HIIT Training: Lose Weight Like Magic

You have already got the idea that intervals training is the sure-success key for cardio. If you want to burn fat, that is, as opposed to end up with chunky fat aerobics instructor syndrome. And perhaps you’ve seen my latest article in the Fitness First magazine and want to know more about ideal cardio for fat loss. Either way, I’m guessing that if you’ve been around the traps for even a little while then you can smugly pat yourself on the back, safe in the knowledge that you use intervals to take your workouts to the next level at every chance you get. One minute hard, one minute recovery right? Well, yes, but also – no. As with anything training and fat loss related, true success comes from keeping your body on it’s toes. Mixing things up. And while ‘minute-on, minute-off’ style cardio is certainly far better than endurance if you want to get lean it really is just a starting point. And if you are trying it again and again, certainly your body will start saying NO. So, it is not going to work as it did before.

Then, what are we waiting for? Let’s have a look what exactly an ideal interval training is. Well, for starters, true interval training is officially known as HIIT training – High Intensity Interval Training. And this sure isn’t just any old back and forth on the treadmill while you change tunes on your iPod and check out the latest night-time talent. I can guarantee you that this will supercharge your cardio, burn your fat and you will must say “OMG! It’s a magic”.

So This is How It Works

There are a few key elements that make HIIT training stand out from regular intervals, and the reason for that is the end goal (to maintain an anaerobic state for as much total cumulative time as possible). A proper HIIT workout consists of the following elements:

  • Time – HIIT training must last absolutely no longer than 20 minutes (extra time for warming up and cooling down is okay)
  • A beginner HIIT workout might have as little as 4-6 minutes total ‘work’ time, and an advanced might have up to a 50/50 ratio or beyond
  • Muscle groups – HIIT training uses as many muscle groups as possible, which is why sprinting is preferable to a ‘legs only’ cross trainer (for example)
  • When you really give these workouts with your all efforts, you should absolutely not be doing successive days. You need at least one day in between.
  • Only repeat a certain HIIT program (see below) for a maximum of 6 weeks. Any longer and you’ll start to adapt, so take a week or so off from this style of cardio, and then come back with a fresh HIIT program.

Combining Them Together

A total anaerobic exercise as much as possible, if that is your dream then it stands to reason that your rest times will be increasingly reduced as you advance through your HIIT training programs. As a novice, you might start out with 6-8 repetitions of 30-second sprints, with up to 90 seconds rest in between. After a week or so you’ll notice you don’t really need that much rest and you can gradually reduce down to a 50/50 ratio. If you’ve never really worked hard at your intervals before, did you?, then this is the ideal place to start for your first 6 week block and will also extremely enhance your fitness.

Taking things to the next level will surely further increase your fitness, but it’s also the point at which you’ll really start to chow through the body fat. In this way of training, you are going to burn your complete energy, so be sure to give yourself adequate rest between workouts. Try starting out with 60-second work periods and at least 2 minutes rest time. As before, gradually reduce your rest time until it’s a 50/50 ratio. Just keep in mind not to go beyond 20 minutes total work time, but also be sure to warm up and stretch it out afterwards. The sky is really the limit here, as you can obviously increase your work intensity even once you’ve dropped the rest time as far as possible.

The third (last but not the least) step (now things are going to be really interesting)- we actually start to drop your rest time lower than your work time. Yep, it’s intense, it’s a little bit scary, it’s bound to get your lungs screaming, but it really does blast away the fitness cobwebs like nothing on earth. And – as you can imagine – you’ll be burning fat like sausages on Australia Day. When you come to this stage it’s wise to reduce your total work time to as low as 10 minutes until you slowly become habituated to the higher intensity – or you just might find yourself wiping the floor with, well, yourself. Try to start with 60 seconds work time and 40 seconds rest, and gradually increase the intensity as you drop first the work time, and then the rest. Don’t forget your gym towel – you will need it!

Have gone through any HIIT training before? What’s your preferred approach or is there any way that you could make some changes to maximize your results?

What Type of Footwear Should I Put on For A Mini Trampoline?

The advantage of a mini trampoline is it can be utilized both outside and inside. This begs the particular question then: what type of footwear will be best suited? Will particular footwear wear down the trampoline pad? Would it be safe to jump with your bare feet? How about socks?

We’re here to reply to these kinds of questions once and for all so that you could increase your comfort as well as being safe.

Let’s begin by covering the shoes we recommend you DO use for your small trampoline. Certainly, you should first check with any paperwork that came with your rebounder regarding certain guidelines from the maker.

A set of tennis, running, or cross training shoes are ideal for working out on a small trampoline. They have enough traction on the soles to make sure you do not slide, yet they’re still gentle enough to not cause damage to the trampoline top layer over time. Additionally, these types of shoes provide great support for individuals that have poor arches or perhaps if you find your feet hurt after a round on the small trampoline. These types of shoes were created for bouncing, which will let you stay firm while jumping your way to your fitness goals.

Much better compared to tennis shoes are no shoes. Your own bare feet come with a natural non-slip sole. Additionally, you will be able to experience the subtle adjustments in the surface of the mini trampoline which will let you get used to changes in your jumping sequence. Also, bouncing on your naked feet can help improve your foot muscles that would otherwise not be used while using shoes. It truly is dependent on comfort and choice whether you choose to don tennis shoes or leave your feet bare.

An ideal compromise in between bare feet and footwear come in the form of Vibram FiveFinger shoes. They might look strange, but they definitely do provide you with the non-slip grip of a shoe with all the overall flexibility and subtle motions that are included with barefoot rebounding!

Regarding safety sake, our recommendation is that you don’t use the following when using a little trampoline. You’ll also extend the life span of your trampoline by following these suggestions.

Though it may be inviting to jump with your socks, especially when doing exercises at home, it’s a bad idea. Your socks give the bottom of your feet with no proper grip in any way. The top of the trampoline is sleek also. Add to that the proven fact that you’ll be jumping and twisting on the trampoline and it’s a recipe for disaster.

If we have not previously mentioned it in this posting, then it’s probably not smart to wear on a mini trampoline. We’re discussing stuff like flip-flops, sandals, cleats, boots, dress shoes, high heel pumps, slip-ons, the list can go much more. Use common sense and stick to bare feet or athletic shoes having soft soles while rebounding. It is going to make sure that you as well as your trampoline last for years in the future.

Forget 220 Minus Age

How do you find your target heart rate, the number of beats per minute that shows you’re exercising hard enough to lose weight?

A researcher in the early 1970’s noticed that maximum heart rate decreases regularly with age, giving birth to the “220-age” rule. The rule states that you can determine your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.

The number you get with this formula is your maximum heart rate, the number of beats per minute when chased by a crazed rottweiler. Your target heart rate is a percentage of this maximum value. Stick with me-I’m almost done, there’s a reward at the end.

Let’s say you’re 40 years old and aiming for 70% of maximum:

220-40=180

180 * .70=126 beats per minute

Your target heart rate is 126.

Simple, isn’t it?

The are a couple of problems with this method.

First of all, it’s complicated. You need either math skills or computer help with the formula. And it requires an electronic monitor too-how else will you know your heart rate?

Second of all, it isn’t as accurate as once thought. The accuracy changes with common cold medicines, for example. The accuracy also varies between men and women. And between the young and old.

Yuck.

Forget “220-age”. Instead, assign a number from one to 10 that represents your current exercise intensity. One is very low, three is moderate, seven is very strong… and 10 is maximum. Let’s say you want to exercise at 70% of maximum. Simply go to effort 7-you pick the level, not a machine, or a formula.

Too simple to believe? Amazingly, research has shown this method to be quite accurate. And you don’t need an electronic monitor either.

It’s simple and it works better. How often does that happen? What are you waiting for?

Why Does My Hula Hoop Keep Falling?

Why does your hula hoop keep falling to the ground like gravity just multiplied 10 fold!?

Do you feel like giving up?

Have you thrown your hula hoop across the room in frustration, causing sheer destruction in it’s path?

Well don’t worry, I have been there!

Some people pick it up straight away and can keep it spinning for ages (these were probably the same people you hated at school).

However, us mere mortals can sometimes have a harder time.

Over the past 4 years I have been teaching hula hoop fitness to women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Occasionally some people just can’t seem to get the “knack”… or so they thought! Usually it just takes a bit of tweaking and like magic they can do it!. If you are finding yourself in this position then I’m going to cover some of the possible reason’s why your hula hoop might be falling. Read on…

Reason #1 – It’s The Wrong Size.

If you have one of those kids hula hoops from your local supermarket then FORGET IT! They are far too small and far too light. You need an adult sized weighted hula hoop, you can get these on eBay or Amazon and possibly local suppliers, just type in ‘adult weighted hula hoop’ to Google and see what happens.

Personally I don’t like the really heavy weighted ones (2lbs or over) I have 2 of these and I never use them because of how much they hurt, plus they bruise me, I can usually only waist hoop for 5 or 10 minutes with them.

I recommend the hoops that are 2lbs or under and are wrapped in grip tape (gaffer tape) which is cloth based and sticks to your clothes and skin.

Reason #2 – Wrong Technique!

If you’re struggling to keep the hoop spinning then it could be because you just haven’t got the technique down yet! If you’re stuck in the 50′s and still doing the circular hip movements then you need to get with the times!

Here is the correct technique..

– Stand with one foot in front of the other (doesn’t matter which foot)

– Push the hula hoop with good force around your waist and make sure it’s straight

– Begin rocking your hips forward and back, shifting your weight from front to back foot.

Please try to avoid the big hip circles.. you will NOT have success trying to hoop like that.

Think of it as a push pull movement, pushing forward with your belly and back with your lower back.

Keep the shoulders back and down and head still.. try to avoid flailing!

If the hoop is still falling then try hooping faster. I call it double time hooping.. that should do the trick!

Reason #3 – Your Clothes Are Holding You Back

This one sounds a bit random, but it’s true!

If you are wearing the wrong type of clothing then this won’t come easy to you. Let me give you some examples of clothes to avoid when hooping.

– Loose t-shirts, jumpers, cardigans

– High waisted shorts or jeans

– Sweat pants/workout clothes that are made of nylon or non natural fibers.

Wear some tight fitting clothing like vests or t-shirts and tight pants or leggings made of natural fibers such as cotton. I would recommend as a beginner wearing trainers or something to cover your feet. If the hoop is falling a lot you don’t want some bruised tootsies!

If you want to learn more about how to hula hoop then sign up for my Free Video Course. You won’t be sorry!

Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions or need any help!

Until next time,

Happy Hooping!

Carly

Cindy Crawford – The Next Challenge Review

I have always loved Cindy Crawford’s workout videos and was very excited to start with this one. Cindy Crawford The Next Challenge Workout is just that, a challenging workout that offers one hour of non-repetitive exercise that will entertain you with low-key music while you do a combination of lunges, squats, karate kicks, and jumps.

With this workout video, you will see Cindy Crawford has slowed a lot in her instructions of performing certain exercises. I especially like that like that a glossary was included at the end of the video, which details the correct and incorrect way to do certain exercises. The video starts off with a warm-up followed by an aerobic exercise and a cool down which specifically focused on the back. I really liked the fact that someone included a section on the back, which is usually overlooked in many workout videos. An added bonus in this video is when Cindy works the abs in between each section.

Throughout the workout there are breaks taken periodically (about 15-20 seconds) which is enough time to get a few sips of water or “mop off” as Cindy so wonderfully puts it but doesn’t allow the heart rate to decrease.

I visited Amazon.com and checked out some of the reviews about Cindy Crawford-The Next Challenge and found most of the reviews very positive. Here is what one customer wrote at Amazon.com:

“This tape is about 64 minutes long, which after working out so long you get relieved it is over, because it really it the “next challenge”

The above is the tone most of the customers had who reviewed the Next Challenge video on Amazon.com. Customers feel she has improved with her instructional guides and overall exercise quality.

I was asked by someone once why I needed to watch a workout video over and over again once I have memorized the steps. The only thing I could gather from that question is that they have obviously never worked out to Cindy Crawford’s-The Next Challenge video where Cindy comes across with her “girl next door” appeal that is both calming and encouraging and makes you want to do your very best.

Cindy collaborated up with Radu in this workout video equals a real winner. I sweated, panted, felt my muscles burn, overall I had a real challenging workout. For anyone who is up to a challenge and wants to gain knowledge on how to perform exercises properly I recommend Cindy Crawford-The Next Challenge to you.

Fat Loss Means Intervals!

For many years it was thought that the only way to lose weight and burn fat was to follow a low intensity aerobic programme. But research has shown the opposite. To burn fat and maintain lean muscle mass Interval training is the most effective cardio tool for rapid fat loss.

Continuous aerobic exercise has been used for many years by people trying to lose weight and burn off excess body fat. The theory is that it takes the body 20 minutes to activate the aerobic or glycogen system. But the body’s response is to increase the Stress Hormone “Cortisol”. To counteract this increase, Interval Training is the secret.

High intense sprints or intervals with active rest in between, reduces the amount of Cortisol produced after exercise. Interval Training uses the chemical ATP which burns more fat than the traditional glycogen burning approach.

According to World renowned Strength Coach Charles poliquin there are several disadvantages to aerobic training:

v It reduces aerobic power

v The greater the aerobic base the lower the anaerobic power

v Oxidative stress in outdoor activities – produces Cortisol which oxidises the brain

v Its correlated to osteoporosis

v Alzheimer’s Disease is correlated to aerobic volume

v Increase incidence of mononucleosis

v Lowers the immune system – Triathletes and marathon runners are always ill

v Lowers trace minerals such as Zinc – leads to increased infertility

v Increase Cortisol produced overall

v After 8 weeks muscle mass is lost over body fat

v Slows down the metabolism over time

v Aerobic training is inferior for Fat Loss

Research shows that aerobic training worsens power and strength but strength training improves aerobic endurance.

Below is an example of an Interval Training Programme.

For best effects wear a Heart Rate Monitor:

o Warm up for 5 minutes on a treadmill at a moderate walking pace on a 1% Incline.

o Heart Rate should be above 120- 130 BPM

o Sprint as fast as you can for 45 seconds – Heart Rate should be above 170-180BPM

o Take active recovery by walking for 5 minutes

o Repeat up to 6 times

o Cool down for 5 Minutes by walking until heart rate returns to sub 120BPM .

Lose 30 Pounds in One Month – How to Lose 30 to 40 Pounds in a Month Without Weight Loss Surgery?

For steady results many people opt for the weight loss surgery. But the fact cannot be ignored that such surgery can gift you serious complications in future. To avoid such complications and probable scars it is always advisable that one should opt for healthy measures. Actually, such healthy measures can be cardio workouts, aerobics and low calorie diets. They can help you to lose 30 pounds within a month and that too very easily.

Tips to lose 30 to 40 pounds in a month with weight loss surgery?

1) Low calorie Diet: Losing weight can be a very difficult task. Moreover, if you opt for low calorie diets then you must bear the fact in mind that the result would be temporary. Actually, the moment you return back to your normal eating habits you start gaining weight again.

Here is the list that would help you to pick up the low calorie food items very easily:

* Vegetables are actually almost calorie free. You can opt for broccoli, mushroom, red peppers, watercress, mushroom, boiled potatoes, swede, celery and brussels sprouts.

* Fruits which contain low calories are chayote, melon, apricot, grapefruit and currants etc.

* Meat products which come in very low calories are ground turkey, beef, lean ham, lower fat hot-dogs, white eggs, Canadian bacon and low fat cheese.

2) Cardio Workouts: If you pick up the wrong cardio workouts then instead of getting better results you might end up in lamenting. Thus you need to be very cautious even while selecting the workouts. The best cardio workouts which can help you to lose 30 pounds within a week are as follows:

* Rowing: This is an excellent cardio workout that can help you to develop the strength of your upper body. In fact, this fat burning exercise would help you to lose weight at ease.

* Hiking: This workout can efficiently tone up the lower portion of your body.

* Jogging and Brisk Walking: These work outs have the potential to burn calories at a very steady pace.

* Aerobics: They are simply the most interesting workouts a one can exercise them for long hours without any second thought. Actually, to add more spice you can even add some music in the background. Intensive workout would burn calories in the form of sweat which would ultimately result in weight loss.

What Is Tabata?

Tabata training is an exercise regimen that was based on the study of Prof. Izumi Tabata of the Ritsumeikan University’s Sports, Health and Science Department. He was formerly a researcher of the National Institute for Health and Nutrition in Japan. This training regimen, consists of twenty (20) seconds of ultra intensive exercises, and ten (10) seconds of rest. This is repeated continuously for four (4) minutes and repeated eight (8) times or in eight (8) cycles. This was called the IE1 Protocol and was used originally to study athletes who underwent training regimens.

In the original research, two groups of athletes were observed. One group trained in moderate intensity workouts of about seventy percent (70%)intensity, for five (5) days during a six (6) week period. Each training module lasted for one (1) hour each day. The other group, trained in high intensity workouts for four (4) days per week, for a period of six (6) weeks. Each session lasted for four (4) minutes, at twenty second of high intensity training (170% intensity) and ten (10) seconds of rest.

The result showed the following:

* Group 1 showed remarkable increase in the cardiovascular area (aerobic system); but no result was observed for the anaerobic system or the muscle area.

* Group 2 showed significant increase in both aerobic and anaerobic areas as compared to Group 1.

The Tabata Protocol

Dr. Izumi Tabata is well known for his studies and research on high intensity intermittent training. His past work included, as Training Coach for the Speed Skating Team of Japan. The Head Coach, Mr. Irisawa Kotchi, developed a training program using short bursts of high intensity exercises; followed by short rest periods for the athletes to do. Dr. Tabata was made to analyze the effectiveness of said training regimen, which lead to what is now known as Tabata Protocol.

The regimen includes exercises that can be completed in only four (4) minutes. If the eight (8) cycles are completed, it would be enough to make a fit person exhausted from all the extreme exercises. Before this program came about, there were two (2) types of exercises that were incorporated into the athletes’ exercise program – low intensity exercises for long periods to increase endurance, and; sprinting, that improves the ability to sprint. The latter, had shown to have no effects on endurance and aerobics. Tabata Protocol, meshed the two programs together, for better workout results.

Aerobic and Metabolic Benefits of Tabata

The use of high intensity and high impact exercises, have been shown to improve the performance of athletes. For well trained athletes, increasing the frequency of training, would not yield further improvements. Endurance can be achieve through high intensity training programs. This training regimen had been shown to burn fat more effectively. This may be attributable to the increase in resting metabolic rates. High intensity training also lowers insulin resistance levels, leading to muscle fat oxidation and improvement in glucose tolerance.

Studies have shown that high impact exercises helps improve the insulin level in young healthy men and women as well. It also brings about significant reduction in body fat, as well as leg and trunk fat. This would equate to having these exercises as viable methods for preventing Type 2 diabetes. On cardiovascular diseases, it has been shown that brief intense exercises, can improve the cardio-vascular risk in adolescents and adults alike.

Tabata Interval Workout

The Tabata system may be defined as a method of exercise consisting of intervals that are completed within four (4) minutes. It takes eight (8) rounds of exercises of twenty (20) seconds each, and ten (10) seconds of rest.

This was brought about by the research of Dr. Isuzu Tabata on the effect of exercise protocols in athlete performance. The group discovered a method that produced extra-ordinary results. This method is what is now known as Tabata Protocol/Intervals.

In 1996, Dr. Tabata submitted a research study in the Medical Gazette for Medicine of Science in Sports and Exercise. This was a documentation of the benefits of high intensity intermittent training (HIIT). This research was repeated numerous times. The conclusion was that, four (4) minutes of Tabata Training interval exercises, is better in boosting aerobic and anaerobic capacities, as compared to one hour of endurance exercises.

The Tabata Interval Training workout can be done with all kinds of exercises: boxing, cycling, jumping rope, rowing, running, skiing, and swimming among many others. There is also a variety of equipment that can be used in training: bosu balls, barbells, dumb bells, kettle and swiss balls, own body weight, tubes, and bands and so on.

A Tabata Workout may include the following exercise regimen:

1. Bicycle sprints – good for lower body exercise and for the heart rate

2. Hindu squats – like a traditional squat where you drop your butt until your hands reach the ground

3. Jump lunges – jump using alternate legs to lunge and level up difficulty for cardio factor

4. Jumping rope – can be used with varying feet patterns: high knees, feet together, alternating feet, and others

5. Box jumps – stand and jump in front to the top of the bench then back to the floor

6. Weight bench hop overs – keep both hands at the end of a flat bench; both feet should hop from side to side

7. Mountain climbers – make a triangle with hands and feet; bring one leg to your chest while keeping your hands to the ground. Then switch legs and so on.

Why use the Tabata Exercises?

The Tabata Workout, might be considered as one of the best single fat burning workout, when followed and done appropriately. It does not take long to do it, but it keeps you sweating, breathing, and concentrating just to be able to finish your goal. It is an extreme work-up, with agonizing bouts of muscle pains, soreness and days of uncomfortable movements.

This type of routine is beneficial because it includes a number of exercises per body part. Besides burning tons of fat, this type of training can:

* improve your aerobic endurance

* improve anaerobic functions

* improve muscular endurance, and

* make you look fantastic, by being strong and fit.

A Freethinking Secular Wellness Enthusiast Interviews Dr Ken Cooper, Devout Christian – Happy X-Day

I am NOT neutral about Ken Cooper. I like the man. I admire his contributions and initiatives; he is an exercise and fitness pioneer whose works have benefited countless citizens. In fact, I consider Ken Cooper an American hero, a trailblazer who provided a foundation for the wellness movement. Ken is also a friend of mine — we have been together on many occasions and shared membership in the late and lamented “National Fitness Leaders Association,” an honorary body whose members were selected by the President’ s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports with support from Allstate Insurance Company and the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce. We have exchanged lots of materials over the years. Going way back, his books on aerobics were among the scientific resources that helped convince my graduate school administrators that wellness was a field deserving of the research I proposed for a doctoral dissertation.

March 4, 2011 was Ken Cooper’s 80th birthday. Let’s all give three cheers for a grand old man responsible for a world of good works. America is fat and unfit, for the most part, but not because Ken Cooper did not do more than his part to promote a healthy nation. In fact, without his presence on this earth for the past 80 years, things would be much worse. A few years ago, I did an extensive interview with Dr. Cooper. I told him that I thought he should consider promoting wellness more and fitness less, however important exercise is. I wanted him to be less of a guru, also, though our celebrity-focused culture no doubt applies all manner of incentives for him to go along with that role. But I have always wanted to see him lose that white coat, doctor outfit with stethoscope dangling from his neck. This first was seen on the cover of his books and later at his websites! In my quality of life way of seeing things, wellness lifestyles are not medical matters but challenges of philosophy and self-management (more more and far beyond the business of a doctor). The doctor image seems to portray an expert with authority, a figure who has all the answers. In a wellness context, the individual is the responsible agent – and a doctor, nurse and for that matter, all other professionals are simply resources for advice, when called upon. These are some of the concerns I raised with Dr. Cooper and are discussed in this interview.

The first challenge in my view is for physicians and other health promoters to empower consumers with the sense that they can take charge of their own lifestyles. (Not because of doctor’s orders but because they appreciate that exercise and a wellness lifestyle represent a better way to live, as well as a healthier choice.) I wonder if now it might be time for Dr. Cooper to go off on a very long vacation – he’s worked hard enough. Is there no end to how much endurance for duty this man has. Maybe he should slow down a bit-smell the roses more-it’s hard to believe that anyone (let alone a guy who just turned 80) is still going so strong.

A little background on the good doctor is in order for some younger readers. Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., wrote the landmark book, “Aerobics” in 1968. This was based on groundbreaking work as a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon and director of the Aerospace Medical Laboratory in San Antonio. “Aerobics” introduced Cooper’s 12-minute test and his “Aerobics Point System.” The book represented a plea to refocus the entire field of medicine away from disease treatment to disease prevention through aerobic exercise. From this time forward, Cooper’s message has been: “It is easier to maintain good health through proper exercise, diet and emotional balance than it is to regain it once it is lost.” For at least 30 years, the message was not heeded. In part because of this message and because of a lot of other similar messages during the last decade, it is now happening – medicine is shifting toward prevention and even health promotion. But the transition is slow.

It is often said that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart brought more beauty into the world than anyone else; it is not unusual to hear similar high praise bestowed upon Cooper. It’s possible that he has motivated more people to exercise in pursuit of good health than any other person. A list of his achievements would take more space than allotted here but I’ll mention just a few:

* Author of more than 20 books, 30 million of which have been sold in 41 languages (and Braille).

* Set the standard for a fitness center. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas, which he founded and continues to head as president and chief executive officer.

* Consultant to the fitness world. At present, more than 2,500 universities and public schools utilize all or a part of his programs, as do military organizations in this country and abroad.

* Influence on public health. Cooper’s books, the impact of the Cooper Center research programs, his lectures and other initiatives have been highly influential in the 48 percent decrease in deaths from heart disease reported in America between 1968 and 1990.

* Promotion of exercise near and far. Cooper has appeared in fifty other nations. In Brazil, running is called “coopering” or “doing the cooper” and the national fitness test in Hungary is called the “Cooperteszt.”

* Professional consultation to individuals and business groups. Cooper and his staff are available for hire to assist companies of all kinds in the start up and design of wellness-related facilities and services. They do feasibility studies, facility design, club management, staffing, exercise equipment recommendations and more. He also manages several websites and markets a line of vitamin/mineral supplements.

* Produces and performs a weekly one-hour radio show.

When we spoke for purposes of this interview, we spent a bit of time discussing mutual friends, memories of meetings over the years, our respective personal fitness activities, the National Wellness Institute and assorted current events. He proudly mentioned the accomplishments of Cooper Center staff members, one of whom had just competed in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. Despite preparation at the Cooper Clinic, this person only managed the first two events (the 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike) – the run became a near-death experience. While we expressed respect for the dedication and commitment required for Ironman distance events, we agreed that such ordeals are not conducive to or even consistent with optimal health-thank goodness!

My first question was about personal change. I asked if his ideas had evolved over the years, volunteering that I sensed a shift in focus from a strict emphasis on exercise/fitness/ prevention/and testing to a broader awareness and promotion of personal effectiveness. In short, I noted a deliberate move toward wellness. He readily and enthusiastically agreed. However, he did not go on, as I anticipated, about such dimensions as humor and play, critical thinking, relationships, emotional intelligence or the quest for meaning and purpose, though I’m sure he values and promotes all of the above-and more.

Instead, he launched into a discussion of the Cooper Clinic and the research being done there on coronary heart disease and risk factors-and followed that with a commentary on high blood pressure and hypertension, HDL cholesterol and HDL ratios, percent body fat, smoking and alcohol consumption, treadmill performance time and pulmonary function! He mentioned the Center’s “Fitnessgram” project. To date, standard tests and individualized fitness report cards for more than ten million students have been distributed. Also noted was the fact that research data are collected daily at other divisions of the Cooper Aerobics Center. The Cooper Clinic has dozens of physicians who conduct comprehensive physical evaluations and provide recommendations for attaining and maintaining good health. The Center’s health club has 3,000 members engaged in supervised exercise programs. Each day, information is gathered and added to the computerized database. As at other high-end facilities, members have access to state-of-the-art workout facilities, classes, personal coaching, a day spa and outdoor/indoor running tracks. Cooper said he’s personally active in other Center offerings such as the live-in programs that range from four days to two weeks and include medical evaluations, nutritional counseling, supervised exercise, stress reduction training, wellness workshops and personal counseling.

Cooper did not think there was any conflict of interest in recommending his own brand of vitamins and mineral supplements, saying that this aspect of his program was integral to on-going research being done at the Center. I did not pursue this. I might at some future date, when I feel more like playing an investigative journalist ala John Steward or Mike Wallace. But, this chat was designed as a friendly interview.

Dr. Cooper is passionate about his mission. The ambitious agenda and diverse endeavors give meaning and purpose to his existence. His role is to reach out and be of service to others. His pace at 80 is not, of course, what it was – no one entering his ninth decade can be. His physician son Tyler will be his successor. After all, nobody, not even the Father of Aerobics, can live forever. I mentioned and he enthusiastically endorsed the sentiments of Hans Selye, who said, “there ‘s nothing wrong with retirement, so long as it doesn’t get in the way of your work.” He continues to speak with animation about his projects — he is a happy man who is somewhat maniacally-focused (in a nice way!) on his Cooper Center, Cooper websites, Cooper supplements, Cooper research, Cooper travels, Cooper lectures, Cooper videos, Cooper contacts and much, much more projects and services the names of which start with the word “Cooper.” It would not surprise me if there’s a fast food restaurant somewhere that offers a low-fat “Cooper Whooper Burger.” While financial and other forms of success seem to have come to him in abundance, he remains a warm, engaging and kindly figure who is remarkably friendly and accessible.

One of my questions was going to be “How do you avoid getting treated like a guru?” but decided that this was not appropriate for the obvious reason that he clearly enjoys being a guru. People probably reinforce it for him and it serves to boost the Cooper enterprises. Considering that he is first and foremost a physician prescribing for the ill and worried, well and unfit, that’s probably what his audience desires. Finally, given that he will be 90 in ten years and a centenarian ten years later, I wondered if he wants to be thought of as the “God of Aerobics” forever? But, I already felt I knew the answer. He would love it.

Cardio for Scoliosis

Scoliosis is defined as a sideways curving of the spine. A normal spine curves inward in the lumbar region and outward in the thoracic region in the mid-back. When the curvature begins to develop laterally, it can affect muscles, nerves, other bones and even organs.

The most noticeable symptoms of scoliosis are: 1) shoulders and/or pelvis of uneven height and 2) one shoulder that sticks out more than the other. The possible complications of scoliosis are varied, but not severe in a vast majority of cases. As the spine bends sideways, vertebrae become tilted at the bends and the discs in between them experience uneven pressure. This leaves people with scoliosis susceptible to early disc degeneration. Some people may have mild breathing complications, since a curve in the thoracic spine affects the positioning of the ribs.

Many people do not experience muscular pain due to scoliosis, since the condition develops in childhood and the body grows to adapt to it. Disc-related pain is the greatest concern for people with scoliosis who wish to maintain a high level of activity.

Cardiovascular exercise is an essential component of a healthy life. Keeping the heart and lungs in peak physical condition allows large volumes of oxygen-rich blood to flow to the body’s tissues, keeping them healthy and strong. People with scoliosis may find this type of exercise difficult, since the spine is a high-impact area.

Common forms of cardio, such as running and cycling, may be painful for those with scoliosis. When running, the body transfers forces to the ground, which reciprocates a force on the body. The spine experiences a significant amount of compression while running, which could be harmful to those with angled vertebrae. The same occurs when cycling; every irregularity in the ground jolts the spine.

Cardio exercise is not outside the realm of possibility for those with scoliosis. Since the curved spine is sensitive to jolting, forms of exercise that keep the heart rate up without loading the spine are ideal. The following are considered safe scoliosis cardio exercises:

1. Water Aerobics: Exercising in water is ideal for anyone with back pain and spinal problems; the water takes the weight of your body, leaving your spine unburdened. It is also ideal for both strength-building and cardiovascular training, since the density of the water resists your body’s movement. This keeps your muscles, heart and lungs working hard. Swimming is the most common water exercise, but water aerobics classes offer more varied workouts.

2. Elliptical Training: Elliptical machines provide the benefits of running without the jarring effects. This machine allows you to glide rather than run, leaving your spine unburdened.

3. Stair Machines: These machines allow you to step as if walking up stairs, but with less force being transferred through your feet to the rest of your body.

4. Walking: This low-intensity exercise is ideal for those wishing to maintain a healthy body. It may not satisfy those looking for an intense workout, however.

If any of the above cause you pain, you may simply be pushing yourself too hard. Start slow and work your way up to more intense workouts. Cardio is essential for those with scoliosis. Knowing which exercises will benefit and which will harm you is the one of the most important components of back pain management. See http://www.livestrong.com/article/394848-taboo-exercises-for-scoliosis/ for a list of exercises to avoid.