Will weights work make you a fastermarathoner? Can strength training improve your time-trial cycling time?The answer has always been anindisputable ‘yes’. After all, specialisedresistance training can improve endurance,strength, help prevent injury and evenboost technique through targeting weakmuscles. Anecdotal evidence, however,shows that it can be tough to balance bothforms of activity and the latest sportsscience may reveal why.
The research from James CookUniversity in Australia shows that includingweight training in your routine isn’t enough– endurance fitbies must consider howmuch recovery they take between activities.Why? Because tiredness from weighttraining can reduce endurance sportsperformance if adequate recovery isn’ttaken.
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And you may need more downtimethan you think – the scientists found thatphysiological stress from strength trainingcan continue for several days post session.So should you ditch weighted movescompletely? No, it’s still good for yoursports performance. But you must considerthe order of your training, how intenseeach activity is and the amount of recoveryyou include in your regime if weighttraining is to improve, and not hinder, yourperformance. There’s no set method – howlong it takes to recover from weighted workwill be based on your unique physiology.
If you’re looking for something a bit fun and different to spice up your exercise routine, why notgive Speedgolf a go? It’s the new (and fitbies might say improved) golf spin-off that requires youto run the distances between each stroke and hole. At the end, you add your total time and thenumber of strokes and that’s your final score – the lower the score the better! You’re allowedto carry up to seven clubs in your hand or in a small bag (no caddies or buggies allowed!),but obviously less weight and bulk equals faster running. Competitive Speedgolfer GeorgeBoxall recommends beginners try not to run too fast and that you take your time with yourshots and don’t forget to watch where your ball’s going.Don’t worry if you’ve never played golf before – this game may be played individually incompetitions but, if you’re just after a bit of fun, you can play in a pair or as a team with a smallgroup of friends. Cue plenty of fun and slightly breathless banter. Just make sure you read therules before you set out to avoid being clobbered by balls! Check out britishspeedgolf.co.uk.
THE FUTURE OF FITNESS
Today, a whopping nine million of us are members of a gym or fitness studio. Wespend a lot of money on our wellbeing, with Londoners forking out an impressive£601 a year on gym memberships and those in Leeds investing £1,307 on theirhealth*. But with numerous leisure centres coming with contractual obligationsand a select variety of classes, there’s been a shift towards a more flexible gymmembership in the form of subscription services that provide access to a range ofactivities, from yoga to swimming to HIIT workouts. Take Move GB (movegb.com),a fitness membership that provides full admission to a third of UK gyms. For £16.95per week, for example, members in London have unlimited access to a huge rangeof sweat sessions at 550 venues. With more of us seeking variety in the way we workout, this could be where fitness is heading.
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