Researchers have identified more reasons to quit smoking and to alert any clients who do smoke. A recent research review on smoking and musculoskeletal injury risk in military trainees found that for those who smoked, injury risk was 31% higher for men and 23% higher for women. The risk grew as smoking levels increased. For example, among the heaviest smokers, risk increased up to 84% for men and up to 56% for women.Read More
The shoulder blades, or scapulae, are critical links in the kinetic chain from the waist through the shoulders, up to the neck and down to the fingertips. Abnormalities in the position or movement of the shoulder blades—technically called scapular dyskinesis—can trigger pain and discomfort, especially among people who spend long hours sitting and using computers.Read More
Your new client, 16-year-old Alexis, is a competitive athlete who wants you to design a fitness program that will help her prevent a second anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. She partially tore her ACL while playing soccer and rehabbed it with a physical therapist, who cleared her to play again. Alexis returned to spring softball without an issue, but she would like to be as fully prepared as possible for the upcoming fall soccer season. She hopes to be recruited to play in college, but her parents are concerned she will sustain another ACL injury, perhaps a more severe one.Read More
The posterior aspect of the body, along with its muscles, tendons, bones and attachments, is easy to overlook because it’s out of sight and, therefore, often out of mind. Until, that is, pain occurs. The ischial tuberosity—also known as the “sit bones” or even “sitz bones” (from the German word sitzen) (Garikiparithi 2017)—has many different connections, although it is mainly associated with the hamstring muscles (Drake et al. 2010).Read More
Healthy aging is more than the absence of disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO): “For most older people, the maintenance of functional ability has the highest importance” (WHO 2015). Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging in Vancouver, British Columbia, echoes these comments. “When looking at the healthy aging market today, the focus is all about function,” he says.Read More
For the first time since 2003, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have produced a substantial report updating blood pressure recommendations. People with a reading of 130/80 are now classified as having high blood pressure. This is down from 140/90.
According to the ACC, this means 46% of U.S. adults will now be categorized as having hypertension.
Those in the “hypertensive crisis” category require medication intervention and immediate hospitalization if there is organ damage, according to the report.
Many fitness professionals have dealt with an Achilles tendon injury, either their own or a client’s. The largest and strongest tendon in the body, the Achilles connects the lower-leg muscles and calf to the heel. “Synchronous functioning” of the tendon and calf is crucial for many activities, including standing on tiptoe, running, jumping and climbing stairs (Bhimji 2016).
Dutch surgeon Philip Verheyen named the tendon (after the Greek hero Achilles) in 1693. Previously, it was known as “tendo magnus of Hippocrates” (van Dijk 2011).
Many clients can’t seem to get enough of workouts that meld functional movements with high-intensity resistance training. Indeed, workouts using dynamic, high-intensity, full-body movements are great for strength and health—provided the body functions properly and exercisers use correct technique.Read More
Does the pelvic floor get the props it deserves? Many fitness professionals who specialize in women’s health think it warrants more respect and attention. Trista Zinn, founder of Hypopressives in Toronto, says the pelvic floor is “overlooked and misunderstood by many.” She adds, “Our quality of life and athletic performance literally rest on [the pelvic floor’s] synergistic ability to function with the core as a whole.”Read More
Fitness pros working with our graying population deal with the physical and cognitive losses of aging every day. But what about the social losses?
Aging is not just muscle and bone loss, weaker eyesight, and slower reaction times. It’s also retirement, bereavement and empty-nest syndrome. These fundamental shifts in the lifestyles of the elderly create social deficits—feelings of loneliness, social isolation and even depression—that can discourage adherence to fitness programs.
Traditional foam rollers have become widespread in the fitness setting. Recently, some manufacturers have added vibration technology to their products. Does the added element provide any extra benefit? Researchers from California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, California, the National Academy of Sports Medicine in Chandler, Arizona, and Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, wanted to find out.Read More
Imagine a balloon—a standard latex party balloon. You put a tiny seed in it. A watermelon starts to grow. You pick up the balloon with the watermelon growing inside. You carry it with you all day. You sit with it, stand up with it, run with it, take it wherever you go. What happens? How long will that balloon hold up?
Now imagine the same scenario with a stronger balloon, a Mylar balloon, with reinforced seams.
A growing body of research is shedding more light on the importance of resting after exercise—providing vital clues on measuring and enhancing the recovery process. These insights are welcome news to personal trainers and coaches who see the consequences of overtraining and inadequate recovery every day. This column discusses some of the latest research on assessing and managing recovery and advises on tactics that may help your clients recover from exercise.Read More
No training program is complete without at least some focus on balance, an ability many people take for granted. We monitor the environment and our relationship to gravity quite automatically, thanks to the vestibular system, which helps us maintain our center of mass over a base of support. A properly functioning balance system allows us to see properly while in motion;
helps us orient ourselves to gravity;
determines direction and speed; and
makes automatic postural adjustments (Vestibular Disorders Association).
Suspension exercise continues to grow more popular, in part because of its versatility and adaptability. It’s especially effective for mobility because it provides gentle traction that improves muscle flexibility, joint support and spinal decompression.
The sequence below flows seamlessly, stretching all major muscle groups while augmenting joint mobility. It’s a great finish for any type of workout.
I was a new group fitness instructor taking someone else’s muscle-toning class. “You’re not going low enough,” the instructor yelled at me from across the crowded room. As flames of embarrassment burned my cheeks, I dropped lower into the Romanian dead lift even though I had just come from teaching my seventh cycling class of the week and my body was spent. But this was what the class required, I rationalized, and I was fit—I should be able to keep up.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep up, and as a result, I gave myself a nagging lower-back injury.
Fitness professionals working with enthusiastic resistance-training clients inevitably face questions about protein supplementation.
Protein supplements are some of the most common and most popular nutritional products on the market today (Pasiakos, Lieberman & McLellan 2014). But with all this abundance, it’s easy to get lost in the colorfully stocked shelves and become confused about which types to buy, when to use them and how much to take.
Shoulder pain and injuries make it harder to exercise and play sports. Damaged shoulders also limit basic functions, impair quality of life and disturb sleep (Acton 2011). What’s more, research suggests that almost a quarter of your client base will experience shoulder pain/injury at one time or another (Ghosh 2012).Read More