DESIGNING A HEALTHY DIET FOR THE NEW YEAR

Every year, millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. The majority of these resolutions focus on diet in attempts to lose weight and be healthier. A new year is the perfect time to jumpstart a healthy diet to make the changes you want to see for yourself throughout the year. However, research shows 80 percent of resolutions fail by February. Many people strive for unrealistic goals, which ultimately set them up for failure.

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EXERCISE HAS BENEFICIAL EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN

While exercise has long been known for its positive effects on physical health and its ability to heighten energy and help manage chronic health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, exercise is now being lauded for its beneficial effects on the brain.   These benefits touch almost every aspect of life. Exercise helps sharpen short-term memory and improve long-term memory. This happens because exercise can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation and stimulate….

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GETTING STARTED AND STICKING WITH IT

As we kick off 2018, you may be thinking about resolutions pertaining to your health and fitness. It’s easy to determine some ways to improve your physical, mental and emotional well-being. However, it’s not always as simple to stay motivated and make the new commitments part of your lifestyle. Now is the perfect time to set goals, whether it be for the number of days you intend to work out each week, how many steps you want to take each day or healthy meals you want to prepare for your family.

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Dynamic stretching before a workout or sport prepares the body for the exercise. Static stretching is not good before exertion but is very beneficial afterward. It relieves pain, extends and relaxes muscles and creates looseness in the body. Static stretching at the end of your workout can actually reduce both the intensity and time of your muscle soreness. This allows you to return to your workout or sport with less discomfort and more readiness to tackle your fitness goals.

DYNAMIC VS. STATIC STRETCHING

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

movements of your exercise. This allows blood to flow to your limbs in those areas before you begin. Dynamic stretching warms up your nervous system’s motor skills while raising your body temperature in preparation for high levels of exercise. It’s not ballistic stretching – bouncing in and out of a stretched position; this can lead to injury. Dynamic stretching has no bounces or jerky movements; it consists of controlled leg and arm swings that take you gently to the limits of your range of motion.


Dynamic stretching significantly improves agility performance as compared to static or no stretching. It’s best to perform sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Be sure to stop when and if you feel tired. Tired muscles have less elasticity, which decreases your range of motion. Continuing to exercise when you are tired serves only to reset the nervous control of your muscle length at a reduced range of motion and will cause a loss of flexibility. Once you attain a maximal range of motion for a joint in any direction, stop doing the movement during that workout. Tired, overworked muscles won’t attain a full range of motion and the muscle’s kinesthetic memory will remember the repeated shortened range of motion, which you will then have to overcome before you can make further progress.

The purpose of any type of stretching is to prevent injuries and enhance performance. Just as there are different types of flexibility, there are also different types of stretching, and each has its own purpose.


With static stretching, you elongate your muscle to its fullest – usually until you feel slight discomfort – and then hold that position. This includes touching your toes or pulling your arms across your chest to stretch your shoulder. Basically, you reach the point of tension and hold the stretch in that state. Static stretching increases static flexibility by engaging the tension receptors in your muscles, which results in looser and elongated musculature. While it’s initially uncomfortable, it relaxes the muscles.


An elongated, loose and relaxed muscle is not ideal for beginning physical exertion. Research has shown static stretching can be detrimental to performance and does not necessarily lead to decreases in injury. Static stretching has also been shown to decrease muscle strength by up to 9 percent for 60 minutes following the stretch. It also has been found to reduce peak force by 5 percent and the rate of force by 8 percent.


Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, involves movements that replicate those you’ll be doing during your workout or sport. The idea is to repeatedly extend your body in motion to mimic the