Yes, cardio exercise and building muscle are important. But it’s also important not to skimp on the third element of overall health: flexibility. As we age we tend to lose flexibility. Keeping yourself active can help maintain your flexibility.
Why does flexibility matter?
When you focus on stretching and flexibility, you will:
Move more freely
Have better posture
Be more relaxed and serene
Reduce muscle tension and soreness
Reduce the risk of injury
Dos and don’ts of stretching
Warm up your muscles BEFORE stretching. Failure to warm up may increase your risk of injury. Do a light walk on the treadmill or an easy ride on the bike to get your blood flowing.
Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds at a time. Do this 2-4 times alternating left and right sides.
Ask for help. The Wellness Center personal trainers can give you tips and creative stretches.
Do not overstretch the muscle. In other words, if it hurts, then do not stretch that far.
Don’t bounce. You could strain a muscle or even worse, injure it.
Don’t hold your breath! Breathing is important to carry oxygen to your muscles as they stretch.
To learn how to incorporate stretching into your workouts, visit the front desk or Contact us online to ask about fitness instruction.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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 (email@example.com or (828)266-1060). To schedule a health screen, contact the Rehabilitation Center at (828)268-9043.
The Wellness Center is well-known for all of the amenities offered to the community. This facility aims to please and we are continuously scheming new ideas in order to provide more for our members. Behind the scenes we offer a variety of clinical programs that may not be advertised, such as our Parkinson’s Boxing Program and our Action Potential Program. These programs are completely different, but they ultimately have the same goal: to provide nontraditional therapy in a fun and innovative way.
Newly redesigned Parkinson’s Boxing Program
Our Parkinson’s program was founded by exercise specialist Martin Hubner, MS, CSCS, who is assisted by Dustin Oliver as well as Katherine Graham, PT, MA, from The Rehabilitation Center. Boxing does a variety of things for Parkinson’s disease, essentially slowing down the progression of symptoms. Our participants get to work on things such as coordination, balance, cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. Our boxing program is designed to give the participant an opportunity to have help in a way they may not get from a traditional physical therapy session. The newly designed structure allows the participants’ 60 minutes of boxing per week plus 60 more minutes of functional movement classes. We want to offer the participants as much as we possibly can to help with their progressions.
The newly designed format for our Parkinson’s program allows for tai-chi, yoga, Zumba, and cycling, which are all functional movement-based classes. The program design is deliberate yet fun and exciting. It is a great way to build camaraderie for those with common diagnoses and interests.
“Action Potential” Program for stroke survivors
The other non-traditional therapy program we offer here at the wellness center is “Action Potential.” Once again, this program was founded by our own Martin Hubner, MS, CSCS, who is assisted by Dustin Oliver and Katherine Graham, PT, MA. Much like our Parkinson’s program, this class aims to provide therapy through an enjoyable and nontraditional way.
Action Potential is designed specifically for individuals who are recovering from a cerebrovascular accident, otherwise known as a stroke. These participants have the option to come in three times a week for 60 minutes each session. Our participants have the opportunity to play games and enjoy time away from traditional therapy. The games promote functional movement that may not be attainable on a day-to-day basis. For instance, we implement games such as basketball, pickle ball, and much more.
In these games our main focus is on weight shifting, balance, and movement control. Adaptability is crucial because of the participants’ limitations and each situation needs to be malleable. Instructors change the dynamics of each sport to match the needs and accessibility of our participants. We want our participants to enjoy playing sports while focusing on proper movement mechanics mimicking that of a full recovery.
Our clinical programs aim to bring a community together that share a common interest. Within this community, we strive to promote a fun and enjoyable environment that focuses on functional improvement. The key behind our classes is the development of relationships. During training, we become a family by working towards a common goal: improving functionality.
If you or anyone you know has any further questions about the above classes please contact us online at http://apprhs.org/contact
When you go to exercise you are probably thinking about some of the ways you would like your body to adapt: lose fat, gain speed, gain strength, become more flexible…When you consider these things, have you ever stopped to think about how you adapt? If your thoughts immediately go to your muscles, then you are only halfway there. It is actually your brain and nervous system that adapt first. Let’s dive into this a little deeper.
All of our movement actions are linked to our nerves, specifically groups of them referred to as motor units. Motor units extend throughout our body and send the signal to move from our brains to our muscles. From a twitch in the eye to a long jump, movement is only achieved through motor unit action. It only makes sense that as we push ourselves to move in new and challenging ways, the nerves that enable us to move would adapt.
You may have noticed that when you first perform a new movement, such as a new type of lift, the movement may feel awkward and heavy, but over time it becomes more comfortable. This is due to adaptations in your nervous system. Your motor units begin to coordinate their actions better to allow for smoother movement, and your nervous system starts to recruit larger motor units at a faster pace in order to more readily handle heavier loads. This lets your muscles work together far more efficiently and enables you to work out harder. If these coordination adaptations never happened, then getting any kind of rigorous exercise would be very difficult, because your body would always be awkwardly navigating the movement pattern as if it were the first time.
The body helps in another way during exercise: it is constantly pumping the brakes in the nervous system to prevent us from going too fast or too hard, which serves to keep us from hurting ourselves when doing basic movements. Whenever you move a muscle, there is another muscle that acts to slow down your moving muscle. As we train, the opposing action of our muscles is reduced, and we are able to perform stronger actions. Similarly, the strength with which a motor unit activates also increases. This means we are capable of more because not only is the signal from our brain stronger, but our muscles oppose the movement action to a lesser degree.
You may think to yourself, “Why does this matter?” That is a fair question, so let’s dig into it. We need to understand how the body adapts so that we can have reasonable expectations of the changes we can expect from our exercise. Neural changes occur first, and we may not see any changes to muscle size until six weeks or so. In addition, we need to be aware that this element of neural adaptation is critical for us to learn how to smoothly perform new actions. If we only train the chest by doing the bench press, then we only have a movement pattern learned for the bench press. Instead, it is better for us to try many different kinds of exercises for the same muscle group, as this leads to increased variability in our movement patterns. Basically, this means that our brain learns many different ways to accomplish the same kind of training. This diversity in movement is extremely beneficial if for some reason we have to try a new movement for our exercises. This could happen because the bench press is full, the treadmill is out of order, or due to a knee injury you need to get your cardio training on the Upper Body Ergometer.
What does this mean for us when it comes to movement in our daily lives? Training the brain and central nervous system to accomplish new tasks is just as important as training our muscles. We need a nervous system that has been exposed to many different ways to move so that we can move more efficiently in many different scenarios outside of the gym. Lifting furniture, climbing a ladder, taking the stairs, getting a heavy dish out of the top cabinet – these are all activities that use muscular strength, and having worked those muscles in various ways helps you be ready for anything. I encourage you to change up your workout, try new machines, and try new kinds of movements that you have not before. Train your brain, and you have a lot to gain!
Needle, Alan. “Motor Units.” Appalachian State University, Feb. 2018, Boone, NC. Speech.
Needle, Alan. “Motor Variability.” Appalachian State University, Mar. 2018, Boone, NC. Lecture.
Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle, editors. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.
3rd ed., Human Kinetics, 2008.