The latest in cardio news fresh from the lab.

A Speedy Sports Drinks

Save salty sports drinks for after your workout. Low-carb, low-sodium sports drinks are absorbed the fastest, say New Zealand scientists. Cyclists who downed a drink with lower carb and sodium concentrations than those in an average man’s body – thus triggering rapid diffusion into the gut – exercised longer and harder than those who had Powerade, for example.

It only hurts at first

Hate intervals? Hang in there. The pain of interval training may subside after just six sessions. In a new study from California State University, cyclists had a higher power output and less leg pain by their sixth day of high intensity intervals. Over time, interval training boosts muscle stores of glycogen and phosphocreatine, two fuels for intense exercise. As your body adapts, your perceived effort declines, says study author Dr Todd A. Astorino.

Men in Tights

Don’t stash those running tights just because winter is over. A new study from Australia reports that wearing compression tights can speed your recovery. Men who wore tights during interval training and recovery had lower heart rates and lactate levels than guys who wore shorts. One explanation: compression garments boost bloodflow to your heart, says study author Dr Chris McLellan. Try graduated compression tights.

38

Percentage improvement in putting by amateur golfers who were told that they were using a PGA players putter (they weren’t).

On Our Radar – A Dark Side of Statins

Cholesterol-lowering meds may raise your risk of muscle injury during exercise. In a new study in the American Journal of Cardiology, statin taking marathoners’ levels of creatine kinase (a marker of muscle damage) were 36% higher the day after a race than those of drug-free runners. Ask your doctor if you can shelve your statins a few days before a hot-weather race, since heat stress can worsen muscle injury.

Are You Dehydrated?

Not only does a dehydrated athlete run slower than a hydrated one, but he may also be in a worse mood and feel less energised afterwards, according to recent University of South Florida research. “Signs of dehydration – headache, fatigue, thirst, inability to concentrate – can lead to negative feelings,” says study author Dr Rebecca Lopez. “If you’re dehydrated, your body may not respond the way you want it to. This can also negatively affect your mood.” To gauge your fluid requirements, weigh yourself before and after an event. If you lost weight, you may need to drink more during and after your next race.