Archive for May, 2008

Today’s youth is tomorrow’s future. The problem is that what is happening to our youth may be setting them (and our country) up for failure. There are two major problems we see in America today; early sports specialization and obesity. Early specialization is when kids play one sport year round at too early of an age. Today it seems that children are getting involved in organized sports earlier and earlier. Now, organized sports are a great avenue for kids, but the problem is that too many are not being exposed to multiple sports, and activities which are important for developing basic biomotor skills. When kids play the same sport and the same position they miss out on critical biomotor skill development. I see many high school kids and adults that can’t skip, cross over step, forward roll or jump properly. Also, their minds and bodies do not possess the ability to tolerate the various stress and activities we are exposing them to. We must remember that kids are not small adults. Their bodies and minds are still growing and sensitive. Specialization in one sport really should not occur until around 14 years of age. The amount of stress these young kids are exposed to through competitive practice, play and the demands of today’s coaches and parents are unbelievable. What we see is that by the time these kids are 16-18 they are burned out or injured and done with sports/ exercise. These kids then become inactive adults, some of them with lifelong problems from unnecessary injuries that occurred at a young age. So what’s the answer? Parents and coaches need to become more educated and make some hard decisions on what they will let their young kids be exposed to. Youth athletics is supposed to be f u n , se a s o n a l an d developmental with periods of rest an d rec o v e r y . Unfortunately we are not seeing this. The climate of youth sports in America has become out of control. The second problem of obesity is even more alarming. The CDC has ranked childhood obesity as the number one problem in America. Also, the incident of childhood diabetes is rapidly growing. This is a disease that in the past did not occur until the 5th or 6th  decade of life.M any factors contribute to this epidemic. Technology has created an environment that doesn’t require you to move to be a part of it, video and TV, increased processed foods, poor eating habits, fast food, soda and junk food consumption, decreased physical education in schools and overall lack of physical activity. These unfit “sick” kids will grow up to be unfit “sick” adults. The burden on the healthcare system, not to mention national security and the economy, will be astronomical. I’ve even heard that this past generation of kids will not outlive their parents! So you see that our kids are moving down a sad path from both ends. As parents, teachers, and coaches we all need to take an active role in educating and developing our kids and being good role models physically and nutritionally. We should strive to develop happy, healthy and terrific kids who enjoy life and recreation for a lifetime.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Millions of Americans suffer from low back pain each day. This can range from minor aches and stiffness to severe debilitating pain and spasm. There are many disorders such as degeneration, spurring, bulging and prolapsed discs, pinched nerves and fractures, which are the result of what we do (or don’t do) to our bodies day in and day out. So, the question you should ask is; what can I do to prevent back pain or at least reduce my risk? Simply stated, just get up off your butt. While simple, it is true. Too many people have become sedentary.  Many jobs require hours of sitting, driving or flying, Technology has created an environment in which you don’t even have to move to be part of it. Adults and children are lulled into inactivity with television and video games. Schools are also taking part by eliminating physical education from many curriculums.  Most people we see with back pain are deconditioned, have tight calves, hip flexors and chest muscles, weak hip and trunk muscles, rounded shoulders and poor abdominal integrity. Inactivity (exercise), poor nutrition and aging are a potent recipe for many ailments.  Now, there are specific exercises for the core. I advise you to see a qualified physical therapist to evaluate and instruct you in the best exercises for you. In general, some useful tips for the “health” of your back include, but are not limited too: Drink plenty of water, many joint problems can be minimized with proper hydration (most Americans are chronically dehydrated).  Utilize a lumbar or towel roll in low back to maintain good sitting posture, don’t sit for prolong periods, get up and stretch frequently.  Get in shape with general exercise, lose those unwanted pounds. Avoid bending over for the first hour upon waking because your discs are more “swollen” due to reabsorbing water through the night.  As a result, you are more prone to a back injury in that first hour. When at the sink, open cupboard and place foot on ledge. Now when you bend over to brush teeth or wash face you will bend more at hip and less from the low back.

 

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone knows that protein is an important part of nutrition.  Protein is necessary for maintenance, replacement and growth of body tissue especially muscle.  Protein is also important for making hormones that regulate metabolism, maintain water balance, protect against disease, transport nutrients, carry oxygen and regulate blood clotting.  Coupled with strength training, protein aids in delaying the effects of aging.  Adequate protein is important for both men and women.  Although ladies dont want big muscles (not that most can get them anyway), hopefully they appreciate the need for strong (not big) muscles and bones as well as all the previous mentioned benefits.  All protein is not created equal.  There are 3 main types; whey, caesin, and soy.  All are beneficial, but different.  Whey is fast acting and good for pre and post workout when you want to get it into the system quickly to enhance your recovery.  Caesin is slow acting and good for the rest of the day and before bed to sustain you during that period of fasting.  Soy is a good alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or those who dont eat animal products.  Typically the recomended dose is .8-1g/lb/BW.  Always consult a qualified professional for individualized advice.

Get Strong!  Stay Strong!

Chris

 

Many suffer from knee pain.  It can range from intermittent aching to severe debilitating pain. The symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, popping, difficulty climbing stairs, squatting and sitting for long periods. X-rays often reveal varying degrees of arthritis, but sometimes are normal.  Barring traumatic injury many of the symptoms of knee pain can be attributed to muscle imbalances and faulty biomechanics.  This leads to increased wear and tear and tendonitis from overuse.  Through advanced study and greater understanding of biomechanics and functional anatomy we realize that most knee pain has nothing to do with the knee.  The knee pain is a symptom, but the cause is usually elsewhere.  Many times we have found the foot and/or the hip to be the weak link. The foot and hip are  both very mobile joints, while the knee is primarily limited to flexing and extending.  The phrase “it’s all connected” is the central theme to human movement. For example, if the foot flattens out more than normal (overprontes) it will cause the knee to collapse more than normal towards the midline.  This will put stress on the medial knee joint, compress the lateral knee joint, cause the knee cap to track off center and subject the muscles to work harderto try to control and stabilize through a greater range of motion.  Another example would be tightness of the hip flexors and weakness of the gluteal muscles which are present in most people due to the fact that we sit a lot and sleep in the fetal position.  We refer to this as “dormant butt syndrome”. When the hip flexors are tight they cause weakness in the gluteus maximus (the butt, tooshee, cannon or powerhouse) through a phenomenon called reciprocal inhibition (when one muscle is tight it causes weakness in the opposite muscle).  The butt is a strong stabilizer/ motion controller of the lower extremity. When it is weak it also allows the knee to collapse into the midline placing more stress on the joint and soft tissues.  Over time the knee is subject to more wear and tear and many of the symptoms of knee pain begin to creep up. So if your knee pain persists it is a good idea to seek out a knowledgeable professional to help you. Knee pain doesn’t have to put an end to your fun, if the right approach is taken.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call me crazy but Ill find a way to make anything a workout.  Today was beautiful and I mowed the lawn.  I love being out in great weather.  So what did I do?  I put on a backpack, loaded it with some weight and I mowed.  I burned 328 kcals in about 1/2 hr.  Just for doing a chore I was going to do anyway.  I was wearing a heart rate monitor in case you were wondering how I knew the calorie count.  My neighbors think im nuts but then im in a lot better shape then them.  Be creative, work hard and make it fun!!!!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

Hydration Tidbit

Posted: May 23, 2008 in Nutrition Tidbits
Tags: , ,

Many people often substitute high sugar and caffeine drinks for quality hydration.  Soda, coffee and teas contain caffeine and sugar, which can dehydrate as well as add extra calories and rob your bones of calcium.  Dehydration can lead to false sugar cravings, which can turn into extra pounds which most people nowadays dont need!  Substitute your soda for good old H2O.  Adding fruit or a little lemon or lime can make water more palatable.  Sports drinks are another alternative.  Be careful of sugar content in these drinks and use them to flavor water or make sure to dilute them. They should not be used in place of water.   Being properly hydrated is imperative for health and performance.  Try to drink at least 8, 8 oz glasses of quality water each day.  Yes soda, coffee and beer have water in it but so does sewer water.  That doesnt mean its good for your body (coffee in moderation does have some health benefits)!  Think of the stress to your kidneys and liver to filter out all the toxins in soda and other drinks.  Also many of the ingredients in those other drinks inhibit vitamin/mineral absorption which can effect your health and well being in the long run.  Thirst is not an accurate mechanism to go by.  Usually by the time you feel thirsty you may already be 2-3% dehydrated.  Checking urine color is a quick and practical way to monitor your hydration level.  It should be clear to pale yellow.  It amazes me how many people neglect this simple but important aspect of health and then wonder why they feel like crap all the time or do not heal quickly.  So, if your a water drinker keep up the good work!  If your not, get with it and start drinking!

 

Get Strong, Stay Strong!

Chris

Good Quote

Posted: May 22, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I read a great quote the other day that said “If you have no time for exercise, you’d better reserve a lot of time for disease.”  Dr. William Sears  MD 

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition effecting the heel and arch area of the foot.  Symptoms include pain in the heel and arch with walking and especially with the first steps  upon getting out of bed or after prolonged sitting.  The pain can range from mild to quite severe.  The pain results from an irritation to the thick fibrous tissue on the bottom of the foot known as the plantar fascia.  It attaches to the heel and runs along the bottom to the ball of the foot.  If the foot flattens out more than normal (overpronation) the fascia is excessively and repetitively stretched and can over time become inflammed at the heel where it inserts.  Microtearing occurs and the tissue can start to pull the bone away fron the heel resulting in a heel spur.  So, a bone spur is the result not necesarily the cause of the problem and the bone spur is horizontally oriented not vertically.  As you sleep at night or when you are off your feet the tissue begins to “scar down” as it attempts to heal itself and then when you take that first step in the morning it stretches or “tears” the fascia tissue.  Thats why those first steps are killers.  Symptoms can be set of by overpronation, changes in activity levels, improper shoe wear, climbing ladders or using your foot to dig with a shovel.  Most of the time plantar fasciitis responds to conservative therapy consisting of a good biomechanical evaluation, modalities for pain ( ice, iontophoresis, electrical stimulation), taping, proper stretching (hip flexors, calves), strengthening (hips, core) and temporary or custom foot orthotics.  So why would one have surgery but not correct what caused the problem in the first place?

 

Get Strong, Stay Strong!

Chris

    Here we go, jumping into the world of blogging feet first.  Thanks for checking in.  I hope to share many tips and insights on fitness and wellness based on my studies and experiences in the worlds of sports medicine physical therapy, strength/conditioning, holistic nutrition and raising a little girl.  It should be a fun ride!  I tend to be a little opinionated and sometimes a smart ass but it is all in good fun.  Take all with a grain of salt and keep in mind that this is just the world according to me.  I reserve the right to change my mind and I change it often.  Hope you enjoy and I would love to hear from you!

Get stong, Stay strong!

Chris

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard them; I don’t have enough time, I don’t have equipment and I get plenty of exercise during my busy day. Well guess what, now there are no excuses because we have what you need, solutions!
As the strength and conditioning, fitness and rehabilitation worlds have evolved it has been realized that you dont have to spends hours on fancy equipment to be fit. There is a real crisis in our country and your starting to see it in other countries as well. People are getting bigger and bigger ( a nice way of saying fatter). Nutrition and decreased quality of food is a major contributor as is a lack of “adequate” exercise. Many who are “actively exercising” are still not geting the results they want because they don’t have a well planned program, the intensity is inadequate and /or they don’t support it with the proper diet. So lets conquer the excuses. The number one excuse I hear is “I don’t have enough time” or “I’m too busy.” I’m always suprised that people will spend more time and money on their pets or cars (don’t get me wrong I like animals and cars) than they will on the most important commodity they have, their own bodies and minds. Take time out for yourself! It will do yourself, your friends and your family a world of good. Better yet make it a family affair. Think of the example you’re setting for your kids. How much time you ask?  How about 4 minutes? Yes I said 4 minutes and I know you can spare 4 minutes if you really want to start getting fit. If not, just do it faster! Actually smaller bouts of exercise, at the right intensity, are more effective for fat loss and strength gains. The second excuse is an easy fix too. You don’t need any fancy equipment. Grab some detergeant bottles with handles, a step stool, paint cans, even your infant (great mommy or daddy and me time) and your good old body weight and you’ve got yourself a home gym. The bottles can be used like dumbbells and if you put varying amounts of water in them they add a great stabilization componant as the water moves around during the movements. You can also make your own sandbags (pea gravel and duct tape) that are great for lifting exercises as well as squats, lunges and step ups with various holds. For a small investment (you’re worth it!) you can purchase a medicine ball, chin up bar, resistance bands, a physioball and some dumbbells. Lastly, the “I get enough exercise during my busy day” excuse.  Well if that was true we would’nt be having this discussion nor would they be sitting in my clinic complaining of nagging aches and pains.  I’m sorry to say that just carying your body weight around all day is not enough.  Everyone is searching for the magic pill or diet and not many people realize it is as simple as portion control and some good old fashioned exercise.  It is the overload principle;  you must make a muscle work harder than it is used to in order to produce a change.  So just get over it and get to work!  It will make a difference and it can be fun!  For your family, your kids and your self!  You are worth it and you can do it!  Believe in yourself and the power to change!
SAMPLE EXERCISE
                            
Alternating Chest Press X 20 sec                Alternating Anterior Lunge X 20 sec        Complete 6 continuos rounds
 
Be Strong, Stay Strong
Chris