Benefits of Massage

To many Americans, massage falls under the category of “luxury” – and massage shops in many communities will tell you that only a vast minority of the general population will even think about stepping through their doors, and they’ll tell you why: a common outlook on massage is part of a reaction to anything that seems like “alternative” medicine; in other words, any medical or health technique that doesn’t come in a box.

But not all good things come wrapped up in cardboard cartons and child-proof bottles, and while many might think of massage as a “pretend” therapy or just something to make the body feel good, the medical community is meanwhile recognizing the medical benefits of massage in treating everything from high blood pressure to certain muscle injuries.

If centuries of use by advanced civilizations hasn’t proven the utility of massage to the general public, maybe the use of “medical massage” in today’s health care system will.  Medical and health care workers recognize a range of concrete health benefits from massage, including:

  • Increased limb mobility and joint flexibility
  • Improved mood and metabolism
  • Improved recovery times for injuries that benefit from physical therapy
  • Improved blood flow and circulation
For all of these and much more, massage provides a critical therapy: by loosening tissues and working the nerves, veins and everything else that’s packed into the human body, massage does a number of things to promote functionality in blood flow, nervous system operation, alertness, and other corporeal aspects.  Massage therapists who have worked on many patients can tell you about how the therapy works wonders for those who really need it, people suffering from disorders related to a lax blood flow or blocked muscles, or anything that can be freed up simply by undergoing some basic tissue working.

As doctors and health care professionals have begun to endorse massage, the technical side of the medical community has started to employ terminology and methods for recognizing medical massage, including diagnostic and procedure codes recognizing illnesses and injuries that are considered treatable by massage, and codes for the treatments themselves, so that insurance companies will recognize and release payment for claims including massage therapy.  This is the real step forward for massage, because when the insurance companies pay out for something – it’s really medical treatment!

Now that massage has become part of standard medical treatment for some conditions, those who know about how it benefits the body can spread the message to others, and from doctor’s offices to gyms and spas, this kind of physical therapy can really get its due as an effective, non-invasive way to promote the body’s health.  Not everyone will entertain the idea of getting massage therapy, and not everyone needs it, but those who can benefit the most may be able to access this simple and straightforward medical care to relieve their conditions, and many interested in preventative care can take steps to keep their body’s systems strong and healthy.

 


By Steve,FitnessFuture Expert.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 05 May 2010 23:44)

Read more...

 

The Fountain of Youth finally found! Right at your neighborhood health club!

girl drinking water to hydrate her bodyLet’s face it. The odds of you finding Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth are about the same as you winning the lottery. But if you see youthfulness as being healthy and able to live life independently in your old age, then just add weightlifting to your lifestyle and you’ve got a better chance of finding it.

Weightlifting, bodybuilding and other types of flexibility training, including yoga and its many variations, are all classified as cardiovascular exercises. And as for the fountain of youth, having a heart and circulatory system much younger then the age of your body is a recipe for a much longer and healthier life.

Take a seventy-year-old senior citizen who is not active and has no exercise regimens in his life. By the time he reaches this age, he will have lost over forty percent of his muscle mass and thirty percent of his muscle strength. This is the main reason why 40% of men and women over the age of 65 fall at least once a year.

This may not seem like a big deal, since most falls happen within the comforts of home. These falls due to lost muscle strength occur in the basic everyday movements of standing, walking and rising from a seated position. Other everyday chores like shopping, cleaning and bathing can be even more disastrous. Research has shown that falls, and the complications arising from them, are the leading cause of fatalities in seniors 75 and older.


It all boils down to lost muscle mass during the process of aging. This affliction, called atrophy, is defined as a decrease in the number and size of muscle fibers. Some amount of it can’t be helped, because medical science now believes that this is hereditary and will occur in the later years. But muscle atrophy can be reversed almost entirely, whether inherited or not—just by weight training.

As it happens, though, the ones that need it aren’t the ones doing it. Health clubs are filled with young people, their bodies glistening, looking like Greek statues and the picture of health. The over-fifty people are home deciding where to go for the early bird. And the over seventy people are home wondering if it’s safe to go anywhere at all. The truth is, even people in their nineties can get muscle gains—with sensible modifications, of course.

In 1990 a study was conducted by Tufts University on the subject of 'weight training for the elderly'. The participants in the study were six women and four men who resided in a nursing home. These were frail ninety-year olds, seven of them who used canes or walkers, who were suffering from osteoporosis, arthritis, bone fractures, coronary artery disease and high blood pressure among other common aches and pains considered “normal” for their ages.

After weight exercising three times a week for only eight weeks, these seniors had their gains tabulated— and the researchers were astonished at the results. Overall leg strength increased by 174%, total thigh muscle mass increased by 9%, two seniors discarded their canes, and one formerly chair-bound individual could now rise to a standing position without assistance. Sort of puts a new light on aging, doesn’t it?


By Steve, FitnessFuture Expert

 

Last Updated (Wednesday, 05 May 2010 23:45)

Read more...

 

About Resistance Bands

woman using a resistance band

In order to consistently see your progress and improvements from a training program, it is crucial to gradually add new elements. Whether you are an exercise beginner or a trained competitor, your exercise regimen will definitely benefit from using resistance bands, a portable strength-training alternative. These tools will add challenge, variety, and enjoyment to any exercise program. If you stick to a changeless, mind-numbing exercise program, the body’s stimulation will diminish. As soon as the body becomes used to an unchallenged environment, you will no longer see any new improvements.

Why Are Resistance Bands So Great?

The training potential of resistance bands have helps these products reach new heights of popularity. The advantages to incorporating resistance bands into your fitness program will blow your mind:

1. They allow you to attain a greater range of motion, whereas a machine limits you.

2. They allow you to generate resistance from all directions. You can also adjust your angle of movement to combine several exercises effortlessly.

3. They allow you to move more freely.

4. They allow you to mimic movements that you do in real life, i.e. sport performance. By carrying out a certain movements against your resistance bands, you can strengthen the intended sport’s muscle.

5. You can use your bands by themselves or in conjunction with other tools that add elements of challenge to your regimen i.e. stability balls, steps, Bosu balls, and wall mounts.

6. As aforementioned, anyone can customize the use of resistance bands to fit his/her strength level. The different colors reflect the degrees of difficulty. Additionally, you control the flexibility by shortening or lengthening the band.

CONVENIENCE

Every muscle in your body would benefit from the use of resistance bands. Unlike many other exercise tools, you can basically use them anywhere. They’re lightweight and small, making them easy to travel with or use at home, or even behind your desk at work. Furthermore, you can adjust the amount of resistance in seconds, completing different exercises in quick succession.
Many of you are probably thinking, ‘I use dumbbells at my local gym; therefore, I don’t need resistance bands.’ Though various pieces of gym equipment are wonderful tools for strength training, bands are still a more convenient, do-it-anywhere way to add resistance training to your workout. Plus, if you don’t belong to a gym, they offer an alternative method to getting in shape.
Resistance bands are a great buy for those who are on a tight budget, but still want to obtain and maintain a healthy body. Since the level of resistance is controlled, one resistance band is all you need. You can find them almost anywhere from Wal-Mart, to Dick’s Sporting Goods store, to E-bay and Amazon, and the price can be anywhere from $10-25. For such a versatile, long-lasting piece of equipment that will provide you with strength and glowing health, it’s a small price to pay!

This article serves as an introduction to resistance bands and their benefits. If you’ve decided to give them a try, or you’re not quite sure but want to know more, take a group fitness class or try a resistance band exercise video. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be convinced that resistance bands do a machine’s job better. By incorporating resistance bands into your strength-training routine, you’ll add a convenient strength training challenge and at minimal cost and maximum enjoyment!


By Steve, FitnessFuture Expert

 

Last Updated (Wednesday, 05 May 2010 23:45)

Read more...

 

3 Tips for Helping Your Kids Appreciate Fitness

little girl

Helping your kids to appreciate fitness and exercise doesn't have to be that hard, and the benefits are tremendous - just think: you might even get into shape while helping them! With the increase in child obesity and juvenile type 2 diabetes, it's important for parents or guardians to assist  kids in appreciating exercise and developing life long weight and fitness goals. Here are 3 tips you can use to help your kids appreciate fitness and exercise.

· Model The Desired Behavior
· Mentor and Teach Proper Technique
· Give Encouragement and Motivate

Model The Desired Behavior

Kids are watching their parents and those they look up to, whether they realize it or not. The kids are learning a lot just from observing those around them on a day to day basis; they're very observant and are watching everything and everybody all the time. Those people important to them are able to influence them a great deal. Sometimes that influence can be constructive and sometimes it's not. Parents in particular have a tremendous amount of influence on their kids. One way to help your kids understand the importance of healthy eating and a regular exercise routine is by eating healthy and exercising yourself. When the kids see you doing a regular exercise program and suggesting they do it too, a synergy between your words and actions will help to influence their behavior.

Mentor and Teach Proper Technique
Take the kids under your wing and graciously explain details and proper technique in a fitness routine. Don’t take for granted that your kids understand the how or why of healthy eating and exercise programs; they may not. If you’re patient and caring, it will come across to them, and this will go along way toward gaining their cooperation. If you don’t know all there is to know about healthy eating and exercise, get some books on the subjects and learn about it. If the kids pose questions you don’t have answers to, don't be afraid to say you don't know and let them know you'll come up with the answers. In the meantime, you can invite them to join you in your favorite activity or exercise routine and teach them the ropes. But watch out, because before too long, you might have to keep up with them!

Give Encouragement and Motivate
The root of motivation is the desire to answer a question, and that answer is what propels people to keep going, no matter how challenging the activity. Probably the single most consistent question kids ask while growing up is “why”; this is good in terms of motivation. If your kids know the benefits to healthy eating in terms they can understand and relate to, they will be motivated to participate. If they don’t understand why they must do an exercise program on a regular basis, then they will have no motivation to do so. But give them the motive and watch out! Their boundless energy can provide a great result. Motivation doesn’t have to be self-centered either; it can be about something or someone else. Motivation can come in many forms, and when you find your kid’s center of motivation; you will be able to relate healthy eating and exercise in terms they will understand.

 


By Steve, FitnessFuture Expert

 

Last Updated (Wednesday, 05 May 2010 23:45)

Read more...

 

Eat Before or After Exercise?

For more endurance and energy while you’re working out, do your exercising with food in your body. Without this fuel, metabolism will slow down and won’t let the body reach its peak levels of performance. But does this mean it’s best to work out right after a meal? Well, the calories you take in will be the same no matter when you eat your meals, but there will be a difference.

The body burns approximately 100 calories an hour when you're at rest or asleep. Let’s say that you have your last meal of the day at 7 PM and you’ve been up since 7 AM. That’s 12 straight hours that your body went without any fuel. It also used up 1200 from the body’s reserves. You’ve also used up carbohydrates stored by the liver for burning fat—and all without taking in any new calories. With no calories, and no carbohydrates, there’s no energy. But the body has to have energy from somewhere. Where does it come from?

The energy has to be taken from the glycogen in the body’s muscles. It can’t be taken from stored fat, because fat doesn’t convert into fuel. So, metabolism slows down, muscle tissue breaks down, and the energy level goes up. But try starting the day low on carbohydrates, without being able to convert fat into glucose—the body starts its starvation phase and goes into a state of ketosis.

In this starvation mode, the body will not feel hungry, because its energy is being saved for emergencies. This may seem that the body doesn’t need fuel, but actually the starvation mode is so predominant, it masks all other of the body’s feelings. To avoid these conditions: starvation, muscle and energy loss and binge eating—you need healthy meal plans before starting any exercise plans.

The best way to accomplish this is to determine when you need the most energy and tailor your nutritional needs around those times. If you’ve scheduled an intense morning workout, eat a very digestible breakfast about an hour before starting. If you prefer afternoon workouts, a good lunch will keep you fueled up through most of the day. Also, your body will take in and use the most amounts of nutrients if you schedule your meal an hour before your workout session will end.

The best food combinations to take during this efficient one-hour period are versions of a high protein carbohydrate blend. This type of food processing is so critical because metabolism is going full steam while the body is replenishing the energy lost through exercise.

Some good pre-workout foods are juices, fruits, breads and pastas. You can also bet on any quick-absorbing carbs with a high glycemic index. After your work session, feed the body proteins and carbs—peanut butter and jelly, fruit, yogurt, bagel and cream cheese, even nuts are great.

So, here’s one question you won’t have to decide on because both answers are correct--the best times to eat are before workouts, and after.

Suggestion for workouts: try a full body workout with exercise bands.

 


By Steve, FitnessFuture Expert



Last Updated (Wednesday, 05 May 2010 23:45)

Read more...