SENIORS AND RESISTANCE TRAINING: A MUST FOR HEALTH AND LONGEVITY

What population does weight lifting and resistance training benefit most? While these activities are important for youth athletes, business professionals, stay at home moms, and middle aged men alike, they are imperative for seniors! Many of the "age related" issues that the senior demographic seems chronically plagued by including but not limited to arthritis, bone breakage, balance issues, heart disease, diabetes, poor circulation and obesity, can be prevented and even alleviated by introducing a resistance training program.

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THE 4 MOST UNDERRATED EXERCISES YOU SHOULD BE DOING

As a fitness professional in a commercial gym I've seen most of the exercises you could ever imagine. With the wide world of exercise selection floating around the air in the gym as well as on the Internet, it can be over whelming choosing which exercises your should into your personal program. In this article, I have compiled a list of exercises that are underrated and underused. Read on to find out which exercises you may have been skipping over that you should start adding into your routine!

….FULL ARTICLE

MAKE A VOW TO LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE AND REDUCE SODIUM INTAKE

February is American Heart Month and as a leading community-based network committed to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA of Central Kentucky urges everyone to help prevent heart disease by lowering your blood pressure. Two ways to keep the pressure off your heart are by monitoring your blood pressure and reducing sodium intake.

….FULL ARTICLE

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THE 4 MOST UNDERRATED EXERCISES YOU SHOULD BE DOING

As a fitness professional in a commercial gym I've seen most of the exercises you could ever imagine. With the wide world of exercise selection floating around the air in the gym as well as on the Internet, it can be over whelming choosing which exercises your should into your personal program. In this article, I have compiled a list of exercises that are underrated and underused. Read on to find out which exercises you may have been skipping over that you should start adding into your routine!


1. Foam rolling

I have been singing the praises of myofascial release techniques to clients and members for years now. Whether you're looking to improve athletic performance or improve your poor posture due to desk work, utilizing a foam roller is a must. Fascia, the connective tissue that encases the muscles and other internal structures, can become tight due to trauma, poor posture, or inflammation. When fascia becomes so tight that it decreases mobility, your range of motion is decreased both in and out of the gym. Decreased range of motion predisposes you to less effective movement at best and injury at worst. I recommend a high density, 36 inch roller for the most versatility and a moderate amount of pressure. Some fitness facilities offer classes on myofascial release that incorporate foam rolling and various other techniques to release fascia properly. Additionally, any qualified personal trainer who is up to date on the latest and

greatest of the fitness industry should be able to prescribe exercises

specific to your fascia issues.


2. Face Pulls

This exercise is one that has many benefits from both an aesthetic and postural standpoint. For those looking for and increase in size and density of the deltoid (shoulder) muscle as a whole, face pulls are great for rounding out the back of the shoulder as it meets the upper back. For those who seek postural benefits, face pulls strengthen the muscles across the entire upper back including the rear delt which can go a long way in correcting forward rotation and rounding in the thoracic spine. Although many of the lists of "most effective exercises" currently being circulated


3. Scapular Retraction Variations

I categorize this exercise as a "great return for very little investment" movement! Both pushing and pulling movements require healthy shoulder movement; that means everything from push ups and pull ups to closing your car door and lifting the laundry basket. If the scapula (shoulder blades) do not move well due to poor

posture, muscle imbalances, or injury, workouts and daily life skills will be less effective at best and dangerous at worst. I like to have clients begin with scapular retraction and protraction with hands against a wall, eventually progressing to an incline plank, full plank, and even hanging variations. Strengthening the muscles used to retract and protract the scapula including the low traps, rhomboids, and serratus anterior is imperative for those who want to optimize shoulder function especially if they regularly find themselves in poor postural alignment. Because every pushing/pulling motion begins in the shoulder girdle with the scapula, it's important to understand how to isolate and move them well.


3. Monster Band Hip Hinge

The shoulders and hips are currently tied for most improperly used and trained joints in the gym and daily life. A large majority of the public lacks not only the knowledge of how to execute a proper hip hinge but often also the mobility and strength to do so. Before getting clients under a barbell and any kind of heavy weight, I stress the importance of learning a hip hinge. One excellent tool for teaching the mechanics and strengthening the prime movers in the posterior chain i.e. hamstrings, glutes, and spinal extensors, is the monster band hip hinge. I secure a monster band to something sturdy like our queenax functional trainer, have the client step into the loop and position the band around their hips. The client will step forward until there is tension on the band and perform a hip hinge slowly and with control. Once the hips are fully in flexion, the client extends the hips by engaging the muscles of the posterior chain and will hold a glute contraction for approximately 2 seconds at the top of the motion. The hip hinge is a movement that beginners and seasoned lifters alike need to go back to on a regular basis.


4. Cat Cow

In recent years more and more typical gym goers, cardio bunnies and meat-heads alike, have embraced the benefits of practicing yoga. One of my favorite poses is cat-cow or Bitilasana. This goes along with the scapular retraction exercises mentioned earlier but with more emphasis on strengthening the core. Many people who lead sedentary lifestyles report lower back pain which can be traced to a weak core and posterior chain. Cat cow pose works to strengthen the transverse abdominis, the deep layer of abdominal muscles that work to stabilize the internal organs and spine. It also mobilizes the shoulder blades and thoracic spine which, as I discussed, is key to safe shoulder movements patterns. Finally, if performed with proper breathing patterns, cat cow has also been shown to stimulate the adrenal glands and have a calming effect on the central nervous system. Using this movement as a warm up for the spine before weight lifting, putting space between the vertebrae after a long distance run, or even as a break from sitting at your computer are all great ways to improve spine and core health.


If any of these exercises are unfamiliar to you or you would like more information on how you can optimize your fitness routine, please contact one of the fitness professionals at Proof!

RACHEL MCCORD

Rachel McCord is the Personal Training Director at Proof Fitness

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