Category: UCO


cycling 1

by: Kyle Factor

When you think of a great workout, you may think it has to be done formally in a gym. on the treadmill, weight training, or doing yoga or aerobic fitness classes. One type of recreational activity that may not have grabbed your attention is cycling. Getting out there on your bike and taking a ride can have a lot of positive effects on your health. Cycling is also an ageless exercise. The positive effects of cycling can be benefitted by those of every age group and through all stages in life.

The first positive that can be gained from cycling is cardiovascular endurance. This low impact form of exercise can be set to be very strenuous and also can be set to be very light. Riding hills are some of the best interval training methods out there. The next positive about cycling is that it is low impact on the joints. Compared to running and lifting, the pedals of the bike carry the load and the resistance. With this resistance on the lower body muscles it is great for building muscular strength and endurance. The quadriceps take the biggest brunt of the training from cycling. Another positive of this form of exercise is that it helps build the bone density. The pedals pulling on the muscles and the muscles pulling on the bone. The last positive thing about cycling is it helps with activities of daily living. Cycling helps with endurance, strength, balance, and coordination. This is particularly important for older adults.

Health Benefits from Cycling:

  • Increased endurance
  • Increased Muscular conditioning
  • Higher Vo2max
  • Healthier ligaments
  • Balance
  • Coordination

cycling 2

Take a Hike!

by: Evan Small


Gym Memberships. These two words are known for making muscles, bank accounts and schedules sore. Although mostly seen as a convenient resource for exercise, other FREE alternatives for even high volume exercise are often overlooked. Summer is fast approaching and with vacations often centered around cooler air and the mountains, plan a hike into your next trip!



Initially, the thought of hiking brings images such as the one above to mind. The benefits of hiking on the human body are nearly immeasurable however there are some common benefits worth noting:

  • Cost Effective
  • Decreased Blood Pressure
  • Decreased Stress Levels
  • Enhanced Immune System Functioning
  • Restored Attention
  • Increased Overall Wellness

Although Hiking is often seen as an experience instead of exercise, one jaunt out into the hills will show your legs otherwise, HIKING IS TOUCH!! Many opportunities exist in the Edmond metro or within one day’s drive most of which being free of charge and offer short and long distance hiking. Hiking can burn around 450 calories per hour, which is a desirable trait for many exercisers!

Local Trails Include:

Mitch Park Edmond, OK Paved/Trail 1.8-2.8 Miles
Hafer Park Edmond, OK Paved 1.7 Miles
Bluff Creek Oklahoma City, OK Paved/Trail 3.4 Mile Loop
Wichita Mountains Lawton, OK Trail .5-5.7 Miles

hiking 2

 Hiking specifically works muscles in your legs such as your gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, hips and lower legs. Although not a full body workout, hiking could easily substitute a day at the gym! Benefits are not subject to adults only. Hiking is a great way to get kids to exercise; even when they don’t know they’re exercising!

 However, possibly the most important benefit of hiking has to do with mental health of the individuals whom participate in hiking. Cortisol is a hormone that is release when your body goes into the “fight or flight” mode. High levels of cortisol in the blood have been correlated with high/chronic stress levels. Research has shown that walking in different environments can reduce cortisol levels. Along with hiking in new environments, meditating and/or taking in pretty scenery has also shown to decrease cortisol levels and in turn makes you less stressed!!

 So there you have it. Help yourself improve overall health… and TAKE A HIKE!


Programming for Parkinson’s Disease

by Kyle FActor

Parkinson’s is a neurological disease where damaged nerve cells do not produce enough dopamine in the brain. First signs of this disease are tremors in one single hand. As this disease progresses, you lose a lot of other body function as well like, range of motion, muscle stiffness, and loss of balance. It is difficult to program exercise for individuals with this disease because it varies on which stage the disease has progressed to. People in the later stages of the disease can typically not function at as high of levels as those in later stages. In all stages of this disease, exercise is prescribed as tolerated by each individuals.

Some things to focus on when programming for individuals with Parkinson’s are:

  • Individuals tend to have low cardiovascular endurance
  • Diminishing Range of motion
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Tremors make free weights difficult to train with
  • Overtraining individuals can make ADL’s difficult the following days


A basic program for these individuals is recommended to use five different training methods. These include Aerobic training, Endurance training, Strength training, Flexibility training, and Functional training. As previously stated before, all of these recommendations should be personally prescribed for each individual. This is a broad recommendation for programs for all individuals at all stages of this disease.

  • Aerobic Training- Maintain or improve work capacity
    • 60-80% of HR peak
    • 3 days a week
    • No more than 60 minutes per session
  • Endurance Training– Increase work capacity
    • Speed dependent on the individual
    • 4-6 sessions a day
    • 20-30 mins
  • Strength Training– Maintain the muscular strength in the arms, shoulders, legs, and hips
    • Use light weights
    • 1 set of 8-12 reps
    • 3 times a week
  • Flexibility Training– Increase/Maintain range of motion
    • Stretching the muscles and joints
    • 1-3 sessions per week
  • Functional Training– Maintain capacity to perform as many ADL’s as possible.
    • Tasked based exercises that involve hand eye coordination.
    • Everyday

Circuit Training: Is this cool or what?!

by: Aaron Parker

circuit training

One of the main barriers for getting to the gym is time. Sometimes, it can feel like you need 2 hours to fit in a really effective workout and feel accomplished.  I used to feel the same way until I switched my major to Kinesiology and discovered circuit training.  Circuit training is a set of 10-15 different exercises that utilize aerobic or resistance training or a combination of the two.  A moderate intensity should be selected (40-60% 1RM for weight training or 40-60% VO2max or a 12-13 out of 20 on a 6-20 scale).  Each exercise should only last 15 repetitions or 30 seconds.  Typically you will rest for the same amount of time between sets as you do during your set (i.e. workout for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds).  Your relief time could also include active recovery, such as walking, jogging, or other calisthenic activities.  You would then continuously repeat this cycle for 2-4 sets. When you are done, you might even feel as if you got a 2-3 hour work out in in 30 minutes. This is good yes?? Circuit training has shown to help boost your metabolism, which could also will lead to accelerated weight loss. It can also help minimize the risk of many cardiovascular diseases and improve your cardiovascular endurance.  One study determined high-intensity circuit training was more effective than endurance training and lower– intensity circuit training combined at lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and triglycerides (fat in the blood). However, only those who have been exercising and are used to a moderate intensity workout should engage in high-intensity exercise.  Those who have been sedentary or are considered beginners are encouraged to start off with a light to moderate intensity workout.

Circuit training is arguably the most convenient form of exercise because you may be able to receive the same benefits (if not better) in a much shorter amount of time. Some of those benefits include: strength gain, muscular endurance, and an increase of cardiovascular endurance. In the society we live in today, everything is fast – paced. We are constantly on the go and sometimes either forget or don’t have time to do some of things that are most important/beneficial to us. If you’re like me, and are one of those who are constantly pressed for time, this workout may be for you.

Paoli, Pacelli, Moro, Marcolin, Neri, Battaglia, . . . Bianco. (2013). Effects of high-intensity circuit training, low-intensity circuit training and endurance training on blood pressure and lipoproteins in middle-aged overweight men. Lipids in Health and Disease, 12, 131.


Running as Exercise


by: Evan Small

Winter slowly turns into spring and just as the weather turns bearable for outside activies, the sidewalks of boulevard are slammed with runners getting there morning and evening mileage in. If you want to jump on the running train, whether for the upcoming marathon, daily exercise or an excuse to get away from the family for a “long distance run”, below are some things to keep in mind to keep you motivated and healthy!


It is known that participation in vigorous activity can protect participants against chronic diseases, cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality. Running typically falls into the vigorous activity spectrum for most individuals. Even though we see multiple health benefits from vigorous activity, research indicates that even low amounts of running show improvement in overall health. Contrary to common belief because of constant impact, running could also help reduce risk of osteoarthritis and hip replacement surgery due to running’s positive effects on body mass index, BMI, a ratio of weight to height that is used to classify disease risk.


How are you motivated to run? Is it the idea of burning calories on a long run? Maybe it’s running in a group of people where you can converse and get to know your fellow exercisers! If your like me, its extrinsic rewards that push me to run such as coming back after a couple miles and not thinking twice about eating that dark chocolate bar because it’s refueling the sugar levels in my muscles, justified! Whatever your motivating factor is, use it!


Warm up…warm up…warm up. There are few things that take precedent over warming up properly for running. Most of running takes place the in the sagittal plane of motion, or forward to back plane with little to no rotation. Because of this, people often underestimate the warm up running requires and believe that jogging slower than there typical running pace will do the trick. Dynamically warm up your muscles, focusing on legs, shoulders and core.

running warm-up

running stride

pact running stride that starts in your heel and ends at the hip joint causing frequent injuries everywhere in between. Research shows that a shorter gate (stride length) and focusing on landing on the mid to forefoot opposed to the heel, results in far less injuries and increased running distances and times. Think of it like this; if I were to take my shoes off and step out into the street for a run, naturally my heel would not want to touch the ground in fear of the hard impact. In the same respect, if I took off in a sprint as fast as I could run, my heel avoids touching the ground naturally to reduce impact and reverse directional force.


After running it is imperative the runner stretch the leg muscles soon after the run ends. While your muscles are still warm, they have the ability to lengthen without increased risk of injury. Another form of stretching or working out any tight spots that occurred during or directly after the run is myofascial release, or rolling out as it is commonly known. Myofascial Release is a non harmful effective way of releasing tight muscles or tissue by applying gentle pressure to the area for a given time that can release pressure in the muscles. Some tools of the trade are:

Lacrosse Ball                                            Foam Roller                                   Massaging stick

lacrosse ball                  foam roller            foam stick




Osteoporosis Exercise Programming


by: Kyle Factor

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones begin to lose mass and density due to many lifestyle and genetic factors leading to frailty of the bones and a higher risk of fracture or breaks. Osteoporosis is a disease that is very prominent among older individuals.  However, there are also some risks associated with exercise when it comes to individuals with this condition.  The risk of breaking a bone puts a damper on heavy lifting, highly intense cardio, and many activities of daily living that most people take for granted.  Older individuals tend to look toward recreation for their main source of exercise. Older individuals affected with disease may experience negative impacts on physical fitness and psychological efficiency due to this condition.

When trying to weigh the risk versus reward for exercise with this disease, you have to set the main goals first.  The first goal is to maximize balance and coordination.  There is a tremendous risk with falling and breaking bones.  The second goal is to build muscular strength.  Muscular strength helps the individual perform daily tasks that put stress on the body.  With muscular strength, comes more muscular mass and protection of the bones.  The third goal is mobility.  Many different aspects go into mobility such as, flexibility, coordination, and stability.  It is important for individuals with this disease to have a good base of stability with lower body strength to help prevent falls.

  • Maximize balance and coordination- This can be achieved with resistance training exercise and functional training
  • Build Muscular Strength- Resistance training
  • Mobility- Muscular conditioning, flexibility training, ADL’s

Some recommended training options for these individuals would be low intensity exercise.  Low weighted resistance exercises have been shown to have positive effects on bone mass in the spine.

  • Resistance training should be done 2-3 time a week in 20-40 minute sessions.
  • Aerobic training can be used safely with cycling, elliptical, swimming, and walking. This training should be done at 40-70% peak HR , 3-5 days a week, and around 30 to 60 minutes per session. All of these methods help are low impact.
  • Flexibility training is most effective when done every single day. Stretching the joints and muscles, holding for 30 seconds each stretch help increase range of motion.

Osteoporotic individuals can be very high functioning individuals if they keep proper nutrition and prepare their bodies physically for everyday life. Though there are many negative side effects of the disease, minimizing the risk factors has been shown to help individuals lead a more positive life. Some of the ways to minimize the risk factors for this disease:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Lower caffeine intake
  • Be at a healthy weight
  • Have a healthier diet
  • Take calcium supplements

weight lifting

Self Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling!)

by: Samuel Jenkins


foam roller

Let’s talk about foam rolling today! To make a long story short, self-myofascial release it is a method of self-massage, generally using a foam roller, to help release built up scar tissue within the muscles and fascia matrix. Fascia is a thin film of connective tissue that helps interconnect our muscles, bone, and organs together (think of the thin film that you typically find on a chicken breast—that’s fascia!)

The problem is our fascia and muscles, have a tendency to get “stuck” together on a microscopic level. These are called adhesions. Adhesions can form for various reasons, most of which can be attributable to lifestyle such as poor posture, but can also be caused by a particularly intense workout too. These adhesions is our body’s attempt to put on a short term band aid so we can make it through the day and hopefully find time to recover later on. The trouble is most of us can’t find the time to rest properly and allow our bodies to properly recover. Our muscles will eventually get tighter as these adhesions progressively build up. This may eventually lead to loss of range of motion, faulty movement patterns, or painful movement.

This is when a tool such as a foam roller is very handy! By utilizing a foam roller we can apply deep compression to our muscles and fascia- thus breaking up adhesions and helping tight muscles relax. Using foam rolling and proper exercise can really help improve blood circulation, which is absolutely vital for nutrition to properly travel throughout all of your body.

Foam rolling can be used before, after or even during your workout between sets. When foam rolling stick to big muscle groups/regions such as the front, back, and side of your thighs. You should seek to apply moderate pressure and roll slowly, when you find a trigger point or tight/painful spot- try and pause on said spot for a few moments and you should feel a gradual release in your muscles. If a spot is too painful to go to directly, slowly foam roll the area surrounding the painful spot then gradually try to work that spot out again. Be careful not to foam roll your joints, but if feeling pain it is generally a good idea to foam roll both above and below the painful joint. Also do not foam roll your lower back, a potential alternative can be a tennis ball or 2 lacrosse balls tied together. Remember after foam rolling to drink plenty of water to help give your body the water it needs to flush itself without dehydrating yourself. Make sure to give your body a day or two to recover before you foam roll that region again. You may also experience some soreness the next day, so make sure to get good sleep and nutrition as well.



by: Aaron Parker

Many times we go through each day not stretching like we should because either we forget to after a hard workout, or we make it up in our minds that we do not have enough time in a day to get the proper stretching we need. However, with the appropriate time management, we can find creative ways to fit stretching in to our busy days. It is important to make enough time on a daily basis to incorporate stretching into our daily routines. Otherwise, we may start waking up with what’s called “morning stiffness” overtime. Stretching daily can improve flexibility. It can also lower the chances of various injuries, reduce tension in your muscles, increase the range of motion in your joints, enhances muscle coordination, and increase the blood flow in different parts of your body. Those are just the physical improvements. Let me take it a step further and talk about yoga.

Yoga is much more than the practice of exercises and breathing, however, it is viewed as a “tradition of lifestyle, health, and spirituality,” with practices integrated into daily life to create balance, health, and harmony. As with any physical practice that involves movement and positioning, yoga postures carry the risk of injury if performed inappropriately or too vigorously by individuals who are unprepared or limited in any way. Potential risks of yoga practice also include overstretching, lower back strain, and knee, wrist, or shoulder injuries from improper positioning and extended length of the pose. This is why it’s always best to have a trained and certified yoga instructor teach you the proper techniques to reduce the risk of injury.  Technique equals safety.

One great benefit of yoga is that there are modifications made for almost every movement/exercise. This can help improve safety and decrease injury risk.  In other words, it is a workout based on individuality, meaning that you will be able to perform the movements regardless of your level of flexibility, because it can be modified to your needs.  While many people believe yoga is only for a certain type of person, it is for everyone—from beginner exercisers to athletes of all genders and body types.  Yoga can provide many health benefits for those who participate. If you are thinking that yoga may not be for you, do not knock it until you try it!  During a yoga session, there are various poses that you will perform and most of them have modifications to where everyone can do them. A few of those poses are: “the screaming pigeon”, “child’s pose”, “the chair, and “the balancing cat”. Yes yoga has complex terms such as these to help give participants a visual of the movement they are about to do. Yoga should be performed up to 2 times per week to see results over the span of time. You’ll feel so much better after doing it. What have you got to lose?

Work Cited

Fouladbakhsh, J. (2011). Yoga. Oncology, 25(2), 40-45.

Google images

Kokkonen, J., Nelson, A., & Cornwell, A. (1998). Acute Muscle Stretching Inhibits Maximal Strength Performance. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport., 69(4), 411-415.