Exercise physiologists go back and forth on whether or not exercise should be moderate or intense, if you should do long, slow distances or if you should work really hard and be done with it in a short amount of time. I personally believe there are benefits to both, and I do believe exercising at a higher intensity, as long as it’s not every day, should be part of every person’s exercise routine. A recent study that took place in Germany and is cited in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel suggests strenuous exercise might actually slow the aging process. Think of how much money people could save if the fountain of youth exists in the form of a vigorous 30 minute fast walk/jog 3 days a week. The aging process is thought to be at least partially due to telomeres becoming too short after cells divide multiple times. This eventually leads to the cell’s death and decreases the body’s ability to fight disease effectively. (To view the entire article, click here:http://www.jsonline.com/features/health/78162577.html). While you should receive a doctor’s clearance before undergoing a higher intensity exercise program, it should be noted that it’s okay to push yourself on occasion, and if you are hesitant to incorporate more strenuous exercise into your routine even with a doctor’s clearance, you might want to try interval training, or pushing yourself for short increments followed by bouts of easier exercise. The easiest way I have found to do this is to incorporate short, steep hills into my runs. It’s a built in interval routine, and what goes up, must come down.
We have all heard the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but few people actually put this into practice. Especially this time of year, when viruses abound, it is important to make sure you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins, preferably from a natural source. Apples not only contain an average of 8 mg of vitamin C per apple, according to research done at Cornell University, they also contain the antioxidants flavanoids and polyphenols, which are thought to be anti-allergenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/800628.stm). There are many different types of apples, so find one that works for you to keep you healthy.
The exercise of the week is the basic squat. There are many different things that can be looked for during the basic squat, and it is an excellent assessment tool. To begin, stand with your feet hip distance apart, feet parallel, toes pointed straight ahead. The hands can be placed in a variety of positions, but for today let’s simply cross your arms over the chest. Keep your feet flat on the ground as you sit back like you are sitting in a chair. Your bottom goes back. Keep weight in your heels, don’t let it rock to the balls of your feet. You want to squat down deep enough that your thighs are almost parallel with the floor. If you have any discomfort in the knees, stop and reposition yourself. Everyone squats every day, to get up and down off chairs, to get off the toilet, so it’s a very functional movement. If you still experience discomfort after repositioning yourself, place a bench or a chair behind you. Start sitting down, and then stand up. Pay attention to the knees. Do they point straight forward, or do they waver in or out? Does the weight rock to the balls of the feet, or can you keep your feet flat without much trouble? How does your back look? Does your spine stay neutral, or does it round or arch? Use the power of observation when you are developing either your own personal exercise program or someone else’s. There should never be any joint pain. Keep yourself and your client safe.
Yours in health and wellness,