Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Staying Fit While On Vacation

Sounds challenging? Not really. It requires some preparation.
First off: you need to have some "me" time even on vacation. You may be with friends, family, whatever. Block out 30 minutes as "me" time.
Second: shut off or put away the smartphone. They are great for keeping tabs on business while away, but for 30 minutes, you can "get away."
Third: Locate the exercise area. Some facilities have a complimentary gym. If there isn't a gym. then you can try to find a local gym and ask about a day pass. Last resort: go for a run outside, initiate your own individual boot camp, or run up and down the stairs where you are staying.

The worst thing that can happen is getting out of the routine. Vacationing should relieve stress from work. Stress causes tightening of blood vessels that can be counteracted through regular exercise. You have got to learn to love activity on your vacation time. Find something that you like, and go at it for 30 minutes.You will learn to love it and yourself at the same time

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How much exercise is necessary?

People always ask, "How much exercise do I need to get?" There are actually different answers to that question:
  1. Average healthy adult under 65: The ACSM recommended minimum exercise is 30 minutes of cumulative activity, five days every week. That's either 30 minutes on a treadmill, walking, jogging, or whatever activity that is a) cardiovascular and b) moderate intensity. This recommendation of ACSM is approved by many national health organizations, including the American Heart Assoc. (AHA)
  2. Strength training: Strength training makes a body look strong, lean, and upright with good posture. Strength training also has the important benefit of averting lean muscle loss. Lean tissue atrophies after age 25 in both men and woman, but takes a precipitous loss in men after 35 years of age. Weight lifting and axial loading stimulates bone growth, which is important as the rates of occurance in osteoporosis have become more common and prevelent in both genders at very young ages. Strength training should occur about 2-3 times each week
  3. Exercise is cumulative: 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, but just get it all in. Work your chest one day, back the next, and legs on another. Never forget the importance of core strength!
Need help getting your exercise routine off of the ground? I am an ACSM certified personal trainer. Email me at cagefit@gmx.com

Monday, August 1, 2011

Strike One: How Martial Arts and Boxing Can Improve Your Life

This isn't exactly a chance to fight Apollo Creed for the heavyweight championship of the world, but it is an opportunity to work on cardiovascular endurance, speed, coordination, bone density, and self-esteem.

Let's talk about each of these life-changing benefits:

Cardiovascular Endurance
It cannot be stressed enough that the best way to prevent the onset of obesity and all of its negative attributes is by engaging in regular exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes each day, five days every week. Regular endurance training enables the heart to become more efficient at pumping blood, even if there are no noticeable signs of physical improvement. The heart gets stronger with every endurance workout. Here's the great thing about martial arts and boxing- lots of continual movement equals anywhere from moderate to intense exercise.

Speed and Coordination
As a conditioning term, speed refers to how quickly you can get from point A to point B without injuring yourself. That clearly has some practical implications as well. Moving quickly increases response time to situations, improves agility, and reduces stress on joints. For example, people with a very long and slow stride are more likely to have low back, knee and foot pain from extended contact time with the ground alone. Stronger, shorter, faster strides are better for your legs and easier on your muscles (which means they can perform longer as well). One such exercise used in boxing and martial arts is jumping rope. Regular, repeated motion of jumping can be steady, changing speeds, or adjusting footwork for desired challenge and results. Read more about jumping rope

Bone Density
Wolff's Law, discovered by Julius Wolff in the 19th Century, states that the body adjusts to meet whatever challenges it faces. The converse of this law is also true- the body eliminates what it does not need. As a result, increased activity stimulates muscle and bone growth. Sedentary people have demonstrated the opposite: muscle atrophy and bone density loss (even osteoporosis in both men and women). The most significant part of the research that has continued since Wolff's time is that bone density and muscle hypertrophy occur in the places placed under most stress. Some current technology has shown tremendous bone density gain as a result of introducing external vibrations into the body. Boxing and martial arts incorpoate punching, kicking, and jumping that involve striking a surface, thereby generating vibration. Good vibrations- the kind that improve muscle response and bone density!

Signifcant research has gone into studying the psychological benefit of martial arts and boxing training. You can read one such study here. The greatest benefit is when the art is practiced in tandem with self-awareness training and being guided by a positive role model such as a coach or sensei. The environment was also non-competitive, allowing a person to reflect on their own self worth and not have to look towards someone else outside of themselves for inspiration.

There are many benefits to be found in different types of training depending on one's training goals. Martial art and boxing are an effective method of building strength, endurance, and self-esteem when conducted in a positive environment that encourages challenging oneself to be better. Check out this video about Israeli Mui Thai Boxer, Uriel ben-Homo
I teach one martial arts/kickboxing class every Thursday evening from 6:00-6:30pm in Rockville, MD
Email me at cagefit@gmx.com to find out more.