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Exercise and the Time Clock
By: Sherri L Dodd

I have to admit it can be amusing when someone knows I am a trainer and proceeds to elaborate on the hours that they spend in the gym. One example was a few years back when I was introduced to a nice, young women, who proceeded to tell me that she went to the gym twice a day, an hour each time. Instead of being impressed by her exuberant enthusiasm for working out, my thoughts were that one of those hours might be better spent in a psychologistís office. Excessive exercising is unsafe and an unhealthy sign of other deep-rooted problems. So, the question remains how many ticks on the clock should pass before you head for the locker room? And what compels a person to go way overboard in their exercise routine?

First off, if you are one of our valued clients, you already know that the Mom Looks Great program utilizes the thirty to forty-five minute workout. If you have even an inkling of exercise information in your noodle, you probably know that even twenty minutes a day can benefit your heart. So why are some people intent on doing more, especially when there are serious consequences?

The most common problem with over-exercising is injury to muscles and joints. The idea of regular exercise is to appropriately stress the muscle during exercise. This stress places small tears in the muscle, which upon repair, grow in size and strength, also known as hypotrophy. When the muscle is over-exercised, it goes beyond what is appropriate and can actually damage the muscle. Common areas are legs, feet, back and shoulders as well as joints problems that include knees, ankles, elbows and wrists. This can lead to a lifetime of recurring injuries.

Another negative consequence to over-exercising is the compulsion that usually accompanies it. Eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia and other body starving diet tactics are dangerous enough. When you add an addiction of too much exercise to an already detrimental dieting tendency, you are left with the possibility of heart damage from insufficient fuel and nutrients to sustain the workout. While the aforementioned health issues are serious enough, an individual can also develop frequent headaches, loss of coordination and various stomach problems.

Over-exercising is not a physical disorder. While it will affect you physically, it is more of a symptom of depression. And if you think about it, over-exercising, eating disorders, feelings of inadequacy due to poor body image, poor judgment when evaluating priorities are all symptoms of depression. The bottom line here is when your choices begin to compromise your health, happiness or safety it is time to seek out effective counseling.

A lifestyle incorporating exercise is nothing but beneficial in many aspects. People exercise with a goal in mind whether it is to feel better, defuse stress or build muscle. Luckily, over-exercising can most easily be detected with a simple time evaluation. I advise my clients not to go beyond one hour a day five days a week in a formal gym-type setting; and that is extremely generous. It is also easily controlled as you work different parts of your body different days and have variety in your exercise regime. And just for good measure, strolling your baby in the park or games of tag with your preschoolers are acceptable at all time.

About the Author

Sherri Dodd is the creator and author of Mom Looks Great - The Fitness Program for Moms. She is also an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and a Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant with over fifteen years of exercise experience. She is dedicated to a life of fitness as well as encouraging others to establish healthy habits and a better quality of life.


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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape

 

Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.


Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
shocks.

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
speaking.

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
time.

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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