What I Learned From Taking a Week Off

Recently, I took my first real vacation.  It was the first ever vacation I’ve taken with my wife in the almost 7 years that we have been together.  

Before we left, I remember these words rolling off my tongue so effortlessly: “I can’t wait for this vacation, I feel like it will be a complete restart and I’ll be so much more motivated when we get back”...

Why Fitness ACTUALLY Matters & How it Connects Us Back to Being Human

Fitness is a tool utilized to connect to what is essentially, human.  Sedentariness, convenience, and the on-the-go, not-enough-time-in-the-day lifestyle that has infested societies across the globe, has stripped away what it means to be purely human. 

Fitness is a way to connect the mind to the physical self.  It will humble you.  It will unapologetically make you fully aware of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses.  Fitness serves as a reminder of how powerful we truly are and what our mind can achieve and mold into physical form.

We experience this reminder frequently with our clients.  Something as simple as being able to do one pushup, when never having been able to do one before, lights a fire in that person’s heart to explore their abilities further.  The same goes for that infamous “second wind” that runner’s experience and describe as the “runner’s high”; the body is achieving what the mind thought it could not. 

Why does any of this matter?  Why is it important to understand the relationship between fitness and human?  Maybe you aren’t quite aware now, if you are of a younger age bracket.  You will however, be harshly reminded as your age reaches the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.  Tasks such as getting up steps, getting off of the toilet, and carrying groceries into the house become taxing.  Forget about the specifics such as increasing muscle mass, losing fat, or benching double your body weight; fitness improves quality of life

It is imperative to remember that the body cannot withstand years of neglect. 

As we age, we reflect on what we should have done.  Please, do not allow fitness to be on that “should have” list.  It is a must; for now, and for the remaining years of your life. 

-Nicole Michaels

Total Body Resistance Exercise: TRX

Have you seen these yellow and black straps before? Maybe you’re nervous to try this Cirque-du-Soleil-looking contraption; worried you’ll be aerial and contorted in no time. Let us tell you a little secret: there is no need to be afraid! The Navy SEALs, who were looking to maintain their strength while on the move, created what is called TRX out of necessity. This highly portable performance-training tool leverages gravity and the user's body weight to complete hundreds of exercises...

Normal Weight Obesity

Over time, society has come to recognize an individual as being healthy or unhealthy based on his or her outward appearance of body weight.  A person who appears to have a normal weight is obviously healthier than an obese individual, right?  Well, not so fast.  Often times, people who have what is considered normal weight can still have weight-related health issues.   This has become known as the term, “normal weight obesity” and there are a few factors that can help determine if a person has NWO...

Regaining Core Strength Post Pregnancy

During and after pregnancy, the mother and her body go through a number of changes.  Soon after the baby is born, most moms want to get back in shape and shed some baby weight.  Unfortunately, there exist many unsafe resources that offer training and bootcamps to “get mom’s back their old bodies.”  It is important to realize that the body may not be exactly the same as it used to be due to the intense physical changes that have taken place.. However, a woman’s body is fully capable of regaining a new, healthy level of strength and overall wellness....

Is More Exercise Needed for Better Heart Health?

Take a second to think about the lifestyle of immediate and extended family members.   Are they physically active?  Is there history of heart disease, hypertension, and/or coronary artery disease?  Chances are the answer is yes.  The Center for Disease Control reports that heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States.  What can be done about such an alarming problem?  Is society doing enough to help prevent this frightening statistic?...

 

Functional Training: Why Is It Important?

By: Alex Barrett

Take a second to think about your daily routine, occupation, and the tasks you often perform throughout the day.  Do those tasks include sitting and standing, carrying items like grocery bags, walking, bending over to retrieve items on the ground, or reaching to put items in a kitchen cabinet?  Chances are, you answered yes to quite a few of the actions mentioned. Each are considered activities of daily living (ADLs). Considering ADLs occur frequently, it is important that they are executed with proper form.  Unfortunately, for some individuals, these tasks are difficult and may even result in injury.

How can we improve our body’s ability to move more efficiently and safely?  The primary solution is the addition of functional training to an individual’s daily exercise routine.  This type of training is vital to improving quality of life because it aligns with the types of movement patterns commonly executed during the day.  For example, sitting on a shoulder press machine with the back supported and feet flat on the floor will mainly isolate the deltoid muscle group.  However, a more functional exercise for the shoulders is an overhead, standing, dumbbell press.  This requires effort from the entire body as it stands upright, engages the core, and challenges balance, all while simultaneously working the shoulders.  The second example is a better replication of a daily task such as putting away groceries in a high cabinet.

Functional training allows an individual to perform multi-joint movements that engage more muscle groups; therefore improving their ability to work together more effectively.  An important benefit of functional training is enhanced balance.  According to the Center for Disease Control, fall injuries are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (CDC). Our sense of balance decreases with age; it is imperative to continuously perform exercises that strengthen our base of support and test our balance.  Another benefit of functional training is that it strengthens the abdominals, especially the transverse abdominals and obliques.  The transverse abdominals are the deepest abdominal layer, running horizontal and protecting the lumbar spine (low back), acting almost like a girdle.  The obliques run diagonally along the side of the abdomen and aid in lateral flexion (side bends) and twisting of the trunk.  The bending, twisting, pushing, and pulling movements we frequently perform need to incorporate the core abdominals. If the abdominal muscles are weak, the back muscles will try to compensate, which can result in serious injury to the erector spinae muscles of the low back.

A phenomenal example of functional training is TRX suspension training.  The body can train movements in all three of the anatomical planes; sagittal, coronal, and transverse.  The sagittal plane divides the body into left and right parts and consists of forward and backward movements, such as alternate lunges.  The coronal plane divides the body into front and back parts and consists of movements, such as lateral raises and upright rows.  The transverse plane divides the body into top and bottom halves and consists of twisting movements, such as oblique crunches or a medicine ball diagonal chop.  Other types of equipment that allow for functional training are free weights, resistance bands, medicine balls, and stability balls.  Do not underestimate the power of using your own bodyweight either! 

It is undeniable that functional training adds tremendous value to an individual’s quality of life.  Fromimprovements in muscle efficiency and balance to the refined ability of the body to move in all three of the anatomical planes, functional training is an essential piece of an exercise program.  Take your fitness and overall well-being to the next level with the addition of this training.  The enhanced mobility experienced during seemingly simple daily tasks will be indisputable. 

           

References

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html