Heart Healthy Workouts: Less is Rally More!

If that resolution of hour-long daily workshops is long forgotten, don’t despair! New research shows that you can reduce the risk of heart disease by adapting your workout and spending less, yes we said LESS, time at the gym! Just remember these three keys to heart fitness: Cardio, Strength and Stretch

Interval training (alternating between high and moderate intensity activity) can double or even triple the heart protecting benefits you would gain in a longer moderate cardio session. A short burst of high intensity work makes your heart work harder and pump more blood that strengthens the entire cardiovascular system. Your muscles will utilize carbs better, improving the body’s insulin sensitivity and reducing the risk of type 2 Diabetes  (a major precursor to heart disease). And of course, you’ll reduce blood pressure. Schedule 30 minutes of interval training three times per week.

Because strong healthy muscles can reduce the risk of diabetes, strength training should be a regular part of your fitness routine.  The old saying “use it or lose it” applies here. Without strength training muscle mass will decrease with age, about 5% per decade after age 35, resulting in muscle loss when it’s needed the most. By building lean muscle mass you’ll routinely burn more calories and lower your blood pressure. Strength train 15 minutes two or three times a week.

The National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan found that people over 40 who could easily touch their toes had the most flexible arteries. The thought here is that the more flexible the arteries, the easier the blood flows, keeping blood pressure at a healthy level. Stretching is wonderful way to start and end your day. No sweat, showers or special equipment needed!





Self-­‐Myofascial Release Using a Foam Roller How do I know if I should be doing foam roller massage?

If you have a chronic area of injury like a bad knee or an ankle prone to sprains, you should de8initely be foam roller massaging. Sprains and strains occur in ligaments and muscles when they are stretched beyond their normal pattern of motion. This can also occur due to micro trauma when repetitive minute injuries occur due to improper body position or limited physical movement. Leading a sedentary lifestyle weakens the body making it more prone to injury. Blunt force trauma from a fall, a sports injury or daily living can also cause injuries and bruising. The most common causes of adhesions occur at a desk with a mis-­‐aligned keyboard or working around the home.

With these types of injuries you will experience pain, aching, burning, decreased range of motion in a joint or muscle (not being able to stretch as far as you used to) and trigger points in muscles that won’t go away no matter how many times they have been massaged.

How does it work?

Traditional stretching is important but can only lengthen a muscle, which can prevent injury if no damage or dysfunction is occurring in the tissue. However, if you have adhesions, traditional stretching will not break them down. In fact, stretching can even cause further injury. Self-­‐Myofascial Release (SMR) activates an autogenic inhibition which uses the muscle’s own sensor for tension to help it to relax. The Golgi tendon organ is a mechanoreceptor at the muscle tendon junction that senses how tight a muscle is and will prevent a tendon from stretching to the point at which it would rip. However, in terms of a tight muscle it can get stuck in a continually tight cycle and not allow a muscle to relax limiting its range of motion. SMR stimulates the Golgi tendon organ and allows the muscle to relax. By using a foam roller you can prevent improper form from hurting your body.

How do I do it?

This is the simple part. Roll slowly over a muscle group and pause at the most painful or tender areas. Essentially if it hurts, you have found the spot that needs the most attention. When you 8irst begin you will want to support yourself with a leg or your arms, or roll standing against a wall, which decreases the pressure so that you will not have too much pain or discomfort. Eventually, as your muscle heals, you will be able to transfer to the floor where you will be using the majority of your body weight.

Generally you start with the part of your muscle that is nearest the center of the body and work outward. You don’t have to massage the whole muscle at once. Work in pieces or shorter strokes, by rolling the top part of the muscle then the middle and 8inish with the bottom. The reason you want to start at the top is because you want to save the most painful and tense portion of the muscle for last. For example in the quadriceps the tendon around the knee is the most sensitive. Starting at the top will begin to relax the muscle as a whole which will make the tendon by the knee far less painful once you get there.

Who should do Self-­‐Myofascial Release?

Self-­‐Myofascial Release can help with muscle tone in athletes and people of all shapes and sizes. We want our bodies strong but we also want our bodies to be healthy. In the case of a muscle that means three major things; strength, 8lexibility and tone.

Please enjoy the exercises and follow the rule of thumb that says discomfort is ok, but pain that is sending you the message that your body is hurt is bad.  Check out the Visual aid below:

Foam Roller