Plenty of research encourages hitting the gym or going for a run as a means of keeping the grim reaper at bay. It turns out that any kind of physical activity—whether it’s achieved at the gym or at work—has protective benefits, according to a study produced by the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
We know that sitting long hours is a health hazard that can lead to early death. What’s been unclear is whether frequent breaks in sit time can reduce that risk even if total sit time remains the same. Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center looked into that question.
It’s a busy, technology-dominated world—and most of us are continually spinning, twisting and turning in an effort to “get things done” and “produce.” We work, we raise families, we have countless responsibilities. The truth is, this is distracted living, and it raises stress levels, lowers productivity, interferes with our ability to focus and compromises the mind-body connection. When we live this way, we fail to cultivate a sense of contentment and joy, which is counterproductive to our work as fitness and wellness professionals.
Proper thoracic-cage functioning sets the groundwork for healthy movement.
Did you know that 13 million people participated in some form of kayaking in 2014, making it one of the most popular flatwater sports (Outdoor Foundation 2015)? If you’re a kayaker, you know that the main challenges are building upper-body strength for paddling and maintaining a strong lower back to avoid back pain.
As a golfer, you want to stay injury-free to practice and compete regularly, which ultimately lets you hone your skills and elevate your performance.
To help avoid injury and boost level of play, you need to understand how two key muscle and soft-tissue systems—the posterior oblique system and the anterior oblique system—affect the golf swing.
Recreational athletes have a lot to gain from adding Pilates to their training programs.
Complementary approaches like yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, massage therapy and relaxation techniques can help some people manage chronic pain, says a research review published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2016; 91 , 1292–1306). In the United States, chronic pain affects 126 million adults in any given year, with as many as 40 million of them suffering from severe pain. Leading disorders include back pain, joint pain, neck pain and headaches.
Clients who want more muscularity need to face one of the most fundamental facts of skeletal muscle hypertrophy: Training to failure is crucial to building bigger muscles. Two original research studies reinforce this reality while offering meaningful new insights into hypertrophy training.
"Joanne," aged 51, presents with hot flashes and vaginal atrophy. She feels depressed, anxious, irritable, fatigued and not as confident in herself as she once was. Somehow she feels out of control. Her body is behaving unpredictably: She doesn't know when her next hot flash is coming or how to control the fat that is shifting up toward her waist.
"Sandra" is only 37 years old and has experienced menopause prematurely. She has not yet had children. She is having severe physical and emotional adjustment problems, including extreme mood swings.
An Objective Eye
It can be difficult to take a step back and be objective when it comes to your own health. Katy Bowman, MS, director of the Restorative Exercise Institute in Ventura, California, and author
of Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement (Propriometrics Press 2014), suggests you write down
Whether we’re vacationing with our family or heading to the 2015 IDEA World Fitness ConventionTM with 12,000 other fitness enthusiasts, it can be challenging to stay fit when we’re on the road. Even the healthiest exercise professionals can get caught off-guard with aches, pains, stress and guilt that prevent us from having fun and functioning at our best.
If travel throws the fittest of us off track, imagine what it does to everyone else.
Excessive thoracic kyphosis (ETK) 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.
This is the tip I give clients: Picture a string pulling your head up toward the ceiling. This helps to create space between the vertebrae; when you relax, the spinal segments can then realign.
My favorite way to teach proper pos- ture is to have people close their eyes and slowly tip their spine forward and back and side to side to find their true “good posture.”
Everyone’s spine is slightly different, and mirrors can only get us so far. Real posture is found within each person through body awareness.
Michele Olson, PhD, FACSM, professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama, and Cherie Wells, lecturer in physiotherapy and clinical education coordinator at the University of Western Sydney in Penrith, Australia, both lead investigators of multiple Pilates studies, offer the following research-based practical tips on what mind-body fitness professionals should emphasize to maximize Pilates benefits for clients:
Many clients come to you with low-back pain, a condition that affects 80% of Americans. In contrast, chronic low-back pain—defined as persistent pain and disability lasting longer than 3 months—affects approximately 2%-8% of Americans.
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.
Pilates footwork: simple yet powerful, it is typically the first exercise taught on the reformer. Called the “Pilates fortuneteller” by Amy Taylor Alpers from the Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado, footwork reveals postural patterns and muscle imbalances of the hips, legs and feet and is an effective exercise for correcting them. If you are a Pilates instructor, this basic, functional movement of closed-kinetic-chain hip and knee flexion and extension allows you to help a client
Assessing clients’ posture or alignment can sometimes be overwhelming for both novice and experienced Pilates instructors. Even with all our knowledge of anatomy, kinesiology, movement and injuries, it can be hard to know where to start.
Exercise professionals are committed to maintaining and improving the functional independence and physical performance of their clients. Most exercise professionals agree that good posture is essential for attaining these goals. It is often observed in the literature that a skeletal framework and/or spine that is misaligned may result in a cascade of bodily problems, most notably an impediment of the electrochemical messages of the nervous system (since the spine is the pathway for the nervous system to and from the brain) (Edmond et al. 2005).