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311017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 3/3

311017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 3/3

The problem

Nearly every newspaper or magazine on the stands has an article about the obesity problem in today’s modern society. In case you are not aware of the dangers of being overweight here are just a few of the conditions that can have a major impact on your quality of life and on your lifespan. Obesity increases your chance of developing heart disease, hypertension, type two diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma, and sleep disorders.

The how much 

A body mass indicator (BMI) is not the same as a body fat indicator. The BMI indicates weight compared to height and is not valid for most athletes or those who are above average in muscle density. The BMI will give guidelines to a person who is underweight, normal, overweight or obese. Being overweight is asking for trouble down the line so this must be controlled before your health begins to fail.

The common formula for BMI determination (in inches and pounds) is
BMI= (current weight expressed in pounds ÷ height expressed in inches X height in inches) X 703.

For example, a male weighing 215 pounds and standing 5’11” would use the equation numbers of BMI= (215 ÷ 71 X 71) X 703 = 29.98

The BMI gives a good indication of the amount of body fat on your body. This relationship varies depending on your age and gender. Most women will carry a higher percentage of body fat than most men will for the same BMI score. As we age, the muscle tends to atrophy due in part to a lack of use, which causes excess body fat accumulation. This does not mean if you stop exercising ‘the muscle turns to fat’ as physiologically this is an impossibility for two distinct cells to morph into different cells i.e. a muscle cell will not turn into a fat cell.

The solution

So what do you do about this turn of events in your life? The short answer is to begin to exercise, but only after speaking to your doctor about your plans. Second, find ways to reduce the stress in your life. Next, a gentle but structured exercise program is the safest way to losing your stomach fat.

If you are short of time and cannot go to the gym for a full session then do three to four ten-minute bursts of cardio throughout your waking hours on your aerobic day. On alternate days of the week do eight to ten different resistance exercises. These too can be split into shorter periods of activity spread over the course of your day.

Two days of resistance training and two days of cardio will be a good starting point towards better health. Gradually build up the intensity of your exercise sessions because intensity burns fat, not gently jogging or lifting light weights for a few sets. Get your heart rate up, breathe heavy and hard (within your target zone of course), and push the muscles into areas they have not seen in a while. In short, put something into it in order to get something out of it-like the fat in your stomach!

Try this routine out for a month and see how much better you feel at the end of thirty days.

On the cardio days do some walking, ride your bike, or even some light jogging. Remember, that when you first begin you do not have to keep up with every hot shot in the gym or on the running course. If you forget to gradually work up to it, your body will remind you of the folly of your actions the next afternoon.
Essentials of Personal Training, Baechle, T. R. and Earle, R. W. Human Kinetics 2004

Waist to hip ratio calculator: https://www.nyhq.org/diw/tools/hipcalc.html

 

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241017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 2/3

241017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 2/3 

The problem

Nearly every newspaper or magazine on the stands has an article about the obesity problem in today’s modern society. In case you are not aware of the dangers of being overweight here are just a few of the conditions that can have a major impact on your quality of life and on your lifespan. Obesity increases your chance of developing heart disease, hypertension, type two diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma, and sleep disorders.

The why

Recent research has found that stress actually changes your nervous and hormonal systems around so they encourage fat accumulation around the waist. This type of fat is dangerous and can lead to an increase in your chances of developing hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

The October issue of Obesity Research featured a report by Swedish scientists, which found changes occurred in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal connections.  This intricate system regulates the part of the brain that controls metabolism through the adrenal gland. They also found that men with accumulations of fat in the stomach had nervous system changes that help to keep the bodily functions in balance. These researchers believe that these brain and neuroendocrine changes happen due to a life of chronic stress.

The how

One method of determining where you store your body fat is to use the waist to hip ratio formula. Take a measuring tape from your sewing room or sewing kit and measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part of your buttocks. Write this number down and then measure at the smallest circumference of your waist, just above your navel. As you measure your waist, don’t suck your stomach in, as this will give a false reading. Letting it all hang out is the best stance here.

Divide the hip number into the waist number to determine the ratio. If the number is one or above you are at an increased risk of one or more of the diseases previously listed.

The formula is Waist ÷Hip and anything less than one is good news.

More next week.

150816 The metabolic syndrome and what it means to your health

150816 The metabolic syndrome and what it means to your health

The metabolic syndrome is the name given by the medical profession to a group of health risks having a strong potential to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. These unhealthy conditions are for the most part avoidable simply by eating less and getting more exercise.

The five components of the syndrome are:

  • A waist that is larger than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men. Some men may be at risk even if their waist is greater than 37-39 inches.
  • Low cholesterol readings of the good HDL. Women should have numbers under 50 and men should have their numbers under 40.

Higher than normal, but not necessarily high numbers in the following categories:

  • Systolic blood pressure of 130 or higher and a diastolic reading of 85 or higher.
  • Fasting blood sugar count of 110 or higher
  • Tested triglycerides of 150 or above after fasting.

According to the doctors, a person with three or more of these five categories raises their risk of becoming diabetic and developing heart disease.

The research specialists believe the root cause of this syndrome is an inefficient insulin response.

The metabolic syndrome is the consequence of our body being ineffective in processing fats and sugars. The research shows that belly fat creates increased inflammation and a greater risk of heart disease in those with big bellies. These fat cells also release a product that can drive up blood pressure by reducing the blood vessels ability to relax between strokes. Additional problems with belly fat cells occur because they generate proteins that increase the process of insulin resistance.

In case you are wondering what the term insulin resistance means here is a brief explanation.

The hormone insulin makes it possible to remove glucose, also known as blood sugar, from the blood stream and put into the muscle tissues. The muscle uses this as energy for movement. If too much glucose is in the blood stream it is stored as fat. Therefore, the term insulin resistance means the body is having a hard time delivering the glucose to the muscle tissues (insulin resistance) so the amount of blood sugar rises in the blood stream.

The cause is the waist is too big! Our bellies are too fat, too large, too much over the belt, hanging out too far, you can call it whatever you want to, but the fact remains we are a nation of too much fat. And it is all in the wrong place.

260616 Getting ready for a joint replacement-part four

260616 Getting ready for a joint replacement-part four

According to the National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which is a part of the National Institute of Health, there are over 1 million Americans having a hip or knee replaced every year. Research, over the years, has found that even if you are older a joint replacement will increase your ability to move around with less pain.

Once you are home, you need to notify your doctor immediately if:

  • The area around the surgical site looks red or begins to drain fluids. Examples include, bruising or nosebleeds.

You recognize one or more of these common signs of an infection.

  • a fever,
  • increased redness or swelling,
  • your skin feels hot,
  • more drainage from the site,
  • color changes in the drainage, or
  • more pain than before

Notify your surgeon of any new symptom, such as a pain that gets worse or refuses to go away with medication

Moreover, call them immediately if you experience any pain or notice swelling in your calf or have shortness of breath because this can be a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which is a clot forming in your lower leg.

If you notice any of these symptoms of a DVT, don’t massage your calf. Immediately call your doctor. Don’t wait, even if it is after hours, call so you can be examined and if necessary treated. You may have to go to the Emergency Room.

This is a serious condition, don’t treat it lately.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the calf that gets worse when you pull your foot forward
  • Increased skin temperature in the area over your calf

Any pain or difficulty in walking after the joint replacement that has suddenly occurred should be a red flag. Your doctor needs to know about this especially if the recovery up to this time has been going smoothly.

It cannot be emphasized too much that you must listen to and follow your surgeon’s recommendations and guidelines.

190616 Getting ready for a joint replacement-part three

190616 Getting ready for a joint replacement-part three

According to the National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which is a part of the National Institute of Health, there are over 1 million Americans having a hip or knee replaced every year. Research, over the years, has found that even if you are older a joint replacement will increase your ability to move around with less pain.

After your surgery

After the surgery, you may have to stay in the hospital for a few days. The length of stay depends on the type of surgery, your age, physical abilities, and your surgeon’s judgment. In some cases, this is dependent on your abilities; you may have to go to a rehab center, which can take several weeks of rehabilitation before you go home.

During the time you are in the hospital, you receive painkillers, antibiotics, and blood thinners to help the healing process. Blood thinners are there to reduce the risks of clots. Make use of the painkillers effects on your body by moving around and doing what you can to exercise that joint (within your doctors orders). Get as much range of motion as possible back as soon as possible without destroying the surgically repaired area.

Frequently, after surgery you are going to be encouraged to get out of bed and start moving. The first time you do this is going to be scary especially if you’re standing on a new hip or knee joint. However, this helps keep the blood moving and again reduces the risk of a blood clot forming.

Physical therapy normally begins the next day after the surgery. The exercises the physical therapist will be giving you help to strengthen the muscles around the new joint, assists in regaining your flexibility and motion.

If your surgeon is competent then joint replacement is a relatively safe surgery with overall low rates of complications and mortality. By following your doctor’s instructions and adhering to the physical therapists schedule of exercises you should come through this in much better health than when you went into it. However, there are possible problems that can happen.

In some instances, problems such as blood clotting, and/or infection, and/or a loosening of, and/or a dislocation of the new joint may occur. The latter occurs more frequently in a hip replacement rather than in the other joint replacements.

120616 Getting ready for a joint replacement-part two

According to the National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which is a part of the National Institute of Health, there are over 1 million Americans having a hip or knee replaced every year. Research, over the years, has found that even if you are older a joint replacement will increase your ability to move around with less pain.

The days leading to the surgery

Prior to your surgery, you will get a very thorough health questionnaire. In this questionnaire will be a multitude of questions concerning your present health status, including many of the following.

Your surgeon is going to want to know what type of medications you are taking, including any type of vitamins and herbal supplements. Some of these may interfere with your blood’s ability to clot. In fact, your doctor may want you to stop taking any drug such as warfarin or a supplement that has this effect on your blood. Some of the more common supplements are garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, and ginger.

The surgeon is also going to want to know about any allergies or earlier adverse reactions you may have had to certain drugs or anesthesia. As mentioned earlier, now is the time to notify the surgeon whether or not you have a tendency to be nauseous after surgery due to the anesthesia used.

Let them know if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COP), hepatitis, HIV or any other disease.

Now this just may be a quirk of mine but whenever I have had a surgery, I used a permanent marker and wrote near enough to the joint so the surgeon could read it but far enough away so it did not interfere with the surgical preparations or the surgery, these words:

  • On the non-affected joint, I wrote “NOT THIS ONE.”
  • On the joint to be operated on, I wrote “THIS ONE.”

Granted, this may seem odd but I don’t want to wake up after surgery and find out that the wrong joint has been operated on. Writing on my body prior to the surgery gives me a little bit of extra peace of mind and also lets the surgeon know which limb he or she is supposed to be operating on. They will ask you multiple times which limb will be operated on before you go under the anesthesia.

In your pre-surgery consultations with your surgeon, ask them if they have any suggestions concerning what you can do to prepare yourself physically for the surgery. Also, ask them what types of exercises you are going to be doing after surgery. If you are unfamiliar with any of these exercises, ask for a demonstration or speak to your physical therapist. It’s going to be a lot easier on you if you know how to do these exercises in a semi-healthy state rather than all stitched up after the surgery.

If you drink alcohol, don’t use any for at least 48 hours prior to your surgery.

One last reminder going into your surgery: If you smoke cut back, or better yet quit. Smoking alters patterns of the blood flow, which delays your healing process and will slow down your recovery from the surgery.

050616 Getting ready for a joint replacement-part one

050616 Getting ready for a joint replacement-part one

According to the National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which is a part of the National Institute of Health, there are over 1 million Americans having a hip or knee replaced every year. Research, over the years, has found that even if you are older a joint replacement will increase your ability to move around with less pain.

Even though these types of surgeries are becoming more common, there are still risks involved. You can reduce some of these risks, prior to your surgery, if you make the effort. A few short and sweet physical fitness guidelines lay along these lines: increase your cardiovascular endurance, strengthen the muscles around the joint and most important if you are overweight, lose weight and if you smoke cut back or quit.

As for the mental aspect of the upcoming surgery, you can prepare yourself for the surgery by devouring as much information as possible about the surgery, about what you can expect after the surgery and learning as much as possible about what you can do to make your recovery faster. Perhaps that last portion should read making your recovery easier.

Do both the physical and mental preparations simultaneously. For instance, as you are riding your stationary bicycle increasing your cardiovascular endurance you can be reading up on the surgery, you can be reading up on what to expect afterwards, and you can learn about the different modalities of recovery.

The more you know about getting better the easier and faster your recovery is going to be. Your prime goal during this entire ordeal will be to regain the full functionality of the affected joint. The recovery process is going to hurt. You must realize this point at the get go.

Too many people rely on too many drugs for too long, which in my opinion sets them back. Get off the pain medication as soon as possible and your rehabilitation will go quicker, you will be more mentally alert and more tuned into your body and the effect of the rehabilitation process on it.

When it comes to the point of deciding about having the surgery, don’t be shy about talking with your Doctor about it. Write your questions down before your appointment so you aren’t just going in blind.

Some of the questions you may have will be how long is the surgery going to last, what type of anesthesia is used to (if you have had surgeries in the past and you are nauseous in the recovery room, ask for anti-nausea medication during the anesthesia process. This, in itself, will help you get better sooner. It is hard to focus on recovery when you’re throwing up.

Your prior research into the surgery could reveal common complications, but just in case they didn’t, then ask your doctor about them. Find out how often they happen and what you can do to help prevent them.

If you’re concerned about the pain you going to be in afterwards ask how this can be mitigated. It has been my experience that if you do not have this conversation with the doctor then you are going to leave the hospital with enough pills to kill a horse.

Ask the surgeon how long you can expect to be in the recovery/rehab process. In addition to asking them how long you going to be in this recovery mode, find out what you can do to speed it up without damaging the joint. There is a fine line between speeding up and going too fast. If you cross this line, you can expect a setback in your rehab. A prior contact with your physical therapist will give you a good idea of what to anticipate.

Find out what your limitations are going to be after the surgery. In some cases, you may not be able to the subject the joint to heavy impacts such as skipping rope, running, or doing lower body plyometrics.

As you are making the decision about having the joint replacement surgery keep this in mind, there are no questions that are too trivial for you to ask if it means you are increasing your knowledge and awareness about this surgery.

180416 Exercising your arthritic knees

180416 Exercising your arthritic knees

There are more than 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions the most prevalent being osteoarthritis. The symptoms of the various rheumatic diseases include aching, pain, stiffness, and swelling in or around the involved joints.

Take a look at the following chart and see if you can detect the common thread in each disease.

Do you notice the trend? These four mentioned diseases, for the most part, result directly from a lack of exercise and poor eating habits. Both are changeable habits. Getting more to the point, some, if not all, of these painful conditions may be lessened with exercise, but it takes a change in your habits to start moving in the right direction.

Making the change in habits

Exercise and arthritis would seem to be a poor combination, however it turns out that the best thing you can do for your arthritic joints is to exercise them. The key here is to match the right exercise to your condition and to find your limits so you don’t overdo it but still do enough to benefit from the session.

Starting out with your exercise program

If you have not been consistently exercising because of your arthritis, it is a wise idea to discuss it with your physician. The two of you can then come up with mutually agreed-upon guidelines that will help you exercise in a safe manner and within healthy limits for your joint conditioning.

The first thing that comes many people’s minds when it comes exercising is jogging. However, if you have arthritic ankles, knees, or hips jogging is more than likely not going to be an exercise of choice for the simple reason is that it hurts. There are a variety of substitutions that can be made such as riding a stationary bicycle, using an elliptical trainer, and perhaps, depending on the treadmill, a treadmill. Water aerobics is also an option.

The right exercise or exercises will gradually help strengthen and thereby stabilize the joint. The stronger the ligaments, muscles, and tendons are surrounding the joint, the more stable this joint is going to be, which means less joint laxity and less pain with movement.

The most basic recommendation for choosing exercises is finding those that are low intensity and repetitive. These types of exercises do not overly stress the joint; they reduce the force placed across the joint and help preserve the integrity of the joint without causing pain during the movement.

281013 Increased belly fat raises your risk for heart disease and cancer

Increased belly fat raises your risk for heart disease and cancer

A study of 3000 Americans, recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on 10, July, concluded that those with excess belly fat had a greater risk of developing heart disease and cancer in comparison to those who had excess fat elsewhere on their body. These citizens, average age of fifty, were followed for seven years during the study.

During this time, ninety of them had some sort of a cardiovascular episode, one hundred and forty one were diagnosed with cancer, and there were seventy-one deaths out of the original 3000 participants. It is unknown what caused these deaths.

Belly fat, the fat surrounding the organs in the abdominal cavity, is associated with raising the risk of both heart disease and cancer. The researchers admitted that this study did not show a clear cause-and-effect but there are strong connections.

Belly fat is also often an issue found in those with the metabolic syndrome, which is a grouping of known risk factors for poor health such as unhealthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. Each of these puts one in jeopardy of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and a strokes.

Changing the diet and getting more exercise each day can have significant influences on these health conditions.

Risk factors that you can control toward keeping your heart healthy

• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• High triglycerides
• Diabetes
• Smoking
• Being over weight
• Alcohol consumption
• Excess stress
• Physical inactivity

You can take steps to mitigate each one of these if you have the mind to do so. Some may have to use various forms of medical interventions to help control their high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and diabetes. But the remainder, smoking, being overweight, alcohol consumption, excess stress and physical inactivity are squarely within your ability to change.

080713 More benefits of exercise

More benefits of exercise

Exercise has been cited as being beneficial for avoiding, lessening, and mitigating a vast array of diseases in the past. Now, new research is confirming even more of these exercise related benefits for those who choose to follow this path to better health.

According to a recent report from Duke University, working out directly affects your heart. You may reduce your risk of developing heart disease up to 25% by doing 750 minutes of high intense minutes each week. By doing 300 minutes of intense exercise you lower your risk of heart disease by 20% and exercising 150 minutes per week lowers the risk by 14%.

Despite scientific research and the medical expert’s advising exercise to manage the pain of arthritis, up to 90% of those with arthritis fail to meet even the standards of 150 minutes of exercise per week. Of this 90%, nearly half get no exercise at all. They are inactive.

Boost your memory with movement.

Aerobic exercise pushes the rate of circulation up and this helps to increase the flow of oxygen rich blood into your brain. A study of almost 300 older people found that of those who walked at least 72 blocks, about 4 miles and 880.0 yards, each week had more gray matter in their brain than those who did not walk or exercise each week. Those who were walking each day cut their risk in half of developing memory problems.

Achieve a calmer state of mind with exercise

Regular aerobic exercise tends to reduce an individual’s level of stress hormones, and decreases the amount of fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure when under duress. Some of the recommended ways of aerobically exercising are walking, running, swimming, biking, or any other activity that keeps your heart rate up and within the target range for up to 20-30 minutes a day.

Equally effective is resistance circuit training. This method involves doing a series of exercises without stopping for 3-6 times around a circuit-thus the name circuit training. It is most effective with the large muscle groups such as legs, chest, and back. As an example, when doing an intense lower body circuit, the series could look like this: do each exercise for 1 minute. Do this 3-6 times, if you are able.

• Skip rope
• Squats
• Skip rope
• Calve raises
• Skip rope
• Dead lifts
• Skip rope

Obviously, before beginning any of these exercise suggestions consult with your doctor.

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