Tuesday, July 30, 2013

3 must do exercises to improve your balance

Hey Team,

I've been inspired this week by so many of my recent patients/clients demonstrating their improved balance and core strength that I decided to list the 3 best exercises to improve balance and stabilization for those of you who are recovering from an injury or illness.

These balance exercises are for those of you who are ambulatory with or without an assistive device. Could be someone who is really deconditioned following surgery, or someone who is trying to improve their walking following a stroke or spinal cord injury.

What I love most about these 3 exercises is that they are really dynamic compound exercises ( what the hell does that mean? lol) 

That means they require the use of many muscles at one time. They challenge strength, balance, and stability at the same time, and they force you to stimulate your central nervous system.

What is your central nervous system?  you ask....

"The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord. Your brain and spinal cord serve as the main "processing center" for the entire nervous system, and control all the workings of your body" -http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002311.htm

In other words, your CNS is the control center for all functions that your body can and does perform.

So, it is my belief that overstimulation of your CNS will force you to improve muscle control, by improving mind-muscle connection under stress.

This type of stimulation is used in Physical Therapy, Personal Training and everyday life.

For example, In Therapy or Training we use proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation to improve or learn movement patterns. In everyday life we learn new tasks with repetition until it becomes automated, we tend to pick up these tasks more quickly when we are under pressure. (Think a Starbucks barista during rush hour)

These 3 balance exercises progressively stress your body, and your CNS, under pressure (your fear of falling) so that you improve your mind-muscle connection and begin to control your movement.

What are the exercises already?!

As I mentioned above, they are progressive exercises. Meaning you start with #3 before you move onto #2 etc...

And again, this is for individuals with significant balance deficits following a stroke, spinal cord injury or  a severe deconditioned individual looking to maximize and improve balance for ambulation.

Please make sure you discuss these exercises with your doctor or therapist before attempting them, and make sure you have someone with you to assist if needed.

#3 Tall Kneeling

With or without support, practicing balance on your knees while engaging your core and glute muscles to maintain an upright position.

It's much more challenging than it sounds, but can also be modified to increase the difficulty by adding overhead weight holds.

The key is to engage all of your muscles to stabilize and balance yourself and of course while breathing.

Try it, do 3 sets. Time each one and try to beat your best time.

#2 Half Kneeling

Your base of support has shifted from two knees down to one which now decreases your stability and balance and makes you work harder.

Modify it for more difficulty by adding weight holds as mentioned above.

Try it, 3 sets timing each one for the best time.

#1 Dynamic Tall kneeling/Half Kneeling

You've mastered the above two, now it's time to get serious.....

Get in either position and play a game of catch ( if its with me, we're using medicine balls) or grab a golf club and start swinging, or grab some dumbbells and do some alternating curls or shoulder presses.

The idea here is that know that you can maintain balance in either or both positions we need to increase the challenge and make you start moving in these positions while keeping balance or trying to catch yourself from falling.

Make it fun, start pillow fighting in this position with a friend 2 out of 3 wins

There you have it, 3 great balance exercises that will attack your muscles, your endurance, nervous system, balance and stability.

A great way to work on improving your balance for ambulation/walking.

Questions/concerns? Let me know what you think, drop a comment.

That's all for now Team.

Keep fighting, Never give up!



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Intermittent Fasting and Disabilities....why you may want to consider giving this diet lifestyle a try

Hey Team,

Over the course of 4-5 years I have seen a steady increase in the popularity of Intermittent Fasting, It seems like everywhere you look there is a fitness expert talking about Intermittent Fasting.

Without question massive amounts of Props (Propers=Respect) have to be given to Martin Berkhan of www.leangains.com and Brad Pilon of www.bradpilon.com these two fitness experts really put all of the work in to the research behind IF.

So, Instead of re-inventing the wheel and providing information based on my thoughts and opinion.  I simply would just encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about IF for weight loss, strength gains, or it's many health benefits to visit either one of the above sites.

But, with respect to Intermittent Fasting and those living with disabilities I have offered my opinion and guest authored an article that speaks to Intermittent Fasting and disabilities for the website http://www.visportsnutrition.ca/.

If you have a chance take a look at the article here:http://www.visportsnutrition.ca/intermittent-fasting-spinal-cord-injury/

Let me know what you think...

Keep Fighting, Never Give Up!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Top 10 movies that will inspire fitness

Hey Team, 

After posting the list of my top ten workout songs (check it out here: http://fitdp23-nevergiveup.blogspot.com/2013/06/10-best-workout-songs-to-keep-you.html )

 I started to get some inquiries on what movies I would recommend that would inspire fitness. A handful came to mind right away, but I did have to do some research in order to get a couple of ah-hah moments and remember some others. 

I thought I would start this list with an honorable mention leading into my list of the top ten movies that will inspire fitness, so here goes......

Honorable mention: Pumping Iron (It's a documentary, but if your serious about fitness how can you not be inspired by Arnold)

#10 The Program

#9 The Fighter

#8 The Gladiator

#7 Gladiator
 (This movie shares the same name as the #8 movie, but it is completely different)

#6 Never Back Down

#5 Million Dollar Baby
(Not a big fan of the ending of this movie, and I believe the NSCIA-National Spinal Cord Injury Association did boycott the movie because of the ending. Inspiring fitness until about the last 30 minutes of the movie.)

#4 Fight Club

# 3 Murderball

(Awesome movie-Documentary about Quadriplegic athletes lives and competing in a hard hitting wheelchair rugby game)

#2 300

(There are several workouts titled and designed in honor of this amazing movie)

#1 Rocky (any one of them... period!)

If you haven't already, check out these movies and let me know if you agree or disagree.

Comment in the comments section

Keep Fighting, Never Give Up!