Tag Archives: flexibility

Lower-Back Pain? Exercise Can Help!

Author:  C. Smalllower_back_pain

At some point in our lives, 60-80% of all individuals experience lower-back pain (LBP).  The condition is disabling to 1-5% of the population.  Most cases of LBP occur between the ages of 25 and 60 years, but 12-16 % of children and adolescents are LBP suffers.  Males and females are affected equally.

Back in the late nineties, I started having problems with my lower back, and over time the problems increased significantly.  Through my research (I don’t know about you, but I research everything the doctors tell me), I learned from the National Institutes for Health that lower-back pain (LBP) can be acute or short-term low and that it generally lasts from a few days to a few weeks.  Most acute back pain is the result of trauma to the lower back or a disorder such as arthritis.  Pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, work around the house or in the garden, a sudden jolt such as a car accident or other stress on spinal bones and tissues.  Symptoms may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and range of motion, or an inability to stand straight.  Chronic back pain, which is what I have, is pain that persists for more than 3 months.  It is often progressive and the cause can be difficult to determine.  Acute or short-term low back pain generally lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Most acute back pain is the result of trauma to the lower back or a disorder such as arthritis.  Pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, work around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident or other stress on spinal bones and tissues.  Symptoms may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and range of motion, or an inability to stand straight.

According to Sharon A. Plowman and Denise L Smith in Exercise Physiology, for Health Fitness, and Performance, there has been and still is great interest in the link between muscular fitness and the absence or occurrence of LBP.  The interest is high enough that some tests of health-related physical fitness have included sit-and-reach, sit-ups, or curl-ups, and trunk extension tests as a means of testing lower-back function.

ball5 for lower backOne of the things that I learned while going through physical therapy is that in order to have a healthy, well-functioning back, one must have flexible lower-back muscles, hamstrings, and hip flexors, and strong, fatigue-resistance abdominal and back extensor muscles.  The goal is to keep the vertebrae aligned properly without excessive disk pressure, allowing a full range of motion is all directions.  In addition the pelvis must freely rotate both towards the front and back of the body.

Per the therapists I’ve had over the years, individuals suffering from LBP show signs of lower levels of strength in both abdominal and back extensors.  EMG (electromyogram) activity is also increased in the back muscles of individuals with LBP.  These differences, however, are believed to be the result of LBP rather than the cause.  Also, studies measuring strength and muscular endurance have identified back extension endurance as the critical variable.  So, how did all of this new found knowledge help me?  Well, it helped me to understand why my physical therapists developed my exercise plan on a total body workout for strength and muscular endurance, with a focus on exercises for the back and abdominals.  Did the plan help?  Initially, yes it did.  I believe the strengthened back and abdominals muscles, along with other treatment measures have kept my pain level at a minimum.

So don’t wait.  Start protecting your back now. Order Life Without Back Pain in 24 Hours today. If you’re already experiencing back pain consider trying Yoga Therapy for Back Pain.

About the author: C. Small is the Owner/Manager of CVS Unlimited, LLC and a health and fitness enthusiast with more than 31 years of military training. The Company’s desire is to educate you on the dangers of obesity and help you achieve a healthy lifestyle by combining good nutrition with the right exercises, and using the right equipment for lasting results.

CVS Unlimited, LLC is a paid affiliate of Botanic Choice.

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FINE PRINT

This policy is valid from 12 November 2009. I am C. Small, the administrator for this blog. For questions about this blog, please contact cvsmall.small@gmail.com. This blog does not accept any form of cash advertising, sponsorship, or paid topic insertions. However, since I am an Affiliate of the advertisers in this blog, if you buy something I will get paid, not much but I’m retired and need whatever I can get. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or post made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. Even though I receive compensation for the advertisements, I always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog may not be my own, but I agree with them. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content may not always be identified.

Low-impact Exercises are Fun and Healthy

Author: Raymond Leepilates

Not everyone is made for high-level exercising. But you can become fit without bouncing around in a leotard, battering your joints. Forget all the huffing, puffing, lugging, lifting, and straining. Movement therapy is a gentle – yet effective – group of sports that include yoga, tai chi, and Pilates. Just don’t be fooled by their mild manner. These activities can whip you into shape without breaking a sweat.

All three have ancient Eastern roots and are merely different interpretations of the same principle: keeping your body and mind in harmony naturally leads to better health.

It wasn’t until recently that modern science confirmed the many physical benefits of yoga, tai chi, and Pilates. With them, you can improve your balance, flexibility, and strength – no matter what your age, weight, or fitness level.

No Pain – but great gain

Yoga, tai chi, and Pilates are gentle enough for anyone to try. If you consider yourself in bad health or disabled in some way, you’re a perfect candidate for these movement therapies. You can ease into the programs slowly and set your own pace. It’s easy to stick with them and you’ll see improvement quickly.

Here are just some of the benefits you will get from these soothing approaches to fitness.

• When you were a child, tripping and falling meant just another minor scrape. But as you get older, taking a tumble can have serious and crippling effects. If your sense of balance is as bad as Humpty Dumpty’s,these are the safest forms of exercise for you.

Just like the trick to growing tomatoes is to keep the main stalk strong, the trick to great balance is to keep your core muscles strong. The bands of muscle in your abdomen, lower back, and buttocks are the center of strength and control for the rest of your body.

All three examples of movement therapy are relatively stationary,but because they strengthen your core muscles, your balance will improve quickly – preventing falls – and you’ll develop greater flexibility and strength. Soon you will be moving with confidence again.

• Tai chi and yoga are especially recommended for people with arthritis.Gentle yoga can improve arthritis in your hands, for example, and tai chi’s precise, flowing movements help keep your joints limber, relieve your pain, and keep you active.

• The dance-like stretches, poses, and maneuvers within each of these movement therapies will gently strengthen and tone your body. Pilates is especially good as a strength-training workout.

• Add yoga or Pilates to your exercise regimen if you need to improve your heart health.

• In today’s hectic world, it may be hard to squeeze an extra 30 minutes of exercise into your schedule – at least without feeling even more stress. The beautiful thing about movement therapy is that it combines stress relief with exercise, so you kill two birds with one stone.

All the activities – tai chi, yoga, and Pilates – are done slowly, with intense focus on proper breathing and posture. They all relax your body and calm your mind.

As you can see, you can boost your overall health with these joyful, health-giving movements.

Things to know before you give it a go

Just to be safe, make sure that you take these precautions before starting any new exercise program.

• Get your doctor’s approval on your fitness plan, especially if you’ve badly injured your back, neck, knees,or shoulders in the past.

• The stretches, poses, and movements of these therapies should not hurt. If you feel pain, stop and check your technique before continuing.

• Pilates is the most intense of the three exercise forms. You may want to try one of the less strenuous programs first if you are out of shape.

• Be forewarned, you might get addicted to these calming sports.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/fitness-articles/lowimpact-exercises-are-fun-and-healthy-206348.html

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Flexibility and Stretching

Author: Clinton Walkerflexibility stretches

Flexibility is the ability of the muscles and tendons to relax and stretch easily. It determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. Stretching improves your posture and helps to prevent low back pain. Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and low back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back. Today, 80% of adults will suffered from lower back pains. Warm-up stretching exercises loosen tendons, increase blood circulation, and help prevent injuries during your workouts or any activity. Cool-down stretching helps relieve muscle soreness and tightness.

THREE TYPES OF FLEXIBILITY

1. Dynamic flexibility — this is your ability to perform dynamic movements within the full range of motion in the joint. An example is twisting side to side, swinging your arms around in circles, or kicking an imaginary football. You may perform dynamic stretches in sets of 8-12 repetitions. Perform as many sets as is required to gain your full range of motion. You should stop when you muscles become tired. Your muscles produce diminished returns during dynamic stretching exercises.

2. Static Active flexibility — this refers to your ability to stretch an antagonist muscle using only the tension in the agonist muscle. An example is holding one leg out in front of you as high as possible. The hamstring (antagonist) is being stretched while the quadriceps and hip flexors (agonists) are holding your leg up. You can also stand on one leg; hold your other leg out in front of you as high as possible. Each static active stretch should be held for 10-15 seconds and 1-2 stretches per muscle group is sufficient.

3. Static Passive flexibility — this is your ability to hold a stretch using your body weight or some other external force. Imagine holding your leg out in front of you and resting it on a chair. Whereas static active stretching requires the tension of opposing muscles to hold the stretch, static passive stretching uses some other object for support. Static passive stretching helps relax your muscle groups. It should be part of your cool down. Static passive stretches should be held for about 10 seconds and 2-3 stretches per muscle group is enough.

TEN BASIC STRETCHING EXERCISES

For stretching exercises to be effective, raise your body temperature first. A pre-exercise warm up should consist of 5-10 minutes of light aerobic exercise followed by stretching exercises for all major muscle groups.

1. Shoulder Stretch

Interlock your fingers and reach above your head. Your lower back should be flat or slightly arched inwards. This exercise can be performed in a seated or standing position.

2. Triceps Stretch

Place your left hand behind your head and reach as far down your back as possible. With your right hand, grasp your left elbow and gently pull it behind the back of your head. This exercise can be performed in a seated or standing position.

Switch arms and repeat.

3. Chest stretch

Clasp your hands behind your back. Gently straighten your elbows and raise your arms as high as comfortably possible. This exercise can be performed in a seated or standing position.

4. Lower back Stretch

While lying flat on your back, place the sole of your right foot on your left thigh. Grasp your right knee with your left hand and gently roll it to the left. Try to position your knee as close to the floor as possible without your right shoulder leaving the floor.

5. Groin Stretch

Stand with your feet about 2 meters apart with your toes pointing forward. Gradually shift all your weight to your right leg by bending your right knee. Your left leg should stay straight. Place both your hands on your right knee for support. To achieve a greater stretch, increase the starting distance between your feet.

6. Groin Stretch 2

Sit down and place the soles of your feet together. Clasp your ankles with your hands so that your elbows rest on your knees. Gently push your knees down with your elbows until your feel a stretch.

7. Quadriceps Stretch

While standing upright, hold onto a support with one hand (i.e. a chair) for balance. With your other hand clasp take your ankle and pull your heel into your butt. Repeat the same steps for the other leg.

8. Hamstring Stretch

Sitting down; stretch your legs out in front of you while keeping your back flat and upright. Bend your left leg, keeping your left foot flat on the floor. Slowly reach forward and try to touch your right toe with both hands. Bend from your waist keeping your lower back flat and your head up. Repeat these steps for the other leg.

9. Calf Stretch

Stand arms length away from a wall and with feet shoulder width apart. Place your right foot about 2 feet in front of your left. While keeping both heels flat on the ground, lean towards the wall by bending your right knee. Your left leg should stay straight. You may push gently against the wall for a deeper stretch. Repeat these steps for the left leg.

10. Achilles Stretch

This exercise is exactly the same procedure as above except as you lean towards the wall let both knees bend. Rather than leaning forward you should feel like you are lowering yourself straight down. Remember to keep both heels flat on the floor. Repeat these steps for the other leg.

Classical Pilates Technique with consideration of the NECK & BACK


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FINE PRINT
This policy is valid from 12 November 2009.  I am C. Small, the administrator for this blog.  For questions about this blog, please contact cvsmall.small@gmail.com. This blog does not accept any form of cash advertising, sponsorship, or paid topic insertions.  However, since I am an Affiliate of the advertisers in this blog, if you buy something I will get paid, not much but I’m retired and need whatever I can get. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or post made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content.  Even though I receive compensation for the advertisements, I always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those products.  The views and opinions expressed on this blog may not be my own, but I agree with them.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.  This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content may not always be identified.

Five Easy Ways to Burn Fat!

Author: Grace SoongMartial arts fitness

Estimates show that up to 60 percent of our society is  overweight .  Americans, on average, gain about five pounds a year once they hit that 30-year mark. We all know that the best way to avoid getting fat is to not let excess calories cross those lips in the first place. However, what can we do to help us balance exercise and food consumption?  Here are 5 simple and easy ways to do that:

1. Cardiovascular Exercise

Doctors and fitness gurus have praised cardio-vascular or aerobics exercise as key to effectively burn fat.  To achieve weight loss you must participate in at least three weekly cardio-vascular workouts. This can be interpreted into 20 to 30 minutes of intense physical activity that gets your heart to beat at an average rate of 60 to 90 percent of its maximum.  As a rule of thumb, you can calculate your maximum heart rate by deducting your age from 225.  For example, if you are 45 years old, your maximum heart rate is 180 beats per minute; 60 to 90 percent of this would be 108-162 beats per minute.  The type of exercise isn’t as important as its influence on your heart and breathing rates. Cardiovascular exercise involves working the major muscles of your body in a continuous, flowing fashion. Choose activities you enjoy such as jogging, brisk walking with your dog, biking and dance-fitness classes such as  Jazzercise .

2. Strength training

There is a lot of confusion regarding  strength training , even among people who train on a regular basis. When you lift weights you challenge your body against a controllable form of resistance. If done correctly your muscles will adjust and grow stronger as it anticipates a more difficult workout.   This muscle growth will take the form of a sculpted and more toned figure.  Depending on your age and gender, it will usually not turn into big, bulky muscles. Unfortunately you may not see results right away because of that layer of fat that floats over every inch of your sculpted body.  However, an increase in lean muscle, no matter how little, will result in an increased basal metabolic rate.  Basal metabolic rate is the number of calories you’d burn even if you stayed in bed all day.   Almost 90% of the calorie burning take place inside muscle tissue, it’s logical to assume the more muscle you have — the more fat you’ll burn just to exist. Therefore, when accompanied by a steady decrease in food supply and a 24-hour-a-day increase in demand for fuel this will result in major fat loss.

3. Flexibility Training

Flexibility training such as yoga or Pilates increases the productiveness of the rest of your fitness routine. One, it minimizes injury and recovery time.  Two, it reduces next day soreness. Three, it improves balance and speed of movement.  This allows you to carry out more work in less time.   Inserting stretching exercises into your strength training routine will keep you moving between sets.  This will mean an increased calorie consumption of your workout. Many fitness enthusiasts and body builders, who at one time wouldn’t be caught dead in a “plank” pose, now find themselves attending regular yoga or Pilates classes — and still remain lean and fit as ever.

4. Sleep and Rest

You’ll be surprised at how lack of sleep (or rest) is the cause behind many failed weight loss efforts. Remember, too much of a good thing is also not commendable. When you put together a fitness and weight loss plan, make sure that you get back to normal between workouts. Wait  at least 48 hours between full body strength training sessions and cut back cardio-vascular exercises to no more than 3-6 hours per week. Do not over-train. Your body will break down, you’ll lose lean muscle mass (which you’ve been working so hard to gain) and eventually get fatter.  Go to bed earlier, wear earplugs or do anything to get a good night’s sleep.  The body’s recovery processes goes into high gear during sleep.  Get at least 7 or 8 hours of thorough, restful sleep every night.

5. Stress Reduction and Meditation

Meditation has been known to decrease the body’s reaction to stress.  It alleviates several stress-related health problems. Few people recognize that it can raise the body’s DHEA level, an anti-aging hormone. DHEA is a predecessor of testosterone, which is necessary for muscle growth. Unfortunately, DHEA and testosterone levels decline with age. Independent tests conducted on people who meditated daily revealed that DHEA levels were restored to more youthful levels.

On the flip side, stress has also been found to generate high levels of the naturally occurring hormone cortisol.  This hormone is produced by the adrenal glands. When cortisol is secreted, it causes a failure and malfunction of muscle protein.  This leads to the release of amino acids into the bloodstream, and raising blood sugar levels.

Any form of stress reduction can balance this hormonal imbalance. Try to visualize how you’d like to look, or imagine yourself pursuing activities you once delighted in. This visualization technique has been discovered to relieve stress and increase your odds of achieving goals you’ve set.   I

f your fitness goal is to lose fat, take these five simple suggestions and combine them with a sensible eating program.  You’ll be on the road to a lean, healthy and contented fitness routine that you’ll be able to maintain for a lifetime.

Preventing Hamstring Injuries

Author: Gerry Van Dykehamstring stretches

Chances are if you play sports or are a sports fan; you’ve seen it happen. An athlete sprints to first base, or down the sideline, and pulls up short limping in pain and grabbing at the back of their thigh. Hamstring injuries are a very common sports injury seen in professional athletes as well as the weekend warrior. Unfortunately, if this injury is not properly cared for, it can turn into a chronic problem.

The best way to treat an injury is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Two significant contributing factors to a hamstring injury are:

1. Hamstring to quad (quadricep) strength ratio

2. Flexibility

Athletes and coaches tend to emphasize quad strengthening (which is very important to protect the knee and optimize performance), but may overlook the hamstrings. The hamstrings should fall between 60-70% of the quad strength. To insure sufficient hamstring strength, it is recommended that athletes perform a series of exercises that isolate the hamstrings and are specific to their sport. For example, a football player might incorporate lunges into their workout routine.

Another contributing factor to hamstring injury is a lack of flexibility. This can easily be prevented with a good stretching program. Remember that a muscle stretches best (and most safely) when it is warmed up. Try a low intensity exercise for 10-15 minutes just before stretching to get the most effective results. Also, try “slowing down” your stretches. Spend three minutes stretching your hamstring, ON EACH LEG. Stretches should also be slow and gentle, never forcing and never bouncing. Stretches should also be comfortable and never painful. Don’t forget to also stretch again after the game, as part of your cool down. One great way to stretch the hamstrings is called the “Doorway Stretch”. Lie down on the floor in a doorway and put one leg up on the doorjamb. Your heel should be resting on the wall and your knee should be straight. If you can’t get your knee all the way straight or it is too much of a pull (uncomfortable), scoot your buttocks farther away from the wall until the stretch is comfortable. If you don’t feel enough of a stretch, try scooting closer to the wall, or putting a belt up over your toes an gently pull your toes towards your nose. Hold for 3 minutes, then scoot over to the other side of the doorway and stretch the other leg.

If you have had a hamstring injury in the past or are trying to get over one, it is important to realize that the main problem with recovering from this injury is, returning too soon to play. The potential for reinjury is high if the muscle is not yet healed. The second injury to the hamstring is often more severe than the initial injury.

You may want to consider seeing a physical therapist if you have, or have had, a hamstring injury and are uncertain how to treat it, when to return to your sport or how to prevent it from happening again. If you have never had an injury and would like to keep it that way, you might choose to work with a certified personal trainer who can teach you specific exercises for strengthening and flexibility.

Every Fitness Components

Kick BagAuthor: Body Fitness

Following are the  Components of Physical fitness  :   1. Speed: Speed is the ability of a person to execute motor movements with high speed in the shortest period of time. It is equal to the distance covered per unit of time. the element of speed is involved in most of the athletic skills such as in sprint running, some skills of soccer, basketball, etc.

2.Strength: Strength is the ability of a muscle to expert or release force by contraction enabling a person to overcome resistance or to act against resistance.

3. Power: Power is the ability of muscle to release maximum force in the shortest period of time. It is equal to force multiplied by speed. It is the combination of strength and speed. Speed and force must be combined for effective performance in activities like baseball throw, jumps for height, football kick, boxing punch,etc.

4. Endurance :Endurance is the ability of the person to perform movement of moderate (Sub-maximum) contractions over prolonged period of time under conditions of fatigue or tiredness. It is the product of all psychic and physical energy of human body.

5. Flexibility : Flexibility is the ability of a muscle to perform movements with large range of motion.

6. Agility : Agility is the ability of a person to change positions in space or to change directions quickly and effectively e.g. football player quickly changes direction or giving dodge to opponent, hurdle crossing over the barrier or hurdles, zig-zag running, etc.

7. Balance : Balance is the ability of a person to control human body or to maintain equilibrium under static and dynamic conditions e.g. hand stand, skating, skiing, catching a fly in baseball, etc.   – By  Body Health  Blog .