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.

Important Notice to PFTL Clients

With the advent of new Covid cases in the area, we are advising the following:

  1.  All clients should have had or should get booster vaccine shots.
  • If you have been travelling, please do not come to the studio for 7-10 days after returning home. Ask your trainer if you can do virtual sessions until this period of time lapses.
  • Always wear a mask in the studio, covering both nose and mouth.  After drinking water, the mask needs to be put back in place.
  • If you feel the least bit sick (coughing, stuffy nose, fever), do not come to the studio.  Contact your trainer as soon as possible and you will not be charged for the session.

Thank you for understanding that this is a difficult time for all of us. We want to ensure your safety and that of our trainers.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions. (847) 722 2115

Debora

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.