280613 Exercises that will strengthen your ankles-part two

Exercises that will strengthen your ankles-part two

Strong ankles help reduce the risk of falling and suffering a broken bone or a twisted ankle. The extra strength means you will be able to react to an off balance situation and recover without injury. In the previous part, several ankle specific exercises were explained. In this portion, three more exercises are described.

Side pushes are ankle and thigh exercises. These exercises can be done either sitting in a chair or standing next to a wall. Begin in the chair with your shoulder pressed up against the wall. With the leg that is on the same side as the shoulder that is against the wall, push against the side of the wall with your foot. Now turn around and do the same with the other foot for twenty-five pushes that are held for five to ten seconds each.

This is a similar exercise to the previous one however with this one you will be sitting in a doorway and pulling your foot against the doorjamb towards the inside of your body rather than pushing outward.

Since balance is such a big part of keeping your ankles safe from injury the next exercise helps, in a small way, to build confidence in your ability to maintain your balance into your ankles.

Start out by standing next to some sort of a support aid. Raise one leg up by bending at the knee and lifting the lower leg up a little ways off the floor. The support leg must remain straight throughout the balance exercise.

See how long you can hold the position. Now change to the other leg and see how you do. One may be easier to hold than the other may; this is natural and is not a cause for alarm unless there is a dramatic difference in the two sides.

Daily practice can improve the strength and balance abilities of your ankles.

260613 Exercises that will strengthen your ankles-part one

Exercises that will strengthen your ankles-part one

Are you conscious of every step you take because in the past you’ve suffered a twisted ankle and are fearful that it may reoccur? If you have had a recent serious ankle injury then more than likely you’ve been to the doctor. Because of that visit, perhaps you were referred to a physical therapist for some rehabilitation work. If you didn’t see a doctor, then you may be on your own and wondering what can be done to strengthen your ankles.

Here are a few recommendations from the Mayo Clinic. They just may make your ankles stronger and make you better able to resist the joint stress of an off balance moment. If you have decent balance then give them a try.

Start out by sitting in a chair or standing up next to a supporting countertop or doorjamb. Keep one foot flat and lift the other one up a few inches off the floor. With the raised foot, use your ankle and toes to trace out the letters of the alphabet. Pretend that your big toe is the pencil as you write the ABC’s out in thin air. After one foot is finished, go to the other one and repeat writing the alphabet again.

The next exercise is the calf raise. Stand next to the countertop and stand up as high as you can, with straight legs, on the balls of your feet. Start out using both feet and do them together for twenty-five or more high repetitions. Once you are able to do 100 reps without rest begin to do them on one foot. This is going to be considerably harder, but stick with it and soon you’ll be doing them just fine on a single leg.

After you have finished with the calf raises, stand with both feet flat on the floor again and raise your toes up toward your head. Follow the same scheme as before, i.e. both feet for up to 100 reps and then to on to doing them with one foot.

240613 Exercise form

Exercise form

Exercise is a way to live life to the fullest; however using poor form is a fast way of incurring an injury. If you are using free weights, which are highly recommended over any of the common machines, there are certain techniques to use in order to get the greatest benefit from them and avoid injury. In the next few paragraphs, we will briefly discuss some issues of exercise form to guard against.

The military press: stand tall, avoid a lower back, backward lean, and side to side lean when pressing up. Do the press in front of your face and not behind your head because this is harmful to your shoulders due to the extreme range of motion when the weight is coming down behind the head.

Barbell curls: For the most part, keep your hands close to your outer thighs. Don’t lean backward in an effort to move heavier weight. Keep momentum to a minimum. Keep the weight under control on the downward phase and do not let gravity take over in the hopes you will be able to lift more.

Supine lateral raises commonly referred to as flyes: Keep the weight under control and don’t let it drop suddenly because your shoulders won’t tolerate this for long.

Bench press: The number one rule here is to keep your feet on the floor and not on the bench as shown so frequently in the magazines or on YouTube. You have minimal balance control with your feet on the bench.

Instead use the five-point stance: Both feet on the floor, buttocks on the bench at all times, shoulders and head on the bench. Keep the weight over your elbows by not hyperextending the wrists. Don’t allow the weight to plummet to your chest with hope of bouncing it back up.

Dead lift: Begin by squatting into the start position by pushing your hips backward and striving to keep your lower legs perpendicular to the floor. Keep the natural lordosis in your lower back. Avoid lifting a weight that overpowers your ability to keep your back in the correct position.

Good mornings: Begin with the weight behind your head and on your shoulders (this is easier done in a power rack so you aren’t exposing your shoulders to an unnecessary injury-see the caution in the military press portion), flex your knees ever so slightly and bend over until your head is below your waistline. Don’t go fast on the down phase as this puts a lot of shock load on your lower back at its most vulnerable position in the lift; coming back up again. Instead, lift with control. There is that word again. Be in control of the weight by controlling momentum. You will get more out the exercise and perhaps even avoid an injury in the process.

Squat: Contrary to what many misinformed people may say this is the best lower body exercise in the entire encyclopedia of fitness movements. The things to avoid are rapid drops into the bottom position, knees coming inward on going back up, rounding of the back, not going deep enough, and in some cases, ego lifting with too much weight.

Some people think they are protecting their knees by not going into the full squat. They fail to realize that by not going deep they are exposing themselves to a sports injury when the need to exert protective force at the full range of motion is necessary to prevent an injury from happening.

Secondly, and more importantly, is protecting yourself in a fall when the leg is suddenly flexed to its extreme such as frequently happens during a fall on the stairs. If the squat is not deep enough then problems start to occur with such simple things a going to the toilet. A ninety-degree squat is not even deep enough to sit in most chairs.

There is strong evidence that at ninety degrees there is a tremendous high load on the patella tendon. If damage happens to this tendon, the individual with the injury is in for a long rehabilitation period. For example, a two hundred and fifty pound person doing a squat with two hundred pounds is putting over 600 pounds of pressure on their patella for an extended period due to the reversal of motion at this dangerous spot in the range of motion.

It is far better to go through this position, go deep and then come back up, than it is doing the high squat stopping at the magic ninety-degree spot.


210613 Weight gain after stopping smoking

Weight gain after stopping smoking

How often have you heard a smoker say they would like to quit but don’t want to add weight? Truth be told, this weight gain is an insignificant part of becoming healthy again after years of abusing your body with the smoking habit.

A recent study (13 March 2013) published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests that even with weight gain, quitting the smoking habit lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. The researchers for the report say that even with a few extra pounds the quitters have approximately 50% lower risk of cardiovascular disease than smokers do.

This even holds true for those with diabetes.

Smokers who quit generally can expect to gain from 6 to 13 pounds shortly after stopping. This weight gain decreases over time and then levels out.

According to the study author, Dr. Michael Meigs, associate professor at Harvard Medical School, “The benefits on vascular health when you stop smoking are so strong that any tiny adverse effects on metabolic health related to weight gain are completely overshadowed.”

Since it is a well-known fact that smoking is one of the major contributing factors of heart disease, the fact that a few extra pounds are not crucial to long term health problems may give hope to those who are struggling to quit this nasty life shortening and stinky habit.

190613 Posture-do it right now, or pay later

Posture-do it right now, or pay later

“It isn’t what I do, but how I do it.
It isn’t what I say, but how I say it.
And how I look when I do and say it.”

Mae West

The way you present yourself, with good posture, radiates far from those standing nearby as you talk to them. It spreads across the room and either inspires others to stand tall or disgusts those who already are. Either way, you are making a statement about yourself. Make sure that statement is a positive reflection.

Maintaining good posture takes time and effort.

The first thing to do is find out where your posture is poor. Do this by looking at a mirror and noticing if your shoulders are slumped forward with your chest caved inward. Is your back rounded off at the shoulders or do you have a sway back at the lower end of our spine.

If you stand sideways and look at yourself in the mirror, a plumb line from your ears would essentially form a line from your ears, through the middle of the shoulders, the hips, knees and end up about the middle of your ankles.

A quick alignment check is to stand with your back to a wall. Your head, shoulders, buttocks, and feet should all be touching without any effort. If not, then something needs corrected in your posture.

These corrections in your posture have to overcome your natural poor posture habits. And this will take constant monitoring on your part. In order to change these habits, persistent conscious thought and work must take place.

You won’t be considered Narcissistic if you periodically check your posture when passing by a reflective widow or mirror. However, if you expect to avoid structural problems as you age, then correcting poor posture now is the ticket to success.

170613 Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight-part four

170613 Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight-part four

If you eat junk food you get a junk body!~Lamar Gant~

Stretching definitely has a place in an exercise program; however, static stretching before doing either cardio or resistance training is counterproductive and may even lead to injury. It is the purpose of static stretching to increase the length of the muscle range of motion. It does this by relaxing the muscles surrounding the joints being stretched.

Since this is a case, it makes no sense to be static stretching before you begin an intense set of interval training or any explosive activity such as lifting weights. The joint receptors are confused, and because the joint is relaxed, it is not as tight as it should be when called upon to do intense activities.

Start each session with a general overall body warm-up, followed by a series of dynamic stretching or active range of motion movements prior to the actual session. This correctly warms the body up for the exercises that follow. Next follows the actual exercises and then use static stretching as part of the cool down.

Losing and maintaining weight

There is not a whole lot of difference between exercising for weight loss and exercising for weight management. Both must be kept up on a consistent basis otherwise, all the gains that you’ve made will be lost.

The best exercise program that you will ever find is going to be the one that you stick with day after day, week after week, and year after year. It is a never-ending process; you have to be active in order to be physically fit.

You cannot leave out the nutritional component of weight management. A proper nutritional diet greatly enhances your ability to lose and then maintain your weight.

Always keep in mind that the best exercise program in the world will quickly be sabotaged by sloppy eating and drinking habits.

140613 Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight-part three

140613 Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight-part three

“Before you begin a thing, remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead… You can only see one thing clearly, and that is your goal. Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin.” — Kathleen Norris, Writer

Increasing your resting metabolic rate means burning more calories throughout the day. This relates directly to the amount of lean muscle mass on your body. The more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate is and the more calories you burn.

Muscle burns more calories than fat does and strength training keeps this metabolic process functioning at a higher rate even after the completion of the training session. Cardio training, unfortunately, does not have this effect on the body after the exercise session is finished, at least not as long as it does after resistance training.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing 8 to 10 strength training exercises with 8 to 12 repetitions per session at least twice a week. It is my opinion, as a professional strength coach of many years, that twice a week is not enough to increase your lean muscle mass. It may be enough to maintain what you already have and perhaps increase it a little, with the emphasis on little.

There is a premium placed on the intensity of the resistance exercise, just as it is in doing high-intensity intervals for your cardio. Heavier weight with fewer repetitions will increase your muscle mass.

This does not mean that a woman is going to be bursting out with huge muscles by using heavier weights. This is a common myth and if it were that easy to develop larger muscles, every man on the face of the planet would be muscular and huge.