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REI - Outdoor Fitness Glossary
Category: Sport and Leisure > Outdoor Fitness
Date & country: 16/01/2008, UK
Words: 81


Abdominals or abs
the collective name for the muscles on the front of the torso, below the chest. Swimming, rowing and Nordic skiing work these muscles.

Abductors
muscles of the hip that pull your legs apart. Gluteus medius and minimus pull your legs outward. Inline skating, skiing and dance work these muscles.

Adductors
muscles of the inner thigh that pull your legs together. They attach the pelvis and the femur (or thigh bone). You use these muscles when inline skating, skate skiing or swimming the breaststroke.

Aerobic
literally, 'with oxygen.' Aerobic exercise is the body's process of producing energy with oxygen in the bloodstream. Byproducts are carbon dioxide and water (breathing and perspiration). It's great for burning fat and strengthening your heart and lungs.

Anaerobic
literally, 'without oxygen.' In anaerobic exercise, energy is produced without oxygen, usually because the exercise intensity is such that the heart and lungs can't get enough oxygen to the muscles. Anaerobic exercise creates a byproduct called lactate, which builds up in the muscles and causes soreness and fatigue.

Antioxidants
substances such as Vitamins A, C and E and minerals such as copper, magnesium and zinc. Believed to destroy free radicals, which some scientists think may not only accelerate aging but also contribute to the formation of cancers and cataracts.

Asana
the term for any of the many poses done in yoga.

Ballistic stretching
a kind of stretchingthat advocates bouncing to increase the amount of stretch. This is no longer recommended as it has been found to cause muscle tears and soreness.

Barbell
weights attached to a long bar which requires both hands to pick up.

Bicep
the muscle running along the inside of the upper arm which bends your arm at the elbow. Paddling a canoe (and a kayak, to some degree) exercises your biceps.

Biomechanics
the study of the mechanics of muscular activity.

Board-lasted
shoe construction featuring a piece of stiff fiberboard glued to the upper and then to the mid

Body fat
the percentage of your body mass that is not composed of lean muscle, water, bones or vital organs.

Burnout
state of being bored or tired with exercise, frequently the result of overtraining or unvaried workouts. Cross-training and rest are good remedies for burnout.

Cadence
the beat, time or measure of rhythmic motion or activity such as pedaling a bicycle. Your cadence is the speed of your pedaling.

Cardiovascular
relating to or involving the heart and blood vessels.

Complex carbohydrates
starches, such as grains, breads, rice, pasta, vegetables and beans. They get their name from their complex, chainlike structure. During digestion, starches are typically broken down into sugars and used by the body for energy. Complex carbohydrates offer you more sustained energy levels than simple carbohydrates.

Cool-down
slowing down at the end of a workout to allow your body temperature and heart rate to decrease gradually.

CoolMax®
DuPont CoolMax® is a high-performance polyester. It uses DuPont's proprietary Dacron® fibers to move sweat away from the body to the outer layer of the fabric, where it can evaporate quickly. Learn how to choose fitness clothing.

Creatine
a proteinlike substance manufactured by your muscles (but also found in some meats) that has been found to increase athletic performance and delay fatigue. Gives the muscles strength and a greater ability to do high-intensity exercise such as sprinting. Also helps buffer the lactic acid that accumulates during high-intensity exercise.

Cross-training
mixing different activities into your regular workout routine to avoid overuse injuries and to prevent boredom. Cycling, running and swimming are 3 common activities used to cross-train different muscle groups.

Curved last
Shoe construction with a curved sole. This shape provides cushioning and promotes inward motion. Good for feet with rigid, high arches that underpronate.

Dehydration
the abnormal depletion of body fluids, easily detected by dark, concentrated urine. Prevented by drinking water or sports drinks before, during and after exercise. When you are fully hydrated, urine is plentiful, pale and odorless.

Deltoids or delts
the triangular, 3-part muscles that wrap around the tops of the shoulders. They allow you to raise your arms forward, backward and out to the sides, and also rotate them inward and outward. Rowing, rock climbing and swimming work the deltoids.

Dumbbell
weights attached to a short bar that can be held in one hand. Often used in pairs.

Electrolytes
minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium that act to keep your nerves firing and muscles moving, especially during exercise. They are lost through sweating and can be replaced by drinking sport/energy drinks.

Endorphins
any of a group of proteins with potent analgesic properties that occur naturally in the brain. These are the brain chemicals that contribute to the 'runner's high' or good feelings during and after exercise.

External obliques
muscles running diagonally downward and inward from the lower ribs to the pelvis that allow you to bend forward and twist at the waist. These lie on top of the internal obliques. The kayaking stroke uses these muscles much more than the arms.

Fartlek
Swedish for 'speed play,' a type of loosely structured interval training for runners, cyclists, and in-line skaters. It combines high-intensity segments with your regular training pace in order to build strength and speed.

Flexibility
the range of motion around a joint. This can be increased with stretching and yoga.

Free weights
weights not attached to a machine nor driven by cables or chains. Barbells and dumbbells are examples of free weights.

Glucose
a sugar, the usual form in which carbohydrates are assimilated by the body.

Glycogen
the form carbohydrates take when stored in the muscles.

Hamstrings
the group of 3 muscles on the back of your thighs that runs from the lower part of the pelvis to just below the knees. They allow you to bend your knees and straighten your legs at the hips. Climbing, hiking uphill, running and cycling all work the hamstrings.

Internal obliques
muscles that run upward and inward from the hip bones to the lower ribs, allowing you to rotate and bend at the waist. These are located underneath the external obliques. These muscles are used when you paddle a kayak.

Intervals
speed workouts, usually run on a track, with distances and target paces decided before you run. They typically consist of relatively short sprints of 220 yards to 1 mile interspersed with rest periods of slower running.

Isometrics
exercise or a system of exercises in which opposing muscles are so contracted that there is little shortening but great increase in tone of muscle fibers involved.

Kickboard
small foam board used for short sprints to develop leg power and speed when swimming. Held under the chest so that the arms are not involved in the swimming stroke.

Kilometer
metric measurement used in athletic events. One K equals 0.62 miles. A 10K race is 6.2 miles, and a 5K is 3.1 miles.

Kinesiology
the study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement.

Lactic acid
a byproduct of anaerobic (or high-intensity) exercise that collects in the muscles and causes soreness, stiffness and fatigue.

Latissimus dorsi or lats
the pair of fan-shaped muscles across your middle and lower back that attach the arms to the spine. They work to pull your arms down and back, and give you good posture when they are toned. Rock climbing, swimming and rowing all use these muscles.

Ligament
a flexible, non-elastic tissue that connects bone to bone. For example, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee connects the kneecap to the femur (thigh) and the tibia (shin). Ligament injuries can be sprains or tears.

Microfiber
fabric of tightly woven polyester or nylon fibers that offers good resistance to wind and light rain, as well as breathability. Shells used for high-energy, outdoor workouts are frequently made of this lightweight fabric.

Nutrition
the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilizes food substances.

Osteoporosis
a condition that affects especially older women and is characterized by decrease in bone mass with decreased density and enlargement of bone spaces producing porosity and fragility.

Overpronation
excessive inward foot motion during running that can lead to injury.

Pectorals or pecs
the 2 pairs of muscles in the chest that work to pull the upper arms toward or across the chest. The pectoralis major covers the chest from the top of the arm to the collarbone, down to the sternum and upper 6 ribs. The smaller pectoralis minor is located underneath, and runs from mid-chest to shoulder blade. Push-ups work the pecs!

Perceived exertion
the level of intensity you feel your body is exerting during exercise on a scale of 0 to 10. An unscientific way of staying within your target heart rate zone.

Pronation
the natural inward motion of the foot after heel strike and before pushing off again with the ball of the foot. Overpronation is excessive inward motion and can lead to running injuries.

Pull buoy
a foam flotation device designed to fit between your legs and keep the lower part of your body afloat without kicking. It allows you to work only your upper body and concentrate on your swimming stroke.

Pyruvate
a nutritional supplement that has been found to enhance athletic performance and possibly aid in burning fat.

Quadriceps or quads
the group of 4 muscles that make up the front of the thigh. Quads straighten the knee, and keeping them strong can help ward off knee injuries. Cycling, skiing, running and hiking downhill work these muscles!

Rectus abdominis
the muscle extending the entire length of the abdomen, from the lower 3 ribs to the top of the pubic bone (below the navel). Works to keep you upright and lets you bend at the waist. Strengthening this muscle can help prevent lower back pain.

Recumbent bike
a bicycle on which you sit in a reclined position with your back supported and your feet out in front. It can be an indoor, stationary-type or a moving, outdoor-style bike. It works the buttocks and hamstrings more than upright bicycles, and unlike uprights, supports the back.

Repetition or rep
a single movement, as in doing one squat. This is going down and then going back up. For toning, strength and endurance, do more reps at a lower weight.

Resistive cuffs and boots
foam buoyancy devices placed on the ankles and/or wrists to create extra resistance for water aerobics and water running. Shown to increase workout intensity up to 5 times.

Rhomboids
the muscles that pull your shoulder blades inward. They attach to the vertebrae at the base of the neck and go diagonally to the inside edges of the shoulder blades.

Set
a number of repetitions of a movement, such as an arm curl or a squat. A set may have 8 reps, for example.

Shin splints
the generic term for pain in the front of the lower leg. Most often caused by inflammation of the tendons (tendinitis), which can result when the tendons are subjected to too much force or repeatedly overstretched. Running or walking on hard surfaces can contribute.

Simple carbohydrates
sugars, such as fructose, glucose, maple syrup and honey. So called because their chemical makeup consists of only 1 or 2 units as opposed to complex carbohydrates, which contain many.

Slip-lasted
shoe construction made by sewing the upper into a sock, which is then glued directly to the mid

Sprain
an injury to the ligament.

Static stretch
a simple muscle stretchthat goes just to the point of gentle tension and is held steadily for several seconds without moving or bouncing.

Straight last
shoe construction with a straight shaped sole. A straight last is appropriate for the overpronater with a flexible, flat arch. It helps to control inward motion.

Strain
an injury to the tendon or muscle.

Stretch reflex
a protective, involuntary nerve reaction that causes muscles to contract. Bouncing or overstretching can trigger the reflex in which muscles are trying to protect themselves from damage.

Supination
rolling motion of the feet onto the outer edges. Typical of high-arched, stiff feet. Also called 'underpronation.'

Target heart rate
the ideal intensity level at which your heart is being exercised but not overworked. Determined by finding your maximum heart rate and taking a percentage (60% to 85%, depending on fitness level) of it.

Tendon
a flexible, non-elastic tissue that connects muscle to bone. The Achilles tendon is the large connector from the heel bone into the calf muscle.

Tether
attached to a belt and then to a ladder or some other fixed point at poolside, a tether helps you turn a too-small pool into a swimmer's treadmill. For example, you can have a great workout in a hotel pool or any other pool that's too small for laps.

Threshold
the heart rate at which lactic acid begins to build up faster than you can break it down. You should do the bulk of your training at just below that level.

Trapezius or traps
the triangular muscles stretching across your back from the spine to the shoulder blades and collarbone. They work with the deltoids to lift your arms and shoulders. Good to have strong ones for carrying a backpack!

Triceps
the muscles on the back of the upper arms that straighten your elbows and allow you to push your arms forward. You use them when you're fly-fishing or pushing a running stroller.

Underpronation
another term for supination, or the excessive outward-rolling motion of your feet. The opposite of pronation, or inward movement.

VO2 max
the largest volume of oxygen your body can take in and assimilate. This figure is very high in trained endurance athletes.

Warm-up
gentle, slow exercise at the beginning of a workout to prepare muscles, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature for the activity.

Water dumbbells-water barbells
flotation devices shaped like paddles that provide extra resistance to your arm muscles when used underwater. They can also be used to hold you at the surface for back and leg exercises.

Weight-bearing exercise
exercise in which you support your weight or lift weight. Lifting weights or doing weight-bearing exercise (such as running, skiing or walking) can help slow down the rate of bone loss and osteoporosis, and therefore reduce fractures.

Wicking
moisture movement by capillary action. It usually refers to technical fabrics that move sweat away from the skin to the outer surface of the fabric, where it evaporates. Learn how to choose fitness clothing.

Yoga
a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being. Various forms of yoga include poses (or asanas) for building strength and flexibility, breathing exercises for cleansing, and/or meditation for relaxation and stress reduction.