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ePublication of Australian Fitness Network

This week: an enzyme to break the weight loss-regain cycle; so much data, but how to use it to improve fitness? and do you and your team know how to save lives with an AED? + more.

No matter how, just move

Whatever physical activity you’re doing, whether it’s gardening, cleaning or a lunchtime HIIT session, it’s reducing your risk of heart disease and death according to this new study.

A seven-year study of 131,000 people found that the more you move, the better the chances of staving off stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

Interestingly, rather than focusing on exercise or planned physical activity, the study concerned itself more with incidental movement and activity such as ‘active transport’ and household chores. Those whose lifestyle encompassed the recommended half an hour each day of moderate physical activity had a 20% lower risk of heart disease and 28% lower risk of death from any cause.

Could this enzyme break the weight loss-regain cycle?

You’ll be all too familiar with the story you hear from clients who have lost weight only to regain it all, and more. This effect is due to the body producing more of a hormone called ghrelin when the body loses a large amount of weight in a short time: ghrelin is known as the ‘hunger hormone’ because it tells us to eat more – understandable if we’ve lost an unusually large amount of body fat.

Knowing this, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in the US set out to see if reducing the production of ghrelin would reduce appetite. Using mice as their study subjects, they administered the naturally occurring enzyme butyrylcholinesterase, which resulted in significant reduction of the hunger hormone, as well as appetite.

How exercise predicts mortality

Research from the US has reinforced how exercise enhances muscle health and exercise capacity by renewing the body’s cellular powerhouse, mitochondria, which turn food into energy. This article by Tony Boutagy gives a great lowdown on what mitochondria are and why your clients should love them.

Commenting on the outcome of a mouse study, Lead researcher Professor Zhen Yan said ‘Aerobic exercise removes damaged mitochondria in skeletal muscle. If you do it repeatedly, you keep removing the damaged ones. You have a better muscle with better mitochondrial quality. We clean up the clunkers, now the city, the cell, is full of healthy, functional cars.’

So much data, but how to use it to improve fitness?

More and more of us, our clients and our members are tracking every move we make, every breath we take with wearable technology – but are we actually harnessing that data to turn it into useful actions?

Researchers from the University of Sydney studied 21 FitBit users over a two-year period and found that most of them did not manage to get a meaningful view of their data over the long term. So, while their trackers were useful for monitoring and even triggering daily activity, they were less beneficial at assisting with long term goals. By introducing a custom interface called ‘iStuckWithIt’ that visualises long-term activity levels, the study authors enabled the subjects to more clearly identify patterns in their long term behaviour.

‘Our work explored how to create a useful interface for long-term data since it has the potential to play other important roles in reflection, goal setting, monitoring and planning’ said study co-author Professor Judy Kay.

Do you and your staff know how to save clients lives with an AED?

A UK study has found that most people lack the confidence to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) – and that even if they were happy to use it, they wouldn’t know where to locate it.

The devices, now more frequently found in Australian fitness facilities, though by no means yet commonplace due to the lack of a law making it mandatory, can increase survival rates from cardiac arrest by around 50%.

The findings beg the question, does your fitness facility – where potentially unfit individuals may physically over-exert themselves – have an AED, and if so, does everyone who works there know where it is and how to use it? The devices don’t require training, but those who have been trained generally feel more confident in using them. So, if you don’t have an AED on your premises, you should think about getting at least one, and also about incorporating education on how to use it, and where to find it, into regular staff training.

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