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Tone Muscles using Resistance Training

While you can’t target fat loss in trouble spots, you can tone muscles in those areas for a more defined look.

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You can’t spot-reduce the parts of your body you don’t like (your body decides where the weight comes off first). But that doesn’t mean you can’t target the muscles in your trouble areas. But how? Incorporate resistance training into your workout. The best way to tone your muscles: Do each exercise with a higher number of repetitions (about 15 to 20) and a lighter weight than you could lift just eight to 10 times. You can also get a leaner look by lengthening your muscles through stretching and yoga.

source: the Cleveland Clinic Wellness site

 

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Not Seeing Results? Your Dumbells may be too Light

Not seeing the results you want at the gym? Look to the number on your dumbbells. Research shows most of us choose weights that are too light.

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If your workout feels too easy, or you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for, you may be selecting weights that are too light for you. Research in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that, during resistance training, many women chose weights that were too light to see any real muscle improvements. “While performing any exercise is better then doing none, you want to make sure you are continually challenging your body. Doing the same exercise at the same weight for more than two weeks most likely means you are no longer seeing any continued benefits, because your body has adapted,” explains Melissa Hendricks, M.Ed, manager of the Cleveland Clinic Fitness Centers. To select the proper weight for you, choose one that you can lift at least eight times, but no more than 15, before exhausting your muscles completely. The last few repetitions should be difficult, but you should still be able to maintain proper form.

source:cleveland clinic

 
 

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10 Ways to Start Exercise: Part 2 of 2

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Yesterday’s blog focused on the first five ways to get ready for exercise. Today is the second and final piece of advice on the 10 ways to start exercise.

6. Don’t Do It If You Don’t Love It
The perfect exercise is something you enjoy, according to Gordon Blackburn, MD, director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the Cleveland Clinic. He recommends doing something you can fit in on a daily basis and something you can continue doing. Walk briskly, run, bike, use a program like Wii Fit. As the saying goes, it’s all good. Once you find what you love, aim to gradually increase the duration and intensity of your activity. As you get more fit, your functional capacity increases, so you really can do more. If you love your daily walk, add distance and build up speed. If you love bicycling, add another few miles or tackle that big hill. It all adds up, and getting going today will keep your heart going in the long run.

7. Don’t Stretch Too Soon
You probably learned to stretch before exercise in elementary school PE. But science has determined that holding stretches for 20 to 30 seconds prior to the start of a workout actually makes it more difficult for your muscles to perform. A University of Nevada study found that athletes who performed traditional hamstring stretches before working out generated less power from those muscles than athletes who did no stretching at all. For a good-for-you warm-up, do moves that raise your heart rate and promote flexibility, such as a straight-legged march: Kick your right leg straight out in front of you, keeping your toes pointed up. As you kick, reach your left fingertips to touch (or nearly touch) your right toes. Step your weight forward onto your right leg, then repeat on the left side, bringing your right hand to touch your left toes as you kick. Keep going for eight to 10 steps. As for those static stretches from your school days, there’s still a time and a place for them — after you’re done with your workout.

8. Don’t Forget Your Core
It’s no coincidence that core training and balance training are often grouped together. A strong core — which consists of your abdominal, back and pelvic muscles — can function like an insurance policy against balance-related injuries. “When your core is strong, then your protective stabilizing muscles kick in and protect you,” explains Dallas-based Pilates expert Karon Karter, author of Balance Training: Stability Workouts for Core Strength and a Sculpted Body. Studies have shown that taking a holistic view of balance training is probably the most effective route. That means changing up your exercise routine to challenge both strength and balance, and pairing it with core training. Use balance exercises to warm up for things like walking, running or biking. After establishing your balance on one foot (just holding still is a good first step), try raising and lowering your body on one leg, keeping your torso erect while bending at the knee and waist. As you get more confident, add repetitions, go lower, or move your free leg into different positions.

9. Don’t Walk With Weights
Though it may feel like you’re working harder, strapping on hand or ankle weights while you walk won’t give you the extra burn you’re looking for. And it may just increase your risk of joint problems or injuries. To burn extra calories, you would need to carry at least three- to five-pound weights — and that’s a definite no-no. When you swing the weights, it exponentially increases the force on your shoulder and elbow joints if using hand weights, or knee and hip joints if using ankle weights. For people with heart disease or high blood pressure, using weights can also cause a temporary spike in blood pressure. Leave the weights at home and boost your burn by walking up hills instead.

10. Don’t Focus on Appearance
If you can’t seem to muster the motivation to hit the gym, it may be time to rethink your reasons for going. Working out for the sake of how you look can actually discourage you from exercise. Instead of viewing physical activity as a means to a better-looking body, think of it as a way to stay healthy and feel great. Though you will burn calories, melt fat and build muscle, regular physical activity can also reduce stress, banish bad moods, ramp up energy levels and boost self-esteem. So even if a single workout doesn’t give you a Heidi Klum or Matthew McConaughey body, all that sweat and those endorphins can still make you feel like you look almost as good as they do.

source: Cleveland Clinic wellness website

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2013 in Did You Know..., What's New

 

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10 Ways to Start Exercise: Part 1 of 2

Walking, strength training, running, swimming, biking, yoga, tai chi — the possibilities for exercise are endless. The good news is that it doesn’t matter which one you choose — it just matters that you do some form of exercise.

“If you have a choice between not moving and moving — move,” says Heather Nettle, MA, coordinator of exercise physiology services for the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Center. “Ultimately it will help with overall health and well-being.” So go ahead, find an activity you love and get moving with these 10 do’s and don’ts for starting an exercise routine.

1. Do Anything — It’s Better Than Nothing
Experts are quite clear on this point: Get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise three to five days a week for improved energy, as well as to help prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. If you can’t dedicate that amount of time, any exercise, any movement for any amount of time is better than nothing.

2. Keep Track
Tracking your steps with a pedometer is one key to success if you like to walk, says Michael F. Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic. Another is recording some basic health information before starting a new routine. “Keeping track of how your body changes inside and out over the weeks and months gives you proof of the healthy changes you’re making,” he says. A few ways to do it:
• Before your first workout, check your blood pressure at your local pharmacy. Then recheck once a month.
• Time yourself at a track or on a treadmill. See how many minutes it takes you to walk or run one mile. Retest yourself after one month of consistent exercise.
• Measure your waist circumference and your weight. Take these measurements once a week.
• Schedule a visit with your physician and request these tests: lipid panel, vitamin D and C-reactive protein. Check these levels again after six months of consistent exercise.

3. Weight-Train
There’s no question: You’ll shed pounds faster if you lift weights. That’s because strength training builds muscle, and the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be. And women, hear this: You will not bulk up! What you’re doing by lifting weights is preventing muscle loss. Strength training also improves overall body composition, giving you more lean muscle tissue in relation to fat, so you look toned and trim. To experience the most benefit, lift more weight than you think you can. Dashing through your repetitions doesn’t take as much effort because it allows your muscles to rely on momentum. Instead, focus on your form by practicing slow and steady movements on both the contraction and the release. This will help you strengthen every muscle fiber.

4. Head for the Hills
Do you follow the same flat path day in and day out when you go for your walk or run? Look for hills along your route that you can slip into your routine. If it’s too much for you to tackle all at once, start by going only halfway up. Walking or running up inclines boosts the intensity of your workout: It burns more calories and helps build muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance. Switching between flat surfaces and hills is a form of interval training, a type of workout that involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise in between moderate activity. This kind of exercise, practiced by elite athletes, can supercharge your workout. It can also help keep boredom at bay. If you have joint problems, go easy on the downhill — slow your pace and shorten your stride.

5. Think Outside the Box
Even if you can’t engage in rigorous, high-intensity sweat sessions, there are plenty of other ways to improve your physical health. According to a review in the American Journal of Health Promotion, mind-body practices like tai chi and qigong may help promote bone health, cardiorespiratory fitness, physical function, balance, quality of life, fall prevention and emotional well-being. Described as “meditation in motion,” tai chi and qigong involve a series of flowing, gentle movements — similar to but much slower than yoga. Interested? Get the Gaiam tai chi for beginners DVD in our clevelandclinicwellness.com wellness store.

Check back in tomorrow for the remaining 5 ways to get started on exercise!

 

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Gentlemen…

protect your prostate by eating olive oil and nuts. Choosing healthy fats over the saturated kind can help you live longer.

CC_Wellness Tip

Men, improve your chances of a long and healthy life by choosing olive oil and avocado over butter and mayo. Research shows that men who swapped 10 percent of their daily calories from animal fats with healthy fats like olive oil, seeds, avocados or nuts were 30 percent less likely to die from prostate cancer and 25 percent less likely to die from any other disease compared to those who did not make the switch. Even a single daily tablespoon of oil-based salad dressing, such as balsamic vinaigrette, resulted in a noticeable drop in mortality risk. To protect your health and enjoy delicious flavor, use oil and vinegar instead of cream-based dressings and cook your food with extra virgin olive oil instead of mystery “vegetable” oil.

 
 

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Mean People….Just Stay Positive

CC_Wellness TipTo deal with mean people, “Stay positive and courteous,” says mind-body coach Jane Ehrman. “Fighting back only fuels the problem.”

From rude coworkers to short-tempered bosses to impatient drivers, mean people do make an appearance now and then. As we all know from experience, being the recipient of someone else’s antagonistic behavior can really bring us down, even on an otherwise great day. Research shows that a negative interaction has a five times greater impact on us than a positive one. In other words, it takes five good things to offset just one bad thing. So how do you keep a mean person from ruining your day? Instead of attacking back, kill that meanie with kindness. And treat yourself with kindness too. Sometimes we don’t want to admit that someone has gotten under our skin. Instead of denying your hurt feelings, acknowledge them.

As for the other person, try to see past their actions. “Mean-spirited people are unhappy, to say the least. Inside they are hurting, living out of fear, insecurity and anger. They don’t feel good about themselves or their lives, so they lash out at others,” says Jane Pernotto Ehrman, MEd, mind-body coach and behavioral health specialist at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute’s Center for Lifestyle Medicine. “Mostly, it isn’t about you, it’s about them. Recognizing that there are underlying issues can make it easier for you to respond with compassion and understanding. Take the high road and respond with kindness.” After all, while you can’t change another person’s behavior, you can change your reaction to him or her. Being kind to someone who has hurt you may inspire that person to see the good in themselves as well.

 

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Tense Muscles could be Unmanaged Stress

cleveland clinic

Unmanaged stress causes your muscles to tense up. Relax your tight shoulders and neck with this easy, do-anywhere neck roll.
When you’re stressed, the nervous system tells major muscle groups to tense up (which gets them ready to fight or flee). If you continue to remain stressed, those muscles stay tight and constricted, leading to stress-related muscle pain and tension. If it feels as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders, practice this neck roll exercise, offered by yoga therapist Judi Bar, the yoga program manager at the Cleveland Clinic.

Whether you choose to do your neck rolls standing or sitting, begin with a tall spine. Exhale as you let your chin drop toward your chest. Don’t force your chin to touch the chest, just let it fall naturally in that direction. As you inhale, roll your head slowly and gently to the right side, dropping the ear towards the shoulder. Keep inhaling as you continue to roll the head backward, looking up at the ceiling. Begin your next exhale as you roll your head to the left side and back forward to start. Do two or three rounds going in one direction and then switch directions. Do this gentle practice any time you feel tension gathering in your neck and shoulders.

 

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USA Today: Patients with back pain often get Wrong Treatment

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Patients with back pain often get the wrong treatment
Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY 5:18 p.m. EDT July 29, 2013
“The majority of cases of patients with new back pain tend to get better with conservative treatment in three months.”

Story Highlights
• Back pain is one of the most common reasons for going to the doctor
• With treatment of back pain, often “less is more”
• Conservative treatments work for the majority of patients with back pain

Many patients are getting overly aggressive treatments for their back pain, says a large study out today. Physicians today are increasingly giving patients with back pain narcotic drugs, ordering expensive imaging tests or referring them to other physicians rather than offering them the recommended first line of treatment. That more conservative treatment calls for the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), aspirin and naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol) and physical therapy, according to national guidelines from the American College of Physicians.

The guidelines caution against early imaging or other aggressive treatments, except in rare cases, says the study’s lead author John Mafi, a chief medical resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston. These guidelines are similar to those from other groups, and the bottom-line message is “less is more,” Mafi says. “The majority of cases of patients with new back pain tend to get better with conservative treatment in three months. If they don’t get better, physical therapy is an option. Narcotic medications, such as Percocet or Vicodin, have no proven efficacy in improving chronic back pain.”

Back pain is one of the most common reasons for going to the doctor; more than 10% of visits to primary-care physicians are for this problem and amounts to about $86 billion in health care spending annually, says senior author Bruce Landon, a professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School. That’s a conservative estimate because it doesn’t account for lost productivity, he says. Using data from two national surveys, the researchers studied almost 24,000 visits to the doctor for back pain, both acute and chronic, from 1999 to 2010.

Findings published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, a Journal of the American Medical Association Network publication:
– The recommendation for using NSAIDs or acetaminophen per visit decreased from almost 37% in 1999 to about 24.5% in 2010.
– Narcotic drug use increased from about 19% in 1999 to about 29% in 2010.
– Physician referrals increased from about 7% in 1999 to 14% in 2010.
– Scans, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance images (MRIs), rose from about 7% to about 11% during that same period.
– Physical therapy remained unchanged at about 20%; X-rays remained unchanged at about 17%.

“With health care costs soaring, improvements in the management of back pain represent an area of potential cost savings for the health care system while also improving the quality of care,” the study says. So why are doctors using these types of treatments? “Patients expect doctors to have some kind of magic cure, and so doctors want to offer them something,” Landon says. “Often it’s easier to offer them something rather than explaining why more aggressive treatments and testing won’t make them better in the long run.”
Donald Casey Jr., a clinical professor of medicine in the department of population health at New York University School of Medicine, who wrote the accompanying editorial, says there are a lot of different reasons for the findings, including the fact that there are 183 different guidelines just for treating low back pain. “A well-constructed clinical practice guideline doesn’t always give you the exact treatment for every single patient every time. But it should give physicians guidance about which treatments are most likely to work best for most patients.”

 

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Consider Physical Therapy if you still have Pain

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YOU SHOULD CONSIDER PHYSICAL THERAPY…

You injured your back, your knee or your wrist. You’ve gone to the doctor who suggested rest, anti-inflammatories and perhaps a brace. However, even after time has passed, you’re still having pain. Have you considered physical therapy?

Physical therapy may sound like it’s just for recovery of major musculoskeletal surgeries like a knee replacement or after a stroke, but in reality physical therapy can help even in situations that seem less serious. Physical therapy can help anyone return to their optimal level of functioning who have suffered an injury, developed weaknesses or have muscle & joint imbalances.
Physical therapy can help with the reduction of pain using a variety of techniques. Many PT’s use evidence-based techniques and “hands on therapy” to release restricted muscles. They can locate and work on trigger points, which may be referring pain to other areas of your body.

Pain often continues after an injury due to weaknesses developed in the muscle groups that were affected, long after the muscle has actually healed. Often, other muscles are being overworked to compensate, creating more or different pain. Physical therapists can isolate and determine specifically where those weaknesses are and develop an exercise plan to help those areas regain their strength. Therapists can guide you through proper movement allowing your body to relearn what it feels like to once again move correctly. Physical therapy may also help you avoid surgery. As you strengthen and stretch particular muscle groups you may no longer need surgery. If you and your physician find you do need surgery, physical therapy will help get those muscles as strong and flexible as possible beforehand so you will have a faster, less painful recovery.

There are a variety of types of physical therapists with more expertise in a particular areas. Patients who have had a heart attack may see a cardiac rehab therapist, those with hip or knee replacements may see an orthopedic physical therapist. Certain physical therapists only work with children while others primarily work with seniors. There are also PTs in the area of woman’s health, helping women with pelvic pain issues or incontinence problems.

Resources are available to help a physical therapist to suit your needs. Ask friends who have had physical therapy if they would recommend their therapist to you. Some physicians have physical therapists they prefer to work with and will often refer to those particular clinics.
Call the physical therapy clinic and ask about a therapist’s experience working with patients with your type of issue. The office staff can also verify whether or not your insurance will cover the physical therapy and how much you will be responsible for with each visit.

Physical therapy is definitely worth a try for chronic problems that have not improved with other treatments. Ask the PT how many visits it should take before you would see some progress. The PT and your physician will develop a plan that works for you!

Sources:
10 Ways Physical Therapy Can Help. Lehigh Valley Health Network. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
http://www.lvhn.org/wellness_resources/wellness_articles/healthy_living/…

Physical Therapy. Teens Health from Nemours. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/medical_care/pt.html

American Physical Therapy Association.
http://www.apta.org

“Find a PT”
http://www.apta.org/apta/findapt/index.aspx?navID=10737422525

 

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Don’t Forget to Neglect Strength Training!

cleveland clinicWalking every day? Good for you! But don’t neglect strength training, which helps preserve muscle and improve balance.
When it comes to preventing health problems, exercise is one of the best medicines we have. It eases anxiety, lowers stress, stabilizes mood, and improves body image and self-esteem. It also helps with hot flashes, back pain and depression. Still, only 20 percent of U.S. adults get even less than the optimal recommended aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though we’re making progress with aerobic exercise — nearly 52 percent of Americans meet the weekly, but in our opinion still minimal, guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise — only 29 percent of us make strength training a priority. Wondering why you have to do strength training if you’re already walking 150 minutes each week? Strength training helps preserve and build muscle; you otherwise lose one-half of one percent each birthday. Having more muscle also helps you burn calories, which keeps weight under control. It also improves balance to keep you injury-free, and it maintains bones, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, says Melissa Hendricks, MEd, manager of the Cleveland Clinic fitness centers. “I think the biggest obstacle I see for Cleveland Clinic employees is that they simply don’t know what they should be doing,” says Hendricks. “And weight rooms can be very intimidating places!” The good news is that you don’t even have to set foot in one to get a good workout. To get started, try these moves, which are perfect for beginners and require nothing more than your body and a set of dumbbells.

Original Post from Cleveland Clinic

 

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