Monday, September 03, 2012

Fit Bits - Fitness News You Can Use from Exercise Etc.

Fit Bits is a monthly newsletter sent to subscribers from the folks at Exercise Etc., providers of high quality, cost effective continuing education programs to personal trainers, athletic trainers, group fitness instructors, dietitians and physical therapists, since 1993.

This is the Fit Bits research summary for August 15th, 2012.

Personal Training Careers Strong During Tough Economy

The economy is tough right now, but one career that seems be doing well despite the dismal news is personal training. From 2001 to 2011 the number of trainers working out in the field grew by 44% while the overall numbers in other field dropped by 1%.

With the obesity rate climbing, potential clients should be readily available. Fitness centers and health clubs have added about 10 million members since the recession began in 2007. However, the field has its cons. While some like a job that is not 9-5, the hours can be erratic and sparse. The median hourly wage is currently less than $15 per hour, so the pay can be a challenge. The field is not as closely regulated, so the variety in knowledge one trainer has as compared to another can vary greatly. Some states, such as New Jersey, Washington DC, Maryland, and Georgia are actually pushing for licensing laws that would require a 4 year degree in Exercise Science in order to personal train.

Right now, there are many options, but one thing to consider is that personal training is a customer service field. Human skills are important as well as the knowledge of the field.

Rampell, Catherine, "A Jobs Boom Built on Sweat in an Age of Belt-Tightening." New York Times Online. June 30, 2012.

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Special Considerations for Exercise During Pregnancy

The biggest risk factor for maternal and fetal complications that obstetric physicians notice is being overweight during pregnancy. The mother's extra pounds increase the possibility of fetal distress, congenital abnormalities, and the need to being admitted to neonatal intensive care.

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends the best time for a pregnant overweight client to begin exercising is the 2nd trimester. The warm up should last 10-15 minutes of gentle activities such as stretching or slow walking. Aerobic and resistance training should follow if cleared by her physician followed by a 10-15 minute cool down.

For cardio intensity, the RPE should be 12-14 on the 6-20 Borg scale, and the frequency and intensity for the obese pregnant client should be less than the ACOG guidelines with gradual progression to the recommendations. This means to begin with 15-25 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 days per week as tolerated.Indoor activities are best to decrease fetal stress due to environmental conditions. Although the pool is fine, these women will get more metabolic benefit from weight bearing activities since the goal is to control obesity during this time frame.

Strength training should include core, lumbar, pelvis, and overall body strength although very little research has been done in this area. However the research currently out there suggests that about 15-30 minutes of strength training is beneficial especially in the control of gestational diabetes. Follow the recommendations of the physician for sets and reps.

And finally, remember to modify exercises as the pregnancy progresses and the body continues to change.

May, Linda, PhD., "Part 3: Special Considerations for Exercise During Pregnancy." American College of Sports Medicine Certified News, April – June, 2012, Vol. 22, Issue 2, pp. 4 –-5.

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Comparisons of Clinical Pilates vs. General Exercise for Low Back Pain

With chronic low back pain (CLB) being one of the highest health care expenses, it makes sense to find ways to help clients improve pain and function.Unfortunately, the most effective type of exercise still remains elusive.

One question is, do those clients with CLB need specific exercises or will general exercises be just as effective? Researchers in Australia investigated that very thing. With 87 clients participating with a mean age of 40, each was randomly placed in a group. On group participated in Pilates where they received individualized direction-specific exercise programs prescribed by a physiotherapist. The other group participated in a general exercise program receiving generic sets of exercises that were non-specific.

Interestingly, the individualized Pilates group reported similar benefits as the general exercise group. So, Pilates is beneficial, but so are other exercises. So, it all boils down to what the client will do, what they will stick with, and what they enjoy that may benefit their back pains.

Wajswelner, H. et al., "Clinical Pilates vs. General Exercise for Chronicle Low Back Pain: Randomized Trial." ACSM Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 44, No. 7, July 2012, pp. 1197-1205.

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The Mind Body Connection: Exercise and Cognitive Function

Many of us fitness professionals try to help our clients with balance and gait to improve walking. However, more and more studies are showing that gradual deficiencies in gait can be a sign of early stage of dementia or Alzheimer's.

Researchers at the University of Calgary found that higher levels of aerobic fitness in older adults are associated with improved cognition, better ability of the oxygen to perfuse into the brain, and the blood vessels of the brain to respond to these stimuli... bottom line, better blood circulation to the brain leading to better oxygen circulation.

All of this is interesting since less than 5% of North Americans older than 60 years of age are getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 days per week. As the researchers state, exercise may be the least expensive, most practical way to stave off dementia while helping with other disease control as well.

So, keep an eye on your clients whose gait is changing, take a look at their activity and pay attention to their ability to remember and communicate.Exercise could be the best medicine!

Catharine Paddock PhD. (2012, July 16). "Gait Changes May Signal Cognitive Decline, Presage Alzheimer's." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
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