Studies at the University of Alabama worked with men and women in their 60s and 70s. Under supervised weight training programs they developed muscles that had a mass and strength of people 20 to 30 years younger. Unlike younger men and women who can build new muscle fibers, with age a portion of the muscle fibers in older people dies. The remainder of the muscle fibers suffer from shrinkage do to underuse. However these remaining fibers do respond and will grow with proper and consistent training. Progressive weight training until the muscle are exhausted seems to be the way to go.
The tissues that comprise the human body (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fasciae) can get pretty beat up if you are a sports enthusiast or just an extremely active individual. Keeping these tissues in top shape will prevent future injury and long term pain. Foam rolling, stretching, sports massage, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, contrast bath therapy (hot and cold alternation) are just some of the modalities that should be considered as part of a regular exercise program. In keeping the blood flowing through these tissues they will remain healthy and most important flexible.
Source: Muscle & Performance July 2016
Stress surrounds our lives daily. Everything from our job to relationships to financial concerns can be sources of stress. This constant bombardment can in the long term cause great bodily harm. Let’s look at the different types of stress. Here is how they would be abbreviated if they were texts. IS (immediate stress) sudden immediate danger ex. being chased by a bear. LLS (long, lasting stress) a prolonged period of stress ex. stuck in a traffic jam for hours. PS (psychological stress) a period of days or weeks thinking of an upcoming stressful situation with either a person, place or event. ICS (ingesting caffeine stress) deliberately putting the body under stress by either energy drinks, excess coffee or tea. Although all these types of stress are totally different, the body is not able to recognize this and in turn will respond in the same manner by releasing adrenaline to cope. Allostatic load is the term now being used for how the body responds to these repeated bouts of stress, especially the psychological type which can be the most damaging. What we should strive for is the state of allostatis–the point when we are able to favorably deal with stress. So how can we turn things around and make stress work for us? The answer is exercise. Pushing the body to its limits is another form of stress. The only difference is that we are in control. We can stop the stress whenever we feel it is becoming too much to handle. Just as all the other forms of stress, exercise also forces the body to release cortisol in response to the release of adrenaline. In so doing, when we increase our level of activity we increase the level of cortisol our body is able to endure. This will prepare us to handle future rigors and stressful situations. In other words pushing the body to its healthy limits. Following a period of exercise we more then likely will find ourselves in an enhanced mood. Maintaining this enhanced mood will make it easier for us to handle a stressful situation when it occurs. So go ahead, stress yourself out deliberately with an intense exercise session. Just remember to fortify yourself with proper nutrition so you will have the stamina to keep up with whatever you are attempting to achieve.
Weight lifting and cardio needn’t be dangerous. Proper form is the single most important factor in injury prevention. Correct posture when working out is as or more important then the exercises you are performing. Stand straight, look forward keep your abs tight and keep your knees over your second toe. When viewed from the side your ears should not be in front of your shoulders nor your shoulders be in front of your chest, if so your body is out of alignment and you could possibly be setting yourself up for injury. Always bend your knees when bending forward to lift any weight or perform any type of calisthenics. Remember to keep your feet apart to give yourself a strong base of support. Keep any weight you are lifting close to your body to minimize stress on you lower back. Following these simple techniques will enable you to get the most out of any exercise and prevent injury and setback in your exercise routine.
If you enjoy strength training with weights as part of your fitness regimen, try this suggestion. Take your normal routine and do it in reverse. After you have properly warmed up take what you would do as your last exercise in your normal routine and begin with it. You will be stronger while performing these exercises because you will not be pre-fatigued. This will enable you to target new muscle strength in these parts of the body exercised first allowing you the ability to work these muscles in a way they are not usually accustomed to. As a result this will stimulate the growth of new muscle fibers. This is beneficial whether strength or size is what you are aiming for.
Warn Up and Down Properly: Before any exercise or sport it is imperative to warm up properly. Regardless of the weather but especially in winter it is necessary to move blood into the muscles to prevent injury. Dynamic Stretching which involves simulating the range of motion of the exercise you are about to preform is an excellent way to attain this warm-up. It entails working with momentum and not holding at the end position. Static Stretching which involves elongating the muscles through extensions is most productive after finishing your work out. It stretches the muscles to the point of slight discomfort in an effort to relax the muscle after an exercise has been preformed.
One of the best exercises for building a strong core is an exercise known as the “Plank”. This can either be performed with full extension of the elbows or as shown above. Try holding for 30 sec. then move on to longer periods of a minute or two. A strong core is so important for optimum performance in any sport as well as for maintaining a strong back.
Some say music came about when man first started listening to birds and noticed their success with mating calls. They then tried to duplicate these sounds in hope that they would be as successful in drawing a mate. The more skilled the musician, the better were his chances. Others feel that hunters tried to duplicate the sounds of the hunt and in so doing put their daily activities to a rhythmic beat. Some believe it originated in the loving bond between mother and child. The term “motherese” was derived from the playful voice the mother had adapted for this purpose. These remnants of what was prehistoric music are closely related to what we now classify as folk, traditional or indigenous. All we do know is that the first indication of man using a drum dates back to 6000 B.C. in the Neolithic period. It is universal and all cultures seem to have developed their own style of music independent of each other. The effects of music are more subtle then eating, talking, sleeping and love making and seem to be present in almost every situation we deal with in life. Since there are few activities such as music in which the whole brain is used, it has been shown to greatly stimulate our capacity to remember and learn. We hear music at weddings, funerals, religious services, dances, sporting events, elevators, restaurants, gyms and even when we simply have to wait on a line. It is also a major part of every advertising campaign. Billions of dollars are spent annually on buying some genre of music. Music does not interfere or distract but enhances the experience. Today we have expanded and experimented with music and have crossed over into its therapeutic use. It has a positive effect on pain management, aided in the use of less medication during childbirth, boosts immunity, and slows breathing and heart rate which has been beneficial to people with high blood pressure and migraines. Soothing music when accompanying a dinner can be an aid to someone who is attempting to practice mindful eating or help them take the time to chew properly. Pop music has a calming effect when someone is subject to having to endure long lines of which we all encounter in our daily lives. Fast paced energetic tunes can serve as a great motivator in aerobics whether it is broadcasted on a loudspeaker at a gym or heard on earphones while jogging. We sometimes take music for granted and are at times unaware how it is responsible for changing our emotional state. Next time you are feeling a little low, whistle a happy tune and see if it helps.