The Importance of Stretching and Flexibility

Exercises that increase cardiovascular endurance as well as those that increase strength and lean muscle tissue are only two very important things to keep up with. A third important element of overall health is flexibility. As we age we tend to lose flexibility. One contributing factor to the loss of flexibility is inactivity; therefore, we can help prevent it. Some of the benefits to increased flexibility are as follows:

  • An increase in freedom of movement
  • Better posture
  • An increase in mental health/relaxation
  • Release in muscle tension and soreness
  • Reduces the risk of injury
  • An increase in physical relaxation

Always make sure to warm up your muscles before stretching. Failure to do this may increase your risk of injury instead of helping it. While stretching, make sure you do not overstretch the muscle. In other words, if it hurts, then do not stretch that far. Also, make sure to continue breathing normally. Make sure to hold the stretch (do not bounce) for maximal effectiveness.

For extra information regarding the importance of stretching and increased flexibility visit https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/6646/flexibility-benefits

By Sarah Callahan

Post Workout Nutrition

Post workout nutrition is a very important and often overlooked step.  It has been proven to provide numerous benefits including improved recovery, glycogen replenishment, and decreased muscle soreness.  Before diving into what post workout nutrition is, let’s break down each step one at time.  I’ll do my best to keep things simple.

What is glycogen?

Our working muscles require energy to perform at their best which is provided from glycogen.  Glycogen is made from dietary carbohydrates that have been broken down and linked together to form chains in the muscle tissue.  When muscles are utilized during workouts those chains are broken down to provide energy.  The more that a muscle is utilized the more glycogen is depleted until those stores are eventually completed exhausted. The feeling of hitting a wall is typically felt when that happens.  Muscles are only capable of storing around 250-400 grams of glycogen.  These amounts can vary depending on training status and dietary intake. In general that is around 1000-1400 calories from carbohydrates. So if you are not staring at the back of your eyelids by now, let’s move onto the more exciting stuff.

Why am I so sore after exercising?

Ever had that feeling especially after a tough leg workout that if you dropped something on the floor, the pain of having to bend down to pick it up just isn’t worth it?  I know I have been there and it can be rather amusing to watch from the sidelines, especially if you attempt to pick it up.   Muscle soreness is caused from muscles being damaged while working out.  When those muscles are repaired they become stronger and depending on type of training, bigger.  So until they are repaired muscle soreness could continue for days and days.  I don’t know about you but I would prefer not being sore that long.  I wish there was a way to decrease that soreness…

Alright so what in the world is post workout nutrition?

I’m glad you asked that question!  After working out your muscles are primed and ready to accept nutrients needed for repair, energy replenishment, muscle strength, and growth.  Just think of them as a sponge ready to soak up anything they receive.  There is also a “window” that those nutrients need to be consumed by and it opens immediately after working out till around 2 hours after.  After that “window” passes that sponge will not soak up those nutrients as well and be used for other things.  Hello post workout nutrition!  Now as a side note, post workout nutrition can vary according to exercise type/intensities, training status and body composition goals.  So rather than bore you with the details of all the math and science calculations, let’s keep to that simple plan.

What should my post nutrition meal look like?

The best post workout nutrition meal should contain a combination of both protein for muscle repair and carbohydrates for glycogen (energy) replenishment.

A few meal ideas:

  • Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables.
  • Egg omelet with avocado spread on toast.
  • Salmon with sweet potato.
  • Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread.
  • Oatmeal, yogurt, banana and almonds.
  • Cottage cheese and fruits.

So to wrap things up

If you want to decrease muscle soreness and continue to have energy while working out, post workout nutrition is your answer.  It doesn’t have to be complicated just remember to eat a meal containing protein and carbohydrates immediately and up to 2 hours after exercising.  You will be amazed at how much more you are able to accomplish, including picking up things you dropped on the floor.

Until next time workout safe, smart and as often as you can!

Eric Tucker

Research Links Physical Inactivity To Earlier Death

With the holidays approaching and daily schedules becoming more and more busy, many people may discontinue their usual exercise routines. But before you give up on this important healthy habit, consider the fact that physical activity is actually linked with a longer life. Did you know that research has shown that the more time a person spends being inactive, the higher their risk is for premature death? That’s right- inactivity is linked with an earlier death! Many chronic diseases that Americans experience including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and even some cancers, may be alleviated or prevented by regular physical activity. An inverse correlation exists between amount of aerobic activity and risk of premature death such that the more time a person spends in aerobic activity, the lower his or her risk is for premature death. Alternatively, the more time a person spends sitting or being inactive, the higher his or her risk is for chronic diseases, mental health problems, and premature death.

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Sets and Reps: Where to Begin

Strength training has tremendous benefits for people of all ages. However, most people that enter a gym for the first time do not know how many sets or repetitions to complete in order to achieve the maximal results. The benefits associated with strength training are: 1) increase in lean body mass; 2) increase in metabolic rate; 3) increase in bone density; 4) decrease risk of injury; and 5) building back lost muscle tissue that commonly occurs with aging.

The two most common results people look to achieve from working out are gaining size and strength.

Gaining Size

Training to gain size is associated with high reps consisting of shorter rest periods between each exercise. The number of reps should be kept around 8-15 with rest periods no longer than 30 seconds to two minutes. Complete three to five different exercises per muscle group, with three to six sets of each exercise. This type of training is referred to as hypertrophy training. Muscle hypertrophy is a term for the growth and increase of the size of muscle cells.  These muscle fibers are broken down throughout the course of your workout. Repair begins, which causes the muscle to grow back larger.

Gaining Strength

Increasing muscular strength involves training at a higher intensity. With the higher intensity, not as many exercises are n

eeded. Two to three different exercises per muscle group will suffice. The number of sets can be backed off to three to five per exercise. The number of reps should be kept to a min

 

imal, around 4-8 reps per set while increasing the amount of rest time to 2-5 minutes. Training at a higher intensity requires a different energy system than working for endurance with higher rep training. This system requires more time to recover in order to replenish the energy stores, typically around 3 minutes.

Now you may ask; what if I am looking to gain both size and strength? Cycle periods of low-rep training and high-rep training into your overall program, while progressively trying to increase your strength and perfect your exercise form every time you lift. Learn to incorporate both types of training into your program in order to maximize your gains. Begin with lower reps for your major lifts, such as squats and bench press. Follow up the low reps with higher re

p training on your minor lifts. Following this protocol will allow you to see an enormous gain in the amount of weight you are able to lift when starting a new workout program.

Unless you’re training for a specific sport or lift, don’t get in the rut of solely sticking with either type of training style. Strength training is about confusing your muscles so they do not become adapted to the same weight and exercise. You will not see results if you stick with the usual three sets of ten protocol. Find what works best for you so you do not fatigue out too quickly. Try new things that take you out of your comfort zone while still giving you a nice workout. The most important aspect in strength training is finding something you enjoy doing so you do not get discouraged and give up on yourself!

By Keaton Allen

DeFranco, Joe. (2015, July 03). Why All Muscle Was Not Created Equal. Retrieved from https://www.defrancostraining.com/why-all-muscle-was-not-created-equal/

Hitchcock, H. (2017, September 11). Mass Vs. Strength. Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/436092-mass-vs-strength/

Thomas, M. H., & Burns, S. P. (2016, April 01). Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4836564/

Wendler, J. (2018, May 21). 10 Strength-Building Strategies That Will Never Die. Retrieved from https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/10-strength-building-strategies/

Grilled Chicken Tacos with Lettuce Slaw, Avocado and Cotija

Grilled Chicken Tacos with Lettuce Slaw, Avocado and Cotija

Skinnytaste.com

Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 2 tacos • Calories: 326 • Fat: 16 g

  • Protein: 30 g • Carbs: 22 g • Fiber: 5 g • Sugar: 2 g Sodium: 697 mg • Cholesterol: 83 mg

For the chicken:

  • 14 oz (4 thin sliced) boneless chicken breast cutlets
  • 1 1/4 tsp seasoned salt (I used Lawry’s Fire Roasted Chili & Garlic)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice

For the taco:

  • 2 1/2 cups (4 oz) shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup (1 medium) vine ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 loose cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup thin sliced red onion1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • pinch fresh black pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 4 tbsp crumbled Cotija cheese
  • 1 sliced (5 oz) avocado
  • thinly sliced radishes, for garnish (optional)
  • 4 lime wedges, for serving

Directions:

Season chicken with seasoned salt, olive oil and lime juice and marinate for at least an hour.

Heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan on medium-high heat. Oil the grates and grill about 2 minutes. Turn and cook an additional 1 minute, or until cooked through. Set aside on a cutting board and slice into thin strips.

Parkinson’s Boxing, Version 2

Since January 2016, the Wellness Center has offered people in the High Country afflicted with Parkinson’s disease a helping hand in the fight against it. From January 2016 to June 2018, the Parkinson’s Boxing Program has been able to help over 25 people in the area improve their lives through boxing and socialization that was not available to them previously.

Beginning in June 2018, a revamped boxing program for Parkinson’s has been created to fulfill more aspects of fitness. Particularly if you’re at the Wellness Center in the early to late afternoons during the week, you may see a lot of coming and going between Classrooms 1 & 2 and the Spin Room. This new version of the program incorporates not only boxing but Yoga, Tai Chi, Weight Training, Zumba, and Cycling.

To create the most effective program, we’ve limited the boxing class sizes to 3 participants, but the additional class may have up to 6 participants at one time. This allows for a greater personalization per person, improves other areas of fitness such as posture and balance, and allows for improved socialization amongst the participants.

Entrance into the program requires a physician referral and a health screen from the Rehabilitation Center.
If you or someone that you’re close with may benefit from this program you may contact Martin Hubner MS, CSCS, Pn1 at the Wellness Center for more information (mhubner@apprhs.org or (828)266-1060). To schedule a health screen, contact the Rehabilitation Center at (828)268-9043.