Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Easy Exercises for Better Balance

It’s that time of year where we start walking in a winter wonderland. This winter wonderland is great for the holiday season, but with winter also comes snow and ice. Losing your balance in these conditions can lead to slipping and falling and possible injuries. Luckily, there are exercises you can do to help train your balance and avoid sliding around! Here are a few:

Stand on One Foot

Stand near the wall, a rail, or the back of a chair. Staying tall, stand on one leg. Start with 20 second intervals and work your way up. You can start with holding on, but try to use only fingertips and eventually using no hands once you are ready. For an added challenge, try standing with your eyes closed.

Tandem Walk

Walk heel to toe. Try not to look down at your feet!

Half Roll Exercises

Step Forward and Backward

This can also be done while doing the tandem walk. Stand on the half roll with one foot in the middle. Step forward, shifting your weight. Then step backward. Try not to look down. This can be done close to a wall, but try to work your way to not using your hands. Make sure you are focusing on shifting your weight! Switch which foot is in the middle as well.

Squat and Touch

Stand on the half roll with one foot in the middle. Step forward and slowly squat down. Try to touch your knee first, then stand back up. Once you feel comfortable, try squatting down and touching your shin or the insole of your foot. This can also be done stepping backward on the half roll.

Leg Swing

Stand with one foot in the middle of the half roll. Simultaneously swing the other leg forward with the opposite arm (I.e. swing left leg with right arm). Then swing the leg back, again coordinated with the opposite arm. Stand tall, leg the swing come from the hip not the knee. Make sure to switch the leg you stand on.

Blog post by Nikki Courtney.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

DOMS: That Day After the Gym Feeling

Ever go to the gym and wake up the next day feeling like you can’t move? That sore- wow I worked out hard yesterday- feeling? Well, you can thank DOMS for that.

DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. The science of why DOMS occurs isn’t exact, but a lot of research points to the major cause being microtrauma to the muscle being worked. This is especially true in exercises that require a lot of eccentric muscle contractions, or the “lengthening” of the muscle being worked. Typically this soreness is felt 6-8 hours post-exercise but the effects can be felt for up to 48 hours (Levy, 2015).  DOMS is not caused by a buildup of lactic acid or metabolic waste in the body as many believe. “DOMS appears to be a product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue elements that sensitize nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain (Schoenfield & Contreras, 2013).”

It’s a common misconception that being sore after a workout means that you will gain muscle. DOMS is not an indicator of hypertrophy (building muscle size). In fact, there are really 3 factors for hypertrophy to happen: mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle damage (Levy, 2015). What does this all mean in the long run? DOMS indicates that there is damage done to the muscle which, although necessary in building muscle mass, does not mean that you are. Being too sore can cause you to take more rest time, becoming very counterproductive. “First, severe soreness can significantly decrease force-producing capacity, which will be detrimental to performance in subsequent workouts. Second, motivation levels can take a hit when you’re hindered by crippling muscle soreness (Levy, 2015).”

Being sore is normal. Being so sore you cannot move is not. Make sure you aren’t overtraining and your exercise regimen is suited for your goals. If you are not sure, seek the help of a trainer. Remember- train smart!

Blog post by Nikki Courtney.

Levy, W. DOMS: The Good, the Bad, and What It Really Means to Your Training (Breaking Muscle). http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/doms-the-good-the-bad-and-what-it-really-means-to-your-training. (2015)

Schoenfeld, B.J. and Contreras, B.  “Is Postexercise Muscle Soreness a Valid Indicator of Muscular Adaptations?Strength and Conditioning Journal, vol. 35 No. 5 pp. 16-21 (2013)