By Dr. Michael Koskiniemi, Posturologist
The NEW paradigm shift with Kids Fitness is Fascial - Flexiblity - Function. Kids do not need another fad or quick fix, nor are they looking for professional peer critique or negativity. We need to help kids, parents, teachers, and coaches with the misconceptions and confusion about becoming fit or recovering from an injury or debilitating experience. Kids and parents want/need basic logic and sound advice with exercise, fitness, and sport. They need us to listen and understand their assumptions, so we can give them solutions. Kids need to be shown practical examples from confident competent professionals. They need us to communicate what they cannot and to lead them into exercise and sport specificity successfully.
To begin with, children are sitting an average of nine hours per day between school, television watching, and other sedentary activities. Their shoulders are rounded forward, their femur’s are medially rotated, and their bodies are basically locked in an upright fetal position. Parents, teachers, and coaches then expect kids to automatically get up and perform whatever activity it is they want or are expected to. This type of programming and thought process has increased kids orthopedic issues dramatically. We need to back up and eliminate the dysfunctional movement issues and replace with an appropriate sequence to create injury free three dimensional functional movements through the various activities kids participate in.
The three part Fascial-Flexibility-Function approach deals with the muscular skeletal system in a systematic way. First, it removes any exacerbators that may underlie within the muscle itself and affect movement negatively. Next, it commences with exercise therapy through the different approaches to corrective exercise and allows the body to move positively again. Lastly, it lies down and creates the new cerebral strength needed to progress the body to become bigger, faster, stronger by adding one new challenge at a time and helps to keep the new found freedoms of movement. Take away any of the parts and the results will be dramatically different. Follow each stage as laid out and be amazed by the outcomes.
The first step in the process is FASCIAL. Fascial refers to any myofascial/trigger point release technique either self applied or administered by a professional that will get rid of trigger points or hyperactive muscle to contract and relax appropriately. Self administering techniques for kids are foam rollers, sticks, foot wheels, and hands wheels. Professional applied techniques can be applied by hands, feet, elbows, and knee’s to get the hyperactive muscle to settle down and relax. Different names for these techniques are trigger point therapy, ART, and manual muscle manipulation to name a few.
The second step is Flexibility. Flexibility refers to any flexibility, stretching, mobility, stability, dynamic motor learning, or corrective exercise technique needed to gain the optimal movement of the muscles. Re-establishing the ability of the body to move freely and to respond accordingly to the specifics of the tasks ahead is essential to eliminate any potential for injury through movement. Too many kids jump right into an activity while their bodies are not ready. The repetitive nature of sports leads to overuse issues that can easily be decreased and potentially eliminated.
The third and last step in the process is Function. Function refers to any activity that will dynamically challenge the body to become bigger, better, faster, stronger, and build endurance. These strength/endurance activities can be bodyweight, free weight, kettlebell, or any other mode of external resistance utilizing three dimensional dynamic movements. Exercise/fitness professionals need to think Lift-Push-Pull-Carry-Jump when programming strength and endurance portions of any program. This is the shiny stuff. These are the drill and tasks that everyone thinks about when they think fitness and exercise. Kids love to be challenged and to see just how far they can take their bodies.
The problem with the fascial and flexibility portion of the sequence is that it is boring and not shiny like dynamic activities such as running and jumping drills. Getting a kid to self myofascially prepare and to perform a wall sit to prepare their hips and thoracic for the demands of the exercise ahead is boring. Parents, teachers, and coaches also state they would much rather take the time with the specific drills instead of wasting it on movement prep activities, but when the children get hurt or cannot play they complain even more. For the cost of about fifteen minutes of any program from a 1-2-1 training session to gym class to soccer practice this can eliminate a whole lot of time and problems later from knee, shoulder and lower back issues just to name a few. This is why teaching and educating kids, parents, teachers, coaches, and any other adult about how important and necessary these drills are and making them as fun as possible is critical for adherence.
The great thing about kids these days are they are extremely intelligent and have tons of information at their fingertips. As you lead and teach these young people into the specifics of the Fascial-Flexibility-Function techniques they will go home and look up information regarding what you showed them during that session. Kids will then show their friends and family these new techniques.
The biggest and most important aspect to working with this population is we need to think, Train the brain – Not the muscle. Keep inquiring for more information and better techniques. If your child has never used myofascial techniques, then hire a professional to show them how to appropriately use the different modalities like sticks, foam rollers, or manual techniques. If they have never been trained and taught how to use kettlebells, then find an opportunity to learn all about them. Never allow your child to stop learning all the great and different elements in fitness. Boredom should never be an issue with exercise and fitness. Watching a YouTube video or seeing someone performing a movement or activity and then throwing it in your personal workout doesn’t count as learning. Take the time, invest the money, and become the very best fitness practitioner you can be from an early age!
Be it because of the toxicity which surrounds us or because of bodies cannot handle properly the estrogens we produce. Whichever is the case, it can lead to an estrogen overload called estrogen dominance. And aside from the male issues you might think it leads to, it can cause serious health complications for both men and women. Thinking of shedding some body fat? Want to increase strength? Stave off cancer? Have better cognition? Conceive a child? Conquer depression? Estrogen dominance can disrupt all of those.
This article is not about how macho we have to be by driving down estrogen as much as possible. In fact, be it in male or female, estrogen is necessary for normal body function. It regulates a lot of body functions in both females and males, however a dysfunctional management of estrogen can spell disaster for your health.
This usually translates to too much estrogen and too much of the wrong form of the hormone in the body.
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How to Fix Rounded Shoulders…
If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance that you have round shoulders. And if you’ve had rounded shoulders for a long time, chances are you want to find a quick, permanent way to resolve the problem. There is such a way, one that often doesn’t involve any exercises or uncomfortable soft tissue work. Let’s take a closer look.
Poor posture is the culprit behind a variety of conditions including, ankle, knee, shoulder, hip, back pain, cervical pain, and headaches.
Poor posture is the culprit behind a variety of conditions including, ankle, knee, shoulder pain.
Ankle injuries are among the single most common type of injury that occurs to athletes, but you don’t have to be a jock to find yourself suffering from ankle sprains and strains.
First, consider that the difference between a sprain and strain is that a sprain occurs to a ligament, and a strain is an injury to a tendon or a muscle. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases reports that about 850,000 Americans injure their ankles each year. Of these, 85 percent are sprains.
Have you ever had a side that was weaker than the other on a particular movement or exercise?
When the body is out of alignment, even if only slightly, this causes muscular compensation. This phenomenon can cause the muscles that cross that joint to contract with less force. If you are weaker on one side, this can be a sign that the joints are misaligned.
The mechanoreceptors surrounding the joints send inhibitory signals to the brain, who in return prevents the muscles from firingas many motor units in an effort the prevent injury from happening because it senses that the joint is not functioning properly and could thus be unstable or unable to handle large loads.
So a very strong individual like a strongman competitor or powerlifter can lift incredible loads and yet still be imbalanced and prone to injury.
In conclusion, a very small discrepancy in the symmetry of the body can thus affect function of all joints and their surrounding muscles. This has important impact on performance, and can have profound consequences in the long run, in just about anyone.
Tyrosine, an important amino acid you may not know about
Like almost any nutrient, be it a vitamin, mineral, or botanical extract, amino acids are best introduced to the body via whole foods. In this way, they typically come packaged along with complementary and accessory nutrients that facilitate their absorption and fulfillment of their biochemical destinies. (It’s so nice of nature to do that for us, isn’t it?) But in just the same way that certain disease states, both acute and chronic, can increase the body’s need for particular vitamins and minerals above the levels someone would reasonably get from food alone, certain conditions may warrant supplemental amounts of amino acids.
There’s branched chain amino acids for potential skeletal muscle growth, tryptophan (and its metabolite, 5-HTP) for lifting a low mood or helping to promote sleep, and glutamine for gut health and tissue healing and repair after trauma.
What about tyrosine?
Like its aromatic amino acid brethren (phenylalanine and tryptophan), tyrosine is a building block for neurotransmitter synthesis. Unlike phenylalanine and tryptophan, however, it is not technically an essential amino acid, since it can be synthesized from phenylalanine. (For individuals with phenylketonuria [PKU], tyrosine is essential, as they lack the enzyme that facilitates this conversion.)
Tyrosine readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and is the starting point for producing L-DOPA, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. It is also the building block for thyroxine (a.k.a. T4, or thyroid hormone), but inadequate tyrosine is usually not the limiting factor in thyroxine synthesis. Individuals with suboptimal thyroid function might benefit from supplemental tyrosine, but likely only if hypothyroid symptoms are due primarily to insufficient tyrosine availability. Owing to its role in neurotransmitter and catecholamine synthesis, it has shown benefit for alleviating depression, acute stress, narcolepsy, and cocaine addiction. (With regard to cocaine addiction, tyrosine and tryptophan may be an effective combination, with these amino acids blunting the cocaine “high,” and reducing the depression that may result from drug withdrawal.)
Tyrosine competes with other large, neutral amino acids (phenylalanine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine, valine, and methionine) for transport across the blood-brain barrier, so for optimal efficacy supplemental tyrosine is best taken on an empty stomach, or perhaps with a carbohydrate-containing meal or snack that is low in protein. Taking vitamin B6 along with it may facilitate the conversion of tyrosine to dopamine, as the vitamin is a cofactor for the aromatic amino acid decarboxylase enzyme that catalyzes the reaction.
The Brain and Mood Link
Considering tyrosine’s role as a precursor to dopamine and thyroid hormone, it would seem that tyrosine supplementation would be a slam dunk for improving depression. Yet, results are mixed . Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have failed to show efficacy for tyrosine with regard to depression ; nevertheless, anecdotal evidence indicates there may be a role, so it’s possible it depends on an individual patient’s presentation. Depression is multifactorial, so there may be cases where supplemental tyrosine will help alleviate symptoms, and others where the issue is unrelated to inadequate levels.
On the other hand, tyrosine may be helpful for supporting cognitive function in acutely stressful situations. A review looking at the effects of tyrosine on behavior and cognition found that “tyrosine loading acutely counteracts decrements in working memory and information processing that are induced by demanding situational conditions such as extreme weather or cognitive load.” Most likely this is due to the influence of tyrosine on restoring healthy brain catecholamine levels. Other researchers had similar findings—that it does enhance cognitive performance, particularly in short-term stressful and cognitively demanding situations. One study’s authors caveated this by saying that it “is an effective enhancer of cognition, but only when neurotransmitter function is intact and DA [dopamine] and/or NE [norepinephrine] is temporarily depleted.”
Fortunately, it is an inexpensive compound to supplement with, so patients may be inclined to give it a try if their health care professionals suspect some of the symptoms they present with may be related to suboptimal tyrosine and/or reduced levels of hormones and neurotransmitters that come from tyrosine.
Note that tyrosine should not be supplemented in pregnant or lactating women, nor in individuals taking MAOIs for depression. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease may benefit from supplemental tyrosine, for the production of dopamine, but it should not be taken at the same time as levodopa, due to possible reduction in the drug’s efficacy.
Weight lifting is important to begin to building muscle mass and size, however it isn’t the only key element of shoulder training.
Posture is essential if you want to be injury free and want to start adding serious size to your shoulders.
Visual feedback and equal weight distribution are important to ensure that your muscles contract accurately.
New study demonstrates omega-3 fatty acids increase blood flow to regions of the brain associated with cognition
According to a new study published last Thursday in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, by using neuroimaging, researchers were able to demonstrate increased blood flow in regions of the brain associated with memory and learning in individuals with higher omega-3 levels.
Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD) are a group of conditions that cause mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. These conditions affect one’s ability to function socially, personally, and professionally. It’s important to recognize that Alzheimer’s disease begins long before symptoms start , just like many other conditions. There is evidence that simple prevention strategies can reduce the risk of ADRD by as much as 50%.
This new study included 166 individuals from a psychiatric clinic in which Omega-3 Index results were available. These patients were categorized into two groups: higher EPA and DHA concentrations (>50th percentile) and lower concentrations (<50th percentile). Quantitative brain single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) was performed on 128 regions of their brains and each individual completed computerized testing of their neurocognitive status.
SPECT can measure blood perfusion in the brain. In addition, performing various mentally stimulating cognitive tasks will show increased blood flow to specific brain regions. (Previous research has demonstrated that mentally stimulating activities reduce the risk of new-onset mild cognitive impairment even when performed later in life.) As a result, researchers identified significant relationships between the Omega-3 Index and regional perfusion on brain SPECT in areas that are involved with memory and neurocognitive testing.
This study demonstrated the positive relationships between omega-3 EPA and DHA status, brain perfusion, and cognition. This is significant because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS
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