The NEW Kids Fitness Formula

  • By P S
  • 28 Nov, 2016

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!

By Dawn Evans 16 Jun, 2017

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.”

Final Words

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.

By Dawn Evans 13 Jun, 2017
When your grip strength  improves, less neural drive is needed for the forearm and hand  muscles to perform other exercises. That is why many trainees report breaking training plateaus ranging from dead lifts to curls. Charles Poliquin discusses how you can instantly increase your strength grip through Posturology.
By Dawn Evans 13 Jun, 2017
Correcting posture can have a huge impact on sports performance and injury prevention. Here is a short video of a chin up preformed by   Allan McVaughn   of the men’s Basketball Team, before and after postural correction.
By Dawn Evans 13 Jun, 2017

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.

By Dawn Evans 09 Jun, 2017

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

See Strength Sensei for more information.

By Dawn Evans 08 Jun, 2017
One of the muscles responsible for adduction upwards rotation and elevation of the scapula is the upper trapezius. The upper is innervated by the XI cranial nerve and shares a direct relationship with the eye muscles (III, IV and VI cranial nerve) located in the brainstem. Optimal eye tracking is essential and should be considered when looking at shoulder movement and to avoid possible injuries. A very easy exercise to perform prior to a shoulder workout is an eye workout.
By Dawn Evans 08 Jun, 2017

Fix Your Knee Pain in 2 Easy Steps

Tip Number 1 – Fix Your Feet Fix Your Knee

The movement of the knee joint is influenced by the movement of the ankle joint. To make sure you have proper biomechanics of your knee, you should first ensure that your foot has optimal movement. Start by testing your shoes. Position your foot on top of your shoe. You’ll want to make sure that the width and length of the shoe is big enough to accommodate the size of your foot and toes. If your toes are sticking out, then the shoe is too small. Change shoes.

By Dawn Evans 07 Jun, 2017

Fix Your Low Back Pain (Two Tips)

When talking about lower back pain, we’re not inclined to think that the clenching of our teeth could have a negative repercussion. Our jaws (maxillary and mandible) is linked to our anterior and posterior muscular chains. As such, it would be impossible to display an outburst of strength without having our jawbones in contact.

Tip Number 1 – Red Dots
Use six red dots that you will alternate every six weeks. Position them in different areas of your house and working area at the level of your eyes. The red dots are meant to be used as a visual cue, so that when you see the dot, you become aware that your teeth are in contact. Immediately stop and move on to tip number two.

By Dawn Evans 18 May, 2017

Is magnesium deficiency halting your gains?

To be valid, every hormone or mineral evaluation must be tested in the right compartment. Even if it is commonly prescribed, the serum magnesium test is a poor indicator of magnesium levels as serum magnesium represents only 1% of the body’s stores . Low serum magnesium indicates severe deficiency.

Red blood cell magnesium is the way to go. The optimal range is 6.8-7.2 mg/dL .

Most people hover around 2 mg/dL. Magnesium deficiency is a concern for 50-80% of the population depending on the source.

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By Dawn Evans 12 May, 2017

Here’s what you need to know…

1. Bad posture increases muscle strain and tension, as muscles that are not aligned are forced to work harder to fight gravity.

2. Bad posture increases risk of back pain, nerve impingement and slipped disks, because the spine does not have the right curves and balance. While training, this imbalance of curves could lead to injury.

3. Bad posture increases the wear and tear of all joints because they are not moving in the way they are designed to and because the muscles stabilizing the joints do not receive the correct activation from the brain. This breaks down the cartilage and weakens ligaments leading to increased risk of injury such as ligament tears and muscle pulls.

4. Bad posture (and the above mentioned factors) can increase the production of stress hormones and inflammation in your body. This can lead to lowered immune system function, decreased sleep quality, digestion and energy levels.  

The Brain Muscle Connection

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