Fitness News Roundup: Spring 2021

Get up to date on the latest fitness research and trends.

Photo: Getty Images

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Slam, Bam, Thank You Ma’am

A study reported in the International Journal of Research in Exercise Physiology found that battle-rope exercises effectively overloaded the muscles enough to stimulate improvements in total-body strength and muscular endurance.

The most effective moves? The double-arm slam and outward arm circles.

Poor Fitness = Psoriasis

It makes sense that if you’re unhealthy on the inside, you will look unhealthy on the outside. And indeed, researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found a connection between poor physical fitness and a higher risk of developing psoriasis — a chronic, systemic inflammatory skin disease that is believed to be due to both heredity and external factors.

The study compiled data on more than 1.2 million men who were conscripted to the Swedish Armed Forces between 1968 and 2005. Upon entry, the men all did the same fitness test on an exercise bicycle and were divided into three levels of fitness: low, medium or high.

According to data, the men who were the least fit at the time of the test were at a 35 percent higher risk of developing psoriasis and a 44 percent risk of developing psoriatic arthritis later in life than those who were more fit.

While you can’t control your genetics, you can control your fitness level, so stay active and eat well to look great inside and out!

Fun Fitness Fact: A single muscle fiber is thinner than a human hair and can support up to 1,000 times its weight!

Got Inflammation? Go Work Out.

While it may seem counterintuitive, exercise can actually reduce inflammation in muscle tissue. According to research published in Science Advances, a pro-inflammatory element called interferon gamma has been associated with muscle wasting and dysfunction, but exercising can counter its effect, helping ward off chronic inflammation and protecting your body from disease.

It’s important to note, however, that not all inflammation is bad: Acute inflammation is your immune system’s response to injury and infection, and is the way your body knows it has to begin tissue repair or defend against bacteria. It’s the chronic stuff you have to worry about.

Bump, Set, Spike!

According to recent research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, certain types of exercise are associated with lower rates of premature mortality. Among the top activities listed were stretching, volleyball, cycling and walking.

Researchers note, however, that all exercise is beneficial, so if you love to Jazzercise, by all means keep it up!

Size Matters

Being fit and exercising do not outweigh the dangers of obesity, especially as it relates to heart health. A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology tracked more than 500,000 people over 12 years and found that regardless of activity level, overweight and obese participants had a higher risk for cardiovascular issues than those with a normal bodyweight.

They were also twice as likely to have high cholesterol, four times as likely to have diabetes and five times as likely to have high blood pressure as those who were of normal bodyweight — and who were inactive!

“One cannot be ‘fat but healthy,’” concluded study author Alejandro Lucia, M.D., Ph.D., professor of exercise physiology at the European University of Madrid. “Exercise does not compensate for the negative effects of excess weight.”

Trending on Oxygen Mag