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STRETCHING IMPORTANT WHEN EXERCISING
We are all becoming more aware of the many benefits of regular exercise. Sometimes, however, we may forget an essential part of regular exercise: stretching. Studies have documented the advantages of different kinds of exercise and although the benefits of stretching are less well studied, the positive results of this activity make it an important component of any exercise regimen.
Briefly noted, stretching provided these benefits:
* Increases blood flow.
* Increases muscle elasticity.
* Increases range of motion.
* Improves flexibility.
* Eases movement.
* Helps loosen muscles in the arms, shoulders, back, chest, stomach, thighs, buttocks and calves.
* Aids in prevention of injury and muscle strain.
* Can improve performance.
Some general stretching guidelines:
* Start stretching slowly.
* Don't bounce while stretching.
* Avoid violent movements.
* Hold the stretched position.
* Don't overdo.
* Stretch 5 to 15 minutes before (warm-up) and after (cool-down) exercising.
BENEFITS OF EXERCISE NEVER STOP
According to the recommendations and guidelines from numerous U.S. government agencies, including the National Institute on Aging, only about 1 in 4 older adults exercise regularly. Many mistakenly think they are too frail or too old. Not so! Any kind of physical activity can be good for you. Regular, brisk walking can help lower risk of heart disease or depression.
Housework, stair climbing or calisthenics can increase stamina and strength, along with self-confidence.
Strength training such as weightlifting can slow or stop muscle and bone loss and may actually increase muscle strength and mass. It may slow or prevent osteoporosis and may lower the risk of falls which can cause hip fractures or other injuries, as well as improve balance. Regular activities such as running and swimming raise heart rate and may reduce artery stiffening, which can otherwise contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Consistent physical activity may reduce the likelihood of developing adult onset diabetes or at least allow for better control, because exercise increases the ability to regulate blood glucose.
BEFORE PURCHASING AN EXERCISE MACHINE... -- Looking for an exercise machine that gives an excellent workout to both the upper and lower body? Consider using a rowing machine or a ski machine. An exercise rider is also a good choice, but it doesn't give as good a workout as a rowing or a ski machine, however, it is much easier to use. Stair-climbers, treadmills, and stationary bikes give good lower body exercise, but neglect the upper body.
ANOTHER REASON TO KEEP EXERCISING -- Studies show that the blood of people who exercise on a regular basis is less prone to clot (i.e. heart attack) than those who don't exercise. Exercise seems to boost the body's natural clot busters. There's no need to exercise daily, but be consistent at an exercise plan. The clot preventing benefits disappeared when the regular exercise program stopped.
TIP FOR EXERCISERS -- Meal-replacement bars, sometimes called sports bars or energy bars, supply energy - in other words, calories. You can get the same boost with fewer calories from a piece of fruit, a cup of yogurt or a low-calorie granola bar.
KEEP UP THE EXERCISE -- Your body releases additional growth hormone when you exercise aerobically. This may help slow the weakening of bones and muscles caused by the natural loss of this hormone as you age.
BETTER DO THOSE WARM UPS -- Before teeing off on the golf course, most people warm up by hitting balls at the driving range, then putting and chipping on the practice green. But it's better to start at the practice green, then go to the driving range; that way, your muscles aren't cold and tight when you start playing.
COFFEE NOTICE -- Men with mildly elevated blood pressure put greater strains on their hearts if they consume caffeine before exercising, according to a recent study. The study found 7 of 20 men with mild hypertension experienced blood-pressure levels above 230/120 while exercising after drinking a beverage containing the amount of caffeine found in two to three cups of coffee.
JOGGING SHOE INFO -- If your running shoes tend to wear out quickly, look for a pair with a polyethylene base. This material wears better than other shoe materials.
WORKOUT BLUES? -- To stay physically and mentally challenged by your workout, change to a different routine four to six times a year.
TAKE IT EASY -- If you've had a knee injury or suffer chronic knee pain: avoid leg extensions except with very light weights; don't take big steps on a stair climber; don't run on a steep downhill grade; and adjust your bicycle seat so your knees bend only slightly at the bottom of each stroke.
STRETCH!! -- Many common sports-related injuries can be prevented. To prevent muscle pulls: warm up before your workout and stretch afterward; don't bounce while stretching.
To prevent stress fractures! -- do complete warm-ups and cool downs. To prevent shin-splints: Wear well-cushioned shoes with arch supports. If possible, exercise on wood, grass, or another soft surface.
RUNNING NEWS -- Unless your doctor says you can, you shouldn't run for fitness if: you're more than 20% overweight; you have orthopedic problems, such as chronic lower-back pain; or you have heart trouble.
KEEP UP THE EXERCISE -- People who exercised the most cut their risk of colon cancer in half compared with those who exercised the least, one study found. Medical experts believe this is so because exercise decreases the time the colon is exposed to agents that may cause cancer.
GOOD NEWS FOR BUSY WEIGHT LIFTERS -- In one 14-week study, participants who weight trained twice a week improved their strength almost as much as those who trained every other day.
I'M ONE OF THE 73% -- Seventy-three percent of U.S. women don't get the minimum amount of exercise recommended by fitness experts - 20 minutes of walking, running, cycling or other aerobic exercise three times a week.
EXERCISE TIP -- Placing your hands on the cords of a cross-country ski machine instead of the handles will give your upper body more of a workout.
MORE EXERCISE INFO -- Regular exercise can greatly improve your chances of having a good nights sleep. People who exercise a total of about 3.5 hours each week sleep almost an hour more than those who don't exercise.
AVOID SHIN SPLINTS -- "Shin splints" is a general term referring to pain in the front of the legs, usually relating to exercise. Starting a new type of exercise, or increasing intensity too quickly, can cause this pain. The best ways to avoid them are to: 1) increase your exercise intensity level gradually, 2) wear well-fitting shoes made specifically for your type of exercise, and 3) start a lower leg stretching and strengthening program (ask a health club staff member for advice).
FOR LEG-CRAMP SUFFERERS -- If you suffer a leg cramp while working out, straighten your leg, point your toes upward and gently massage the cramped muscle. When you can do so, put weight on your leg and bend your knee slightly. Relax the muscle by applying a cold pack. Use heat later if you feel pain or tenderness. This could also indicate a deficiency of calcium and magnesium in your diet.
IF YOU NEED PROTECTIVE EYE WEAR, READ THIS -- If you engage in activities that require protective eye wear, you may want to make sure that they eye wear is polycarbonate. A recent study compared the impact resistance of lenses made of glass, allyl resin plastic, high-index plastic and polycarbonate. The lenses were pelted with air gun pellets, golf balls, tennis balls, lacrosse balls and baseballs. Glass, resin, and high-index plastic all shattered in typical impacts. The polycarbonate, however, withstood baseballs hitting it at 135 miles per hour! To make certain the eyewear is polycarbonate, look on the product label or ask your sporting goods dealer.
GET YOUR FLUIDS -- Drink six to eight glasses of fluids throughout the day, whether you are thirsty or not. About 15 to 30 minutes before exercising, drink 4 to 8 oz. of fluids. While exercising, drink 4 to 8 oz. of fluids at 15-minute intervals. After exercising, drink at least 8 to 16 oz. of fluids.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.