Fun Workouts Like Zumba Will Remain Hot In 2012. ACSM Predictions

Core Training And Fun Workouts Like Zumba Will Remain Hot In 2012

STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCTedited by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 45,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. Now in its sixth year, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently completed a worldwide fitness trend survey of 2,620 ACSM certified professionals from Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, North and South America. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) also completed a fitness-trend survey of more than 1,500 experts and certified professionals. The two leading fitness organizations in the world seem to have quite similar 2012 worldwide fitness trend predictions.

Educated fitness professionals
ACSM’s number one fitness trend prediction concerns educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals. The fitness industry will continue to give importance to upgrading skills and knowledge of fitness professionals and aside from the recognized certifications and continuing education, more professionals will seek advanced professional education and take related fitness and health courses to answer the demands of the growing health and fitness industry.

Lifestyle coaching and whole-life training
With more qualified and upgraded fitness professionals, there will be a greater focus on whole-life training, as predicted by ACE. Whole-life training or lifestyle coaching will benefit clients who need support managing stress, help following eating plans and exercise management to achieve their goals and get results faster. Many fitness centres will look to offer services such as lifestyle coaching, nutrition advice and a psychological approach to really give a holistic package to their fitness programs. Also, according to ACE, behaviour modification will become something we are more aware of and the ways it can enhance a client’s exercise motivation and adherence. ACSM’s top fitness service trend predictions are still personal training and group personal training. Most people will still get the guidance of a personal trainer to get faster results, and others will join small group personal training sessions (two to four per session) to experience some fun and challenge while exercising, and to lessen the training cost.

Weight loss and strength trainingdumbell curl
More fitness consumers will look for strength training as part of their fitness routine, and health and fitness practitioners will need to integrate this into their programs. However the ACSM predict that people will look for strength training programs more for maintenance, and not for body-building. Improved strength is always related to improved functional performance and weight management, as well.

Weight loss still the main motivation
According to ACE, weight loss will still be the top reason fitness consumers will seek fitness services. ACSM predicted that weight-loss programs incorporating exercise will still be one of the most in-demand tools to answer the needs of the growing overweight and obese population, especially this 2012. Fitness professionals will incorporate calorie management in their programs by expanding their focus to proper eating and exercise for weight loss.

Growing target markets: the elderly and the young
According to ACE and ACSM, elderly and the youth will still be the growing fitness target markets of fitness professionals in 2012. The fitness program focus for children will still be on obesity prevention and management, and for the retirees, it will be more on functional training, helping them to perform their daily activities well and safely, and improve their sports like golf without developing injuries.

Hottest fitness workouts for 2012
According to ACE, clients and fitness trainers will focus on functional and integrated exercises emphasizing core muscles and using body weight as resistance (like the use of TRX), some calorie-burning exercises like boot camp and interval training, and fun group workouts like Zumba that combine Latin rhythms with interval-type exercise and resistance training. ACSM also predicted core training (stabilizing muscles of the abs, thorax, and back) using BOSU, foam rollers and wobble boards, Zumba, and functional fitness as the hottest workout trends for 2012.

Corporate wellness
ACE predicted that employers will give more wellness programs to their employees to reduce healthcare costs and improve productivity. They will outsource wellness programs so that health and fitness can be affordable.

Community fitness programs
ACE predicted that fitness programs will emerge from local gyms, parks, and recreational centres to give access to the local community and prevent the growing problem of obesity. There might be more local leaders who will take action in influencing their people to get into an active and healthy lifestyle. Therefore, fitness will be for everyone, since it will be more lifestyle-based, accessible, affordable and even enjoyable.

Fitness technology
ACE predicted that social media and mobile-based apps for fitness will continue to become popular in the coming year, and fitness professionals will have the chance to be in contact with fitness consumers because of the latest technology. Fitness consumers will have more access to nutrition and fitness education, which is significant to maintain one’s motivation.

Edited from an article by Mitch Felipe Mendoza  for Inquirer Lifestyle.
email the author at mitchfelipe@gmail.com.

Core Workout Exercises Are Misunderstood All Over The World.


by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT 28/11/11

 

Core workout exercises are misunderstood all over the world.
Many people think that core workout exercisesonly help in developing six-pack abs. However, outward appearances are a small part of the effectiveness of core and balance workouts. The core actually consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis, running through the entire length of the torso, front and back. A strong base founded on effective balance and strong core musculature prepares you for powerful and explosive movement during exercise.

Core exercises improve your balance and stability.
Core workouts are easily compromised by the idea that the rest of your workout will cover most of your core requirements, it won’t. The core is known as the power house of the system as this is where most of our movement is generated. A strong core also protects the lower back from unnecessary injury and allows a person to work efficiently and safely. It also improves balance and stability as most core exercises are based on balance engaging the core.

Core exercises can help tone your abs.
Typically core exercises tone the mid section as they basically provide a workout that isolates these groups of muscles. Core workouts tighten the packs of muscles in the abdominal area and visually give an appearance of overall weight loss. And these exercises can be done everyday unlike other weight training exercises. You can choose from 2- 3 different exercises and you will require about 5 minutes of your time to get fit and strong in the mid section. Strong core muscles make it easier to do most physical activities: The limbs are intricately connected to the core complex and movements are very much dependant on core fitness. A strong core can help you work faster, harder and longer.

Exercise Technique.
If you can, execute the workout in front on a mirror to allow you to make corrections to your posture. The most important factor is to activate the abdominal muscle during execution .This can be done by coughing once and holding the contraction that happens when you cough. Square the hips and shoulders to engage the PC muscles of the pelvic floor.

Core exercises don’t require specialized equipment or a gym membership.
We can do core and balance workouts in the comfort of our own homes at almost any time of the day, and it doesn’t need to to take up too much time. You won’t need lots of fancy equipment to work on strengthening the core either, for some however, performing core workouts at the gym sets the right mood. If you’re a beginner you should take care to workout under the guidance of the professional trainer, especially if you want to try some of the more advanced techniques early on in your exercise regime. Some core workouts require alignment and balance that can only be achieved with sustained effort and repetition.

Let’s look at three core strength exercises you can do at home.

Super man: Lie face down on the floor with your arms stretched full out in front with your thumbs just touching. Raise the right arm and left leg off the floor until you feel a stretch, hold for 3 seconds and relax. Alternate with the other arm and leg and repeat for 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. When it starts to get easier try HARDER you’ll know what I mean.

Plank: Lie face down, with forearms and toes on the floor slowly start to take the strain and raise your pelvis from the floor and straighten your torso. Set your eyes on the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Relax to the start position and then repeat 5 times

Supine bridge: Lie flat on your back on a mat or the floor with eyes set on the ceiling. Position your feet flat on the floor at about hip width and somewhere beneath your knees and hands just outside your ankles and alongside of your body. Now push your hips up till you have a straight line right from your knees to shoulders. Maintain a straight line posture as long as you can feel the muscle tension.

If it’s a flat tummy you most desire then check out my post on the Transverse Abdominals

A QUARTER OF EUROPEANS WITH OBESITY RELATED HEALTH ISSUES

Edited by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT from the Mail online

Europe With A QUARTER So Overweight Their Health’s At Risk

British Obesity levels are far worse than Germany, Italy and France with more than one in five British men classed as obese
By Claire Bates and Jenny Hope, Last updated at 9:42 PM on 25th November 2011

British women are officially the most overweight in Europe.
A quarter are so obese, so fat it threatens their health, according to alarming figures. This is a far higher proportion than in the other countries of Western Europe.

Obesity levels in the UK are far worse than Germany, Italy and France
British men are doing almost as badly, with more than one in five classed as obese, according to the authoritative figures. Experts are especially concerned by the young age at which so many women here are developing serious weight problems. A disturbing 16 per cent of young women aged 18 to 24 are obese – up to 16 times higher than many other European countries where the rate is between 1 per cent and 3 per cent. Young men are doing better, around 6 per cent are obese, but a worrying one third of men aged 45-64 are obese in the UK.

The deeply troubling figures are contained in a report from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, which compares obesity levels in 19 countries from 2008/2009. Only the U.S. and Ireland, which are not included in the report, have higher obesity rates in the developed world. The latest table shows that only the former Soviet states of Latvia and Estonia – where one in five women is obese – approach the UK’s unenviable league-topping figure of 23.9 per cent. Women in Malta are catching up fast with rates of 22 per cent. Fifteen per cent of women in Germany are obese, while they are slimmer still in France (12.7 per cent) and Italy (9.3 per cent). The report says it is ‘particularly significant’ that a third of men in the UK are obese between the ages of 45 and 64. Overall, 22 per cent of British men are obese – and twice as many are overweight, say experts. Neville Rigby, director of policy and public affairs at the International Obesity Forum, said the British led the field in obesity – but in almost all developed countries two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. “Levels of fatness are increasing all the time,” he said. “They go from overweight to obesity and affect more than 60 per cent of adults in most countries”. He goes on to say “The recessions is likely to make things worse, as people find they cannot afford the expense of buying healthier foods and fill up on fatty and sugary junk foods.” The National Audit Office estimates that obesity causes at least 30,000 deaths a year in the UK, through conditions such as cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes. It is shown to shorten lifespan, with individuals carrying four stone extra in weight at risk of losing three years in life expectancy.

The Body Mass Index measurement is used to calculate whether an individual is a healthy weight or not. This is calculated by dividing weight in kilos, by the square of his or her height in metres. Under 18.5 is underweight, between 18.5 and 25 is a healthy weight, 25 to 29.5 is overweight, 30 up to 35 is obese and over 35 is very obese. It means, for instance, a 5ft 6in woman weighing 14st would have a BMI of 30 and would be seen as obese. A 6ft man weighing 16st also has a BMI of 30. The formula has been criticised because it may penalise those who have a lot of muscle, said Mr Rigby, but he added: ‘Everyone knows when it’s fat.’ The report follows estimates made earlier this year in The Lancet medical journal which found that if current trends continue, the size of the obese population in the UK will increase by 11million over the next two decades – up from 15million at present.

By 2030 the problem will trigger a startling number of illnesses. There will be almost half a million more cases of heart disease and there will be around 700,000 extra cases of diabetes, with 130,000 more developing cancer as a consequence of their weight. Experts blame abundant energy-dense food, too little exercise and lack of will by policymakers to curb over-consumption. The Eurostat report links obesity with levels of education, saying that the better educated tend to be slimmer. Experts have been calling for ‘fat’ taxes on unhealthy food and a ban on advertisements aimed at children. Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum campaign group, said education was key to fighting obesity. “Until the UK puts domestic science properly back into the school curriculum, many women will continue to rely on cheap, ready meals and fast, processed foods for their families and themselves,” he added.

Does more protein build more muscle?

Does more protein build more muscle?

STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

Edited by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

From an original article by Mansi Kohli, Health Me Up | Nov 25, 2011

Health experts say that as far as body building is concerned, protein recommendations for strength training are 1.2 to 1.4 for increasing strength and 1.5 to 1.7 for muscle hypertrophy.

Therefore, while extra protein might work for those exercising to optimal levels, it won’t do much for those involved in low to moderate intensity workouts and will lead to weight gain. So does more protein really help build more muscle?

The amount of protein needed to build muscles is often debated, and you will get answers from as low as 0.5g per pound of bodyweight to as high as 3g per pound of bodyweight (and even higher). The fact is that for each person it will be somewhat different depending on their genetics, size, training, stress levels, etc. A good place to start will be to calculate 1 gram per kilo of bodyweight, and add another 30-40g to get a good number to start with. Thereafter with experimentation you can find out what is the best number as per your goals.

Right balance of carbs along with protein intake is very important. A good mix of healthy carbs and healthy fat is crucial to gain muscle, lose fat and to be healthy overall. Without adequate carbs your energy levels will go low and you can say goodbye to high intensity workouts, and also proper brain health. Without healthy fats your hormone levels will never optimize and you will feel terrible overall and have poor skin and hair quality.

An ideal post workout shake ratio would be 2:1 or 3:1 carbs to protein. You can try different ratios to see what works best for you, but don’t let the carbs go below 1:1 to protein.

It is important to remember that a protein intake cycle should never be done for someone trying to lose body fat. For those trying to lose fat, subtle protein cycling will be good enough, no need to do drastic cycling since they will not be on a very high protein diet to begin with. And even then that should be done only if they are cycling their carbs which is not really required until one has come to a more advanced stage of fat loss.

Real-time benefits of protein shakes are exaggerated. The only real benefits that I see are two. First for those who need a lot, i.e. more than 200g of protein a day to build muscle. Such huge amounts of protein will be hard to get by regular food alone as it may add up to a lot of food which will be hard to digest. However to be honest, it is also true that unless one uses steroids it is unlikely that their body’s protein synthesis will be so high that they require more than 200g of protein a day.

Does more protein build more muscle?

Doctor’s orders for top fitness

Doctor’s orders for top fitness

Published on Thursday 24 November 2011 08:23 at Lancashire Evening Post

Doctors have launched a new scheme to avoid complications during operations and get patients back home sooner.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, which runs Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospitals, has invested more than £40,000 in cardiopulmonary exercise testing equipment as part of its new ‘fitness for surgery’ initiative.

Fitness for surgery will benefit 500 patients a year and give medics a much better measurement of a patient’s fitness and the risks of surgery.

This allows specialists to effectively plan the level of care and rehabilitation a patient will need after surgery and can identify patients who may be at risk of complication during the operation, so more appropriate treatment can be arranged.

Bridget Reynolds, who lives in Longridge, near Preston, underwent the test in preparation for surgery to remove a polyp. She said: “I had the cardiopulmonary test during my pre-op assessment.

“It is really reassuring to know that you’re fit and well for surgery and I now feel less anxious about the operation.

“Although it’s a long time since I took vigorous exercise the whole experience was quite comfortable. It’s a bit like having a go on an exercise bike. In fact I might get one for Christmas!”

Dr Tom Owen, consultant in anaesthesia and critical care said: “The fitness for surgery programme will help us to avoid potentially dangerous complications during surgery and allow us to identify patients who are likely to recover quickly after their operation and be able to go back home sooner.” Chris Simms, divisional director of surgery, said: “No one likes to stay in hospital for longer than they need to and the fitness for surgery programme will enable a better recovery following an operation.”

Doctor’s orders for top fitness edited by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

The Top Ten Most Common Sports Injuries

The Top Ten Most Common Sports Injuries

By STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

This article is aimed toward the therapists amongst you, professional or otherwise, even if you are your only client.

The most common sports-related injuries primarily are due to overuse. As the name implies, an overuse injury results from wear and tear on the body, particularly on joints subjected to repeated activity.

By far, the most common sport that leads to injury is running. “Running jars the body from the foot all the way up into the back,” says James Garrick, MD, director of the Centre for Sports Medicine at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco. He has seen more runners than any other recreational athletes in his clinic, followed by those who participate in dance (including aerobics), tennis, skiing, basketball, gymnastics, football and figure skating.

Certain types of injuries plague certain types of sports. Most of them, however, are minor. Knowing the early signs and what to do can help prevent them from threatening future performance.

Here’s a look, from head to toe, so to speak, at the Top Ten sports injuries you’re most likely to come across:

1 Muscle Pull
Probably the most common sports injury is a muscle pull, which can happen to almost any muscle in the body. No matter how diligently you warm up and stretch, or cool down and stretch, you may pull a muscle from overuse, fatigue or taking a fall. There is little you can be done to prevent a muscle pull except to stay limber and work your muscles regularly.
A muscle pulls when a sudden, severe force is applied to the muscle and the fibres are stretched beyond their capacity. If only some of the fibres tear, that is a muscle pull. If most of the fibres tear, that is a muscle tear.

Muscle Pull Treatment.
The universally held treatment for a muscle pull or tear is to apply ice and rest until the pain and swelling subside. The ice relaxes the muscle and helps relieve any spasm. Ice should be applied for about 20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off, as much as possible for a few days. The dull ache of a muscle pull usually disappears within a few days.
As soon as tolerable, begin gently stretching the muscle. A pulled muscle may go into spasm as a reaction to being overstretched. If the muscle fibres are not gradually re-lengthened, the muscle will pull again with return to activity because it will have healed in a shortened state. In general, you can return to action when the injured body part can be stretched without pain as far as the healthy one on the other side of the body. That may take a week for a calf muscle or more than a month for a hamstring pull.

2 Neck Pain.
A pulled muscle or a muscle spasm in the neck is the sort of thing that can happen when a tennis player looks up to serve or hit an overhead smash. The pain is on one side of the neck, and the neck may be pulled over slightly to that side. It is particularly painful to turn the head in the direction of the pain. That is, if the pain is on the left side of the neck, the player can turn to the right, but not to the left. Cyclists who use racing handlebars may also feel neck stiffness. With your back bent low over the handlebars, you have to tilt your neck up to see ahead. After a long ride, the neck muscles may tighten up and go into spasm from this awkward position.

Neck Pain Treatment.
The proper treatment for neck stiffness is to apply ice for 20 minutes at a time and gently stretch the neck. Sit in a chair and hold onto the seat with the hand on the painful side of your neck. Bend your trunk and head to the opposite side. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Or gently drop your chin to your chest and move the chin in a semicircle from shoulder to shoulder five times. The same exercises can strengthen the neck and prevent pain.
Severe pain may require prescription medication, such as a muscle relaxant or anti-inflammatory agents, and physical therapy. Pain radiating down the arm and into the hand may be due to a pinched or stretched nerve, and should be seen by a doctor immediately.

3 Shoulder Impingement.
The shoulder bones are held together by a group of muscles known as the rotator cuff muscles. These muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor) are responsible for the shoulder’s fine movements, such as throwing a ball. Because of the shoulder’s shallow socket and lack of ligament strength, any weakness of the small, rotator cuff muscles makes it easy for the head of the shoulder to slide around in the joint.
If the shoulder joint is continually stressed with the arm in an overhead position, as it is in cricket (over arm bowling), tennis, volleyball, swimming and weight training, the small rotator cuff muscles begin to stretch out. This allows the head of the joint to become loose within the shoulder socket. If the head of the shoulder is loose, when the arm is extended backwards over the shoulder the head will slide forward, catching the tendon of short head of the biceps between the ball and the socket. The same thing happens when the arm is raised to the side above parallel to the ground. The head will drop in the socket and the tendon of the long head of the biceps or the supraspinatus becomes impinged. This impingement causes the tendons to become inflamed and painful. Tennis players feel the pain when they try to hit an overhead or serve. The same thing can happen to golfers in both the backswing and the follow-through when their shoulders are above parallel to the ground.

Shoulder Impingement Treatment
Many doctors overlook the true problem with a shoulder impingement. They treat the tendinitis with anti-inflammatory agents or corticosteroid injections. But the anti-inflammatories soon wear off, and the next time the shoulder is used, the tendon is impinged again. The pain recurs, requiring another injection or more anti-inflammatories.
If shoulder pain lasts for more than a day or two after practicing the serve or hitting a bucket of balls, a program of range-of-motion exercises can help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. Strengthening these muscles will help hold your shoulder firmly in place, then the head will not slip out of the socket and the tendons will no longer become inflamed or irritated. Physical therapy, ultrasound, moist heat and electrical muscle stimulation followed by rehabilitative exercises are also recommended. If the shoulder exercises do not help ease the pain, or there is numbness or tingling in your hand, consult a doctor.

4 Lower Back Strain.
Almost everyone who participates in sports experiences lower back strain at one time or another, usually from twisting awkwardly, lifting a heavy weight or doing some unpractised activity. Virtually all lower back injuries are due to weak or tense muscles or muscle strain. Suddenly overloading muscles may pull or tear muscle fibres, sending the back muscles into spasm and causing pain. Weightlifters, golfers, martial artists and tennis players are prone to back injuries because these sports involve unilateral motions. A golfer rotates the lumbar spine in only one direction, which is the equivalent of lifting weights with only one side of body. Martial artists generally have one dominant leg and kick with that one more than the other, oh yes you do!

Lower Back Strain Treatment.
Fortunately, most simple backaches go away within a few weeks, with or without treatment. After about a week, start a workout that strengthens the lower back, hamstring and abdominal muscles to help support the back to prevent any back pain from recurring. When back muscles go into spasm, the excruciating pain may be disabling. Rest for a few days and take medication such as aspirin or other anti-inflammatory agents (check with the Doc first). Ice the back for 20 minutes at a time for as long as the pain persists.
Physical therapy may also be necessary if these symptoms do not quiet down in about 10 days. This includes ice, then heat, electrical stimulation of muscles, stretching and deep-finger massage. This should be followed by exercises to strengthen the back and abdominals. These same exercises can also help head off future back pains.

5 Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is really an inflammation of the muscles of the forearm and the tendon that connects the muscles to the bones in the elbow. These muscles bend the wrist backward and cause the wrist to turn the palm face up. When the muscles and tendon become inflamed from overuse, the pain is felt on the outside of the elbow (lateral epicondylitis).
Tennis players most often aggravate the elbow by hitting the ball late on the backhand side, straining the forearm muscles and tendon. Constantly turning the wrist to put more spin on the serve also can cause pain. Golfers also suffer from tennis elbow, but on the non-dominant side, that is, a right-handed golfer will feel the pain in the left elbow. Pulling the club through the swing with the left wrist causes irritation in the left elbow. A second type of tennis elbow is known as medial epicondylitis. This causes pain on the inside of the elbow. It is most often seen among golfers, batsmen, tennis players who hit topspin forehands and weight lifters.

Tennis Elbow Treatment.
Tennis elbow is cured with lessons more than medicine. Tennis players need to learn how to move the feet to put the body in position to hit with full body weight behind the ball. This takes the stress off the elbow. Golfers with chronic elbow problems should also consider taking a lesson to smooth out any swing problems.
Cortisone injections, once the standard treatment, may reduce the inflammation around the elbow and ease the pain, but they do not address the cause of the problem, which is over-stressing the forearm tendon. Exercises can help improve forearm strength. These exercises include wrist curls, flexing the wrist forward while holding a light dumbbell at the side with the palm facing forward, and reverse wrist curls, the same exercise with the palm facing backward. Squeezing a soft rubber ball until the hand is fatigued also strengthens the forearm muscles.

6 Runner’s Knee.
The most common cause of knee pain is runner’s knee, known medically as chondromalacia patella. This is due to misalignment of the kneecap in its groove. The kneecap normally goes up or down in the groove as the knee flexes or straightens out. If the kneecap is misaligned, the kneecap pulls off to one side and rubs on the side of the groove. This causes both the cartilage on the side of the groove and the cartilage on the back of the kneecap to wear out. On occasion, fluid will build up and cause swelling in the knee. Runners are not the only ones who develop runner’s knee. Pain can develop around the back of the kneecap or in the back of the knee after participating in any running sport.

Runner’s Knee Treatment.
Treatment involves strengthening the quadriceps muscle, which hooks into the kneecap and helps align it into the centre of the groove. Isometric exercises are recommended to begin strengthening the quadriceps by contracting and relaxing the muscle. Strength progresses to less than full range-of-motion leg extensions. Do not attempt full leg extensions with the knee bent because this will cause the kneecap to rub more and worsen the symptoms. Treatment also includes stretching the quadriceps, and soft tissue massage to work on the centre of the quadriceps. Work from the upper part of the thigh towards the knee, stroking downward. This helps stretch muscle fibres and alleviates the muscle contraction, which is pulling the kneecap up. A large dose of aspirin, two plain or buffered aspirin pills four times a day until the knee improves, also may help reduce inflammation within the kneecap cartilage (ask the Doc ‘member).

7 Shin Splints.
Shin splints are pains in the muscles near the shin bones. They can be caused by running or jumping on hard surfaces or simply overuse. They occur most often in people unaccustomed to training, although they can also plague experienced athletes who switch to lighter shoes, harder surfaces or more concentrated speed work. The pain occurs on the inner side of the middle third of the shin bone. The muscle responsible for raising the arch of the foot attaches to the shin bone at that spot. When the arch collapses with each foot strike, it pulls on the tendon that comes from this muscle. With repeated stress, the arch begins to pull some of its muscle fibers loose from the shin bone. This causes small areas of bleeding around the lining of the bone, and pain. If the irritated area is about the size of a 50 pence piece or smaller, or the shin pain suddenly increases, you may have a stress fracture. The twisting of the tibia can cause the bone to crack. A stress fracture may not show up on an x-ray, and therefore a bone scan is indicated.

Shin Splints Treatment.
The key element of treatment is an arch support to prop up the foot and prevent excessive pronation and pull on the tendon. Many people do well with a simple commercial arch support. This usually solves the problem almost immediately. Others who have a more serious problem may need an orthotic device to control the pronation.
TIP
To help prevent shin splints, start exercising slowly to warm up the leg muscles, wear athletic shoes with good support and run on a softer surface, for example, changing from asphalt to grass every few runs.

8 Ankle Sprain.
The most common ankle sprain happens when the foot rolls to the outside and sprains the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. The outside of the ankle swells up and throbs, and may turn black and blue around the injury.
When a jogger steps gently off a curb and “twists” an ankle, this simply stretches the ligaments, with no real tearing, and is considered a mild sprain. When a tennis player lunges out over a poorly planted foot, partially tearing the body of the ligament, this is considered a moderate sprain. When a rugby player lands on another player’s foot, twisting and forcing the ankle violently into the pitch, most or all of the fibres tear, and this is a severe sprain. If weight-bearing is possible on the ankle after a sprain, the ankle probably is not broken. If you feel pain on the inside of the ankle, then it should be x-rayed to rule out a hair-line fracture.

Ankle Sprain Treatment
The tried and tested treatment for any ankle sprain is R.I.C.E: Rest, Ice, Elevation and Compression. The goal is to limit internal bleeding and cut down on swelling. As soon as tolerable, begin range of motion and strengthening exercises. These can help overcome stiffness and restore mobility. To do this, sit in a chair and cross the affected leg over the other leg at the knee. Using the big toe as a pointer, trace the capital letters of the alphabet from A to Z. Hold the big toe rigid so all the motion comes from the ankle. Repeat this exercise hourly, if possible. The letters will be very small at first but they will increase in size as range of motion improves. A good strengthening exercise is light kicking in a pool with a kick board or swim fin to create resistance.
TIP
Balance training is an important part of rehabilitation. Practice balancing on one foot with the arms extended to the sides without swaying, first with the eyes open, then the eyes closed.

9  Achilles Tendinitis.
The Achilles tendon in the back of the ankle is the largest tendon in the body. It transfers the force of muscle contractions to lift the heel. Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendon, usually due to overuse, such as frequent jumping in basketball or volleyball. The most common cause is excessive pronation of the ankle and foot, which causes the Achilles tendon to pull off centre.The pain of a torn Achilles tendon feels like a gsw in the leg. A partial tear is harder to spot. If the width of the injured Achilles tendon is smaller than the healthy one, or you feel intense pain when standing on your toes, see a doctor for treatment, and possibly surgery.

Achilles Tendinitis Treatment.
The treatment is to minimize physical activity until it feels better and to ice the tendon several times a day during this time. Anti-inflammatory agents help to relieve swelling and pain. Stretch the tendon as well by doing toe raises–stand on your toes for 10 seconds and then put your heels flat on the floor. Work up to doing three sets easily, then lift up on one foot at a time. When the tendon has healed, do heel drops. Stand with your forefeet on a raised surface, such as the edge of a step. Let your heels down below the level of the surface so that the back of the calf is stretched. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat until the calf is fatigued. Runners who simply slough off Achilles tendinitis can develop an acute avulsion where the Achilles tendon pulls right off the bone. This is a medical emergency and requires surgical reattachment within 24 hours (mark my words you will be under no illusions as to the severity of this injury).

10 Arch Pain.
The elastic covering on the sole o-f the foot, the plantar fascia,runs the length of the foot and holds up the arch. When this shock-absorbing pad becomes inflamed, this is called plantar fasciitis, causing a dull ache along the length of the arch. The ache is due to over-stretching or partially tearing the arch pad. This happens most often to people with rigid, high arches. They feel the pain when they put weight on their foot or when pushing off for the next stride. Pain is particularly intense upon arising or after sitting for a long while. Plantar fasciitis is particularly common among middle-aged people who have been sedentary and who suddenly increase their level of physical activity. Runners are most susceptible, but almost any sport that keeps the athlete standing can lead to arch pain. Inappropriately fitting shoes or a weight gain of 10 to 20 pounds can also contribute to the condition.

Arch Pain Treatment.
The treatment is to put an arch support under the foot immediately to prevent the arch from collapsing and the plantar fascia from stretching. Also, put an arch support in your slippers and wear them as soon as you rise. Even a few steps barefoot without support can stretch the plantar fascia. Arch supports usually relieve pain within a few days. To head off arch pain, begin an exercise routine slowly, take off any excess weight and wear arch supports in your athletic shoes. Arch pain commonly smoulders for months because people do not take the proper precautions. Continuing to do weight-bearing exercises will perpetuate the pain. While the foot is recovering, swim or do water workouts. Or work the upper body only. Some people are able to use a stationary bicycle by placing only the front part of the foot on the pedals.

The main message throughout this article is rest, sometimes active rest, but still rest, do yourself a favour let your body heal and learn from your experience.

Is there any merit to Functional Strength Training?

Q: What is functional strength training?
A: Functional strength training has become a popular buzzword in the fitness industry. Unfortunately, it is also subject to wide interpretation.

In extreme cases some personal trainers believe that by mimicking the explosive, ballistic activities of high-level competitive athletes, they are training in a functional manner. All too often, however, such training programs greatly exceed the physiological capabilities of the average exerciser, which ultimately increases the possibility that an injury might occur. Most would agree that there is nothing functional about sustaining an injury due to improper training. In many respects, functional strength training should be thought of in terms of a continuous movement. Training to improve functional strength involves more than simply increasing the force-producing capability of a muscle or group of muscles. Functional strength training involves performing work against resistance in such a manner that the improvements in strength directly enhance the performance of movements so that an individual’s activities of daily living are easier to perform. Simply put, the main aim of functional training is to transfer the improvements in strength achieved in one movement to enhancing the performance of another movement by affecting the entire neuromuscular system. Accordingly, individuals shouldn’t rely on any single group of exercises. Individuals should use all the weapons in their training arsenal. Functional strength training should serve as a supplement to traditional strength training, not as a replacement.

Properly applied, functional strength training may provide exercise variety and additional training benefits that more directly transfer improvements to real-life activities.

Source: Bryant, Cedric X. 101 Frequently Asked Questions about “Health & Fitness” and “Nutrition & Weight Control”.

Working the Transverse Abdominals

transverse abdominalsWorking the Transverse Abdominals

by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT Qualified

Ladies, ever wonder why you never seem to get that flat stomach when you’re relaxed?  No matter how effectively you work your abs typically you will be working them in just one direction, up and down, or, more properly along the length of the rectus abdominus. But what about the abdominals that go from side to side? Can we exercise those?  Well, yes you can, the transverse abdominals (TA) flatten the tummy from side to side, so read on because I’ve got some information to share with you about working your Transverse Abdominals.
The TA complex belong to a group of core muscles that lie below the rectus abdominus and are often neglected in standard ab routines. Typically most abdominal exercises target the vertical rectus abdominus largely ignoring the horizontal transverse abdominals. Even crunches, the staple of most abdominal workouts, do nothing for the transverse abdominals. This group of muscles connect to both the lower back and the rectus abdominus to form a powerful support for the entire abdomen. Any routine aimed at flattening the stomach should include the transverse abdominals as a focus. Using the following exercises, you can target your transverse abdominals and really make progress towards that flat tummy.

Transverse Abdominal Crunch
Lie face up on a mat and plant your feet flat on the floor about shoulder width apart, maintain contact between the mat and the small of your back. With the fingers of both hands find the tips of your hip bones on either side of your tummy. Move your fingers inwards slightly towards your centre line just off the hip bone, don’t worry your hip bones are easy to find even if you’re carrying a lot of fat. Now this is an easy exercise to master once you know how to “feel” the transverse muscle working, here’s how, press down slightly with your fingers and cough! You will feel the transverse abdominal wall tighten and jump beneath your fingers. To use the exercise, first cough to initiate the contraction and then hold for a count of ten and relax, repeat for sets.

Pelvic Tilts
Lie on your back on a flat surface, such as a mat or a bench. Roll a towel to cushion the small of your back. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Raise your pelvis off the floor,  hold momentarily, and lower under control. Repeat for sets. Maintaining a controlled movement is crucial to this exercise, use your abdominal muscles not your body’s momentum to do the work. Be sure to keep your upper body on the floor throughout to target the transverse complex.

Crunchless Crunch
This exercise is fairly simple but can be difficult to master. In a nutshell we’re going to try to pull our belly button in towards our spine, this involves muscles which you may not be accustomed to working, it can take time to make the mind muscle connection. Start by either lying on your stomach or supporting yourself on hands and knees. You might want to try both ways and see which helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your body as much as possible; use only the lower abdominals to try to move your belly button toward your spine. Hold for ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels easy, hold for a longer period. You should aim to hold the contraction until you either cannot feel it anymore, or you feel other muscles working harder than the transverse abdominus. When you feel this, release the contraction and relax.

Scissor Kicks
Again start by lying on a mat or bench, place your hands under your backside and try to keep the small of your back pressed down. Start by slowly raising one leg to a height of about ten inches, then slowly lower it back to the floor, as your lower one leg, raise the other. Repeat this movement for reps and sets. Keep disciplined, focus, don’t let momentum rob you. Your upper body should remain on the floor through the entire move.

Transverse abdominals aren’t show muscles but if you want a flatter tummy vitalising these muscles will take you a lot closer to your goals. Exercises like these are key to any tummy flattening plan, and they are especially good for pregnant and postnatal women.

I wrote this post originally for my bodybuilding blog but it applies equally well to both men and women who want to feel better in their clothes and themselves.

Trigger Point Therapy

What Is Trigger Point Therapy?

By STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT Qualified

What are trigger points?
A (Myofascial) trigger point is a hyper irritable and painful area. It’s called a trigger point or trigger site because it “triggers” painful responses, but a trigger point is more than just a tender muscle knot. It affects not only the muscle where the trigger point is found, but also causes “referred pain” in other tissues supplied by similar nerves. Trigger points are most notable in a taut band of muscles fibres. The trigger point will be the sorest point in the band. The therapist will locate and deactivate them using finger pressure. One technique is to pick up the muscle fibres in a finger pincer grip.

Here are a few symptoms you should know about:
If you have restless leg syndrome, you have TPs; if your teeth hurt, you have TPs; if your workouts plateau, you have TPs; if you have painful menses or irritable bowel syndrome, you have TPs.
Simply rubbing the surface of the skin with a massage lotion, a vibrating massage or using heat will not change the condition of a single trigger point. What it needs is sufficient deep sustained pressure to the knotted-up area.  As we work the Trigger Point, your body will undergo soft tissue release, allowing for increased blood flow, a reduction in muscle spasm and the break-up of scar tissue. It will also help remove any build-up of toxic metabolic waste. Your body will also undergo a neurological release, reducing the pain signals to the brain and resetting your neuro-muscular system to restore its proper function. In other words, everything will work the way it should again.

What You Should Know About Trigger Point Therapy?
It is used to treat painful trigger points that cause referred pain. Trigger points take time to create and it will likely take more than one session to get rid of it. These points are often areas of chronic “holding” and you need to learn how to move in different ways to keep them from recurring. Muscle Energy Technique can be enormously helpful when improving range of movement.

How Long Does It Take To Get Relief?
The length of time it takes to release a trigger point depends on several factors, one of which is how long you have had your trigger point. Other factors include the number of trigger points you have, how effective your current treatment is, and how consistently you can administer or receive treatment. Trigger points are very fickle; they need to be addressed frequently using a technique that will apply the pinpoint pressure that is needed. Attending a good massage therapist frequently enough to get a trigger point to release can become quite expensive, with my guidance I can show you how you can help yourself between treatments for faster more effective relief. What I’m saying here is that you need to take responsibility for managing your own care. From time to time, of course, you may find you need help from medical professionals. But even so, the more you know the better care you’re going to receive. This is naturally going to require some time and effort on your part, but the payoff will be faster with far better results.

Sports Massage

Sports Massage

By Steven Milner IIST VTCT Qualified

Welcome to my Sports and Fitness Therapies site, home of personal training and sports massage therapy in Manchester. Are you suffering from back pain, muscle injury or stress? Sports and remedial massage therapy is not just for sports people. It helps many people who’ve never played sports! Whether you’re a marathon runner or an office worker, sports massage relieves pain, facilitates movement and encourages relaxation. Just What is a Sports Massage

 

A Quick Overview
Since 3000BC in China it has been documented that massage efficiently encourages the healing of body, mind and spirit. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and all major civilizations have recognised the benefits of massage.
In the 21st century we can use massage more than ever. Statisticians tell us stress is increasingly taking its toll on us and our relationships, families and businesses. In response massage is seeing an appropriate and natural surge in popularity. It’s making sense to NHS hospitals, companies like the BBC, Virgin, Apple and countless corporate hospitality suites and individuals.

What Happens During Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a type of massage that stimulates circulation of blood and lymph fluids. Some sports massage movements use trigger point therapy to break down adhesions or knots in the muscles and increase range of motion. During your first appointment a brief consultation takes place to discuss your current health and relevant medical history. Your treatment will take into account the connections between lifestyle, mind and body. During an effective massage blood flushes through the capillaries and cleanses the body of toxins. Nutrients then flood the freshly massaged areas, strengthening the immune system. Muscle tissue becomes softer and able to function more efficiently. Body fat is broken up leaving the skin smoother and firmer. The parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated and serotonin & endorphins are released, our natural ‘feel good’ & strong painkilling chemicals. Our aches and pains are eased and we feel calm, relaxed and at peace. All the bad stuff is flushed out and all the good stuff flushed in.

Sports Massage
Many people assume sports massage is just for sports people, it’s not. Sports massage is for anyone who needs a deep massage that really affects the muscles in a positive way. It’s invaluable to athletes who benefit from pre and post event work, relaxing or invigorating the muscles in preparation for a competition, then afterwards flushing them out, helping the sore muscles detoxify, realign and heal in preparation for the next progression in the athlete’s calendar. Sports massage is ideal for those who don’t play sports but perhaps work in an office environment, sitting in the same position for long periods, or carrying out repetitive tasks inevitably lead to aches and stiffness.

Science anyone?
Sports massage is extremely effective for loosening tight muscles and refreshing aching limbs. Sports massage is a no-nonsense therapy that deals directly with the body’s soft tissue. It has developed over the years to deal with the specific conditions that the human body experiences before and after being ‘pushed to the max’. It utilises such techniques as MET (muscle energy technique), Soft Tissue Release and NMT (neuromuscular technique). When injury to muscle tissue occurs the muscle fibres will often misalign themselves whilst healing. Our muscles are covered by a layer connective tissue called fascia. This fascia covers all the individual muscle fibres, the larger bundles of muscles, and the whole muscle groups. It is one continuous piece of tissue that never stops growing and covers our whole body. Normally, when covering healthy, moving muscle it is a soft, gel like substance. However, when our muscle movement is restricted (such as in the case of injury or postural misalignment), tissue fluids cannot reach the areas they need to in order to lubricate the fascia. The fascia hardens and scar tissue forms, further trapping toxins and waste materials, such as lactic acid. This causes pain and dysfunction as the body tries to remedy the situation by setting up a series of structural compensations – leading to further pain and more problems. Sports massage is often combined with remedial massage, which uses the same techniques, to assist the healing and rehabilitation of injuries and dysfunction and to facilitate movement. In this way a sports and remedial massage becomes just as relevant to an office worker, crippled by an unsuitable desk arrangement as it is to an Olympic athlete suffering a torn hamstring!

When Should I Get A Sports Massage?
A sports massage is a good choice if you have a specific problem, a tender knee from running, for instance. It is also be a good idea to see a movement therapist, who can help you identify and correct the movement pattern that might be causing your injury in the first place. As a sports therapist and personal trainer I generally focus in on the problem area, a frozen shoulder or pulled hamstring for example, rather than giving you a full-body massage. No matter what type of massage you choose, I will discuss with you fully any treatment we may feel relevant and make choices together regarding your needs and expectations.

From an Athletes perspective:
Sports massage helps athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance, recover after a big event, or function well during training. Sports massage emphasizes prevention and healing of injuries to the muscles and tendons.

The four main advantages of sports massage for athletes:
*Pre-event sports massage, a short, stimulating massage 15 – 45 minutes before the event. It is directed toward the parts of the body that will be involved in the exertion.
*Post-event sports massage, given within an hour or two of the event, to normalize the body’s tissues.
*Restorative sports massage, given during training to allow the athelete to train harder and with less injury.
*Rehabilitative sports massage, aimed at alleviating pain due to injury and returning the body to health.

But you don’t have to be in the Olympics to benefit from sports massage. Sports massage is also good for people with injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion. The massage therapist generally concentrates on a specific problem area. This is the type of sports massage that you see in the clinic.

Benefits of Massage
Massage provides an excellent and highly effective treatment for stress. It has been proven to help treat the following:

Muscular aches and pains
Anxiety
Depression
Digestive disorders
Bad circulation
Headaches
Insomnia
Fatty tissue deposits
Build up of waste products within the body
Deficit of natural feel good and pain-killing chemicals

After treatment you will feel deeply calm and refreshed. You will feel a heightened sense of ‘body awareness’ which can help you feel how much tension is being carried in your body. This can initiate a journey in modifying your own physical and emotional responses to stress.

Remedial Massage
Remedial massage is a massage technique that provides a remedy to muscular dysfunction. It separates scar tissue and realigns muscle tissue, with an aim to restore the body to a pain free, balanced state. It uses such techniques as Soft Tissue Release (STR) Neuromuscular Technique (NMT) and Muscle Energy Technique (MET). Sometimes Remedial massage can be a little uncomfortable, but only in a way that you will instinctively know is beneficial. I’ll never take you beyond your limit and all my clients are encouraged to communicate freely and sometimes loudly even. I strongly encourage body awareness and self-treatment, by teaching stretching techniques that can be used outside of clinic time and focusing on investigating, and if necessary changing habits that are causing muscular distress, we can maximise the effect of the treatment, making it more worthwhile for your body and more cost effective for your wallet.

Remedial Deep Tissue Massage treatment is a massage technique that deals with the body’s soft tissue. It has developed over the years to deal with the specific conditions that the human body experiences when it has been pushed too far. It uses such techniques as MET (muscle energy technique), Soft Tissue Release and NMT (neuromuscular technique).

Deep Tissue Massage always deals directly with the muscles. The reason it is called “sports massage” is because it is a style of massage that sports people prefer. We all have our challenges whether they are physical or emotional and this style of massage can benefit anyone from any walk of life. You could be on your feet all day, an office worker sitting in the same position for long periods, or an amateur athlete, I will treat you as an individual and tailor a massage programme that suits you.

To book an appointment or talk to me about Sports Therapy or Personal Fitness e-mail me arnie4970@yahoo.co.uk