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Muscle Health

core strength

Core Strength, why is it so important?

Most people think of your abdominal muscles when they hear someone say to strengthen your core. But the Core includes muscles in the pelvis, low back, hips, and abdomen. They all work together to stabilize your body so that you can do sport activies or everyday tasks.

So what does the core do? The core muscles are responsible for stabilizing the spine by creating stiffness that limits excessive movement in any direction. So therefore when you move laterally is will limit this movement to guard the spine which holds your spinal core.

To ensure a safe effective workout it is important to strengthen the core so that when your body goes to reach for a box off the ground, perform dead lifts, or run after your dog you will be keeping your spine safe. Research shows that humans with a higher core stablity have a lower risk of injury.

Deadlifts, bridges, wood chops, planks, and crunhes are all way to build your core strength. Adding these exercises to your workout can help you prevent injury, build muscle, and keep your spine supported.

healthy balance

Lies, Myths, and Misconceptions About Weight Loss

shutterstock_542830963When it comes to losing weight there are so many opinions out there that most people have no clue where to start, so let us break down a few of these myths and explain why its easier to gain weight than to lose it.  Because there are certainly right ways and wrong ways to doing it.

Myth #1:  You bulk up when you lift weights.

For most of my female clients the first thing they say is that they do not want to lift any heavy weights because they fear they will bulk up. First of all, lifting weights will help you build lean muscle which will help reduce the amount of fat you carry around so essentially a little bit of muscle tone is not going to hurt you. Secondly, muscles dramatically increase in size when testosterone is present and most females don’t make a large amount of testosterone. So unlike males you will not see a lot of bulky muscle tone.

Myth #2: You can spot reduce fat loss.

The reality is you are born with the amount of fat cells that you will carry the rest of your life. Therefore, simply put, your body puts them where they will live. Period. It is your job to eat a healthy diet and exercise to help reduce the size of the fat cells. It won’t happen in one specific area that you target but will be an overall total body fat loss.

Myth #3: I can do just cardio exercises to lose weight.

You might love running or jumping on the elliptical at your local gym, but you will have to add strength training to help you lose weight. Yes, cardio exercise helps give you a calorie deficit for the day, but since having lean muscle will help you burn more calories while at rest you will need to do strength training along with cardio exercise to lose weight or reduce fat cells.

These are just a few myths our clients face when trying to lose weight.  Don’t forget food choices and activity outside of the gym play a huge role as well.

back pain

Muscle Soreness: What causes it and how to manage.

Did you just start a new workout routine? Or did you push yourself harder during your last workout? We’ve all done it. In about 24-48 hours you’ll probably feel some soreness in your muscles because you stressed them beyond their normal activity.  This is totally normal and your body’s reaction to the small micro tears that happen in the muscle and need repair so the muscle can become stronger.  This can begin immediately or be delayed. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is slightly more painful and must be treated a little differently, but general soreness is only temporary and can be easily treated.

To prevent and treat muscle soreness:

1. Stay Active: keeping the blood flowing to your muscles helps the healing process move a little quicker.

2. Drink Water: moving fluids through your system will help flush out all the toxins, latic acid, and enzymes that have been sent to repair your muscle fibers.

3. Schedule a massage: massage has been proven to help muscle soreness if you can are not in to much pain.

4. Pack in the nutrients: eating your protein, fruits, and veggies can help your muslce rebuild.

5. Stretch: providing more oxygen to your muscle by doing some yoga, pilates, or even some gentle stretching can help reduce your muscle soreness.

In the end, soreness is not a bad thing. It’s your muscles communicating that they are building to get stronger. But you only have one body, so take care of your muscles so they can continue to work harder during your next workout.

lower back pain

How exercise can help with low back pain

Exercise is important in many ways but one important reason to exercise is to help prevent and recovery from low back pain. According to research performed by Freburger in the journal of Int Med, low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in the US and 80% of adults will experience low back pain at some point in their life. But there are many ways we can prevent this from happening.

The spine itself can only support 35 lbs of weights so it relies on our muscles to hold our weight. Therefore when those muscles are weak then we damage the joints, discs, and bones that cause further injury. Having strong core musculature can help prevent this from happening. Your core muscles include your pelvic floor muscles, transverse abdominus (lower abdominals), multifidis (back), internal and exernal obliques, rectus abdominus, erector spinea, and your diaphram. Without these muscles you would not be able to do the common tasks of daily living.

There are many ways to avoid low back pain including exercise, stretching, strengthening, eating right, maintaining proper posture, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding heavy lifting without proper form. Here are a few exercises you can do to strengthen your core.

If you do have low back pain there are a few things you can do to improve this. First seek medical attention if you feel like this is beyond your control or if you have nerve involvement (numbness and tingling). Other things you can do include:

  • use ice and heat
  • avoiding rest
  • stay active
  • stay hydrated
  • stretch
  • strengthen

The best way to prevent and treat any type of back pain is to exercise regularly and eat a healthy balanced diet. You only get one back so you might want to treat it likes it your only one you will ever get.