Posts Tagged exercise
This picture is the only proof you will ever need that Tabata workouts are the ultimate solution to an out of shape flabby physique.
I was getting a lot of questions on topics other than diet and fitness training. With a more general health blog, I can focus on topics not specifically exercise or diet.
I hope everyone enjoys
According to the Globe and Mail, Canada now has a fitness czar.
Merriam-Webster, defines a czar as follows:
- Main Entry:
- also tsar or tzar \ˈzär, ˈ(t)sär\
- New Latin czar, from Russian tsar’, from Old Russian tsĭsarĭ, from Gothic kaisar, from Greek or Latin; Greek, from Latin Caesar — more at caesar
Formerly the President of Acceris Communications, Ms. Murumets has taken over the reins of a newly revived ParticipAction. On February 19, 2007, the federal government pledged $5 million to renew the fitness-awareness campaign.
So what is the mandate of ParticipAction.
ParticipACTION’s vision is to work with its partners to ensure a Canadian society where people are the most physically active on Earth.
- To animate the movement that inspires and supports Canadians to become more active.
- To have “physically active” be a part of who we are as Canadians and how we want to be seen by the world.
- To develop a legacy of collaboration and partnerships to realize the movement.
- To set the stage for long-term sustainability of the movement.
ParticipACTION will not be involved in direct programming or program delivery. Rather, we will act as a catalyst for communications and action in this sector.
ParticipACTION will take leadership and become the national voice of physical activity and sport participation in/for Canada. We will collaborate with our partners/stakeholders and marshal resources to support the cause and make a difference in the lives of Canadians. Through a national communications program, ParticipACTION will create the dynamic that inspires Canadians to increase their physical activity and inspires society to make it easier to become more physically active. We will work with our partners in advocacy and bring about action through government policies that lead to long-term sustainable change. And, we will gather data, inform the issue and transfer knowledge across the sector and to all Canadians.
So, from what I can see; ParticipAction’s mandate is to crank out some new tv commercials; telling me to stop watching tv.
For my Canadian readers, I bet you remember the old commercials. Here’s a trip down memory lane:
Notice: I will not be held liable if these jingles proceed to ‘ear worm‘ their way into your head and stay there for the foreseeable future.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure to work with a very nice lady who was trying desperately to reduce the painful effects of fibromyalgia. She had been suffering for years as a result of this painful and debilitating condition.
Like most chronic pain conditions, the worst thing may not even be the pain itself. It is the effect that the pain has on the rest of your life. In my client’s case, she spent the first year of her daughter’s life in bed. Every day. Unable to care for her newborn child.
When I met her, she was in better shape. Her daughter was older. She participated in her daughter’s life. She had a challenging career. She was happy. But she was still in constant pain.
She came to me after having quite a few bad experiences with different forms of physical and exercise therapy. At the time, I was working at a fitness club. She was initially assigned to work with a young, female trainer. Her choice.
It didn’t go well. The female trainer, who was a good trainer, knew little about fibromyalgia. During their first workout, she treated her client like a normal, PAIN FREE person. Bad move.
A week later, our fibromyalgia lady returned and demanded her money back. She had spent the last week in bed, popping pills and regretting ever coming into our gym.
I don’t know how, but the owner of the club managed to calm her down and have her agree to sit down and talk with me.
At this point, I knew very little about fibromyalgia. I did, however, know how to talk, or rather listen to justifiably angry women. Yes, I am married.
We discussed her condition. I gave her my opinion and told her that I would spend the next few days researching the subject. A few days later, we met and talked again. I discussed my findings and outlined what my plan for her fitness training would include. After about half an hour, we began our workout.
It was very slow at the beginning, but after about 3 months, everything began to change. Her body changed. She was catching up and blowing by some of my pain-free clients. More importantly, her day to day life improved drastically.
For those of you out there who know someone like my former client, please show them the following research paper, along with my story and do what you have to do to get them moving. They will thank you for it. Not right away…right away they might not be too pleased…but eventually..they will thank you.
Group Exercise, Education, and Combination Self-management in Women With Fibromyalgia
A Randomized Trial
Daniel S. Rooks, ScD; Shiva Gautam, PhD; Matthew Romeling, BS; Martha L. Cross, BS; Diana Stratigakis, BA; Brittany Evans, BS; Don L. Goldenberg, MD; Maura D. Iversen, DPT, SD, MPH; Jeffrey N. Katz, MD, MS
Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(20):2192-2200.
Background Self-management has increasingly been recommended as part of standard care for fibromyalgia, a common, poorly understood condition with limited treatment options. Data that assess popular self-management recommendations are scarce. We evaluated and compared the effectiveness of 4 common self-management treatments on function, symptoms, and self-efficacy in women with fibromyalgia.
Methods A total of 207 women with confirmed fibromyalgia were recruited from September 16, 2002, through November 30, 2004, and randomly assigned to 16 weeks of (1) aerobic and flexibility exercise (AE); (2) strength training, aerobic, and flexibility exercise (ST); (3) the Fibromyalgia Self-Help Course (FSHC); or (4) a combination of ST and FSHC (ST-FSHC). The primary outcome was change in physical function from baseline to completion of the intervention. Secondary outcomes included social and emotional function, symptoms, and self-efficacy.
Results Improvements in the mean Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire score in the 4 groups were –12.7 for the ST-FSHC group, –8.2 for the AE group, –6.6 for the ST group, and –0.3 for the FSHC group. The ST-FSHC group demonstrated greater improvement than the FSHC group (mean difference, –12.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], –23.1 to –1.7). The ST-FSHC (mean difference, 13.6; 95% CI, 2.3 to 24.9) and AE (mean difference, 13.1; 95% CI, 1.6 to 25.6) groups had similar improvements in physical function scores on the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey. Bodily pain scores on the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey improved in the ST-FSHC (14.8), AE (13.2), and ST (5.7) groups. Social function, mental health, fatigue, depression, and self-efficacy also improved. The beneficial effect on physical function of exercise alone and in combination with education persisted at 6 months.
Conclusions Progressive walking, simple strength training movements, and stretching activities improve functional status, key symptoms, and self-efficacy in women with fibromyalgia actively being treated with medication. The benefits of exercise are enhanced when combined with targeted self-management education. Our findings suggest that appropriate exercise and patient education be included in the treatment of fibromyalgia.
In the U.K., doctors are writing exercise prescriptions for their patients.
While it is not an entirely new practice over there, it would be revolutionary on this side of the pond.
Imagine this; instead of billions upon billions of dollars being spent on treating disease, we spent a fraction of that money on preventing disease.
In 2000, the total cost of obesity in the United States was estimated to be $117 billion. About $61 billion was for direct medical costs, and $56 billion was for indirect costs.
That number is likely to increase as the Percentage of Adults Who Report Being Obese, increases year after year.
A study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has recently estimated that each physically-active person saves the health care system over $300 annually relative to an inactive person.
With the current U.S. population at 303,980,933, that would work out to a potential savings of $91,194,279,900
- A study done in 1995 for the Ontario Government called The Relationship between Physical Fitness and the Cost of Health Care, estimated that OHIP medical claim costs could be reduced by $31 million a year if all Ontario adults (aged 20-69) had at least an average level of fitness.
- Based on CDC study mentioned above, the 63% of Canadians who are still inactive cost the health system $5.7B more than if they were active.
- In the Economic Burden of Illness in Canada, Health Canada reports that the total direct cost (drugs, physicians, hospitals, research) of illness in 1993 was $44 billion out of an overall cost for health care in Canada of $70 billion.Moreover, the indirect costs such as time lost due to long-term and short-term disabilities, and the present value of future productivity lost due to premature mortality and illness in Canada represents an estimated economic value of $129 billion — nearly 21% of the GDP. Reducing the number of inactive Canadians by a further 10% would result in an additional saving of $5 billion.
So what do we do?
In a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Physical Activity Using Bike/Pedestrian Trails, it was found that every $1 investment (construction, maintenance, equipment and travel) in exercise trails led to $2.94 in direct medical benefit.
A 2004 paper, published the in American Journal of Preventive Medicine has a variety of intervention strategies.
But at the end of the day, all government can do is try to coax us, bribe us or threaten us into adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Ultimately, it is up to the individual to make the conscious decision. Is the benefit of living an active and healthy life worth the cost?
In my post, The Components of Physical Fitness, I divided physical fitness into it’s component parts and provided a brief introduction of each part.
Today I will try to explain the concept of Muscular Strength and how it applies to overall physical fitness.
Intro to Muscular Strength
This component of physical fitness deals specifically with the performance of the body’s skeletal muscles.
Your skeletal muscles contract and stretch in order to produce movement. Simple.
How they produce that movement is less simple.
Your body’s muscles are highly adaptable. They will react to the stresses that you place upon them.
Sit on the couch and they will atrophy. Try and run fast and they adapt to produce faster contractions. Lift heavy objects and they will increase their ability to produce maximum strength.
Muscular Strength can and has been categorized in a variety of different ways.
I am choosing to divide Muscular Strength into four categories, based primarily on Newton’s Second Law.
Mass relates to how much weight/mass a muscle or muscle group can move.
Acceleration relates to how fast that weight/mass is moved.
4 Categories of Muscular Strength
- Maximum Muscular Strength
- Maximum Muscular Power
- Maximum Muscular Speed
- Maximum Muscular Endurance
Each of these categories has different characteristics with regard to mass and acceleration
Maximum muscular strength
Maximum Muscular Strength is an extreme form of muscular strength.
In relation to newton’s Second Law it completely favors mass over acceleration.
It is a measure of the maximum mass that a muscle, or muscle group can move, regardless of time.
Think immovable object v.s irresistible force. Pushing your ‘out of gas’ car up a hill to the gas station at the crest of the hill. Your maximum squat at the gym.
Maximum Mass moved with little Acceleration. Got it?
The importance of maximum muscular strength?
While this is a point of debate amongst both academics, coaches and athletes, I believe that maximum muscular strength is the most important component of overall muscular strength.
Looking at the force-velocity curve, we see a relationship between force/mass and velocity / acceleration.
Maximum Muscular Strength would be represented by the point on the curve in the upper left corner.
Muscular Speed would be represented by the point on the lower right.
Power is the combination of strength and speed.
So, if you were to increase your maximum strength, you would shift the force-velocity curve and your muscular power upwards.
Conversely, if you could increase your speed of movement, you would shift the curve to the right, also increasing your power.
Increasing both strength and speed would push the curve both up and to the right, resulting in even greater increases in power.
For most athletes, that is a welcome goal.
How do you develop maximum muscular strength?
Maximum Muscular Strength is developed using different forms and methods of resistance training. Generally speaking, heavy weights for low repetitions are used to develop max strength.
As this is a very complicated subject, I will be discussing this topic in detail in future posts.
Maximum muscular speed
As mentioned above, Maximum muscular speed is the ability to produce a low force muscular movement very quickly.
As seen in the force-velocity curve, muscular speed is both a relative and absolute term.
Relative, because your mass (along with a bunch of other reasons) impacts the speed that you can achieve. To illustrate this point, let’s look at the animal kingdom.
A cheetah, while incredibly fast – 60+ miles per hour is no match for the peregrine falcon, which can dive at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.
In the world of athletics, speed is also relative. Imagine a footrace between the current men’s Olympic 100m champion and the ‘fastest’ sumo wrestler in the world.
On the other hand, speed is absolute. When we are comparing apples to apples, Maximum Muscular Speed is often the determining factor in an athletic competition.
Superior hand speed often makes the difference in a boxing match between two men in the same weight category.
How do you develop maximum muscular speed?
Like Maximum Muscular Strength, speed can be developed using resistance training techniques. However, Max Speed training most often involves body weight training that attempt to maximize both the condition of the muscles and the performance of the neuro-muscular system as a whole.
I will also be covering this topic in more detail in future posts.
Maximum muscular endurance
Maximum muscular endurance is the ability to produce a smaller amount of force, but do it for a long time. A marathon runner is a great example of muscular endurance. His body weight requires less force to move than your car, in neutral, going uphill; but he is able to move that weight for 2+ hours non-stop.
Why do you need maximum muscular endurance?
Maximum muscular endurance is the least sexy of the 4 categories of Muscular Strength. However, it is the most vital when it comes to general health and longevity. While not being taken to extremes, the training to improve muscular endurance has a beneficial effect on your cardio-vascular health.
How do you develop maximum muscular endurance?
Maximum Muscular Endurance is generally trained with body-weight exercises. While there may be a need for injury prevention resistance training exercises, most endurance athletes focus their training on their sport of choice.
I will also cover the training methodologies of endurance athletes in a future post.
Maximum Muscular power
Muscular power is the combination of maximum strength and speed.
An Olympic weightlifter is a great example of power.
So are high jumpers and sprinters.
How do you develop Maximum Muscular Power?
As Maximum Muscular Power is a combination of Max Strength and Max Speed, the development of power involves a combination of training methodologies.
I look to cover this topic in my next post.
I hope this introductory post was helpful in helping you understand Muscular strength training and how it impacts athletic performance and general physical fitness.
In future posts, I will go into a more detailed explanation of each of the 4 categories. I will also provide same training programs for each category of Muscular Strength.