Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Ice, Ice Baby!!!…….What do you do for recovery??

August 17, 2012

This will be the first in a series about recovery modalities. What assists your muscles during the recovery phase so that they can be ready for another workout in order to continue to increase your fitness levels?

My muscles are sore!!! ……Well how does that happen and what can you do about it?

DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is the pain felt in muscles several hours to days after strenuous exercise. DOMS is the result of ruptures within the muscle, as well as damage to the muscle’s connective tissue.

So what can you do about it?

ICE, ICE, ICE!!!!!!

I have made this recommendation to those suffering countless times. It shocks me when someone comes in the gym complaining of an injury. I ask them if they’ve iced and they just look at me with a distant stare.

But it really can be that simple.

The application of cold for the treatment of injury is widespread in sports medicine today.  Ice applied to the injured area will help prevent or reduce swelling. Which then will allow the tissues and muscle to repair quicker than if it is still fighting off the inflammation first. Ice packs, ice massage, gel packs can all be used to reduce inflammation. Hence reduce the soreness you are feeling and then allowing you to hit it hard in the weight room quicker than if you don’t bring the inflammation down.

Ice should be left in place for approximately 15-20 minutes. You won’t get any additional effect by applying it any longer.

In the future we will explore the use of heat and moist heat when recovering from one workout and getting ready for the next.

For more Health and Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.longevitypt.com

Seniors And Their Workouts

May 24, 2012

Due to my education and work experience I train seniors. For my purpose I define those 65 or over as a senior. In fact at any given time in the past 12 years I have had 5 or more people over 80 on my client list. It’s a very different time of life.  This period can be filled with excitement, retrospect and angst. One thing is for sure these people look at their health and fitness in a very different light than they did even 5 years before. There is true purpose behind their training.

So what is different about their workouts? What is different about their attitudes, now compared to when they were younger?  Can they really improve even if they have never been involved with organized workouts before? What is the best activity for maximum results?

Generally workouts are different for seniors compared to those 10 and 20 years their junior. Whereas at one point a person might have been concerned about her agility and reflexes while getting around a tennis court that same person later in life is more concerned about navigating a busy day at the mall, being active with their grandchildren and at the most base level being able to perform activities of daily living.

Attitudes and sense of purpose are just as directed whether the person is in their 20’s or their 70’s, 80’s and beyond. In fact I have found that the seniors I work with are more consistent than their younger counterparts and they see their purpose to be more imperative.

Guidelines established for older adults by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services require 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise and two or more days of weight training. Exercise physiologist Barbara Bushman of Missouri State University says fitness routines must include resistance training for muscle and bone health. Weak muscles and bones can lead to falls and broken bones, and time doing rehabilitation in nursing homes. Greg Warshaw, chair of the division of geriatrics at the University of Cincinnati says “Most people don’t understand the effect of deconditioning. We get more illnesses as we get older. If you’re in good shape and you get bad illnesses, you’re likely to recover faster. That’s another reason why exercise is so important to people as they age.” (USA Today May 10, 2011)

So what if someone has lived their lives so far not exercising? Do they have a long way to catch up so they can compete in a push-up contest or start running sprints? Well not at all. In fact it turns out that the largest increment of mortality benefit is seen when comparing sedentary adults with those in the next highest physical activity level. In other words avoidance of a sedentary lifestyle by engaging in at least some daily physical activity is recommended for reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases and postponing premature mortality at any age.

The National Institutes of Health states that the four main types of exercise that seniors need are

  • Endurance activities – walking, swimming, or riding a bike.
  • Strengthening exercises which build muscle tissue and reduce age-related muscle loss
  • Stretching to help keep the body limber and flexible
  • Balance exercises to reduce the chances of falls

Although no amount of physical activity can stop the biological aging process, there is evidence that regular exercise can minimize the physiological effects of an otherwise sedentary lifestyle and increase active life expectancy by limiting the development and progression of chronic disease and disabling conditions.

The seniors that I work with bring a very different energy to the gym compared to their younger counterparts. They are very happy to be participating in life. They’re not concerned anymore with lifting the heaviest weights or running marathons. A lot of them see their contemporaries struggling and they’re concerned with maintaining what they have. And they want to live in this part of their lives as fully as they possibly can.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.longevitypt.com

Are You Experienced???

May 17, 2011

Are you experienced?

Not long after I moved to Phoenix and joined those who would climb the local mountains, did I find myself remarking about other “novice” hikers. You know what I mean. When you see the helicopters circling Camelback or Piestewa Peak Mountains don’t you knee jerk in thought and say to yourself, “dumb tourist” or “first time hiker” almost in disgust?

Last October I was running the “Camelback Loop”. (run from one parking area to the other and then up one side of the mountain and down the other to the original spot where we began). It was a great day for me. Everything felt really good. I was on FIRE! Once on the mountain especially as I was coming down, dodging hikers, wondering why they were in my way. A stumble here and a stumble there but recovering every time. I was the King!…..Until about 10 yards from the end. I dodged around the last hiker, and my right foot caught a rock. When I pushed off of another with my left I heard my hamstring pop and I landed hard off trail. It took about 20 minutes for me to get up and limp away. Aggressive Physical Therapy for the next week allowed me to walk upright again. It would be another month before I could hike and a second month before I could run again.

Are you experienced?

In the past couple of months the news has been sprinkled with athletic tragedy. Sally Meyerhoff an experienced and accomplished athlete lost her life while biking. Clint McHale lost his while rock climbing at Camelback Mountain.

There are simple rules of the road to follow when biking and running on the streets. Wheels go with wheels (in other words, bikes should be riding in the same direction as cars) and runners should be running, facing traffic. Stop at traffic signs. These should be easy to follow yet we still find situations where we choose to play with the “edge” and push ourselves into danger zones.

What is it in our mind set that allows us to push the edge no matter the consequence but then fault others as if we should be immune to the same scrutiny? Is it that magical line that takes us from safety to danger that is alluring?  Is it in the name of that higher level of competition that we play with this?

I’m certainly not sure of the answers. But I am very aware of the fact that it could be me or any one of us that could be getting a free helicopter ride off the mountain. I have often been heard to say during training sessions “you have to train so that you can train another day”.

I certainly do not want to hear your name in the news tomorrow. And I have no intent in you hearing mine. Please be careful. Enjoy this environment that we live and play in. And respect it as well.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.longevitypt.com

Overtraining – Is This You?

April 5, 2011

How many times a week do you workout? Notice that I said times not days. If you’re doing a class in one part of your day and then running for a period of time or lifting weights during another part of your day then you’re working out more than once in that day. Count these, not the days. How many days a week do you take off?

How do you feel when you wake up the morning after a workout? Are you still tired? Have you become a little more irritable? Are your legs feeling heavy when you’re going for your next run or workout? If any of this sounds familiar you may be suffering from overtraining.

In a very detailed paper published by the School of Physiotherapy at Curtin University, they define over training as – “an imbalance between training/competition versus recovery. Alternatively stated, it is too much training or competition combined with too little time for regeneration.” They list symptoms among others as “waking unrefreshed, loss of competitive drive, injury, muscle soreness and joint pain.”

Butler Universities Adrian Shepard goes a little further and lists other symptoms as

  • Decrease in performance
  • Increase in resting heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increased muscle fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns
  • Depression, irritability, apathy and low self-esteem

Dr William Kraus a cardiologist at Duke University who studies exercise adds that “you just feel bad. The spark is gone.”

Dr Steven Keteyian, director of preventative cardiology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit says ‘there’s another trap, athletes are obsessed and gullible. They will do anything they can to improve their performance and they don’t know when to stop.”

As many of my clients have heard from me, the real work happens after the training ends. It begins with the recovery process. When the body has a chance to rejuvenate itself and prepare for the next load that is about to be delivered. If your body does not get this time to rest then you will continue to tear it down and it will NOT have a chance to increase its condition, and you can risk injury.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.longevitypt.com

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Upper Body Training

November 1, 2010

Just like everyone else I’m in a time crunch to get my workouts in. In the last year I have gone from circuit training to splitting up my body parts into separate days. Well as you can imagine even for someone who lives in a gym this can be time consuming.

But since I try to be more of a listener in order to be a learner, I have been taught that in a pinch I really only need to do two body parts per week for my upper body. Chest and back.

When working on my chest I am also indirectly using my tricep muscles. When working on my back I am also using my biceps. There are many weeks that go by that I only have time to do these groups and for sure my arms have not suffered.

This is how it works. The function of your tricep muscles is to extend your elbow. So every time I complete a pressing movement I am also contracting my triceps. Since the function of your bicep is to bend your elbow, every time you do a rowing motion you are also using your biceps.

So how about you? If you are doing resistance training how do you fit it into your schedule? Do you circuit, or like me do you hit different muscle groups? What is your efficiency level like in the gym? Are you a gabber or do you zone every distraction out, get your work done and then out the door so you can enjoy the rest of your life?

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.longevitypt.com

Compression for Increased Running Performance

October 12, 2010

There never seems to be an end to the “latest and greatest”.

Recently compression clothing have been getting some attention in endurance events. Certainly compression stockings have been used to help circulation in medical environments for a long time. In fact graduated compression stockings were initially designed in a clinical environment to increase blood flow. So wouldn’t it make sense that athletes could also use this technology to their advantage?

Sports apparel companies market a variety of compression clothing towards athletes touting a number of performance and recovery benefits.

Could this assist athletes in performance and recovery? Is this real or just a matter of perception? Participants involved in compression studies expressed feelings of support when running.

 

So what does the research say?

In an article written in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. The researchers concluded that data suggests that wearing compression garments in the recovery from exercise may alter the inflammatory response to damage and accelerate the process inside of the muscle.

And what about different grades of compression?

Until recently no studies were done on whether a heavier grade of compression was more beneficial than a lighter grade. In an article published by the Journal of Sports Sciences this past year researchers applied 3 different grades of compression on 15 endurance athletes. Rates of perceived exertion, muscle soreness and time to exhaustion were unaffected by the various grades. Overall there was NO difference in performance.

I’m not sure about you, but when I run I don’t like clothing that feels tight up against my skin. If I were to try these garments out I would try a lower grade one first and if I didn’t get the desired response I would try them again increasing the grade of compression.

So what about you? Have you tried these garments? What did you think? Have you tried any other of the “latest and greatest” products that are on the market? What has been your experience?

For more Health and Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.Longevitypt.com

Exercise and Arthritis

July 26, 2010

Nearly 27 million Americans are affected by arthritis. So what is arthritis and where does exercise come into the picture?

When the cartilage, which is the cushion at the ends of your bones breaks down. It causes the bones to rub up against each other. This can cause stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint. This is known as osteoarthritis.

Although arthritis is seen as something that happens in the normal course of aging, there are ways to manage this disease. One way this is done, yes you guessed it, is through exercise.

The John Hopkins Arthritis Center states that “Regular physical activity can keep the muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss and may help control joint swelling and pain. Regular activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint and reduces stiffness and pain. Exercise can enhance weight loss in those with arthritis who are overweight.”

The Arthritis Foundation says that –

  • For every one pound of weight loss, there is a four pound reduction in the load exerted on the knee for each step taken
  • Losing as few as 11 pounds can cut the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis by 50 percent for some women
  • Physical activity keeps joints flexible and maintains or improves muscle strength.

That information was directed towards the knee. But the same can be said for your ankles, hips, shoulders and elbows. If you keep the muscles that support your joints strong then they can support these joints while they are going through their range of motion.

So what about you? Has arthritis showed up in one or more of your joints? How has it affected your daily life? For me I can feel it in my hands, so I do exercises that help me with my grip. If you want ideas as far as what exercises will help with certain joints please feel free to ask me here or email me.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.longevitypt.com

Affects of Alcohol on Exercise

July 1, 2010

With alcohol being the most common drug of choice one has to wonder what effects it has on your athletic performance.

Sorry folks but this blog has to be written.

For the most part the people that I run into in the gym seem to have their acts together as far as their alcohol consumption is involved. But every once in a while during an early morning workout I’ll catch a whiff of someone’s partying the night before.

Now far be it for me to judge anyone on how they use their down time to kick back and relax. But if your goals include chasing your PR’s and pushing your body as far as it can go then realize that your nutritional intake includes EVERYTHING you digest including what you drink.

In a position statement issued by the American College of Sports Medicine, the ACSM states that “alcohol appears to have little or no beneficial effect on the metabolic and physiological responses to exercise. Further, in those studies reporting significant effects, the change appears to be detrimental to performance.”

Research at the University of Georgia states that-

Alcohol will not improve muscular work capacity and results in:

  • Decrease in overall performance levels
  • Slowed running and cycling times
  • Faster fatigue during high-intensity exercise

Adequate hydration is crucial to optimal performance. The diuretic property of alcohol can result in:

  • Dehydration and significantly reduced aerobic performance
  • Impaired 800 and 1500 meter run times
  • Increased health risks during prolonged exercise in hot environments

Ok so you don’t drink before you go to the gym or before your run. What about the day after. The same research as above showed that “drinking on the day or night before athletic activity hinders physical conditioning progress, and exercising with a hangover has been shown to significantly decrease performance capacity by as much as 11%”

So, ok I hear it now. “Hey I drink and I’m doing just great”. Well think about how much better you would be doing if you didn’t.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.longevitypt.com

Do Women Bulk Up When They Train With Weights?

March 30, 2010

One of the most common statements I hear from women who have not done resistance training before is, “And I don’t want to bulk up”.

It is a myth that women will naturally attain the bodies that female bodybuilders flaunt simply by doing resistance training.

STOP IT!!!!

The benefits of weight training for women go on and on, from battling osteoporosis to an increased metabolism.

So instead of embracing strength training some women will either stay out of the weight room altogether or use weights that are too light and then not get any results at all.

In an article published in the New York Times, Dr William J. Kraemer a professor of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut states, “Acquiring muscle mass requires testosterone levels that women don’t have. Instead, the toning that many women say they want comes from lifting heavy weights.”

Both men and women have to implement certain things in their lifestyle such as nutrition, supplementation and a very specific type of weight training in order to put on the muscle that you see bodybuilders wearing.

Yes, there are those that have the genetic makeup to build muscle quicker than others. And for those that do then they must adapt a training regime that includes low weights and higher repetition.

So girls, unless you really do want to “bulk up” then you won’t.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.longevitypt.com

Muscle Recovery

December 20, 2009

People who are new to working out often ask why they can’t exercise the same muscles everyday. In brief this is what I tell them.

First off for a true workout to be successful you want to exercise to the point that your muscles are tired. Sometimes they’ll even hurt a little. When you fatigue your muscles in this way you are making them feel something that their not use to. (Physiologically you are breaking them down)

Since they haven’t felt this before, their reaction to this action is to ready itself in case it happens again. In effect their saying “Holy cow we better get ready before THAT happens again!”

Blood pours into the area that has just been exercised, tissues are being mended and your muscle is being repaired. But this time even tougher and stronger.

True muscle growth happens during this period of recovery. The process can take up to 24 – 36 hours immediately after you stop exercising.

If you are going to train the same body part two days in a row you are not giving the muscle its chance to repair and then truly change. You won’t be giving your muscle a chance to come out of fatigue.

Now keep in mind I never said that you shouldn’t exercise everyday. I’m just pointing out why you want to work on different aspects of your fitness each day.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.longevitypt.com