PFTL News April 2022

Masks Still Required

We are still requiring masks for all those who enter the PFTL 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 increasing in our village and the immediate area, so we are watching the situation carefullly.  We always want clients and trainers to feel that our studio is a safe and healthy environment and will do all we can to maintain that.

THE HIDDEN VICTIM OF THE PANDEMIC – Your Hips  (Excerpted from ACE Insights March 2022)

We constantly hear that core strength is fundamental to athletic performance, reducing injury risk and living a healthy life. But what most people don’t realize is that the psoas and iliacus muscles are also considered muscles of the core. Like the other muscles that make up the core, if the muscles that act at your hips are not in good health, you’ll soon know about it.

Back pain, knee pain, shin splints, IT band friction syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and all sorts of other aches and pains often stem from the hips. 

It’s the muscles around your hips that support your torso and pelvis, creating a strong foundation for your limbs to move from. When these muscles (primarily the psoas, iliacus and the gluteus maximus) are not in good shape, you don’t have the strong foundation you need, which means that other parts of the body have to pick up the slack. When these other muscles do too much compensating, overuse or repetitive stress injuries can soon result.

By strengthening the muscles around your hips, not only can you ease injury risk, but it also improves your athleticism. Building strong glute muscles and strengthening and stretching your hip flexors helps you transfer force through the upper and lower body, so you can move more powerfully.

Ask Bryce Hastings, physiotherapist and Les Mills Head of Research, about the most beneficial stretches and he says, for many, focusing on your hip flexors is hard to beat. “We only have 10-15 degrees of extension available at the hip (where the thigh moves behind the body) and we use all of this mobility every time we take a step. Compare this to the hamstrings, which normally allow 90 degrees of hip flexion, of which we only use around 30 degrees when we walk or run. Therefore, losing 10 degrees of hamstring length is generally O.K., whereas losing 10 degrees of psoas length is a real problem. Any shortening of this muscle shunts movement that should occur at the hip into the lower back during each step, and that’s a disaster.”

If you have tight hips, you have less mobility, which can make even the simplest movements—like walking or pushing a stroller—painful. Tight hips can also lead to a tilted pelvis, which affects both your posture and your head and neck alignment. Poor posture is linked to stress and depression, while neck alignment issues can lead to headaches.

Post-pandemic Hip Health is More Important Than Ever – While we know the perils of too much sitting, for many, pandemic-induced restrictions have meant we’re spending more time than ever at home working and sitting on our bottoms. A recent study identified prolonged sitting as one of the key causes of pain and discomfort caused by limited hip extension. Your hips are contracted whenever you’re sitting, and your hip flexors (the large powerful muscles at the front of the hip) are in a shortened position. In as little as 30 minutes, this tightening of the muscles can become problematic. You experience a loss of elasticity in the muscles, and as you age, this can become more pronounced, and the muscles become less pliable.

Signs You Need to Stretch Your Hips

  • Sitting for any more than four hours a day
  • Lower back or knee pain
  • Any pinching or pain in your hips
  • A feeling of being restricted when you move
  • If you struggle to touch your toes.

NO RISK OF OSTEOARTHRITIS FROM PHYSICAL ACTIVITY (IDEA Fitness Journal, Winter 2022)

For years, people have raised concerns about the risks of physical activity on joints; however, study after study shows that the benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for most people—even for frail, elderly individuals. New research adds to our understanding of the limited risks of physical activity and its connection to osteoarthritis.

Researchers from England’s University of Southampton and University of Oxford conducted a study to evaluate risks of developing knee osteoarthritis from physical activity. They examined data from six global community-based studies that included more than 5,000 participants who they followed for 5–12 years.

Data analysis showed that neither the amount of energy expenditure of physical activity nor weekly hours spent training were associated with increased risk of developing knee OA. This is good news for clients who may be concerned that being active may increase knee arthritis risks.

The research is reported in Arthritis & Rheumatology (2021; doi:10.1002/art.42001).

WHY EXERCISE REDUCES CHRONIC INFLAMMATION (IDEA Fitness Journal, Winter 2022)

Your body produces what it needs to reduce inflammation.

A new study offers insight into why exercise reduces chronic inflammation, as reported in Gut Microbes (2021; 13 [1], e1997559).

University of Nottingham, England, researchers conducted the study using data from a 6-week exercise intervention involving a group of 78 people with arthritis. Roughly half of the participants engaged in a 15-minute daily exercise program for the study period and half did not. After the study period, only those who exercised had reduced pain and increased gut microbes that produced substances that helped with chronic inflammation and increased the body’s endocannabinoids.

“Our study clearly shows that exercise increases the body’s own cannabis-type substances, which can have a positive impact on many conditions,” said lead study author Amrita Vijay, PhD, research fellow in the School of Medicine. “As interest in cannabidiol oil and other supplements increases, it is important to know that simple lifestyle interventions like exercise can modulate endocannabinoids.”

Mask Update for PFTL

Many businesses are making masks optional as of Monday, February 28. We, however, will still be requiring masks for the time being. If contagion levels remain low even after optional masking is practiced in the area, then we will make masks optional.

New strains of Covid are ever-present, and in the past, infection numbers have risen in areas where masks were not required. Hopefully, this will not be the case this time.

Please be patient in order to be safe. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Hopefully yours,

Debora

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 November 2021

HOW BAD IS IT TO NEVER DO CARDIO   (from Livestrong.com October 23, 2021)

There are people who absolutely love doing cardio every day… and those who don’t. So if you’re in the no-cardio camp, you might be wondering if your strength workouts are enough to keep your heart healthy and strong.

Current physical activity guidelines for adults recommend that you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week. That amounts to about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise five days per week.

What that looks like exactly depends on the type of exercises you do. For example, some of the best cardio workouts include, walking, running, cycling and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

Why Strength Training Alone Isn’t Enough – There are plenty of benefits to strength training, and it should definitely be included in your workout routine. But avoiding aerobic exercise entirely can negatively affect your body — no matter your goals.

Case in point: An August 2012 study in ​BMC Public Health​ tested the effects of 12 weeks of resistance, aerobic or a combo of both in people with overweight and obesity. The goal was to determine the type of exercise that had the most cardiovascular benefits.

Researchers found that doing a combination of cardio and strength training provided the greatest benefits for weight loss and cardiorespiratory fitness, compared with aerobic or resistance training alone.

Plus, focusing solely on strength training can put you at risk for overuse injuries, especially if you’re working the same muscle groups and joints every day. When you don’t allow your muscles to properly recover, you actually inhibit them from repairing so that they can grow bigger and stronger.

By mixing up your workouts with low-intensity cardio, you can give your muscles a break and build your cardiovascular endurance.

If you only do strength training, it may become more difficult for your heart to pump blood because it thickens your heart’s walls. In the same way, doing only aerobic exercise can make your heart’s walls too thin, so your heart can’t contract properly to pump blood throughout the body.

Ideally, the best way to maintain healthy cardio health is to include both strength training and cardio exercises in your workout routine, Nelson says.

HOW SMARTPHONES ARE HELPING SENIORS MAINTAIN THEIR HEALTH

By Guest Writer: Sharon Wagner of seniorfriendly.info

Smartphones aren’t a young person’s game anymore. According to Pew Research, about half of adults over the age of 65 own a smartphone. Those smartphones can connect the senior community to important resources and tools that can help maintain well-being. Here are a few ways that seniors can put their smartphones to work on improving their health.

Online Assistance For Finding the Right Insurance Plans – Medicare’s Open Enrollment period is October 15th through December 7th each year. While this can still be a complicated process, it was a lot worse before smartphones came along. Just a few years ago, the best option for those wanting to make an informed decision was to talk to insurance specialists to learn about their Medicare options. They might need to travel to their local library, hospital, or another site to get the necessary information, but now it’s at their fingertips. 

Medicare.gov has all the information seniors need. Plus, the website can connect seniors with Medicare experts in their area who can answer their questions. Now seniors can get the help they need without leaving the comfort of home, which is a boon to those with mobility concerns. Once seniors choose the plan they want, they can enroll right on their smartphone.

Access to Health-Tracking Apps –   one of the best ways for seniors to maintain their health is through health-tracking apps on their smartphones. Many of these apps are free and can provide insight into a senior’s health. Apps can count steps, track heart rate (which is great when you’re working out, either on your own or with a trainer) and even help them maintain a healthy diet.

Some seniors may need to upgrade their smartphones to put these apps to work. Thankfully, there are plenty of plans out there that make smartphones affordable. Look for providers who offer credit towards the purchase of a new phone or break the cost down into affordable monthly payments.

If you are in the market for a new phone, consider the Samsung Galaxy S10. It’s ultra-speedy and has ample memory to keep your apps going strong, and the generous, clear cinematic display makes it easy to check in on your workout’s progress. Apple fans might like the iPhone XS Max. It also has a big screen for easy viewing (make sure you pick up a screen protector to keep it safe!) and plenty of battery life so health tracking apps don’t drain the battery too quickly.

Tech to the Rescue – More seniors are choosing to age in place, living in their homes as opposed to moving into a senior living community. While there are many benefits to this choice, it often means that they are spending more time alone. As seniors can be at a higher risk of falls and in-home accidents, having a smartphone on hand could help them get access to emergency services a lot faster. Smartphones make it easier for seniors to call for emergency services without needing to get to a landline phone.

More than that, though, smartphones offer apps and technology to help seniors in an emergency. There are apps that can detect when a senior falls and ring an emergency contact. There are also panic button apps that seniors can press when they need help, replacing the old expensive monitoring services. Some of these apps may have monthly service charges attached, but for peace of mind for seniors and their caregivers, they can be priceless.

Another option is to add some smart tech to the wardrobe or home. These can often be synced with phones so loved ones can be notified if trouble arises. From virtual assistants that help seniors remember medications to watches that call for help if a senior falls, tech is helping older adults stay happy, healthy, and independent.

Technology can help seniors in a wide variety of ways, especially where phones are concerned. Most of these tools are free or affordable, and they boost independence while helping with health. In a nutshell, a smartphone can be a great tool for today’s seniors!

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Have a good Thanksgiving and be kind to your relatives and friends.

PFTL NEWS October 2021

PFTL Update

We continue to  wear masks in the studio, and we are still wiping down equipment and handing you wipes. Masks are not so bad; the following are actual humorous tweets about mask wearing.

  • If you forget to brush your teeth, it is not such a calamity
  • You actually look younger when most of your face is covered up.
  • From now on I’m always going to wear a mask to the grocery store, I prefer a disguise when purchasing obscene amounts of junk food.
  • COVID Parenting Tip: Train your children to loudly ask, “Why isn’t that person wearing a mask? Are we going to get sick?” when in public.

THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO BEFORE A WORKOUT (Excerpted from Livestrong.com Oct. 1, 2021)

1.   Apply Lotion –  Keeping your skin hydrated with a daily application of lotion is great — especially during drier winter months — but not before your workout. Transferring lotion to exercise equipment can make it slippery and unpleasant for others.

2.   Drink Alcohol – Drinking alcohol before your workout will just make you less coordinated, more sluggish and less likely to give it your all.

3.   Drink Too Much Caffeine – Watch your coffee, tea and pre-workout supplement intake to make sure you’re not overindulging. Although caffeine can be a great pick-me-up pre-workout, it can also dehydrate you, elevate your heart rate and cause dizziness.

4.    Eat a Big Meal – Eating too much before a workout can be full of potential pitfalls. This can result in gastrointestinal distress and poor absorption of nutrients, both of which hinder performance.

5.   Do Static Stretches – Certain stretches can be a great way to warm up your muscles. But the type of stretches you do really matter.  Static stretches (ones you hold for an extended period of time) are great for relaxing your body and aiding in recovery, but that also makes them less-than-ideal for your pre-exercise routine.

6.   Spend Lots of Time on the Foam Roller – In general, save the rolling for after your workout. If you have a major problem area — unusually tight IT bands, for instance — that you need to quickly address for mobility’s sake, that’s the only reason to break out the foam roller pre-workout.

7.   Eat Foods with Common Allergens – If you do eat a meal or snack before you hit the gym, do your fellow gym-goers a favor and steer clear of foods with common allergens, like peanuts, as this can make the gym a dangerous place for others.  Even trace amounts can be enough to cause someone with a severe allergy a considerable reaction.

THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO AFTER A WORKOUT (Excerpted from Livestrong.com)

1. Skip Stretching – If you don’t facilitate muscle recovery with stretching, injuries can occur due to overuse, leading to less optimal workouts and precipitating early fatigue. Your trainer can show you the best stretches to target what you need based on your body.

2. Run Errands in Your Workout Clothes – if your clothes are soaked from sweat, it is best to get out of them ASAP. Hanging around to chat while you’re dripping wet could potentially compromise your immune system. Regulating your core body temperature is critical. You’ll want to give your body the ability to get rid of excess heat, which is hard to do when everything is sticking to your skin.

Also, staying in your workout clothes could put you at risk of skin or fungal infections, particularly if you work out in a communal setting with shared equipment.

3. Eat a Big Meal -Your stomach will thank you for taking it easy after intense exercise. While you certainly will need to give your body nourishment to repair itself, the 30-minute window after your sweat session is not the ideal time for a big meal. Your digestive system takes a back seat during hard sessions and is still on high alert well after the workout is over.

Pack a light snack if you are hungry. Eat something unprocessed, like a piece of fruit, then have a larger meal two or three hours later when your digestive system is back to standard operating procedures.

4. Down Vitamins and Supplements –Some people take some form of supplement to help combat inflammation and even promote recovery, like vitamins C, E and A, CoQ10, NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen) or products that specifically tout exercise recovery. However, these supplements may do more harm than good. In large doses, these compounds can interfere with how much of an adaptation your body makes from the training.

7. Sit Around –  When you sit or lie down for hours after exercising, your blood pools, making recovery more difficult. The result is more muscle soreness and delayed recovery time. Instead, try to keep your body moving in little ways after you work out, even if that means standing up every 30 minutes at work to take a lap around the office.

8. Sip a Cocktail – Drinking alcohol after hard exercise is one of the worst things you can do for your body. Drinking alcohol after a workout is going to immediately reduce muscle protein synthesis. It slows recovery, reduces the benefits of your workout and makes you feel even worse the next day.

9. Stop Drinking Water – Lots of people forget how important it is to keep drinking water after the effort is over.  Being dehydrated will slow your recovery, reduce muscle protein synthesis and not provide your body with what it needs to help eliminate all of the waste products produced from the muscle damage of your workout.

Our favorite season is here…beautiful autumn.  Get out and enjoy!