The Tips You Didn’t Know About Cardio From Groundbreaking Studies
It seems there is always a new range of tips about cardio for all of us to ponder and commit to. Well, at least for a couple weeks – before some Instagram influencer advises use to try a different trend to improve our cardio.
But for now, it’s time to turn to science for the best in cardio news from the lab.
A Speedy Sports Drink
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 (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 blood flow to your heart, says study author Dr Chris McLellan. Try these compression tights (R249, Buy It Here).
On Our Radar – The 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 had levels of creatine kinase (a marker of muscle damage) 36% higher than drug free runners the day after the race.
Ask your doctor if you can shelve your statins a few days before a hot weather race, since heat stress worsens muscle injury as well.
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 research from the University of South Florida. “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.