Saturday, April 25, 2015

Core conditioning affects

You might not relate the two together but strength in regards to your core can have a direct impact on your breathing and vice versa. I do recall a study on endurance athletes from 2007 that found by fatiguing the core during racing affected performance by causing more labored breathing. The diaphragm, which is the largest respiratory muscle act as both a stabilizing and respiratory muscle. If your core is weak you'll overtax the diaphragm forcing it pick up some of the slack affecting breathing efficiency or simply making breathing a llittle more difficult. So by strengthening the core you can actually affect a performance gain by breathing more efficiently.

A strong stable core provides more than just breathing performance, during cycling it helps a cyclist apply power from the center of the body providing a strong pillar so the athlete doesn’t have to rely primarily on the quads. It gives a stable platform or launch pad from which the quads can apply power more directly. When a cyclist's core is under conditioned and becomes fatigued they start a lateral rock that can affect the movement of the knees that can lead to injury. This rocking or twisting can also lead to back pain or discomfort as well as a loss of wattage. Toward the end of a long event when fatigue sets in is when all this stability work really pays off.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Your Brain on exercise

Up until recently, scientists thought a 20-year-old's brain was fixed and would never grow again. From then on, it went through a slow, inevitable decay, losing powers of decision making, memory, and multitasking, until an 80-year-old was left with a shadow of the original. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

People have been slow to grasp that exercise can affect cognition, just as it affects the heart and muscles. Scientists are proving just that by using biochemistry, and brain scanning tools. When our muscles contract certain chemicals are released including a compound called IGF-1. IGF-1 then sends signals to elevate other compounds that affect the brain including one called “brain derived neurotrophic factor” or BDNF. This compound builds up its levels with exercise and allows the brains nerve cells to branch out and communicate with each other. The higher the levels of BDNF and the brain appears to have a higher capacity for learning. If the brain’s capacity of BDNF is low it seems to shut itself off to new information says UCLA neuroscientist Fernando Gomez Pinilla.

In a recent study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that neurogenesis in parts of the brain can be induced easily with exercise. The hippocampus, an area that controls learning and memory is one of the first areas of the brain to erode responds well to BDNF’s effects.  Arthur Kramer, a psychologist from the University of Illinois” says “it’s not just a matter of slowing down the aging process but reversing it”. One of Alzheimer’s first targets is the hippocampus and the population that does exercise on a regular basis appears to have a lower ratio of developing the disease. Pinilla says Americans lazy lifestyles may be contributing to their high rates of the disease.

There are numerous biological changes that occur within the brain resulting from exercise. The blood and energy supply improves, active people have less inflammation in the brain, Serotonin, Dopamine, and epinephrine are all elevated after a bout of activity.
Like maintaining Weight mental fitness has to be maintained as well.