PFTL News November 2022

REMINDER: NEW RATES EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1,2022

My email to clients on September 29 notified everyone of a necessary rate increase effective November 1, based on specific criteria. Below is copy from that email:

To continue providing the level of service and uncrowded environment that you’ve come to appreciate, I must reluctantly raise our hourly training rates. Therefore, effective November 1, 2022, the following new rates will apply for Studio training sessions.

•   One-on-One Training

  • 1X/week – $100
  • 2X/week – $95 per session
  • 3X/week – $85 per session

Multi-client Training & Pre-Pay

  • Two Clients/One trainer: $130 (split $65/$65)
  • Three Clients/One Trainer -$150 (Split $50/$50/$50)
  • 10 Pre-paid Sessions – $90 per session

We’ve been providing high level personal training for 31 years and hope to be here for you as long as you need us.  Feel free to contact me at debora@pftl.net or 847-722-2115, if you want to discuss the new rates.

SPATIAL AWARENESS AND PROPRIOCEPTION FOR OLDER ADULTS  (Excerpt from IDEA Fit, August 2022. Author: Tracy Markley)

By adulthood, most of us have a fairly good ability to judge where our body is with respect to the objects around it and where our limbs are in relation to our body. This is one of the things that allows us to be safe as we move through the world. Without thinking about it, you can judge the height of an object you need to step over so your foot lifts high enough up and steps far enough out before landing back on the floor.

However, as people enter their senior years, the cognitive skills that allow for this type of movement can diminish. I like to describe it as having a “malfunction” of spatial awareness and proprioception. When these skills decline, older adults find they must coordinate cautiously through many daily activities such as taking steps forward and backward, using stairs, and turning around. Fortunately, these skills can be relearned.

Spatial Awareness and Proprioception Defined.  Spatial awareness and proprioception are often viewed as the same, but they are they are different skills.

Spatial awareness is a complex cognitive skill that allows us to be consciously aware of where the body is in space, how much room there is around it, and how far away the body is from objects in its surroundings.

Proprioception is more specific to knowing where the limbs are in space and the force needed for moving them in relation to the body. The sensory receptors that provide this constant feedback to the brain are called proprioceptors.

A simple example of the brain working with spatial awareness and proprioception is when you walk towards a chair and sit down. Both processes help the brain calculate the distance between you and the chair, and you walk accordingly. You begin taking smaller steps when needed, adjusting the speed of each step as you approach the chair. You calculate the turn, including the size and the direction of the steps required to place your body in the right position to prepare to sit. You calculate the height of the seat and coordinate where the body is in space before using the appropriate speed and force to lower into sitting position without slamming into the chair or falling to the floor.

I’ve posted a 15-second video of one of my stroke-recovery clients performing a reenactment of this sequence. You’ll see how it looks when his spatial awareness and proprioception were malfunctioning alongside a second video of his regained ability of these cognitive skills (Markley 2017).  This client followed a program of exercises like the one described in this article.

Getting to the Core of the Matter – Spatial awareness and proprioception work with the skeletal muscles in the body as they move the body through motion. It’s essential to strengthen the muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvic region and keep the body in proper posture so the limbs can move safely and efficiently. For safe and effective movement, these muscles must gain strength before the legs and arms can be strengthened to their full potential.

A weak deep core in the body is like an apple tree that has a hollow trunk. The tree’s trunk may appear normal, but it’s unstable because it is weak. The tree’s limbs cannot sustain the weight of many apples, and the tree cannot sustain itself in a windstorm.

In my years of studies, I have found research that states that the brain sends a message to the deep center of the body to stabilize the body, which happens microseconds before the limbs are going to move (Le Mouel & Brette 2017). If the center or core of the body is weak, it cannot obtain its best stabilization to keep the body at its safest while in movement. If the brain sends messages to those weak muscles, the communication with the legs and arms will function poorly—or malfunction.

Put more simply: Walking begins deep in the spine, not in the limbs. Therefore, it’s important to strengthen the core and spine from the inside out.

Muscles Involved in Spinal Stabilization – Let’s look at some important muscles and groups of muscles involved in spinal stabilization.

Deep Core Muscles

The multifidus is a small and powerful group of muscles and stabilizes the spine. It begins to activate before the body moves, which helps to protect the spine (Kumar 2019). It’s one of the muscles in the spine that extends, abducts, adducts and rotates the spine.

For a person to gain a better spatial awareness, posture and balance, this muscle must be strong. It’s important to know this muscle is on the same neuromuscular loop with the transverse abdominis, the diaphragm and the pelvic floor muscles.

It’s best if all these muscles are functioning properly: They need to perform jobs individually and as a team. If the transverse muscle is weak, the pelvic floor, multifidus and diaphragm cannot gain the proper strength needed for a healthy, functioning body.

Note: PFTL trainers can show you how to improve spinal stability, balance and posture.

PFTL News October 2022

IMPROVING BALANCE AND FALL PREVENTION – New Class Begins October 21

Our first Balance Class was well- received by the participants. Improvements were evident after the first three classes.  The new 6-week Session will begin on October 21 at 2pm (min. 4 and max 5 participants).  The cost is $150 for the 6-weeks.  The focus will again be on improving balance, coordination, core control and agility.  All these areas are important for fall prevention.  For NEW clients, we will perform a modified fitness assessment ($30), and all participants will be tested for balance prior to the first class. If there are more than 5 participants, but at least 8 we will consider adding an additional class. The class will be taught alternately by Debora Morris, Linda Meyer and Keri Werner. Call Debora for more information and to register (847-722-2115).

WHAT STRESS CAN DO TO YOUR BODY  (Excerpt from Health-Healthy Living)

Stress is what happens when you’re introduced to a challenge or demand in life—it results in physical or emotional tension, according to the US National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus resource.

It’s a normal feeling that has evolved over a millennium to protect you from danger. Also known as the flight-or-fight response, it gets the body ready for action. So, if you’re in danger, the brain’s hypothalamus sends triggers—both chemical and along the nerves—to the adrenals, which are glands that sit on top of each kidney like a hat perched on a head.

The adrenals then churn out hormones, such as cortisol, which raise blood pressure and blood sugar (among other things). This is dandy if you need to outrun a hungry lion, less so if the perceived threat is a looming layoff.

Despite the fact that it happens to everyone, stress can still be harmful to health if occurs over a long period of time. Here are some ways stress can affect your health.

Increased cravings – Studies have linked cortisol, a hormone released during times of stress, to cravings for sugar, fat, or both, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Hard-to-lose belly fat – “You can clearly correlate stress to weight gain,” Philip Hagen, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, tells Health.

Part of that link is due to poor eating during stress, but the stress hormone cortisol may also increase the amount of fat tissue your body hangs onto and enlarge the size of fat cells. Higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more deep-abdominal fat—yes, belly fat.

Heart problems – The exact relationship between stress and heart attack is still unclear, but evidence is mounting that there is one. One study of 200,000 employees in Europe found that people who have stressful jobs and little decision-making power at work are 23% more likely to have a first heart attack than people with less job-related stress.

Insomnia – Stress can cause hyperarousal, a biological state in which people just don’t feel sleepy. And insomnia itself—a sleep disorder in which a person has persistent problems falling and staying asleep—is commonly derived from stress.

Headaches – “Fight or flight” chemicals like adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol can cause vascular changes that leave you with a tension headache or migraine, either during the stress or in the “let-down” period afterwards. Tension headaches, per MedlinePlus, are the most common type of headache. They typically feel like a “band is squeezing the head,” and occur in the head, scalp, or neck area.

While it’s tough to limit stress in our hectic lives, some experts recommend trying meditation, among other solutions.

Hair loss – There are a few key ways that stress may affect your hair and lead to hair loss, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Telogen effluvium and trichotillomania. Telogen effluvium is a common cause of temporary hair loss, per UPMC. That’s because enough stress can push your hair follicles into a prolonged resting phase, meaning they won’t produce new hair strands as quickly or as often as usual in periods of high stress.

High blood sugar – Stress is known to raise blood sugar, and if you already have type 2 diabetes you may find that your blood sugar is higher when you are under stress.

Stomach troubles – Heartburn, stomach cramping, and diarrhea can all be caused by or worsened by stress. In particular, irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, which is characterized by pain and bouts of constipation and diarrhea is thought to be fueled in part by stress.

High blood pressure – A stressful situation can raise your blood pressure temporarily by constricting your blood vessels and speeding up your heart rate, but these effects disappear when the stress has passed.

It’s not yet clear whether chronic stress can cause more permanent changes in your blood pressure, but techniques like mindfulness and meditation may help, according to Dr. Hagen. In addition, there are many natural ways to reduce blood pressure, including diet and exercise.

Back pain – Stress can set off an acute attack of back pain as well as contribute to ongoing chronic pain, probably for the simple reason that the “fight or flight” response involves tensing your muscles so that you’re ready to spring into action. One recent study in Europe found that people who are prone to anxiety and negative thinking are more likely to develop back pain, while a U.S. study tied anger and mental distress to ongoing back pain.

Premature aging – Traumatic events and chronic stress can both shorten telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of cell chromosomes, causing your cells to age faster, according to Harvard Health Publishing. The good news? Exercising vigorously three times a week may be enough to counteract the effect.

Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

NEW SMALL CLASS OFFERING – BALANCE AND FALL PREVENTION

Beginning Friday, September 9 at 2pm, we will be offering a new small group class (min. 4 and max 5 participants).  It will run for 6-weeks and cost $150 for the 6-weeks.  The focus will be on improving balance, coordination, core control and agility.  All these areas are important for fall prevention.  For NEW clients, we will perform a modified fitness assessment ($30), and all participants will be tested for balance prior to the first class. If there are more than 5 participants, but at least 8 we will consider adding an additional class. First-come, first-served…call Debora for more information and to register (847-722-2115).

PFTL News February 2022

PFTL Update

Masks Still Required

We are still requiring masks and vaccination verification for all those who enter the studio.  We want to ensure that our studio is a safe place to come and exercise.  We know that exercising with a mask is not fun, but it is a good practice for the time being.  Contagion is decreasing in our village and the immediate area, but we will always be more conservative than some other businesses.  We truly want clients and trainers to feel that our studio is a safe and healthy environment and will do all we can to maintain that.

IMPROVING JOINT MOBILITY     (Excerpt from Livestrong.com July 2020)

Stretching and strength training are good for your muscles and cardio is good for your heart, but what about your joints? Unlike muscles, joints have no direct blood supply, so they rely on movement to keep them functioning properly.

“If there’s no motion in the joint it will degenerate — that’s a law,” says Robert Bates, DC, a chiropractor and preventive care specialist in Manhattan Beach, California. Joints rely on synovial fluid to “wash” away waste products that build up and compromise the integrity of the joint, he says.

Why Is Joint Mobility Important?

daily joint-mobility routine can keep your joints healthy and prevent stiffness and muscle imbalances. It can also restore lost range of motion, making exercise more enjoyable, enhancing your athletic performance and protecting you from common aches and pains.

A single faulty joint affects the body as a whole, as the individual parts of the human body are meant to work synergistically, not independently. As long as there’s not permanent damage in the joint, you can regain lost ranges of motion through preventive care, Bates says.

Additionally, joints that are able to move through their full range of motion allow connecting muscles to completely contract and expand, which gives muscles more strength and power and prevents injury.

Here are some examples of exercises you can do daily to maintain joint mobility in shoulders, hips and ankles.  If you are not clear oh how to do these, ask your trainer to show you.

Backstroke for shoulders

  1. Standing with your arms straight and elbows locked (but not hyperextended), lift one arm straight out in front of you and slowly circle it backward. Avoid rotating the torso as you do so.
  2. Keep your hips squared forward and biceps close to your ear at the top of the movement without allowing your shoulders to shrug.
  3. Repeat on the other side and keep alternating in a fluid motion for 10 to 20 reps per side.

The ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the human body, but due to improper posture, motion can deteriorate over time.

“Ergonomics is not enough. You must get the movement in the joints,” says Bates, who recommends practicing proper posture in the workplace and taking breaks to get your joints moving as well as keeping them hydrated.

Pelvic circles for Hip Joints

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips.
  2. Keep your feet planted and core engaged as you move your hips in a circular motion.
  3. Repeat 5 to 10 times in each direction.

“Every time you land, something has to absorb the shock,” Nelson says. “The muscles, tendons and ligaments aren’t designed to do it all.” A stiff spine and tight hips means the impact is going to be translated to the muscles, tendons and ligaments.

“Over time, it leads to sprains, strains, knee and low-back pain,” she says. So keep your lumbar spinal discs and hip sockets lubricated with pelvic circles.

Ankle Rolls

  1. Stand or sit and lift one heel off the ground.
  2. Flex your foot, brining your toes toward your shin.
  3. Circle the ankle around and point your toes for full extension at the bottom of the movement before circling around to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 5 to 10 reps in each direction on both legs.

Mobilizing your ankles may be just what you need in order to let go of nagging running injuries and finally ditch that knee brace for good.

“The epidemic of plantar fasciitis and fallen arches is a result of the foot bones destabilizing in order to compensate for the ankle being incapable of absorbing and retranslating force,” Sonnon says.

Ankle rolls restore movement to the joint and, as a result, re-stabilize knee alignment and helps prevent arches from falling, resolving pain from plantar fasciitis, he says.

PFTL News December 2021

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE!

This is such a weird time, on so many levels.  Covid, world events, local, regional and state news are all contributing to confusion, anxiety and stretching our coping skills to limits we never thought possible.  But in spite of all this, we are still functioning, still trying to live “normal” lives, still trying to understand others even though we may not agree with them, and still smiling every chance we get.  So, my friends, I truly wish you the best that is possible for this holiday season. 

Keep your spirits up (exercise helps a lot) and be kind to yourself and others.

Cheers to you all.

Debora

THRIVING INSTEAD OF COPING THROUGH STRESS  (from IDEA Fit Tips November 2021)

Many people are focused on “resiliency.” says behavior science consultant and transformational coach Michael Mantell, PhD. He defines this as “the psychological mechanism that keeps people going and allows them to thrive instead of just survive. It helps them to see every setback as a setup for a stronger comeback.” An apt analogy he gives from physical training is that to build a muscle, first we must break down the muscle.

Mantell explains that the building blocks of resilience consist of three components: a) “I have” b) “I am” and c) “I can.”

“I have” means you have support around you such that you have the ability to trust the world and people in it. Successful people are able to let people get close to them without fear of harm. They have mentors they respect, and in whom they have confidence. By trusting others to help, successful people avoid feeling sad, angry and vulnerable in the face of impending failure.

“I am” means you have encouragement in developing the inner strengths of confidence, unconditional self-acceptance and responsibility. Successful people, free of the inner fears of failure, believe themselves to be autonomous, independent and free to make their own decisions, including their mistakes.

“I can” means you have acquired the interpersonal and problem-solving skills to take action. Successful people are free of the psychological blocks that get in the way of developing initiative. They are able to work diligently at a task free of negative thinking.

Be Kind to Yourself – Self-compassion is linked to positivity, happiness and health, none of which are part of the stress equation. “We need ‘me’ time for our happiness to unwind, allow time for self-discovery, reboot our brains, improve our focus and promote our relationships,” Mantell says. “Compassion requires that we notice suffering, in others and in ourselves, with no judgment. Compassionate people understand humanity is filled with imperfection and take no pity. They simply recognize that suffering is a common, shared, human occurrence. Mindfully bring this comforting understanding to yourself without over-identifying with your negative thoughts or feelings.”

An eloquent way of advising us to give ourselves grace. Stop stressing out over that which you cannot control.

FUNCTIONAL TRAINING FOR ACTIVE AGING  (from IDEA Fit tips Dec 2021)

Discover what type of exercise you need to enhance fitness as you grow older.

What’s driving the relevance of functional training? Loss of functional abilities significantly impacts life quality, according to Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging. “Having a chronic health issue, like diabetes or high blood pressure, is manageable, but if you can’t stand up, everything changes.”

So how can you exercise for function? Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA, internationally acknowledged integrative health advocate.

What Is Functional Training? – The idea of functional training is [to do] a fitness program that mirrors common daily life activities, like getting out of a chair, making a bed, lifting laundry baskets, going shopping, gardening, etc.,” says Carol Ewing Garber, PhD, past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “In older adults, as fitness declines . . . many find it increasingly difficult to do usual tasks or to engage in enjoyable activities.”

Progressive Resistance Training – Numerous studies show that progressive resistance training can improve functional capacity in older adults, including aspects of gait, balance and stability. It also benefits cardiovascular function, metabolism and heart disease risks. Increasingly, studies emphasize that muscle power—the ability to produce force rapidly—is more crucial to functional fitness than strength and mass are. Also, researchers have suggested that exercises for the trunk muscles should be done to promote balance, functional performance and fall prevention.

Dynamic Balance Training – Balance training may improve the safety of certain cardiovascular activities. Researchers note that high-challenge balance training or programs that incorporate exercises that target both muscular and somatosensory balance systems have been most effective for reducing fall risks in older adults.

Flexibility or Functional Mobility Training – The ability of joints to maintain full range of motion is highly relevant to enjoying functional independence in combination with muscular strength for tasks such as getting in and out of a bathtub. Very little research, however, has focused specifically on how to improve flexibility. Preliminary evidence suggests that activities like yoga, Pilates or tai chi—that involve movement through a full range of motion—are effective.

Cardiorespiratory or Functional Aerobic Training – Cardiovascular fitness is important for climbing stairs, going shopping and enjoying recreational activities; it also reduces cardiovascular disease risks and promotes mental well-being. Current research supports the physical activity guidelines of regular moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercise for those who can achieve it and regular light- to moderate-intensity activity for deconditioned persons, for health benefits.