Use It or Lose It!

It is important
to always keep up with the exercise that we do daily because taking a break
from it for too long can have consequences. Our bodies need to move around and
exercise whether it is a program that you are apart of or just a simple walk in
the morning. It is certainly okay to have a day of rest or modify the exercise
based on how you are feeling that particular day. However, stopping the
exercise that your body is used to for more than two weeks can start to show
changes in the muscles endurance that are being used. This is a term known as
detraining and along with muscle atrophy can also show decreases in the 6 essential qualities of life and sport: balance, coordination, flexibility, endurance, speed and strength. 
Sometimes it is
difficult to keep up with the exercise programs that we are in because we
become busy, but even just getting out and moving makes a huge difference.
There will still be a loss in the muscular endurance if the exercise intensity
is decreased, but it will be substantially less endurance lost than just
sitting around all day. Studies have shown that if the exercise intensity is
decreased by 2/3 of the original training load then there will be losses in
endurance. Even if a few weeks go by and you start to see your endurance being
lost don’t get discouraged but rather get back into whatever exercise you were
doing before. The endurance that you worked so hard for will come back quickly
so it’s always better to not hesitate and get right back to it. 
This graph below
shows a one repetition maximum in kilograms taken before 20 weeks of training
and one taken after 20 weeks of training. It then shows a 6 week period of no
training after which another measurement was taken and finally after another 6
weeks of training another value was taken. This graph shows how even after
losing the strength in the muscle after 6 weeks of not training it only took
another few weeks to not only get back what was lost but improve on it. These
measurements were taken by RS Staron in 1991 when he was doing a case study on
the detraining and retraining of women.

So the point to
take home here is to never give up on exercise even if a long break has been
taken from it, there is always time to improve and create a healthy lifestyle.

Blog Post by Summer 2016
Intern Matt Leduc.

The Dangers of a Sedentary Lifestyle

lifestyle is defined as inactivity or any activity that does not require higher
than normal levels of energy expenditure. This class of activity includes
sitting, sleeping, and laying down. In the Physical Activity Council’s 2015
Participation Report, it was found that there was an increase in the amount of sedentary
activity in the United States. Research suggests that roughly 25 to 35% of the
US adults live a sedentary lifestyle.
The age
group that is the most sedentary are adults over the age of 65, with females
being more likely to be sedentary. The increase in sedentary activity in the
United States can be attributed to jobs, technology, and better transportation.
The amount of sedentary jobs increased by 83% from 1950 to 2015. The work week
is also longer, with the average full-time employee working 47 hours per week. Better
technology attributes to longer screen viewing time. The average American
watches 28 hours of TV per week. Better transportation means that people no
longer have to travel long distances by feet or bike. Rather, they can ride
public transportation or drive, which require little energy expenditure.  
lifestyle can lead to many health damages and is linked to higher risks of multiple
health issues and disease incidence:
  • Obesity – In the United States,
    approximately 35% or adults and 17% of children are obese. Obesity is linked to
    multiple health risks, such as: cancer, hypertension, and increased mortality.
    Sedentary lifestyle is highly correlated with obesity.

  • Colon and Breast Cancer – Sedentary
    individuals have a higher risk of colon and breast cancer. Increase risk in
    colon cancer could be due to the fact waste stays in the colon longer when
    individuals are inactive. Breast cancer risk is 30%-40% higher in sedentary
    women, however, the reason behind this is still under research.  

  • Diabetes – Sedentary activity is highly
    correlated with diabetes. In a study from the International Journal of
    Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, they found that the risk of
    diabetes is increased when individuals sit for more than 4 hours a day.

  • Stroke – Sedentary individuals are more
    likely to have a stroke. This is because sedentary individuals are more likely
    to have hypertension, diabetes, obesity, which also increases the risks of

  • Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) – Sedentary
    individuals are at a greater risk of mortality from CVD than active
    individuals. Sedentary individuals are at a 30%-50% higher risk of dying from

Blog Post by Summer 2016 Intern June

Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide To Inner Excellence

Mind Gym: An Athlete’s
Guide To Inner Excellence

By Gary Mack and David

Most athletes focus simply
on the physical aspect of a sport. Of course, one should do everything they can
in order to be in top condition; the secret to reaching a goal has more to do
than just the b
ody. Our minds have more power than expected,
with more and more athletes realizing that it can make or break a performance.

Strengthening and training
the mind will require a little extra time, but the results have proven to be
outstanding. Many athletes already have a strong mentality to keep them
motivated, but they are doing a few things wrong that ‘Mind Gym’ explains. For
example, in one chapter Mack and Casstevens reveal the effect of positive
repetition to oneself. Say that you can AND will do something in order to get
the desired result instead of focusing on something that you should not do. Say
to yourself “Do not hit this golf ball in the water” and your chances of that
ball landing in the water have massively increased. We may be on the track to
doing a few things correctly, but there are tricks to the madness that must be
learned and practiced.
Throughout the book there
are techniques and lessons on learning how to master the mind in sports. One
instrumental practice said to be a huge help is meditation before competing.
Meditate about your greatest moments, and picture yourself doing everything
right once again in an upcoming event. “If you take twenty athletes of equal
ability and give ten mental training they will outperform the ten who received
no mental training every time. This is what we call the head edge.” There is no
arguing the facts. It’s time to get ahead of the game by preparing mentally.
For the full
understanding, ‘Mind Gym’ relates a myriad of experiences that prove just how
successful a person with a robust mind can be. There are probably thousands of
tremendously useful quotes throughout the book, including “A positive mental
attitude is essential to becoming the hero that is within you”
and “Fear of
failure makes failure more likely.”
There exists TWO answers
to improving a performance and it is time that people start focusing more on
the incredible power of the mind and not just the body.
-Keep this book in mind
for either your present or future self, a family or friend. Give them the
advice they have been looking for.-

Blog post by 2014 Summer Intern Geena

The Barefoot Running Fad

We’ve all heard of
or at least seen Vibram’s FiveFinger minimalist shoes. Maybe you’ve even tried
them. But do you know about the new barefoot running fad? Minimalist running
shoes can be a segway into barefoot running or a protective alternative, but
the theory behind the two is the same: barefoot/minimalist running can
(according to some) help prevent common running injuries while strengthening
your ankles, knees, and legs.
According to some
researchers, running sneakers, while commonly accepted as the norm, may
actually be doing more harm than good. Recent studies have shown that modern
running shoes can cause excessive pronation and put extra stress on joints such
as knees and hips. They can restrict the natural torsion of the foot and
increase the likelihood of heel striking, which is landing directly on the heel
when the foot is planted while running.
Running without
modern running sneakers, on the other hand, allows for the natural movement of
the foot. Barefoot running is, after all, the most natural way for humans to
run isn’t it? Think about it: humans have been running for survival for
thousands of years, the vast majority of those without today’s Nikes. And there
were no podiatrists or physical therapists around centuries ago to help heal
Achilles tendon problems or ITB issues; those occupations arose out of need
when these running injuries became chronic, which happened around the same time
that we as humans began doing everything in sneakers. Without sneakers, the
foot tends to heel strike less and land on the forefoot more. This allows for
better shock absorption through the stride. Running barefoot, especially on
uneven surfaces, also strengthens the feet as well as the legs as a whole.
So, barefoot running
seems like an easy fix for all of your running injuries, right? Not quite.
While there are many scientists and prominent runners who promote barefoot
running, there are still some who are hesitant about it. Depending on what kind
of surface you’re running on, running barefoot can lead to cuts and blisters on
the bottom of your feet (that’s why minimalist shoes like the FiveFinger are
more popular than regular barefoot running).
More importantly, if
you jump right into barefoot running it can lead to worse injuries than the
ones you might be trying to avoid by running barefoot in the first place. If
you’re interested in trying it out, it is important to take baby steps when
beginning barefoot running. Add on a few minutes of barefoot running on grass
to the end of your run and gradually work up to running more and more time
barefoot. Eventually, you’ll be able to do more barefoot running than shod

Blog post by Summer 2014 Intern Kim Bolick.

Safety Tips for Exercising in the Heat

Summer has just begun and temperatures are rising. Exercising in
hot weather puts extra stress on your body. It is important to use precautions
to prevent heat-related illnesses:
  • Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water!
    Dehydration is a key factor in heat illness. To help your body sweat and cool
    down, you need to be hydrated. 
    • Rule of Thumb: Do not wait until you’re thirsty to drink fluids. 
    • If you plan to
      exercise intensely, consider a sports drink to replace the sodium, chloride and
      potassium you lose through sweating.
  • Watch the weather. Pay attention to the
    forecasts and heat alerts. Know what the temperature is expected to be for the
    duration of your planned outdoor activity.
  • Get acclimated. If you’re use to
    exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first when you
    exercise in the heat so your body can adapt. This takes about two weeks for
    your body to adapt to exercising in the heat.
  • Dress appropriately. Lightweight,
    loose-fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark
    colors, which can absorb heat.
  • Avoid midday sun. Exercise in the
    morning or evening, when it is likely to be cooler outdoors.
  • Wear sunscreen. A sunburn decreases
    your body’s ability to cool itself.

Following these simple tips can
decrease your risk of developing a heat related illness!

Blog Post by Summer 2014 Intern Ashley LeBlanc.