Protect Your Hearing …

Ear buds + music at high volumes = future hearing loss?

A walk through any fitness facility at any hour will reveal that the majority of exercisers on cardio equipment have their ears plugged into some kind of listening device. Recent research is suggesting that the current ear-bud generation may turn out to be the hearing-loss generation. Steps are being taken in Europe to reduce the risk to hearing and Health Canada also needs to take up the challenge.

In Europe an estimated 5%–10% of personal music player (PMP) users could develop permanent hearing loss if they listen to their devices at high volume for more than an hour a day.1 In Canada, workers are regulated to a maximum exposure of no more than 8 hours of noise levels at 85-90 decibels.2 Yet some player/headphone combinations can produce sound levels reaching 120 or 130 decibels: as loud as a thunderclap, a jackhammer, or a jet taking off 30 metres away. Although PMP users do tend to stay below these high volume levels in quiet environments, the use of headphones, particularly in noisy environments, encourages listeners to turn up the volume such that their hearing is put at risk.

A British study reported that 72 out of 110 PMP users listened at volumes above 85 decibels.3 Australian research measuring the PMP levels of passers-by by found that 25% were listening at similarly high levels.4

Potential hearing damage from such noise exposure includes permanent ringing in the ears, hypersensitivity to loud sounds, lost ability to hear certain sounds, and difficulties understanding speech in noisy environments.5 Experts also worry that younger ears may be particularly susceptible to loud noise and even more vulnerable to subsequent hearing loss later in life.6In early 2011, Europe passed standards requiring PMPs to have a default maximum volume of 85 decibels (80 decibels for products marketed for children). Although users still have the option of setting the volume higher, they will be intermittently reminded that their player is above recommended limits. Manufacturers have two years to meet these standards. Ear bud headphones may actually produce a sound output up to 10 decibels greater than standard headphones.

It is important for Health Canada to follow the European lead and use the new Canada Consumer Product Safety Act to require similar changes to PMPs sold in Canada. Health Canada and others could also go a step further. Some headphones that now have maximum volume limits, ensuring that the listener is never exposed to more than 85 decibels, could be made mandatory for all headphones marketed in Canada.

Research is needed to scrutinize the effectiveness of these measures. Perhaps the default volume limit will have little impact on keeping users from turning up their device volumes, and therefore have little effect on the projected trend toward hearing loss.

Although it may take years for much of the damage to occur, it is important that PMP-related hearing changes be monitored. The significant negative impact of hearing damage on people’s lives is worth taking steps towards preventing.

European Commission, Directorate-General for Health & Consumers, Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks. Potential health risks of exposure to noise from personal music players and mobile phones including a music playing function. Brussels: European Commission; 2008.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). 2011. Noise – Occupational Exposure Limits in Canada. Accessed Sept. 21, 2011 at:

BBC News. MP3 users “risking hearing loss” 2007 Sept 7 (accessed 16 July 2011).

Williams W. Noise exposure from personal stereo use. Int J Audiol 2005;44(4):231–236.

Khatter K. Personal music players and hearing loss: Are we deaf to the risks? Open Medicine 2011; 5(3):137-138.

European Commission, Directorate-General for Health & Consumers, Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks. Green facts: Personal music players & hearing. Brussels: European Commission; 2008.


Zenfit Training After 40

Training Post Forty Years of Age

 I found this article by Jason Ferruggia in the Huffington Post, he makes some good points for those of us that are seeking to stay in great condition, and injury free, post 40 years of age. I have found in my own experience that longer warm-ups and the transition to a more bootcamp style training regimen have been most beneficial. He uses the word play in his observations and I fully embrace that concept. Note that Tabata protocol and high intensity interval training at lower weights or even body-weight are extremely time saving, affective methods for those of us that want to perform their best in a sport or recreational activities.

 Jason Ferruggia states…

 When you notice that first gray hair rearing its ugly head, there are more important things to do than rush to the store for a bottle of Just For Men. Hard-training fitness enthusiasts over the age of 40 need to make some pretty serious adjustments to their workouts if they want to continue to make progress and remain injury free.

 In your 20s and early 30s you can lift heavy weights much more frequently, loading the spine and joints with reckless abandon. As long as you don’t do anything too crazy, you’ll usually be okay. But once you start creeping north of 35 and getting closer to the big four-oh, you might not be so lucky. Below is a list of important changes you need to make to your training program.

 1) Reduce frequency of spinal loading. I often have younger lifters squat two to three times per week or squat one day and deadlift another. However, this is not such a good idea for the older lifter. The lower back takes longer to recover than any other part of your body, and as you get older this becomes even more noticeable. Therefore, it’s best to put all your lower back intensive exercises like squats, deadlifts, good mornings, etc., all on one training day so that you have a week to recover.

 2) Cut lower body sessions to once per week. As you get older, it becomes more important to do some extra conditioning work like jumping rope, running hills or pushing a sled. This is both for your cardiovascular health and for keeping body fat gains at bay. Because of this, you’ll want to cut your lower body strength workouts down to just one day per week (in most cases). That will allow you to still get out and run or play without running into any recovery issues or over-stressing your knees.

 3) Limit heavy pressing to one day per week. Heavy pressing is great for building up the chest, shoulders and triceps, but it also takes a toll on your rotator cuff muscles and all the tendons and ligaments surrounding your shoulder joint if you do it too often. The over-40 crew is better off limiting their heavy press work to once a week and substituting in more joint friendly variations like suspended pushups and higher rep dumbbell presses on their other upper body workout of the week.

 4) Eliminate (or drastically reduce) low-rep training. Working up to heavy sets in the one to five rep range is awesome for building strength. But these sets can also beat you up pretty good. Older lifters will have a much harder time recovering from excessively heavy weights and thus would be well served to keep the majority of their sets in the eight to 12 rep range. As long as you train smart and keep a log book you can still make tremendous strength gains in this rep range while sparing your joints. The other great thing about training with higher reps overall is that it will help you preserve muscle mass. Guys in their late 30s will naturally start to lose muscle mass as they age. By training with moderately heavy weights in the range of eight to 12 reps, you can reverse this and will actually be able to build some more muscle.

 5) Do longer and smarter warm-ups. When I was in my 20s, I used to walk into the gym and immediately put 50 percent of my first working set on the bar. That was my warm-up. Nowadays, having learned my lessons the hard way, I take a full 10-15 minutes to warm up properly by doing mobility drills for the shoulders, hips and other injury prone areas. Guys in their late 30s and 40s absolutely have to make time for this. Other important parts of the warm-up include some light calisthenics, foam rolling to improve soft tissue quality, muscle activation drills for the upper back and glutes as well as some dynamic stretching. Whenever you’re pressed for time, it’s better to cut out some of your workout than it is to skimp on your warm-up.

 With those five minor adjustments you can continue to train safely and make progress well into your golden years.

 Good luck.

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SUP, Stand-up Paddle Boarding

Zenfit is still offering Stand up Paddle Boarding (SUP) to Oshawa and Port Perry Ontario  Durham Region area through-out the fall..! If you are looking for a alternative to the gym, to your routine training.. or just a recreational cruise on the lake on a sunny day.. Contact us and book a SUP (stand-up paddleboard) session and experience a full body work out like no other..! Get fit and have fun! Individual, couple and group rates are available. See you soon ..!

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Activity and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Activity and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Effects of physical activity on rheumatoid arthritis:

Although rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs much less commonly than osteoarthritis (1% vs 10%)*1 you might find yourself faced with a client with this condition, who has been referred to you by a healthcare professional. RA is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease of unknown origin. It occurs twice as often in women and has an age of disease onset primarily between 45 and 65 years. Over the long term, reduced function, difficulties in activities of daily living (ADL), and a negative psychosocial impact (such as depression resulting from the disease) are often seen. RA is also associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. A large majority of individuals with RA belong to the group with minor limitations in daily life, so physical activity is a possiblity.*2

Pain, stiffness, and fatigue generally occur early in RA. Patients with RA experience some functional loss; a 25–50% reduction in muscular strength and 55-70% have decreased muscular endurance has been reported. Reduced muscle function in patients with RA may also present itself as loss of functional balance and coordination.

When investigating aerobic capacity, it has been shown to be reduced as much as 20–30% in people with RA who are able to perform bicycle ergometer tests. The aerobic capacity is probably even lower among those who are not able to perform such tests. It is important to bear in mind, however, that a portion of the reduced physical capacities found among individuals with RA may also be attributed to inadequate levels of physical activity.*2

A recent study3 was conducted over a two-year period, with adult participants with RA attending a supervised biweekly group exercise program (1.25 hours in duration). This program, which was aimed at improving muscle strength, muscle endurance, joint mobility, and activities of daily living consisted of (note, if necessary, the program was adapted to individual impairments to reach the same aims) :· bicycle training (20 minutes) @ 70-90% predicted max heart rate (HRmax) and perceived exertion (RPE) of 4-5· exercise circuit (20 minutes) of 8-10 different exercises (8-15 reps with work/rest cycles of 90 s/60s at first and 90s/30s after 6 months)· sport or game of “impact-type” activities: e.g., badminton, volleyball, indoor soccer, basketballThis study concluded that long-term, high-intensity, weight-bearing exercises improved the functional ability, physical capacity, and emotional status of patients with RA (provided they were capable of undertaking such activity). The patients with RA were able to perform these exercises without harm on disease activity and the exercises were safe for the large, weight-bearing joints.*3

Treatment of RA focuses on decreasing inflammatory activity and symptoms; limiting joint destruction and disability; and improving health-related quality of life. Despite earlier fears that various forms of exercise can potentially aggravate symptoms and increase disease activity, and joint destruction, there is now scientific support that exercise is both safe and beneficial for most people with RA.

*1. Arthritis in Canada. An ongoing challenge. Health Canada, editor. Cat. # H39-4/14-2003E, 1-124. 2003. Ottawa, ON, Minister of Public Work and Government Services of Canada.*2. Stenstrom CH, Minor MA. Evidence for the benefit of aerobic and strengthening exercise in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2003; 49(3):428-434.*3. de Jong, Z, Munneke M, Zwinderman AH, Kroon HM, Jansen A, Ronday KH et al. Is a long-term high-intensity exercise program effective and safe in patients with rheumatoid arthritis? Results of a randomized controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum 2003; 48(9):2415-2424.