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A Brief Guide to Injury Prevention

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Almost every sports game, whether that is on television or in real life, at least one athlete gets injured. These injuries can range from sprains (injuries from ligaments) to stress (injuries from bones), and they occur when there is overuse, direct impact, or application of force that is greater than how much the body can withstand. Injuries are also quite common in daily exercise routines and can often require long recovery periods with intensive care. Therefore, injury prevention is critical not just to optimize performance but also to maintain proper health. Here are a few simple tips on injury prevention:

  1. Adhere to Proper Form: While often overlooked, proper form can help in lessening impact stress and avoiding injury in the first place. If you are starting to exercise, you should consider learning the appropriate form and technique from a professional. The consequences of not maintaining proper form are misaligned muscles, tendons, and joints that have the potential to cause stairs. By keeping proper form, you are also ensuring that the right part of your body is getting worked.
  2. Purchase the Right Gear: Special attention must be given to shoes, so make sure you get the right ones that suit your exercise needs. For example, walking shoes will be a little stiffer, whereas running shoes are more flexible. Moreover, you need to understand your foot shape to know what kind of support you need for your soles. The type of shoe and insoles will not just minimize any ankle or joint foot damage but will also make your work out a more pleasant experience.
  3. Drink Plenty of Water: Sweating is your body’s way of losing essential fluids, so to replenish those, be sure to drink water before and after your sports training or workout, depending on the duration. Hydration will help prevent muscle cramps and keep sodium and potassium levels high.
  4. Eat Healthier: As seen consistently, it is no secret that Western diets are high in fats and carbs. Eating these foods will make your body gain weight and will prevent you from recovering from an injury. Instead, focus on eating tons of fruits and vegetables, as these foods are essential for recovery and injury prevention. Plant-based diets are filled with Vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium, which are optimal for bone recovery and growth.
  5. Know Your Physical Limitations: Understand how much your body can handle. This may mean that you need to start gradually and build up to a more vigorous workout. It is also just as important to cool down, as that gives time for the body to maintain flexibility, composure, and stability. Most importantly, listen to your body when it shows signs of immense physical fatigue.

Although these tips may help in preventive care, it is essential to be mindful of what steps to take in the case of an injury:

Sources:

  1. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Sports-Injury-Prevention-Tip-Sheet.aspx
  2. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/sports-injuries
  3. https://strengthrunning.com/2010/05/born-to-run-chris-mcdougall-ultra-runner/
  4. https://www.nfpt.com/blog/importance-proper-form-strength-training
  5. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/how-choose-athletic-shoes#1
  6. https://www.livestrong.com/article/297024-why-is-it-important-to-wear-proper-shoes-while-working-out/
  7. https://www.orthoarizona.org/azbone/blog/hydration-and-injury-prevention
  8. https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/10-tips-to-prevent-injuries-when-you-exercise

Covid-19

Getting Back Into Shape After Quarantine

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California has officially begun reopening businesses, including gyms, bars, and retail stores. The gym is the long-awaited reopening for those who can finally use athletic equipment rather than relying on bodyweight exercises to stay in shape.

The motivation to stay active during quarantine is quite difficult trying to use garages or bedrooms as a personal gym without any equipment or legroom available. As gyms reopen, it may be a little intimidating getting back into shape, and you may be wondering how to ease back into your gym routine safely.

Keep in mind that your level of progression is widely based on your total time off, and your level of fitness before it. If you start by placing a high demand on your body, you risk the possibility of injury and a quick regression backward. Being extremely sore the next day does not indicate a quality workout. Here is an outline to guide and help you ease back into your workout without losing motivation or risking injury.

1. Start with Flexibility Workouts

Your first progressive step should be to incorporate a couple of days of flexibility workouts to increase blood flow and circulation while supporting range of motion and joint mobility. Developing flexibility is one of the most overlooked protocols of fitness routines, and building these protocols early on will allow your body to properly readjust to the new demands that will be placed on it. Signing up or participating in a beginner yoga class or videos you can do at home to increase flexibility and build strength. Choose 10 to 15 stretches, performing each flexibility movement for up to one minute. 

2. Add Easy Cardio

The next step is integrating light cardiorespiratory workouts after a couple of stretching or yoga sessions. An excellent way to start is a brisk 20-minute outdoor walk that will revitalize your mind and get your body moving again. Other options you can include in your workout, such as low impact HIIT workout (high-intensity interval training) for beginners. Machines you can use at your gyms include treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes are great indoor options. If you had a well-established fitness base before a month-long break, your first week might consist of light jogging instead of walking.

3. Start Strength Training

After your first week of flexibility and light cardio, start to incorporate strength workouts into your routine by trying gentle strength training workout for getting back into the gym. The time apart from the gym most likely involved a fair amount of sitting that causes weakness in your posterior chain, which refers to all the muscles on the backside of the body from your head down to your heels. These particular muscles are essential for basic everyday movement and keep your spine upright when at the desk. That is why incorporating exercises that improve your posture, develop core strength, and activate muscles throughout your glutes and hamstrings are essential. 

Exercises like squats, lunges, bridges, TRX hamstring curls, stability ball mobility, and core work will help activate these muscles. Bodyweight workouts are ideal for working these muscles and establish a safe transition back into your fitness regimen, and you can work within your fitness level. 

4. Begin your workout with a proper warm-up and end with a good cool-down

It is important to begin your workout with a proper warm-up that prepares your body for the increase in activity, and a cool-down helps your heart rate return to normal resting rate. Don’t jump into any physical activity without easing into it. Muscles that have not been accustomed to strenuous activity for a while, and will experience some form of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), which means you will be tight and achy for 24-72 hours after your workout. You may also experience this when you work out regularly but up to your intensity. With a proper cool-down session, you can help some of the soreness you could experience the day following your workout. 

5. And spend a few minutes stretching.

Stretching is an important dynamic when getting back into your fitness routine to help loosen those tight muscles before starting your workouts. After your workout, its good to release that muscle tension

6. Focus on your form

When you’re getting back into your regular routine, quality will always trump quantity. Maintaining proper form will help target and work your muscles without straining or overexerting yourself. Take your time to focus on your form, breathing, and control. This is extremely important because proper technique and form are crucial to help prevent injury

7. Don’t skip rest days!

Don’t jump into working out a six-days-a-week workout routine too soon. Recovery is a big part of being active. When you don’t take a day off, your body doesn’t get to take the necessary time to replenish your muscles. Rest days are vital to long-term wellness, and the lifestyle you are recreating for yourself now should consist of frequency. Promoting recovery is a good way to build habits of your workouts without leading to a sprain or strain delaying your workout and fitness routines. 

8. Listen to your body

Your body will let you know when it is working hard, but learning the difference between hurts-so-good and hurts-not-so-good will save you a trip to the doctor’s office. If something feels uncomfortable or causes you pain, stop doing whatever is causing your body to feel that way. There is a not-so-fine line between muscle discomfort from a good workout, and pain lets you know something’s not right. Be attentive to your body to help you progress through your workouts safely. 

Slowly easing your way to recreating your fitness regimen will help you stay consistent and achieve your fitness goals. It’s important to remember we are all on our fitness journey, so take your time and stay motivated!

Sources:

  1. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/05/05/gov-newsom-announces-california-to-begin-reopening-at-end-of-this-week/
  2. https://wordofhealth.com/2019/05/09/a-brief-guide-to-injury-prevention/
  3. https://www.shape.com/fitness/how-get-back-working-out
  4. https://www.self.com/story/heres-exactly-how-to-ease-back-into-working-out
  5. https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/what-is-posterior-chain-exercises

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Fitness/ Diet

7 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

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Inflammation refers to your body’s method of protecting itself against things that harm it, including infections, injuries, and toxins. One way to treat inflammation could be a prescription for pain medication. Another way to combat inflammation can come from your local grocery store. Here are seven food items you can find at your local grocery store to help fight your body’s inflammation.

1. Broccoli 

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that is low-calorie and rich in folate, vitamins C, E, and K, and fiber, along with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale. Research has shown that consuming the right amount of cruciferous vegetables can decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer. The vegetable’s high amount of antioxidants is related to its anti-inflammatory effects. Broccoli is high in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that combats inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and NF-kB, which leads to inflammation

2. Avocados

Avocados are loaded with potassium, magnesium, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. This superfood also contains carotenoids and tocopherols that helps lower the risk of cancer. One study found when people ate a slice of avocado with a hamburger, and they had lower levels of the inflammatory markers NF-kB and IL-6. Other participants who ate the burger without avocado had higher levels of the inflammatory markers. 

3. Green Tea

Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks you can find on the market. This tea reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and other medical conditions. Most of its health benefits derive from its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents, including the substance epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG helps to reduce inflammation by decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokine production and damage to the fatty acids in your cells 

4. Peppers

Bell peppers are not just known for their delicious flavor but are loaded with vitamin c along with chili peppers. Both peppers contain antioxidants that have substantial anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Bell peppers contain the antioxidant quercetin, which may reduce one marker of oxidative damage in people with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease Chili peppers have sinapic acid and ferulic acid, which can lead to healthier aging and reduce inflammation.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice with a rich, earthy flavor that has a bitter taste and is often used to season or color curry powders, mustards, etc. The flavorful spice has received a considerable amount of attention for its content of curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory nutrient. Turmeric lowers inflammation associated with arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases.

6. Cherries

Sweet and sour cherries are packed with antioxidants, such as anthocyanins and catechins, that help fight inflammation. Although the effects of tart cherries have been studied more, sweet cherries also provide health benefits. In one study, participants who ate 280 grams of cherries per day for 1 month, had lower levels of the inflammatory marker CRP and remained low for 28 days after they stopped consuming cherries 

7. Dark chocolate and cocoa

Dark chocolate is supplied with antioxidants that reduce inflammation and can decrease the risk of disease and lead to healthier aging. Flavanol-rich cocoa is responsible for chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects and keeps the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy. Be sure to choose dark chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa; the higher the percentage of cocoa, the better to obtain these anti-inflammatory benefits.

Incorporating healthier options onto your plate won’t provide you with an instant cure for inflammation, but it could help reduce your flare-ups or lower your pain levels. Including anti-inflammatory foods into your diet is a more holistic way of addressing pain and inflammation, as opposed to taking medication.

Sources: 

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-inflammation
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-anti-inflammatory-foods#section6
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22100562
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20370896
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17584048
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21324570
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21324570
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18188410
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17569207
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20944519
  11. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-tart-cherry-juice-benefits
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16549461
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16877960

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Fitness/ Diet

The Rundown of the Impossible Burger

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Photo Credit: pexels.com

With the human population immensely increasing each decade, the concern of utilizing all of our resources and making the Earth uninhabitable has loomed over our heads. Fortunately, back in 2011, Impossible Foods Inc. seemingly achieved the impossible, creating a plant-based burger that mimics the color, smell, and flavor of the meat. By replacing meat with plant-based “meat,” Impossible Foods Inc. hopes to reduce the harmful effects of animal agriculture on the Earth to restore natural ecosystems. Food scientists at Impossible Foods Inc. discovered that heme is the ingredient that gives meat that “meaty” flavor that people crave. Heme, located in hemoglobin, plays a vital role in animals by allowing the bloodstream to carry oxygen throughout the body. 

 A common reason why many people switch to being vegetarian and vegan is to live a healthier lifestyle. However, are these plant-based “meats” really healthier compared to their meat counterparts? The answer is not really. One of the main ingredients in the Impossible Burger is coconut oil. Although it is perceived as a “healthy” fat, coconut oil is high in saturated fat. The American Heart Association also advises against consuming coconut oil. Upon comparing the Impossible Burger to its other burger counterparts, we see the following: 

  • Impossible burger: 240 calories with 8g of saturated fat 
  • Beef burger: 280 calories with 9g of saturated fat 
  • Veggie burgers are not meant to mimic meat: 150-160 calories with 4g of saturated fat 

 The Impossible burger has fewer calories and grams of saturated fat than the beef burger; however, it contains more sodium than its meat and veggie burger counterparts. Even though the Impossible Burger may be better for the environment, they are not necessarily nutritionally healthier for consumers. The Impossible Burger is a good alternative for people who are vegetarian to reduce the consumption of animal-based foods. However, a traditional veggie burger is a healthier choice due to its low-fat content. Overall, Impossible Foods Inc. has created a viable alternative to classic burgers, striving to achieve what seems to be impossible. 

Sources: 

  1. https://medium.com/impossible-foods/the-mission-that-motivates-us-d4d7de61665
  2. https://medium.com/impossible-foods/heme-health-the-essentials-95201e5afffa
  3. https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/09/health/plant-fake-meat-burgers-good-for-you-or-not/index.html

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