Category: Health

Oefen die winter

Koue weer is nie ‘n verskoning om op te hou oefen nie.

Wenke van hoe jy aan die wikkel kan bly die winter.

Binnehuise pret:
Daar is heelwat binne-sportsoorte bv handbal, tennis, muurbal, swem en pluimbal om maar ‘n paar te noem.

Stap:
Oor die algemeen is ons wintersdae nie sleg, en kan jy nog die winterson geniet as jy voor sononder gaan stap. Klim trappe, of parkeer ver van waar jy wil wees om bietjie oefening te kry.

Vroeg opstaan:
Hoewel nog koud en donker vroegoggend, is die voordeel van vroeg oefen, dat jy nie laatmiddag moeg en ongemotiveerd sal wees nie.

Oefen tuis:
As jy nie van stap hou of gimnasium toe wil gaan nie, oefen dan tuis waar dit warm is.
Jy kan oefenfiets ry, pilates of joga oefeninge doen, trampolien- of touspring of selfs hoela-hoep.

Gimnasium:
Sluit aan by ‘n fiksheidsklas. As ‘n reël motiveer die mense in die klas mekaar om deur te druk en nie sommer tou op te gee nie.•

B Beautiful

People Against Substance Abuse

How Does the Brain Communicate?
The brain is a complex communications network consisting of billions of neurons, or nerve cells. Networks of neurons pass messages back and forth within the brain, the spinal column, and the peripheral nervous system. These nerve networks control everything we feel, think, and do.

Neurons Your brain contains about 100 billion neurons—nerve cells that work nonstop to send and receive messages. Within a neuron, messages travel from the cell body down the axon to the axon terminal in the form of electrical impulses. From there, the message is sent to other neurons with the help of neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters—The Brain’s Chemical Messengers To make messages jump from one neuron to another, the neuron creates chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters. The axon terminal releases neurotransmitters that travel across the space (called the synapse) to nearby neurons. Then the transmitter binds to receptors on the nearby neuron.

Receptors—The Brain’s Chemical Receivers As the neurotransmitter approaches the nearby neuron, it attaches to a special site on the cell called a receptor. A neurotransmitter and its receptor operate like a key and lock, in that an exquisitely specific mechanism makes sure that each receptor will forward the appropriate message only after interacting with the right kind of neurotransmitter.
Transporters—The Brain’s Chemical Recyclers Once neurotransmitters do their job, they are pulled back into their original neuron by transporters. This recycling process shuts off the signal between the neurons.

To send a message, a brain cell releases a chemical (neurotransmitter) into the space separating two cells, called the synapse. The neurotransmitter crosses the synapse and attaches to proteins (receptors) on the receiving brain cell. This causes changes in the receiving brain cell, and the message is delivered.

How does Someone become Addicted to Drugs?
Think about how you feel when something good happens—maybe your team wins a game or you’re praised for something you’ve done well—that’s your limbic system at work. Because natural pleasures in our lives are necessary for survival, the limbic system creates an appetite that drives you to seek out those things.

The first time someone uses a drug of abuse, he or she experiences unnaturally intense feelings of pleasure. The reward circuitry is activated—with dopamine carrying the message. Of course, drugs have other effects, too; a first-time smoker also may cough and feel nauseated from toxic chemicals in a tobacco or marijuana cigarette.
But the brain starts changing as a result of the unnatural flood of neurotransmitters. Because they sense more than enough dopamine, neurons may begin to reduce the number of dopamine receptors or simply make less dopamine. The result is less dopamine signalling in the brain, what the scientists call “down regulation.” Because some drugs are toxic, some neurons also may die.

As a result, dopamine’s ability to activate circuits to cause pleasure is severely weakened. The person feels flat, lifeless, and depressed. In fact, without drugs, life may seem joyless. Now the person needs drugs just to bring dopamine levels up to normal. Larger amounts of the drug are needed to create a dopamine flood, or “high”—an effect known as “tolerance.”

These brain changes drive a person to seek out and use drugs compulsively, despite negative consequences such as stealing, losing friends, family problems, or other physical or mental problems brought on by drug abuse—this is addiction. •
People against substance abuse
044 873 0133
071 090 4450

Lifestyle & Type-2 Diabetes

We’ve heard for years that many of the factors leading to type 2 diabetes are lifestyle related, 
so why aren’t we listening?
Type 2 diabetes 
occurs when the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells don’t use the insulin effectively. Anyone can get type 2 diabetes but its highest incidence is in people over 45 years of age. It is also more common among people who 
are overweight.
There is also a condition known as pre-diabetes, which occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. If left untreated, pre-diabetes may develop into type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years. In addition to the risk of developing diabetes, people with pre-diabetes have 
an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.
CAUSES
Glucose, which comes from the carbohydrate-based foods we eat, is the main source of energy for the body. If the body is working as it should, your digestive system will break down the carbohydrates to glucose, which then enters the bloodstream.
The pancreas then releases the hormone insulin, which is responsible for moving 
the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells so it can be converted to energy.
With type 1 diabetes, though the cause is not yet known, it is thought that something like a viral infection triggers the immune system to destroy the insulin-making cells.
People with type 2 diabetes are usually insulin resistant. This means their body makes insulin but the insulin is not working as well as it should, so the body must make more. Eventually it can’t make enough to keep the glucose balance correct. Type 2 diabetes is usually lifestyle related and is caused by factors such as:
Poor diet, including low protein and fibre intake and 
high intake of refined products 
and sugar.
Obesity and fat distribution, where fat is mostly located in the abdominal region in men and the lower body in women.
Sedentary lifestyle, particularly exercising less than three times a week.
Stress, from either a physical injury or emotional disturbance.
Other causes include some infections, hypertension, hereditary predisposition and some drugs.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Approximately 50 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes are unaware they have it. People can go for years not realising they have the disease, their health slowly deteriorating. Some of the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
increased thirst
frequent urination
extreme hunger
weight loss
fatigue
blurred vision
slow-healing sores
frequent infections.

DIAGNOSIS
Various blood tests can be used to screen for diabetes, so ask your doctor for more details. The American Diabetes Association recommends routine screening for type 2 diabetes beginning at age 45, especially if you’re overweight. If the results are normal, repeat the test every three years. If the results are borderline, repeat the test every year.
TREATMENTS AND PREVENTION
Unfortunately there is no cure 
for diabetes, so prevention is the ideal. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity and having healthy eating patterns.
Living with diabetes is a matter of managing the disease and preventing complications. Treatment for type 2 diabetes is a lifelong commitment of blood sugar monitoring, healthy eating, regular exercise and sometimes medication.
Studies indicate that tight control of blood sugar levels can reduce the risk of diabetes-related heart attack and stroke by more than 50 per cent.
HEALTHY EATING
Whether you are living with diabetes or trying to avoid it, the key is good nutrition. This simply means making sure your diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, legumes and whole grains.Various dietitians also recommend leaning towards 
low-GI foods, which are foods that are slower to digest and therefore create more stable blood sugar levels. Examples of low-GI foods include rolled oats, brown rice, wholegrain bread, broccoli, raw carrot, tomatoes, hummus, walnuts, peaches, apples, legumes and whole milk. A registered dietitian or nutritionist can help you put together a meal plan that fits 
your health goals, food preferences and lifestyle.
To keep your blood sugar levels balanced, it is recommended that you eat the same amount of food, with the same proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, at a similar time each day.
A good breakfast is also extremely important for dealing with insulin resistence as prolonged fasting can cause your blood glucose levels to rise. 
Good options are wholegrain 
toast with an egg, porridge (made 
with rolled oats) or plain yoghurt with almonds.

EXERCISE
When it comes to exercise, what’s most important is making physical activity part of your daily routine. Take the stairs and walk instead of driving whenever possible. Opt for active leisure time; for example, head to the park instead of the movies.
Aim to do at least 
30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week. Stretching and strength training exercises are important, too. If you haven’t been active for a while, start slowly and build up gradually. Be aware that physical activity lowers blood sugar, so if you have diabetes, check your blood sugar level before any activity. You might need to have a snack before exercising to help prevent low blood sugar.

Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256

 

Coffee Lover Alert

Your daily morning coffee ritual could be helping your heart.

A study conducted by universities Harvard and Brigham and the Women’s Hospital in Boston has concluded that moderate caffeine consumption (people who consumed more than three cups of coffee a month) had a 17 per cent reduction in the relative risk of BCC (basal cell carcinoma) versus individuals who drank less than one cup per month.

A growing body of research also suggests that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia, and have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems and strokes.
Coffee also contains minerals such as magnesium and chromium, which help the body use the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar (glucose). In type 2 diabetes, the body loses its ability to use insulin and regulate blood sugar effectively.

Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A 2009 study from Finland and Sweden showed that, out of 1400 people followed for about 20 years, those who reported drinking three to five cups of coffee daily were 65 per cent less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared with nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers.

In 2009, a study of 83,700 nurses enrolled in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study showed a 20 per cent lower risk of stroke in those who reported drinking two or more cups of coffee daily compared to women who drank less coffee or none at all.
Too much coffee, however, if you are pregnant, may increase the chances of giving birth to an underweight baby. New findings from a large Scandinavian study suggest current guidelines on caffeine consumption during pregnancy may not go far enough.
A daily dose of between 200 and 300 milligrams of caffeine – roughly equivalent to one cup of fresh coffee or two cups of instant – increased the risk of a baby being small for gestational age (SGA) by up to 62 per cent.
Currently the World Health Organisation recommends a caffeine consumption limit of 300 milligrams per day for pregnant women. In the UK, Nordic countries and the US, the limit is set lower at 200 milligrams. However, the new study shows that even 200 milligrams per day of caffeine can increase SGA risk.

Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256

Ignoring the Snore

More than just an annoying bedtime habit, snorers may be at a higher risk of having clogged arteries and suffering from cardiovascular diseases than those who are overweight or suffer from high cholesterol.

Thickening in the lining of the two large blood vessels, which supply the brain with oxygenated blood, has often been thought of as a precursor to atherosclerosis – a condition responsible for many vascular diseases. This thickening in the carotid artery, according to the study, (conducted by the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, is often brought about by the inflammation caused by the vibrations of snoring.

“Snoring is more than a bedtime annoyance and it shouldn’t be ignored. Patients need to seek treatment in the same way they would if they had sleep apnea, high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” lead study author Robert Deeb, M.D says.

“Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that isolated snoring may not be as benign as first suspected. So instead of kicking your snoring bed partner out of the room or spending sleepless nights elbowing him or her, seek out medical treatment for the snorer.”

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – a common sleep disorder that is triggered by the collapse of the airway in the throat during sleep (causing snoring and disrupted breathing), has long been linked to cardiovascular disease, as well as other more serious health issues.
But, according to the Scottsdale study, the risk of cardiovascular disease could actually begin with the snoring itself, long before this progresses into OSA – a link that had not been made until now.

For the study, senior study author Dr. Deeb and senior and Kathleen Yaremchuk, M.D., reviewed the results of 913 patients aged 18-50, who had participated in a diagnostic sleep study – but none of which suffered from sleep apnea.

The Henry Ford study found that when compared to non-snorers, snorers had a much greater intima-media thickness of the carotid arteries, meaning they were at a greater risk of carotid artery disease.

“Snoring is generally regarded as a cosmetic issue by health insurance, requiring significant out-of-pocket expenses by patients,” Dr. Deeb says.
He advises patients who suffer from snoring to get the early treatment they need, before more serious health issues arise.

7 Quick Tips for Vegetarian Health

Most of these tips really apply to everyone, not just vegetarians. They may seem trite, but they are tried and true and you will notice the difference in your health and energy levels. Need a little inspiration? Check out how more than 60 people lost weight and improved their health on a vegetarian diet. Eat a dark green vegetable (broccoli, spinach, kale, collard greens) at least three times a week. These nutritional powerhouses are packed full of vitamins such as calcium and iron. On the run or hate spinach? Try drinking your greens. I recommend Naked Juice’s Green Machine-its made with fruit juice as well as greens, so it tastes better than others. Take a vitamin supplement that contains B12 or include nutritional yeast in your diet regularly, especially if you’re vegan or mostly vegan. Water water water! It’s been said over and over again for a reason-because its true! Most people don’t drink nearly enough. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go and invest in a simple filter for your home. Water is especially important when adjusting to a new way of eating, as it will help curb any cravings you may experience. Make it a goal to eat at least one piece of raw fruit or a handful of raw vegetables every dayI try to eat an apple first thing in the morning to get it out of the way. Reduce your refined sugar intake. I’ve got as much of a sweet tooth as anybody, but I try to keep it under control by using such sugar replacers as brown rice syrup, stevia and agave nectar whenever possible (such as in coffee and tea) and indulging in the refined stuff only occasionally. Keep your favorite salad dressings on hand. I find that I’m much more likely to eat my greens or some raw veggies when my favorite salad dressings are in the fridge. A little variety is great too–I try to keep at least two kinds, either store bought or homemade on hand at all times. Some of my favorites are homemade goddess dressing, Thai peanut sauce from my local Asian grocer and rasberry vinaigrette. A vegan ranch dressing was helpful as well when I was trying to wean myself off dairy. Eat the rainbow! Fruits and vegetables all contain different nutrients. A simple way to remember to eat a range of vitamins and minerals is to vary the colors of the vegetables you eat. Of course, greens are always good, but try eating a rainbow of tomatoes, yellow squash and purple cabbage!

All About Drugs – People Against Substance Abuse

There’s a lot of talk about drugs out there.
You could hear about dagga from your friend or pain pills from somebody at school. You might have seen a movie about cocaine or read a post about LSD on the Internet. Some of it is true and some of it isn’t.

Much of what you hear about drugs actually comes from those selling them. Reformed drug dealers have confessed they would have said anything to get others to buy drugs.

Don’t be fooled. You need facts to avoid becoming hooked on drugs and to help your friends stay off them.

Sooner or later—if it hasn’t already happened—you, or someone close to you, will be offered drugs. The decision of whether or not to use them could drastically affect your life. Any addict will tell you they never expected a drug to take control of their life or maybe that they started with “just pot” and that it was “just something to do” with their friends. They thought they could handle it and when they found out they couldn’t, it was too late.

You have a right to know the FACTS about drugs—not opinions, hype or scare tactics. So how do you tell fact from fiction?

How do Drugs Work?
Drugs are essentially poisons. The amount taken determines the effect. A small amount acts as a stimulant (speeds you up). A greater amount acts as a sedative (slows you down). An even larger amount poisons and can kill you.

This is true of any drug. Only the amount needed to achieve the effect differs.

But many drugs have another liability: they affect the mind. They can distort the user’s perception of what is happening around him or her. As a result, the person’s actions may be odd, irrational, inappropriate and even destructive.

Drugs block off all sensations, the desirable ones with the unwanted. So, while providing short term help in the relief of pain, they also wipe out ability and alertness and muddy one’s thinking.
Medicines are drugs that are intended to speed up or slow down or change something about the way your body is working, to try to make it work better. Sometimes they are necessary. But they are still drugs: they act as stimulants or sedatives, and too much can kill you. So if you do not use medicines as they are supposed to be used, they can be as dangerous as illegal drugs.

Why do people take Drugs?
Most people take drugs because they want to change something about their lives.
Here are some of the most common reasons young people have given for taking drugs:
• To fit in
• To escape or relax
• To relieve boredom
• To seem grown up
• To rebel
• To experiment
They think drugs are a solution. But eventually, the drugs become the problem.
Difficult as it may be to face one’s problems, the consequences of drug use are always worse than the problem one is trying to solve with them. The real answer is to get the facts and not to take drugs in the first place.

Drugs affect the mind
Normally, when a person remembers something, the mind is very fast and information comes to him quickly. But drugs blur memory, causing blank spots. When a person tries to get information through this cloudy mess, he can’t do it. Drugs make a person feel slow or stupid and cause him or her to have failures in life. And as he or she has more failures and life gets harder, he or she wants more drugs to help him or her deal with the problem.

Drugs destroy creativity
One lie told about drugs is that they help a person become more creative. The truth is quite different.
Someone who is sad might use drugs to get a feeling of happiness, but it does not work. Drugs can lift a person into a fake kind of cheerfulness, but when the drug wears off, he or she crashes even lower than before. And each time, the emotional plunge is lower and lower. Eventually, drugs will completely destroy all the creativity a person has.

*Read more in the forth coming editions about drugs and the effect they have on you.

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• Freddy Trout
Tel: 071 090 4450/071 003 8040

 

Running Stronger via your Core

Whether running for fitness, lifestyle or weight loss, traditionally runners have focused on building a stronger heart and stronger legs and often don’t think about the area in between. But increasing numbers of athletes across all sports are starting to understand that a strong core is the foundation of all movement…

A strong core helps you generate more force and speed as you push off the ground. When you land again, strong core muscles help to keep you rock-solid. A stable core prevents extra movement in your torso and keeps you from using excess energy as your arms and legs move. This makes you a more economical runner.
A strong core also helps with posture while running. At the tail end of your run, a solid core can help you maintain correct form and run efficiently – even through fatigue – because strong lower abs and lower-back muscles aids better posture, and less fatigue leads to increased co-ordination. Strength in your side stomach oblique’s helps when you have to suddenly move to the side – whether it’s turning the corner on a track, navigating terrain or dodging a pothole.

If you don’t invest time in strengthening your core you can experience a variety of different problems ranging from discomfort to major injuries. You see, as your legs pound the ground your spine absorbs much of the force. That shock worsens if your core is weak, which can produce lower-back pain. Also, when your core isn’t stable, your hamstrings have to work harder – which if overloaded, can leave them shorter, tighter, and more vulnerable to injury. Without a strong core, it is difficult to control the movement of your torso. You risk putting excess force on your joints each time your foot lands, which can lead to pain under the knee and a whole lot of expensive health problems later in life. Further strain can be put on your joints when your technique deteriorates near the end of your run. If your core is weak, you can end up shuffling and slouching, putting too much stress on your hips, knees, and shins.

No matter what level you are running at, a strong core is the foundation for all your movement. There are lots of exercise options to consider for your core.

Invest the time in your core and you will enjoy your running a lot more – plus you’ll look great too!

Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256

 

WALKING – The Latest Research

How can walking provide a worthwhile workout, and how well does walking burn calories? These and many other walking-related issues are explored in this review, which highlights research understandings on calorie burning and presents several evidence-based ideas for incorporating newer strategies in your walking exercise program designs.

Traditional walking strategies are not for everyone. They may not provide enough challenge for people of above-average fitness, or they may be too difficult for those who suffer from ambulatory physical limitations. Still, walking is excellent exercise for a broad cross-section of the population. The following seven questions address key topics about walking.

What Is an Adult’s Natural Walking Pace, and Why?
Most healthy adults tend to naturally select a walking pace of approximately 2.8 miles per hour . Researchers hypothesize that the central nervous system selects a preferred walking speed to lessen the body’s energy expenditure . Another theory is that preferred walking speed reflects changes in fuel use: In most adults, fat is the primary fuel source at speeds up to 2.8 mph, which serves as a metabolic walking threshold speed . Above this speed, carbohydrate oxidation (breakdown) increases rapidly, resulting in a perception of greater effort because carbohydrates are a limited fuel source compared with fat. As a result, preferred walking speed appears to happen naturally, as the body seeks out the most economical fuel conditions in the muscle when fat oxidation is the primary fuel source.

Aging and inactivity often diminish the musculoskeletal functioning of the lower-body gait muscles. This may require the body to recruit additional motor units and perhaps a higher proportion of less-economical fast-twitch muscle fibers (which are fueled predominantly by carbohydrate) in order to generate the force required for walking. This is why the elderly see a decline in walking speed and a change in gait characteristics.

What Is “Brisk” Walking?
Exercisers are often urged to take a “brisk” walk, but the idea of a “brisk” pace is open to interpretation. A brisk walk for some is a leisurely stroll for others.
A good starting point is the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM 2014) recommendation that most adults accumulate 30–60 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise at least 5 days a week, or 20–60 minutes a day of vigorous-intensity exercise at least 3 days a week—or a combination of the two.
How do walking exercisers determine whether their moderate-intensity walk meets ACSM guidelines? Scientifically, walking at an intensity of 3–6 METs (metabolic equivalent of task is a physiological measure expressing the energy cost of physical activities) is considered moderate-intensity exercise.

Counting steps is another practical way to measure intensity. Marshall et al. (2009) determined that walking at approximately 100 steps per minute is moderate-intensity exercise. At 100 steps per minute, a walker can meet current recommendations for moderate-intensity physical activity by walking at least 3,000 steps in 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. This can easily be tracked with any pedometer or pedometer app on a smartphone. A walker could also accumulate three daily walks of 1,000 steps in 10 minutes on 5 days each week.

Murtagh, Boreham & Murphy (2002) examined 82 recreational walkers who selected their own perceptions of a “brisk” walking pace. Overall, the subjects walked at an average of about 3.5 mph and were able to accurately reach moderate-intensity exercise levels by self-selecting their pace. Older adults (aged 60–85 years) had an average self-selected walking pace of 3.3–3.5 mph (Parise et al. 2004). So there you have it: “Brisk” is an accurate description of a moderate-intensity walk, although the actual pace may vary depending on age and individual fitness level.

Does Wearing a Weighted Vest While Walking Burn More Calories?
Weighted vests are gaining attention from exercise professionals and fitness enthusiasts. The vests (typically equal to 5%–20% of a person’s body weight) can be used in many types of workouts, and most vests can be adjusted to add or subtract weight as desired. Further, weighted vests are worn over the shoulders, making them a more natural addition to an exerciser’s center of gravity.
In a 2006 study, Puthoff et al. examined walking energy expenditure at incremental treadmill speeds ranging from 2.0 to 4.0 mph and vest weights ranging from 10% to 20% of body mass. The researchers found that energy expenditure increased as vest weight and walking speed increased; however, the relationship between vest weight and walking speed was not entirely linear. As walking speed increased, wearing a weighted vest had a more pronounced impact on energy expenditure.
These findings have many practical implications in the design of walking programs. For instance, walking at slow speeds may require the exerciser to use a heavier vest to achieve the desired increases in energy expenditure, while walking at faster speeds will produce a more pronounced increase in energy expenditure with less weight needed to generate the increase.

Additionally, walking with a weighted vest may be beneficial for those who cannot walk briskly, as adding just 10% of body mass at a slower walking speed (~2 mph) may produce relative exercise intensity similar to walking faster without added mass.

Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256 •

Spotlight on Stretching

1. How long should you hold a stretch for flexibility improvement? The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM 2006) recommends holding a stretch from 15 to 30 seconds.

2. What is the optimal number of times to repeat a stretch? According to ACSM (2006), 2–4 repetitions is optimal, as further repetitions do not provide additional benefits.

3. How many days per week should you stretch? Each person differs, but ACSM (2006) suggests 2–3 days per week as a minimum, although 5–7 days per week of some type of stretching routine would be ideal for most persons.

4. What is the best flexibility method? In a review of 27 peer-reviewed studies on range-of-motion (ROM) techniques, Thacker et al. (2004) noted that all methods have been shown to be very effective in improving ROM, with no clear best method.
Several studies show proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) to be superior to static and dynamic, whereas other studies show several stretching methods to be equally effective (Haff 2006). Sharman, Cresswell and Riek (2006) contend that since PNF stretching improves passive and active ROM, it may provide additional functional benefits. (Consult with a certified personal trainer for information on different types of stretching.)

5. Will using heat packs before stretching enhance ROM? Knight and colleagues (2001) compared static stretching of the plantar-flexor muscles preceded by no warm-up, active exercise, hot packs (superficial heat before stretching) and ultrasound (deep heat before stretching) in 97 subjects (59 women, 38 men) who had limited dorsiflexion ROM. All experimental groups increased active and passive ROM, but the deep-heat intervention was the most effective. This study validates the efficacy of deep heat, which is often used by athletic trainers and physical therapists in their postrehabilitation efforts to help clients return to full activities.

SIDEBAR: Flexibility Guidelines
Here are some useful guidelines for your stretching routine.

1. Assess your flexibility to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. For help, work with a certified personal trainer.

2. Make sure muscles are appropriately warmed up before you stretch.

3. Perform stretching at least 2–3 times per week, and ideally 5–7 days per week.

4. Stretch all major muscle groups as well as opposing muscle groups.

5. Focus on the muscles involved in the stretch, minimizing the movement of other body parts.

6. Hold stretches for 15–30 seconds. Stretch to the limit of movement, not the point of pain. The limit of movement is referred to as the “endpoint” of the stretch.

7. Keep your breathing slow and rhythmic while holding stretches.Exhale slowly as you extend to the endpoint of the stretch. As you exhale, the diaphragm and thoracic-cavity muscles are relaxing, thus promoting a more effective relaxation of the target muscles.

8. Stretch the muscles in various positions, as this may improve the overall ROM at the joint.

9. Stretch after each vigorous workout to encourage mind and body relaxation.
10. If the stretch yields pain, back off the movement and make sure the stretching technique is correct. It may be necessary to try another position or a different stretching exercise (or method).

Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256 •