Our coaches, trainers and gym teachers have long instructed us to touch our toes before we touch the court. Most of us almost intuitively stretch before working out, running, or exercising. But what does stretching really do? Does it increase flexibility? Enhance performance? Prevent injury? Turns out, too much stretching may be a bad thing. It all depends on how much you move while you’re stretching.
All stretches involve postures that move your body to its outer limits of motion. Stretches are classified as dynamic or static, depending on whether you are moving – like doing high knees – or standing still – like doing long quad stretches. We often think of those long, static stretches as the standard – you elongate a muscle group and then maintain that elongation for 30 seconds or so. But stretching dynamically, while you move, is gaining popularity because it engages the muscles in a similar way to the workout itself. When you do a dynamic stretch, you propel your muscle through its maximum range of motion, and you stay in motion. Dynamic stretching prepares your muscles for the kind of performance they must give during your workout, and it warms you up at the same time.
New evidence suggests that static stretching, in particular, may be a warm-up tradition based in superstition. A University of Nevada, Las Vegas study found that static stretching tends to weaken the muscles involved in a workout, thus decreasing strength and ultimately performance over time. This appears to be caused by the neuromuscular inhibitory response that takes place in muscles with static stretching. Long stretches make a muscle less responsive to brain signals, which effectively weakens the muscle just as it’s about to perform. But don’t roll away the yoga mat just yet. Static stretching has other proven benefits like increasing flexibility, decreasing elevated blood flow and even restoring calm. Many experts believe that static stretching should play a key role in a cool down after the workout is through, but almost everyone agrees on the benefits of dynamic stretching before a workout.
Studies show that dynamic stretching causes no neuromuscular inhibitory response, it increases flexibility over time, and it helps to prevent injury. Stretching the muscles in ways that mimic a workout is a great way to reduce the likelihood of ligament and muscle tears. So next time you hit the gym, trade your static stretches for dynamic stretches so you can have a safer and more effective workout.
While movement with osteoarthritis can be arduous, it actually can be a great way to relieve pain when done right. Some of the keys to look for in a good approach to exercise is a focus on low impact movement and, not surprisingly, fun. In a recent piece for EverydayHealth, I discuss how activities such as tai chi and water aerobics can improve your quality of life. By both strengthening your body and alleviating stress, these 5 activities can make life both more comfortable and enjoyable. Give them a try!
Creating a weight loss lifestyle in 2012 doesn’t have to seem like an insurmountable goal. Break down your goals into smaller, more attainable pieces that will have you creating healthy eating habits, rather than shedding pounds using crash dieting methods that won’t last.
Weight loss is an excellent resolution to have in spite of how difficult it may seem. Although there are many diets and fads that come and go, even a 10-pound weight loss can improve your health and your risk for diseases associated with obesity, like type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
This article was written by Dr. Moshe Lewis and was featured on You Cant Outsource Weight Loss
“Boomeritis” refers to injuries to older amateur athletes from the baby boomer generation. In this Mind Your Body episode, I interviewed Dr. Moshe Lewis, a California pain management and rehabilitation specialist who most often treats baby boomers with back and knee pain—as the body ages, wear and tear happen. To counter aging, he recommends the triple threat of 1) heat to increase blood flow 2) ice for its natural anti-inflammatory powers and 3) activities in water to maintain buoyancy and offset gravity.
Are you a well-intentioned “weekend warrior?” Great! You’re receiving benefits that boost mood, reduce stress, increase muscle and cardiovascular health and provide social stimulation. Sporting on weekends only, however, increases the risk of a muscle strain, ligament tear or joint injury. To keep problems at bay, Dr. Lewis recommends that you…
Maybe I’ll see you on the bike path behind my house, running barefoot down at the beach, or at yoga. Just remember, your efforts at staying fit mean you’re winning that war.
Article written by MindYourBody.tv
My colleague and friend Dr Perry is offering is stress reduction classes again at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. It's an intensive 8-week course that helps people cope with physical and mental stress, and to reduce suffering from the conditions arising from stress. Read his statement below:
I am again offering a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class at Rainbow Medical in Palo Alto.
Curious? Maybe interested? Come to a free introductory class at my office on Saturday morning, February 5, 2011 from 9:30 until noon.
The class will begin the following Saturday, February 12, 2011, and will meet for 8 Saturdays from 9:30 until noon until April 9, 2011 (no class on March 12, 2011). The fee of $300 includes all materials (2 CD’s and a book).
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. developed MBSR in the 1980’s as a way to introduce the mindfulness concept, practices designed to cultivate mindfulness, and applications of mindfulness in reducing suffering. In his 1994 book, Wherever You Go There You Are, he gave a simple definition: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
Since then, the teaching of MBSR has spread world wide, and hundreds if not thousands of research reports have revealed the power of these practices in relieving the suffering of those of us with all kinds of stress, including in particular chronic pain, anxiety, depression, autoimmune diseases, etc. Does anyone out there not have stress?
After studying with Renee Burgard, MFT and Bob Stahl, Ph.D., I began offering MBSR classes in my office several years ago. Our classes have been small, and the participants have been enthusiastic in describing the benefits.
(Read more at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation website)