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All posts in “Exercise”

Meniscus Injury & Prevention

Meniscus Injury & Prevention

Author: Achieve Wellness Staff

A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries, with more than 3 million reported cases annually in the US. The Meniscus is a C-shaped disc of cartilage that cushions the femur and tibia at the knee joint. An injury can occur when there is a tear in the cartilage due to incorrect movement or improper weight distribution. When this injury happens the cartilage cannot support the weight between femur and tibia. An example of this would be twisting or rotating the knee while keeping your foot planted. Elderly and those who play sports are at an increased risk for injury. Symptoms can include pain or swelling around the knee joint, a clicking noise, and/or inability to bear weight on the affected side.

There are training and strengthening techniques that can be used to help prevent and also heal a meniscus tear. Assessments can be performed to see if there is pain when certain movements are performed involving the knee joint. If a tear has happened, you need to strengthen and recondition the muscles around it in order to prevent the injury from worsening and to help it heal. Stability, core, and balance training would help assist in preventing a tear from happening. When performing exercises, keeping the feet straight and the knees in line with the feet will help ensure the knee is moving correctly. Focusing on good form and posture will help maintain proper movement patterns which will decrease the risk of injury.

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Improving Your Fitness Age

Improving Your Fitness Age

Author: Achieve Wellness Staff

Exercise makes you feel younger. Okay, okay, all you “exercisers” out there know that this isn’t really a news flash. But recent studies have shown it’s actually true.

“Fitness age” is an idea that was developed by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in its studies of thousands of Norwegians of all ages. Generally speaking, the concept of “fitness age” is that people with above-average cardiovascular fitness generally have longer life spans than people with lower aerobic fitness, and vice-versa.

The Norwegian research was the basis for the development of fitness calculators, which are easy to use and readily available online at no cost.

This year the idea of fitness calculation was put to the test on a special population of older adults: 4,200 participants at the Senior Olympic Games. Dr. Pamela Peeke an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and Ulrik Wisloff, the scientist who led the development of the fitness age calculator, got together to study the fitness age of the Senior Olympians.

The results were impressive. “While the athletes’ average chronological age was 68, their average fitness age was 43.” Yes, you read that right: the average Senior Olympian’s fitness age was 25 years younger than his/her chronological age!

The substantial difference in the chronological age vs. the fitness age of the Senior Olympic study should serve as inspiration for all as to the substantial benefits of fitness at any age!

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Relative Flexibility & Muscle Balance

Relative Flexibility & Muscle Balance

Author: Phil Gawlak, NASM-CPT, CES, GFS, FNS


Relative flexibility is the result of muscular imbalances; without exception, for every muscular contraction there is a muscular relaxation or extension. When one of the pair of muscles is stronger, shorter, weaker or longer than its counter muscle you get muscular imbalances.

There are proven methods for creating balance within the body’s muscular system, the first step is to be evaluated by a fitness professional who is skilled in recognizing motion and posture distortions, these distortions are muscular imbalances that need to be corrected. With the knowledge of what distortions you have, you now can begin targeting specific muscles with the appropriate myo-fascial release techniques (foam rolling), stretching and strengthening exercises. The process of eliminating muscle imbalances takes time, with patience and consistency the muscles return to a normal state allowing for proper range of motion. There are many activities that actually promote healthy muscle balance within the body; Tai Chi and Yoga are prime examples.

Muscle balance is defined as the “relationship between both the strength and the length of muscles and groups of muscles as they cross over joints”. This definition leads us to the conclusion that it is possible for muscles to have any or a combination of the following:

*Increased tightness leading to a reduction in joint motion and stiffness
*Decreased tightness leading to a increase in joint motion and instability
*Increased muscle strength leading to internal joint position issues
*Decreased muscle strength leading to poor joint control.

Muscle imbalances are also seen between the larger outer muscles that control major movement of a joint and the smaller internal muscles that are more responsible for deep stability and control. Joints in the body have a complex inter-relationship between these internal and external muscles that can lead to problems if these relationships become unbalanced.

It is vital that all health enthusiasts appreciate that fitness is not all about training the larger muscles and having a great set of “pecs and delts” – as effective training is about balancing your body with a variety of exercises and movements that focus equal attention to the smaller muscles tasked with maintaining stable joint posture as is placed on the larger and more obvious muscle groups.

Remember – if you are at all concerned about muscle imbalance issues see your Physiotherapist or Corrective Exercise Specialist BEFORE symptoms of pain and injury appear.

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