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New York

Strengthening Your Wrists

I’ve been feeling weakness and pain in my wrists these days, especially while playing tennis.  I found a couple of web sites that offer wrist strengthening exercises.

7 Exercises To Maximize Hand, Wrist, And Forearm Strength


It suggested the following to increase in the overall strength of your upper extremities will also help to improve your hand and wrist dexterity :

  1. Flex and extend all fingers, while making a complete fist for 30 seconds. Next, open and close your fingers do 2 sets of each for a total of a minute.
  2. Flex your wrist and hold in maximum flex for 30 seconds with the elbow straight but not locked.
  3. Extend your wrist with the elbow straight for 30 seconds. Do 2 sets for a total of 2 minutes. These initial three stretching exercises will prepare you for the more complex and more intense weight-bearing exercises to optimize muscular development and the strength of the forearm.
  4. Seated Wrist Hammer Curls – In a seated position with your back straight, place your forearm on your thighs with your thumbs pointed upward. Use a 5-, 10-, or 20lb weight in a hammer position and lift it back and forth slowly for 3 sets of 20 repetitions. This will develop your brachioradialis muscle, which inserts at the distal aspect of the forearm at the wrist. Greater hypertrophy of this muscle will give more definition and balance of the forearm.
  5. Seated Wrist Straight Curls – This is to develop your flexor muscles. In a seated position, with your forearms on your thighs and palms facing upward, with a 5-, 10-, or even 20lb weight in hand, flex your wrist upward. Keep the forearms well placed against your thighs for greater stability and isolation of the wrist and forearm musculature. Be careful to place the wrist three to four inches away from the knee to allow the full range of motion. Take caution not to overextend.  Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
  6. Seated Reverse Wrist Curls – This is to develop your extensor muscles and is also done in a seated position with your forearms on your thigh, palms facing downward, with the wrist three to four inches away from the knees. Grasp the weight and extend the wrist fully. Do this for 3 sets of 20 and be sure to not lift the elbows from the thighs when extending the wrists. Keep the palms down.
  7. Finger Curls – This is an easy exercise to perform and will develop finger and hand strength. Simply sit and hold a 5-, 10-, or 15lb in weight your hand. Turn your hand with the palm upward with the back of your wrist on your thigh. Allow the weight to roll down your fingers, and now curl your fingers back holding the weight securely. Remember to keep the back of your wrist against your thigh throughout the execution of the exercise. Use weight which you can effectively control and execute the exercises properly.

Another web page provided exercises and an explanation of e I found: 3 Wrist Strengthening Exercises To Prevent Yoga Injuries

In order to protect the wrist, it is essential that we place more weight on the mounds of our thumb, index, and middle finger and less so on the ring and pinky side.

Most often, due to weak upper arm and shoulder strength, our weight automatically falls on the outside of our hands. This weight on the heel of the palm will lift the index finger off the floor placing a great degree of tension on the ulna, which isn’t designed to bear as much of a load. To protect this sensitive joint, more weight should be placed on the heel of the hand while at the same time, using the fingers pads to distribute the weight evenly.

Other exercises suggested were:

Ball Squeeze

Take a stress ball or tennis ball and grip it in your palm as firmly as possible with your fingers. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat about 10 times. Switch hands. There are a few variations you could do with a ball squeeze.

Towel Wring

Take a dry towel and twist the towel in opposite direction, as if to squeeze the water out of it. Hold the contraction at the end for a few seconds. Be mindful of overstretching as this can aggravate your already injured wrists. Switch sides and repeat 8-10 times.

Categories
New York

Physical therapy for my torn meniscus

I’m back to physical therapy for my knee.  There’s been a lot of progress.  Today’s routine was very similar to what i had to do when dealing with my other knee’s Patella Femoral Syndrome and included:

  • On the Pilates Reformer machine:
    • basic one leg pushing exercises
    • bridges
    • leg extensions
  • Using the resistance band:
    • walking side squats
      • How to Do It:Squat-Walk
        Step 1: Attach a resistance band to each ankle.

        Step 2: Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. You may need to shorten the band in order to get the right resistance.

        Step 3: Get into a squat position, knees at roughly a 45-degree angle, and walk sideways. Take 5 to 10 steps to the left, then right, keeping your knees bent and maintaining resistance on the band throughout. Repeat. Try keeping your arms outstretched in front of you, which will provide balance as you do the exercise. “Slower and better quality is more important than attempting to do this fast with poor quality,”

    • clam shell exercises
    • side leg raise
      • How to Do It:side legLie on your right side and lift your left leg to 45 degrees in a controlled manner, then lower it back down to the starting position. Make sure your pelvis remains in a neutral position. A more advanced version includes a loop of rubber tubing around your ankles for added resistance. Perform 20-30 reps.
  • back leg lifts, lying down
    • How to Do It:back leg lift
    • Lie face down, head rest­ing on the backs of your hands, elbows out at your sides
    • Gently pull in your lower abs, then squeeze your but­tock muscle tightly on one leg and lift that leg off the ground
    • As you lift, take care not to tip your body over to the other side, as that’s cheat­ing
      Hold your leg briefly in the air, then lower.
    • Now do the same with the other leg.

The knee is getting stronger and the only sharp pains occurred during the walking side squats.  I think it was because my feet were not always in the correct position.

The therapist said the mild burning discomfort in my knee while walking on the beach was normal and caused by the uneven surface.  As long as I don’t overdo it, the knee should improve fairly quickly.  Yes!  Hopefully, I can get to a point where I can do some of the resistance band exercises I had previously tried.

Categories
New York

Fighting a Fatty Liver

A couple of years ago my doctor asked me how much alcohol I was drinking because my blood test came back with abnormal results.  I don’t drink very much or very often so i was surprised by the question.  It turns out that the most common disease in America is called NALFD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) or fatty liver, for short, and is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart attacks, and even cancer. It can progress to Non Alcoholic Steatohepatis (NASH), which causes liver inflammation and can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer in about 10% of those affected.

Fat and the liver: Though the exact effect of excess fat on the liver isn’t well understood, it appears to create problems on a spectrum. At the low and least harmful end, the liver may be able to perform its many functions even while it contains too much fat. However, once inflammation and swelling occur in the organ, scarring can result as the liver tries to heal itself. This is a hallmark symptom of liver injury in advanced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: collagen is laid down, and fibrosis or thickening of the liver tissue ensues. As the disease progresses, about 10% of cases will develop over the next ten years into the much more serious NASH, or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. NASH can lead to cirrhosis or hardening of the liver, liver failure, liver cancer, and death.

What causes it?  The high fructose corn syrup found in our processed foods is the single biggest cause of fatty liver. Soda, which, frighteningly, is the number one source of calories in the American diet, is the biggest cause of fatty liver.

Who gets non-alcoholic fatty liver disease? Though the exact causes of NAFLD are not known, most of the people who develop it are obese, have type 2 diabetes or have metabolic syndrome, which is associated with insulin resistance. What’s more, the severity of NAFLD increases with the degree of obesity, and abdominal or belly fat seems to increase the risk of dangerous NASH, even in patients with a body mass index (BMI) in a normal range.

Genetic factors influence each individual component of the syndrome, and the syndrome itself. A family history that includes type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and early heart disease greatly increases the chance that an individual will develop the metabolic syndrome.

Environmental issues such as low activity level, sedentary lifestyle, and progressive weight gain also contribute significantly to the risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is present in about 5% of people with normal body weight, 22% of those who are overweight and 60% of those considered obese. Adults who continue to gain five or more pounds per year raise their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by up to 45%.

While obesity itself is likely the greatest risk factor, others factors of concern include:

  • Women who are post-menopausal
  • Smoking
  • Eating an excessively high carbohydrate diet
  • Lack of activity (even without weight change)

How do you know if you have it?

There are blood tests available that can detect a fatty liver. You can also see it on an ultrasound. And if your test comes back abnormal, you are in trouble. But even if your test comes back normal, you might not be out of the woods. It’s important to know that a liver function test doesn’t always detect a fatty liver. An ultrasound can be more sensitive.

The bottom line is, if you eat a lot of sugar and flour, if you have a little bit of belly fat, or if you crave carbs, starch, and sugar, you probably have this.

How to fix your fatty liver

The most promising treatments for NAFLD are weight loss (including bariatric surgery) and exercise. There are some really simple things you can do:

  • Cut out all high fructose corn syrup from your diet. If you see it on any label for any product—whether it’s a salad dressing or ketchup or tomato sauce—don’t eat it.
  • Reduce or eliminate starch. Get rid of white, processed flour. Even whole grain flours can be a problem.
  • Add some good things to your diet to help heal your fatty liver. Add plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Add lean animal protein like chicken and fish. Add good oils like olive oil, macadamia nut oil, avocados, coconut butter, and fish oil. Good fats like these are anti-inflammatory, and they help repair your liver.
  • Improve your metabolism through exercise. This is a fabulous way to improve insulin resistance and reduce fatty liver.
  • Supplements:  Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA’s), can be helpful. Omega 3 fish oils have been shown to reduce fatty infiltration on ultrasound, and they’re also anti-inflammatory and reduce insulin resistance. A recent study used Cinnamon (1500mg) to treat NALFD and found that liver enzymes improved (as well as blood sugar, lipids and inflammation markers).

More information:

On a lighter note (pun intended) I really like doing the online Body Age quizzes. A thorough one (which incidentally gave me a happy analysis) can be found at: http://www.biological-age.com.

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Calories Fitness Home New York Tools Weight

Using The Tools on This Site

I wanted to revisit all the Fitness tools and Calculators included on this site.  I had mixed results but the bottom line is that my tummy must be trimmed down. Stepping through the main page, we have the:

  • Body Fat Calculator  from http://www.fat2fitradio.com/tools/bf/  The formula provided will not calculate your exact body fat percentage but should give you a consistent measurement you can use as a guideline and determine if you’re losing body fat and/or muscle. Oddly, the calculation says I have body fat percentage is 27.4%.  My scale tells me it is 39%. I think I’m measuring something incorrectly.

    From http://www.fat2fitradio.com/
    Fat 2 Fit #144 – New Measurements Of Success Written on March 3, 2013 – 12:00 am | by Helana Brigman

Looking at this photo, I’m sadly inclined to believe my scale.

  •  How much should you weigh?  Inputting 39% body fat into the Fat 2 Fit Tool, the ideal weight for my age with 35% body fat is 168 pounds.  That seems doable.
  • Calories and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) –  Fat 2 Fit Tools advocates eating like the thin, healthy person that you want to become. The calorie levels in the chart are not extreme, but  create that all important caloric deficit that is required to get you to your goal weight in a safe manner.  Based on my goal weight of 168 and assuming light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week,  the tool suggests a daily caloric intake of 2005! As I get closer to my goal weight, my weight loss will start to slow down. It is OK to eat a few hundred calories less per day (200-300) to speed up your weight loss at this point.
  • Covert Bailey Body Fat Calculation – The formulas in this body fat calculation are based on the Covert Bailey book The Ultimate Fit or Fat. The formula does not calculate your exact body fat percentage but should give you a consistent measurement you can use as a guideline and determine if you’re losing body fat and/or muscle.  Again, this weirdly gave me a body fat percentage of 27.8%.  This is not right.
  • Waist to Hip Ratio – Carrying extra weight around your middle, indicated by a high waist to hip ratio, increases health risks associated with obesity.  This tool tells me my Waist to Hip ratio is: 0.93.  Anything over 0.85 signifies a high health risk!
  • Waist to Height Ratio – The waist to height ratio is the best predictor of cardiovascular risk and mortality. My Waist to Height Ratio is 58.3%.  According to the tool, a ratio 54 to 58 means “Seriously Overweight” and a ratio over 58 means “Highly Obese“. That’s not good.
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Exercise Fitness Home Kickboxing sports Travel

Basic Home Kickboxing Workout

OK- It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had a gym that offers kickboxing classes near to me anymore so I thought I would start up again with the very basics. I’ve copied a Fitness Magazine article that includes a 10 minute kickboxing workout [with pictures] into my Guidance and Exercise section.  There is a nice short workout and illustrates how to do each move.

10-Minute Fat-Burning Routine (Do it twice and you’ll burn about 170 calories.)

Minutes: Combination Moves:
0:00–2:00 Jab, cross, hook, uppercut lead with left (30 seconds each)
2:00–4:00 Jab, cross, hook, uppercut lead with right (30 seconds each)
4:00–5:00 Front Kick (30 seconds each, left and right)
5:00–6:00 Roundhouse kick (30 seconds each, left and right)
6:00–7:00 Side kick (30 seconds each, left and right)
7:00–7:30 Combination (left foot forward): Jab (L),  uppercut (R), Front Kick  (L)
7:30–8:00 Combination (right foot forward): Jab (R), uppercut (L),  Front Kick   (R)
8:00–8:30 Combination (left foot forward): Jab  (L), cross (R), Roundhouse kick  (L)
8:30–9:00 Combination (right foot forward):  Jab  (R), cross (L),  Roundhouse kick  (R)

 Kickboxing is great because it:

  • Burns an average of 500 calories an hour (some estimates reach 810)
  • Targets your arms, shoulders, abs, thighs, and butt in one workout
  • It’s an amazing stress release (how often do you get to pretend you’re beating up your archenemy?)

Workout designed by Ilaria Montagnani, creator of Powerstrike kickboxing and a black belt in karate.

 

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Calories Exercise Fitness Home

Adding a Hula Hoop to My Day

In the interest of trying something new and fun, I have purchased a weighted Hula Hoop.  I spent 10 minutes this morning listening to music and hooping.  It wasn’t bad although I had to learn to keep my elbows out of the way! You supposed to hula hoop in both directions. Mix it up alternating between clockwise and counter-clockwise direction.

Benefits

Hooping is a great ab workout to start with before integrating other exercises into your routine.  Because a hoop workout requires constant push-pull contractions in your core muscles (abs plus obliques, at the sides of your waist) as well as in the glutes and thighs, the added resistance created by a somewhat heavier hoop should sculpt and reshape all the right places.  For what it’s worth there are also many references to unnamed studies stating hooping is an effective way to burn visceral fat  which is deep within the abdominal cavity.  Visceral fat is also linked to metabolic disturbances and shows an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other dangerous health conditions.

Here’s some advice I found on Hula Hooping:

The Mayo Clinic reports that you need to spend at the very least 10 minutes at a timWeighted Hula Hoope exercising your abs with the Hula-Hoop in order to see concrete results. An average woman can burn about 165 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping, and an average man can burn about 200 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping.

1.    Stabilize your torso and legs, and mobilize your midsection. Only use your abdominal muscles and hips to keep the hoop spinning.

2.    Scoop your belly in and lift your rib cage. Extend from the center of your body out. The better your posture, the easier it will be to hoop.

3.    Hold the hoop parallel to the floor as you start the spin, and give it some good momentum so it doesn’t start out wobbly.

4.    If your hoop starts to fall, lengthen your spine, push forward and back, and move faster. Imagine yourself as the axis of the orbit, not the orbit itself. If you try to move with the hoop (rotating your hips in a circle) the hoop will lose momentum and fall. Move side to side with your waist and hips or back to front with your belly. Feel the centrifugal force, but don’t try to be the circle; let the circle move around you.

5.    Stick with it. The longer you hoop, the more your body gets used to the movements

 

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Exercise Fitness New York

Patella Femoral Syndrome

from: http://www.patellafemoralsyndrome.net/
from: http://www.patellafemoralsyndrome.net/

It looks like I have Patella Femoral Syndrome.  I thought this overview of the problem was pretty good.

Typically patients will complain of localized anterior knee pain which is exacerbated by sports, walking, stair climbing, or sitting for a long time, often called the “Theater Sign” or “Movie-Goers Sign.” The pain from prolonged sitting is thought to occur because of the constant pull of the quadriceps muscle on the knee cap while sitting, which causes its impaction against the hard and unyielding surfaces of the bones of knee joint. Descending stairs may be worse than ascending. Unless there is an underlying pathology in the knee, swelling is usually mild to nil.

Causes

Patella femoral pain syndrome may be caused by overuse, injury, excess weight, a kneecap that is not properly aligned (patellar tracking disorder), or changes under the kneecap.

My physical therapist says my knee cap is not correctly aligned.  I will have to do physical therapy twice a week and have 4 home exercises to do.

Exercises

Straight Leg Raise – Straight leg raising exercises help develop muscles of your lower body, including your hips, glutes and thighs.

Sit on the floor with your injured leg straight and the other leg bent with foot flat on floor. Pull the toes of your injured leg towards you while tightening the muscles on top of your thigh. Raise your leg 6 inches off the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and slowly lower your leg. Repeat this 5 times.

Patella Femoral Syndrome

Band Resisted Clam shell – The band resisted clam shell exercise is great for strengthening and mobilizing the external hip rotators.

side-lying-leg-lifts

Side Leg Lifts – Side leg lifts work the abs, especially the hard to get at obliques, as well as the inner thigh.

Lie on your side with your legs stacked and your head resting on your arm. Tighten the muscle in the front of the top thigh and lift that leg into the air. Hold for one count, lower to touch the bottom leg and then lift again.

Wall Squat with Yoga Block – The quadriceps, or front of thigh, are the targeted muscles during this exercise but many other muscles get a workout also. The butt, hip, calf, back of thigh, low back, abs, and side abs are all used during this move.

Standing, place an exercise ball against a wall and align it in the small of your back. Position your feet a step, to a step and a half in front of your body such that when you squat down your knees will not protrude past your toes. Place a yoga block between your knees and squeeze.   Hold yourself in this position while actively squeezing the block between your thighs.  Maintain the pose as long as you can, allowing yourself to come in and out of the pose when you have to, working your way up to being able to hold the position for 1-2 minutes.

 

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Exercise Fitness Home

Lots of Ab Exercises This Morning

I met with my trainer at Crunch today and we focused on abdominal exercises.

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Calories Diet Exercise Fitness Injuries Kickboxing New York sports Weight

Light Kickboxing and Strength Session with John Salgado

Sadly, I weighed in this morning a half pound heavier than yesterday.  Yes, I know I’ve already written that a person should not weigh herself on a daily basis but I can’t help myself.  I’m not sure why it happened but I think it may relate to under-eating again.  The Fat2FitRadio.com pod casts repeated noted that under-eating would result in the body going into starvation mode and holding on to calories.   For the second time this week, I dropped under the calorie limits suggested by the Calories and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculator.  I ate a little over 1600 calories yesterday, so I consumed at least my BMR of 1430 calories.  However, I didn’t eat enough.  🙁  According to the calculator, I should eat between 1907 calories for a Lightly Active woman (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk) to 2150 calories for a Moderately Active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk).

Today’s workout with John was lighter in deference to my knee and because I am fighting off a flu.  We spent a lot of time doing kickboxing strength exercises and drills.  I was still soaked in sweat but happy.

 I found this video on how to do a Back Leg Roundhouse Kick on the ehow.com site.


Women’s Kickboxing: Back Leg Roundhouse Kick — powered by ehow.com
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Calories Diet Exercise Fitness Injuries Kickboxing sports Weight

Another Excellent Kickboxing Workout

Despite coming down with a bug, I worked out with John Salgado today and did pretty well.  Because we’re still working around my cranky knee, we started out doing some drill on the Bosu Ball: jogging on it, Dome Toe Taps [you can watch the video below but I can say she’s a lot better at it than I am LOL],  side squats [again, very small movements because of my knee], and squat thrusts.

Other exercises for today included wall squats with a stability ball and a 10 lb ball.  A new item for today was assisted dips.  We rounded out the work out with punching and kicking combinations on the bag.

Wall Squat with Stability Ball by http://www.workoutz.com

The good news on weight loss and nutrition is that I am still within my recommended calorie intake for my BMR.  I must confess that I had vanilla ice cream with blueberries last night [yes, I entered it into the SparkPeople.com Nutrition Tracker and I remain in calorie range :-)]  I’m down another half pound but that could be just water weight.