Whole Life Magazine

April / May 2015

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whole living By Laura G. Owens MUSIC MUDDLES MEMORY Rock Body YOUR Music often sets relaxing background sounds, but for older adults it can be also be distracting and affect memory recall. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that while college students had no problem remembering names when they listened to background music, older adults remembered 10 percent fewer names. "When people get lost while driving, it's probably best to turn off the radio," said Sarah Reaves, a psychology grad student who led the study. COCONUT OIL PERK The super food coconut oil, well known for its health benefi ts, may also lower blood pressure. Researchers at the Federal University of Paraiba found that while coconut oil and exercise independently lowered blood pressure, only the combination returned blood pressure levels to normal. Combining coconut oil with regular exercise improves barorefl ex sensitivity (the body's homeostatic response to bring blood pressure back in balance) and reduces oxidative stress in the serum, heart and aorta. Want higher return on your exercise investment? Plyometrics, sometimes referred to as jump training, or "plyos," combines cardio and strength training with sudden explosive movements, such as squat jumps or "burpees." The idea is to exert max effort in the shortest amount of time. Plyometrics taps into stored muscle energy to increase speed, muscle development, agility, cardio function, stamina and calorie burn. Every time you jump, skip or leap you do plyometrics (hopping on a bus, jumping up abruptly from your seat). "Any type of jumping, including little hops on the balls of your feet, will elicit a similar response," explained Neal Pire, a strength and conditioning specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine and author of Plyometrics for Athletes at All Levels. Plyometrics shouldn't be confused with HITT (high intensity interval training), which is a type of workout progression "designed to improve overall fi tness and push your anaerobic capacity to new heights," continued Pire, while plyometrics is an exercise technique. "HITT involves a series of exercises of varying intensity in a sequence that alternates between high intensity exercise and lower; plyometric exercises involve singular explosive movements (e.g. squat jump)." While many athletes do plyometrics to increase performance, anyone can benefi t. "There will come times when even my mother, who is 95, needs to be explosive," said Pire. Deborah McConnell, a health and fi tness instructor with equipment manufacturer Life Fitness, suggests you warm up fi rst, begin slowly and gradually increase intensity. "When you land, you want to make sure you land softly to absorb the shock," she stresses. "Allow plenty of rest between days, and because of the intensity, do plyometrics at the beginning of the routine and not when you're tired." PLYOMETRICS: BETTER EXERCISE ROI april/may 2015 15

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