Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Endorphins Make You Happy"- How Exercise Helps Cure Depression and Anxiety

Regular exercise helps ease depression and anxiety in a number of ways including releasing “feel-good” chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters, endorphins, and endocannabinoids. The brain also releases a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor to protect neurons from the anticipated effects of prolonged stress and anxiety.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor soothes neurons to promote a sense of clarity. This is why a problem can seem more manageable after a walk or run to clear your head. At the same time, the brain releases endorphins to numb pain and facilitate peak performance. Endorphins have even been known to cause euphoria (known as the runner’s high).

Regular exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits. When you exercise, you gain self-confidence by accomplishing exercise goals and by having a healthier physique. Exercise is also a healthy distraction from everyday worries that can leave you feeling down and depressed.

Exercise gives you the opportunity to be around people with similar health-related goals and interests. With the social interaction you receive at the fitness facility, you can immediately have a positive change in your mood. Many people that suffer from depression and anxiety find that doing something positive and productive, like working out, helps to manage anxiety and depression. It  is a healthy coping strategy when dealing with these intense emotions. Exercise is a productive and healthy coping strategy in lieu of drug or alcohol consumption, medication, or dwelling on how badly you feel, which can worsen symptoms.

Exercises like running, lifting weights, playing volleyball and other fitness activities are fun and inexpensive ways to get your heart pumping and your endorphins flowing. Physical activity such as gardening, washing your car, walking around the block or engaging in other less intense activities have proven to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety, as well. Any physical activity that gets you off the couch and moving can help improve your mood.


Depression (major depressive disorder). (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from

Whitney, D. (2012, October 23). Exercise: Nature’s Mood Enhancer. Retrieved April 20, 2015, from

Music in the Recreational Facility


In the field of campus recreation there are many problems that rise up every day and most being dealt with easily, but there is a problem that many can not seem to finda resolution for. That problem is what to do about the music in the facility. “Research consistently finds that listening to music distracts athletes from their bodily awareness.”1 Music is a huge part of working out, and with such a wide range of music to choose from; its leaves the workers with the stress of finding music that everyone can agree upon.

There are several different applications in place that many recreational facilities use to help with the music problem. One such application is an intercom system hooked up to a computer. This allows the workers to be able to hand pick the free internet radio stations that would be played based upon what many people would request. This system is not a bad one due to the personability of the selection, but with free internet radio, the dependability of the selection is not very strong due to straying from music genre or lewdness of the music content. Another possible problem is that the gym could possibly get into legal troubles. “While you may be entitled to personal use of this music, according to U.S. Copyright Law playing music at your business is considered a “public performance” and requires a license from the copyright holder. The reasoning behind the license is that your business is benefiting from the performance of the music, and thus the artists should be fairly compensated.”2 Luckily a blanket license can be bought so you can continue to stream music to your patrons while compensating the artist who made the music.

Another option is to buy a music streaming system that has either preset music on it or a data bank of songs from which to draw from. Such systems are very good and popular for many reasons such as it takes the stress off the workers by not having to make everyone happy. With everything there are drawbacks as well, and one big one is that patrons will get tired of listening to the same music on a loop. Another way to help ease the stress of trying to make everyone happy is to check out headphones, and while that process may gain positive results it proves to be expensive and time costly.

When it comes to an individuals workout everyones is a little different in some way at least, and it is important to look at their music choice in the same diverse manner. Not everyone is going to agree on the music at all times, but by looking in to different options and getting feedback from your patrons you should be able to apeas most of the request.

1Grannell, Rachael. "7 Reasons You Should Listen To Music When You Work Out." The Huffington Post., 1 Nov. 2013. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <>.

2"Is Your Gym Guilty of Music Piracy?" Is Your Gym Guilty of Music Piracy? Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <>.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Recognize Release Refocus

The sport of baseball requires precision, boldness, and accuracy, both physically and mentally. In order to maximize performance, athletes must train both their bodies and their minds to perform with clarity and certainty. When an athlete strives to be mentally focused and sharp, one of the  things they must practice is the art of recognizing, releasing, and refocusing.  At first glance, these methods may seem easy to master, but in actuality they are challenges that require rehearsal and commitment.    

One ultimate demonstration of recognizing and assessing a situation is found within everyday traffic signal lights. When the light is green, drivers assess the situation and recognize that they are able to proceed forward as they continue on down the road. When a driver sees a yellow light, they recognize the need to slow down. When a driver views a red light, he or she diagnoses the need to come to a complete stop. With baseball, a green light implies that the athlete is playing to the best of their ability and that they are in a good place mentally. A red light however, signifies that the player may be losing control of himself. The athlete could potentially be low on self esteem or not in control of themselves mentally. It is critical that both coaches and players recognize this position and establish ways to position themselves back on the track. This recognition may include a physical recognition, i.e. a focus point, or it may simply include the mental state of the players or the team as a whole. It’s important to remember that “what you are aware of, you can control. What you are unaware of, will control you.”

The next step in finding mental stability and success includes the ability to release. Tension is certainly a hindrance to any athlete’s performance. It is important for the athlete to understand that physical tension is not optimal for maximal performance while mental stress and anxiety will only result in a sense of apprehension for the athlete. Baseball players and pitchers specifically must know how to release any additional angst before pitching the ball, hitting the ball, or catching the ball. This release entails the letting go of any pressure from any outside sources while focusing primarily and predominantly on the required task at hand. Mental visualization, focus, and release are key elements in reaching optimal levels of performance and the team must assess these elements both individually and among themselves.

The final step in achieving maximal mental health and domination involves the refocus process. Following the initial recognition of the required assignment and the release through the course of action, an athlete must assess his or her conduct and refocus his or her attention accordingly. It is vital in this process that the athlete receives feedback. This feedback may derive from a coach, a projection on the scoreboard, or even a fellow teammate. But regardless of the source of evaluation, this constructive criticism is to be utilized the channel the mind to assess how the action may be improved in the future. Refocusing may involve clearing of the mind of the ways that the body has been used to performing an action, or refocusing may involve the visualization of how to progress one’s work.

Most people are aware that athletes must be physically tough, driven, and concise in their actions. Many people don’t know however, that this same consciousness, precision, and dedication must also be found in an athlete’s mental game. By recognizing the correct course of action necessary to successfully complete a task, an athlete is more likely to produce successful output. Then, by releasing any physical or mental roadblocks or tension from the mind or body, the athlete is able to focus any and all attention toward the task at hand. Finally, through proper evaluation and assessment from a coach or teammate, an athlete is able to enhance his or her own performance and reform his or her sport in order to best benefit the team.       

Burton, D., & Raedeke, T. (2008). Sport psychology for coaches (p. 165). Champaign,
IL: Human Kinetics.
Cain, B. (2012). Introduction to Peak Performance [Radio series episode]. In
Recognize Release Refocus .Brian Cain .

Friday, April 24, 2015

Healthy Meals for the Stay at Home Mom’s

Staying fit is an extremely important part for mothers to stay healthy but the other fifty percent of health is the diet that a mom eats everyday. Having a good diet helps prevent all kinds of health issues like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and the list goes on and on. Keeping the balance of different kinds of food will keep from getting bored with certain things and making it fun to create something new with all the different recipes out there. Or as its known to have your plate full of different colors instead of all one color.
    Its very tempting for a mom to stop for fast food since its quick and most moms are extremely busy with errands, and practices to and from school. Fast food is extremely high in calories and preservatives that should be avoided. The quick snacks, food, and drinks that most people pick up on a daily basis is actually the worst for your body.. The best things would be fruit or meal prep for the day.
The four main components of a meal should consist of:   Vegetables & Fruits- are very high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These can be eaten either raw or cooked which makes these very versatile to eat. Its recommended to have at least five servings a day.
     Meats- This is a very important part of a diet because meats are full of fats, proteins, and iron. This could include anything from chicken, cow, pig and even sometimes sheep.

   Grains- Would include beans, rice, rye, and wheat. These contain a carbohydrate that is used to for energy to burn.

  Water- This is vital to keep your body hydrated and a person needs six glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.
There are many more types of food that are good for a mom in an everyday diet. Instead of eating the junk that provided from fast food or things like chips. Sodas are also awful and full of sugar that the body does not need.
Sifferlin, A. (n.d.). The Healthiest Foods You Should Be Eating Now. Retrieved April 25, 2015, from
Healthy food the key to an enhanced life. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2015, from

Does Exercising Help with Work Productivity?

Should companies allow employees to exercise on work time? Does devoting time to exercise help with work productivity?
pink.jpgFit employees are less likely to get sick. A person who is physically fit is generally more resistant to “calling in sick” than a person who is not fit. Reduced absenteeism and reduced health care expenditures are the result of a fit employee base1.
Fit employees have more energy. One of the many benefits of regular exercise is increased and sustained energy throughout the day. This energy allows the employee to stay focused on the task at hand, bringing the best of them to each task. When you exercise, you are also increasing blood flow to the brain, which can help sharpen your awareness and make you more prepared to tackle your next big project. Researchers found that employees who enjoyed a workout before going to work or exercised during lunch breaks were better equipped to handle whatever the day threw at them2.

Encouraging fitness demonstrates a concern for employee's well being, and pays off! Employees notice when an employer shows concern for the health and well being of their employee base through a variety of wellness programs. Further, it has been shown that employee turnover is significantly lower among employees that take advantage of a wellness program implemented by their employer.
Employees who spent 2.5 hours a week being physically active are more satisfied with the quantity and quality of their work, reported increased workability and took less sick time than employees who did not engage in physical activity2.
My argument would be to allow your staff break time for exercise, maybe increasing lunch time, only if it is for physical activity. If you don’t have time to put in a full cardio workout each day, make small changes to meet your daily goals, such as walking during your lunch period or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Make the effort at work and for yourself.
1Peterson, J. M. (2012, May 7). Exercising at work boosts productivity. Retrieved April 17, 2015, from American Psychological Association Center for Organizational Excellence:

2Lechner, L., & Devries, H. (2002). Starting Participation in an Employee Fitness Program: Attitudes, Social Influence, and Self-Efficacy. Preventive Medicine , 24 (6), 627–633.

Back to Fitness Basics: Pay Your Fitness Forward

Congratulations, you did it! If you have been taking part in the previous blogs in this “Back to Fitness Basics” series, you have successfully made a healthy lifestyle change. You have found a true motivation to stay fit for yourself, and you have learned how to shop healthy and lift properly. You have come very far since you started your health journey. Now I have one more challenge for you today. Your last challenge is to simply pay it forward. Remind yourself of the great reward you achieved with your health by simply making a lifestyle change. Think of someone, somewhere in your own life that could use someone like you to help them become healthier.

Think back to the beginning of your health journey. Together we worked on the “how” to get fit, but in the beginning, you had to establish a “why”. Think of that same reason that drove you to want a lifestyle change, and tell your story to others! “You need to know the powerful emotional reasons why someone cares about fitness in the first place before you can get to the how. I call this discovering the “emotional relevance of exercise.” 1.
Another great way to motivate others in your life is to simply live your new healthy lifestyle and let others see the results of your healthy change. Along with leading by example, try expressing how this healthy lifestyle  has changed you in ways that cannot be seen on the surface. “The “real” reason people hold back from change is usually fear of losing something important or exposing themselves to danger. That something important can be anything from the simple pleasure of doing something they enjoy (like eating a bag of chips while sitting on the couch and watching TV) to some deep psychological need to stay overweight and avoid the risks of being socially or sexually active.” 2.
Love your new healthy self and show others the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. There is someone, somewhere in your life, who may need this change in their life. Be that positive influence that they need and encourage them to make that first step. Remember why you made your health journey and pay your fitness forward!

  1. Finding The "Why" behind Your Clients' Goals. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from
  2. Helping Others Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from

Licenses & Permits for Disabled People & Veterans

Licenses & Permits for Disabled People & Veterans
The outdoors should be experienced by everyone, no matter what disability they may have. Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has a great section for enhancing fishing and hunting for people with disabilities. Within the article there are a number of links you can click on that talk about all the different permits you can get as a disabled person.1. In 2001, Maine adopted a new law that was designed to provide a mechanism for hunting and fishing access.Image result for fishing license
           The law was put into place in order to allow those with permanent physical disabilities to be able to hunt, fish and trap in ways that would normally be prohibited by the Maine's hunting and fishing laws. this law made it possible for  the hunters and fishers with disabilities to have a board  known as the Disabled Hunter, Trapper, and Angler Advisory Committee. This board would give Maine direct access to the disabled community and be able to learn firsthand what they would need to make this a success. The board would allow all the disabled hunters to have their own say in special equipment and accessories they would need a permit to hunt and fish with. One stipulation for the committee was that it was to be comprised of 4 disable persons; a licensed physician; a representative of the state agency that works on disability issues; 2 statewide organizations representing hunters, trappers, or anglers; and 1 interested person2.
           Along with the special permits, there are also complimentary licenses available through this committee. There are licenses for blind fishing; disabled veterans; people with cognitive disabilities (fish only); and paraplegic. No individual with any type of disability should ever lose their right of hunting or fishing. The outdoors in general is not only fun, but can also be beneficial for everyone. Experiencing the nature that God created is amazing.
    1.Alan Bright, Janiece J. Sneegas, Bev Driver and Michael J. Manfredo
Wildlife Society Bulletin, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Winter, 1989), pp. 487-493
Hughes, J. V. (2008, Feb 17). For disabled hunters, sport goes on. New York Times
2..Jones, W. (1995, 10). Enabled for the outdoors. New York State Conservationist, 50 Retrieved from

Heads Up Football

What is the most detrimental word in the world of football today? Concussion. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that results from a blow to the head that alters the way the brain functions. The NFL has been under extreme scrutiny for its lack of concussion regulation, and they have been trying to right their wrongs for the past five years or so. One way that the NFL and USA Football have been trying to help make the game more safe has been the implementation of Heads Up Football.
Heads Up Football is a certification program that is striving to make football a more safe game by “keeping your head out of it”. “The program uses a three-step plan to ensure safer play. USA Football is training  player safety to coaches, who then will teach coaches at their leagues and educate parents and players on the proper way of tackling to avoid injuries. Their motto could be "Get your head out of it.”1 These coaches will also teach all of those who are involved in youth football about concussion awareness and proper use of equipment.

Heads Up Football sounds like a great idea that was created to help the health of America’s youth, right? Some would say that this is all a money making scheme to help with the declining participation in youth football. “Nate Jackson, who played six seasons as a tight end and special teams player for the Denver Broncos, described Heads Up as "a product that the NFL is selling" to "create the illusion that the game is safe or can be made safe."2 With the number of recorded concussions being under such scrutiny lately; the number of kids playing youth football is on the decline. Heads Up Football used one of the largest youth football leagues to help push the program. “As popular as Katy Youth Football is, participation has dropped more than 20 percent since 2008, when the league had 88 teams, said Anthony Biello, the KYF president. Biello attributed the decline to concerns about concussions.”3  Decreased participation in football takes away kids interest in football, which then takes away money from the NFL. Less money equal more unhappy owners and NFL executives.
With no scientific evidence currently available showing that Heads Up Football can make the game more safe, there is no way to know if this is a scheme to make money or if it is actually beneficial. Heads Up Football is taking the youth football nation by storm and only time will tell what their intentions really are.
1 Press, A. (2012, August 15). Heads Up Football Launched. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
2 Fainaru, S., & Fainaru-Wada, M. (2014, January 13). Questions About Heads Up Tackling. Retrieved April 20, 2015.

Sports Psychology: Arousal Regulation

Arousal regulation refers to entering into and maintaining an optimal level of cognitive and physiological activation in order to maximize performance. This is the ability to control levels of activation or relaxation and how one manages competitive stress. Arousal regulation helps a coach and player know where an athlete is most comfortable..
Brian Cain states, “many players arrive at practice with what I call cloudy minds. They are thinking about schoolwork, their social lives, or the latest tunes they want to download. But for the next two hours of practice you don't want them thinking about the past or the future, just the present1.” For baseball and softball players, it is important to be able to block out distractions that can hinder their mental focus.. As a coach it is good to study your players and know what level of arousal each player can give the best performance in.  Bombardier states that, “Athletes that can 'act as if' have a much better chance at performing at or near their best than those who act as how they feel2.” Whether it is a high level of arousal or low level of arousal as a coach you should know if the athlete is playing at the level they should be. For the athlete, controlling their arousal regulation helps them know if they are ready to go or not and gives the athlete a chance to know what they have to do to get ready for the performance they are about to give.
Being able to grasp the aspect of sport psychology is a very big deal, especially being a player. Players you go through so many different situations during games that they may not handle the right way or even know how to handle them at all. By learning how to take control of each situation that arises gives players an upper hand on your opponents and lets them keep the control of their own mental game.

1Cain, B. (2012). Practice makes perfect: Getting players to focus will help your team get the most out of its practice time, here’s how to make it happen. 27-31.
2Bombardier, M. (n.d.). Ultimate fighting has many similar mental hurdles. Special to collegiate baseball. 1.



Costochondritis is a poorly understood, self-limiting condition that is more common in women, and generally presents pain and tenderness on the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum, without swelling.2 Pain caused by costochondritis might mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions. Costochondritis usually has no apparent cause. Treatment focuses on easing your pain while you wait for the condition to improve on its own, which can take several weeks or longer.1

Ribs consist of bone and cartilage, with cartilage serving as an elastic bridge between the bony portion of the rib and the sternum.1 Anteriorly, the costal cartilage of the first rib connects with the manubrium via a rigid fusion of bone and cartilage. The next seven pairs of ribs articulate with the sternum via cartilage at synovial-lined joints.1 Ribs eight through 10 attach in front to the cartilaginous portion of the rib above them and often have synovial-lined interchondral articulations.1 The lowest two ribs do not articulate with any structure anteriorly.The ribs move with respiration and with truncal motion or movement of the upper extremities.1

Who does it affect?

Costochondritis can affect any person. A study of chest pain in an outpatient adolescent clinic found that 31 percent of adolescents had musculoskeletal causes, with costochondritis accounting for 14 percent of adolescent patients with chest pain.1 Costochondritis is a common diagnosis in adults with acute chest pain and is seen quite often in athletes who stress the costochondral joint, such as, swimming and rowing.1


The primary symptom of costochondritis is chest wall pain of varying in intensity, typically described as sharp, aching, or pressure-like.1 The pain can worsen by upper body movement, deep breathing, and exertional activities. History of an illness with coughing or sneezing can be present. The second to fifth costochondral joints are most often affected, especially ribs three and four, but any of the seven costochondral junctions can be involved.1 Pain can be noted at more than one location, but most often is unilateral and can be reciprocated by palpation.


Treatment is usually directed at pain relief with anti-inflammatory drugs. Applying heat with compresses or heating pads can help, particularly in the case of muscle overuse. Minimizing activities that provoke the symptoms.1 Other conservative treatments such as spinal manipulative therapy, Active Release Techniques therapy, and rehabilitative exercises, have also been used in the treatment of chronic costochondritis in athletes.2


1 Proulx, A. (2009, September 15). Costochondritis: Diagnosis and Treatment. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from

2 Cubos, J., Cubos, A., & Di Stefano, F. (2010). Chronic costochondritis in an adolescent    competitive swimmer: a case report. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 54(4), 271–275.

Voodoo Bands for Mobility and Recovery

This new mobility tool called Voodoo Bands is relatively new to the fitness world. From personal experience I can tell you that this tool has helped me improve my mobility, and helped improve my performance. So what is this new mobility tool? Voodoo Bands are two rubber bands that are about seven feet in length and about two inches wide, that an athletes wraps and compresses the injured or hindered body part.
Image result for <free to user share> voodoo bands
The basic principle is that in healthy tissues, tendons, ligaments, fascia and muscles slide against one another freely. In tissues that have been inflamed by injury or by chronic misuse/underuse/overuse, the connective tissues tend to mat together somewhat. This limits range of motion and can cause a little to a lot of pain, depending on how bad and where.2 So what do the Voodoo Bands do? Voodoo Bands help break up intramuscular junk to allow for greater mobility and blood supply to the area. By squeezing the muscle in a tight wrap then forcing it through ROM, friction between muscle fibers helps break up fuzz, scar tissue, lactic acid and other junk in those tiny places that foam rolling and lacrosse ball techniques can’t address.1 When you release the band, a rush of blood washes through the muscle not only bringing it nutrients for growth and healing but also clearing out all that junk you just broke up. This is also true for injury recovery and can be used to aid the healing of strained tissue.1
Voodoo Bands are not a magical cure to any injury, but they can help an athlete recover from injury and improve mobility. Attached below are a few videos on Voodoo bands to help you see how they work.


  1. Atomic Nerds. (2012, May 21). Retrieved April 24, 2015, from
  2. Vieux, M. (2013, March 20). Voodoo Floss for One and All! Retrieved April 24, 2015, from

Types of Stretches

When it comes to stretching there are several different types. They are all used for something different but some of them can be used for the same thing. Stretching is an exercise technique people can use to gain flexibility and range of motion in their joints. There are three types that are going to be discussed.

The first type is ballistic stretching. Ballistic stretching is when the body or limb bounces into the stretch position.1 This kind of stretching isn’t used very often. It can be harmful if used improperly. An example is when you do a side lunge and bounce up and down trying to get lower and lower with each bounce.

The second type is dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is when someone gradually increases their range of motion through movements. This type of stretch is used before activity and is most beneficial.2 Athletes and people getting ready to workout should do some type of dynamic stretch beforehand. An example of dynamic stretching would be leg sings or arm swings done at a slow and controlled rate.

The third type of stretching is static stretching. This is the type of stretching that everyone thinks of when they think of stretching. This type of stretching is when a muscle is put at its end range of motion and held for a period of time.1 There is two types of static stretching, active and passive. Active is when the person stretches themselves. An example would be bending down and touching the toes. Passive is when someone stretches someone else. An example of this would be when an athletic trainer stretches an athlete’s hamstring by picking up their leg and holding it at its end range of motion. This is not good to do before activity because it tears muscle fibers and does not allow the muscle to “warm up.”

These three types of stretches are the most used and the most talked about. Dynamic and static stretching are used almost all of the time in the athletic training room. We have to know about ballistic stretching and how dangerous it can be to our athletes so we don’t hurt them. Stretching is something that is used for good but used in the wrong manner can be hurtful.


1Types of Stretching. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2015, from

2Types of stretches. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2015, from