STAY INJURY & STRESS-FREE
Keep one step ahead of injury risks and fatigue this spring
1 FITNESS BEATS STRESS
Feeling the strain of office life, with all its suffocating deadlines and awful coffee? Get outside and run at lunchtime. University of Basel scientists studied a group’s reaction to stress while following an exercise programme, and found that participants’ perception of stress and cardiovascular risk facts were moderated by corresponding fitness levels. Proof that running is the best stress-buster in all seasons. 2 TRAIN YOUR GREY MATTER Brainiacs at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in America have confirmed what many of us already believed – running helps you stay smart. The researchers divided study participants into two groups; one completed regular aerobic exercise over a six-month period, while the other performed a stretching regime. Both types of exercise improved brain function in the temporal lobe – which supports short-term memory – but the aerobic activity group’s total brain volume was higher afterwards.
3 LESS IS MORE
Strip back your running shoes’ cushioning and aim to land on the balls of your feet to help avoid injury, University of Exeter exercise scientists advise. Researchers compared forces acting on runners’ feet when they hit the ground in regular running shoes and in more minimalist trainers, with those in lighter shoes having a much diminished ‘loading rate’ compared to others. Basically, landing on your forefoot rather than your heel lessens the impact of your foot strike. 4 HARNESS THE POWER OF HERBIVORES Vegetarian athletes are often warned they miss out on vital fitness-boosting proteins, but Arizona State University researchers have dispelled that myth. They tested the VO2 max and strength of both veggie and omnivore athletes, as well as analysing their food diaries. Results showed that the vegetarians’ cardiorespiratory fitness was greater than their omnivorous counterparts, proving that meat-free diets may improve aerobic capacity.
5 BULK UP YOUR BONES
Long-distance running – with all its repetitive high-velocity – must be bad for your bones, right? Wrong: new research from the University of Leeds reviewed 46 studies on the relationship between exercise and osteoarthritis. The runners in the study had one of the lowest risks of developing the bone disease out of all the activities tested, so there’s no reason to hold back. Brush off any niggling concerns and get out there!