Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Keeping Your Workouts Injury-Free

No matter how committed you are to get in shape, work out injuries may derail your healthful plans – healthy lifestyle living. There are different reasons why injuries happen. It could be that you are doing the wrong work out program. Or it maybe, you have the right program but you're actually doing it the wrong way or perhaps overdoing it.

To avoid workout injuries, try to follow these five basic steps:

1. Know Your Body's Limitations

While this may seem very basic, experts say it's often overlooked. It's about knowing what your weak areas are, and then avoiding the type of activities that are going to push hard on that weakened area. Those who have knee-problems should avoid using a stepper, a treadmill, or do leg presses, which can aggravate an already weakened knee. Better try a stationary bike or an elliptical machine, which does not cause any pounding on the knee joints.

On the other hand, if you have a bad back, avoid doing back stretches on stability ball. Those who have weak wrists should stay away from weight lifting. While people with hip problems may shun joining a spinning class.Acknowledging the weakest areas of your body will allow you to slowly build them up or help avoid the activities that stress them.

2. It's A Matter of Sex

Whether it's politically correct or not, experts say that gender plays a role in workout injuries. There are specific gender-related physiologic issues that can set men and women up for injuries when they do specific types of workouts.

This doesn't mean avoiding certain activities, but taking a few precautions. Generally, men function better in activities requiring a rigid plane of motion like weight lifting in a restricted format, push-ups, Nautilus machines, etc. Women, who have certain flexibility issues, do better at activities requiring multiple or diagonal planes of motion, like Pilates, yoga, a stair stepper, or spinning. In these activities, most men are more likely to be injured. Women, likewise, should exert greater care when participating in activities requiring quick “twist and turn” leg motions, such as skiing, basketball, and racquet sports.

During menstrual cycle, women are more prone to fitness injuries since hormones can increase the looseness of the joints and make injury more likely to occur.

3. Train With A PRO.

Taking a few lessons with a certified trainer will help ensure that your body is in proper alignment while you're working out, which can go a long way in protecting you from exercise injuries. An expert advice can also keep you from doing the wrong workouts for your body type and help you moderate your routines to avoid doing too much, too soon.

A professional trainer will aid in the appropriate progression of exercises, weights, and rest periods. The right program will allow muscles to heal properly, which in turn helps avoid some of the more common injuries.

4. Warm Up and Slow down

You are less likely to get injured if you warm up before every workout and slowly build the pace over time. It helps the muscles so they are less likely to be injured, and the pacing is just the commonsense way to avoid injury.If you're new to weight training, start with weights you can lift for 8-12 reps, and do no more than three sets. When that gets easy, increase the weight by just 2% (and no more than 10%) at your next session. Do not overestimate your strength. It may lead to improper technique and recruitment of auxiliary muscles, which means, a higher risk of injury.

5. Variation And Rest

Perfecting your program by doing it over and over again can also set you up for a workout injury. It can overuse the muscle and may lead to repetitive use injuries, such as shin splints, tendinitis, and never-ending muscle soreness.

Varying your workout can solve the problem. If you're running on a treadmill one day, you can lift weights the next day.
Rest between workouts is also important. Tired muscles are an invitation to injury, so give yourself adequate time to rest and recover. Keep a small injury from becoming worse by resting the sore muscle.

Monday, July 14, 2008

On Skipping Meals and Regaining Weight

Whether due to your busy schedule or because you are trying to lose weight, skipping meals and the amount of food you eat on your next meal can affect your overall

Based on studies about fasting, the effects on obese people have been shown to have significant metabolic benefits. In animal studies, intermittent feeding and fasting reduces the incidence of diabetes and improves certain indicators of cardiovascular health. However, several observational studies and short-term experiments have suggested that there is a link between meal-skipping and poor health.
A recent study, conducted by The National Institute on Aging, involved men and women in their 40s who are healthy and are within the normal weight range for their ages. They were given three meals a day for two months. Then, for the next two months, they skipped two meals but ate the same number of calories in one evening meal, consumed between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The results show that skipping meals during the day and eating one large meal in the evening could cause potentially risky metabolic changes. The meal skippers had elevated fasting glucose levels and a delayed insulin response — conditions that, if allowed to persist over the long-term, could lead to diabetes.

However, based on a previous study, the medical community had come to believe that skipping meals every other day could actually improve a patient’s health. Overweight adults with mild asthma were given normal meals one day, followed by a day of severely restricted eating, when they ate less than 20% of their normal caloric intake, or about 400 or 500 calories a day – the equivalent of about one meal. Nine out of the ten participants in the study were able to stick to the eating plan.
After two months of the alternate-day dieting pattern, the dieters lost an average of 8% of their body weight, and their asthma-related symptoms had improved. They had lower cholesterol and triglycerides, “striking” reductions in markers of oxidative stress, and increased levels of the antioxidant uric acid. Markers of inflammation were also significantly lower.

Based on the more recent meal-skipping study, the authors concluded that skipping meals as part of a controlled eating plan results in lower calorie intake and may lead to better health. On the other hand, skipping meals during the day and then overeating at the evening meal results in harmful metabolic changes within the body.
When it comes to keeping off the lost weight from coming back, another study shows that having contact with a weight-loss counselor is favorable.

The study shows just how difficult it is for dieters to keep lost weight from coming back. With 1,685 overweight or obese adults who weigh an average of 213 pounds were found to be successful in losing weight. Statistics show an average weight loss after six months of 18.7 pounds.
The second phase of the study had about 1,000 people who lost 9 pounds as participants. Some used an Internet-based weight counseling tool, while others had regular personal contact with a weight-loss counselor. A third group received basic instruction on maintaining weight loss, and those participants were instructed to keep the weight off on their own.

After more than 2 years, almost everyone had gained back some of their weight they had lost. The people who tried to maintain their weight on their own fared the worst, with an average of 12.1 pounds regained. Those who used the Internet counseling tool gained back 11.5 pounds. However, those people who took part in the personal contact group gained back the least — with only 8.8 pounds on average.
At the end of the study, more than 45 percent of those who had received counseling were still maintaining at least 9 pounds of weight loss, an amount with clear clinical benefits, they noted.
Related Posts with Thumbnails