10-21-2016-2-45-00-pmAccording to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and increased fourfold in adolescents in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in this country who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. The percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period. In 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors (that we mostly associate with adults) for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Obese adolescents are also more likely to have prediabetes or even diabetes. Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems, such as poor self-esteem.

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Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Healthy lifestyle habits that kids learn at home, school, social media, etc. including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese. For this article, let’s focus on physical activity.
Just a couple of generations ago, kids spent hours playing outside, making up fun games. It was during these fun play sessions that we developed the lifelong skills of fitness and being active for fun. Today it seems we rely on youth sports for daily physical activity. Unfortunately, not all kids have the opportunity to play sports or even want to play sports. Daily play and physical games were once merely an outlet for fun; it is now primarily a prestige and a possible a college scholarship.

If parents are concerned about their kids’ health and want their kids to be active, parents need to be active as well. Parents’ attitudes toward exercise are revealed by the ways they speak and act. “Daddy has to go to the gym to lose weight” or “Mommy has to exercise because she ate cookies yesterday” give the perception of punishment. Therefore, kids see exercise as punishment rather than fun. We should make exercise as something to be enjoyed and embraced as a lifestyle.

Encourage kids to be creative and physical with their play time. Think of the things we did as children: hide and seek, kick the can, tag, race to the end of the block.

For more information about exercise for children and adolescents, call Janet Hunt at 256-614-3530 or jhunt1@pclnet.net.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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10-7-2016-12-24-10-pmMetabolism is the way your body converts food and drinks to energy, and is usually measured in calories. You can determine how many calories your body burns each day by plugging different information into various formulas. All the various calculations have limitations. The most accurate method is to have your metabolism measured through indirect calorimetry. This method uses a machine to measure oxygen consumption; and in less than 10 minutes you can know your resting metabolic rate (RMR).

Metabolism is a complex process that is affected by what you eat; how much you exercise, and your lifestyle. Some of the lifestyle habits may be having a huge negative affect. Below are some things to consider.

Inconsistent Meals. When meals come at regular intervals, your body uses up the calories for fuel and burns more calories in between meals. If your eating pattern is inconsistent, your body gets confused and isn’t quite sure when the next meal is coming, so it goes into conservation mode. Your calorie burn is reduced and more food is put into storage (fat cells and glycogen stores).
Eating too little. If you are “dieting” to lose weight, eating too few calories can actually backfire because cutting calories too much will put your body into a starvation mode and slow your metabolism to keep you alive.

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Skipping resistance work or strength training. Many people do only aerobic work because it burns the most calories. But strength training is important because it is directly related to muscle mass and the more muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate. You can do strength training by lifting weights, using resistance bands or your own body weight. (High resistance, low repetitions, and slow movements.)

Too much sitting. Even if you exercise an hour a day, if you spend the remaining 23 hours sitting or sleeping, your metabolism will slow down. Sitting more than 20 minutes can put your body into a more relaxed, non-energy-burning state. Regular movement will cause small spikes in your metabolism as well as lower your triglycerides, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
What you drink. Drinking too little water leads to dehydration which can cause you to burn 2% fewer calories. Try to drink at least 8 – 9 cups of water each day.
Not getting enough calcium. Calcium plays an important role in fat metabolism. Low fat dairy is a great source of calcium that also offers an extra benefit to muscles because if contains proteins that help build muscles and prevent muscle breakdown.

Stress. Stress is probably the number-one factor impacting metabolism. It increases the production of cortisol, a hormone that increases appetite and makes us reach for comfort foods. It can decrease our desire for exercise, even though exercise is a powerful stress-buster. Stress slows digestion, causing a lower need to metabolize calories. Plus, stress can impact our quality of sleep and number hours we sleep.

For more detailed information regarding boosting your metabolism, talk to a Certified Health Coach or a Certified Personal Trainer. (Janet Hunt 256-614-3530).
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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9-16-2016-9-56-32-amAccording to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 50 million adults have been diagnosed with arthritis. Hot weather may cause arthritis symptoms to flare up. In addition, increased joint pain may be triggered by swelling or dehydration.

The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the whole body and often causes fatigue and visible swelling. Osteoarthritis is often isolatedwith a particular joint or area of the body. The affected areas may hurt but are not always swollen.

Morning stiffness can be a problem with both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, but can last longer for rheumatoid arthritis. Getting up and moving in the morning can be a challenge especially when the body is dehydrated and dreading another hot summer day. Exercise can be unappealing to someone with arthritis, but research suggests that exercise, along with drinking plenty of water, is one of the best natural remedies for stiff joints. Of course, always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

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Below are a few things you can do to help get yourself out of bed and moving each day. First drink 8 to 16 ounces of water when you first wake. Water will triggermlubrication of the joint and reduce inflammation. Then add the following moves to circulate your joints’ lubricant to further reduce discomfort or pain:

•Wrist Circles. Move wrists in all four directions (up, down, side, side) then open and close the palms by extending the fingers 5 to 10 times.

•Knee Rolls. While lying on your back, bend knees and roll from side to side until the spine starts to feel more flexible.

•Ankle Rolls. Lift one leg and circle foot in both directions, point and flex.

•Shoulder Rolls. Sit up and roll the shouldersm forward and in reverse. Bring shoulders up to the ears and down a few times. Take a few deep breaths to stretch the chest cavity.

•Hip Circles. Stand and do an imaginary hulahoop in both directions.

•March. Get the blood circulating by marching slowly in place for 30 to 60 seconds.

Now that the body is out of bed, keep moving! Get outside for a walk while the temperature is cooler or attend a low impact exercise class. Research shows that movement reduces arthritis symptoms
and doesn’t cause harm. But if there is any sharp or stabbing pain in the joints, see a doctor.

If walking or a land exercise class such as Silver Sneakers does not appeal to you, get in the water. You can swim laps or join a water fitness class. For more information regarding exercises for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, contact:

Janet Hunt at 256-614-3530 or visit one of her classes at the Athens Senior Center, East Limestone Senior Center, Round Island Baptist Church or a water class at the Athens Limestone Wellness Center.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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9-2-2016 2-41-42 PMWhen I talk to people as a Health Coach about losing weight, one of my first suggestions is – do not eat out more than one time per week. Well, that is fine for many of us. For others, it is more difficult because maybe your spouse likes to dine out, or you have a group of friends that insist on eating out, or you have a job that requires you to take clients out. Unfortunately, Americans’ lifestyle has changed and eating out is often the “norm.” So, if you must dine out, below are some ideas that may help.

Go out for coffee. Getting coffee or tea instead of a meal out can be just as friendly or intimate way to catch up with friends (and a coffee place may be quieter) in addition to saving yourself some calories. A cup of coffee or tea (black) has zero calories, but one of the fancy coffees with whip cream might have over 500 calories. Be thoughtful when ordering!!

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Ask for a “To Go” box when ordering. When your meal arrives, immediately place half in the box and set it aside. If you wait until you are finished, you might change your mind and nibble a little more and a little more. Out of sight – out of mind!

Skip the bread or chips. Mexican restaurants and many fine dining restaurants are notorious for placing cheap carbs on the table before you order. There might be a couple of restaurants with outstanding breads or chips, but usually it’s not worth the calories. Do yourself a favor, and politely refuse the basket of bread or chips and save your calories for the foods that are difficult to prepare at home.

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Become familiar with food descriptions. “Lightly sautéed” means doused in oil, “pan-fried” means bathed in butter, and “steamed” veggies often come floating in fat. Most restaurant meals are heavy with added fats. Ask your waitress/waiter about the preparation and request no added butter or oil. Ask for potatoes or veggies “dry” (no added butter or oil). Request condiments on the side.

Pace yourself. I eat fast, which means I can eat too much at a restaurant because they usually give you an excessive amount of food. A couple of tricks for this are to put down your fork or your sandwich between every bite. You could also try to chew your food a prescribed number of times before swallowing. Both of these ideas can help slow your pace of eating and help your body recognize fullness cues before you have overeaten.

Another trick that may work is to “pre-load” your meal by eating a high-volume, low calorie filling food made up of vegetables and water such as a soup or salad before the main course. Of course cream based soups or salads with fatty dressings do not fit this bill.

No matter how you decide to watch your calories, stay aware. If possible, I still recommend keeping your restaurant dining to a minimum!

For more information regarding healthy food choices, contact a registered dietician or Janet Hunt, a certified ACE Health Coach.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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Health & Fitness – Fiber

8-19-2016 9-30-59 AMEating healthy may improve your health and lower your need for prescription drugs. Dietary fiber is a component in plant based foods that is linked to a wide range of improved health outcomes, including lower cholesterol, better blood sugar regulation, improved intestinal health, greater satiety (feeling of fullness), and lower rates of certain types of cancer. Fiber is found naturally in plant foods that should comprise the greater part of a healthy diet.

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The typical American diet includes only about half of the daily recommended amount of fiber, primarily due to the amount of processed foods we eat. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 30 grams of fiber per day in your diet; and here are five great fiber sources.

Legumes

Legumes are a class of vegetables that include beans, peas, and lentils. They are some of the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain soluble and insoluble fiber. Because they are a good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

Canned beans are affordable and a convenient way to get your legumes. Try subbing pinto beans for meat in your next batch of chili (or add less meat and more beans), add black beans to your burritos or canned beans to your salads, or whip up a batch of lentil soup. If you’re concerned about sodium, rinse the beans under running water first. This will eliminate about 30 percent of the sodium. The fiber in legumes ranges from 5 to 8 grams per half-cup serving.

Berries

While fruits and vegetables both contain fiber, fruit generally has more fiber per serving than do vegetables. One cup of berries, for example, contains 4 to 10 grams of fiber (about twice that of an apple). Blackberries and raspberries have 8 grams fiber per cup, while elderberries top the chart with 10 grams per 1-cup serving.

Bran

There are many different types of grains that contain bran. Oat bran, for example, contains soluble fiber, which helps lower bad cholesterol levels. The bran found in corn, wheat and rice is largely insoluble fiber, which can help fight constipation. High-fiber cereals often include bran in their ingredients. Or if you don’t eat cereal, sprinkle bran on fruit and yogurt or add into casseroles or baked goods. One ounce of wheat bran and oat bran yields 12 grams of fiber, whereas raw corn bran packs 22 grams of fiber per ounce.

Pears

Many fruits contain 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving, but pears contain two to three times that much. A large pear has 7 grams of fiber, while a large Asian pear contains 10 grams. Stick with fresh pears because canned pears usually have added sugars and less fiber (because fiber degrades over time and is generally lost during the canning process).

Peas

Peas are one of the few members of the legume family that are commonly sold and cooked as fresh vegetables. Black-eyed peas pack 6 grams of fiber per half-cup, and even green-pea powder is popping up with 4 grams fiber and 4 grams protein per 1 ½-tablespoon serving.

To check out the fiber content of some of your favorite foods, visit the USDA Nutrient Database website at http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search. For more help with a healthy nutritious diet, talk to a registered dietician or a certified Health Coach.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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8-5-2016 11-46-50 AMMany factors contribute to falls among older adults, from medical problems like arthritis, osteoporosis, poor eyesight, Parkinson’s disease, and drowsiness caused by medications, to environmental conditions like poor lighting, slippery floors and unexpected obstacles. Falls can also be the result of weak muscles, but the biggest contributing factor to falls are shoes.

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Never wear shoes with slippery or worn outer soles. Avoid shoes with smooth leather or plastic soles, which can be slippery on carpets, wood and tile floors, and wet surfaces. Some fitness or athletic shoes made with synthetic soles, which may be ideal for exercising in a gym, can be extremely slippery on a damp or wet surface. Avoid heels.

Avoid wearing shoes and slippers that are loose or ill-fitting. Never wear slip-on shoes or flip-flops. I recommend always purchasing shoes that tie or fasten with buckles or Velcro. Shoes can stretch after they are worn even a short amount of time allowing your foot to slide or slip in the shoe. Laced shoes or shoes that fasten can be adjusted to accommodate orthotics, braces and swelling of the feet.

When walking on carpets, avoid wearing shoes with heavy rubber lugs (lug soles are a type of outer sole found on heavy-duty and utility shoes such as hiking boots or work boots) that can catch on carpets, especially if you are one of those people who barely pick up his/her feet when walking. The rubber tips on the toes of running shoes can also cause a stumble on a carpeted surface.

For an all-around shoe, consider walking shoes, which provide good traction and support but do not have heavy soles or rubber over the toes. I recommend you visit shoe stores like Fleet Feet and ask them to fit you in a good walking shoe. Shoe size often changes with age as feet swell and spread. The shoes you are purchasing off the shelf may not be the correct size any more.
Although shoes with a lot of cushioning can make you feel as if you are walking on air, they can also make an older person unstable and are best avoided.
For more information about safe shoes, talk to a physician that specializes in foot care.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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7-16-2016 10-07-04 AMI realize it is hot outside and most of us are looking forward to cooler weather. For me, no matter what the weather is, I have difficulty spending too much time cooped up indoors. Here are some reasons all of us need to spend more time outside.

A walk outside can boost creativity and concentration. When I am walking, hiking, or just pulling weeds, I find I do a lot of my best thinking. Studies show that a stroll outside can actually improve brain function and mental focus. A study by psychologists from the University of Utah and University of Kansas found that backpackers scored 50 percent higher on creativity tests after spending just four full days in nature without any electronics. Children with ADHD are likely to score higher on concentration tests after time outdoors.

Going outside can improve your mood. Both cold winter and hot summer days that keep me indoors can result in that “blue funk.” SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is the name of a reoccurring depression that has symptoms of anxiety, exhaustion and sadness as a result of shorter winter days. One treatment for SAD, according to the Mayo Clinic, is to spend more time outside, even when it is cold and cloudy.

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More time outdoors results in the production of more Vitamin D. The ultraviolet B (UVB) energy from natural sunlight causes a chemical reaction in our body that forms Vitamin D from a chemical precursor. Vitamin D helps ward off heart attacks, and may even improve various conditions, including osteoporosis and some types of cancer. Although we can obtain Vitamin D from foods like salmon and cheese, we get 80 to 90 percent of it from the sun. But remember – a little sun goes a long way; use sunscreen if you are going to be outsidefor more than a few minutes.

Nature is healing. Natural light may hold healing powers, according to a study from the University of Pittsburgh. Researchers found that spinal surgery patients saw lower levels of both Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment. pain and stress after they were exposed to more natural sunlight. In fact, patients exposed to 46
percent more sunshine took 22 percent less pain medication per hour.

Another study, suggests that getting outside remains just as important as we age. Seventy-yearolds who spent time outdoors daily reported fewer bouts of pain, and had less trouble sleeping. They also seemed to show less of a decline in day-to-day activities. In other words, the outdoors may help us stay healthy later in life.

If you have questions about Vitamin D and your health, talk to your health care provider. If you have been diagnosed with low Vitamin D levels, ask your doctor if he/she recommends more time outdoors.
By: Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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7-1-2016 2-57-04 PMOver the years that I have been working in gyms, teaching fitness classes, and training one-on-one, I have heard the wildest diet and nutrition stories. One of the biggest problems is food manufacturers’ marketing. Much of the information they publish is inaccurate and misleading. Below are some myths and the actual truths.

Myth #1: Extreme calorie cutting helps you lose weight. The energy balance equation says a person must use (burn) more calories than they consume to lose weight. That is true, but the quality of the calories also matters. Processed and packaged weight loss foods are not metabolically satisfying. Your body needs whole foods. Also, extremely low calorie diets ignore your body’s signals for food. If you do not eat when you are hungry, or do not eat for long periods of time, then your resting metabolic rate is reduced.

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Myth #2: Reduced-fat foods are healthier. No, they are only lower in fat. In the past, reduced-fat foods were promoted as healthier options than full-fat foods. Therefore, many of the food manufacturers came out with low-fat dressings and other low-fat processed foods. But to make these low-fat foods taste good, the food companies increased the sugar content. Now, with all the rave about gluten-free, food manufacturers are doing the same when removing the flour. Some fat is needed in our diets, but it needs to come from healthy sources – nuts, lean meats, healthy oils, etc.
Myth #3: Carbohydrates make you gain weight. Excess of any macronutrient (fat, protein or carbohydrate) can end up in weight gain. The average person should consume 45 -65% of their daily calories from carbohydrates. But the reason carbohydrates have a bad name is because most people lack balance or choose the unhealthy fried or sugar- dominated options. The healthy carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits and vegetables that are close to their natural form (not processed).

Myth #4: Sweet potatoes are good for you and white potatoes are not. Over the past few years, white potatoes have been labeled as “bad” because of the glycemic index diet, but both white and sweet potatoes are full of nutrients. Sweet potatoes have higher vitamin A; however white potatoes have more potassium and magnesium. Both potatoes are about equal in fiber content, protein and vitamins C and B6. Neither potato is a good choice when fried or loaded with butter or brown sugar!

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Myth #5: Eat dairy to get your calcium. Many of us are concerned about bone loss and osteoporosis. Throughout our lives, we have been told to drink milk and eat cheese. However, there are non-dairy, calcium rich foods available: beans, dark leafy greens, rhubarb, broccoli, almonds, turnips, bok choy, dried figs, tofu and bony fish. Fewer dairy products usually means fewer calories.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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6-18-2016 11-02-09 AMIt is probably time to decrease the sodium content of your diet. Sodium chloride, or salt, is the most common food preservative. Therefore, it is added to most of our foods. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommends that the general population limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg/day. Additionally, if you have high blood pressure or have been diagnosed with prehypertension, you should limit your daily sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg/day.

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Unfortunately, most Americans age 2 years and older consume more than 3,400 mg/day; nearly twice the recommended amount! This is a concern because excessive sodium intake is linked to increased risk for stroke and heart attack in some people.

There is some good news related to sodium and your diet. Sodium is found in high quantities in foods we shouldn’t be eating that much of to begin with: processed, packaged, and fast foods. So, if you stick to whole foods and ingredients such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and dairy, you’ll automatically start paring down your sodium intake.
Sodium is everywhere in our diet and sometimes hard to avoid. However, nutrition labels do list sodium amounts and food manufacturers must follow strict guidelines on their products. Because food labels are somewhat confusing and misleading, some definitions are listed below:

• Sodium free: Less than 5 mg per serving*
• Low sodium: 140 mg or less per serving*
• Reduced sodium: 25 percent less sodium than appropriate reference group
• Light in sodium: 50 percent less sodium than appropriate reference group
• No Salt Added: Unsalted but must also declare “This is not a sodium-free food”
• Lightly salted: 50 percent less sodium than normally added to appropriate reference food
* Note the serving size on the label.
Sodium is pretty easy to identify in typically high-salt foods such as frozen dinners, canned goods, and packaged snack foods. But many other foods might not be so obvious. For example, meat in its pure animal flesh form has a limited amount of naturally occurring salt. However, meat processors often inject meat and poultry with a salt solution to increase bulk, tenderness and flavor. Other meat products may have salty marinades or sauces added to them.
Below are some tips for reducing your sodium.
• Condiments: select low- or reduced-sodium or no-salt added varieties.
• Vegetables: select fresh, frozen or canned (low-sodium or no-salt-added).
• Protein: select fresh poultry, fish and lean meat, rather than canned, smoked or processed.
• Cereals: select ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium
• Cured foods: limit cured foods (bacon ham, deli meats), foods packed in brine (pickles, pickled vegetables, olives, sauerkraut), and condiments (mustard, horseradish, ketchup, BBQ sauce). Limit even lower-sodium versions of soy sauce and teriyaki sauce because these are still high in sodium.
• Starches: Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals without salt. Limit instant or flavored rice, pasta and cereal mixes, which usually have added salt.
• Convenience foods: avoid when possible. If unavoidable, choose those that are lower in sodium. Reduce frozen dinners, mixed dishes like pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups, broths, and salad dressings.
• Canned foods: Rinse canned foods, such as tuna and canned beans, to remove approximately one-third of the sodium.
• Spices: Use spices instead of salt. Flavor foods with herbs, spices, lemon, lime, vinegar, or salt-free seasoning blends.
Remember to always read labels when in doubt. If you still need assistance, talk to a registered dietician, or a certified health coach.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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6-6-2016 10-51-15 AMEvery joint in our body is surrounded by muscles that produce and control movement. Sometimes muscles on one side of a joint become too tight from overuse, which then causes the muscles on the other side to become too weak from lack of use. This is called muscle imbalance. Muscle imbalances can potentially cause an injury. The right exercise program can improve your muscle strength and improve joint range of motion, both of which are necessary for eliminating muscle imbalances.

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Below are six things that you should know about muscle imbalances.
1. Repetitive motions are one of the most common causes of muscle imbalances. Repetitive movements at work or performing the exact same exercises in every workout are two examples. If you have a job requiring repetitive motions, try to identify ways that you can make small changes to the movement to avoid imbalances. Also, change the exercises in your workouts on a regular basis to minimize the risk of developing muscle imbalances.

2. Staying in a sedentary, seated position for an extended period of time can create muscle imbalances in your hips. When you are seated, your hips are flexed, which places the muscles that cause hip flexion in a shortened position. When the hip flexors are shortened, they will change the way the hip joints move. In addition, tight hip flexors reduce the activity to the gluteus maximus muscles which are responsible for extending the hips. This could be a cause of low back pain. If you spend a lot of time seated, look for opportunities to stand up, move around and try to keep your joints mobile and your hip muscles from becoming too tight.

3. Your driving position can result in muscle imbalances. Keeping one leg bent back or slouching while driving could cause the resting length of your muscles to change, especially if you’re in the car for extended periods of time. Pay attention to how you sit and try to keep your body in a neutral position. If you’re taking a long car trip, stop to get out, move around and stretch.

4. Performing exercises in a single plane of motion can contribute to muscle imbalances because our body is designed to move through multiple planes of motion in many directions. To reduce this risk, make sure that your exercise program includes equal amounts of movements like pushing, pulling, or rotating, as well as moving sideways and in rotational directions.

5. Poor posture can result in muscle imbalances of the upper body, specifically the shoulders and upper back. For example, allowing your body to roll forward in a slouched position can cause shortness in the muscles of the shoulders, which creates unnecessary length in the muscles of the upper back. Using a computer keyboard or texting often can also encourage this slouched position. If this sounds familiar, exercises for core stability or performing pulling movements with your hands in a neutral position can help you stand taller (which also helps you to look slimmer without dropping any weight).

6. Frequently wearing shoes with heels higher than your toes could increase your risk for developing muscle imbalances in your feet, lower legs, hips and shoulders. When your heels are in an elevated position, it can change the position of your knees. This, in turn, changes the position of your thigh bones, which, subsequently, changes the position of your spine and shoulders. Elevated heels can also cause extreme tightness in the calves.
When your car has a tendency to pull to one side, it’s probably out of alignment and you need to see a mechanic. Likewise, with your body. A certified personal trainer has the skill set to help identify any muscle imbalances. These imbalances can be addressed with an appropriate exercise program that improves joint stability, mobility, and enhances overall movement efficiency.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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