Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No More Sore Knees for Sports and Running

No more sore knees for sports and running

The link above is for an article by Justin Price, M.A. on alleviating knee pain.
Ouch! That's some serious knee pain!
The first thing to understand is knee function: the knee only functions in one plane, and that would be going straight forward or straight backward. In order for the knee to move in a different direction, other joints have to give in order to change the legs direction. Those joints that assist in angling the direction of the knee are the hip and ankle joints. If the muscles around these joints are weak or overused, then inflamation can develop, reduce range of motion to protect the area, and create unnecessary load on the knee. An overloaded knee can result in recruiting tendons for support, and the tendon most likely to suffer is the ilioptobial band (ITB), which is located on the outside of the knee.

The article mentions the benefit of using the BOSU balance trainer to increase the range of motion of the foot (and therefore movement of the ankle) to strengthen calves, and the rotational resistance will help strengthen hip and core muscles.  The variable stability of the BOSU's surface is unique in it's design. The crescent shape allows its user to increase joint angles and strengthen muscles that would not normally get worked on a flat surface. It should be noted the tight calf (gastrocnemius) muscles can contribute to both knee pain and, eventually, lower back pain due to the strain on the hamstring muscles. The primary movement to help with the hip and ankle complex to strengthen the knee is the lunge. The variations on the lunge, such as those mentioned in the article, mimic real-life challenges to the contractile and tensile strength of the glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles.

I teach a class with a BOSU Balance Trainer on Monday mornings, I use them regularly in my circuit training classes, and use them to challenge clients. Contact me for more information on how to get the most out of the Balance Trainer.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Medicated Nation

Psychiatric Drug Use Spreads - WSJ.com

The article above shows the trend in the US to treat more young adults with anti-depressant and other drugs.
It also mentions that there has been more awareness of the weight gain that occurs as a result of their use.
Please read it before continuing ...

I have first-hand experience with people suffering from psychological issues and their battle with weight gain.
No medication can replace our inner drive, either for good or bad. Being healthy only comes from inside. There has not been a pill invented to replace this: the medications remove impediments to our higher functions.

There is one self-evident truth:
Sometimes we all need help, and help can come from the outside.
The Talmud (Berachos 5b) relates how difficult it was for Rabbi Yochanan to get out of bed. He was suffering from illness and depression. Rabbi Eliezer visited him, and asked if he was recovering well. Rabbi Yochanan replied, "the prisoner cannot let himself out of jail". Rabbi Eliezer understood this as a cry for help, lifts Rabbi Yochanan onto his feet, and I presume to a full recovery (which is not stated explicitly in the Talmud)
This story echoes the difficulty in finding the strength and inner resolve to pull yourself out of depression or illness. We often need the support of friends and community to encourage change in ourselves.
I sincerely hope that the "Medication Nation" trend is not a replacement for the social remedies of support and encouragement.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Probiotics and how they help with weight loss

One possible change to diet can be the introduction of probiotics into the diet. Studies going back as far as 2008 have demonstrated benefits such as changes in the amount of fat around the abdomen, BMI, and imporved digestion. This article collects several of the studies that have been researched over the years to discern the benefits of probiotics.

A little bit of backgorund on probiotics: Probiotics are types of bacteria that are found in fermented dairy and soy products, such as yogurt. These bacteria can contribute to the breakdown of foods in the digestive tract, such as the small intestine, and aid the absorbtion of beneficial nutrients while eliminating many food-born ailments such as high cholesterol.

I recommend getting some of the smoothie products as a dietary supplement, such as Kefir and other yogurt smoothies. Adding some of these products may make a difference in how your body responds to food, such as making you feel more full. Try it out and leave your comments about any results you may have found.