The Surprising Benefits of Quick Workouts

Don’t have time to exercise? According to recent research, a four-minute workout might be better than 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Sounds almost too good to be true, but according to fitness researchers, it’s not.

Regular exercise improves your physical and mental health. Unfortunately, many adults do not make time for their weekly 150 minutes of moderate or intense activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, researchers compared the fitness benefits of different workout strategies. Twenty-two women were assigned to one of three groups. Group A did 30 minutes of treadmill running at 85 percent of their maximum heart rate. In Group B, participants completed eight, 20-second rounds of a single exercise (burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, or squat thrusts) with ten seconds of rest between rounds. The control group, Group C, did not do any exercise.

The groups completed their workout routines four times a week for a month. Before and after their training, the researchers measured the three groups’ aerobic fitness levels and attitudes about exercise.

Following the training, both active groups saw an increase in their aerobic fitness levels by the same amount, seven to eight percent. However, only group B, the group with the short aerobic activity, saw an increase in muscle endurance, between 40 and 207 percent. In other words, Group B not only improved their physical endurance, but significantly improved their muscle endurance as well.

On top of that, Group B participants had a better attitude about the bodyweight workout. They expressed more interest in continuing the training program than their treadmill counterparts.

This study points out the value of quick workouts and total body movement. Total body movement should be the foundation for any fitness program, whether it is for losing weight, improving fitness, or gaining strength. This is why Tahoe Fit has added 30 minute fitness classes at lunch. These fun and effective workouts are great for people with busy schedules and taught by certified fitness professionals.

Kyler Crouse is a fitness instructor for Tahoe Fit by Barton Health.

Winter Workout Motivation

Does the cold weather stop you in your tracks? Maybe not if you are a winter sports enthusiast, but what if you aren’t? Maintaining your fitness goals can be challenging when you’re shoveling snow to get out of your driveway – or even to get into your car. But remember: shoveling snow is exercise!

If you’re someone who goes into hibernation with the bears during winter, I’m here to offer some tips that will help you stay motivated throughout the colder, darker months.

Tip #1: Plan ahead. John Wooden, a member of Basketball Hall of Fame, once said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Winter months require a little more effort, so planning ahead based on weather conditions may help maintain motivation.

Tip #2: Dress for success. Like summer, winter offers an array of exercise choices, but may require an extra layer of clothing.

Tip #3: Make it fun. Pull out the Yaktraks, snowshoes, or cross country skis. Consider inviting a friend.  It also helps to make a game plan for each day in an effort to maximize time spent doing an activity or workout. Even in the snow, you’ll find exposed rocks that can be used as exercise platforms! Get creative and make nature your snowy playground.

Tip #4: Keep your workouts outside. Tahoe offers many blue sky days even in the winter. More and more evidence suggests exercising outside has more health benefits than indoor activity.  In a 2017 study published in the ACSM Health & Fitness Journal, Kelsey Brown and Dixie Stanforth found that “green exercise” or exercising outside leads to “increased exercise enjoyment” and “stronger exercise adherence.”

Tip #5: Make a commitment to yourself and keep it. You only let yourself down when you skip a workout. Maintaining a level of fitness takes a lot of work and does not always come easy. Keep that in mind when you feel like skipping a workout on that cold, blustery winter day. The hardest part of any workout is simply getting there. Show up!

Kristi Jouett is a certified fitness instructor with Tahoe Fit, a partnership between Barton Health and Lake Tahoe Community College offering a variety of daily fitness classes around South Lake Tahoe.

Tips for Preventing Winter Sports Injuries

Now that snow has arrived and Lake Tahoe resorts are opening more terrain. As an orthopedic surgeon, I see many skiing and snowboarding related injuries. Consider the following tips to avoid preventable injuries and actively prepare for the season.

Equipment Assessment

Start with an equipment check.  For skiers, one major cause of knee injuries is improper binding settings.  If the binding is too tight, the boot does not disengage from the ski and can torque the knee.  Have a professional who understands different bindings adjust the setting.  Settings are based on each skier’s level, height and weight, and type of skiing.

Tune the skis or snowboard. Sharpen the edges and wax the bottoms for appropriate snow conditions.

Wear protective equipment.  Inspect the helmet for cracks or defects that make the helmet ineffective in preventing head injuries and, if necessary, replace it.  Wrist guards for snowboarders decrease wrist injuries and should be considered, especially for beginners.  Also, wear weather appropriate clothing for the mountain’s conditions.

Strengthening Exercises

Both skiing and snowboarding require strength and endurance.  The muscles in the legs, hips, and core take the most impact.  Strengthen these areas six to eight weeks before the season starts to decrease injuries later.  Skiers and snowboarders at any level should try these simple exercises.

Band walks. Target the gluteus medius, the stablizing muscle on the side of the bum between the hip and top of the pelvis.  Allow fifteen feet of space.  Wrap a mini-band – a workout rubber band – around the ankles.  Stay low in a squat and take a large sideway step followed by a half step with the other foot.  Repeat twenty sideway steps to the left for fifteen feet then repeat to the right.  Complete two sets in each direction.

Weighted Single Leg Box Squats. This comprehensive exercise uses the glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and core.  Squat on one leg, as the other extends out, to a box or chair. Throughout, keep the knee facing forward, the chest out, and the chin up. Focus on pushing through the heel.  Start with two sets of ten repetitions on each leg.

Lateral Box Jumps. Work on balance and explosiveness.  Start on one side of a stable box and jump up to the box and then jump down to the other side.  Repeat jumping back to the other side.  Go fast and maximize the number of repetitions in thirty seconds.  Start with three sets for 30 seconds each.

Wall Sits. Help the quads, glutes and core.  Rest back against a wall and flex knees about 60 degrees.  Tighten the abdominal muscles and quads.  Goal is to hold position for 60 seconds.  Start with three sets of 60 seconds each.

Perform these exercises at least two times a week for six weeks. Incorporate them into a regular workout routine.  Let’s hope for snow and prepare now for an injury-free ski season.

Dr. Kyle Swanson is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in total shoulder replacement, treatment of sports injuries, and bone trauma.

Surprising Facts about Weight Training

Strength training is not only good for you physically but mentally as well. You might be surprised by the evidence in favor of using weights for health and well-being.

Weight Training is good for your bones:

One of the many benefits of weight training is the ability to develop stronger, tougher bones. You may have heard how resistance training causes micro trauma to the muscle, and then during rest the muscle is able to rebuild becoming slightly stronger and bigger. Well, the same applies to your bones.

Wolff’s Law, a theory developed by 19th century German anatomist and surgeon Julius Wolff, states that bone in a healthy person will adapt to the load under which it is placed. If weight on a bone increases, the bone will remodel itself in time to become stronger to resist that same sort of loading.

Minimal Essential Strain (MES) refers to the stimulus needed to initiate new bone growth. Once this requirement is achieved, the same force will not be enough to cause MES. This is why the principle of Progressive Overload is so important: one must continually change the intensity (weight), direction of pull (different exercises or angles) and use full body exercises that require the use of many muscles and allow heavier loads.

Not only does resistance training increase bone mass, but it also increases bone mineral density, or the quality on minerals deposited in the bone.

It improves the worksite:

A recent study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research revealed on-the-job improvements with women from occupations that involved a high rate of muscle pain and discomfort. In the study, these women were given a single exercise: a 20 minute kettlebell swing performed three days per week. After eight weeks of kettlebell-swing training, nearly 80 percent reported improvements in muscle strength and improved coworker relations. The study concluded that this weight training had further impacts with improved job satisfaction, socializing with colleagues, and general wellness. The authors noted, “these observations could have a direct effect on overall well-being and corporation productivity, whereas long-term effects could be decreased sick leave and employee turnover rate.”

The gold standard in strength training is coming to Tahoe:

If you’re interested in learning how to strength train safely and with correct form, head to the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness. On Friday, August 17, Cal Strength industry experts will be holding a weightlifting clinic from 4 – 5:00 p.m. This is a free event for students with valid ID and $25 for adults, with the opportunity to stick around after to watch elite level athletes train.

Kyler Crouse, BS, CSCS is a Strength and Conditioning Specialist at the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness.

Training Top Athletes: Sports Performance Training Designed for Dream Chasers

Barton Health proudly sponsors some of the area’s top athletes: Daron Rahlves, Marco Sullivan, Travis Ganong, Lila Lapanja, and now Ty Tremaine, world champion EnduroCross rider from Gardnerville, Nevada.

EnduroCross is a hybrid motorcycle competition combining supercross, trials, and enduro racing. Forty competitors blast around an indoor track, maneuvering hundreds of pounds of motorized madness, all vying for the top spot on the podium.

As a child, Ty emulated his father’s passion for dirt biking: riding by age 3, racing by 4, and professionally endorsed by the RPM KTM Racing Team at 17. In 2013, at age 19, he became the youngest EnduroCross racer to qualify for and compete in the X Games. By 2016, Ty had claimed three AMA EnduroCross titles, including the AMA National 23 and under Pro EnduroCross Championship. This year, he took first in the ISDE qualifiers.

Pure passion, skill, and speed were fueling his professional career. But his optimal stamina and strength had yet to be developed.

Expert Help to Up His Game

Fellow EnduroCross rider and Barton physical therapy assistant Angie Hagenah recognized Ty’s racing potential, but she noticed he suffered from fatigue and “arm pump.” Arm pump is caused by poor posture induced thoracic outlet syndrome. Not surprisingly, it is prevalent in EnduroCross because of the hand and arm use needed to rein in such a rowdy ride. So Angie and Ty began working together at Barton’s Sports Performance Lab to help Ty improve.

“We began by using state-of-the-art sports performance methods, including a wingate test to assess his anaerobic power and a VO2 max test to identify his aerobic training zones as well as peak oxygen use,” explains Angie. “Based on the results, I designed a training program to optimize Ty’s posture and performance. When we re-tested Ty after four months, he saw significant improvement in his fitness.”

Ty credits his recent EnduroCross success to this new training program.

“EnduroCross racing is among the most intense, physically demanding sports. You are wrestling with a motorcycle while racing at your maximum heart rate for 15 minutes. It takes endurance, strength, and stamina,” Ty says. “I was quick on the bike, but I could feel that my arm strength was lacking. It wasn’t until I started working with Angie on my sports performance training that I closed in on the competition.”

Going to the Next Level

Now, for the first time in his riding career, Ty is competing in the highly coveted Grand National Cross Country off-road racing series.

“Going from 15-minute races in an arena to three-hour cross-country riding will be a test of my endurance,” Ty says. “This is where my training and the work Angie and I have done at Barton’s Sports Performance Lab will be put to the ultimate test.”

In August, Ty will return home to the West Coast to compete in the EnduroCross All West Series to try to claim the national title.

“Being part of an athlete’s success story makes me extremely happy,” Angie says. “An athlete like Ty is out there chasing his dreams, and it makes me proud to know we gave him the tools for ultimate success in his EnduroCross career.”