Posts Tagged “Exercise”

Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2019/2020

Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2019/2020

Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2019/2020

Take a deep dive into the top 10 fitness trends for 2019 and the 10 fitness trends for 2020. sit back, relax and soak up the info! enjoy…


Exercise and fitness is a high priority for the UK government at the moment as the realisation  sets in that exercise can ameliorate some of the diseases that can develop as a result of our lifestyle habits. The cost to the NHS every year to treat some of these preventable diseases is huge. Recent estimates from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggests that a sedentary lifestyle costs the taxpayer in excess of £1billion every year. 

Year on year we are becoming more aware of the importance of exercise for our health and well-being. The American College of Sports Medicine the foremost academic authority on sport science and exercise physiology (ACSM) examined the responses of 200 health and fitness professionals for their opinion on what the fitness trends for 2019 will be. Take a look at the top 10 fitness trends for 2019. 

1. Wearable tech

ACSM define wearable tech as smart watches, heart rate monitors, fitness trackers and GPS tracking devices. Wearable tech has truly transformed the fitness industry, instead of having to go to an expensive and exclusive sport science laboratories to get valid and reliable data on your fitness and how your body is performing and coping with the exercise stresses you are putting it through.  Now you can simply wear the tech on your wrist and get real time feedback and analysis of everything from the distance and elevation of your running route to how your cardiovascular system is performing during your workout. 


Tech such as Loadsol a wearable  insole for your running shoe that wirelessly transmits a real time data on your gait is just one of the new and emerging wearable tech that goes beyond just analysing your heart rate during exercise. Recent developments in wearable tech mean that we are on the threshold of analysing a whole range of parameters that could only be done by expensive lab equipment. Examples of this are; immune responses to exercise, EMG,  acceleration, respiratory, metabolic and neuromuscular parameters. 


2. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT is defined as short bursts of exercise followed a short period of rest (ACSM) HIIT has been shown to derive benefits to your body composition. One of the main proponents of HIIT is the British 6 time MR Olympia Dorian Yates. We are not suggesting that HIIT will turn you into a Mr Olympia ( at least not overnight!) but we are suggesting that it can be an effective way to train if done correctly. Dorian Yeates honed his HIIT workout routine over many years, constantly experimenting with what worked for his body and what didn’t. Why not give HIIT a try in your next workout.

3. Group Training

Group training is defined an exercise with five or more participants with instructor  teaching and motivating the class. 

Group training is an excellent way to train socially. E are all social animals and we need company and sometimes competition to bring the best out of us. Training with a friend or friends can be a great way to exercise whilst developing other friendships and to also reduce dome of the self consciousness and  anxiety of exercising alone in a room full of strangers. The instructor worth their salt will be a good motivator, teacher and above all …qualified! This can help you to learn the basics of exercise whilst you develop your confidence and exercise habits.

4. Body Weight Training

As the name implies , body weight training is you using your body weight to perform different types of dynamic exercise. It is an inexpensive way to exercise but it does have its limitations. You may train to the point where your body weight is no longer sufficient to overload your muscles thus provoking them to adapt and become fitter. However, in some sports, body weight training is more than enough. 


More and more local councils are installing body weight training equipment in local parks. When you next visit your local park, o over a have a look at what equipment there is and then …have a go! body weight training is becoming so popular, we are confident that body weight training will make the 10 fitness trends for 2020 and beyond!


5. Fitness Programs for Older Adults

As we age, numerous genetic and hormonal changes cause our bodies to lose not only bone density but muscle mass too. Gerontologists are on the case in trying to unravel the mechanisms that cause this process to happen as we age. But what we do know is that exercise can increase bone density and muscle mass. Slowing the ageing process and reducing the risk of age related diseases that can really affect our physical and mental health later in life.  The best way to reduce the risk of age related diseases and to live healthy for as long as possible is to exercise regularly along with a healthy diet, good social network (not the FaceBook type!)

6. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals

SFE Academy is a training provider that trains and certifies fitness professionals. We really do understand the importance of the knowledge and skill when designing and delivering exercise programs. We train all of our fitness professionals to be able to train a diverse population of people from children to older adults and everyone in between. 


It is important that all fitness professionals feel comfortable in all environments and with all people. We recognise that that skill, knowledge and friendly manner go along way to get people the results they want. All of our students are vigorously tested so that they meet the highest industry knowledge and standards. You have a right to demand that of your fitness professionals too.


7. Yoga

Yoga has been around for an extremely long time. The health benefits are numerous. Including, developing strength, flexibility and balance. There are many different types of Yoga out there. There will almost certainly be a type for you.


8. Personal Training

It just so happens that we also train the next generation of personal trainers at SFE Academy too! 

ACSM has listed Personal Training in the top 10 since 2006! This is a sign of how important personal training can be  when it comes to exercise and fitness. Personal trainers are able to develop training programs tailored to your unique needs and targets. They are there to help motivate you and teach you about how the body adapts and develops during and following a period of exercise. They will also be able to provide you with nutritional advice and guidance and monitor you exercise program. 

9. Functional Fitness Training

When you think of functional fitness training, think of the training montage in the film Rocky! Functional fitness aims to develop your strength, coordination and balance by doing of simulating everyday tasks and movements that you may do at home or at work. This type of training is advantageous as it uses all of the muscles (the agonist, antagonist, synergist and fixator muscles) used in that movement. Therefore, replicating real life situations. An advantage over fixed resistance machines at the gym that only pull in one direction.

10. Exercise as Medicine

The paradigm is shifting Ladies and Gentlemen! The role and usefulness of exercise to reverse a number of preventable diseases is becoming more apparent by the day! The knowledge that exercise as a medicine is filtering into schools, colleges, the Government and the medical profession too. Going to your GP (after the long wait!) will be more about analysing you exercise habits and prescribing exercise as a modal of treatment. The benefits of exercise on both physical and mental health are numerous

7 Keys To Increase-Productivity

7 Keys To Increase-Productivity

What are the 7 Keys to Increase Productivity?
We’ve all had those days when we feel like we are not accomplishing anything no matter how hard we work.
Looming deadlines, increasing workload, multitasking, and stress could all disrupt a person’s productivity. “Work smarter, not harder” has become a famous motto among the workforce. And this statement actually has merit. Sometimes, when we wear too many hats, take on too much work, instead of becoming more productive, our productivity actually decreases. So what can we do to increase our productivity?

1. Have a healthy breakfast… or skip it!

have a healthy breakfast or even skip it to try and boost your productivity

I don’t mean to confuse you, but there are studies showing that skipping the most important meal of the day can benefit various brain functions. Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity lately, and there are scientific studies to back it up. However, if you want to give this a try, it is best to ask for a doctor or a nutritionist’s advice first. For anything to work, one has to have the know-how and the right motivation. On the other hand, if you are a huge fan of breakfast and could not possibly start a day without it, by all means, eat! Fuel your body with the right food. Make healthy choices.

2. Take that coffee break

take a coffee break to help you increase your productivity

Though it might be tempting to just keep plugging away at work and skip your breaks in order to meet your deadlines, it would not be a very good idea. You need to relax and take a breather. This will give your brain a much-needed break and you a chance to walk around and enjoy a nice cup of joe, maybe even socialize with your other harried co-workers.

3. CBD Oil

Hemp Based Products

Adderall has been making the rounds around colleges and even workplaces. However, if you prefer a more natural approach to boost your concentration and productivity, why not give CBD oil a try. It has been known to increase alertness, help calm nerves, and boost your mood. So when you find yourself stressed with your head all over the place, why not try popping a CBD gummy, a flavored tincture, or even straight up CBD oil to help ease your stress and calm your nerves. Unlike its addictive cousin, THC, CBD will not get you high.

4. Limit multitasking

Avoid multitasking and focus on one job at a time - be more productive

Multitasking is not something the human brain is built for. It has proven to cause loss of productivity. Doing too many things at once will take away your concentration from the crucial things that need doing. This will make your work prone to errors and cost you time that you were trying to save by multitasking in the first place. Do one thing at a time before moving on to the next task. This way you can ensure each task is accomplished properly. Try doing the tasks that take the least amount of time to accomplish first. This will get these tasks out of the way and allow you to focus on the more complicated ones.

5. Take exercise breaks

Take exercise breaks to try and help ypou increase your productivity

Isn’t it ironic that a post about being productive is talking about breaks a lot? That’s because taking breaks in between tasks is a good way resetting your brain and preparing it for the whole new task ahead. Exercising will send a rush of much-needed oxygen to your brain and will help loosen your muscles that might have bunched up from getting the previous task done. Taking a brief walk, or a short stretch will allow your brain to stop thinking about work and “breathe”. This will help bring your focus back to where it is supposed to be – your looming tasks.

6. Use tools

use tools such as apps and other software to help you increase your productivity

Using online tools or apps to track your work and tasks for the day is one easy way of getting your day organized. When you have your day organized, you won’t need to spend extra time trying to remember what to do next; you would already have it laid out for you. Most of these tools are free and can be linked to your personal or work email. Just make sure that the apps abide by your company rules and risk profile.

7. Say no to meetings

work hard and play hard say no to meetings sometimes

Meetings take time. And a lot of the time, these meetings are not even really necessary. If you have a lot of things to do, and someone schedules a meeting, try to find out if your presence is necessary for the meeting. Or if the items on the agenda could be discussed through email, that would be a better venue. You only get so many hours in a day, after all.

This article first appeared on in Collaboration with SFE Academy

Exercise & Cancer: The Protective Effect of Exercise

Exercise & Cancer: The Protective Effect of Exercise

The Benefits of Exercise


We all know someone who has been through the traumatic and sadly often fatal ordeal of a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. The UK has made strides to inform the population to the common risk factors for cancer and the benefits of exercise. They roll off the top of your head as easily as your home address or your number. However, we also choose to ignore the advice that successive government health campaigns and even the education system itself has taught us over the years.


This article aims to elucidate the effects of exercise on cancer genesis and progression.


Exercise, Cancer and the Immune System

Exercise has profoundly positive effect on our immune system and the effect is almost instantaneous. The immune system is our body’s way of fighting off foreign cells such as viruses or bacteria, it plays a part in inflammation and importantly it also has a role in tumour suppression and prevention.


The evidence for the role of exercise on the immune response was first discovered in 1893. It first described how leukocytes (white cells)  increased in the bloodstream during physical exertion. The link between exercise and activation of the immune system had now been observed.


The focus of recent studies in the field has been on a specific type of white blood cell (WBC) called a ‘natural Killer’ cell (NK cell) NK cells are produced in the bone marrow from CD34+ precursor cells and are part of the innate immune system and respond rapidly to threats in the body. NK cells are stored in the spleen and the vascular bed and during exercise, both of these organs have their blood flow increased significantly, and also increases their numbers in circulatory system.


NK cells have a ‘natural’ ability to seek and destroy premalignant and malignant cells without the need to first be exposed to the cell in order to develop a defence (adaptive immunity) However, they do play a major part in training the adaptive immune system.  


Exercise and cancer - Immune system activation during exercise

Credit: Trends in Molecular Medicine.

How NK cells are recruited during Exercise

Research has suggested that NK recruitment into the bloodstream can increase six fold in as little as 70 seconds of physical activity. Whereas, other studies have shown that NK increases in the bloodstream can be produced within minutes of exercise taking place. This is also in agreement with other studies that have investigated the role of exercise and white cells.  However, following 30mins of endurance exercise, NK cell numbers did not increase. The general consensus in the literature is that the exercise intensity to elicit an increase in NK numbers must be sufficient for an increased heart rate and breathlessness to occur. Moderate to high intensity endurance and resistance type activities. However, exercise beyond 3 hours results in a decrease in circulating NK cells.


Research supports evidence for the benefits of exercise that we can all relate to. Overtraining can cause harm and lead to opportunistic infections that would have otherwise been dealt with by the immune system.  A possible example of this is the middle distance runner Sebastian Coe and the American sprinter Carl Lewis. Two such examples of how over training may have been detrimental to success. Seb Coe failed to qualify for the 1988 Seoul Olympics due to a respiratory illness whilst Carl Lewis failed to qualify for the 1992 Olympic 100m due to an infection. While the evidence linking over training to their respective failure to qualify is not sufficient for a definitive answer. The circumstantial evidence would certainly point in that direction.


What are the anti tumour Properties of NK cells and how is it affected by Exercise

The two different subtypes of NK cells that are activated during and post exercise are known as CD56dim and CD16+ compared to all other NK cell subtypes. CD56dim and CD16+ cells are more cytotoxic (cell destroying) than other subtypes which are said to be more cytokine (molecular signalling) producing NK cells.


Cytokines are the messengers of the immune system. They are produced in certain WBC’s in order to ‘communicate’ or signal other cells of the immune system. Exercise releases myokines from the muscle fibres into the circulation. Myokines are proteins released by the muscle during contractions. The myokines are signalling molecules that activate the NK cells. Interleukin 6, 7 and 15 (IL 6, IL7 & IL15) have been seen to play a role in NK cell activation during exercise. Furthermore, epinephrine release pre and during exercise is also thought to recruit NK cells into the circulatory system.

Exercise and cancer

Cytokine Map: This image shows you the different cytokines and their functions.

The role of exercise intensity, mode and duration of exercise and the various signalling pathways that activate the tumour fighting NK cells is now a bit more transparent. This could help fitness professionals to widen the scope of exercise.   

Ageing, Cancer and the role of Exercise

The increasing body of research that has examined the  effects of exercise and aging on cancer and the immune system. The general consensus is that exercise still has the same positive effect on reducing the risk of malignancies developing.

The ageing process is a complex topic involving many different variables that all contribute to the process. However, in essence, the ageing process can be thought of as an accumulation of cellular damage over time. This can be from free radical exposure and oxidative stress on  cells leading to in effect cellular exhaustion. Therefore, leading to cellular dysfunction. However, the already established immediate responses of NK cells to exercise is supported by research that also suggests that elderly populations who undergo a 12 week aerobic and resistance training programme display increased antigen expression on monocytes (immune cell), decreased inflammation and inhibit a tumour promoting environment whilst promoting a tumour suppressive one.


Does Exercise Confer and Benefits for Patients with Malignancies?


There are studies that explore the immune response to exercise in people who have been diagnosed with cancer.  The findings are in agreement with research looking into non cancer patients. The same NK cell response is seen in healthy populations and in control groups or people with malignancies. However, there is still a great deal to be done to find out if the immune response seen in both populations has any beneficial effect on clinical outcomes.


Exercise, Metabolism and Tumour Physiology


Exercise has a profound effect on blood flow around the body. Blood flow is shunted from some organs and redirected to the working muscles during exercise. The redirection of blood flow is to adequate supply the working muscles with oxygen and remove the waste products produced from cellular respiration.


Tumours exhibit hypoxia like conditions due to metabolic and blood vessel abnormalities that mean that oxygen delivery is impaired making the tumour rely on the glycolysis energy pathway for the tumour cells energy needs instead of the oxidative phosphorylation pathway. This is termed the ‘Warburg effect’


Exercise is also responsible for activating HIF1ɑ which also enables up regulation of pro-erythrocyte proteins and proteins that promote angiogenesis (increase in vasculature) Several studies have suggested an increase in intratumoral (within tumour) perfusion rate (blood flow) The increase in tumour blood flow sounds counter intuitive and far from being a benefit. However, if blood flow to the tumour is stabilised, would it mean that the tumour will have an increased nutrient supply? Therefore, promoting tumour growth? The counterargument to this is as follows; If the intratumoral vascular network is stabilised, this would increase oxygen supply bringing the tumour to normoxic (normal oxygen levels) conditions, altering tumour metabolism and up regulating  AMPK and reducing tumour growth.  Furthermore, increased intratumoral blood flow also increases Immune cell infiltration and allows easier access for exogenous chemotherapy drugs conferring a possible survival advantage for the patient.



Tumour VS Normal Vasculature - Exercise and cancer

Credit: Research Gate.Net


Caution must be ascribed when interpreting the effect of exercise on tumour metabolism. There are many other factors and genetic mutations affecting metabolism and tumorigenesis where exercise may or may not have an effect upon. There is still much more research to be done on human models.


Mode of Exercise


Interestingly, there is an increasing body of research that examines the mode of exercise and its effects on cancer risk. Research has  suggested that moderate to vigorous exercise lowered the risk of a range of cancers including; colon (23%), breast (12%), renal (12%), prostate (10%), pancreatic, gastroesophageal (18%) and ovarian (11%).


Mode of Exercise - Frequency, Intensity, Time & Type of Exercise


Studies using rodent models of cancer have used various types, duration, distances and intensities of exercise. The researchers postulated a dose dependent relationship between exercise and tumorigenesis. However, they did conclude that more research needs to be done to determine the exercise dose.


Why fitness professionals now need to listen and adapt


We can see why the UK government recommends that the adult population  needs at least 30 mins of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. The benefits of exercise are clear. Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise and resistance training has been shown to have a positive effect on the prevention of cancer. Cancer patients could also benefit from exercise in combination with other treatments such as surgery, chemo and radiotherapy.


For those of us who are lucky enough not to have suffered cancer, a balanced, healthy diet with plenty of exercise will reduce your overall risk of developing cancer. Increased activation of the immune system. Increased exercise induced vascularisation, altered tumour metabolism and more.


The Future of Fitness


Current fitness and exercise qualifications only make reference to the benefits of exercise and its cancer prevention properties. There is little to no explanation of why this is so. This can be  detrimental to the overall task of educating a populace to enable them to prevent the onset of this dreadful disease.

As certain as one can be, current fitness professionals may not possess the knowledge to effectively train a cancer patient. (or a one in remission) Given that cancer will affect at least 50% of the population, the notion that fitness professionals do not have this skill set is alarming.

The way forward is for qualification awarding bodies to revamp their qualifications to include much more content on training different populations other than stereotypes of clients who ‘just wants to get bigger’ or ‘lose weight’. A reality of towns and cities across the UK is that people have all sorts of ailments and idiosyncrasies. The time for catering for a select few is now over as reality catches up with rigid qualification structures, content and teaching practices.


This is where SFE Academy is different, the courses we offer have been ‘reality checked’ meaning that we have put the course through quality checks to make sure that what we teach you is relevant to the people you are likely to encounter.


We work closely with industry partners to make sure that once qualified, you are ready for the fitness industry. .

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