Motion Monday is here! This simple abdominal exercise is a great starter to a core strengthening program to help with daily functional activities.
Doing squats is for more than just building strong leg muscles and having a nice backside. Doing them properly and consistently provides many additional health benefits for the whole body. Deep squats are a natural movement for us as children, but as we grow and mature we tend to utilize this position less and less. This in turn creates a reduced amount of strength, mobility and flexibility. Even beyond the lower body, deep squats help with overall core and upper body conditioning, so these areas are affected as well. The deep squat is considered a compound exercise, where it utilizes multiple muscle groups to complete the movement. It is one of the best all-inclusive exercises one can perform to help gain strength, balance, flexibility and prevent injuries. Click the photo below for five of the top reasons to squat deep and how it helps in these areas.
5 Reasons to Full Squat
By James Speck
As children, we never thought twice about balance; playing all sorts of games that challenged and actually improved our balance; it was just fun. Who could hop on one leg the longest or walk the furthest on a curb without falling are a couple that come to mind. Unfortunately, as we age our motor functions decrease, our sense of limb movement and position lessens and we experience changes in our vision and vestibular system that together affect our sense of stability and steadiness. Unless you’re consistently involved in an activity or sport where your balance is stressed, you are more at risk for injuries and falls in your elder years. So, this is a case of use it or lose it!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 18,000 deaths and 450,000 hospitalizations among those over 65 are due to falls. Many are the result of diminishing balance. Fortunately, even as we age, balance can be improved with proper training. Evidence has shown the fall rate may be reduced by 50% when strength and balance activities are part of an exercise program.
With loss of balance, there is an increased fear that a fall will occur and this can lead to greater inactivity. Physical Therapy can help address this by progressively challenging an individual with specific activities to improve balance. Initially, the therapist will conduct an assessment of one’s balance with specific tests. A program is then specifically designed based on the results of these tests and an individual’s precise needs. A strengthening program is always included and the combination will help increase the patient’s confidence and lessen the fear of falling. A Physical Therapist is specifically trained to create and progress someone through a program like this and will monitor and modify the routine as improvements occur.
There are many ways to maintain and even improve your balance without equipment. You can start at home by standing with your feet side-by-side. If this is too easy, stand on one leg. Incorporate this position into exercises, brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, etc. When starting, make sure you have something to grab onto if you become unsteady. Remember; consult with your doctor or physical therapist if you have concerns about your balance.
Running definitely holds many great benefits for the body and mind; such as aiding in weight loss or with weight management and it’s a great source to help alleviate stress. But, just like anything else, too much of a good thing, may not actually be all that good for you. Overtraining or doing too much can lead to injuries that can impact your progression or halt your running all together.
Being a woman adds several risk factors that you need to be more aware of so you can take the proper precautions and reduce your risk for injury. Having wider hips than men opens the door for hip and knee pain or not having the right sports bra may cause issues. Females are also more likely to have asthma or GI issues that can affect a running regimen. Click the photo below for tips on how to prevent problems due to these and other female traits that may slow you down.
The Owner’s Manual For The Female Runner
The holidays have come and gone, decorations are down and we’re back on track with our regular routines. But, there are those who have committed themselves to a better and healthier lifestyle for 2014 and have added working out to their schedules. The great thing is that once you begin a training regimen and stick with it, the benefits will take you way beyond 2014!
If you are new to exercising, you want to be sure you are shown the proper form for exercises, as well as the correct way to use the machines in the gym which can look very intimidating for a newbie. If you just joined a gym, most will offer a session with one of their trainers to show you the ropes. Some will even offer to set you up with a program to follow. If not and you’re not sure what to do, it is worth the investment for at least one session to get you started properly. The last thing you want is to injure yourself at the start and not only delay your progress, but possibly discourage yourself from moving forward and continuing with the commitment you made to yourself.
Dr. Hooman Melamed, an orthopedic spine surgeon and Director of Scoliosis at Marina del Rey Hospital in California, offers some helpful tips on common exercises to help keep you injury-free and on the move! Something as simple as proper breathing will keep you in control. Click the photo below for more of Dr. Melamed’s guidelines for staying injury-free.