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Summer is quickly approaching. A change in season calls for a change in workouts, and there are a few key things to keep in mind with higher temperatures and more sun. David Higgins, a performance fitness coach who leads the fitness program at Chateau Lou Casteou in the South of France, has five key fitness tips for a fit summer that every runner should know.
ROLL IT OUT
Myofacial release, massage and foam rolling, prior to exercising, allows the muscle to breath and feed better, enhancing stamina by up to 10%.
Myofacial Release is foam rolling or massage, which manually stretches the muscle fibers, more so than a static muscle stretch. It aids in lymph drainage and improves circulation through the muscle, making it more efficient. It also improves efficiency of the body, in removing the bi-products of exercise such as lactic acid. Massage has been around since before the Greek Empire—foam rolling is just unassisted massage.
Anaerobic exercise is less efficient and requires more energy per minute of exercise—if you are pushed for time and have good fitness then go anaerobic (power and strength).
Anaerobic exercise (without oxygen) is less efficient than aerobic exercise (requiring oxygen) because it requires more energy per second. Anaerobic exercises are generally power and strength exercises, for example sprinting rather than jogging; you will require far more energy (ATP) to sprint 100m rather than jog it. Unfortunately you need a good level of aerobic fitness (lungs and circulation) for you to safely train anaerobically.
HYDRATION ALLOWS FOR BETTER HOMEOSTASIS
Fuel the body prior to exercise and maintain good hydration throughout—allowing for better homeostasis.
Homeostasis relates to the chemical reactions that happen in your body, in this case for the production of energy. Water is the solution that these chemical reactions take place in. If you are thirsty then you are already dehydrated, if your muscle is fatigued then you are again late in providing it with energy. Fuel up before, during and after exercise to make sure your body reacts in its most efficient manner.
FREE WEIGHTS AID THE KINETIC CHAIN
Use free weights. This encourages more muscle to be utilized through the kinetic chain and challenges your core.
The kinetic chain is the integrated use of many muscles in a movement or exercise. For example if you were doing a standing overhead press with some dumbbells as opposed to a seated overhead press on a fixed machine, your body would need to recruit many more muscles for the standing overhead press with dumbbells. The main moving muscles would be the same for both types of exercise—the deltoids and the triceps—but the free weights requires you to use your fixating or stabilizing muscles. Your legs and glutes stabilize your position from the floor (they are engaged but not moving), your core muscles are engaged to provide a strong base for the moving muscles above.
STRETCH IT OUT
Stretch before and after exercise will help prevent muscle pulls and aid in recovery. Each stretch should be for a minimum of ten seconds.
Stretching helps prevent injury. Static stretching is essential prior to exercise because it warns you if a muscle is tight and therefore more susceptible to injury often in the form of a pulled muscle. A dynamic stretch post static stretching, for example lunging prior to a sprint race, again helps stretch the muscle fibers. It also improves the blood circulation to the legs by dilating the arteries and veins in the legs, which means more fuel and quicker removal of waste products.