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Plant Foods Are Good for Our Gut Bugs

Our bodies host a huge population of microorganisms, dubbed the human microbiome. In recent years, the makeup of critters in our guts has been linked to a plethora of conditions, including depression, heart disease and obesity. And now bug-friendly scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have presented initial findings from the American Gut Project, a crowdsourced initiative that analyzes people’s survey responses and fecal samples to better understand how things like diet, lifestyle and disease affect the human microbiome.

Exercise and the Gut Microbiome

New research suggests that endurance exercise positively affects the gut microbiome, but only for lean individuals and only for as long as exercise continues. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted the study with 32 sedentary men and women—some lean, some obese. The purpose was to explore the impact of endurance exercise on the composition, functional capacity and metabolic output of gut microbiota. Investigators collected samples from the subjects before and after 6 weeks of exercise, then after 6 weeks of no exercise.

The Importance of Exercise for Addiction Recovery

Substance use disorder can wreak havoc on people’s lives. Fitness activity can be a
transformative way for those in recovery to heal, rebuild their lives and find a community of healthy supporters.
According to a study published in Mental Health and Physical Activity in 2011, patients with substance use disorder who exercised while in recovery reported feeling greater strength, improved health, a sense of accomplishment, and increased confidence about staying clean and sober.

Tennis: Reduce Pain, Improve Performance

Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. In the U.S. alone, there are almost 18 million players, with another 14 million expressing interest (TIA 2018). Unfortunately, the dynamic, forceful twists and turns of the game pose ever-present injury risks to players (Roetert & Kovacs 2011).
If your fitness clientele includes people interested in playing this sport, you need to understand the causes of tennis-related injuries. This will help you develop strategies to improve movement function, reduce pain and keep clients on the court.

Best Foot Forward

A challenging beginning. Ezra didn’t have an easy start. Born with club feet—a congenital condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape or position—he had his first surgery shortly after birth and spent the first few years of life sleeping with corrective boots.

Spotting and Fixing Flaws in Walking Biomechanics

Participating in a program of regular exercise is a good idea at any stage of life, but particularly as we get older. Exercising frequently and consistently has many documented benefits, including promoting good health, preventing disease, enhancing mental health and physical capacity, aiding recovery from injury and illness, minimizing the effects of aging, and improving one’s ability to handle the physical demands of life (Bird, Smith & James 1998).

Creative Ideas That Inspire

KONGA®, at Funk & Twist Fitness in Basingstoke, England, is a high-intensity offering that incorporates elements of boxing, cardio, dance and sculpt. The program vibe is fierce and wild, and sessions are set to upbeat music designed to inspire and motivate. The class is updated each month with fresh choreography so that participants don’t become bored or hit fitness plateaus. It’s appropriate for all levels, from beginners to seasoned fitness enthusiasts.

Shoulder Blades: The Right Moves

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.

Programming to Prevent ACL Injury

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.

Exercise’s Impact on Cancer

There are three ways to look at battling cancer. For those who don’t have it, lowering risk is the primary goal. For those who’ve had it, successfully recovering and, of course, reducing the chances of recurrence are of utmost importance. For those who currently have it, the priorities are getting rid of it and minimizing the harmful effects that both the disease and the treatment have on the body. Exercise has been shown to help with all three.

Pillars of Functional Training for Active Aging

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.

The Achilles Tendon

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).

When the Client Is You

client: Frank | personal trainer: Frank McKenna, MEd, owner, Beach Better Bodies | location: Virginia Beach, Virginia

A dire situation. In the summer of 2016, personal trainer Frank McKenna received news he never expected to hear. At age 56, he had recently completed his own physical transformation and was arguably in tiptop shape, so when his doctor told him he had stage 4 lung cancer, he was stunned.

The Anatomy of Functional Training Risks

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.

No-Neck-Pain Abs

How often do you hear participants complain about neck pain when you teach core moves in your classes? For many people dealing with ongoing neck-positioning issues, this is a real struggle. No matter how effectively the head is supported, they still have issues with neck stress for various reasons, including lack of strength, natural biomechanics or previous injury. These constraints prevent some participants from getting the most from your core/abdominal workouts and may inadvertently limit overall core strength. However, you can support these participants by offering the right moves.

Shoulder Pain and Injury Prevention

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).

How to Handle Exercise-Related Muscle Cramps

You’re running along your favorite path and then it happens: You get a cramp in your hamstring. While theories abound, there is limited consensus on why exercise-associated muscle cramps (EAMC) develop and how to get rid of them. A research review from the Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida may clear up the confusion.
The review, published in Muscle & Nerve (2016; 54, 177–85), featured a series of studies analyzing the etiology and treatment of EAMC. Here’s what they learned:

U.S. Yoga Injuries Increasing

Yoga injuries in the United States are on the rise, particularly among older adults, according to data from hospital emergency rooms nationwide. Researchers from the Center for Injury Sciences at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), Alabama, examined data from 2001 to 2014 to establish the injury risk involved in yoga participation.

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