Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

– Dr. Seuss

Some experts claim that stretching is a bad idea and they aren’t wrong! If you stretch too much or attempt to stretch without the right goals or proper instruction, it could lead to disastrous outcomes. Most people are unaware of the components of good stretching. Determining goals and learning what type of stretching that works best for you are most important to avoid pain and injury.

Stretching can not only prevent injury but help to promote health and wellness.

Stretching can not only prevent injury but help to promote health and wellness.

The 2 main goals to consider when stretching are whether you want to just prep the muscles for strenuous activity or whether you would like to lengthen the muscles to increase range of motion and improve movement? If you are getting ready for a work out or about to do strenuous activity the type of stretching that would be better suited for you would be Ballistic, which involves bouncing , or a short duration static stretches, which involves holding a stretch for a short period of time. You also want to make sure that you are stretching target muscles that you will be utilizing. If you are looking to improve your range of motion and optimize movement while recorrecting your posture, then you would be more suited to visit a specialist that can help teach you Static, Active Isolated, and/or PNF stretching that would include the proper movements, adequate amounts of pressure and durations, and tips to avoid overstretching.
The idea behind stretching, either for activity prep or for increasing range of motion, is to avoid injury. Stretching increases blood flow to the area which increases localized temperature making the muscle fibers more pliable and easier to reduce muscular tension. The increase in blood flow also brings nutrients to the area that assists in the recovery of muscle tissue from activity and injury. With benefits like that, it should be an easy choice that stretching is a good move, but remember to stretch smart and stretch well. Always remember to seek professional advice on stretching from professionals such as chiropractors, massage therapist, personal trainers, and rehab specialists!

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“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

-Arthur Ashe

One tradition around this time of year that people have been following less and less over the years is setting and more importantly achieving New Year’s Resolutions. In a study from December 2012 conducted by the University of Scranton, less than half of Americans regularly set resolutions any more and of those only about 8% successfully achieve their goals! Why is it that resolutions seem to be fading away from us? Most likely it is because we usually set resolutions based upon our past disappointments such as quit smoking, loose weight, & be less cluttered. When we look at these resolutions, they may have a tendency to remind us how we have let ourselves down in the past and it is often times this reminder that just allows us to give up on our resolutions. So what would be a good solution to this issue? Think about setting a New Life Resolution.

Albert Einstein once said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This quote could not be closer to the truth. Humans are creatures of habit and seem to fall back into routines that we are comfortable with, but when those routines don’t work something needs to be adjusted. Setting 1 or 2 resolutions to achieve may not really impact your life enough to notice a change and that is why you may consider that New Life Resolution. Changing several aspects of your everyday by taking “baby steps” and shifting the way you live will have a bigger impact than forcefully and aggressively changing only 1 or 2. Think about it, most people look to exercise more, so they purchase a gym membership and start going to the gym five to seven days a week and push it to the point that they hurt or get exhausted within a month, then they stop and usually never look back. A better option is to just start walking 2 to 3 times a week and when you feel comfortable with that, move on to bigger better things. Appreciate the little accomplishments first because they are the foundation to larger and longer lasting accomplishments that will help you live a better life.

As a massage therapist I have noticed over the years that regular massage has helped stimulate the production of “feel good” endorphins which in turn helps maintain a positive attitude. A more positive attitude makes it easier to reach previously set resolutions and goals. Perhaps you can look into what many consider an “unconventional” approach in achieving this year’s resolutions and add regular therapeutic massage to your New Year’s routine!

Have a very safe, healthy, and happy 2015!

 

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”

Helen Keller

Do you suffer from chronic neck and upper shoulder pain on a regular basis and can’t figure out why? Perhaps you are one of the 66-90% of the population that suffers from a very common condition know as Forward Head Posture (FHP).42lbhead_free

FHP can be recognized when, from a profile or side view, a person’s ear is positioned in front of the shoulder rather than directly over it – in proper posture. This condition caused by poor posture causes the head to lean forward and for every inch that the head falls forward the head gains 10lbs worth of weight on the muscles of the neck and shoulders. The addition strain causes these muscles to work much harder to hold the head from flopping forward. When this type of stress is put on muscles for a long period of time, the body reacts by laying down scar tissue in the muscle fibers for stability. The strain on the muscles and the addition of scar tissue limits flexibility and causes additional pressure on the nerves in the neck which increases pain and fatigue. If left untreated and FHP becomes severe enough, it will not only cause long duration tension headaches, but can also increase blood pressure, cause disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves, and even distortions in the eyes and ears that could lead to mental disorders.

Over a period of time, forward head posture can lead to a “hunchback” like Igor!

Over a period of time, forward head posture can lead to a “hunchback” like Igor!

There is hope in correcting FHP: starting by identifying the incorrect posture through postural analysis, the following step would be to stretch out the muscles the have become tightened then strengthen the weak muscles so that you are able to hold your head up in proper posture. It’s always good to seek the advice of a professional, such as a chiropractor, to ensure there aren’t any major skeletal problems as well as a massage therapist to help ease the tension in the muscles. The same professionals can show you the proper stretches and exercises to prevent the havoc of FHP!

 

“Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body. ”
Arnold Schwarzenegger

How many times have you caught yourself avoiding working out because you are too sore or are not getting the results that you are looking for with weight training due to the lack of that extra push? What if there was a way to get around those obstacles? Thereis a way – Therapeutic Massage!
Lactic acids build up in the muscles due to exercise leads to DOMS or delayed
onset muscle soreness, poor muscle fiber and joint movement, and difficulty in the healing of the muscles. Studies have shown that massage flushes the muscles of built up toxins, including lactic acid. Massage also loosens the muscle fibers increasing the joints’ range of motions; therefore, allowing the muscles to repair and increase in size and strength at an accelerated rate. Receiving regular therapeutic massage in conjunction with your normal workout routines will not only help the muscles heal faster, but also
significantly reduces pain and soreness. By having the ability for your muscles to recover and build strength faster, you are able to get back to training sooner and gain more of your desired results.
Studies have also shown that massage is also a great way to decrease blood
pressure and increase energy giving you a euphoric effect that will make working out more fun and more desirable. The best part of it all is that therapeutic massage is not targeted at one specific group. The benefits of therapeutic massage can be appreciated by everyone from the competing body builder to the semi-pro athlete to the everyday person trying to get back in shape and stay fit.

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able
to keep our mind strong and clear.”
– Buddha

It seems like everywhere you go these days, someone is talking about “Detoxing”, it’s all over the internet, TV, and even in our supermarkets. What is it about Detoxification that get’s everyone so energized? The truth is that there are so many pollutants in the air we breathe, the foods we eat, and even the water that we drink and bathe in, that absorb into our bodies and cause distortions in our proper bodily functions. These distortions can lead to severe medical and health problems. Detoxification is a way to purge the body of as
many of these impurities as possible so that our bodies can function better with less stress.

 

How exactly does one go about “Detoxing”, you may ask? There are many pills and drinks out on the market that promote detoxification, but most of them are only a temporary fix and don’t have lasting effects. Sweating is your body’s natural way of detoxing,so any activity that would promote sweating, such as exercise or even time in an infrared sauna, would be great at cleaning out your system. Altering your diet to eat more foods that are less processed, organically grown, and contain healthy probiotics and enzymes.

Another natural way to help with the detoxification process is with massage therapy. Massage therapy is usually a combination of strokes and movement that create a flushing action. The flushing helps to clear the muscles of any excess wastes that have accumulated and moves it to the blood stream. From the blood stream the toxins and wastes are moved to the lymphatic system, the body’s filtering system, where it is on it’s way to final removal. With the combination of regular massage, a proper diet, and the right activities, you can be on your way to detoxification for a better life and a better YOU!

“Correction does much, but encouragement does more.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Exercise is one of the most beneficial activities that we can do for our health and wellness, but yet we see so many people avoid this task that seems dreadful to them. There are many reasons that top the list of  why people don’t want to exercise including not enough time, boredom, pain, but most importantly people don’t really know how to do exercises properly.

Corrective exercises are exercises that are designed to not only regain proper movement but maintain proper posture as well. These exercises will create a strong foundation to build stability upon.  It is after a client has mastered the corrective exercises that they can move on to functional exercises that will help the client to move, feel, and be better.

If you would like to learn more about corrective exercising, listen in to the Healthy U radio show on www.kinetichifi.com this Saturday the 6th from 2-4pm EST. I will be chatting with Justin Price of  Aspire Fitness & Wellness who is a personal trainer specializing in corrective exercising. We will be discussing how to become more educated in corrective exercising and how it can  dramatically benefit your life.

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“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”

– John F. Kennedy

As you have read in a previous post, I have been investing a lot of time in studying for my Certified Personal Trainer’s program. This is a journey that started back in 2005 when if first took the CEU program from the NCSF (National Council for Strength & Fitness). Interest in this program arose because of the amount of clientele coming in to see me that were experiencing significant pain after starting a new exercise program. Most of these clients were following regiments prescribed by a  personal trainer. This concept didn’t make much sense to me because of the fact that, in my opinion, trainers were suppose to keep you safe while reaching your goals. It was shortly after this that I decided to observe several trainers as they were training clients at the gym I was working out at and noticed how a majority of them were using too much weight for their clients and not even paying attention to their form. In addition to this, I learned that most trainers in the Charleston area received their certification from a weekend online course. These findings were shocking to me, so I wanted to become more educated about the training process and how to properly execute a training program that would be safe and effective.

Back in 2005 I completed the continuing education program from the NCSF to attain the required CEUs to recertify my Massage Therapy license. I had no intention on taking the CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) exam at that time due to the fact that I wanted to focus myself on developing my massage therapy skills and not jump into a new endeavor. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I started utilizing movement pattern training as  part of my teachings to my clients to make sure that their form, while working out, wasn’t compromising their posture and distorting their muscular balance. Unfortunately, many people considered the movement patterns as ‘exercises’ and labeled them as such. Exercise instruction is outside the normal “Scope of Practice” for a  massage therapist. A Scope of Practice can be broadened with proper continued education and it was with this concept that I decided to begin my studying to achieve my Personal Trainer’s certification.

On August 16, 2012 I took my CPT exam and I am very pleased to announce that I passed and am now a certified personal trainer through the NCSF. I still have no intention on working as a personal trainer in a gym,  but this allows me to legitimately instruct corrective exercises to my clients. This aspect of my treatments will further the benefits of the work I  provide. Therapeutic massage has many benefits including breaking down muscular adhesions and scar tissue as well as re-aligning posture. Corrective Exercises allow those benefits to last longer between sessions and also provide the client with a sense of accomplishment as they are assuming a larger part of their self-maintenance in their health and wellness.
I urge people to add an element of fitness and exercise to their regular healthcare program because of the many positive benefits on the body overall. What exercises and how to do them properly are not always the easiest tasks to understand, so I highly recommend seeking the knowledge of well trained professionals. This will ensure your safety  and improve your health,  as well as help you maintain your overall wellness.