Health News of 2014-06-20

Exercise advice that keeps you safe

Exercising or physical activity should either improve your level of fitness or at least maintain your current status. Whenever we injure ourselves in our quest for improved health then our goal has been defeated. Many of us get “used to” certain exercises and we fail to question how safe they are, how effective they are and whether there is a safer alternative that gives similar results. I am sure that after reading this piece we will make a conscious effort to “DO NO HARM” in our quest to optimize our health. 1. No pain no gain is insane! a. We all feel sore especially when we start a new exercise programme. This results from micro tears in muscle, which heals quickly. This soreness differs from pain, which is your body’s way of saying it senses trouble. Don’t follow the No Pain No Gain mantra; STOP! And look for a pain-free alternative. 2. Don’t be sucked in by the “syndrome of toos” a. Whenever we start a wellness programme many of us underestimate or overestimate our abilities. Some tend to do too little while others indulge in too much, too often, too soon and too quickly. The end results are often not pleasant. b. By all means challenge yourself but do it gradually. 3. “Don’t rest between sets” is criminal a. This criminal “slogan” often occurs in the strength training department. Rest in between sets is very important since it allows muscle to perform at its peak during each set. It also ensures that your posture is right since you get a chance to ease off. Remember that the right posture reduces your risk of injury while exercising. 4. Protecting your spine with crunches and sit-ups may cause more harm a. Lovers of the adorable six-pack may be putting in several sets of crunches and sit-ups. Definitely these two exercises have a way of sculpting your abdominal muscles but they have an inherent flaw; repeated spinal flexion which can increase your risk of developing a back problem or even aggravate an existing damage. b. To improve your back you may opt for stability exercises (to discuss later), wall slides, plank and a few safer others. Do not forget that what you eat and drink and the cardiovascular exercises will take off the fat and “expose” your hard earned six-pack. 5. Avoid head circles or head-rolling exercises like the pestilence a. I have seen many people attempt suicide (unknowingly) by twisting their necks forcefully. Sometimes I wonder what they really want to achieve. Please stop if you have been engaging in this. b. Head circles may not only cause nerve problems, they may also increase blood pressure as well as compromise the stability of the neck. 6. Double leg lifts may injure your back a. Almost everyone who has been exercising for over a decade has at one time or the other taken a shot at this popular exercise. Some even engage the services of a colleague who pushes the legs downwards whenever they come up. They encourage a hyperextended posture and create excessive pressure in the lower back. The list goes on and on but we will master these for now and remember whenever you have to exercise; STOP! THINK. IS THIS SAFE OR IS THERE A SAFER ALTERNATIVE? AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI) Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel Moms’ Health Club (dressel@healthclubsgh.com) *Dr Essel is a medical doctor and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition. Thought for the week – “Avoid trunk twisting when standing because any twisting strains the lower back and possibly the knees.” References: • Fitness Therapy by Dr. Karl Knopf, EdD • Mens’ Health magazine. May 2013 Edition