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Self Myofascial Release

1 Jul

Myofascial release is a great way loosen tight muscles and alleviate muscle pain. The use of foam rollers, sticks, and balls can help restore muscle function. What is myofascial release?

  • A technique of applying pressure to myofascial connective tissue to relieve pain and restore function.

I am a big fan of using foam rollers to ease tight muscles. In the past 9 months I have been working, interning, and going to grad school, so I have had less time to dedicate to stretching and using my traditional foam roll. I used to stretch and roll every night before going to bed. Since I haven’t had time for that, I noticed my muscles are much tighter than they used to be and it has negatively impacted my exercise performance. I decided to get a rumble roller which gets deeper in to muscle and connective tissue, in order to get my muscles back to where they were before. Pictured below are a traditional foam roll and a rumble roller.

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  Traditional foam rollers with smooth surfaces compress soft tissue as you roll on them. This improves blood flow and tissue flexibility. There are now rollers available that have uneven surfaces that work like a deep tissue massage. The bumps knead and stretch soft tissue. This helps to breakdown knots, which restores flexibility and relieves muscle pain. Using the rumble roller has definitely been a new experience. I have only used it a few times but I can already feel the difference. There are may products available, do your research to find out which myofascial release tool is right for you. Myofascial release tips

  • Start slow breaking down soft tissue is a gradual process.
  • Keep muscles relaxed as you roll.
  • Move slowly, rolling back and forth quickly is not as effective.
  • When you find a painful point stay there for a few seconds to release this spot.
  • It can be painful, but stick with it! As you do it more your muscles will become more supple and it will hurt less.

 

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Yoga

12 Nov

Yoga is one of my favorite forms of exercise. It has many benefits and is a great compliment to strength and cardiovascular training. There are also many types of yoga, providing something for everyone.

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I have been practicing yoga for the past 8 years with power yoga being my method of choice. I love it because it engages your mind, body, and spirit and never fails to make me feel great or put me in a better mood. When practicing it is one of the only times I am able to fully clear my mind and let go of every thought.

Benefits of Yoga

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased strength
  • Improved posture
  • Improved lung capacity
  • Stress reduction

Types of Yoga-these are just a few, there are many more

  • Hatha- The foundation of all yoga styles. It incorporates postures, breathing, and meditation.
  • Bikram- Practiced in a heated room, which promotes flexibility, detoxification, and the prevention of injuries.
  • Kundalini- Thought to be the yoga of awareness it focuses on the breath and movement to awaken the energy at the base of the spine to travel up through the 7 chakras.
  • Power- A faster paced practice where one pose flows in to the next, creating an aerobic workout.
  • Restorative- A method to passively let muscles relax buy using/lying on blocks, blankets, and bolsters

As with all activities there is the risk of injury when practicing yoga. It is important to listen to your body and know your own limitations to prevent injury when doing physical activity. In yoga there is the potential to over stretch or strain muscles.  Also if you have a preexisting condition such as severe osteoporosis or are pregnant consulting your doctor before beginning a yoga practice is advised.

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NAMASTE

Winter Hydration

30 Oct

During fall and winter we do not have as many cues for hydration. When the temperature drops we do not sweat as much or feel thirsty as often compared to when it is warm. We also lose more water due to respiratory fluid loss through breathing. When exercising our bodies are working hard and sweat evaporates quickly in cold dry air. All of these factors make it easy for someone to become dehydrated.

Deniz-water-hydration-tips

Tips for staying hydrated this winter:

  • Carry a refillable water bottle with you
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol-which act as diuretics
  • Drink warm beverages-warm lemon water or herbal tea will also help keep you warm
  • Drink water before, during, and after exercise-dehydration can negatively effect performance
    • Depending on the activity have a sports drink to replace electrolytes
  • Monitor the quantity and color of you urine
  • Good fluid sources include water, sports drinks, soups, fruits and vegetables (whole or juiced)

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HIIT

3 Oct

Interval training has multiple functions depending on what you are trying to accomplish, such as improving V02 max, speed, or increasing energy expenditure. Interval training is a combination of intense and moderate periods of exercise. By utilizing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) someone can improve glucose metabolism and fat burning, HIIT is also great for performing large amounts of exercise in a short period of time.

The rational behind this is that you are engaging in aerobic and anaerobic exercise, recruiting both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. This causes muscles to adapt by enhancing fat oxidation and improving glucose tolerance.

Things to consider when planning a HIIT session:

  • Length of the work interval (distance to be covered during the work effort)
  • Intensity of the effort (monitor using heart rate)
  • Duration of the rest interval (should be at least as long as the work interval)
  • Number of interval sets (the number of work efforts performed as a unit)
  • The number of work repetitions (the number of work intervals with in one set i.e. 3 x 400 meters is one set and you do this 5 times)

Do a 10 second heart rate count upon completion of the work interval. 10 second heart rate count x 6 = heart rate/minute. During interval training heart rate should reach 85-100% maximal heart rate. Also heart rate should drop about 120 beats/min near the end of the rest interval.

In untrained athletes it is best to start with a work:rest ratio of 1:3 or 1:2 and work your way up to 1:1.

Sample treadmill workout using 1:2 ratio

Warm up: 10 minute jog

Work interval 30 seconds-fast paced run/sprint

Rest interval 1 minute-moderate to fast paced walk

That represents 1 set. Repeat this 10-15 more times, 11-16 total repetitions.

Cool down 5 minute jog/walk

HIIT is a great way to burn calories and increase your athletic performance.  Add it to your routine 2 days/wk, start slow and work your way up to 1:1 ratio.

HIIT can be done in the gym or outside; you can swim, bike, run, lift weights, or circuit train and incorporate HIIT principles to achieve your desired results.

*Remember to refuel with complex carbohydrates and protein to replenish and repair those hard working muscles!

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Downhill Running Technique

28 Aug

If you are like me, you love to run, despite the wear and tear it can put on your body. In this post I am going to highlight downhill running technique. Utilizing the proper technique can minimize the impact on joints and help prevent injury.

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When running downhill

  • Lean slightly forward keeping your body perpendicular to the ground.
  • Land on the balls of your feet with your knees bent. This will reduce impact on the knees.
  • Take quick steps minimizing contact with the ground.
  • Shorten your stride. This will help you to stay in control.
  • Engage your core to help with stability.

Gym Jams-Cardio Edition

20 Aug

These are some of my favorite songs to listen to when doing cardio.

1. No Surrender-Bone Thugs N Harmony

2. Deceptacon-Le Tigre

3. BYOB-System Of A Down

4. Break Ya Neck-Busta Rhymes

5. Krack-Soulwax

6. Greyhound-Swedish House Mafia

7. Hollaback Girl-Gwen Stefani

8. Get In To The Groove-Madonna

9. Don’t Stop Movin’-Kid Sister

10. Sweat-Snoop Dogg (David Guetta Remix)

11. Atom-Nari & Milani

12. Kryptonite-Big Boi

13. Call Me A Spaceman-Hardwell

14. Rock That Body-Black Eyed Peas

15. Bring Em Out-T.I.

16. Revolver- Madonna (David Guetta Remix)

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Raise your heart rate and drip sweat!

 

A Healthy Diet While On Vacation

31 Jul

Today I have a guest author for this post. Cole Mill wrote a great guide for maintaining your healthy lifestyle while on vacation. What follows are tips for keeping your diet on  track, while still enjoying your trip.

Whether it is the call of the glorious sunshine on a distant beach, or the allure of endless shopping adventures in an exotic city, vacations recharge the soul. Yet holidays do come with some side effects. Besides the dreaded workout the credit card can endure, eating healthy is not always easy when traveling with your family. You work all year so that you will look stunning in your swimwear; the last thing you want is to unravel all your hard work. Here are some tips to help avoid packing on the pounds during your next vacation.

Healthy Eating

Flying

If you are flying across the globe it is wise to check out the menus offered by the airline. Most companies offer this information online and they allow you to make dietary requests. However, short flights may not offer this service, so have a nutritious meal before the flight to avoid making poor choices. Another tip is to travel with protein bars/drinks, almonds, fresh fruit or other healthy snacks.  During layovers, walk the restaurant areas at the terminal and find good, healthy options such as salads and baked chicken or even fruit cups. Taking the time to walk around will not only help find better choices, but it is a good way to get the blood circulating in your legs.

At the Hotel                                                                        

When you arrive at your hotel, limit your exposure to temptations. Refusing the key to the mini-bar is one way you can prevent sudden urges for sweet or salty snacks. Your credit card will thank you too. Take a few moments to find a nearby health store or market. Stocking up on a variety of healthy snacks will make it easier for you to stay on track. Walking to the store is a good way to combat jet lag too. Instant soups or oatmeal are very easy to prepare with hot water from a coffee maker. If you feel the need to order room service, most hotels will be happy to accommodate your healthy choices, so be very specific about your order.

Continental Breakfast

Continental Breakfasts can be great for healthy eating or terrible depending how you approach them. Stay away from the high sugar items like cereals and muffins. Eat as much fruit as you want. Choose low-fat yogurt, oatmeal and even hard-boiled eggs. And when possible, try to choose whole grain varieties of breads and bagels. These options are full of dietary fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates that will keep you full and feeling great.

Finding Healthy Restaurants

Most restaurants have their menus online, so make the effort to explore what they offer. Plan your meal before you go so that you can avoid temptation.  Decide on your meal before you sit down and decline the menu when offered.  In addition, share meals, order off the lunch menus and don’t feel like you have to finish a meal just because that is what is served.  It’s often tempting because taking leftovers is not always an option.  Leave the extra food on your plate so that it is not ultimately on your waist. I have found reading reviews from other travelers to be extremely helpful in that they provide unbiased and honest opinions. I recently scoured the Internet and found a great site called Gogobot that helped me find a health conscious hotel as well as restaurants in Sin City. I pulled up a list of reviews for Las Vegas hotels regarding their services as well as the restaurants in the area. A tool like this allows you to maintain your healthy lifestyle by avoiding the ever so tempting buffets. Avoiding the  “all-you-can-eat” establishments is crucial. Fish restaurants and salad bars offer a range of healthy options. A small snack such as an apple, before going out to eat will help you to push away the breadbasket.

Reading Menus

Learning how to decipher the riddle of menu-speak will have you avoiding diet trap. Look for high-fiber, multigrain, and whole wheat breads to determine the healthy options at restaurants. Choose lean cuts of meat that are baked, boiled, grilled or roasted. Look for fresh salads that come with vinaigrette dressings. Vegetables should be steamed or stir-fired.  Light or reduced sauces are a better option for sauces or gravies.  By all means avoid battered or deep-fried foods. Do not opt for creamy or enriched sauces and be careful with cheeses and stuffed items.

It is easy to become swept up in the excitement of the vacation. But by taking care of your body, you will not only look good, you will continue to feel great. Downloading a calorie tracker for your phone can help you keep a watchful eye on your diet. Drink plenty of water, watch your alcohol consumption and eat good nutritious meals. Your post-vacation body will be thankful for all your efforts.

Enjoy your vacation!  Stay active and make the vacation about the company, sites and activities, instead of the food.

Visit Cole’s blog for more information on staying healthy!

http://colemill.blogspot.com/