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home : health : health January 16, 2018

1/2/2018 6:40:00 PM
Lessons from 2017
By Andrew Loscutoff

With 2017 in the rearview, we can see that many lessons offered insight into health and fitness. Trends come and go but progression is constant. There are small lessons to be learned from even the most outrageous fads that shake up the industry and exit moments later.

Individualized fitness:

People are becoming more and more aware of their needs, wants, and makeup as an individual. Now you can track their activity, heart rate, sweat rate, and some simple biomarkers - all at home. What this means is that people are more aware that their exercise program may not need to look like the person running next to them. There are so many different variables, from physiological to psychological that all can be considered.

What can be extrapolated from all this is that a cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all exercise program may not be optimal. Also, it will be important to remember that not all bodies will respond to the same exercises the same way. Everyone has aches/pains, previous injuries, or biomechanical differences to work around. Additionally, some psychological differences make for a different perspective on the exercises and the adherence to an exercise or diet.

Recovery elevated:

It's always been important - and often neglected by the Type A go-go-go culture we are so proud to continue - but recovery is being pushed to the top of researchers' lists. The importance of sleep, nutrition, and rest are being promoted more than ever before. The days of "suck it up and push through" are over. This isn't only apparent in exercise but also with day-to-day stressors. It's now more important to be rested and recovered psychologically than physically.

Meditation, centered breathing, and exposure to techniques which calm the mind are also of top importance. Nutrition plays its role, as well. After exercise, refueling and recovering is met with sound nutrition. Starting the day with breakfast has always been important but now more than ever people are aware of how nutrition plays its role. 2017 lead to the peak of recovery and will continue to be more nuanced in 2018

Aging redefined:

Athletes like Tom Brady (40) and Bernard Lagat (43) are redefining what we once believed to be the limitations of age. They have proven that someone can achieve peak performance much longer than was once thought. This isn't only true of athletes. There are other aging discoveries that 2017 brought into the limelight. One such being the story of the 105-year-old Frenchman who improved his VO2 max and aerobic capacity and has a 13 percent higher performance in these numbers than the average 50-year-old.

As humans continue to define aging in terms of healthcare, it is going to be crucial to research aging in terms of fitness and performance to continue to provide high quality of life. Researchers made headway, notably in understanding the importance of muscle mass, aerobic fitness, and a diet low in animal fats, cholesterol, and sugar, but much more is on the horizon.

Easy is the new hard:

The time of increasingly harder and harder workouts is coming to an end. In 2017 it was established among average exercisers what elites have known forever: Taxing the body at the extremes on a day-in-and-day-out basis leads to dropout or, worse, injury. With so many popular exercise programs tugging at the strings of our culture's bigger-better-faster mentality, it is no wonder injury rates are climbing higher and higher.

It is surprising to write that it is more effective to stay moderate for most of the exercise one participates in, saving the hard efforts for games, challenges, or to shake things up. A cardiovascular workout at 65 to 80 percent of a given V02 max will elicit better results over time than at higher levels. This is because much of the cardiorespiratory benefit is achieved without the breakdown of muscle tissues or absolute drain on stored muscle glycogen. Also, muscle growth is best at around 80 percent intensity based on one rep maximum.

Nutrition is more than a diet plan:

Nutrition and diets are not the same thing; the latter usually is tied to a best-selling book, a medical personality, or a clan of zealots making promises of weight loss and improved vigor. In 2017, more attention was brought to the fact that good nutrition and diets are actually very different.

Nutrition is getting the right balance of the right nutrients, at the right time - all specific to the individual's needs. This fine-tuned process of getting proper vitamins, minerals, sterols, and other nutrients allows you to exist in harmony with your eating, health, and wellness. Diets, on the other hand, often compel people to eat in a restricted manner. They put forth rules, take away food groups, and give little attention to a person's health, activity level, or other personal traits. They don't consider vitamins and minerals, balance, or wellness. It is no wonder that diets never last long.

In 2018 and beyond, focus on nutrition - a better approach to longevity, health and sustainable weight


Looking over the past year, it is apparent that one thing is for certain. Scientists, experts, and enthusiasts are all continuing to adapt and progress. Nothing, it seems, is sacred and sheltered from change. This is exciting, because knowing that what much of what we know may be challenged is enticing to keep experts in the field moving forward. Read next week for some predictions on how things will be shaken up in 2018!

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