Health Education

Exercise and Its Effect on Risk Factors

As the intensity of exercise increases so does the risk of something nasty happening. We will look at the information you must gather to enable you to exercise safely and effectively.  The Stress Response All exercise involves some increase in stress on the systems of the body, this is what creates the fatigue, which is then ‘repaired and adapted to’ in order for (ideally) positive progress to be made. Because exercise involves introducing some level of stress, to cause change, any underlying health issue, your condition on that day (for example if you are; dehydrated, already stressed, ill or under-recovered), or an exercise program that is too hard for your capabilities can be problematic. For this reason, our staff here at Synergy always gathers sufficient health related information about our clients, and we continuously observe and act on any unexpected responses that occur during or after your training. Know Your Risk Factors Measurable risk factors such as blood pressure, ... read more

Anti-Aging Benefits of Exercise

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you — it helps manage weight, improves muscle and bone strength, and even lifts your spirits. It can also add years to your life. Exercise is sometimes a way of “giving your body a bigger boost without needing any drugs in your system.” Researchers from the University College London found that “healthy agers,” or physically active older adults, had a lower risk for chronic diseases such as arthritis. Evidence suggests that exercise also helps delay cognitive impairment. Another study found that just 15 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity extended people’s lives by three years or exercising at very light levels reduced deaths from any cause by 14 percent. It’s never too late — or too soon — to make exercise a part of your routine. Even older adults and people who may be coping with a chronic condition can benefit from a workout plan that fits their lifestyle. [1] In addition, new research shows that regular phy... read more

Functional Fitness Exercises and What They Can Do For You

Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to help you do everyday activities safely and efficiently. Find out more about functional fitness exercises — and what they can do for you. Chances are you don’t live to exercise. For many people, exercise is a way to maintain or improve their quality of life. And that’s the focus of functional fitness. Functional fitness exercises are designed to train and develop your muscles to make it easier and safer to perform everyday activities, such as carrying groceries or playing a game of basketball with your kids. [1] So what’s an example of a functional exercise? Think of a bent-over row; not the kind of row you do on a seated machine, but the kind you do leaning over a bench, holding the weight in one hand with your arm hanging straight down, and then pulling the weight up as your elbow points to the ceiling, finishing with your upper arm parallel to the ground. Compare that motion to a carpenter bending over a piece of ... read more

Getting Back on Track After Vacation and Holidays

Now that the 4th of July is over, getting back on track is key! We’ve all been there. You’re working out consistently, you’re eating healthy food, you’re feeling great… and then you go on vacation. When you come home, you spend the next 3 weeks trying to get back into a routine but you can’t seem to find your groove. Workouts are sporadic. Meals are hit or miss. Your whole routine seems to have gone out the window. But vacation doesn’t have to throw you off your game! [1] Making a few things non-negotiable upon return is the key to looking and feeling better quickly: fill up on fiber-rich foods rehydrate catch up on sleep stock up on groceries opt for a salad at lunch schedule your exercise tame your social life and more! [1][2][3] Vacation is meant to be enjoyed! So stop beating yourself up over that slice of key lime pie or those sweet margaritas! Sometimes you just have to let it go in order to move on. It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that you’ve already ... read more

The Importance of Sleep for Your Fitness Goals

The debate about the best way to achieve a healthy weight always revolves around eating and movement. If you want to look better, the most common suggestion is “eat less and move more.” But it’s not that simple, or even accurate. Sometimes you want to eat less and move more, but it seems impossible to do so. And there might be a good reason: Between living your life, working, and exercising, you’re forgetting to sleep enough. Or maybe, more importantly, you don’t realize that sleep is the key to being rewarded for your diet and fitness efforts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35 percent of people are sleep deprived. And when you consider that the statistic for obesity is nearly identical, it’s easy to connect the dots and discover that the connection is not a coincidence. Think about the last time you had a bad night of sleep. How did you feel when you woke up? Exhausted. Dazed. Confused. Maybe even a little grumpy? It’s not just y... read more

Biomechanics: What Is It and What Are the Benefits?

“What is Biomechanics? Biomechanics is the science concerned with the internal and external forces acting on the human body and the effects produced by these forces. More specifically, Biomechanics is the study of human movement and describes the forces which cause this movement. Biomechanics can play a crucial role in both injury prevention as well as performance enhancement. It is important for athletes of all ages and skill levels to understand the importance of education to develop proper mechanics. Education can come in multiple forms, but with the emphasis on the visual learner in today’s society, visual feedback is one of the most effective ways to modify an athlete’s technique and allow them to perform at the most efficient level possible. An athlete’s ability to perform efficiently and injury free are two key features in performance outcome and can both be improved with Biomechanical analysis. Who can benefit from Biomechanical Analysis? Biomechanical analysis can ... read more

Why Flexibility and Stretching Are Just as Important as Your Workout

As you age, your muscles naturally lose strength and size and can become less supple and stiffer. This can affect the range of movement around your joints, which may lead to stiffness in the muscles and joints. It is this loss of tissue elasticity that can cause muscles and joints to tighten up. One of the key reasons that muscles lose their natural suppleness and flexibility and can become prone to tears, aches, and pains is being inactive. If the situation is not remedied in time, loss of flexibility could lead to permanent changes in posture and normal muscle function. It is therefore imperative to maintain muscle flexibility as an important component of overall fitness.[1] Stretching may take a back seat to your fitness routine. The main concern is exercising, not stretching, right? Not so fast. Stretching may help you: Improve your joint range of motion Improve your athletic performance Decrease your risk of injury Stretching can help improve flexibility, and, consequently, range... read more

Incorporating an Exercise Program

Activities of daily living, also known as physical activity, is defined as movement that involves contraction of your muscles. Any of the activities we do throughout the day that involves movement — housework, gardening, walking, climbing stairs — are examples of physical activity. Exercise is a specific form of physical activity — planned, purposeful physical activity performed with the intention of acquiring fitness or other health benefits. Ideally, an exercise program should include elements designed to improve each of these components: -Cardiorespiratory Endurance -Muscular Strength -Muscular Endurance -Flexibility While it’s possible to address all of these fitness components with a physically active lifestyle, an exercise program can help you achieve even greater benefits. Increasing the amount of physical activity in your everyday life is a good start — like parking a few blocks from your destination to get in some walking. But to really achieve fitness goals, you... read more

Core Exercises: So Important Yet Often Neglected

Core exercises are an important part of a well-rounded fitness program. Aside from occasional situps and pushups, however, core exercises are often neglected. Still, it pays to get your core muscles in better shape. Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities. In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles. Any exercise that involves the use of your abdominal and back muscles in coordinated fashion counts as a core exercise. For example, using free weights in a manner that involves maintaining a stable trunk can train and strengthen several of your muscles, including your core muscles. You may also try several specific core exercises to stabilize and strengthen your core [1]. In addition, core stiffness is essential for injury prevention and performance enhancement. Core stiffness is not optimized in bod... read more

Common Shoulder Pain and Injuries

Shoulder injuries can be either acute or chronic depending on when they are diagnosed and how long the pain / disability has been felt for. An acute shoulder injury occurs suddenly either through direct impact, over stretching a muscle, tendon or ligament, overusing a muscle or tendon or twisting of the shoulder joint. The top five most common categories of shoulder injury are listed below. Rotator Cuff Tear Glenoid Labrum Tear Dislocated Shoulder AC Joint Separation Frozen Shoulder [1] Many shoulder problems are caused by the breakdown of soft tissues in the shoulder region. Using the shoulder too much can cause the soft tissue to break down faster as people get older. Doing manual labor and playing sports may cause shoulder problems.[2] Treatment for a shoulder injury may include first aid measures, physical therapy, medicine, and, in some cases, surgery. Treatment depends on: The location, type, and severity of the injury. How long ago the injury occurred. Your age, health condition... read more

The 80/20 Weight Loss Ratio

If you’ve ever Googled, “Is diet or exercise more important for weight loss?” you’ve probably come across this seemingly arbitrary formula for dropping pounds: It’s 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. But where did that 80/20 ratio come from? And what does it really mean? The key to weight loss is achieving a negative energy balance or taking in fewer calories than you burn. To shed a single pound, you need to achieve a 3,500 calorie deficit. So if you’re following the 80/20 ratio, you’d want to burn approximately 750 calories through exercise and cut an additional 3,000 calories through dieting. That’s a total deficit of 3,750 calories for the week. You don’t need to hit an exact 80/20 ratio to shed pounds, but it is important for people to focus primarily on a diet when they’re trying to lose weight. You can lose weight without exercise, but you cannot lose weight if your nutrition counteracts your energy expenditure throug... read more

Improve your Quality of Life with Strength Training

This week we are looking at the benefits of strength training, but more specifically the benefit of improving quality of life! “A number of studies have reported that strength training can prevent or reduce muscle loss in older men and women. One study of 12 weeks of strength training was highly effective for improving functional capacity, as well as for enhancing quality of life. The researchers observed that such a four-month long regimen helps older men and women to regain muscle strength and mass, potentially restoring the functional capacity to perform as well as people who are 20 years their junior. The team’s study of 56 older women demonstrated that high-speed power training significantly increased dynamic and isometric strength performance, as well as muscle power and function. Their separate study of 26 older men showed that endurance training increased muscle workload capacity and maximum aerobic workload. Across both studies, the team submits that regular physical ... read more

The Differences of Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises on Metabolism

“Metabolism is the most basic job your body must complete in order to survive and function. How your metabolism works depends on the type of exercise you’re doing at the time. There are two types of exercise, aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise, such as jogging, depends on oxygen to produce energy, while anaerobic exercise can be performed in the absence of oxygen. During aerobic exercise, your body has a steady supply of oxygen to produce ATP, giving your body a tremendous energy-yielding capacity. Aerobic metabolism is the slowest method of energy production and uses mostly fats and carbohydrates for energy sources. Anaerobic metabolism is the dominant source of energy for short, high-intensity activities such as weightlifting and sprinting. Anaerobic metabolism provides energy at a high rate but in small amounts, which is why your muscles fatigue after only a dozen reps. [1] The fitness industry is experiencing a surge of interest and growth in high intensity interv... read more

How Physical Activity Affects Chronic Conditions

A ‘‘Chronic condition or disease’’ is defined as a disease that is slow in its progress and long in its continuance [1]. The physiological mechanisms underlying these diseases have usually been active long before a particular person is outwardly affected. Epidemiological data have established that physical inactivity increases the incidence of at least 17 unhealthy conditions, almost all of which are chronic diseases or considered risk factors for chronic diseases. [2] In the medical world, it is traditional to prescribe the evidence-based treatment known to be the most effective and entailing the fewest side effects or risks. The evidence suggests that in selected cases exercise therapy is just as effective as medical treatment – and in special situations more effective – or adds to the effect. [3] For example: Heart disease. Regular exercise can help improve your heart health. Recent studies have shown that interval training is often tolerated well in people with heart di... read more

Trainer Certifications: What They Mean and Why They’re Important

Here at Synergy we truly have an amazing and highly certified staff. Not only do all of Synergy’s staff members have a Bachelor’s degree, but some have gone on to get their Master’s degree as well. Additionally, there are many certifications they have received over the years to diversify and better their knowledge and abilities. This week we are looking at what those abbreviations after their name really mean and how those certifications allow our staff to offer a vast array of services. ATHLETIC TRAINERS (AT) Athletic training encompasses the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of emergent, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions Athletic trainers are sometimes confused with personal trainers. There is, however, a large difference in the education, skill set, job duties and patients of an athletic trainer and a personal trainer. The athletic training academic curriculum and clinical training follows the medical model. Athletic trainers must ... read more

Green Exercise

This week at Synergy we are looking at the mental health benefits of not only exercising, but exercising in the presence of nature. This is often referred to as “Green Exercise”. In Finland, a population study of 3,403 participants ranging from ages 25-64 years found that those engaged in moderate exercise 2-3 times a week experienced significantly less depression, anger, distrust, and stress compared to those who exercise less or not at all. [1] One possible mechanism is biochemical changes, such as an increased level of endorphins, leading to subsequent binding to endogenous opioid receptors in the brain and a sense of wellbeing. Physical activity may also lead to a good night’s sleep. [2] An often-cited reason for not exercising regularly is lack of time. However, since mental health benefits occur quickly and the recommended amount of daily exercise for physical fitness can be accumulated throughout the day, one only has to take 10 minutes 3 times a day to get the benefits an... read more

The Importance of Macronutrients

Nutrients are substances needed for growth, energy provision and other body functions. Macronutrients are those nutrients required in large amounts that provide the energy needed to maintain body functions and carry out the activities of daily life. There are 3 macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. We need energy to enable growth and repair of tissues, to maintain body temperature and to fuel physical activity. Energy comes from foods rich in carbohydrate, protein, and fat. [1] 1. Protein Protein should consist of about 10 to 35 percent of your diet. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They are linked together in complex formations. There are 20 different amino acids, 9 of which are considered essential because our bodies cannot produce them naturally, and therefore they must be obtained through the diet. Proteins crucial role in the body includes building, maintaining and repairing body tissue. It is especially important to physically active individuals who... read more

Understanding Body Composition

Body composition is not something you do, like 10 push-ups or 50 sit-ups. Body composition is something you are, but it has a lot to do with what you do. Basically, your body is composed of two types of tissues known as fat weight and lean weight. Fat weight is the fat stored in fat cells throughout the body. Lean weight includes all other tissues, such as organs, bones, blood, skin, and muscle. Approximately half of our lean weight is muscle which, along with fat, is most likely to change during our adult years. As we age, we typically lose about five pounds of muscle and add about 15 pounds of fat every decade of life. Excess body fat is a major health risk associated with many medical problems including low back pain, type II diabetes, various forms of cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Most people understand this, and half of all Americans are presently on low calorie diet plans to reduce unwanted fat. Unfortunately, dieting alone has a dismal record of success, with o... read more

Overcome Excuses for Getting Active and Healthy

What’s keeping you from working out? Is it because of too little time, not enough energy, or just hating to exercise? This week at Synergy we are looking into Reasons/Excuses People Don’t Exercise and How to Overcome Them! The fact is, everyone needs at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week for optimum health. [1] Even splitting the time into three 10-minute chunks of moderate-intensity activity a day provides benefits. [2] Here are some reasons people don’t exercise: 1. Not Enough Time Between work and children, school and homework, exercise is hard to fit in – but not impossible. Take the stairs when you can, walk on your lunch hour or park in the space farthest from the store. Better yet, walk to the store. Walk to pick up your children from school and run around with your dog in the backyard. 2. I’m Too Tired Working out actually gives you more energy. Your body makes feel-good hormones (endorphins), and you’re getting the circulation going. 3... read more

Facts About Water

Do you drink enough water during the day? Water is important to the body at all times, but especially in warm weather. It keeps the body from overheating. When you exercise, your muscles generate heat. To keep from burning up, your body needs to get rid of that heat. The main way the body discards heat in warm weather is through sweat. As sweat evaporates, it cools the tissues beneath. Lots of sweating reduces the body’s water level, and this loss of fluid affects normal bodily functions. Signs of dehydration include: fatigue loss of appetite flushed skin heat intolerance light-headedness dark-colored urine dry cough According to the American College of Sports Medicine, to avoid dehydration, active people should drink at least 16- 20 ounces of fluid one to two hours before an outdoor activity. After that, you should consume 6 to 12 ounces of fluid every 10 to 15 minutes that you are outside. When you are finished with the activity, you should drink more. [1] It’s also criti... read more