Indiana University

On 'Sound Medicine': Depression and exercise, mental strength training, and hardcore workouts

  • March 28, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- “Sound Medicine” announces its program for March 31, featuring several segments on physical fitness and training including the dangers of extreme workout programs, the benefits of mental strength training, and how to get fit in 20 minutes. Please check local listings for broadcast dates, times and stations.

Are cyclists the most extreme athletes of all? Cyclists are extreme athletes and often the most fearless, says Daniel Lee, former cyclist and author of the cycling book “The Belgian Hammer.” Cycling can be extremely dangerous. Riding in packs, barreling down dangerous hills and riding up winding paths leaves a lot of room for cycling’s most common injuries: fractures and concussions. Confidence and fearlessness are key for cyclists who want to perform at professional levels, Lee says. Without fearlessness, cyclists will almost always crash during some point in the race. For everyday cyclists, Lee recommends following general traffic rules and being courteous to drivers to stay safe on the roads.

Could depression be limiting the benefits of exercise? According to a new study conducted by Simon Bacon, Ph.D., people with depression may take longer to recover after strenuous exercise. The study looked at the stress test results of 900 patients who may have heart disease or who have a family history of heart disease. Before entering the study, participants were given a psychiatric evaluation. The study found that those with depression took longer to relax after strenuous exercise. Dr. Bacon is an assistant professor of exercise science at Concordia University, Montreal.

Can training the mind enhance physical performance? According to mental strength training specialist Steve Curtis, M.D., it is possible to train the mind to enhance physical performance. Mental strength training is exactly what it sounds like: training the mind to block out distraction and focus on the task at hand. Dr. Curtis says mental strength training isn’t just for endurance athletes; people such as golf pros and CEOs can benefit from strengthening their mind. Mental strength training helps develop confidence, which leads to higher self-esteem. Dr. Curtis works with patients to develop confidence and self-esteem on a daily basis. He is a PGA-credentialed sports psychologist and neuroscientist affiliated with IU Health Sports Performance.

Are extreme conditioning programs safe? Michael Bergeron, Ph.D., is the executive director of the National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute and a professor of pediatrics at the Sanford School of Medicine at The University of South Dakota. Bergeron is part of a team of doctors who published a paper citing the dangers of extreme conditioning programs, or ECPs, for civilian and military use. Programs such as P90x and CrossFit are marketed as get-fit-fast programs for unfit 30 and 40 year olds. The military has embraced the ECP trend and routinely uses the programs to condition soldiers. As a result, the military is now seeing many injuries that result in lost duty time, an increase in medical treatment, and compromised operational readiness. Although Bergeron doesn’t suggest ditching the programs, he recommends proceeding with caution.

Fit in 20 minutes, falsehood or fact? According to the book “The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer,” 20 minutes a day is all you need to get fit. Throughout the book, author Gretchen Reynolds, explores the concept that fitness doesn’t occur by working out for 30 minutes, then sitting the rest of the day. Being constantly on the move is what leads to better fitness and a longer life. According to Reynolds, staying seated for long periods of time at a desk, on the couch or in the car can lead to multiple health problems. She recommends standing up and walking at least once an hour and exercising in short bursts throughout the day. Reynolds is a health and fitness writer who is regularly published in the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine.

Sound Medicine” covers controversial ethics topics, breakthrough research studies and the day-to-day application of recent advancements in medicine. It’s also available via podcast and Stitcher Radio for mobile phones and iPads and posts updates on Facebook and Twitter.

“Sound Medicine,” co-produced by the IU School of Medicine and WFYI Public Radio (90.1 FM) and underwritten in part by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is aired on the following Indiana public radio stations: WBSB (Anderson, 89.5 FM), WFIU (Bloomington, 103.7 FM; Columbus, 100.7 FM; Kokomo, 106.1 FM; Terre Haute, 95.1 FM), WNDY (Crawfordsville, 91.3 FM), WVPE (Elkhart/South Bend, 88.1 FM), WNIN (Evansville, 88.3 FM), WBOI (Fort Wayne, 89.1 FM), WFCI (Franklin, 89.5 FM), WBSH (Hagerstown/New Castle, 91.1 FM), WFYI (Indianapolis), WBSW (Marion, 90.9 FM), WBST (Muncie, 92.1 FM), WBSJ (Portland, 91.7 FM), WLPR (Lake County, 89.1 FM) and WBAA (West Lafayette, 101.3 FM).

“Sound Medicine” is also broadcast on these public radio stations across the country: KSKA (Anchorage, Alaska), KTNA (Talkeetna, Alaska), KUHB (Pribilof Islands, Alaska), KUAF (Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Ark.), KIDE (Hoopa Valley, Calif.), KRCC (Colorado Springs, Colo.), KEDM (Monroe, La.), WCMU (Mount Pleasant, Mich.), WCNY and WRVO-1 (Syracuse, N.Y.), KMHA (Four Bears, N.D.), WYSU (Youngstown, Ohio), KPOV (Bend, Ore.) and KEOS (College Station, Texas).

Media Contacts

Mary Hardin

Sydney Willmann