Beginning an exercise program

The new year heralds fitness and exercise goals for many people, however there are important considerations to be aware of when starting a new exercise program.

Remember that an exercise program needs to be based on you, your strengths, your weaknesses and your goals.

What may be suitable for you to do in an exercise program may not be appropriate for the person next to you who has been exercising five days a week for the past eight years or the person on the other side who has osteoporosis and has just had a knee replacement.

New Years Resolutions

Around Christmas time people often start to look towards the year ahead and start to think about new year resolutions. What a change a day can make! What is it about the 1st of January that gives us this call to action that the rest of the year couldn’t evoke? Is it that we want to enjoy the festivities (namely the food and drinks!) and the beginning of the new year marks the end of these festivities? And why is it that most New Years resolutions eventually fail?

Be stronger, live longer

New research has suggested that rather than focusing so much on the weight you see when you step on the scales; we need to look into body composition. This means that we need to look at the make up of your weight, for example how much muscle mass and body fat you have in your body. This has been highlighted in research published in the American Journal of Medicine which has shown in older adults that a greater muscle mass may lead to a longer life (1).

Unfortunately as we age we generally start to lose our muscle mass. After the age of 30 this can occur at a rate of around 3–8% reduction in lean muscle mass per decade! This can be for a variety of reasons with a leading cause being the fact that often when we age we become more sedentary. Think about it. Are you as active as you were in your 20s?

What’s the best exercise for …….

As exercise professionals we often answer to questions that begin with the phrase “what’s the best exercise for”. The end of the sentence varies slightly, but the concept is ultimately the same – what’s the best quick fix for my problem.

While many health experts choose to focus on these “miracle exercises” that target specific problems, it’s important to recognise that there are other factors that need consideration.

The ins and outs of breathing

Breathing- it’s something that we are continuously doing to keep us alive, but we rarely think about it as the body does it seemingly automatically. We require oxygen to function so we take a breath in to satisfy that need and then we take a breath out to expel the body of our unneeded carbon dioxide, all done without too much thought. But is breathing really that simple when it comes to exercising?

The fascinating world of fascia

Fascia is a special type of tissue called connective tissue and as the tissue name suggests its primary role is to connect different areas of the body. Fascia has an important role in helping us to understand how the body moves as a result of such connections.

Unfortunately many traditional anatomists removed the fascia when they were dissecting human bodies and as such the simplistic view that each muscle has an individual action based on where it attaches to bone is still a common misnomer. What really happens is that the body is connected along different pathways via the fascia, and when we move we shift all of the tissues that create this connected pathway. These pathways extend from head to toe and can help to explain why we often find that the true cause of a problem is not where we feel pain.