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The huge benefits running has on your mental health

Running has huge benefits on your mental health-How running will improve your mental health and boost your mood

Elite point of view

We all know that running has huge positive effects on your physical health, but did you know that while running helps you take care of your body it also is taking care of your mind too!

Runners state that there is no greater feeling than the “runners high”. As you begin to run, your heart starts pumping harder and pushing blood through your body at a faster rate. Your respiratory system starts working harder and you mentally prepare yourself for vigorous exercise. As you continue to push yourself to go harder and faster, your body starts releasing endorphins. These hormones act as a stimulant in the body, resulting in what many call a “natural high.”  Experiencing a “runners high” is said to be one of the best ways to feel happy and relaxed.

Running provides a variety of mental health benefits you might not be aware of such as; stress management, “the sunshine vitamin”, a calmer state of mind, prevention of cognitive decline, better sleep, brainpower boost, increased productivity, greater creativity along with many many more.

Running can reduce stress, depression and anxiety. When you run, endorphins and serotonin are released in your body, these are chemicals that improve your mood.  When you run, blood circulation to the brain is increased and the part of your brain that responds to stress and improves your mood is effected. This causes a change that temporarily improves your reaction to stressful situations.

Running improves your sleep. Running can help set your body to a normal sleep schedule this is because chemicals are released during and after running and these chemicals relax your body and encourage deep sleeping. Studies show that a moderate run can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill. Moving around 5-6 hours before bedtime raises the body’s core temperature and then when the temperature drops back to normal a few hours later it signals that its time to sleep.

The “sunshine vitamin” benefit refers to taking your run outside on a sunny day because it’ll help your body produce vitamin D which is a nutrient that can lessen your likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms. Running outside has additional benefits too as it lessens feelings of loneliness and isolation.

If you’re feeling unmotivated a short run can do wonders for you. Findings have shown that workers who take time to exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their colleagues who are less active. Work can be stressful and tiring but even getting out for a quick walk round the block on your lunch break will help engage your brain for the rest of the day.

A study conducted by Kenneth (1983) surveyed ordinary runners about the psychological aspects of running. Many of the respondents had started running to improve their health, and almost all noted mental and emotional benefits including relief of tension, improved self-image, and better mood. About one half describe trance-like states, enhanced visual imagery, and creative episodes. Two thirds have experienced the familiar “runner’s high” in slightly less than half of their runs.

One of popular areas of the gym here at Elite Fitness is our cardio section which includes treadmills, bikes, cross-trainers, recumbent bikes, a Stairmaster  and a push-mill. Our treadmills have a variety of different programmes to choose from to make your workout a bit more interesting. Our most popular programme is called Sprint 8, this is a level based 20-minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout program that automatically adjusts the exercise intensity to maximise results. This program consists of a warm-up walk, 8 sprints with rest periods between each one and then a cool down walk at the end. There is a range of difficulty levels to chose from ranging from beginner, intermediate, advanced and elite, however you can also create your own custom sprint 8 program. There is also different programmes depending on what your goals are such as; fat burn, rolling hills and interval incline. However, feel free to just jump on the treadmill and press quick start and get those legs moving.

If you’d like to sign up for an organised event we have places available for the Tough Mudder at Badminton, sign up here and join our team for a fun day out.

Another recreational running option is to sign up for the Thornbury Park Run, you can do this here.

The inspiration for this article came from a recent literature review which evaluates the findings from a variety of previous research. Below is a summary of the findings from the review.

The positive effects of running on mental health

The aim of this study was a miniature review of other studies that researched how running effects our mental health and it what way it can improve our mood, boost our self esteem and improve our quality of life. It can be concluded running is a efficient tool in the prevention of different psychological conditions and it can be a therapeutic tool for different negative psychological conditions, such as depression, anxiety, tension, mood changes, low self esteem etc.

If you would like to read the full article click the link below:

Markotić, Vedran, et al.

The positive effects of running on mental health.

Psychiatria Danubina 32.suppl. 2 (2020): 233-235.

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Manipulation of diets and its effect on endurance exercise

Dietary Manipulation and its effect on endurance exercise

How do Low carbohydrate high fat diets (LCHF) effect endurance exercise performance?

Elite point of view

Low carbohydrate high fat diets (LCHF) have received increasing attention among athletes and physically active individuals, especially endurance athletes and are a highly debatable topic in nutrition today. The effect of LCHF diets have been explored within numerous areas of nutrition in the recent years. Many studies have explored the physiological responses towards a LCHF diet and how physiological factors can be altered and affected through the consumption of LCHF diets. Research shows that LCHF diets improve cardiovascular risk factors such as; lowering elevated blood glucose, insulin and saturated fat concentrations, as well as reducing blood pressure and body weight. Since the carbohydrate (CHO) content of this diet is significantly reduced, the relative proportion of energy derived from protein and fat will increase. This therefore leads to an individual’s overall calorie consumption decreasing which leads to weight loss.

Findings show that LCHF diets can enhance endurance capacity, increase recovery from fatigue and prevent muscle and organ damage induced by exhaustive exercise. Endurance is typically defined as a resistance to fatigue. Endurance sports are classified as continuous events of >30 minutes duration, with activities lasting >4-5h being considered as ultra-endurance. Studies dating back to the 1960’s established that one of main factors of fatigue during exercise was substrate depletion, for that reason understanding how nutritional supplements can enhance endurance performance is extremely important. It is often assumed that by increasing fat oxidation we may reduce glycogen breakdown and in turn enhance endurance performance. By consuming high fat diets it increases fatty acid availability which can be used as the main energy source, meaning our bodies will have spare muscle glycogen stores. After the body adapts to a high fat diet, the bodies ability to use fatty acids instead of carbohydrates increases because of an adaptation in the muscle cell.

There is no agreement in the current literature on what classifies as a LCHF diet. However we can assume that when an individual consumes 130g CHO/day and above this is classed as a moderate CHO diet as it accounts for 26%-45% of daily kcal intake, therefore anything below this will count as a low CHO diet. Within studies exploring LCHF diets, LCHF diets are classed as “those that restrict CHO intake to 130g/day or less”. This is the same as <26% of total energy intake (TEI). Other examples of LCHF diets are the ketogenic diet and the Atkins diet.

The ketogenic diet (KD) is a very low CHO diet that may induce ketosis in some individuals. Ketosis is a process that happens when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy so instead it’ll burn fat and produce things called ketones which it’ll then use for fuel. A ketogenic diet is typically said to be a consumption of 20-50g CHO/day or less than 10% of daily kcal. Overtime when an athlete consumes a LCHF or KD diet their body will adjust to using ketone bodies as their main fuel, therefore consuming a LCHF diet brings about ketosis. This is important as fat and ketone bodies can quickly provide energy making ketones the most efficient energy source. As ketone bodies have the potential to provide a fast energy supply that is consistent they have the ability to increase exercise performance and capacity . The ketogenic diet is seen as favourable within the endurance exercise community as it brings about metabolic changes that enhance performance levels in ultra-endurance sport such as marathons and triathlons.

Coaches who are contemplating recommending LCHF diets to their endurance athletes should make sure their athletes review their personal experiences to evaluate how important carbohydrates  are in relation to their goals before switching their diets, as findings show that one diet does not suit the individual metabolic profiles of everyone. However, the findings show that practitioners can be reassured that LCHF diets are safe in terms of weight loss in athletes and still provide adequate nutrition.

Sports practitioners may find the results of this research valuable as the findings show us that when practitioners recommend exercise prescriptions and dietary recommendations there are many factors that need to be considered. This includes the athletes specific exercise goals such as; duration and intensity, to facilitate a training plan that will obtain the ultimate substrate oxidation adaptations relevant to enhance endurance exercise performance.

If you want to learn more about nutrition and how to make the most of yours, we offer nutrition sessions which you can book here.

Summary of Study – “Ketogenic low‐CHO, high‐fat diet: the future of elite endurance sport?

The ability of ketogenic low‐carbohydrate (CHO) high‐fat (K‐LCHF) diets to enhance muscle fat oxidation has led to claim that it is the ‘future of elite endurance sport’. Therefore the aim of this study was to review previous literature with the focus on three issues: 1. Do maximal rates of fat oxidation achieved by K-LCHF transfer to performance benefits in endurance sport?; 2. What is the apparent time course of ‘keto-adaptation’? and 3. Could strategies that periodise K-LCHF with high CHO availability provide alternative models for performance benefits? The review focuses on applications to the metabolism and performance of elite endurance athletes. This study shows that LCHF diets induce certain adaptations within the body that can be beneficial for endurance exercise performance.


If you would like to read the full article click the link below:

Burke, L.M., 2021.

Ketogenic low‐CHO, high‐fat diet: the future of elite endurance sport?. The Journal of physiology599(3), pp.819-843.

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Hiking benefits, Heart, Body and Mind

Hiking benefits, Heart, Body and Mind

The benefits of hiking and why you should do more of it.

Elite point of view

Regular physical activity is good for your health and can lengthen your life; however the problem at the moment is that the majority of people are not getting enough of it. Exercise can come in many different forms. Exercise doesn’t have to mean that you spend long hours indoors confined within the gym walls. Hiking is a fun activity that not only helps you achieve the recommended physical activity guidelines but you can also break up your repetitive workout routine. By being outdoors in the fresh air and with nature you can get away from the stresses of daily life.

Being out in the sunshine and fresh air can do wonders for your mental health. It can help reduce your stress levels and calm your anxiety. The time outdoors in the sun will also increase your vitamin D levels. Higher levels of vitamin D have been shown to help prevent many types of cancer.

You should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise nearly every day of the week. A steady two-mile hike is enough to meet this goal, but even walking at a more comfortable pace can have short and long-term benefits for your health. The recommended daily step goal to reach is 10,000.

Physical exercise helps release endorphins, which help relieve pain and stress, as well as increasing levels of dopamine and serotonin in our body, which boost your mood and sense of well-being.

When done regularly, hiking may improve your productivity, outlook and attitude to life, focus your thoughts and clear your head.

Hiking can also aid weight loss. Not only can it help you lose weight but it can also then help to keep it off. Walking or climbing over uneven terrain uses 1/3 more energy than walking over flat ground which also results in better sleep.

The Brecons Hike is one of Elite Fitness’ 2022 events taking place on Sunday 24th April. The hike is 10 miles and there will be mixed ability groups taking part and nobody will be left on their own. It’s a fun and social way to exercise and meet new people whilst enjoying the outdoors. With all that you now know about the benefits of hiking why not sign up HERE now and come along!

I recently read an article backing up much of what was discussed above. Here’s a summary of that study.

‘Benefits of Hiking: A means-end approach on the Appalachian Trail’

The purpose of this research was to examine the outcomes prompting hiking along the Appalachian Trail (AT). By using means-end theory, linkages between attributes, consequences, and values of the AT hiking experience were made.

The researchers conducted 43 interviews of AT hikers. Self-fulfillment, self-reliance, fun and enjoyment of life, and warm relationships with others were some of the values that emerged.

Specifically, strong links existed between hiking and exercise, exercise and health, health and fun and enjoyment of life. While this area of research on the AT is new, results of this study can be used by recreational professionals that work with the AT or other hiking trails to promote appropriate use of natural resources.

Data from this study revealed a number of concrete attributes among hikers such as the trail, being outdoors, scenic beauty, and interactions. These basic motives are what initially attract hikers, the hiker then hopes to gain by-products such as health, peace, physical challenge, and environmental awareness.

Information from this study can help recreation professionals as they continually strive to increase awareness of benefits of outdoor recreation while implementing programs that specifically target development of those benefits.

Hill, E., Goldenberg, M. and Freidt, B., 2009.

Benefits of hiking: A means-end approach on the Appalachian Trail. Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism, & Recreation Research2(1).

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Are children exercising enough?

Are children exercising enough? – The decline in fitness and physical education lessons in UK adolescents

Elite point of view

Over the past few years we have seen a decline in the amount of physical activity that young children and adolescents do, especially in school PE lessons. To stay healthy it is currently recommended that children and adolescents do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. However, now only 21% of boys and 16% of girls in England are meeting current recommendations. A report by the world health organisation (WHO) concluded that 80% of children between the ages of 11 and 17 years old aren’t physically active enough. Due to the lack of involvement in physical activity, major health implications can occur, resulting in a higher risk of obesity and diabetes. Research has also shown that this can impact children’s mental health and well-being along with their academic performance during school.

Due to the rapid advance in technology over the past decade children have access to a wider range of screens such as; phones, computers, game consoles and many more. Therefore screen time has contributed to the decline in children exercising as its become a significant barrier to children getting involved in sport.

The five major components of health-related fitness are; cardiorespiratory endurance/fitness , body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility. The importance of achieving a physically active lifestyle that incorporates activity of a high enough intensity in adolescence, to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and musical strength is vital for healthy development because muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) are related to cardiovascular disease. Muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness may be vital for achieving better cardiovascular and metabolic health, and for reducing the risk of diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity in later life. Cardiorespiratory endurance is one of the most important components of physical fitness. This refers to the ability to perform dynamic exercise involving large muscle groups at moderate to high intensity for prolonged periods.

Sport during school is critical because sporting skills, strength, power and fitness are built in all young people. However, recent studies show that physical activity declines with age, especially when children make the transition from primary to secondary school. The findings from this article show that over the last six years muscle strength, cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle power have dropped. The changes in these health related fitness measures corresponded with a reduction in physical activity through taught PE hours across secondary schools in the UK.

Findings from todays data shows that very few children and adolescents are meeting the recommended activity guidelines. One factor contributing to this is the reduced opportunities for young people to be physically active. Data suggested that even though the amount of physical activity being taught through the school curriculum is declining, school is where the majority of PA is performed by children and adolescents and that this is largely in PE lessons. These PE lessons provide young people with the opportunity for regular PA and provide greater exposure to vigorous forms of PA. Therefore a programme of monitoring should be a priority in all school-age children and adolescents and interventions could be swiftly established in schools, which focus on increasing PE lessons frequency and duration.

We have the facilities here to help. We offer student memberships for children from age nine upwards. We have a wide range of other opportunities here at Elite Fitness that will get your child taking part in sport and fitness, these include; the variety of daily classes taught by our personal trainers (PT), one-to-one sessions with our PTs and some gym facilities such as; the cardio section, functional area and private fitness studio.

If you are a member of elite fitness you can bring your child with you to your gym session if they are 9-15 years old for £1 through our “Quid a kid” scheme. This way you still get your gym session in and your child can do take part in exercise and have some fun. It also gives them an opportunity to learn new skills and fitness movements in a safe and fun environment

Summary of Study – “Declining fitness and physical education lessons in UK adolescents”

The aim of this study was to determine recent trends in health-related fitness (HRF) in secondary school students. Over six years the 13 and 14 year olds were studied repeatedly whilst looking into national trends in physical education (PE).

A number of fitness tests were conducted which included; height, weight, broad jump, grip strength, 20m shuttle run and throwing and catching skills. These were all tested using standardised techniques. The number of PE lessons reported in the annual census for all UK secondary schools were also analysed.

Over the years the results from the fitness tests declined parallel with a reduction in secondary school PE. The study concluded that declines were observed across all young people.

If you would like to read the full article click the link below:

Weedon BDLiu FMahmoud W, et al

Declining fitness and physical education lessons in UK adolescents

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Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and overall fitness

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and overall fitness

Elite point of view

Have you ever wondered how a stressful day can impact your health? People often assume that the biggest effect stress has on you is on your mind. However, recent studies have shown that it can have an impact on your physical health too. Monitoring your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) may be the piece of data that could help reduce the impact. A stressful day could affect your workouts and exercise for up to several days after. Therefore, we should be thinking ahead. For example, if there’s anything you can do today that would improve your ability to perform better physically tomorrow this would decrease the knock on effect that stress and negativity can have on your week moving forward.

Heart Rate Variability is a measure of the variation in the time interval between heart beats. Measuring HRV is important because it gives you an indication of how your automatic nervous system (ANS) is doing. The ANS regulates certain body processes, such as blood pressure and the rate of breathing. The healthier the ANS the faster you are able to switch gears, showing more resilience and flexibility, therefore, the higher the HRV the better.

A high HRV is associated with general fitness and sufficient recovery, and a low HRV is associated with too much stress or overtraining. A low HRV can be a sign that your body is spending too much time in a heightened state of stress. Studies show that a low heart rate variability could result in an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. While that doesn’t mean that a low HRV causes these issues, it might be an indication that certain lifestyle choices (alcohol consumption, poor diet, lack of sleep, etc.) play a role in increasing the risk factors for such health issues.

The most effective way to improve your HRV is through regular exercise a few times per week. While exercise is a stressor, it helps the body to repair, adapt and come out stronger on the other side. That adaptation is what improves your response to physical stimuli, leading to an increased HRV. Typically it should take 30-60 days until you see an increase. Types of exercises that can aid in increasing HRV are; long distance walking, high-intensity workouts such as CrossFit, lifting heavier weights, meditation and taking part in yoga and pilates, however, any type of regular exercise can lead to an increase in HRV. We have workouts and programmes available for you to achieve this. However, don’t forget you can implement other tactics into your daily routine to increase HRV such as, controlling your mental stress, eating a healthy balanced diet, getting a good sleep and getting outdoors.

Although tracking HRV can’t help you avoid stress all together it can help you to understand how to respond to stress in a healthier way. This can help create more awareness of how you live and think and how your behaviour can affect your nervous system and bodily functions. It is intriguing to see how HRV changes as you merge more mindfulness, meditation, sleep, and especially physical activity into your life. Why not give it try? Many modern fitness watches such as Apple watches can track your HRV. Third party apps and devices can also track HRV such as the health app found on iPhones. Next time you’re training in the gym or taking part in a class, why not track your workout and monitor your HRV throughout the session.

Summary of Study – “Influence of a 100-mile ultramarathon on heart rate and heart rate variability”

In recent years, when it comes to endurance sports, the heart rate variability (HRV) has been prioritised in order to enhance the timing and intensity of training for maximum preparation for competition. Studies show that HRV could be a the way to evaluate recovery.  HR is controlled by the Autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS is divided into two , the sympathetic (SN) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS),  also known as the fight-or-flight mechanism and the relaxation response.

Persistent instigators such as stress, poor sleep, unhealthy diet, dysfunctional relationships, isolation, and lack of exercise can disrupt the balance between the SN and PNS and your fight-or-flight response can shift into overdrive.  If a person’s system is in fight-or-flight mode more often, the variation between subsequent heartbeats is low. If one is in a more relaxed state, the variation between beats is high.


This study aimed to investigate the impact of an ultramarathon with a distance of 100miles on heart rate (HR) and HRV. 28 runners underwent 24-hour Holter ECG monitoring 1 week before the ultramarathon, immediately after the ultramarathon and after a week of recovery. The influence of HR and HRV on the run time and recovery was investigated.

The present results show that a 100-mile run leads to an increase in sympathetic activity and thus to an increase in HR and a decrease in HRV. These results show that during a ultramarathon influences such as fatigue and exhaustion occur and lead to a reduction in the athletes HRV, this is turn affects their recovery time post event.  Heart rateThis can be dangerous to an athlete, firstly because long periods of recovery time can  lead to training reversibility. Additionally, previous research has shown a low HRV is associated with worsening of depression or anxiety as well as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Therefore appropriate and adequate training must take place to increase an athletes HRV.

Research shows that regular endurance training leads to an increase in HRV and people who have a high HRV may have greater cardiovascular fitness and be more resilient to stress.  Through measuring these variables the results showed that the HR and HRV values are useful to evaluate recovery after such an extreme exertion as an ultramarathon.

These findings will allow athletes to establish new training possibilities for endurance sports.  HRV can also provide personal feedback about your lifestyle and help motivate those who are considering taking steps toward a healthier life.

If you would like to read the full article click the link below:

Paech CSchrieber SDaehnert I, et al

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Eating disorders amongst male team sports

Prevalence of eating disorders on male team sports players

Eating disorders (EDs) are classified as a mental illness, and they are defined as a set of psychological disorders that generate dysfunctional attitudes, behaviours and strategies regarding food intake or absorption.

In general terms, EDs are characterised by an unusual concern about body weight and body image that can become the focus of daily life, reducing the interest in other aspects of life. Thus, EDs are a threat to the physical and psychological well-being of the person, leading to physical illness or even death.

Furthermore, in the case of athletes, it is known that the physical imbalance derived from an ED can be even worse due to the regular practice of physical exercise with low availability of energy and nutrients. Furthermore, the development of an ED in these subjects will drastically alter their performance, with psychological and social consequences.

However, the prevalence of EDs in sport is not yet known, although it is known that the risk of EDs is higher than in the general population. In this sense, scientific evidence showed that the prevalence of EDs is higher in females, adolescents and athletes-competing in aesthetic sports, weight categories, gymnasium and endurance.

Therefore, men practising team sports are usually excluded from the population considered at high risk for ED development. This exclusion may be questioned based on the following considerations: (1) current information regarding EDs in sports is insufficient, especially in the case of male team sports players ; (2) several investigations warn about a potential under diagnosis of EDs in men; (3) there is previous evidence of relevant concern regarding body image in team sports players and there are previous studies that do not find differences in the risk of EDs between these and other athletes generally accepted to be at high risk of these pathologies and (4) it is not yet known with certainty whether the team acts as a protective factor or as a risk factor for the development of EDs.

Therefore, this research is proposed to determine the prevalence of EDs in men who practise team sports. An observational study was conducted with 124 football, rugby, volleyball, handball, water polo, baseball and hockey players ranging between 18 and 55 years old. All subjects signed the informed consent before participating in the study. Data were collected via an online form including four validated questionnaires: The Eating Habits Questionnaire for Athletes, the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-40), the Eating Disorders Inventory-2 and the Body Shape Questionnaire. Data analysis was conducted with the software IBM SPSS V.23.0.0.

The results from this research showed that 18.5% of the population presented a clinical profile compatible with an ED diagnosis. This study concluded that male team sports players may be a high-risk group in the development of EDs and that young age, semi-professional sporting status and body fat composition could influence the EDs development within male team sports players populations.

Findings from this research provide a new indication that men who practice a federated team sport, despite having been excluded from the populations considered especially vulnerable to EDs, could constitute a high-risk group for this type of pathology. This finding highlights the need to modify the current classification of ED risk groups within the sports field and develop and implement specific prevention, early detection and treatment actions in the studied group. In this sense, it seems that special attention should be paid to younger players, semi-professional categories and players with BMI ≥25 or body fat percentage 25.

Elite point of view:

What do you think of this research ? Can the results be generalised to the whole population when this research only represents 124 people? Are 4 questionnaires sufficient when gathering data on such an important situation? Athletes who compete at higher level for example those who represent the semi-professional players in this sample could be particularly vulnerable to EDs. Baldó and Bonfanti give an explanation for this, why do you think this could be ?

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Physical fitness in patients with CANS

Health related physical fitness in patients with complaints of hand, wrist, forearm and elbow (CANS).

Physical fitness with regards to patients with complaints of hand, wrist, forearm and/or elbow and its possible causes is still being explored. The aims of this study were to assess health-related physical fitness (HRPF) in these patients and then to compare HRPF with data from healthy people. They also wanted to explore whether HRPF had any relationship with symptom severity, upper limb function (ULF) and physical activity (PA).

Upper limb disorders, such as complaints of arm, neck and/or shoulder (CANS), occur frequently and may lead to pain and disability. CANS are musculoskeletal complaints of arm, neck and shoulder not caused by acute trauma or by any systemic disease. Therefore, these disorders can result in limitations in a variety of daily activities, such as work, hobbies and sports. To be able to carry out those daily activities, one has to be physically fit.  Therefore the main aim of this  study was to describe health-related physical fitness in patients with CANS. Followed by investigating the similarities and differences between the physical fitness levels of those with CANS and a healthy persons.

This cross-sectional study was performed in the Netherlands, between January 2016 and May 2017. All subjects gave written informed consent. Eligible subjects were outpatients visiting the department, aged ≥18 years and suffering from complaints of hand, wrist, forearm and/or elbow classified as CANS. Subjects did not need to receive treatment for CANS, nor were they excluded if they did.

During a single visit to the exercise laboratory of the department, measurements were taken to assess health-related physical fitness (cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and body composition). Questionnaires to assess demographic, clinical and social characteristics, symptom severity and upper limb function and physical activity were filled out in the week prior to participants visiting the exercise laboratory.

The data from this study show that cardiorespiratory fitness of this sample of patients with CANS was lower than reference values from healthy people, however, hand grip strength and body composition did not seem to differ from reference values. Cardiorespiratory fitness was positively correlated with physical activity. A higher BMI was correlated with greater disability, but most other relationships between health-related physical fitness and symptom severity and upper limb function were low or non-existent. One might interpret very cautiously that, in this sample, levels of cardiorespiratory fitness seem to be determined by physical activity and not by symptom severity nor upper limb function.

physical fitness

Even though the causal relationship is still unknown, interventions to improve physical activity such as the frequency one exercises, how long for and what intensity should be considered.

Suggestions for further research include repetition of a similar study in a larger sample, to explore changes in health-related physical fitness over the course of CANS (from onset to improvement) and to assess the effect of interventions aimed at improving health-related physical fitness (both on physical fitness itself as on symptom severity and upper limb function). The ability to engage in physical activity (eg, work and sports) and the actual duration and intensity there of might also be studied in greater detail.

What do you think of this research? This research concludes that cardiorespiratory fitness was better in people meeting national physical activity (PA) guidelines. Do you think you are reaching the recommended physical activity guidelines? If not, can you try and think of ways you could improve this? If you struggle with CANS, our gym community offers knowledge regarding health and fitness, and our personal trainers can provide workouts tailored specifically to you if you’re experiencing pain in your hands, wrists, forearms, and elbows. We also have in-house physios who you can book in with if you require further treatment.


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Physical education & activity levels

Exploring activity levels in physical education lessons in the UK

Physical education (PE) provides cognitive content and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviours for physical activity and physical fitness. Supporting schools to establish physical education daily can provide students with the ability and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime.

Physical education lessons are a crucial part of the curriculum in schools. When students take part in physical education, they can: increase their level of physical activity, improve their grades and standardized test scores and stay on-task in the classroom. Increased time spent in physical education does not negatively affect students’ academic achievement.

The aim of this study was to establish pupil fitness levels, and the relationship to global norms and PE enjoyment. To measure and describe physical activity levels during secondary school PE lessons, in the context of recommended levels, and how levels vary with activity and lesson typePhysical Education.

Previous research shows students who exercise regularly have a better quality of sleep and are therefore more alert at school resulting in higher levels of concentration. Physical exercise also helps children relieve stress and anxiety as well as teaching children to have improved self discipline. They can implement this self control in all aspects of their life, from controlling their emotions better to being more self motivated with their studies.

Physical activity (PA) promotes positive body image in teenagers, especially amongst women and girls. In this age of social media and societal pressure to look a certain way, this is massively important. PE also helps children to develop their confidence. This can have a positive aspect on all areas of their life, such as their personal relationships and ability to integrate quickly and make friends, to thinking about their future goals.

697 pupils completed a multistage fitness test and wore accelerometers to measure physical activity during PE lessons. Multilevel models estimated fitness and PE activity levels, accounting for school and class-level clustering.

Physical Education

Findings show that PE lessons were inactive compared with current guidelines. There is a clear hierarchy of PE activities, with some differences recorded for moderate-to-vigorous PA and girls-only lessons; however there are more similarities between groups, particularly enjoyment of PE, where regardless of sex, pupils that ‘strongly agreed’ to enjoying PE were fitter than their counterparts.

Regular exercise is vital in the fight against child obesity. We all know the many health problems that are associated with obesity and how important it is to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. Positive exercise habits that are implemented in childhood and adolescence will likely continue into adulthood. This study proposes that if we are to continue to develop a range of sporting skills in schools at the same time as increasing levels of fitness and PA, there is a need to introduce additional sessions of PE activity focused on increasing physical activity.

Its been recommended that teachers must deliver higher physical activity in PE, and reduce sedentary time. This might be through choice of activity, lesson type, or the inclusion of new elements to a lesson to both increase activity intensity and enjoyment. Most importantly the monitoring of physical activity levels in PE and the fitness of all pupils, especially the least fit children in deprived areas, should be considered as part of any future activity action plan or exercise intervention in schools.


Elite point of view:

Do you think there is a sufficient amount of physical activity being taught in schools? Are there ways that physical activity levels could be improved during your child’s school PE sessions? Or do you think during school hours academic subjects should have priority? The question that this article highlights is do you think that your child is getting enough physical activity within their PE sessions at school? If not, do they take part in after school clubs if available?

If your child fails to engage at school for whatever reason, we can help provide one on one and group fitness solutions here at Elite Fitness. We offer memberships starting from age 11 up. We have a range of friendly and knowledgeable personal trainers who are more than happy to give free advice and can offer guidance regarding health and fitness. Even if your child does get some physical activity during school they can always benefit from more; this is where our classes and events are brilliant as they have the added bonus of the social aspect too.

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