Saturday, March 1, 2014

Live Healthier: Build an Injury-Proof Body

In my Prevention's Total-Body Shape Up magazine, March's focus is to Build an Injury-Proof Body.  They say, "Take 5 minutes to loosen up and get your blood flowing before exercising with intensity."

I don't know if you know this or not, but I am all made of hinges, but nothing bends :).  It's pretty difficult to find stretches that stretches muscles before my joints stop moving.  However, I learned that dynamic stretching increases flexibility, improves blood flow, and decreases risk of injury as well as recovery time.

Prevention identifies three phases:

  • Activates the nervous system. Even if your brain is saying "Let's go!" your muscles aren't ready to work when you first hit the gym.  These moves kick your nervous system into high gear by calling your coordination into action while raising your heart rate and body temperature.  The result: Your muscles respond more effectively during your workout.
  • Engages muscles.  This phase will turn on weak and underutilized muscles: glutes, abdominals, hip flexors, and lower and upper back muscles.  These core muscles are responsible for maintaining stability and control in your joints while you move.  Forgetting to activate these muscles raises your risk of injury.
  • Provides dynamic mobility.  Increase the range of motion at your joints while improving the flexibility in your large muscle groups.  That's a big deal: When your mobility is compromised by stiff muscles, you spend more energy during your workout fighting against your body's limitations, rather than burning calories.

Like I said, I can't do all of them.  But I'm going to try a couple of them this month: tight core rotations (p.59), bent-over row with L-raise (p.60), and arm crossover (p.62).  I'm anxious to see if my workouts go smoother and I can increase my flexibility.  

Walking Program Update:  My walking program focuses the first eight weeks on alternating between a Brisk Walk and a Speed Walk (or interval walking).  I will use the treadmill's heart rate monitor to challenge my intensity for the Brisk Walk.  For the Speed Walk, I'll increase my duration or ratio (walk : brisk walk) by 10% each week.  Also, I made a workout buddy!  My Visiting Teaching companion, Amber, also has a membership to Axiom, so we're going to meet a couple times a week to