5 Things You Should Do After Every Workout

K. Aleisha Fetters, a health and fitness writer, and a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the NSCA shared that you crossed the finish line, crushed your circuit routine or cranked out your last set at the squat rack — but you’re not done yet. For optimal health and exercise results, you need to cap off every sweat session with these five post-workout tasks.

1. STRETCH ANY MUSCLES YOU WORKED   Static stretching (Think: bend and hold) is best reserved for after your workouts. A comprehensive review published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports concluded that pre-exercise static stretching can reduce levels of strength, power and explosive performance during the subsequent workout. When performed immediately after your workouts, however, static stretching can help you cool down, increase muscle relaxation and potentially get tight muscles back to their resting length.

“Many exercises shorten muscles and it is important to stretch them out after the workouts,” says Todd J. Sontag, a board-certified physician with Orlando Health Physician Associatesin Florida. “For example, runners typically will have tight hamstrings if they don’t consistently stretch after their long runs. The tighter the muscles get, the more likely they are to develop injuries and lose their speed.”

Immediately following your workouts, when your muscles are still warm, aim to spend 30 seconds to one minute stretching each muscle group that feels particularly tight.

2. WASH UP   One study, by FitRated.com, found that free weights are covered in 362 times more bacteria than a toilet and a treadmill in 74 times more bacteria than a water faucet. Once trapped on your skin and in your workout clothes, those germs thrive in hot and sweaty environments.

The best way to nix them is to get those sweaty threads off ASAP and scrub up with an antibacterial wash, says Philip Tierno, PhD, clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at the NYU School of Medicine. While taking a shower right at the gym is your best bet for combating any viruses stuck on your skin and preventing yeast infections, it’s a good idea to keep shoes on your feet at all times, according to a position statement from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

If possible, keep your dirty workout wear separate from other belongings and wash them using your washing machine’s sanitize cycle (if it has one), hot water or (if you’re working with whites) bleach. The heat setting on your dryer can also help kill any germs that weren’t washed away.

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For Schoolchildren, Weights Rise Along With Summer Temperatures

Jan Hoffman shared in th New York Times that summer is the season when children play outdoors tirelessly until nightfall, burning up all the energy they had stockpiled throughout the school year, right?

Reality check: According to a new national studyof younger elementary school students, the risk of gaining excessive weight is far greater during the summer than when they are in school.

A nationally representative sample of 18,170 kindergartners was weighed in the early fall and again in the late spring from 2010 through 2013, when the children were finishing second grade. The prevalence of children who were overweight increased to 28.7 percent from 23.3 percent. The prevalence of those who measured as obese grew to 11.5 percent from 8.9 percent. Most strikingly, according to the study published on Wednesday in the journal Obesity, all of the increases were during the summer breaks. No increase in the prevalence of being overweight or obese was seen during the school year.

“It’s dispiriting how little progress we can see as a result of all these school-based fitness and nutrition programs,” said Paul von Hippel, the lead author and an associate professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He was referring to initiatives such as soda bans, recalibrated school cafeteria food and more attention to physical education and nutrition curriculums. Read more

WHAT IS THE BEST ANTI-AGING EXERCISE?

New research shows that certain forms of exercise have the most profound anti-aging effects.

A study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, assigned participants in two age groups — 18–30 and 65–80 — and divided them into three training categories: high-intensity interval training (HIIT), weight training or a combination of the two.

After three months, researchers compared muscle biopsies of both groups and found that strength training increased muscle mass and HIIT increased mitochondrial activity, a cellular process that declines with age and is associated with increased fatigue and inability for muscles to burn excess blood sugar. The HIIT/strength training combination had the biggest effect in older adults, helping to decrease aging at the cellular level.

In a statement about the research, K. Sreekumaran Nair, MD, a diabetes researcher at the Mayo Clinic and senior author of the study noted, “These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine.”

The research points to the benefits of incorporating HIIT and strength training into your routine as you get older.

“The rate at which we lose muscle mass varies dependent upon our level of activity and engagement in meaningful exercise,” Bell says.

In other words, you’re more apt to maintain muscle mass and keep body fat in check as you age if you’re physically fit.

To maximize the benefits, Bell suggests incorporating HIIT and strength training into each workout.

HIIT is defined as mixing intense bursts of exercise with short periods of active rest; a run-walk combination is a good example of HIIT. Interval training can be incorporated into activities ranging from walking and biking to swimming. These bursts keep your heart rate up and help burn fat and, according to Bell, “High-intensity interval training is considered one of the best ways to improve cardiorespiratory and metabolic function.”

BUT DON’T FORGET STRENGTH TRAINING

Strength training is also important to maintain good health as you age. A 2016 study published in the journal Preventive Medicine found that older adults who did strength training at least twice per week had a 46% lower odds of death from all causes during the study period, a 41% lower risk of cardiac death and 19% lower odds of dying from cancer than those who did not strength train.

Bell suggests building strength by training with weights 2–3 times per week. “In order to optimize results a person must be utilizing the appropriate amount of resistance, performing the exercises with proper [form] and building in recovery time,” she says.

A physical therapist or personal trainer can create a workout regimen that incorporates interval and strength training that is targeted toward your current fitness level. The effort could help keep you looking and feeling stronger, healthier and younger.

If You Want to Up Your Fitness Game

POPSUGAR shared that we’ve all been there: out of breath, over it, and ready to throw in our gym towels and never look back. Oftentimes this happens because we’re not seeing progress with our workouts, at least not the kind we were expecting. What gives? To get to the bottom of what’s stalling our progress, we turned to personal trainer Austin Lopez, CSCS.

More often than not, it’s likely that the “overload principle” is being ignored, Austin told POPSUGAR. A basic tenet in training, the overload principle is easy to grasp and makes total sense. Put simply, we need to consistently be working harder to see change. “You have to push yourself more because the body is good at adapting to whatever you throw at it,” Austin said. If you want to see changes, you need to change it up — and often. But you don’t need to go into it blindly. In fact, there’s a ton of evidence on exactly where you should devote your efforts.

1. Time and Frequency

You don’t necessarily have to give up the classes you love or your sacred time on the treadmill; just do more of what you’re already doing. This can happen in a lot of ways, said Austin. For starters, add an extra class or gym session onto your schedule. If that’s not possible, try adding time to your existing workouts. Instead of a 45-minute TRX class, look for a 60-minute class; even challenging yourself to an extra 10 minutes on the treadmill can lead to results.

 2. Speed

When it comes to cardio-based workouts like running, cycling, or time on the elliptical, challenge yourself to increase your overall pace. If you usually run an 11-minute mile, start to shave that down to a 10-minute mile by slowly increasing the speed of your runs. You can also work on speed by incorporating interval training into your cardio and strength workouts by alternating between a period of maxing out your efforts with a period of recovery. Think HIIT, Tabata, and tempo runs.

This type of increased intensity will also aid in weight loss, said Austin. “From an exercise perspective, interval training is the most effective way to get lean,” he said. “The more intense the workout, the more the body has to recover, which translates into more calories over time.” This is due to the afterburn effect (excess postexercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC), which helps to increase your metabolism, resulting in hundreds of extra calories to be burned throughout the day.

3. Load

The easiest way to think about load is to equate it with weight. Essentially you’re “loading” the body up with more weight and challenging it to work harder. The next time you’re in a strength-training class or at the gym, choose a heavier weight than you’re used to. You may be surprised that you can actually manage more than you thought possible. If more weight seems daunting, start by doing shorter sets with less reps. “By going heavier, you’ll be breaking down muscle at a higher rate, making it stronger than it was before,” said Austin.

The Right Way to Incorporate Frequency, Speed, and Load

If you’ve hit a wall, there’s no better time than now to start upping your intensity in one of these areas. While Austin’s advice is to go “as intense as you can,” he added that this is all relative to the individual. “The more intense you make any workout, the more unsafe it can become,” he said. “Ease into it, and find out what’s possible for you.” While you are tasking yourself with going harder, you still want to make sure your form is on and you aren’t feeling lightheaded or dizzy while working out. “Push it little by little,” said Austin.

A good way to keep yourself safe is by focusing on only one of these areas at a time (frequency, speed, load). Besides preventing injury, “it’s also a great way to measure your success rate because it controls one variable.”

Cardiac rehab key to recovery and new lifestyle

Jana Tindall, RN and Lisa Reid, MS from Healthy Driven Hearts shared that cardiopulmonary rehabilitation (cardiac rehab) is an essential part of your continued care following a heart attack, heart failure or a heart procedure, such as angioplasty and stent, heart surgery or transplant.

Your doctor will likely recommend you make some changes in your life, and cardiac rehab is key to helping you implement these lifestyle changes and restore your heart health. In fact, cardiac rehab decreases the risk of a future heart event by stabilizing, slowing or even reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease.

The process starts when you are in the hospital, and continues on an outpatient basis with the goal of continuing and/or integrating fitness and wellness into your daily life.

The program consists of three phases and is led by registered nurses, exercise physiologists and respiratory therapists:

    • Phase 1 is focused on educating you in the hospital. You are given information regarding your specific heart condition, activity/home walking program, nutrition, medications, risk factor and lifestyle changes, and emergency planning.

 

    • Phase 2 begins 3-4 weeks following your hospitalization. You receive an individualized treatment plan and work toward personalized goals with the cardiac rehab team. The team works closely with you as you progress through the program. They monitor your heart rate and blood pressure to evaluate for possible concerns as well as improvements. You attend an exercise program in cardiac rehab 3 times per week for 12 weeks. Each 60-minute session consists of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching. There is also an educational component that consists of topics such as stress management, nutrition, risk factor management and overall cardiac education.

 

    • Phase 3 is a non-monitored, self-directed exercise program offered to you after you complete phase 2. It is important to continue to exercise on your own and make fitness a regular habit. This program is open to anyone who has participated in a cardiac rehab program or has a doctor referral.

 

Cardiac rehab doesn’t change the past, but it can improve your heart’s future. Your participation and completion of the program will give you the confidence to live well with heart disease.

If you or someone you know may be eligible for cardiac rehab, speak to your doctor and obtain an order for cardiac rehab. You will need to verify your insurance coverage prior to beginning cardiac rehab.

Are You Geocaching?

This activity is part of Healthy Lombard’s summer Flat Apple activity and their version of the popular geocache hobby. The sites are not registered /official geocache sites but finding them by the Longitude and Latitude coordinates provided by NASA provides a fun, healthy family activity.  All you have to do is follow the coordinates to the official site, find the Flat Apple sign, take a selfie with it, and then post to the Healthy Lombard Selfie Facebook Page or send to jay@healthylombard.com.

If you want to participate but are unsure how to find the sites, these links might be helpful:

Using Google Maps to Find or enter latitude & longitude with Android

Finding a location with latitude & longitude with an  iPhone

Healthy Lombard’s Flat Apple Summer Program is designed to motivate kids (and their parents since adults are children’s role models) to start, or continue physical exercise,  participate in healthy group activities, and practicing healthy habits. The program is designed to encourage kids to keep their bodies moving when they are on summer break from school.

The fine print:

Children ages preschool through high school are eligible to participate.

  1. Children must be registered to win.  To register EITHER Click on the Facebook link at the top of the Healthy Lombard website at www.healthylombard.com  and then click “Sign Up”or use        THIS LINK TO REGISTER.
  2. WHEN REGISTERING, PLEASE REMEMBER AFTER YOU FILL IN THE STUDENT INFORMATION TO COMPLETE THE PARENT/GUARDIAN INFORMATION. Once registered you will receive confirmation and a copy of the 2017 logo.

So … Ready Set Go to:

Know when to ice or heat an injury

Bradley Dunlap, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute who has been treating elite-level hockey players since 2009 shared in the Daily Herald Newspaper that as an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, one of the questions I get asked the most is: “Should I use heat or ice to treat an injury?”

With warmer weather drawing bicyclists, runners and walkers outdoors, now is a good time to set the record straight. Understanding how heat and ice work on the body may serve as a useful guide as to which to use.

Ice is a potent vasoconstrictor. This means the blood vessels shrink in size and less blood flow reaches the injured area. Some studies have shown ice to be as effective as post-surgical medications for pain control. It should be used if the area is swollen or bruised. In the case of a joint injury, initially applying ice always is the answer. The initial swelling around joints related to an injury of our ligaments, tendons or cartilage not only hurts, but prolongs our feeling of stiffness and alters our gait. The ultimate time to return to full sport activity, therefore, will indirectly be related to the initial swelling.

When it comes to icing, it’s good to remember the helpful acronym R.I.C.E. — Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Stop doing activities that are causing you pain; ice in intervals of 10 to 20 minutes at least three times per day; wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage — tight but not too tight; and elevate whenever you can. Try this for two to three days after an injury — if you don’t notice an improvement, see a doctor as soon as you can. In cases where your knee or ankle immediately balloons up, seek orthopaedic attention.

Heat serves as a muscle relaxer. Heat vasodilates, or opens blood vessels in our muscles and soft tissues. The increased blood flow seems to promote a healing response. It can reduce tightness and help quell spasms and soreness while carrying oxygen and nutrients to the injury.

Heat, unlike ice, isn’t so cut and dry. Muscles are a different beast than joints, and there is less of a one-size-fits-all solution, particularly when it comes to necks and backs. Heat will generally penetrate to the deep muscles better than ice, but sometimes ice will also be beneficial for strains, sprains and tweaks.

The presence of substantial bruising in a fresh muscle injury may indicate an active bleed, and in this scenario it is helpful to initially ice to minimize the amount of bleeding in the injured area.

Similar to icing, heating should be done in intervals of 10 to 20 minutes at least three times per day. This typically is done for two to three days following a mild muscle injury. As the injury feels better, it often is helpful to apply heat to the area before stretching. If the injury persists, seek medical care immediately.

No study conclusively has shown superiority of ice versus heat. If you seek medical attention, remember to ask your doctor which modality applies best to your injury. It’s important to listen to your body both during and after application of ice and/or heat. No one knows what is helping and what is potentially hurting better than you.

Five Secrets for Steadier Workouts

Rachel Bachman wrote in the May 22, 2017 edition of the Wall Street Journal that many of us vow to get to the gym—then life intervenes. But 21% of U.S. adults do manage to get enough exercise, and these people have some common traits and habits. They are consistent but not rigid. They have open minds about what defines “exercise.” And they have different motivations than the weary conscripts who enroll at the gym on New Year’s Day.

Here are some habits of those who exercise frequently that just might help the rest of us:

They work out at the same time most days. – A study published in April in the British Journal of Health Psychology examined 181 people who exercised an average of 300 minutes a week—twice the federally recommended minimum.

Most of those people picked a regular time to work out and stuck with it.

“When things become predictable you don’t need to invest in much thought,” says the study’s lead author, Navin Kaushal, a postdoctoral fellow in preventive medicine at the Montreal Heart Institute, University of Montreal.

Being in a certain environment at a certain time of day “brings up a mental script of the behaviors and you go into autopilot.”


They have a streamlined pre-exercise routine with visual cues. In another study published in 2017 and led by Dr. Kaushal, new gym members were asked to create cues to prompt them to exercise. A cue might be running clothes, shoes and headphones laid out on a dresser. The plan is that when a runner wakes up, he sees the cues, dresses and dashes out the door.

After eight weeks, members of the study’s experimental group were 1.7 times more likely to meet physical-activity guidelines than those in a control group.


 

They’re more flexible than infrequent exercisers about how long or vigorously they exercise.  Active people are less likely to have all-or-nothing definitions of physical activity, according to a study soon to be published in BMC Public Health. The study looked at 40 women, 11 of whom said they exercised at least three times or two hours a week.

“The old-school belief was, you set a goal, it’s a bull’s-eye. You hit it or you miss it,” says the study’s lead author, Michelle Segar, director of the University of Michigan’s Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center. “But life is messy. When you’re more flexible, you’re able to shift your position, your stance, do something less. It removes the psychological punishment of ‘Oh, I failed.’ ”

If a frequent exerciser’s workday spills into her hourlong spin class, for instance, she might still hit the gym to pedal 20 minutes on her own.


 

An increasing number of active people are widening their definition of exercise.

Many people think exercise has to last at least 30 minutes and make you sweaty and exhausted. Dr. Segar’s ongoing research suggests that frequent exercisers increasingly view things like walking meetings and family bike rides as things that “count” as exercise.

Steve Rabinowitz, a 41-year-old government analyst in Greenbelt, Md., has been working out about five days a week since he turned 40. He mostly does high-intensity interval training workouts using a free site called Fitness Blender, but recently tried Pilates and ballet-inspired barre workouts and enjoys them.

“I push myself when I feel like I can, but when I can’t, that’s OK too,” he says. “I really try to listen to my body.”

During a recent work training he attended, Mr. Rabinowitz climbed five floors of stairs to a meeting room eight times over two days—sometimes sprinting, sometimes walking. He says he enjoys exercise more since he’s expanded his options.


 

They’re more likely to exercise for pleasure than for weight loss or other long-term health goals.

A study published in 2016 in the Journal of Consumer Research recruited 61 gymgoers at a University of Chicago weight room. Researchers randomly sorted them into two groups and gave each group six exercise options, such as biceps curls or dead lifts.

People in one group were told to choose the exercise they most enjoyed, while the people in the other group were told to choose the exercise most useful for their health goals. Both groups were instructed to do as many sets of their selected exercise as they could.

People who chose an exercise for enjoyment completed an average of 29 reps, compared with 19 reps for those who chose the exercise they thought would help them with health goals. That was true even though the two groups chose similar exercises with similar amounts of weight.

“If I really care about having a healthy heart, that’s what gets me to the gym,” says Kaitlin Woolley, the study’s lead author and a Ph.D. candidate at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. “But that’s not what keeps me there.”

Got 10 Minutes? Use this Go4Life® Video to Help Make Your Legs Stronger!

If you want to build muscle in your legs, it’s important to do lower body strength exercises. Climbing stairs, getting up from a chair, and even preventing a fall are everyday functions that can improve when your legs are stronger. Do the 4 lower body strength exercises in this Go4Life video consistently and see the positive impact it can have on your leg strength!