Tag: fitness

Posterior Chain Training: Exercises for a Strong Lower Back

There is an epidemic of chronic lower back pain. It’s one of the leading causes of “Years Lived with Disability” (YLD), is responsible for over 7 million ER room visits each year, and costs us both time (hard to do much of anything when our lower back is hurting) and money (people with lower back pain end up spending thousands of dollars a year on average to treat it). I can’t think of anything that degrades overall quality of life more than persistent lower back pain.

And as is so often the case, our attempts to treat the condition often make it worse. What does the average person do when their back hurts?

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What Is Sarcopenia and How Can You Defeat It?

When most people worry about getting old, they focus on the obvious degenerative diseases like diabetes and cancer and Alzheimer’s or the catastrophic health emergencies that can occur, like strokes or heart attacks. They think about the melange of medicines they might have to take, the panicked rush to the ER in the dead of night, the slow but unmistakable descent into painful oblivion. But one of the deadliest health conditions afflicting older adults is also one of the most silent and unknown: sarcopenia, or the degeneration and loss of muscle mass and strength. People just don’t think about losing muscle mass and strength as they get older. If they do, they assume it’s just part of the aging process. They figure it’s unavoidable, because, after all, everyone around them just gets weaker and more decrepit as they age. It’s one of those “inevitabilities” that you “just have to accept.” Screw that. Muscle loss is not your destiny. You don’t have to sit there and take it. In fact, sitting there and taking it is the single best way to get sarcopenia; standing up and fighting is the single best way to avoid it. Plus, taking the necessary steps to mitigate or even prevent sarcopenia will help prevent all those other age-related maladies I mentioned in the opening paragraph. Instantly download your Quick Start Guide to a Healthy Gut Health Problems Related to Muscle Atrophy, or Muscle Loss Sarcopenia the specific condition is linked to a number of poor health outcomes: 3.5x higher risk of mortality 3x higher risk of functional decline Greater risk of falls Higher chance of hospitalization Muscle itself is a powerful endocrine organ, emitting hormonal messages that regulate metabolism, inflammation, and overall function. Muscle also provides a metabolic reservoir for support and recovery from physical trauma—injuries, wounds, damage to our tissues. When muscle mass drops to extremely low levels, it means you’re not only more likely to be hospitalized, you’re more likely to never make it out of that hospital bed. Worse still, sarcopenia isn’t just loss of muscle: It’s degradation of the muscle tissue. It’s conversion from fast-twitch Type 2 muscle fibers that can handle heavy loads and high intensity to slow-twitch Type 1 muscle fibers that can only handle lighter loads and lower intensities. It’s the loss of motor units at the muscle itself, forcing the few remaining motor units to pick up the slack and extending recovery times. It’s the loss of cardiac strength, which impairs cardiovascular function and lowers VO2max. It’s the impairment of tendon function, reducing strength and mobility and increasing the risk of injury. Sarcopenia Definition The European Working Group diagnoses sarcopenia if you have two of three conditions: Low muscle mass Low muscle strength Poor physical performance (walking speed, for example) Even if you don’t have full-blown sarcopenia, you may have “pre-sarcopenia.” Millions of people are walking around (or, rather, shuffling around) with lower-than-ideal muscle mass and strength. Today’s post applies to them, too. So whether you’re looking at the … Continue reading “What Is Sarcopenia and How Can You Defeat It?”

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Dear Mark: My Gym is Open, Is It Safe to Go?

Across much of the world, movement restrictions are lifting, businesses are reopening, and gyms are coming back. While the next few weeks may paint a different picture, and cases are going up in many areas, many places now are seeing better overall trajectories. Deaths are down, which could be a lagging indicator and thus subject to a potential skyrocket. But for now, for better or worse, the gyms are opening.

Does that mean you should go?

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Training for “The COVID-19”

Today we welcome guest author Dr. Ronesh Sinha, internal medicine physician and expert on insulin resistance and corporate wellness, author of The South Asian Health Solution. He is a top rated speaker for companies like Google, Oracle, Cisco and more. Check out his media page for lectures, interviews and articles from Dr. Sinha. Most of us have been sheltering-in-place for a few months now, and we have evolved into an unprecedented state of fear and hyper-vigilance in this pandemic. After a long period of being cooped up, we are now gradually released into the wild, which introduces us to a whole new level of anxiety. Public health recommendations appear to be flip-flopping regularly, and we are learning on the fly as the situation evolves. In today’s post, I’d like to share some thoughts on how we can regain some control of our lives. Rather than duck and cover for several more months, we can face this beast head-on. I don’t mean being careless and reckless and not following social distancing and hygiene protocols. Instead, we can adopt a mindset that we will do what is necessary to minimize our risk of a severe COVID-19 outcome. I titled this post “Training for the COVID-19” to help you reframe this pandemic in your mind, and view it like a warrior approaches an enemy on the battlefield or an athlete faces an opponent in a competition. Stay on track no matter where you are! Instantly download your Primal and Keto Guide to Dining Out Cognitive Reframing Coronavirus: From Fear to Readiness Cognitive reframing isn’t just some touchy-feely behavioral technique. Viewing the world through a more positive lens has a beneficial impact on your immune system, which is potentially relevant to COVID-19. One study shows that participants who were cognitive reappraisers, identified by a 10-item Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, and then exposed to an experimental cold virus (rhinovirus not coronavirus) had reduced nasal cytokine release compared to individuals who were emotional suppressors. As you’ll learn in a moment, excessive cytokine release is a crucial mechanism by which COVID-19 imparts significant lung and tissue damage. As with rhinovirus, the nose is a primary portal through which coronavirus accesses our body. So as you read this post and continue to keep getting bombarded by pandemic news media, remember the lens through which you view this content. Your external world has a direct impact on how your immune system might respond to an infection like COVID-19. Let’s start by summarizing COVID-19’s basic operating system for you. Fear of the unknown is one of the single most significant stressors to our nervous system. I want you to read this with the attitude that “I will acquire the knowledge I need to understand this virus and defend myself and my loved ones against its effects.” Rather than, “Oh my God, the extra fat around my waistline will be the death of me.” One way I view our pandemic and its relationship to our individual health is by splitting it into external … Continue reading “Training for “The COVID-19””

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Dear Mark: Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Training

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m going to be answering questions about Maximum Aerobic Function, or MAF. If this is your first time hearing the term, MAF refers to a method of endurance training that maximizes the function of your fat-burning aerobic system. I’ve come down hard on conventional or popular modes of endurance training in the past for being too stressful and reliant on sugar. MAF training is the opposite: low stress and reliance on body fat.

Let’s dive right in to the questions:

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13 Alternatives to Burpees for When You’re Tired of Doing Burpees

Whenever I’m strapped for time and equipment and still need a solid workout, I turn to the burpee. Burpees are bodyweight exercises, and thus require no equipment or weights. They are full body movements that engage every muscle group, require only as much space as you need to do a pushup, and can be done anywhere. You can do them slowly and methodically, or quick for a sprint-like workout. If you’re ever outdoors and need to warm up fast, a quick set of 15-20 burpees will get your body temperature up faster than anything. The pros go on and on.

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Staying Motivated While Working Out At Home (Plus a PELOTON Giveaway)

A lot of people are having a hard time staying motivated to work out while fitness centers and studios are closed. Perhaps you enjoy the social aspect of workout classes or you have a standing appointment to meet your lifting buddy at the gym. Maybe you lost access to your favorite activities as a result of temporary Crossfit box or pool closures. Or, you finally found a coach or trainer you connect with, and regulations mean sessions are on hold.

It’s understandable. Many people recognize that intrinsic motivation (self-motivation) to exercise isn’t going to cut it, so they’ve set up their fitness life around extrinsic motivational (motivation from outside sources) factors – friends, friendly competition, stellar coaching, whatever have you.

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9 Worthy Alternatives to Back Squats (No Barbell Required)

As great as back squats are for strength, general fitness, and body composition, sometimes they just don’t work for a person. Maybe they cause knee, shoulder, or wrist pain. Maybe someone’s body proportions aren’t conducive to proper back squatting. Maybe their legs are too long to achieve good depth without compromising position. While there are dozens of articles imploring you to mobilize this or that joint and work out the kinks in this or that muscle so that the back squat will work, and those can be very informative and helpful, some people just don’t want to back squat. For whatever reason, it doesn’t work for them.

Especially now, when gyms are closed and it’s difficult to get your hands on a barbell, you might be looking for alternatives to back squats that will keep your legs just as strong.

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A to Z Microworkouts to Weave Into Your Day

If you need ideas for microworkouts to do at home, look no further. We’ve listed an entire alphabet of at-home microworkouts to power you up every day.

The idea behind microworkouts is that you weave them into your day instead of doing one longer, more intense workout. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the effects add up! See how many you can complete in a day, and try to fit them all in over the next few days. Let us know how many you check off.

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Easy At-home Yoga Sequence to Relieve Pressure

You’re doing the best you can.

You’re trying to stay at home. You’re homeschooling the kids. You’re trying to keep working at your job, or you’re navigating the waters of having lost employment. You’re trying to remain upbeat and optimistic.

There’s a lot of juggling going on, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 25+ years in the health and fitness industry, it’s that the first ball we let drop is our own – our self-care.

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