Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Benefits of extreme temperature workouts – not as great as you might think

Anna Ewa Bieniek/Shutterstock
Lindsay Bottoms, University of Hertfordshire and Daniel Muniz, University of Hertfordshire
First there were heated fitness studios, now the latest trend is working out in frigid temperatures. Although there are some health benefits associated with each of these regimes, there are also some risks. Here’s what you need to know.

Hot workouts

The ideal body temperature is around 37⁰C. When you exercise, your muscles are very inefficient and only 25% of the energy is used for movement. The other 75% of the energy muscles produce is lost as heat, increasing the temperature of your body. If it exceeds 40⁰C, it can be dangereous, so your body tries to keep the temperature at around 37⁰C.

One strategy to prevent body temperature from rising is getting more blood to the skin, which is people’s faces flush during an intense workout. If you exercise in an already hot environment, the difference between body temperature and room temperature is small, and your heart needs to work harder trying to get more blood to the skin.

Another way your body gets rid of excess heat is by warming up sweat to the point at which it evaporates, which then takes heat with it when it evaporates to the air. You can lose up to two litres of water every hour through sweat. As you sweat more during exercise in the heat, it is important to replace the fluid you have lost or your blood can become thicker, which also puts a strain on the heart.

Both ways of keeping the body under 40⁰C add an extra burden on the heart. As a result, cardio workouts are more difficult in hot environments and endurance performance is decreased in hot environments.

But exercising in a hot environment might be good for short activities that need powerful muscle contractions. There is also a school of thought that light-intensity workouts, such as yoga, can benefit because the extra strain on the heart during exercise in the heat can increase the number of calories you burn. But research by Central Michigan University showed that there was no difference in exercise intensity, so the amount of calories burnt doing yoga at 20⁰C and 35⁰C were the same.
Increasing muscle temperature can increase flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. But a hot environment does not necessarily mean increased muscle temperature.

Regularly undertaking workouts in a hot environment can help endurance performance in the heat, but your overall fitness and health may not get anything extra.

Working out in the heat can improve endurance in the heat, but that’s about all. Klemen K. Misic/Shutterstock

Cold workouts

In the cold, your body is hotter than the surrounding environment and can easily get rid of the heat produced in the muscles during exercise. This stops the temperature of the body from increasing during prolonged exercise and performance in your cardio session will usually be better on cold days. Researchers from the University of Aberdeen found endurance to be best at around 10⁰C (compared with 4⁰C, 21⁰C and 31⁰C).

When it is really cold, the heat produced by your muscles is not enough to maintain a core temperature at 37⁰C. The body has ways to cope with extreme cold environments, such as shivering. Shivering is essentially muscles contracting to produce heat, not movement. As with any muscle contraction, shivering requires energy and burns calories, so at rest you may burn more calories in the cold than in normal temperatures.

Another strategy to cope with cold is to use fat to produce heat. Researchers in the US have shown repeated workouts in the cold increases the amount of brown fat in your body. Brown fat is known as “good fat” as it burns calories.

Both shivering and burning fat consume calories, and studios that hold workout classes at 7⁰C have begun to appear, with the idea that they can help people lose weight. Researchers from Spain found that exposure to a progressively cold environment can increase energy expenditure by up to 30%, which corresponds to around 500 calories for 24 hours of cold exposure. This means exposure to cold can help you lose weight faster, but the effect would be small for a one-hour workout in the cold. And feeling cold is unpleasant.

If you want to increase your muscle strength, doing workouts in the cold probably won’t help. Muscles work best at hot temperatures. When muscles get cold, the force they can produce decreases. You are also more likely to get injured in the cold, but the extra risk of injury is reduced if you warm up properly.

Take-home message

The small extra amount of calories burnt in extreme environments (hot or cold) may help you lose weight, but it could be outweighed by the increased health risks and reduced performance. Doing 150 minutes of physical activity a week is the key to good health, regardless of the temperature.The Conversation

Lindsay Bottoms, Principal Lecturer, Exercise Physiology, University of Hertfordshire and Daniel Muniz, Senior Lecturer, Exercise Physiology, University of Hertfordshire
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Summary of campus updates from this year

If you’ve been away for a while, or even just away for summer, you may notice a few changes since you were last here. There have been a number of updates recently on campus, from new buildings to new food. Make sure you’re aware of these changes and how they may affect or improve your experience with us.

Business and Social Hub

Since the start of the calendar year, we’ve been constructing a new building on de Havilland campus called the “Business and Social Hub”. The aim of the building is to create a three-storey building that will provide learning, social and business facilities at the heart of the University’s de Havilland campus.

A fly-through video of the new building is available to view here. Facilities will include:
-      A ground floor social space with both formal and informal areas to encourage collaboration and communication between students, staff and the business community.
-      A first floor with a dedicated Business incubation focus, delivering a facility designed to support business start-ups and graduate entrepreneurs.
-      A new teaching space for students, including Degree Apprentices and MBA students.

The building will be located between the street and accommodation. The construction of the new building is on schedule to be completed in 2020. Check out the latest photos on the building.

New catering on campus

The University has recently formed a new catering partnership with Aramark. Aramark have been changing up the catering on campus quite drastically.

You may have seen on campus already, they have already refurbished the campus shop on College Lane, while refurbishments for the de Havilland campus shop are ongoing. The shop has been refurbished into a Premier shop, it stocks a wide range of food, drinks and other affordable day to day essentials such as household items and stationery.
In addition, you can find:

-      Ready to eat, hot and cold snacks such as Chicago Town pizza, hot dogs and savoury slices
-      The Cool Desserts Co. selling milkshakes, freshly made waffles, ice creams and Tango Ice Blasts
-      Starbucks Grab and Go coffees

Along with this, they have also introduced some new additions to the campus restaurants, to provide more variety and quality into the meals that you eat. Here’s a list of the different options available to you:

-      Start the day on a high note with our selection of freshly cooked traditional breakfast items, choice of cereals, porridge and yoghurt pots.
-      At lunchtime, choose from our Home Favourite counter offering traditional comfort food, to Peel and Loaf where you can select from an array of fresh ingredients to make your perfect sandwich, just as you like it.
-      Try our live station, featuring Gustoso fresh pizza and pasta, cooked before your eyes.
-      The 'Street Food' counter offers a premium range of international local treats, changing daily.
-      Tandoori Club offers a variety of Indian flavours for a wrap with a twist.
-      Joe de Frango offers a freshly cooked range of rotisserie chicken, with a choice of seasonings and side items.
-      In addition to all these options is our salad bar, with a daily selection made from the freshest ingredients

TV screens around campus

Excitingly, we will be upgrading the TV screens around campus. Our old software restricted us from doing a lot of what we wanted to do, for example playing videos. 

Some of the improvements include:
-      Much wider range of content formats, including videos
-      Greatly improved reliability of the TV screens
-      New showcase triple screen in College Lane reception
-      Better targeting of content to specific screens or group of screens

Overall, this means we can make the screens more exciting and relevant to you, so make sure you always check out what’s on when walking past one.

We are still working on designs and how we will lay out the screens, but we are excited to be introducing this to you and sharing screens and videos that we could not previously share with you.

WiFi improvements

July 2019 saw the successful completion of the University’s £2million WiFi improvement project. Over 3,500 high-capacity Access Points (APs) have been installed across the entire UH estate and the infrastructure is now in place so that everyone can enjoy a better WiFi service on campus. See WiFi winners! 

Remember, Wireless Warriors will help you get connected to eduroam. Look out for them at the start of termeduroam is the best choice for you and saves you time by logging in automatically whenever you are on campus. It’s now easier to get set up – see Wireless connections /WiFi set-up

£5 print credit for all students

New for 2019-20! Every UH student will receive £5 credit in their online print and copy account. Previously the University has given a £5 print credit to new students. This year, following feedback and discussion with the Students’ Union, this credit is being extended to both new and all returning students once they have completed registration. 

Find out more about printing on campus  

HertsMobile app improvements

The Herts Mobile app is installed on over 25,000 devices and is a really popular tool for anyone at UH (search for “Herts Mobile" in your app store). Improvements for 2019 include:
-      opening and using the app will feel much faster 
-      new look and feel that now supports both mobile and tablet devices 
-      updated map locations and routing 
-      new library updates and reminder notifications 

More lecture recordings and refurbished teaching rooms

Automatic recordings of timetabled lectures are now taking place in over 60 specially-equipped classrooms. This project will continue in 2019 including the addition of recording lights in class. Find out more about Recording of teaching and learning sessions.

We’ve also installed new furniture and audio-visual equipment in a number of rooms across the FMM, Main and Wright buildings.  

LinkedIn Learning

Say hello to LinkedIn Learning – the Lynda.com e-learning tool has moved to LinkedIn Learning providing all the same great Lynda content with a new look and feel and lots of exciting personalisation features.  Find out more about LinkedIn Learning and how to get the most out of this great resource.