While the psoas major muscle affects many fitness activities, there is widespread confusion about its actual role in the body. What does this muscle do, and why is it shortened in so many people?
Anatomy of the Psoasnewsletter_teaser: While the psoas major muscle affects many fitness activities, there is widespread confusion about its actual role in the body. What does this muscle do?
Excessive thoracic kyphosis is a disproportionate forward rounding or curvature of the middle and upper back, also known as the thoracic spine (Kendall, McCreary & Provance 2005). ETK is an extremely common musculoskeletal imbalance brought on by prolonged time in some postural positions; exercise and/or activity choices; environmental factors; myofascial dysfunction; intolerances to food and/or other allergic reactions; and psychological stress.
In a world where thin is in, scientists are suggesting that thicker thighs could mean better health. A study published in the Harvard Men’s Health Watch newsletter (www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2012/January) involved 2,816 apparently healthy men and women aged 35–65. Each participant was measured for height and weight and for thigh, hip and waist circumference. Subjects were tracked for 12.5 years on average.
Mind-body wellness professionals will benefit from keeping up with current research on the use of mind-body approaches for pain management. One of the most common reasons people turn to complementary and alternative therapies such as yoga, massage and relaxation therapy is for pain relief. One-third of American adults suffer from chronic pain; therefore, discovering nonpharmaceutical methods for pain management is a public health priority.
Two distinct mental strategies used to manage pain—focusing attention externally and re-appraising the pain—involve different brain pathways, according to new research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The study appeared in the journal Anesthesiology (2011, 115 , 844–51).
Observing sport is a great way to appreciate human structure and function. High-level athletes teach us a lot about optimal performance—and even dysfunction. Watching skilled athletic movement at the collegiate or professional level stimulates us to ask questions and scrutinize our existing training methods. This article identifies a need to introduce warding patterns as part of a well-balanced training and conditioning program. Practicing warding patterns elicits adaptations that are authentic to our physiology and can transfer to sports and daily activities.
According to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (2011; 165 , 1033–40), sports participation among high-school girls has increased 900% since 1972. Alongside increased participation, however, come higher numbers of injuries, with soccer and basketball the most offending sports. To combat injuries, more fitness professionals and coaches are integrating solid warm-up plans prior to practice or competition.
Improving inefficient gait patterns is often a focus among fitness professionals working with older adults. Walking problems can diminish independence and increase injury potential. A recent study suggests that regular stretching of the hip flexor muscles can improve gait patterns among this population. The purpose of a study published in PM&R (2011; 3 , 324–29) was to determine the effectiveness of a 10-week hip flexor stretching program on walking patterns among 82 older adults.
Fitness professionals looking for extended education now have a free resource. The National Posture Institute (NPI), an education organization that provides health and fitness programs, has announced that it will offer free monthly webinars. The webinars will teach health and fitness professionals and the general public how to perform exercises and design fitness programs.