By Megan Teychenne & Clint Miller | The Conversation

We all know we need to exercise to stay fit and strong, stave off disease and maintain a healthy weight. Walking is the most popular physical activity undertaken by Australian adults. It’s free, easy, and can be done almost anywhere.

Walking leads to a remarkable reduction in the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, arthritis, depression, anxiety and insomnia, and premature death from all causes.

The health benefits of walking stem from the changes that occur in our body systems as a result of exercising. For some of these health conditions, fitness has been shown to be a particularly important factor for prevention.

The term fitness is quite often used to describe aerobic fitness, but having a high level of fitness actually refers to all components of health-related physical fitness which includes muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition, and of course aerobic (or heart) fitness. So is walking enough in terms of the exercise we need? 


Aerobic fitness

An analysis of studies on walking showed it improves aerobic fitness - which is technically the ability of the heart to get oxygen to our muscles and how effectively our muscles use that oxygen. But to be effective, walking needs to be of at least moderate intensity, which means an intensity where you’re able to notice your breathing but can carry on a conversation without noticeable pauses between words. For many, this is a brisk walk.

Greater improvements in aerobic fitness can be achieved when walking at a vigorous intensity, where you can converse with a friend, but it will be interrupted with noticeable pauses between words to take a breath.

The good news is that you don’t need to walk at a vigorous intensity for health or aerobic fitness benefits. Walking at a moderate intensity will increase your aerobic fitness and, more importantly, your endurance (the ability to carry out activities for longer with less fatigue). This is because it allows your body to burn fat more efficiently, improves delivery and use of oxygen in the muscles, and improves mitochondria density and efficiency (these are producers of energy in our body), all leading to greater capacity to undertake tasks with less fatigue.

Walking briskly for 30 minutes five days per week can improve aerobic fitness. Each walking bout doesn’t need to be long though; walking for ten minutes three times per day is as beneficial as walking for 30 minutes in one go.


Walking is not a strength-based exercise, but if you haven’t exercised in a while, you’ll notice gains in leg strength as a result of regular walking. Although benefits in strength are modest, research shows walking 30 minutes five days per week at a moderate intensity helps to prevent sarcopenia (age-related loss in muscle size and strength).

You can increase the demand on your lower body muscles, bones and tendons to keep them strong by introducing hills, choosing to take the stairs, walking on undulating terrain, or even carrying a comfortable backpack. But maximum strength gains will come from introducing some form of body-weight or gym-based resistance training exercise.


Walking does not lead to significant gains in joint flexibility, but walking regularly does have positive effects on your joints. Weight-bearing exercise, including walking, increases lubrication and delivery of nutrition to your joints.

Research shows that walking regularly reduces pain and disability for adults suffering from knee arthritis; and moderate intensity exercise can protect against the development of joint degeneration.

Body weight

Moderate intensity walking can prevent weight gain and assist in maintaining a healthy weight in as little as 150 minutes per week. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 250 minutes or more exercise to lose a modest amount of weight, but the more you do, the more you’ll lose.

Unfortunately, it’s a myth that calories in equals calories out. Don’t expect a 500 calorie walk to offset the negative metabolic effect of a 500 calorie treat. Fortunately, regular exercise and being physically fit will reduce your risk of heart disease and early death irrespective of your weight loss success.

There are plenty of reasons to walk, we’ve been doing it since the dawn of time, well before the first gym opened. Walking is an organic, natural, gluten free, fat free, toxin free, meditative experience that delivers far more health benefits than most other decisions you’ll make today.

Published in Health Plus

By Dr. Mercola

Short, intense workouts are all the rage in the fitness world. While it was once believed that the longer you stayed on the treadmill or elliptical machine, the better, it’s now known that you can seriously maximize your fitness results while working out for a fraction of the time, as long as you sufficiently ramp up the intensity (interspersed with periods of rest).

Very short workouts, as in seven minutes or even less, are also becoming regulars in the fitness scene, although I would stop short of calling them a trend. The fact is, humans have been exercising in very short, intense bursts since the beginning, although they didn’t call it exercise; they called it survival.

As such, your body is biologically programmed to respond to similarly intense bursts of activity. But because this is something many modern humans no longer do in the course of their daily grind, many are seeking it out via high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

In the video above, you can see one example of a full-body, seven-minute exercise routine by Hannah Bronfman, founder of the wellness site HBFit.

This workout is particularly useful because you can do the movements (a combination of jumping jacks, side kicks, abdominal work and more) virtually anywhere with no equipment required.

Short HIIT workouts can be deceptive, appearing simple on paper then surprising you with how challenging they are to complete. Still, a full workout in only seven minutes? Is it really too good to be true?

‘Maximum Results With Minimal Investment’

Brett Klika, a performance coach for the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Florida, and Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute, conducted a study to determine the health benefits of high-intensity circuit training (HICT), which for their study used only body weight as resistance.

Notably, they work with professionals and athletes with “incessant demands on their time,” many of whom also travel frequently. They pointed out that typically aerobic and resistance training are performed on two or three nonconsecutive days each week.

For resistance training, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends eight to 12 repetitions, and two to four sets, for each major muscle group.

For aerobic training, 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise for 30 to 60 minutes per session and/or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity exercise for 20 to 60 minutes per session are recommended.

“Although these traditional protocols can be effective, they may not be realistic enough for time-conscious adults because of the amount of time necessary to complete each program, in addition to some limitations to effectiveness demonstrated in the literature,” the ACSM noted.

As such, they developed a program that combines aerobic and resistance training, is quick (seven minutes) and can be performed anywhere, without special equipment. They wrote in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal:

“Our approach combines aerobic and resistance training into a single exercise bout lasting approximately 7 minutes. Participants can repeat the [seven]-minute bout two to three times, depending on the amount of time they have.

As body weight provides the only form of resistance, the program can be done anywhere.

HICT is not a new concept, but it is growing in popularity because of its efficiency and practicality for a time-constrained society. The combination of aerobic and resistance training in a high-intensity, limited-rest design can deliver numerous health benefits in much less time than traditional programs.”

Proven Benefits of a Seven-Minute Workout

The HICT program developed by Klika and Jordan was loosely based on circuit-style training that was first developed by R.E. Morgan and G.T. Anderson in 1953 at the University of Leeds in England.

Their program included nine to 12 exercises that were performed at moderate intensity for a specified number of repetitions or amount of time. Improvements in muscle strength, endurance and aerobic fitness were noted. The featured study also explained multiple benefits for their HICT workout, including:

Fat Loss and Weight Loss

HICT involves using multiple large muscles with very little rest between sets, yielding aerobic and metabolic benefits, the latter of which may continue for up to 72 hours after the workout has been completed.

HICT may lead to greater fat loss than typical aerobics or resistance training because it increases levels of catecholamines (which increase resting energy expenditure) and human growth hormone (HGH) in your blood.

Improved VO2 Max

VO2 maxes the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in while exercising. Your VO2 max can be used as a measure of cardiovascular endurance. “When HICT protocols have been compare with traditional steady state protocols in the laboratory, HICT elicits similar and sometimes greater gains in VO2 max despite significantly lower exercise volume,” they wrote.

Decreased Insulin Resistance

Research supports the use of HICT (and HIIT) for reducing insulin resistance, which is a contributing factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Unfit but otherwise healthy middle-aged adults were able to improve their insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation after just two weeks of such training (three sessions per week).

A follow-up study also found that HIIT positively impacted insulin sensitivity. The study involved people with type 2 diabetes, and just one session was able to improve blood sugar regulation for the next 24 hours. Kilka and Jordan added, “Positive changes have been observed in insulin resistance in as little as eight minutes per week when executed at an intensity more than 100 [percent] VO2 max.”

12 Exercises in Seven Minutes

You may now be wondering what, exactly, Kilka and Jordan’s sample HICT program entails. The exercises were designed to:

You can watch a demonstration of the exercise sequence in the video above, and they’re also described below. Each exercise is performed for about 30 seconds with 10-seconds allowed for transitions. This adds up to an approximately seven-minute workout, which may be repeated in its entirety two or three times. The exercises should be done in the order given, as they’re selected to allow opposing muscle groups to alternate between resting and working.

As Intensity Increases, Duration Decreases

How many times you should repeat the seven-minute workout (one to three times, max) depends on a variety of factors, including intensity. The harder you work, the shorter your workout should be.

Research has shown proven benefits, including improvements in VO2 max and insulin sensitivity in just 4 minutes of HIIT exercise. However, to achieve these benefits, you likely need to be working at an intensity that’s equal to or greater than 100 percent of your VO2 max.

This is a level of intensity that many people may not be able to achieve or maintain, especially if you’re just starting out. During a typical HIIT workout, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) notes, "Training is done at a submaximal level; around 80 to 95 percent of maximal aerobic capacity."

In other words, on an exertion scale of 1 to 10, a typical moderate-intensity workout (such as running or stair climbing) would be an exertion level of 5 to 6. A typical HIIT workout is done at an exertion level of 7 or higher. Very short HIIT workouts, such as Tabata Training, are an exertion level of 10.

The good thing about HIIT is that you can tweak it to your needs. You can still get benefits from working out at a slightly lower intensity; you simply increase the time you work out to make up for it. You’ll still be working out very intensely, remember, so your total workout will still be short, relatively speaking.

I typically recommend an HIIT session of 20 minutes. If you were using the protocol above, you could therefore repeat it three times. According to the featured study:

“More moderate protocols (90 [percent] to 100 [percent] of VO2 max) have been examined for various total exercise durations. Although these protocols seem to require slightly more total exercise time to be effective, they still are well below the steady state exercise time requirements.

Because most individuals may not be able to execute the program at an intensity significantly greater than 100 [percent] of their VO2 max following the established ACSM guidelines for high-intensity exercise of at least 20 minutes is recommended. This may require multiple repetitions (or circuits) of a multistation exercise circuit.”

If You Think You’re Too Busy to Exercise, HIIT Is for You

Lack of time is one of the most common excuses used for not exercising. HIIT removes this hurdle, because virtually everyone can squeeze in seven minutes. If you have a bit more time, and you’re performing the workout at less than 100 percent, try repeating it two or three times.

With this minimum time investment, you’ll likely enjoy decreased body fat, improved insulin sensitivity and muscle strength, and increased VO2 max. As Kilka and Jordan noted, “Individuals who previously believed that they did not have the time for exercise can now trade total exercise time for total exercise effort and get similar or better health and fitness benefits.”

Published in Health Plus
Thursday, 20 October 2016 00:00

Nicholas See and Janell Tan


Fit together

Article from the Sun daily by Yeevon Ong (posted on 20 October 2016)

NICHOLAS SEE and Janell Tan are fondly known as the CrossFit Couple among their peers and just as the nickname suggests, both See and Tan are avid CrossFit trainers. They train together six days a week – seven if the gym would open on Sundays.

Their brainchild, The Kettlebowl was a natural progression of their zeal and enthusiasm in everything fitness. But what was initially meant to be a fitness platform became better known for its brand of healthy, home-made granola today.

See and Tan make and pack The Kettlebowl’s breakfast granola at home over the weekend, and ship them out throughout the week. On average, the couple receives about 100 orders a week! While See is still tied to a day job helping out in his family business, Tan has quit her marketing career to focus on The Kettlebowl, so no more sneaking out during lunchtime to buy ingredients and make deliveries.

However, the granola business isn’t all of it for the youngsters. The 26-year olds continue to uphold the initial objective of The Kettlebowl by inspiring and encouraging a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle via the blog posts and workout videos they post on their website and Instagram account.

How do you keep each other motivated?

See: We train together, keep each other in check and make sure that we are focused on our goals to reach that level to perform in competitions. It does get competitive sometimes but I remind myself that we’re training together and it’s to help each other become better.

Tan: We love to eat so we work out to eat. We motivate each other with food. We encourage cheat days (grins).

How are working and working out together all the time working out for the both of you?

Tan: It makes me feel a lot more complete. Whatever I’m doing, whether it’s business or training, I’m doing it for the two of us. It has a positive effect on me; it definitely drives me to achieve more, to be more disciplined and dedicated in what I do.

See: So far, so good. The past couple of months have tested our relationship, how we were under pressure but we we would always talk things out and make sure both parties are at peace.

At the end of the day, we want to grow together as a couple. It’s great that we like the same food and movies, and doing the same things. It doesn’t hinder our individual growth. We’re lucky to have found one another.

Tan: We are like the same person – it’s quite creepy (laughs).

So how true is the statement, ‘couples who sweat together, stay together’?

(Both in unison): Very true.

Tan: I think working out together brought us closer.

See: I think if we didn’t work out together we wouldn’t be as strong.


Cheat day indulgence
Tan: Ice cream, pizza, burgers. “The worst you can think of, basically.”

Gym pet peeves
See: People who don’t put the weights back.
Tan: People who take her weights without asking, or talk to her in the middle of her sets.

Hidden talents
Tan: Sketching and drawing. “I actually used to write song lyrics.”
See: Dancing. “She thinks I’m good dancer.”


Published in Biographies

By Dr. Mercola

If you're looking for a powerful way to boost your overall fitness and get some serious results -- fast -- from your workout routine, look no further than performing squatting exercises.

This is one exercise that should be a part of virtually everyone's routine, as it's relatively simple to perform, requires no equipment, and can be done just about anywhere.

More importantly, although squats are often regarded as "leg" exercises, they actually offer benefits throughout your entire body, including deep within your core…

The Top 8 Benefits of Squats

Most of you know that I'm an avid exerciser, and an avid exercise proponent.

If you haven't yet started a regular exercise routine, you can find tips for doing so here.

Suffice it to say, a varied workout routine of appropriate intensity is one of the smartest health moves you can make, and adding squats to your routine is a must.

What makes squats such a fantastic exercise?

1. Builds Muscle in Your Entire Body

Squats obviously help to build your leg muscles (including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves), but they also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building.

In fact, when done properly, squats are so intense that they trigger the release of testosterone and human growth hormone in your body, which are vital for muscle growth and will also help to improve muscle mass when you train other areas of your body aside from your legs.

So squats can actually help you improve both your upper and lower body strength.

2. Functional Exercise Makes Real-Life Activities Easier

Functional exercises are those that help your body to perform real-life activities, as opposed to simply being able to operate pieces of gym equipment.Squats are one of the best functional exercises out there, as humans have been squatting since the hunter-gatherer days. When you perform squats, you build muscle and help your muscles work more efficiently, as well as promote mobility and balance. All of these benefits translate into your body moving more efficiently in the real world too.

3. Burn More Fat

One of the most time-efficient ways to burn more calories is actually to gain more muscle! For every pound of additional muscle you gain, your body will burn an additional 50-70 calories per day. So, if you gain 10 pounds of muscle, you will automatically burn 500-700 more calories per day than you did before.

4. Maintain Mobility and Balance

Strong legs are crucial for staying mobile as you get older, and squats are phenomenal for increasing leg strength. They also work out your core, stabilizing muscles, which will help you to maintain balance, while also improving the communication between your brain and your muscle groups, which helps prevent falls – which is incidentally the #1 way to prevent bone fractures versus consuming mega-dose calcium supplements and bone

5. Prevent Injuries

Most athletic injuries involve weak stabilizer muscles, ligaments and connective tissues, which squats help strengthen. They also help prevent injury by improving your flexibility (squats improve the range of motion in your ankles and hips) and balance, as noted above.

6. Boost Your Sports Performance -- Jump Higher and Run Faster

Whether you're a weekend warrior or a mom who chases after a toddler, you'll be interested to know that studies have linked squatting strength with athletic ability.1 Specifically, squatting helped athletes run faster and jump higher, which is why this exercise is part of virtually every professional athlete's training program.

7. Tone Your Backside, Abs and Entire Body

Few exercises work as many muscles as the squat, so it's an excellent multi-purpose activity useful for toning and tightening your behind, abs, and, of course, your legs. Furthermore, squats build your muscles, and these muscles participate in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity, helping to protect you against obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

8. Help with Waste Removal

Squats improve the pumping of body fluids, aiding in removal of waste and delivery of nutrition to all tissues, including organs and glands. They're also useful for improved movement of feces through your colon and more regular bowel movements.

What's the Proper Way to Perform a Squat?

Squats have long been criticized for being destructive to your knees, but research shows that when done properly, squats actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue.2 In the video below, personal trainer and coach Darin Steen demonstrates safe squat techniques for beginner, intermediate and advanced.

  1. Warm up
  2. Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart
  3. Keep your back in a neutral position, and keep your knees centered over your feet
  4. Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles, lowering until you reach a 90-degree angle
  5. Return to starting position -- repeat 15-20 times, for 2-3 sets for beginners (do this two or three times a week)
  6. Breathe in as you lower, breathe out as you return to starting position

Adding Squats to Your Comprehensive Fitness Routine

Exercise is a key player in disease reduction, optimal mental, emotional and physical health, and longevity. It's really a phenomenal way to get the most out of your life! After reviewing 40 papers published between 2006 and 2010, researchers found that exercise reduces the risk of about two dozen health conditions, ranging from cancer and heart disease to type 2 diabetes, stroke, dementia and depression. Exercise also slows down the rate of aging itself, even stimulating the regeneration of the energy-producing mitochondria in your cells, providing perhaps the closest example of a real life fountain of youth as we will ever find.

As with most things in life, a balanced routine works best, so you'll want to avoid placing too much emphasis on cardio, strength training or any one type of activity. Many public health guidelines still focus primarily on the aerobic component of exercise, but this limited activity can lead to imbalances that may actually prevent optimal health.

This is why it's so important to maintain a well-balanced fitness regimen that includes not just aerobics, but also strength training, stretching, and high-intensity interval training like Peak Fitness. For instance, Darin recommends beginners do 2-3 sets of squats just two or three times a week -- do it more than this and you will miss out on important recovery time. As always, as you develop a workout routine that works for you, remember to listen to your body so it can guide you into a path that will provide you with the most efficient and effective benefits.

Published in Health Plus
Thursday, 09 June 2016 00:00

One-Minute Workouts Can Do Wonders

Written by: Beth Levine

One of the most common reasons people give for not exercising is that they just can't find the time to squeeze it in. It's tough when you work long hours, have a family to care for, household chores to be done, errands to run, and you're trying to fit in a few social activities too. But truthfully, there is really no room for excuses any more because according to new research, you can get plenty of health benefits from a regimen that relies mainly on three 20-second bursts of intense exercise.

The study, which took place at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, found that very brief workouts based around a single minute of intense exercise broken up into three intervals may be as effective in improving fitness as longer, more traditional workouts.1 The health aspects monitored included cardiovascular health and measurements of insulin sensitivity. The subjects were 27 men with sedentary lifestyles who had not been involved in any regular physical activity.

These participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group was provided with an exercise regimen of sessions three times a week consisting of short, intense training activities for 12 weeks. The second group was provided with an exercise regimen of sessions three times a week consisting of a longer duration with more workouts for 12 weeks. The third group was the control and performed no exercise.

The volunteers were all examined at the end of the 12-week period to measure the results. Incredibly, the group that only worked out for a few minutes at a time had almost identical improvements as the group that performed the longer, less intense workouts. What's astounding is that similar results were achieved despite the fact that one group spent five times longer exercising than the other.

Protocols for the exercise sessions in both groups were very strict and based on earlier investigations this team of scientists had conducted. The "one-minute" exercise routine they devised is a sprint interval training (SIT) workout that actually lasts 10 minutes--still very quick, but not quite the one minute of exercise you might initially expect. This routine is comprised of a two-minute warm up, three 20-second full intensity cycling sprints, two two-minute periods of low intensity cycling to promote recovery in between the intense bursts, and finally a three-minute cool down. In contrast, the moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) protocol they developed is based on more typical 50-minute workouts with moderate energy expenditures.

While the findings are definitely not as strong as they could be due to the fact that the pool of subjects was so small and homogenous, this is still one more piece of evidence demonstrating the essential importance of exercise. And the results correlate with a 2014 study at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark which showed that intense bursts of activity during a shorter workout can make more of an impact on blood sugar levels in those with diabetes than longer workouts do.2

What it comes down to ultimately is finding the form of physical activity that works best for you. The type of brief, intense workout that the current research focused on is great for people who have trouble setting aside an hour at a time to work out. But--and this is a big but--you need to be able to reach intensity levels of approximately 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, which can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220, for this exercise to be optimally effective. If you are just going to turn your effort up a notch or two so you are breathing a bit harder, you won't be getting any major benefits from your activity.

That being said, if you are presently sedentary, the most important thing is to get moving. Even if all you can handle at the moment is a 10-minute walk around the block, go do it. You can build your way up to more intense and/or longer durations of exercise as you become accustomed to a higher level of physical activity. Once you get started and feel what a difference regular workouts can make, you may be happy to schedule fitness sessions into your days.

Material originally published at
Copyright © 1999-2015. Baseline of Health® Foundation
Used by permission of the Baseline of Health® Foundation.
All rights reserved worldwide.

Published in Health Plus
Thursday, 09 June 2016 00:00

Yoga and Balance

The effects of a stroke can be devastating, both to mental and physical capabilities. Those who experience a stroke may lose their ability to speak clearly or at all, certain analytical functions, depth and distance perception, and their use of one or more limbs. And strokes are now occurring in younger people more frequently than ever before, due to risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity being on the rise.

According to a recent study that took place at Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center and Indiana University in Indianapolis, yoga exercise classes can improve balance and provide other benefits for stroke victim health. Jon Barron discusses the benefits to stroke victims that yoga can provide.

Material originally published at
Copyright © 1999-2015. Baseline of Health® Foundation
Used by permission of the Baseline of Health® Foundation.
All rights reserved worldwide.

Published in Health Plus
Thursday, 09 June 2016 00:00

Cut Your Risk of 13 Cancers

If there was something that you could do every day that would slash your chances of developing not one or two, but 13 types of cancer, doing it would be a no-brainer, right? Well, according to new research, one of the best ways to defend yourself from cancer may be as simple as becoming more physically active.

The study, which was conducted at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland in conjunction with facilities around the world, found that exercise may reduce the risk of 13 different forms of cancer.1 The subjects were 1.44 million men and women living throughout the United States and Europe. They were participants in 12 cohort investigations that tracked them for an average of 11 years.

All of the volunteers answered questions about their leisure time physical activity, including whether they took part in moderate or vigorous exercise such as walking, swimming, or running on a regular basis. Over the course of the study period, nearly 187,000 of the subjects were diagnosed with some form of cancer. The scientists categorized the participants by their reported levels of activity, considering those in the top 10 percent of the individuals in their research group as highly active, and those in the bottom 10 percentile of activity levels in their group as the least active. Those in the highest 10 percent of activity were found to have a lower risk of developing 13 kinds of cancer versus their peers in the lowest 10 percent of activity.

Some of the potential reductions were truly amazing, too. The risk of esophageal cancer plummeted by 42 percent, liver cancer by 27 percent, lung cancer by 26 percent, kidney cancer by 23 percent, stomach cancer of the cardia (upper portion of the stomach) by 22 percent, endometrial cancer by 21 percent, myeloid leukemia by 20 percent, myeloma by 17 percent, colon cancer by 16 percent, head and neck cancer by 15 percent, rectal cancer by 13 percent, bladder cancer by 13 percent, and breast cancer by 10 percent.

As the researchers analyzed the scope of the 26 types of cancer that had been diagnosed, they determined that the overall risk of developing any cancer was decreased by seven percent. What's more, of the 13 cancers that they linked to a reduced risk because of exercise, in 10 of them the findings remained true even after controlling for such factors as each subject's body mass index and even whether they smoke.

In a strange twist, there are actually two forms of cancer for which the risk appears to be increased by exercise. The first of these, malignant melanoma, was shown to be associated with a 27 percent higher risk in those who are more active. However, that can likely be explained by greater amounts of sun exposure to people getting their exercise outside in the sun. It is a good reminder that if you are going to spend more than a few minutes outdoors, it's essential to apply a waterproof sunscreen that you won't sweat off right away.

The other type of cancer with an increased incidence in the most physically active group is prostate cancer, with a five percent higher risk. While there is no obvious explanation for this, it's possible that the increase is simply due to the fact that men who work out often might be more readily willing to visit their doctor for annual checkups. Then again other research has come to a different conclusion, such as a 2005 study at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, which found that frequent vigorous workouts might slow the progression of prostate cancer.2

The current study was limited by the lack of specifics about the participants' exercise regimens. There was no information provided as to the frequency or duration of the workouts or how long each person had been living an active lifestyle. Despite this, though, the large number of participants and the length of time they were tracked make the message very clear: exercise is a key factor in our health. If you're still sedentary most days, stop making excuses and find the time to get moving. Your future self will thank you.

Material originally published at
Copyright © 1999-2015. Baseline of Health® Foundation
Used by permission of the Baseline of Health® Foundation.
All rights reserved worldwide.

Published in Health Plus
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 00:00

Zarol Alfiyan


Heavy duty

Article from the Sun daily by Joyce Ang (posted on 7 April 2016)

AS a 20-year-old, Zarol Alfiyan sure has a lot of weight on his shoulders. He holds multiple part-time jobs – one of which as a strength coach at QLS Fitness & Nutrition – while training for powerlifting meets and Strongman competitions both local and abroad, on top of pursuing a bachelor's degree.

He was ushered into the world of sports in school, but his affinity for heavyweight sports began much earlier.

"My uncle used to work in a truck company, from which the organisers of the 2002 World's Strongest Man borrowed a few vehicles for the truckpulling event. Hence, my uncle was invited to watch the competition, and he brought my brother and I along. I was only seven then," Zarol recalled.

Nevertheless, he had no recollection of that memory until his early teens when he was recovering from a broken wrist he sustained during a rugby game.

"I was resting on the bench in the gym while watching a flat screen telly on the wall. It was airing a strongman competition, and that gave me a massive flashback about the competition in 2002," the sturdy lad described.

That memory motivated him to explore the sport, and at the age of 14, Zarol decided to train on his own.

Could you share some biggest misconceptions about weightlifting out there?

Most Malaysians are unaware of the differences between weight-related sports and equate weightlifting with bodybuilding – they are not the same. Too many people assume that lifting weights makes someone a bodybuilder. Weightlifting demands a lot of endurance, strength, explosion, and most definitely, power.

Tell us what you love most about lifting.

Lifting is lifting, but what makes the sport fruitful and fun is that you get to meet a lot of like-minded people. At some point during a meet, competition, or the likes, you'll see everyone exchanging ideas and programmes regarding training, rehabilitation, nutrition, and so on. I like that, it's a community which builds each other up.

Has there been an event that shaped you to be who you are today?

I doubt there is a particular event per se, but I'd say lifting has changed my life a lot. It isn't just about eating and lifting; there's more to that if you look closely. It teaches you time management – if you have school or work – and discipline when it comes to your diet and training. However, most importantly, I learnt to be patient with my progress and to always have the drive to get up again when I fail. All these years of lifting shaped me into who I am today, and I'm still constantly learning. Lifting is a neverending process; one has to see the lessons in the journey and accept them.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

I've competed many times, but my proudest achievements include being the first Malaysian to pull over 700 pounds on the deadlift – looking to smash 800 pounds this year –, holding a Singaporean log press record, and a world deadlifting record for my age and weight categories in the Global Powerlifting Alliance (GPA).

What would you tell 15-year-old Zarol?

I'd tell myself to not rush things, because you'll end up getting hurt and injured. This applies to pretty much everything we do. Faster doesn't necessarily mean better. Pace yourself, as everyone is different.

Words you live by?

'Be Great' by the current world champion Brian Shaw, and 'Be stronger than the strongest' by six-time UK Strongest Man Eddie Hall.

Published in Biographies
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