SOFT TOUCHES

The science is in - get­ting in bet­ter shape doesn’t have to be hard­core. Har­ness the lat­est re­search to make your train­ing both more ef­fec­tive and more re­lax­ing

Men's Fitness - - Contents -

Th­ese 15 sim­ple tweaks will im­prove ev­ery as­pect of your life. Best of all, they’re not even hard. You're wel­come

1 CRANK UP THE MU­SIC

The longer you lis­ten to mu­sic dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion, the more en­joy­able the whole ex­pe­ri­ence be­comes, says re­search from Medicine & Science In Sports & Ex­er­cise. The sweet spot is 125-140bpm, so turn up Daft Punk’s ‘Harder, Bet­ter, Faster, Stronger’ and have at it.

2 WORK AT A TREAD­MILL DESK

Pre­vi­ously, re­search has sug­gested that tread­mill desks might ham­per work­flow. But the largest study of its kind, pub­lished in the jour­nal Com­put­ers In Hu­man Be­hav­iour, now sug­gests that they’re linked to an in­crease in cog­ni­tive per­for­mance – both neu­ro­phys­i­o­log­i­cal and be­havioural. Tell your boss it’s worth the in­vest­ment.

3 TIME YOUR EAT­ING FOR MORE MUS­CLE

No carbs af­ter 6pm? No cake af­ter mid­day? The ex­act rule might not mat­ter: ac­cord­ing to the jour­nal Cell Me­tab­o­lism, hav­ing any time-re­stric­tions on eat­ing may im­prove choles­terol lev­els and help add lean mus­cle.

4 BENCH FASTER FOR A NEW PB

What do you bench? Ac­cord­ing to the Euro­pean Jour­nal Of Ap­plied Phys­i­ol­ogy, speed­ing up your push­ing phase will im­prove the an­swer. Load a mere 60% of your cur­rent max on the bar and lower the bar un­der con­trol, then press ex­plo­sively up. You’ll re­cruit – and build – more mus­cle.

5 TRAIN WITH PEO­PLE BET­TER THAN YOU

Pick­ing a part­ner who can beat you, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in Psy­chol­ogy Of Sport And Ex­er­cise, will spur you on to bet­ter your per­for­mance by up to 20%.

6 PICK A TAR­GET WHEN YOU RUN

Fo­cus­ing on an ob­ject in the dis­tance will get you there faster and with less per­ceived ef­fort, ac­cord­ing to a study in Mo­ti­va­tion And Emo­tion.

7 TAKE YOUR OTHER HALF TRAIN­ING

Ac­cord­ing to re­cent re­search from Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Lon­don, you’ll do 70% more phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity if you take up the habit along­side your sig­nif­i­cant other – and be 15% more likely to lose weight.

8 PRO­TECT YOUR NECK FROM TEX­TING

Your head weighs about the same as a bowl­ing ball, and tip­ping it for­ward for hours at a time is ru­in­ing your neck, ac­cord­ing to re­search from lead­ing US spinal ex­pert Dr Ken­neth Han­sraj. The NHS sug­gests ‘gen­tly length­en­ing your neck up­wards while tuck­ing in your chin’ to com­pen­sate for lengthy tex­ting or Clash Of Clans ses­sions.

9 COM­PRESS TO PROGRESS

The ver­dict on com­pres­sion gear is that wear­ing it dur­ing the 24-hour win­dow af­ter your work­out

can speed re­cov­ery and re­duce mus­cle sore­ness, ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Col­lege Of Sports Medicine. Prob­a­bly not one for bed­time, though.

10 RUN ON A (SMALL) IN­CLINE

No need for the Mat­ter­horn-style sprint. In­ter­vals on a mod­er­ate hill – or a tread­mill set to 10% – in­crease VO2 max and jump­ing abil­ity in half the time of flat-ter­rain train­ing, ac­cord­ing to the Jour­nal Of Strength And Con­di­tion­ing Re­search.

11 TRAIN IN THE SUN TO LOSE FAT FASTER

Ex­er­cis­ing in the hot sun is marginally less pleas­ant than in the freez­ing cold. But there’s ev­i­dence – pub­lished in the jour­nal Di­a­betes – that mod­er­ate UV ex­po­sure can help pre­vent obe­sity and lower di­a­betes risk. You still need sun­screen, ob­vi­ously.

12 RE­CLAIM YOUR LUNCH BREAK

It’s time to bid the in­ter­net cat videos farewell. Ac­cord­ing to Scan­di­na­vian re­search pub­lished in Jan­uary, go­ing for a gen­tle walk dur­ing your lunch hour can in­stantly im­prove both your mood and your abil­ity to han­dle stress at work.

13 STICK WITH THE DIET

It gets eas­ier – yes, re­ally. Ac­cord­ing to MRI re­search by pro­fes­sor of nu­tri­tion and psy­chi­a­try Su­san Roberts at Tufts Uni­ver­sity in the US, eat­ing healthy foods can ‘re­train’ your brain to crave them, in a process known as ‘cog­ni­tive re­struc­tur­ing’.

14 DO MORE YOGA

It’ll en­hance your other ef­forts, ac­cord­ing to the Jour­nal Of Ap­plied Phys­i­ol­ogy. Fol­low the acro­nym Prise – eat Pro­tein daily and do a weekly four-hour mix of In­ter­vals, Stretch­ing and En­durance – and you could burn up to 2kg more over 16 weeks than peo­ple who do only one type of ex­er­cise.

15 READ PO­ETRY… AND BREATHE

Ac­cord­ing to re­search from Carnegie Mel­lon Uni­ver­sity, 25 min­utes of mind­ful­ness – in­clud­ing po­etry cri­tique and deep-breath­ing - re­duced the build-up of fat-stor­ing hor­mone cor­ti­sol dur­ing stress­ful tasks. Think Wordsworth, not Eliot.

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