Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Five Wats

Posted: September 14, 2018 in Exercise, Fitness, Health
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In an office environment, most people spend hours in a seated position in front of a computer screen. Repetitive activities, such as typing for long periods of time in a slouched position, may negatively impact posture and mobility, potentially leading to pain. One approach for improving back health and reducing the discomfort associated with repetitive workplace activities is to promote mobility, muscular balance and strength for optimal movement, posture and wellness.

The following five exercises can be easily incorporated into your workday, require little time and target common problems seen in the workplace. Get up and start moving!

Scapular Wall-Slides for Back, Shoulder and Neck Pain

Recommendation: 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions, twice per day

Starting position: Stand with your feet hip-to-shoulder width apart in a quarter squat while pressing your back and head flat against a wall. Attempt to place the arms against (or as close to as possible on) the wall at a 90-degree angle while keeping the back against the wall.

Upward phase:  While maintaining the starting position, actively slide the arms directly up the wall without shrugging.

Downward phase: While maintaining the starting position, actively slide the arms directly down the wall to the arm starting position, without shrugging the shoulders. Tuck your chin while maintaining your head on the wall to prevent shrugging. This movement should be felt in the middle of the back.

Half-kneeling Hip-flexor Stretch

Recommendation: One set of 30 seconds to two minutes on each leg, three times per day

Starting position: Place the left knee down (on a pad) at a 90-degree angle, directly underneath the left hip and shoulder. Step forward with the left foot and position the knee at 90-degree angle. Place the hands on the hips or continue to perform work tasks, such as typing.

Static phase: Actively squeeze the right glutes to create a static contraction and hold it for up to two minutes without arching the lower back.

Release phase: Stop contracting and release. This stretch should be felt in the right hip flexors (the anterior segment of the right leg). Repeat the stretch on the opposite leg

Lacrosse Ball Myofascial Release of the Forearms for Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Pain

Recommendation: 1-2 sets of 30 seconds on each forearm, twice per day

Starting position: While seated, reach one arm in front of you with the palm up. Place a lacrosse ball on the desk underneath the arm, directly below the elbow.

Upward and downward phases: While applying tolerable pressure, slowly roll the ball upward and downward along the forearm extensors in a slow-paced fashion. Make sure to roll out the entire length of the forearm before concentrating on the area(s) that appear to be the most sensitive. Repeat on the other arm.

External Rotation of the Shoulder

Recommendation: 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions, twice per day

Starting position: Stand with feet hip-to-shoulder width apart. Bring the elbows against the sides of the body with the arms at a 90-degree angle.

Concentric phase: Slowly externally rotate both shoulders, while maintaining contact of the elbows with the sides of the body and squeezing the shoulder blades toward each other and slightly down.

Eccentric phase: Return to the starting position with control.

Banded (Seated) Hip Abduction

Recommendation: 1-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions, twice per day

Starting position: While seated upright, place the feet on the floor, hip-width apart, and place a mini band around the knees and the hands on the sides of the chair.

Concentric phase: Push both knees outward (as if you’re trying to break the mini band), while keeping your feet on the floor.

Eccentric phase: Allow the knees to return to the starting position with control, keeping tension on the band the entire time.

Remember, whether you’re in the office or at home, get up and move often! Use these strategies throughout the workday to improve posture and mobility, while decreasing the discomfort associated with sitting.

AUTHOR

Matthew Cain

Contributor

Matthew Cain is an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at San Diego Miramar College. He is currently working towards his PhD in Exercise Science – Health and Human Performance at Concordia University Chicago. Matthew has a MS in Exercise Science and Sports Management from California Baptist University. Prior to San Diego Miramar College, Matthew was a full-time faculty member at CSUDH in the Department of Kinesiology and an adjunct professor at El Camino College. He has been published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal, International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, and Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association. He is an ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist.

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It can be hard not to overeat. You eat a healthy meal at home, think you’re doing well, then you head out (to almost any destination) and are surrounded by junk food. You get hungry, and pretty soon you’re at the local burger joint, diet forgotten.

— Read on blog.myfitnesspal.com/6-appetite-control-strategies-that-helped-me-stop-overeating/

The Physiology of Fat Loss

by: Len Kravitz, PhD , Christine Mermier, PhD and Mike Deyhle

From the fat cell to the fat furnace, find out exactly what causes the body to burn fat.

Fat may seem like the enemy of civilized people—especially sedentary ones. Yet we cannot live without it.Fat plays a key role in the structure and flexibility of cell membranes, and it helps regulate the movement of substances through those membranes. Special types of fat, known as eicosanoids, send hormone-like signals that exert intricate control over many bodily systems, mostly those affecting inflammation or immune function.

Of course, the best-known function of fat is as an energy reserve. Fat has more than twice the energy-storage capacity of carbohydrate (9 calories per gram vs. 4 calories per gram). It has been estimated that lean adult men store about 131,000 calories in fat (Horowitz & Klein 2000), enough energy to keep the average person alive for about 65 days.

For fitness professionals, the prime concern arises when the body’s fat-storage function works too well, hoarding unwanted fat that makes people unhealthy and self-conscious about their appearance. Understanding how fat travels through the body can help personal trainers work with clients to reduce excess body fat and improve athletic performance.

The Journey of a Fatty Acid to Muscle

THE ADIPOCYTE

p38 ImageFat resides primarily in designated fat-storage cells called adipocytes. Most adipocytes are just under the skin (subcutaneous fat) and in regions surrounding (and protecting) vital organs (visceral fat). Nearly all fat in adipocytes exists in the form of triacylglycerols (TAGs or triglycerides). Each TAG consists of a backbone (glycerol) with three fatty-acid tails (see Figure 1).

Depending on energy supply and demand, adipocytes can either store fat from the blood or release fat back to the blood. After we eat, when the energy supply is high, the hormone insulin keeps fatty acids inside the adipocytes (Duncan et al. 2007). After a few hours of fasting or (especially) during exercise, insulin levels tend to drop (see Figure 2), while levels of other hormones—such as epinephrine (adrenaline)—increase.

When epinephrine binds to adipocytes, TAG stores go through a process called lipolysis (Duncan et al. 2007), which separates fatty acids from their glycerol backbone. After lipolysis, fatty acids and glycerol can leave the adipocytes and enter the blood.

p39 ImageFatty Acids in the Blood

Because fat does not easily dissolve in water, it needs a carrier protein to keep it evenly suspended in the water-based environment of the blood. The primary protein carrier for fat in the blood is albumin (Holloway et. al. 2008). One albumin protein can carry multiple fatty acids through the blood to muscle cells (Horowitz & Klein 2000). In the very small blood vessels (capillaries) surrounding the muscle, fatty acids can be removed from albumin and taken into the muscle (Holloway et al. 2008).

Fatty Acids Going From the Blood Into Muscle

Fatty acids must cross two barriers to get from the blood into the muscle. The first is the cell lining of the capillary (called the endothelium), and the second is the muscle-cell membrane (known as the sarcolemma). Fatty-acid movement across these barriers was once thought to be extremely rapid and unregulated (Holloway et al. 2008). More recent research has shown that this process is not nearly as fast as once thought and that the presence of special binding proteins is required at the endothelium and sarcolemma for fatty acids to pass through (Holloway et al. 2008). Two proteins that are important for fatty-acid transport into the muscle cells are FAT/CD36 and FABPpm.

Two Fates of Fat Inside Muscle

Once fat is inside the muscle, a molecule called coenzyme A (CoA) is added to the fatty acids (Holloway et al. 2008). CoA is a transport protein that maintains the inward flow of fatty acids entering the muscle and prepares the fatty acid for one of two fates:

  • oxidation (in which electrons are removed from a molecule) to produce energy or
  • storage within the muscle (Holloway et al. 2008; Shaw, Clark & Wagenmakers 2010)

The majority (80%) of fatty acids entering the muscle during exercise are oxidized for energy, while most fatty acids entering the muscle after a meal are repackaged into TAGs and stored in the muscle in lipid droplets (Shaw, Clark & Wagenmakers, 2010). Fatty acids stored in muscle are called intramyocellular triacylglycerols (IMTAGs) or intramuscular fat.

There are two to three times more IMTAGs stored in slow twitch muscle fibers (the slow oxidative fibers) than there are in fast-twitch muscle fibers (Shaw, Clark & Wagenmakers 2010). Shaw and colleagues note that even though this IMTAG supply makes up only a fraction (1%–2%) of the total fat stores within the body, it is of great interest to exercise physiologists because it is a metabolically active fatty-acid substrate especially used during periods of increased energy expenditure, such as endurance exercise.

Fatty Acids Burned for Energy

Fatty acids burned for energy (oxidized) in the muscle can come either directly from the blood or from IMTAG stores. For fatty acids to be oxidized, they must be transported into the cells’ mitochondria (see Figure 3). A mitochondrion is an organelle that functions like a cellular power plant; it processes fatty acids (and other fuels) to create a readily usable energy currency (ATP) in order to meet the energy needs of a muscle cell.

Most fatty acids are transported into the mitochondria via the carnitine shuttle (Holloway et al. 2008), which uses two enzymes and carnitine (an amino acid-like molecule) to do the transporting. One of these enzymes is called carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT1). CPT1 may work with one of the same proteins (FAT/CD36) used to bring fatty acids into the muscle cells from the blood (Holloway et al. 2008). Once inside the mitochondria, fatty acids are broken down through several enzymatic pathways—including beta-oxidation, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and the electron transport chain—to produce ATP.

Fatty-Acid Oxidation During a Single Bout of Exercise

At the start of exercise, more blood flows to adipose tissue and muscle (Horowitz & Klein 2000), releasing more fatty acids from adipose tissue and delivering more fatty acids to the muscle.

Exercise intensity has a great impact on fat oxidation.We burn the most fat when exercising at low to moderate intensity—that is, when oxygen consumption is between 25% and 60% of maximum (Horowitz & Klein 2000). At very low exercise intensities (25% VO2max), most of the fatty acids used during exercise come from the blood (Achten & Jeukendrup 2004). As exercise increases to moderate intensity (around 60% of VO2max), most of the fatty acids oxidized appear to come from IMTAG stores (Horowitz & Klein 2000).

p39 ImageAt higher exercise intensities (>70% VO2max), total fat oxidation falls below the levels observed at moderate intensity (Horowitz & Klein 2000). This reduction in fatty-acid oxidation is coupled with an increase in carbohydrate breakdown to meet the energy demands of the exercise (Horowitz & Klein 2000).

We often overemphasize the fatty-acid contribution to calories burned during a bout of exercise. It’s also important to consider recovery from a bout of exercise, as well as training adaptations to repeated bouts, if you’re helping clients meet their fat-loss goals.

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ACE – ProSource: October 2014 – Build Strong Glutes and a Pain-free Lower Back.

By Justin Price

There are two things many of our clients have in common: They want to have nice-looking buns and, at some point in their lives, they will experience lower-back pain. The good news is that developing strong, shapely glutes can contribute to a pain-free lower back. In this article, you’ll learn why deconditioned and/or dysfunctional gluteal muscles and lower-back pain often go hand-in-hand. You’ll also learn which exercises build strong glutes and can help keep lower-back pain at bay.

What Causes Back Pain

Many people mistakenly believe that lower-back pain is caused by a problem with their lower back. This is understandable given that movements of daily life, sports and most weight-bearing exercise modalities require the spine to move forward, backward, side to side and in rotation (McGill, 2002). When you lean forward, for example, the spine rounds/flexes. When walking and running, it moves from side to side as you transfer weight from one foot to the other. When performing sporting movements like golf, tennis and baseball, the spine must rotate to achieve the desired motion (Chasan, 2002).

However, all these movements of the spine require other parts of the body to work as well. When bending forward to pick a weight up from the ground, for example, the ankles, knees and hips should also bend to help lower the torso. Similarly, as the spine moves from side to side during walking, the legs and hips should also move from side to side (i.e., adduct and abduct) to help provide a good base of support for the spine as it moves. Rotational movements of the spine should be accompanied by rotational movements in the legs and hips so the tremendous force created by swinging a tennis racket or golf club, for example, is dissipated throughout the entire body. When actions of the spine are not accompanied by correct movement in the rest of the body, the spine and its surrounding muscles (e.g., the lower back) have to take up the slack and may become overworked and injured.

How Strong Glutes Can Help Prevent Back Pain

The gluteal complex of muscles (i.e., gluteus maximus, medius and minimus) plays a key role in helping take stress off the spine during multiplanar movements. That’s because these muscles help control movements of the torso, pelvis, hips and legs. When you bend forward or squat, for example, your hips should bend backward to counterbalance the forward motion of your upper body to help you stay upright (Figure 1). The gluteus maximus works to decelerate flexion of your hips to help counteract the downward pull of gravity and prevent your lumbar spine from over-rounding forward (Price and Bratcher, 2010). If your glutes are not strong enough to fully engage when your hips bend backward, your spine must round forward excessively to lower your arms to the ground (Figure 2).

Similarly, much of the rotational movement stress experienced by the spine during sporting activities is moderated by the gluteus maximus muscle. When the spine rotates over the leg on one side of the body (e.g., when taking a backswing or follow through in golf, tennis or baseball), the hip and leg should also rotate to take stress off the lower back (Figure 3). Because the gluteus maximus muscle attaches to the structures of spine and pelvis and to the leg, rotation of the hip and leg should engage and lengthen this muscle, thus helping to decelerate rotation of the torso (Golding and Golding, 2003). If the gluteus maximus muscle is not working properly, stress from rotational movements is instead transferred to the lumbar spine and may manifest as pain in the lower back.

Side-to-side movement stress to the spine is moderated by the smaller muscles of the gluteal complex—the gluteus medius and minimus (Dimon and Qualter, 2008). As the spine moves from left to right as a person takes alternating steps when walking and running, the pelvis should also move from side to side (Figure 4). This shifting motion of the pelvis with the torso is decelerated by the gluteus medius and minimus because of their attachments from the pelvis to the side of the hip and leg. When they are healthy and functional they act as a brake for the lumbar spine, protecting it from excessive movement and stress. If they are not working correctly, pain may manifest in the hips and lower back.

How to Build Strong Glutes and a Pain-free Lower Back

As you have seen, correct functioning of the gluteal complex of muscles can help protect the structures of the lumbar spine as it moves during multiple planes of motion. However, before you begin overloading these muscles in an attempt to build strong glutes and a pain-free back, it is extremely important to adequately prepare them so as not to injure your lower back (Price and Bratcher, 2010). The following “warm up and wake up” series of self-myofascial release exercises and neuromuscular activation techniques will help ensure your gluteal muscles are working correctly and can protect your lower back as you move through various ranges of motion in the glute-strengthening program that follows.

Warm-up Exercises

For gluteal muscles to be flexible enough to lengthen effectively and decelerate movements of the pelvis, hips and spine, have your clients perform some self-myofascial release techniques on the muscles of the glutes and lower back prior to exercising. This will ensure the tissues are warm and mobile and can move in all three planes of motion.

Tennis Ball on the Butt

Massaging the gluteal complex of muscles before working out can help promote better movement of the pelvis, hips and legs, and ensure you get the most out of the strengthening exercises that follow.

Have your client to lie on his or her back with the knees bent. Place a tennis ball under the right side of the butt and scoot the body up and down and from side to side to move the ball to any sore spots, from the base of the spine all the way out to the side of the leg. You can progress this exercise by coaching your client to place the right ankle on the left knee. Place a rolled-up towel under the left hip to help keep the pelvis level. Roll out each buttock for one to two minutes. While a tennis ball is the easiest piece of equipment to purchase and use, a foam roller can also be used to massage the gluteal complex.

Tennis Ball on Lower Back

The gluteus maximus muscle ties into the fascia of the lower back (i.e., thoracolumbar fascia). Therefore, massaging the muscles on either side of the lumbar spine is important before performing glute-strengthening exercises.

Instruct your client to lie on his or her back with the knees bent. Place a tennis ball under the right side of the lower back (away from the spine itself) and scoot the body to move the ball to any sore spots between the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the hip. (Note: Do not place the tennis ball directly under the bottom two ribs. These are “floating ribs,” which do not attach to the sternum at the front of the rib cage.) Massage the area on each side of the spine for one to two minutes.

Foam Roller on Side of Thigh

The iliotibial band on the side of the thigh attaches the gluteus maximus muscle to the lower leg. Increasing blood supply to this structure will encourage correct movement of the hip and leg.

Instruct your client to place a foam roller beneath and perpendicular to the right leg, which is extended, and to balance the body on the right elbow and the left foot. Roll the leg up and down over the roller and pause on any sore spots. If your client has shoulder problems, or finds it difficult to balance, instruct him or her to lie on the ground with the head supported by a pillow, and place a tennis ball under the outside of the thigh. Perform this exercise for one to two minutes on each side.

Wake-up Exercises

People with lower-back problems typically have difficulty activating their glutes correctly. The following isometric and/or single-joint neuromuscular-activation exercises for the gluteus maximus, minimus and medius ensure these muscles are receiving correct input from the nervous system before you load them up with dynamic, multiplanar strengthening exercises.

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Food Frauds That Can Wreck Your Diet

Food Fraud: Caesar Salad

Some foods that we think are healthy can be sneaky little diet wreckers. University of Pittsburgh nutritionist Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, shares a few of these “food frauds,” starting with Caesar salad. Just a small bowl has 300-400 calories and 30 grams of fat, thanks to loads of dressing.

Food Fix: Use only 1 Tbs. dressing and 2 Tbs. tangy, Parmesan cheese.

smoothie

Food Fraud: Fresh Smoothies

That “healthy” berry blend at a smoothie shop can have a whopping 80 grams of sugar, 350 calories or more, little protein, and often no fresh fruit. Fruit “concentrates” are often used instead of fresh fruit. And sorbet, ice cream, and sweeteners can make these no better than a milkshake.

Food Fix: Get the “small” cup. Ask for fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, milk, or protein powder to blend in protein and good nutrition.

(Read More)

By Vanessa Rodriguez For Active.com

Although we know good nutrition is crucial for training, shelling out those extra few dollars for healthier groceries can be painful. These practical tips can help you meet the needs of both your budget and your body.

Image

1. Establish your priorities. How important is good nutrition to you? Answering this question honestly can help you determine how much money you are willing to invest in your food. It’s difficult to spend money on things we don’t prioritize. Once we decide that our nutrition is something we want to invest in, it’s easier to make the following changes.

2. Plan and prepare. When it comes to food, saving money always means investing more time in planning and preparation. Yes, we love the convenience of food on-the-go. But eliminating them from your grocery runs can instantly slash our expenses. Be prepared to start washing, chopping, storing, and freezing. Sit down and plan your meals out for the entire week. Make a grocery list and stick to it.

3. Invest in a freezer. If you have the space, this can save you major dollars in the long term. Buy good meat in bulk. Buy entire animals if you can. Get fruits and vegetables in large quantities when they are in season (and therefore the cheapest), then freeze them for use throughout the year.

4. Invest in a nutrition or cooking class. Get a few friends together for a group session to save money. Pay for just a few consultations or classes to cover the basics. Learn to read food labels and get a grocery store tour (be careful when attending free tours—they are usually sponsored by a company with a vested interest in what you buy, so you won’t always be getting completely transparent information).

Spending money on a nutritionist may initially seem counterproductive, but there’s nothing worse than finding out that you’ve been spending all your money on food you thought was healthy, but really wasn’t. Many labels like natural, raw, and whole wheat are not regulated and can be used to sell products at a higher price. A nutritionist can teach you how to determine which foods live up to their labels and which are just clever marketing.

5. Sit down for meals. You’ll be amazed at how much more you eat when you’re on the run. Make time for meals. Sit at an actual table. You generally eat less if you eat with others, plus you are more likely to enjoy your food.

6. Pay more but eat less. Buy higher quality foods but pay attention to your portions. It’s important to accomplish this without feeling hungry, which is very possible by eating the right foods. Fruits and vegetables contain significant amounts of water and are therefore more filling. Whole grains are more satisfying than white flour-based products. In the end you feel full by eating less.

7. Choose your battles. You don’t have to buy everything organic. Pick and choose according to your means, but keep in mind that there are certain foods with higher pesticide loads (and therefore better bought organic). You can find a list of these foods here.

8. Get to know your food community. Most cities have some sort of resource for getting fresh food at a good price. It could be a community garden, a food box program, or a farmer’s market. A little bit of research into your local options can go a long way.

9. Remember that any change is good change. Don’t get discouraged. Your body is the greatest asset you own. Eating well may take up more of your time, but it can also help you live longer and feel happier. You’re stuck with your body for life; how you prioritize your food is ultimately your choice.

Vanessa Rodriguez is the former nutrition editor for Active.com. She is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and an avid ultra-distance trail runner.

Great article about appetite!

Get it. Love it. Keep it.

Do you ever have those days where you are most unsatisfied AFTER you eat? After your meal you find that you are hungry, tired, and craving something sweet?  

Well here are some reasons why  your meals may be leaving a little something to be desired:

 

1. Your food choices: Regardless of calories (in fact forget about counting calories and think about food choices- quality not quantity!) there are foods that fill  you up and foods that leave you wanting more. Fill up on healthy choices (like vegetables, and whole natural foods) and serve yourself a smaller portion of the less nutritious options. Avoid sugar, pop and diet products which are terrible for you and spike your blood glucose levels.

 

2. Your food group balance: if you are lacking in nutrients from a particular area you are more likely to feel fatigued and unsatisfied. Try to eat in a…

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