Strength exercises are movements done against a particular type of resistance such as weight machines, exercise bands or free weights (e.g.: dumbbells, kettle bells).
When done moderately and correctly, strength training increases your brain capacity by releasing a protein that interacts with hormones called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), improves bone density, mood, blood lipids, helps increase insulin sensitivity, reduces cardiac risk, and burns off stress. It can also decrease inflammation and help you sleep better, as long as it’s done more than two hours before you go to bed.
Unfortunately, most people do it wrong, for too long, and don’t allow their muscles to recover. Or they simply don’t do it at all.
Additional health benefits from Strength training include increased lean muscle mass, improved balance, increased muscular strength, increased muscular endurance, increased metabolic rate, enhanced joint stability, increased coordination, improved posture, increased flexibility, improved cardiovascular health, and even increased testosterone and growth hormone levels (appropriate amounts for women).
Our bodies are constantly breaking down bone and rebuilding it. Strength training exercises can help speed the rate of bone rebuilding and aid in the prevention of degenerative bone conditions such as osteoporosis. You are never too old to build stronger bones through strength training exercises. In order to stimulate bone growth and prevent osteoporosis, you need to do exercises which place demand on the muscles. Muscle pulling on bone builds stronger bones, and strength training exercises are more efficient at accomplishing this when the load is sufficient.
You’re never too old for strength training. “Our analyses of current research show that the most important factor in somebody’s function is their strength capacity,” says researcher Mark D. Peterson. “No matter what age an individual is, they can experience significant strength improvement with progressive resistance exercise even into the eighth and ninth decades of life.”
When you begin a strength training program you should start with lighter weights and gradually increase as you physically progress. Strength training must be brief, intense, infrequent, safe, and purposeful. Remember to be patient and give your muscles adequate time to recover and naturally adjust to the increased resistance.
We live in a world of instant gratification, especially when it comes to transportation. We drive almost everywhere, ride elevators, escalators and sit far too much. Its time to get moving! Look for opportunity to move more. Take the stairs. Don’t drive somewhere when you can ride your bike. Simply get out of your house and start with a brisk twenty minute walk.
However, merely moving around won’t get you the hormonal effects that you would get from proper exercise. But you’ll still benefit from them. Moving decreases your risk of metabolic syndrome, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and vascular dementia. It also decreases overall systemic inflammation, which saps your energy and contributes to almost all known diseases.
Harder and longer isn’t always better either. Extreme chronic cardio actually strains the heart and causes damage to the heart muscle. However, proper exercise should reduce your cardiovascular risk.
All exercise, regardless of the duration and/or intensity, must utilize the cardiorespiratory system to either sustain the activity and/or recuperate from it. Mosaic Health designs programs that are unique for every individual to specifically meet your cardiorespiratory needs.
The core is where the body’s center of gravity is located and where all movement begins. Researchers have found that in individuals with chronic low back pain (85% of U.S. adults) have decreased activation of certain core muscles. An efficient core is necessary for maintaining proper muscle balance throughout the entire kinetic chain.
While sit-ups are the traditional means of getting that tummy in shape, the first step to a six pack is simple: just suck in your gut. Draw your belly button inward toward your spine. This simple contraction activates your core muscles and reminds your body of their presence.
Balance is a component of all movements, regardless of whether strength, speed, flexibility or endurance dominates the movement. Balance training fills the gap left by traditional training. It focuses on functional movement patterns in a multisensory, unstable environment. The design and implementation of balance into a program is critical for developing, improving and restoring joint stabilization and optimal neural muscular control. The main goal is to continually increase your awareness of your limited stability by creating controlled instability.
Why is Flexibility Training Important? Today’s society is plagued by postural imbalances, primarily due to sedentary lifestyles caused by advancements in technology. More people today are spending time in office-related jobs, which require individuals to sit for long hours. More than ever before, flexibility training has become a key component in developing neuromuscular efficiency and decreasing these dysfunctions. Flexibility training may decrease the occurrences of muscle imbalances, joint dysfunctions and overuse injuries.
Flexibility training has the benefits of improving muscle imbalances, increasing joint range of motion and extensibility, relieving excessive tension of muscles and joint stress and improving neuromuscular efficiency and function. People who physically train in a repetitive fashion (or have jobs that require moving their bodies in repetitive ways) may experience pattern overload, which places stress on the body and causes poor posture.
Postural assessments are conducted in order to detect any muscle imbalances. Once discovered, the imbalances can be specifically addressed with flexibility training.
Corrective flexibility is designed to improve muscle imbalances and altered joint motion. It uses the principles of both reciprocal inhibition and autogenic inhibition. It includes static stretching and self-myofascial release.
Self-myofascial release is a stretching technique that focuses on the neural system and fascial system in the body (or the fibrous tissue that surrounds and separates muscle tissue). By applying gentle force to an adhesion or “knot,” the elastic muscle fibers are altered from a bundled position (that causes the adhesion) into a straighter alignment with the direction of the muscle and/or fascia. The gentle pressure (applied with implements such as a foam roll) will stimulate the Golgi tendon organ and create autogenic inhibition, decreasing muscle spindle excitation and releasing the hypertonicity of the underlying musculature.
This is the traditional form of stretching that is most often seen in fitness today. Static stretching is the process of passively taking a muscle to the point of tension and holding the stretch for a minimum of 20-30 seconds.