Isometric Exercise Benefits: Can Isometrics Help You Quit Smoking?


Isometric Benefits: Can Isometrics Help You Quit Smoking?

If you’re among the nearly 70 percent of U.S. adult smokers trying to give up smoking [1], you’re probably well aware of the benefits. Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk of lung cancer drops 30-50 percent [2], and just one year of not smoking decreases your risk of coronary heart disease by half [3]. While these health benefits and others make a compelling case, it’s not as simple as just quitting cigarettes.

Smoking-cessation aids like nicotine-replacement products, prescription medications, counseling and behavioral therapies [4] can increase the likelihood of success. Even so, cravings and withdrawal symptoms make breaking the smoking habit feel like an impossible challenge. Surprisingly, one practice that can help you to part ways with cigarettes may be one you don’t expect: exercise.

Exercise and Smoking Cessation

A study by the University of Exeter has added weight to the claims that exercise can assist efforts to quit smoking. The research used fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans to show how physical activity results in changes in brain processing.  In fact, these changes can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms [5]. Although further study is needed, researchers believe exercise curbs cravings by boosting your mood and/or shifting your blood flow.

Although eliminating cigarettes has a clear benefit, a regular exercise plan can be difficult to incorporate into a busy life. In addition, those new to exercise will have an especially hard time finding the right workout plan that will reduce cravings and fit their schedule. That’s where isometric exercise fits in.

A Study on Isometric Benefits

Another study of the relationship between smoking cessation and exercise concluded that isometric exercise, in particular, was found to reduce the desire to smoke. Furthermore, just 10 minutes of isometric exercises, which involve contractions of specific muscles, measurably lessened cravings and withdrawal symptoms in the study’s participants [6].

There are many advantages to using isometric exercise to curb cravings. These exercises don’t require a long time commitment to complete, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule. They can also be done at any time, at any location, so isometrics are the perfect solution to avoid boredom and deal with cravings throughout your day.

Activ5 and Isometric Benefits

One easy way to introduce isometric exercise into your daily routine and smoking cessation strategy is with the Activ5 device and mobile app. Designed for those short on time and seeking convenient exercises on-the-go, the Activ5 program can help you remain physical and reduce smoking urges. Activ5 coaches you through five-minute workouts that not only help curb urges, but also tone and strengthen your muscles.

Activ5 provides quick bursts of exercise to keep you on track. It also maintains the convenience of isometric exercise, as you can use Activ5 to stay active anytime and anywhere.

To learn more about isometric exercise benefits from the Activ5 portable fitness device, you can watch our videos.  Also, you can get more tips on staying active on the ActivBody blog.

Sources:

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/mmwrs/byyear/2011/mm6044a2/intro.htm

[2] https://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/lung-prevention-pdq

[3] http://www.who.int/tobacco/quitting/benefits/en/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK63952/

[5] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210092738.htm

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19563567

Top 10 Isometric Exercise Benefits


Top 10 Isometric Exercise Benefits

Isometric exercises are proven to help build muscle, strength, balance and range of motion. Other isometric exercise benefits include stress reduction, improved mental health, assistance with yoga exercises and injury avoidance. Here are some of the specific isometric exercise benefits.

Lowers Blood Pressure

•             Isometrics have been proven to reduce systolic blood pressure better than aerobic and resistance training in some studies. – Mayo Clinic

Aids in Weight Loss

•             Isometric exercise benefits include reducing both body fat and weight. In a test group, some subjects lost as much as 22 pounds over a 4-week period. – Journal of Applied Research

Saves You Time

•             Using isometric exercise for 6 minutes would be the equivalent muscle work of 30 to 35 minutes on a commercial weight lifting equipment. – Journal of Applied Research

Reduce Overall Pain

•             Older adults experience significant reduction in pain subsequent to several different intensities and durations of isometric contractions. – Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine

Reduce Back Pain

•             Isometrics reduces pain and increases vitality among women with low back pain, with effects lasting at least 9 months. –  Journal of Physical Activity and Health

Improve Range of Motion

•             Regular isometric exercises have been shown to significantly improve range of motion. – Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research

Quit Bad Habits (Smoking)

•             Brief isometric exercise provides immediate relief in the desire to smoke. –Human Psychopharmacology Journal

Get Stronger and Bigger Muscles

•             Isometric exercise is associated with an increase in muscle bulk, upper and lower body strength, increase in bone density, and a decrease in bone fractures. – The Journal of Clinical Hypertension

 Benefits Over Aerobic Exercise

•             Stretching and aerobic exercising alone have proven to be a less effective form of training than isometric strength training. -Journal American Medical Association (JAMA)

Improve Stamina

•             Isometric strength training can have beneficial effects on performance during endurance events. -European Journal of Applied Physiology

Three Secrets to Making Fitness Habits


The majority of habits form naturally. Most people don’t go around deciding “I’m now going be into X!” and then magically incorporate it into their lives – especially if it hurts! This is why a lot of us aren’t great at forcing ourselves into a fitness routine.

So, what works? Tricking ourselves into a fitness routine by sneakily easing into it. Here’s how:

1) Do Not Set Goals

Goals are for people who already have the fitness habit. They are powerful things, but if you set them prematurely, goals will become your enemy. Forget the scale, the calories and the inches, and focus on one thing only: did you sweat today?

If so, make a dot on the calendar or use a fitness app to track the exercise – even if it’s just one push-up or a choosing a flight of stairs over the elevator. No minimum or maximum per week.

2) Get Curious, and Read

You’re doing it right now! Sweet.

This is so important: make a point of reading more fitness blogs or articles during your downtime. Read about success stories or the science behind muscle growth – whatever floats your boat. Be curious and interested; get your brain used to the topic before you ask your body to get involved!

Suggestions:

3) Form Mini Support Habits, One at a Time

Numbers 1 and 2 are actually examples of mini support habits. These are super-easy things that nudge you towards adopting a routine at some point in the future.

Succeeding at mini habits creates a little feedback loop in your brain. It proves that you can do a simple thing that’s good for you, and you’ll be more likely to try and do another thing (like sweating once a day). And another thing – and another – until one day you find yourself excited to commit to 20 minutes of cardio three times a week!

Suggestions:

  • Quit some kind of junk food (not your favorite!)
  • Do a simple desk exercise before the day starts at work
  • Make your own lunch when you can
  • If you’re successful at #2, then you’ll find a hundred more ideas on your own!

Try these three things for a month or so. Or, if you’re already keen to start with something a little more hands on, we’ve created exactly the right tool for your new habit. The Activ5 is a portable fitness device that lets you sneak five-minute workouts into your day (through the magic of isometric exercise!)

Good luck, and happy habit forming!

5 Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit While Beating the Heat this Summer


5 Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit While Beating the Heat this Summer

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Happy Summer Solstice everyone! Now that it is officially summer, it can be hard to find the motivation to be active and eat right when it is sweltering outside. Here are some ideas from Activ5 on how to stay healthy and cool during the summer months.

1. Get up early and work out. We realize that this may be good advice year round, but when the temperatures get up there, it is imperative to start early in the day. Go for an early morning run or do some yoga in the morning sun! As an added bonus, morning exercise can leave you feeling energized all day![vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”3900″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”3901″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”3902″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row]2. Move your workout to the water! If you are lucky enough to have access to a pool, river, or lake, don’t just jump in to cool off – hang out for a while and try one of these water fitness ideas! Exercising in water is a great low impact way to work your whole body and it can be super fun too![vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”3903″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”3904″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”3905″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_column_text]3. Try some no-cook recipes. Is it just too hot to turn on the stove? Don’t go for take out that is low in nutrients and high in artificial ingredients and sugars, try some healthy no-cook dinners instead! If you do need to use some heat, use the grill. It is a great time of year for fresh garden fruits and veggies, but if you don’t have access to one yourself, try your local CSA or Farmers Market. You may be surprised at how inspired you are when you have fresh ingredients to cook with![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][vc_single_image image=”3906″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”3907″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”3908″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”3909″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”3911″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”3913″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]4. Smoothies, juice and water, oh my! It is vitally important to stay hydrated when it is hot out (and the rest of the time too)! While it may be tempting to grab an iced coffee or a cold beer, remember that those will actually dehydrate you. Try fruit infused water instead! Or some fresh juice is another great option, but make sure that you pick one that is not loaded with sugar. A nice cool smoothie can be a great refreshing breakfast when you are in a hurry and it is much better for you than sugary cereal! Try making individual smoothie baggies with fresh fruit and greens for the whole week and freezing them![/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3914″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row]5. Be active in your free time! Don’t stay cooped up inside all weekend, get outside and make use of the nice weather! It will be cooler if you get out of the city or go to a park away from the asphalt. Play lawn games or sports with friends. Go hiking – find a waterfall or lake as you destination and as an added bonus you get to cool off when you get there! After work, don’t just camp out in front of the TV, take advantage of the pleasant evenings and go take a stroll with friends or loved ones![vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”3916″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row]