Kids Thrive in Nature

Many adults have fond memories of meandering in meadows or weaving through local forests when they were children. It turns out that playing in nature positively affects physical and mental development in children, according to a recent review of 16 studies involving a total of 711 healthy children ages 2–12 from various locations worldwide. University of South Australia researchers in Adelaide conducted the systematic review to evaluate evidence that might support the claim that playing in nature benefits child health and development. Concerns are arising as, anecdotally, fewer children worldwide…

Prehab: A Potential Fit Pro Opportunity?

Prehabilitation—or “prehab,” as it’s frequently called—turns out to be a good investment of both time and money. And fitness pros are uniquely positioned to offer this service—encouraging patients to move more, eat a healthier diet, cut back on tobacco, breathe more deeply, reduce stress, and focus on their goals for after the operation. A University of Michigan follow-up study, published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (2019; 230 [3], 306–13), confirmed that a prehab program reduced total medical costs related to patient care and shortened hospital stays…

High-Quality Evidence for Tai Chi’s Benefits

If you’re serving clients with chronic conditions and you’re not offering tai chi practice, you may want to network with a local practitioner to refer clients for cross-training benefits. Tai chi has proved to be a safe, effective and enjoyable training method for overall health improvement among adults with numerous chronic conditions, according to a review of  42 review studies reported in Disability and Rehabilitation (2020; doi:10.1080/09638288.2020.1725916). “High-” and “moderate-quality” evidence indicates that tai chi practice can significantly benefit adults with conditions like heart disease, cancer, depression, lower-back pain, osteoarthritis,…

Tapering for Resistance Training: Less Is More!

Endurance athletes have used tapering for years; now there’s evidence that exercise enthusiasts and strength and power athletes can benefit from tapering phases in their resistance training (RT) programs. So, is tapering right for your clients? And when it comes to RT, can less work lead to more success? Here’s what the research tells us. What Is Tapering? Tapering is a strategically planned recovery period that occurs after a heavy training block and is often used prior to an athletic competition or at the start of a competitive season (Murach…

Periodization for Maximizing Hypertrophy

Much of the periodization literature to date has centered on the strength outcomes and sports performance of athletes striving to balance the needs of practice, conditioning and competition (Bartolomei et al. 2014). But many recreationally active clients seek to gain muscle size in personal training sessions, and few studies have evaluated whether a periodization model should be used in a hypertrophy-focused resistance training program for these fitness enthusiasts. This article highlights the best research available to help answer an important question: Should you periodize a client’s RT plan to maximize…

Core Training for Kids

There’s a tremendous need, now more than ever, to hook kids on fitness and equip them with good lifestyle habits. A child’s growing body needs regular movement in order to function optimally. Since the core is essentially “ground zero,” it’s a fitting place to start, because strong core muscles assist with posture and reduce the chance of injury. The key to a healthier tomorrow is to be proactive and get kids involved today. Regardless of whether your facility offers a class specifically for kids, as a certified group fitness instructor…

Build Fitness Without Demolishing Joints

High-impact exercises—such as burpees, jumping jacks and other moves that get both feet off the ground simultaneously—can help to build strength and endurance and shed fat quickly. As a result, they’re often incorporated into high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, which have gained recognition because they burn an impressive number of calories in a short time and boost metabolism for up to 48 hours after the workout’s over, through the afterburn effect. But HIIT doesn’t necessarily need to include ballistic movement to be effective. Low-impact exercises can be used instead to…

Training Loads for Women Over 40

Personal trainers often have female clients over the age of 40 who have similar complaints about losing muscle mass and gaining body fat. Although these changes aren’t unexpected and can be a normal part of the aging process, they are not inevitable. In fact, the right resistance-training program can positively affect body composition by reducing fat, maintaining and building muscle, and increasing strength in this population. One of the primary reasons a woman’s body changes with age is because estrogen levels decline (Collins et al. 2019). Estrogen is vital to…