Saturday, December 24, 2011

One Foot May Be Better Than Two!

If your goal is to improve overall physical fitness, athletic performance, or to simply improve the way you perform normal activities outside of the gym, focus on your functional strength. 

Functional strength is determined by the level at which your nerves, muscles, and skeletal system are able to work together to perform dynamic movement and total body stabilization.  A training program that allows you to move in all planes of motion while performing movements utilizing multiple muscle groups on stable and unstable surfaces will improve your functional strength.  A functional strength training program, unlike a traditional more linear strength training program, is more useful because it focuses on natural body movements and limits the isolation of muscles. 

Most traditional strength training programs do a lot to increase strength in the targeted muscle.  For example, strengthening your chest by performing a flat bench barbell press.  The traditional style of lifting limits the use of core muscles which can minimize your level of performance in an activity and lead to injury.  It would be wrong to advise you not to perform an isolated lift ever again but to focus more on an integrated training program that challenges all levels of force production by your neuromuscular system.  Only focusing on traditional strength training exercises can cause weakness in unused core muscles and stabilizer muscles.  This could lead to injury during dynamic movements required in activities.  Increase resistance due to the demands of traditional strength training can cause joint discomfort and injury.  Functional strength training does not require heavy weights and minimizes the amount of resistance caused to your joints.  Traditional strength training is great for the appearance of a bodybuilder and certain isolated power lifting exercises.

Functional strength training targets all muscles and allows them to adapt while moving naturally.  In order to increase the level of intensity of functional strength training you must create a more unstable surface while using more muscles to perform a movement with added resistance.  An unstable surface forces your nervous system and muscle system to engage in response to the instability.  Your body will get used to the challenges you cause it through instability and greater neuromuscular engagements.  This adaptation will result in you gaining more functional strength and overall physical fitness.    An unstable surface can be created by simply standing on one foot rather than two.  If available you can use core boards, bosu balls, resistance balls, and medicine balls for creating instability. 

Here are the advantages of a functional strength training programs:
  • Increased total body strength
  • Injury preventative
  • More athletically inclined
  • Better balance and stability
  • Improved proportion and posture
  • Higher calories burned
  • Injury rehabilitation
  • Longer life of resistance training
  • Improves motor skills and overall ability to do normal activities.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Where Is The Fountain Of Youth?

We get older and older every day and with aging comes a commitment to maintaining youth.  Many Americans look to doctors for answers, willing to pay thousands of dollars for anti-aging treatments or therapy that will keep them looking 10 – 20 years younger.  Doctors make billions worldwide prescribing hormones like HGH (Human Growth Hormones), Estrogen, Progestin, and other concoctions that are not even proven remedies to the aging process.  Before you fall into this trend, which contributes a billion dollar income for doctors worldwide, understand the facts.  No matter what, we will age naturally due to genetics, heredity, and how well we take care of our mind and bodies.  Hormone therapy is not safe and has only been proven to increase your risks of heart disease and cancer.  If there were a safe anti-aging treatment that actually worked, it would be well known.  Since this is not the case, doctors all over the world have been testing different methods and using people as lab rats to see what works and what doesn’t.  Even more, they charge you thousands of dollars to try out their methods.  HGH therapy is banned and should only be used to cure rare cases of people with adult growth hormone deficiencies.  All other hormone treatments have other purposes.  Supplements created for anti-aging have not been approved by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) meaning you never know what you are taking and the side effects can have a lasting, negative impact. 

There is no magic potion that will keep you looking young as you grow old.  The fountain of youth in a bottle is only a dream.  The most effective way to decrease the aging process is to exercise regularly, eat healthy, maintain a normal body fat percentage, and avoid the intake of all other substances that are foreign to your body, such as smoking.  Healthy living is the only solution that has been proven to show results.  Once you are consistently living a healthy and fit lifestyle, you will be guaranteed to age slower.  You will feel better and be at a lower risk of health issues.  You will also spend less money on medical treatments and procedures as you age.  If you are looking for the fountain of youth, stop wasting your time and plan for more exercise and healthy eating regularly.  Take care of your body regularly and you will discover that the fountain of youth is merely a habit.