plan, meaning that further research will need to take a standardised approach.

Nevertheless, the findings highlight ‘the importance of lifestyle modifications to slow the risks associated with ageing, especially as it appears to never be too late as evidenced by our older, slower runners’ Manisty stated.

Source: Medical News Today


Anytime Fitness hits all seven continents

Anytime Fitness recently made history with the launch of its Antarctica gym. Onboard Antarctica 21's newest cruise ship, Magellan Explorer, Anytime Fitness is now the only franchise – including fast food restaurants – to have locations operating on all seven continents. The Magellan Explorer's inaugural voyage set out at the end of November.

‘We're truly taking our mission, 'To improve the self-esteem of the world,' to another level’ said CEO and a co-founder of Anytime Fitness, Chuck Runyon. Alongside Dave Mortensen, co-founder and President, the two were onboard the Magellan Explorer during its inaugural sail.

‘It's something our brand takes incredibly seriously, and it's up to our leadership team to make our vision a reality. Being the only franchise to operate on all seven continents and land a gym on the coldest, windiest, driest region of the world was no easy feat but was a necessary step in contributing to our mission. Having the opportunity to be the featured gym on the one-of-a-kind Magellan Explorer was the perfect way to bring health and wellness to the South Pole.’

The 24-hour gym is equipped with top-of-the-line cardio and strength-training equipment from Life Fitness , along with a wide array of free weights.

‘Our partnership with Antarctica21 is game-changing. Not only have we upped the ante when it comes to accessibility, we're really bringing the vision of Anytime Fitness to life’ said Runyon; ‘Anytime Fitness has come a long way since our first gym opened in Cambridge, Minnesota in 2002. The fact that Dave and I had the opportunity to experience this historic milestone first-hand is almost surreal. But, at more than 4,500 locations on all continents, we continue to push each other to think of even more ways to make health and wellness available to everyone around the globe.’

Source: Anytime Fitness


Snap Fitness plans for local and overseas growth in 2020

New clubs, new territories and new milestones are on the horizon for Snap Fitness. With more than one million members and 2,000+ clubs open or scheduled for development globally, the 24/7 fitness brand is positioned to continue its international growth and brand development in 2020.

Snap Fitness celebrated the new year with its 100th club opening in Europe and the launch of a new state-of-the-art club design with bespoke lighting and the latest fitness technology in the UK and Ireland. Additional key markets for expansion in 2020 include Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

‘Whether we are expanding in current partner countries or entering new markets, communities are embracing our 24/7 model that provides fitness opportunities for everyone’ said Allison McElroy, Chief Global Development Officer of Snap Fitness' parent company, Lift Brands; ‘New gyms are in development across the world, and our international expansion is a priority in 2020.’

The brand experienced significant growth in 2019, which included an overall membership increase of 9% (and 46% in the Asia Pacific region), as well as the first club opening in Taiwan.

Source: Lift Brands