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A Single, Moderate Run Can Improve Your Motor Skill Acquisition


By now, most people know that long-term exercise is associated with a host of positive benefits, including greater cognitive function, mental health, and overall physical health. If you’re still not sure if running is “your thing,” here’s another reason (of which there are SO MANY) that you may want to consider more carefully.

Recently researchers have been looking into the affects of a single moderate intensity aerobic training session, and they have found that a single session can lead to immediate improvements in declarative learning and memory. When researchers at John Hopkins decided to see if these immediate benefits extended to motor learning, they discovered some surprising results.

In a new study published in PLOS ONE,  researchers found that a single half-hour run can boost your “motor skill acquisition.”

Looking at 44 young, healthy adults, participants were split into two groups. In the first group, participants took part in a single 30 minute bout of moderate intensity running. They were then asked to perform a motor learning task. Some completed the task immediately after the 30 minute run, others completed it after they had done the run and also had a long rest period. Others performed the task after slow walking.

The second group took part in multiple days of training. They performed either a bout of running or slow walking immediately before motor learning on three consecutive days, and only motor learning (no exercise) on a fourth day.

Motor skill was assessed using a Sequential Visual Isometric Pinch Task (SVIPT) in which subjects were seated in front of a computer monitor and given a force transducer to hold between the thumb and index finger. Participants were then instructed to move the cursor as quickly and accurately as possible to different areas of the screen. Speed and accuracy were calculated for each subject.

The results? Researchers found that moderate intensity running led to an immediate improvement in motor acquisition for both a single session and multiple session participants, BUT it had no effect on between-day retention. The biggest improvement was found in accuracy, as opposed to speed, and was found to have the greatest affect immediately after exercise. Resting for a period of one hour after exercise diminished the effect.

Basically, moderate intensity exercise can prime the nervous system for the acquisition of new motor skills. This is important because capitalizing on this physiological change could improve the outcomes of movement rehabilitation programs of all kinds.

There are two main theories researchers formed for explaining their findings. Psychological models contend that exercise leads to increased arousal and cognitive resource allocation, which could explain why we see improved performance on cognitive tasks. Neuroendocrinological theories attribute the learning improvements to the fact that exercise causes our brain to release neurotransmitters, hormones, and other neuromodulatory substances that support cognition such as epinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and cortisol. The fact that resting for one hour after exercise negated the effects supports the second theory more strongly.

What’s the takeaway? Timing exercise before rehab could help physical therapy patients improve more quickly. And, if you’re gearing up for an activity that requires accurate motor skills, such as playing a video game, working on your golf swing, or painting an intricate landscape, a quick run might be just what you need.

Get More Out of Every Workout

American’s these days are spending hundreds, if not thousands on personal trainers and specialized classes at the gym. What if there was a simpler way to get tone and get the beach body you dream of. Here are several tips from trainers across the country who speak about simple tips and tricks and can change the way you work out.

1. Every rep counts!

If you are lifting weights, it is important to squeeze out every single rep like it is the first. Skipping out or giving up near the end of the set can make a difference even if it seems as if there is no difference being made.

2. Form over speed

Against popular belief, working out quickly and based on speed is not the best for the body and not the ideal way to build muscle and tone the body. What trainers tend to focus on is the form going into each workout. There is no point of rushing or working out quickly if the form is incorrect. Working out slower and methodical is important to working out the right muscle group, and working them out correctly.

3. Heavy load lifting

Lifting heavy weights does not necessarily mean you will build a bulky body. Eating right and lifting heavy will increase muscle mass and burn more calories. Trainer Randall explained when speaking with Yahoo! Health, “To get toned, there are only two things you can do: lose fat or build muscle, and while you can’t target fat loss in specific areas of the body, you can build muscle in specific spots.”

4. Equipment

What you wear to the gym can in fact make a big impact in the long run. Regular cotton blend clothing does not help regulate body temperature, but polyester blends can help regulate body heat and is proven to improve athletic performance, compared to regular cotton clothing.

5. have fun!

One of the most important tips is to enjoy your workouts. If you are not looking forward to working out it will most likely fall off your to-do list. Creating a steady work out that is both enjoyable and efficient is important to getting the body which is desired.

For more fitness news and updates, please visit Araceli Roiz‘s official website.

Everyone Needs to Work Out, Even The Experts!

Working out comes with many benefits which are self explanatory but also take a toll on the body, mentally and physically. Many do not understand the burden of being a personal trainer or leading a class at a gym.

For the general public, working out is something they do once a day after work, but for a personal trainer, living in the gym is a way of life. Not only do trainers need to focus on their own training regiment, but also need to focus and specialize new workouts for all clients they are working with. Fitness guru Marc Megna speaks about his experiences as a personal trainer, “Then, for the next 13 hours, he educates new members on safe equipment use, performs fitnessassessments, attends meetings, leads group-exercise classes and conducts personal-training appointments. As a trainer, Megna said, he focuses on pushing others toward their fitness goals, not his personal workout.” Megna explains how he must complete his work outs early in the morning around 3AM in order to fulfill his duties as a personal trainer.

Working out in the morning for these trainers and going into teaching themselves different types of training in order to keep their clients happy and in shape. Most of these trainers work 14-16 hours a day to make sure they keep themselves in shape and successfully help others.

Another fitness expert, Penny Needle explained how she prepares for training different customers. “In-demand instructors also put in time outside the gym, preparing routines and playlists to motivate students. Penny Needle, 57, has taught group classes for more than 30 years. Her work requires that she stay on top of fitness trends. “I am constantly doing workshops and continuing education to keep my level of teaching up to standards,” she said. “I have to make my students stay interested and come back.” Like Penny explained, keeping updated with the various and new workout trends is important since she has to learn and teach these lessons which she is not an expert in. Many people believe it is easy being a personal trainer and a walk in the park, but the work they put in is impressive and keeps customers in shape.

You can find more info about Araceli on her main website.