You’ve probably heard of boot camps; perhaps you’ve even participated in one. Higher, faster, further is the name of the game with the fitness trend that grew out of harsh US military-style exercise regimes. It is an extreme approach to exercise that tests – and even goes beyond – physical and mental limits. In this context, health is no more than a side issue.
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A lack of reflection on health

The fact is that any fitness craze when taken to extremes is physically and emotionally harmful. The health professionals at Park Igls Mayr clinic also judge this kind of excessive exercise to be a reflection of society. ‘The relentless quest for the next hit of adrenaline is shaped by culture and psychology. Ageing is no longer of value in our society and for many people, staying young, fit and adventurous into old age has become the be all and end all’, is how Dr Peter Barth, GP, Mayr physician and cardiovascular specialist at Park Igls describes the psychological background to this hype. Social media, with its eye-catching, condensed messages also assists the rapid spread of risky fitness trends whilst failing to provide guidance – or any indication of the harmful effects on health, says Michael Multerer, Head of Exercise Therapy at Park Igls.

Improving health – not endangering it!

There are upsides, however. The fitness trend has not only led to more people exercising, but also opened up the gym to everyone, including the elderly. And this is great for health, says the GP and FX Mayr specialist: ‘Just 150 minutes of cardiovascular endurance training a week demonstrably extends life expectancy by at least three to four years’. However, you should never exercise under pressure and always listen to what your body’s telling you. When it comes to how much and what kind of exercise you should opt for, Park Igls’ qualified trainer and mental coach Michael Multerer advises a balanced mix of endurance, strength and coordination training – no matter how old you are. It is important, however, that you pay heed to the body’s – and the mind’s – signals. Otherwise, you could actually end up harming your health.

Did you know that just 150 minutes of cardiovascular endurance training per week can increase your life expectancy by at least three to four years? Muscles can be built up and expanded – even in later life. Especially the all-important cardiovascular system benefits from regular exercise, as this forms collateral circulations that reduce the risk of heart attack. Regular training also improves metabolism.

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Improve fitness with professional support

To be absolutely safe, we recommend training with a professional at the gym or with a qualified sports and exercise therapist. According to sports professional Michael Multerer, this is the best option, especially for beginners and children. With regard to strength training, the Tyrolean exercise therapist advises working at maximum load, while he recommends different levels of intensity for endurance training in order to use the body’s carbohydrate and fat reserves and sustainably increase performance. Also, taking breaks is important for long-term health to give the body time to recover. Otherwise, you risk overtraining and having to take an enforced break from exercise which would be counterproductive to physical and mental health – and no fun at all.

Fun and exercise for better health

As with everything in life, the more fun we have, the better the long-term effects on our health. It’s better to work out two to three times a week feeling positive than forcing yourself to go to the gym every day – most likely an unsustainable slog! Pay attention to your own needs, notice the body’s warning signs such as pain, follow your own biorhythm and only exercise as much as is good for you: these are the clear recommendations of former professional athlete Michael Multerer at Park Igls. Exercise should be about preventing physical and mental health and fitness issues throughout our lives.

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3 tips for fitness

1. Be creative! Avoid lifts and escalators, get off the bus a stop earlier, walk or cycle, order a standing desk for the office etc.
2. Less is more. It’s preferable to work out consistently two to three times a week than to make overblown plans and fail. Add your training schedule to the calendar!
3. Variety is key! No, it’s not all about running and weights. Multi-faceted movement sequences help to maintain mind and body fitness.

Work-out for health and beauty!

Get the mix right and combine exercises that train endurance, strength, flexibility and coordination. This will activate all three phases of metabolic burn:
1. Fat metabolism at low intensity exercise has many positive effects on health, wellbeing and endurance.
2. Aerobic carbohydrate metabolism at moderate intensity exercise supplies the muscles with sufficient oxygen, promotes good health and improves performance.
3. Anaerobic carbohydrate metabolism at high intensity exercise: muscles start to produce lactic acid after a short time due to lower oxygen level. Most performance-boosting form of exercise.

Tip: Define your perfect training intensity percentages with a performance test conducted by a sports physician. We know that the more intensely you exercise, the more fat you burn. Of course, nutrition is also important. You need to ensure that your high-quality protein, vitamin and mineral requirements are covered. Check with your FX Mayr specialist at Park Igls in Tyrol – we’re here for you!