The body’s ability to sweat is a necessary physiological function that regulates body temperature. But a study published recently in Experimental Physiology (2010; 95 , 1026–32) found that while men tend to have a highly efficient sweat response, women do not. The researchers, from the Laboratory for Human Performance Research at Osaka International University in Japan, separated 37 people into four groups: trained females, untrained females, trained males and untrained males.
If one of your Pilates clients developed knee problems and her doctor said the client needed to strengthen the muscles around the knee, would you know what to do? What if a client were diagnosed with patellofemoral dysfunction or were recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament tear? How would you design a Pilates reformer program to help the client heal and return to full function? The reformer is a great, multipurpose tool for improving function, correcting alignment and muscular imbalances and helping the body recover from injury.
A recent blog published in The New York Times (“Phys Ed: Are Bad Knees in Our Genes?” September 29, 2010) posited that genetics may play a role in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. The blog cited a study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2010; 44 , 848–55) that revealed similar ACL injuries in fraternal twin girls. Their older sister, while not part of the study, had also suffered a catastrophic injury to her ACL.
The traditional approaches of stretching, immobilization braces, corticosteroid injections and surgical release are not working because they seek to address the symptoms instead of addressing the underlying root cause of the problem. Clients always seem to come to us with their aches and pains. Sometimes the area that hurts is not the area that causes the pain. As a trainer, I am not qualified to make a diagnosis, so I would tell my client to see a doctor for a diagnosis and then offer to show the client some stretches to alleviate the pain and reduce the symptoms.
I encourage my clients and running friends to try barefoot running whenever they can. They don’t have to be a “total convert” to gain some of the benefits. The strength that develops in the feet and lower legs, the lighter landing while running that reduces stress and the sheer fun of going without shoes is worth it.
A common goal among male exercisers is to increase muscle mass and strength. For many men, achieving this goal can be a struggle. IDEA author Lance Breger, MS, head private trainer at MINT Fitness & Spa in Washington, DC, suggests some out-of-the-box techniques to help clients overcome strength and hypertrophy plateaus.
How often has a client or student approached you and asked, “What type of shoe would be best for this workout?” At the university where I teach, I am asked this question every quarter by several hundred students, all of whom have different needs, different feet and different histories.
Anatomy. Many fitness professionals would rather read about something else. They know they “have to learn this stuff,” but the thought of studying the origin, insertion point and action of each muscle fills them with dread. And it just doesn’t seem that important when helping clients lose weight, build muscle or improve their function and/or performance. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The problem isn’t the actual study of anatomy—it’s the way in which anatomy has traditionally been taught.
Several research studies and articles have emerged about the potential benefits of tossing the “tennies” and running barefoot. On the heels of these claims, many consumers and fitness professionals are joining the barefoot revolution. But what about potential road hazards, such as broken glass and sharp rocks? One company offers a slightly more protective alternative to the naked foot.