Fascia, the new fitness focus.

2 Jan

Fascia is a systemic net of connective tissue an extra-cellular matrix (ECM), which includes everything in your body that isn’t cellular. It’s a web that wraps your muscle and attaches to the bone. Its also found in internal structures, the viscera etc.

Remodeling and Tensegrity

Just as your muscles remodel themselves in response to training, the fascia remodels itself in response to direct signaling from the cells ; injury; long-held mechanical forces; use patterns; gravity; and certain chemistry within your body

The idea of tensegrity (tension and integrity) and the phenomenon of remodeling are the basis for structural therapy, including yoga and the forms of soft tissue manual therapy, including foam rolling. Change the demand and the fascial system responds to that new demand.

How to Train the Fascia

1.      Specific training can enhance the fascial elasticity

What’s in: Plyometrics: Make use of elasticity of the muscle

Jump drills:  When you land on the ball of your foot, you decelerate and accelerate in such a way that you not only make use of but actually build elasticity into the tendons and entire fascial system.

Stretch – Shorten Fascia:  : Preparing for a movement by making a countermovement—for example, winding up before a pitch makes maximum use of the power of fascial elasticity to help make and smooth out the movement.

2: The fascial system responds better to variation than to a repetitive program.

The evidence suggests that the fascial system is better trained by a wide variety of vectors—in angle, tempo and load

What’s in

Whole-Body Movements. Engaging whole-body movements is the better way to train the fascial system. Every exercise is stimulating multiple nerves, involving multiple muscles and employing fascial tissues all around the site of effort, as well as “upstream” and “downstream” from it.

Proximal Initiation. It’s best to start movements with a dynamic pre-stretch (distal extension) but accompany this with a proximal initiation in the desired direction, letting the more distal parts of the body follow in sequence, like an elastic pendulum. Imagine Throwing.

Adaptive Movement. Complex movement requiring adaptation.

Variable loads build different aspects of the fascia. Sticking with near-limit loads will strengthen some ligaments but weaken others. Varying the load is the better way.

Varying the tempo of your training allows different fascial structures to build strength and elasticity.

3: Proprioception and kinesthesia are primarily fascial, not muscular.

What’s in:

Skin and Soft Tissue Stimulation Enhance Proprioception. Rubbing / foam rolling and moving the skin and surface tissues is important to enhance fascial proprioception.we have seen our ancient wrestlers and kabaddi players rubbing some sand and tapping the muscle before performance.

Feel the Fascial Tissues. Focusing on multiple joint/fascia stretch in a yoga pose can help prevent injury and make the perception of kinesthesia more accurate and fully informed, rather than focusing on an isolated muscle stretch.

Shift from ligaments to Joint-Receptor for stability. Given that the ligaments are often tensed by the muscles, the emphasis on joint receptors for joint position sense, co-ordination and balance with a more general attention to the whole area, from the skin on down to the joint.

A deeper understanding of the role of fascia in training changes your perspective, your work, your words and your effect. Fascia is not just a sling or a wrap. It has a life of its own!!

4. Stretch as a Whole

What’s in

Fascia is a wholistic structure, not starts from one joint and finishes in the next like the muscle. Stretching the biceps or quadriceps alone are not the way ahead.

Stretch your body as a whole, your posterior chain of muscles, anterior, lateral, spiral chain etc.,

Isolated muscle stretches are out and wholistic stretches like yoga, taichi, gymnastic (ballistic) stretches are in!!

 

Eat Mindfully…

28 Dec

Eat Mindfully

When you are mindful you are fully present, in-the-moment without judgment. When it comes to eating, mindfulness helps increase the volume of your body’s cues so you can hear loud and clear when you are hungry and full. Many social and environmental factors can stand in the way of being able to accurately decode your body’s feedback. Mindfulness helps you break free from routine eating habits by examining the thoughts ,  feelings and internal pressures that affect how and why you eat (or don’t eat).

Shift out of Routine Eating  :

What did you have for breakfast? Be honest. Many people eat the same thing day in and day out. Notice whether you are stuck in any kind of rut or routine.

Take Mindful Bites :

Did you ever eat an entire plate of food and not taste one single bite? Bring all of your senses to the dinner table. Breathe in the aroma of a dish . Notice the texture on your tongue. Truly taste your meal. Experience each bite from start to finish.

Attentive Eating:

Sure, you’re busy and have a lot “on your plate.” It’s hard to make eating a priority rather than an option or side task. If you get the urge for a snack while doing your homework or studying, stop and take a break so that you can give eating 100% of your attention. Try to avoid multitasking while you eat. When you eat, just eat.

 

Gauge your hunger :

How hungry am I on a scale of one to ten? Gauging your hunger level is a little like taking your temperature. Each time you eat, ask yourself, “Am I physically hungry?” Aim to eat until you are satisfied, leaving yourself neither stuffed nor starving.

Emotional eating  :

Just because you think, doesn’t mean you have to act on them or let them sway your emotions. Negative thoughts can trigger overeating or stop you from adequately feeding your hunger. Remember: A thought is just a thought, not a fact.

Mindful Eating Support :

Friends provide an enormous amount of support, but often it’s helpful to obtain assistance or a second opinion from a trained professional. 

Walk Jog Run Sprint!!!

16 Oct

Increasing interest with running marathons, whether full, half 5k or 3k has opened a serious of discussions on technique, training, shoes, injuries etc. There are so many doubts in an avid runner on how to go about it. Most runners are recreational runners / joggers whose objective is to keep fit, healthy and stress free.

Health Fitness & Medical Screening:

This should be the first step any novice runner should embark on before starting the physical activity. If you are a male and above 40 and not used to vigorous form of exercise or activity, it’s

a wise option to undergo the medical screen & clearance with a physician’s consultation.The next step is to meet a Health & Fitness Specialist or a Sports Physiotherapist and get

evaluated on your Cardio vascular fitness, muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and body composition. A good posture evaluation to find out if you have any bio mechanical faults (like,

flat foot, knock knees, etc) soft tissue tightness, preexisting injuries, if any  and based on the findings she/he may advice you on a corrective exercise program, which can help you to enhance

performance and prevent injuries. Get your running mechanics evaluated.

Shoes & Terrain:

Investing on a good pair of shoes is of paramount importance. Shoes with good cushioning, toe room and arch support are things to look for in a shoe. It’s also important to pick up the shoe in

the evening when the toes are little expanded. Remember to change your shoes roughly after every 500kms of use.

Hard surfaces give you a push or bounce to run, with more impact, softer surfaces like the lawns, beach sand might offer less impact, but increases the muscle force or activity. So choose

a firm running surface like the running tracks, level grounds or good treadmills to train. Running up hill and downhill , cross country will enhance your fitness, but also will cause

injuries. If you are running out doors, be aware of the environment.

The FIT principle of training:

How often, how long and how intense should you train? It is the frequency, Intensity and the duration principle. If you are doing a less duration (less than 60mins) and low intensity (walk-

jog speed) you need lesser recover time and hence can train 5-6 days a week. If you are training at a high intensity (say running or sprinting) or longer duration (70 minutes

or more) you need longer recovery time and hence 2-3 times a week, not on subsequent days is advisable. You can however cross train those days with swimming, cycling or yoga.

Always start slowly and build gradually, giving time for the tissues to adapt. When you can walk or jog without going out of breath, you can progress to running!

Always warm up before the training, if you are planning to jog, a brisk walk for 5-10minutes would be a good option, followed by stretches of the muscle groups that are going to be in

action, obviously your calf, thighs back and shoulders. Do the same for a cool down.

Types of Training:

There are different types of training, the common ones are continuous training (steady speed through out), interval training ( 3 minutes run and 2 minute walk ), cross country (different

terrains) and fartlek training, which blends the continuous and interval training. If you are someone beginning to jog use the interval training and progress to continuous mode after

gradually increasing your percentage of jog.

Strength & Flexibility:

A 2 to 3 days a week of strength training on non-subsequent days to strengthen the core amd legs with moderate intensity with 8 to 12 repetitions, 2 sets for each major muscle groups

will be ideal.

Flexibility exercises like yoga or sports stretches can be done for 20-30minutes for the major muscle groups with 15 seconds hold for each, without breath holding, 2 sets each will be good.

Add to that the foam roller for glutes, hamstrings, IT band and calf muscles and foot.

Running Injuries & How to handle them!

Injuries happen, if you try and progress too quickly, if your frequency, intensity and duration are high, if you have poor strength and flexibility, improper foot wear, poor running mechanics

and bio mechanics, and other external factors, like fall etc.

Remember RICE; Rest from activities that cause pain, Ice for 15-20mins 3-4 times a day (if not more often), Compression in case of swelling with elastic bandage and elevation above heart

level, in case of swelling.

The common running injuries are mostly because of overuse. Stress fractures of the metatarsals, plantar fasciitis, runners knee, muscle strain,, Achilles tendinitis, groin pulls, low

back ache etc.,

Hydration & Nutrition:

Remember to hydrate well, with water or isotonic solution. There are various ORS drinks available in the market, to prevent cramps and to fuel. Carbs are the fuel for any endurance

activity, so make sure your carbs are not depleted, by vigorous training the previous days. On the day of the run have enough carbs and depending on the distance have a moderate or

low glycemic index fruit or snack 30 minute before the run.

Happy running!!

Sweat!!!

13 Oct

Sweating is the production of a clear, salty fluid secreted by millions of eccrine or sweat

glands in the skin which are located all over the body. Sweat is comprised mostly of

water, but also contains a tiny amount of electrolytes (e.g., sodium, chloride, potassium,

magnesium) and urea, a colourless nitrogen-containing substance also found in the urine.

Even though people have about the same number of sweat glands, the amount of sweat

differs among individuals. How much sweat released by each gland is determined

by several factors, including age, gender, environmental conditions and a person’s

acclimatization to them, and, pertinent to this discussion, fitness level. Of all the official

rules and guidelines set for prescribing exercise and ensuring a training response, the

principle of perspiration or “sweat” response is hardly ever mentioned. So, it is not

surprising that many exercisers and exercise professionals ignore, take for granted, or

do not recognize the importance of breaking a sweat during exercise sessions. On the

contrary, sweat response should be considered as one of the major training responses to

watch for. Why? The major function of sweating is to keep the body’s core temperature

at a safe level. Exercising turns up your body’s internal heating system. While you pump

your arms and legs, your body temperature rises and millions of those tiny sweat glands

are activated and sweat is released. As your sweat evaporates, it cools you off. Sweating

is your body’s built-in cooling system–it is your body’s way of getting rid of that extra

heat. In general, as a person’s aerobic fitness level increases, so does his/her ability to

sweat. That means, as a person’s exercise capacity improves, sweating begins earlier in

the exercise session and increases in the overall volume of sweat. The body is simply

becoming acclimatized and more efficient at cooling.

During moderate intensity exercise, sweat losses can average up to 2 L of water per hour.

You need to stay hydrated during exercise for this very reason. Without an adequate

supply of water, your body cannot sweat and your internal temperature will be too high

for you to workout normally, putting you at risk of heat exhaustion or worse. Remember

to drink more water when humidity is high—sweat evaporates more slowly on humid

days when the air is already saturated with moisture.

Side note: Usually, sweat from exercise has no odor, but increased nitrogen in sweat can

have a “sour” smell. An increase in nitrogen can be due to

1) ingesting more protein thanis being utilized for building muscle tissue and maintaining important body functions

(usually seen in high-protein diets),

2) fasting or very low calorie diets–the body breaks down its own muscle to supply needed nitrogen to maintain important functions, and

3) muscle-wasting diseases.

 

 

 

So, next time you exercise, make a mental note of when you begin to sweat. If you are

not sweating at all, you need to increase your intensity. Talk to your trainer to work out a

plan to start sweating.

 

Dr. Sheri Melton, PhD is Professor, Assistant Chair &

Coordinator of Graduate Studies, Exercise Science Division.

Department of Kinesiology, West Chester University,

West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA. She is also an American College of Sports

Medicine (ACSM). Certified Exercise Specialist and a Fulbright-Nehru Scholor.

She is a renowned researcher and scholar in the field of exercise science.

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect 5 Step Warm Up

4 Sep

Although it’s often neglected, the warm up is a quick and easy safeguard from any injury. The perfect warmup has five elements that are essential to maximize the benefits from a workout.

MOBILITY

Dynamic mobility is the body’s ability to move in multiple directions safely. Think of “mobility” as a combination between flexibility and strength. Dynamic mobility gently increases your range of motion, thus preventing

MOVEMENT

Think of this like turning on your car before heading out for a drive. You need to turn on the parts of your brain that control the motions you’ll be doing in your workout. Why warm up with squats if you’re bench-pressing? Doing some pushups is a better alternative, plus they’ll give you a little volume to stimulate muscle growth as well as strength increase.

PLIABILITY

Warmups increase blood flow, raise core temperature, and improve the pliability of muscles. The more pliable the muscle, the less likely for strain.

AWARENESS

Running through a warmup allows the body to adapt to specific movement patterns and minimize muscular imbalances.

JOINT INTEGRITY

In order to keep the joints healthy, your muscles need to be reminded that the ligaments and tendons they work with are elastic, and they won’t tear as long as form is good and the weight is appropriately heavy (or light) for the exercise being performed.

 

Lovely Legs – Legs Workouts

25 Aug

Legs workouts

• 5mins warmup → stretches

• Free squats (15 counts)

• Leg press (15,12,10,8 counts keep increasing the weights)

• Free squats (15 counts)

• Leg curl (15,12,10,8 counts keep increasing the weights)

• Backward lunges (15 counts each side)

• Leg extension (15,12,10,8 counts keep increasing the weights)

• Forward lunges (15 counts each side)

• Inner & outer thigh (15,12,10,8 counts keep increasing the weights)

• Diagonal lunges (15 counts each side)

• Jumping squats (20 counts – 2 sets)

 

Awesome Abs – Ab workouts

19 Aug

 ABS WORKOUTS

  •  5mins warmup – stretches
  • Swissball crunches
  • Hanging crunches
  • Weighted russian twist
  • Knelling cable crunches
  • Reverse curl with knee bend
  • Mountain climber
  • Leg raise on dip machine
  • Pendulam crunches
  • Iron man with medicine ball (30sec 3sets)

 

NOTE: 20 COUNTS 3 SETS FOR EACH VARIATION

Prevent Sore Neck / Neck Strain During Ab Workout.

29 May

It’s fairly common to hear exercisers complain about neck soreness or strain from abdominal workouts. This discomfort is most often caused by improper form and it’s very easy to correct.When the head is pulled forward during abdominal exercises, immense strain is placed on the posterior neck muscles. Many exercisers lace their fingers behind their head and pull forward during crunches, for example, thereby making the crunches easier – but also placing unnecessary pressure on the neck muscles.

To prevent neck soreness, change the placement of your hands. Instead of placing your hands behind your head, fold them across your upper abdomen. Alternatively, keep them by your sides. If you want to keep your hands by your head, just touch your ears lightly with your fingertips to prevent any forward pull. In addition, it may be helpful to concentrate on the ceiling. Doing so prevents your head from lifting forward. It may also be helpful to imagine an apple tucked under your chin allowing for space between your chin, neck and chest.

Alternatively, you can try exercises such as the reverse crunch that work the abdominal muscles without involving much upper body movement. Beyond preventing neck soreness or strain, you’ll also be increasing the effectiveness of your abdominal workout. Because lifting your head forward makes the exercise easier, some intensity and effectiveness is lost in the process.

If muscle soreness persists, it’s always a good idea to consult with your physician.

Add Kettlebell to your workouts

10 May

The kettlebell is a cast-iron or steel weight used to perform ballistic exercises that combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. They are also the primary equipment used in the weight lifting sport of girevoy sport.

Benefits of kettlebell training:

  • Improves Explosive and Maximal Strength.
  • Improves strength, power and endurance.
  • Taxes both aerobic and anaerobic systems.
  • Positively impacts cardio respiratory endurance and promotes changes in body composition.
  • Increases musculoskeletal health by reducing neck, shoulder and low back pain, and increases trunk extensor strength.
  • Is transferable to traditional weight training and bodyweight exercises and is an excellent alternative to traditional weight lifting.

Prime movements in kettlebell:

Kettlebell Swing: The kettlebell swing is a basic kettlebell exercise that is used in training programs and gyms for improving the posterior chain muscles. The key to a good kettlebell swing is effectively hinging at the hips, creating stability through the frontal plane.

Clean and press: The Kettlebell Clean and Press combines 2 exercises the Kettlebell Clean and the Overhead Press. Combining these 2 exercises into one fluid movement will work most muscles of the body as well as putting large demands on your cardiovascular system.

Turkish Get-up: A kettlebell exercise that combines the lunge, bridge and side plank to build strength. With a vertically-extended arm, the athlete transitions from laying supine on the floor to standing.

Kettlebell Snatch: Before performing the Snatch you should be proficient in the Swing, the Clean and the Press. The Snatch is a modified swing where as the kettlebell swings up above the head, the bell flips over the hand and ends up in the same overhead position as the press. Do this in one complete fluid motion.

Kettlebell training as cardio endurance and strength endurance: Like with most exercises, we can change the kettlebell swing’s effectiveness for our goals based on load. Imagine I asked you to perform one hundred swings non-stop, how much load could you use? And what kind of workout would that give you and what would its benefits be? But now imagine I gave you a much heavier bell, one you could barely swing for ten reps and made you do eight to ten sets. How different do you think that would be?

NUTRITION FACTS LABEL: ARE YOU READING RIGHT?

9 May

The following is a quick guide to reading the Nutrition Facts Panel.

START WITH THE SERVING SIZE
Look for both the serving size (the amount for one serving) and the number of servings in the package. Compare your portion size (the amount you actually eat) to the serving size listed on the panel. If the serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label.

CHECK THE TOTAL CALORIES & FAT
Find out how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat. It’s smart to cut back on calories and fat if you are watching your weight.

LET THE PERCENT DAILY VALUES BE YOUR GUIDE
Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan. Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5 percent DV of fat provides 5 percent of the total fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat.
Percent DV are for the entire day, not just one meal or snack. You may need to consume less or more than 2,000 calories depending upon your age, gender, activity level, and whether you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight. In general, as you think about the amount of calories in a food per serving, remember that for a 2,000-calorie diet:

40 calories per serving is considered low;

100 calories per serving is considered moderate; and

400 calories or more per serving is considered high.

THE HIGH & LOW DAILY VALUES

  •  5 percent or less is low. Aim low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. Limit Total fat to no more than 56–78 grams a day — including no more than 16 grams of saturated fat, less than two grams of trans fat, and less than 300 mg cholesterol (for a 2,000 calorie diet).
  • Eating less fat, cholesterol and sodium may help reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.
  •  20 percent or more is high. Aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Eat more fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron to maintain good health and help reduce your risk of certain health problems such as osteoporosis and anemia. Choose more fruits and vegetables to get more of these nutrients.

ADDITIONAL NUTRIENTS

* Protein: Eat moderate portions of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, plus beans and nuts.

* Carbohydrates: There are three types of carbohydrates: sugars, starches and fiber. Eat whole-grain breads, cereals, rice and pasta plus fruits and vegetables.

CHECK THE INGREDIENTS LIST:
Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. This information is particularly helpful to individuals with food sensitivities, those who wish to avoid nuts, gluten grains or limit added sugars or people who prefer vegetarian eating.