Friday, January 30, 2015

Yoga Wellness

Yoga, as most of us know, is focused on relaxing the mind body and spirit. Yoga is viewed that the mind and body are one. If given the right tools and environment, one can find harmony and heal oneself. Therefore, yoga can be considered therapeutic. The word yoga itself means "union" and is a great way to work on flexibility and strength. People of all fitness levels and abilities can do yoga. It’s not just about mediation or touching toes, it also helps your body awareness which will  help you notice if you are slouching or slumping, so you can adjust your posture. Some types of yoga are about relaxation, others you have more fluid movements. Most types focus on learning poses, called asanas, while others, usually include attention to breathing, which can help with relaxation.

Benefits of Yoga1,2
·      Stretch muscles
·      Joint range of motion increase
·      Posture improves
·      Balance improves
·      Lowers risk of injuring muscle
·      Core strengthens
·      Muscles strengthens
·      Less Stress
·      Lower blood pressure
·      Well being increases

The benefits of yoga are endless depending of the type of yoga you prefer. No matter what ails your aching body, or if you just want to take your fitness to a higher level, yoga's ability to build muscle has an undeniable effect on the total body. Most yoga studios and local gyms offer yoga classes that are open to all generations and fitness levels. Yoga does not discriminate; it’s amazing to see people of all ages participate.

Once you put the effort to give the yoga community a try, you may be amazed how your body will feel by the end of the session. Yoga may not be right for everyone but exploring different options of wellness could be very beneficial to one's health.

1Dodson, A. (2014). The benefits of yoga. Retrieved January 25, 2015, from GAIAM Life:

2Goldberg, J. (2014, June 24). The health benefits of yoga. Retrieved January 25, 2015, from WebMD:

Therapeutic Yoga: Tips to Staying Motivated in Your Therapy Goals

Yoga. We’ve all heard the term and have basic knowledge of its use of diverse breathing, stretching, and meditation to perform exercise. However, yoga has been used for centuries in cardiovascular at-risk patients to reduce body weight, blood glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.[1] Throughout the past few years, yoga has become one of the most popular forms of exercise. Yoga is especially popular for musculoskeletal issues like lower and upper back pain, sciatica, shoulder, neck and hip pain.[2] Yoga has proven to be effective in preventing chronic diseases by improving the quality of life in adults by treating and managing high blood pressure, helping cope with the effects of cancer treatments, and treating symptoms of HIV, depression or anxiety.[2]

One of the best qualities of yoga is that it can be done anywhere and anytime at one’s own convenience. To aid with progression of poses or routines, helpful yoga videos used for stress, anxiety, and depression, such as, can be found at the click of a button. This makes yoga therapy easily accessible from one’s own home.

When using yoga as a therapy technique, one will be strengthening the mind as well as the body. As an older patient or therapy patient, there are times that may prove to be difficult to stay motivated with exercise. Yoga gives these patients a chance to improve their overall quality of living and allows them to reach their maximum potential. To stay motivated in yoga therapy, one can try these three simple tips:

1)   Make a personal mantra. As simple as it sounds, having a word or phrase that one can use to keep them concentrated on holding a pose or motivated as they progress through different poses can relate directly to real-life situations. They can use this mantra when they experience stress at work, need to concentrate on a difficult task, or feel the pressures of the outside world weighing down on them emotionally.

2)   Pick reasonable poses. Yoga is about being your best you and improving yourself at your own pace. It’s important that one picks poses that they are physically and mentally capable of doing. They can always progress later on in their yoga routine as their body becomes more accustomed to the movements.

3)   Start! There are times when the stress, pain, or motivation can keep one from achieving their fitness and health goals. The most important part of any exercise routine is to just start. By keeping to a schedule and sticking to a routine, one will improve their overall physical and mental health. Believing you can is the first step to being able to do so much more than you ever thought possible.

Yoga has bountiful health benefits as a therapy technique, that can be accessed by people of all ages and skill levels. Through persistence and motivation, health risk patients can improve their overall quality of life by experiencing all that yoga has to offer.

[1] Ramos-Jiménez, A., Hernández-Torres, R., Wall-Medrano, A., Muñoz-Daw, M., Torres-Durán, P., & Juárez-Oropeza, M. (2009, December 2). Cardiovascular and metabolic effects of intensiveHatha Yoga training in middle-aged and older women from northern Mexico. Retrieved January 25, 2015, from
[2] Yoga Therapy: The Next Wave in Yoga. (2015, January 1). Retrieved January 25, 2015, from

5 Benefits of Stretching

5 Benefits of Stretching
When one thinks about living a healthy lifestyle, nutrition and exercise are at the top of the list of things to do. Stretching, on the other hand, is usually never an activity that people remember to incorporate into their daily regimen. Whether you are an athlete or just physically active, The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that you should participate in stretching activities at least two days a week.1 Here are 5 benefits that will make you want to add stretching to your to-do lists today.
  1. Stretching increases flexibility. Flexibility is the amount of range of motion (ROM) given at a specific joint. Muscles and connective tissues, such as ligaments and tendons, influence the degree of motion a joint can have. Stretching specific muscle groups as little as 30 seconds for 3 repetitions a day can increase or maintain a muscle’s flexibility. 2,3
  2. Stretching improves circulation. Increased blood flow to muscles can help with recovery time by getting rid of lactic acid buildup and other waste products and bringing in rich nourishment to the muscle tissue. 3
  3. Stretching relieves stress. Muscles can become tight and tense from everyday stresses in your life and can cause many problems, such as tension headaches. Stretching of the neck and shoulder muscles can help relax the muscle tissue and provide relief. 3
  4. Stretching maintains proper posture. Certain postural muscles can become tight after extended amounts of standing or sitting in positions that are not good for the body. These muscles can put a strain on the joints and spine and cause loss of function and pain. Stretching these muscles can help maintain good posture and minimize discomfort. 3
  5. Stretching enhances balance and coordination. As mentioned earlier, flexibility has to do with the amount of motion at a joint. Having full ROM at a joint can help you be more mobile and prevent incidents of falling. This is extremely important in the elderly population. 3

Stretching actually comes naturally to everyone. You might notice that after sitting in a particular position for a long time, you stretch unconsciously. It feels good!  Along with that good feeling, a consistent stretching program will produce large gains in flexibility and joint movement. Be kind to your muscles and they will be kind to you!


1 Millar, A. Lynn. Improving Your Flexibility and Balance. (2012, Feb 2). ACSM. Retrieved from
2 Esco, M. Stretching and Flexibility: 7 Tips. WebMD. Retrieved from
3 Inverarity, L., Stretching 101. (2014, Dec 16). About Health. Retrieved from

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Effect of Coaches Attitudes Towards Student Athletes

Effect of Coaches Attitudes Towards Student Athletes
The role sports can play in an athlete's life is extremely significant, but the attitude of their coach plays an even greater role. A coach can have both positive and negative  influence on their athletes. A coach’s attitude can cause athletes to quit playing sports in high school, or enable athletes to succeed and even end up becoming coaches themselves. There are numerous benefits to be reaped by athletes that play sports throughout high school. When compared to non-student athletes, student athletes enjoy more physical health benefits, academic success, and higher levels of self-esteem.1 As for a coach, it is important to consider the major effects that we can have on our student athletes. Coaches need to try to their best to make this effect  a positive one.
In addition, participants in sports and physical activities exhibit enhanced motivation and lower levels of depression and anxiety. The importance of the coach in determining the quality and success of an athletes sport experience is critical. Coaching effectiveness is mandated by the athlete’s perception and recall. Coaching behaviors are perceived and given meaning by each athlete resulting in an attitude toward both the coach and the sport, optimal coaching behaviors, and factors that influence the effectiveness of particular behaviors.
One example of a study conducted that shows why coaches attitudes are critical is the study conducted over the fitnessgram. The fitnessgram measures HFZ (healthy fitness zone) of students. Daily physical activity in sports offered by high school’s would leave one to believe that it would help all students improve in meeting their expected HFZ’s. It is hard to say where a student should be in their HFZ’s to be classified as healthy, but it is a valid test because every single student is set to meet the same standards as peers that are the same age. They measured the HFZ’s in 5 different areas: muscular strength, muscular endurance, muscular flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and body composition. Students were also asked how many sports they had participated in over the past 12 months. Results of the study indicated that males who played more sports seemed to achieve more HFZ’s than males who didn’t play as many sports or maybe just didn’t play any sports at all. This particular study showed that students are more likely to reach the expected healthy fitness zones if they are active in sports2 . This is just one example of why it is critical for coach’s to always have a friendly, positive impact on their athletes.
1.Athletics in the Lives of Women & Girls. (1999).  Retrieved Sept. 17,1999, from World Wide Web:http:/ .html.
2. Renfrow, M. S., Caputo, J. L., Otto, S. M., Farley, R. R., & Eveland-Sayers, B. M. (2011). The Relationship between Sports Participation and Health-Related Physical Fitness in Middle School and High School Students. Physical Educator, 68(3), 118-123.

Introduction to Strokes

The Heart and Stroke Foundation states, “Each stroke is different and how well you recover from a stroke depends upon many factors including how much your brain was damaged and in what areas, and your health before the stroke”. The first four words are the most valid, because each stroke truly is different. I have been working around stroke patients for two years now, and each stroke has been different. This makes it almost impossible for any type of research to be done, because all results would be different. The work that is done for stroke rehabilitation, support from a patient’s family and friends, and a patients understanding of their situation is crucial. Strokes can occur in three different areas of the brain, all having different effects on the body.

When a patients suffers from a left-hemisphere stroke, the patient will exhibit the following: weakness or paralysis on the right side of the body, trouble reading, talking, thinking, or doing math, slower and more cautious behavior than before the stroke, trouble learning or remembering new information, and the need for more frequent instructions and feedback to finish daily tasks. When a patient suffers from a right-hemisphere stroke, the patient will exhibit the following: weakness or paralysis on the left side of your body, vision problems, problems distinguishing distance, depth, up and down, front and back, short-term memory issues, difficulty making correct judgments, and neglecting the entire left side of your body. So with the brain, it is all about understanding that the weakness will happen on the opposite side of which the stroke occurred. For many patients, this is the most troubling part, because most people are right handed. Their left side was already the recessive side, so now their body has to learn how to strengthen the left.
A patient once told me, “It is almost like being born on your seventieth birthday because you have to relearn how to do everything that involves motor behavior and motor learning”. Strokes in the cerebellum are very uncommon, but the effects can be severe. The effects are as follows: the inability to walk, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Strokes that occur in the brain stem are also very uncommon. These strokes are often fatal because they occur at the base of the brain, which means that the stroke would cut off oxygen to the entire brain, instead of just a single part. If a patient were to survive this type of stroke, the effects would be as follows: loss of balance and coordination, weakness or paralysis of your arms and legs on both sides of the body, problems with vision, problems with chewing and swallowing, problems with speaking, and your body’s ability to breathe on its own and control its temperature will be lost.
This topic is important to me because in order for anyone to understand the following research, the reader must distinguish that strokes effect the opposite side of the body and are different each time and that there are many different types of strokes that can damage anything from one bodily movement, to a whole bodily function.

Adamson, John, (2014). Location of Strokes, Left Versus Right. Women’s Health eeeeeeeee Organization, 34, 385-399.

Green, Ronda, (2013). Strokes and their Effects. Heart and Stroke Foundation, 2, dddddd dddddddd 100-109.

Track Spikes: The Right Fit for You

It is human nature to want to be the best at what ever we decide to invest our time in, and in the case of Track and Field that instinct is no different. However, it is hard to be at the top of your game if you are using the improper equipment, especially track shoes. First off, lets define track shoe,"Spiked running shoes are typically very light-weight, close-fitting, situated on a firm rubber or plastic outsole, and come with metal “spikes” of ¼ – ½ inch that are screwed into designated holes in the bottom of the shoes."2 There are a few different factors when selecting the proper track spikes for yourself, and one of the main ones is what event you are participating in. "There are spikes designed for short sprints, long sprints, middle distances, long distances, cross country, the steeplechase, and field events."1. This is a very crucial factor because the wrong type of spike could highly inhibit the performance of the athlete, or at a much greater cost even cause injury. Here are some differences in track spikes for a reference:
Old School Spike.jpg

  1. Short Sprint Spikes: These spikes generally are fairly easy to spot due having a harder more aggressive spike plate with the most spikes of any other shoes. They also have a hard plastic covering spanning from the heel to the spike plate.

  2. Long Sprint Spikes: These spikes share many of the same characteristics of the short sprint spike, but differ in the fact that there are less spikes in the spike plate and the covering spanning from spike plate to heel is considerably less rigid or does not have one at all for additional flexibility.

  3. Middle Distance Spikes: These spikes are identifiable by having a much less aggressive spike plate style, and being considerably lighter in overall weight than the shorter distance sprint spikes. Also in place of the rigid plate spanning the heel to the spike plate is a soft foam pad for comfort over long distances.

  4. Long Distance Spikes: These spikes are are characterized by being the lightest of the track spikes with the least aggressive spike plate. This spike will have the most foam cushion of the running spikes and is ideal for long distance on the track.

  5. Cross Country Spikes: These spikes generally share many of the same features that you would find on the long distance spikes, and where they differ is that is looks more like a shoe than your traditional spike along with having a much longer spike itself.

  6. Field Event Spikes: These spikes differ in many ways due to the wide range of needs due to the variety of field events, but they are easy to spot due to the fact that they are generally identified with initials that represent the event itself.

With the different types of spikes in mind the next major issue to address is the matter of comfort and fitting. The track spike should fit more tightly than your normal shoes, but they do not need to cramp the toes or cause restriction. It is recommend that multiple shoes with varying sizes be tried on to ensure the proper fit, and the easiest place to do that is at a running shoe store. After buying do not forget to break those game changers in to avoid painful and unsightly blisters.

By remembering to stay within the proper spike zone, in relation to your event, and ensuring that your shoe fits perfectly you should be well on your way to the medal stand.

1 Heinenon, E. (2007, April 28). Everything You Need To Know About Spikes. Retrieved January 26 ,2015 ,from