Text Neck No More

By: Hannah Anderson

Do you often find yourself bent or hunched over looking at your phone, tablet, or wireless devices? Are you starting to notice a back neck hump? Do you want to help reverse the problem area? By using some of the exercises and stretches it can be achieved.

This hump is termed Dowager’s Hump, or kyphosis. It is usually caused by weakened upper back muscles. It typically is weakened due to poor posture causing extra weight to pull on the back which leads to the weakening of the muscles. This is easily reversible if it is corrected now, but later down the road it will not be easy to reverse. Exercise, stretches, correcting the way you sit, and controlling how you look at your smart devices can all lead to decreasing the appearance of your hump, and in most cases, it will go away completely. Here are some examples of what can help you say thank you next to the hump.

Wall angels are fairly easy but are still one of the best posture exercises one can do. Start either standing with about 8 inches from the wall slightly squatted or sitting. Then form the entire posterior portion of the body against a wall. The head, glutes, and shoulders should all be touching the wall. The back should be completely flat against the wall. Bring arms complete over the head trying to keep hands intact with the wall. The arms should start in a “V” position with arms completely extended overhead, and then slide where hands are just above the shoulders creating a “W” position. The process should be repeated 8 to 10 times. It should be stopped if pain is felt. This exercise can also be used in the “I, Y, T, L” method.

Another simple but effective workout is chin tucks. Start with the head looking straight ahead, place your finger on the chin, and then pull the chin back. Do not move your finger. Come back to the starting position bringing the chin to the finger. Repeat 8-10 times.

A stretch that will help is finding a corner, placing hands on each wall, leaning forward until you feel tightness in chest and shoulders are pushed back together. Hold for about 30 seconds then extend your arms. Repeat 2 to 3 times.

There are many exercises and stretches that can be used to treat or prevent a Dowager’s Hump. Some of them are shoulder shrugs, upright rows, cat/cow yoga poses, doorway pec stretch, and any strength exercises that strengthen the upper back muscles, chest, and core.

The hump will not be dumped overnight. The best part is that you can do exercises at home to help reduce the neck hump. However, there is not a quick fix. It will take time, consistency, and hard work to correct the hump. Pay attention to your posture throughout the whole day, especially when sitting. When looking at your phone, hold it parallel to your head instead of holding the device down. Sometimes just by making your elbows touch your chair before the back does while keeping the head straight up in line with the spine can help tremendously.

References

Attend to posture and body mechanics to prevent dowager’s hump: Avoid hunching forward and use proper body mechanics to prevent curvature of the spine in your upper back. (2016). Women’s Health Advisor (Stratford, Conn.), 20(11), 5.

Images:

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/woman-symptom-buffalo-hump-illustration-1501376516

https://www.dreamstime.com/wall-angels-sport-exersice-silhouettes-woman-doing-exercise-workout-training-wall-angels-sport-exersice-silhouettes-woman-image137352255

Saddle Up!

by: Zoey Workman

Do you want to go to a workout class that feels like a giant dance party? Then try a spin class. You will get the best cardio in 45 minutes because you are working out your entire body. You might be asking yourself, what exactly is a spin class? It is a high-intensity indoor cycling workout that is on a stationary bike, meaning your legs are always moving. There is a resistance knob that allows your increase the intensity and how heavy you are pedaling (Alex Morris). The goal is to ride to the beat of the music and follow the instructor’s choreography. The class starts out by doing a warmup in the saddle, the seat, with no resistance. During this warmup the instructor can have you do a variety of things such as arm presses or just have your arms on the handlebars. Once the warmup is done, the intensity is about to go up. You will be in the saddle, then out, hoovering over the seat all while doing some type of arm choreography. However, the best part about spin is that you are going at your own pace and comfort level. It can be intimidating being around other people who are on beat but, everyone starts somewhere. The benefits? You will be drenched in sweat from: doing intense cardio, increasing resistance to push yourself to pedal with more force, and do an arm tract such as bicep curls with weights.  The best thing is that it is not a competition or a race with anyone else, but you can compete with yourself within each class.

HOW TO RIDE:

Yoga Today, Yoga Tomorrow

by: Jacy Leone

Think z-e-n. Relax the mind and body and become one with yourself. What is yoga? Yoga is a mind and body practice that uses various styles of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation and relaxation. Yoga can help promote not only physical health but mental health as well.

Practicing yoga has many health benefits for the body and the mind. With the relaxation techniques and physical postures of yoga, yoga can help lessen chronic pain, arthritis, headaches, and lower blood pressure (AOA, 2022). Yoga can also increase flexibility, strengthen muscle, improve respiration and energy levels, and improve cardiac and circulatory health.

One of the best benefits from yoga is the improvement of mental health. One can use yoga to help manage the mental and physical aspects of stress. Stress can wreak havoc on the mind and the body and can have lasting effects. The breathing techniques and meditation of yoga can help improve a person’s mental health. Yoga helps relax the mind, relieve chronic pain, improve mental clarity, and improve overall health (AOA, 2022).

Here are a few simple yet effective yoga poses:

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/set-slim-sportive-young-woman-doing- 1556386601

 

References

 Benefits of yoga. American Osteopathic Association. (2022). Retrieved April 7, 2022, from https://osteopathic.org/what-is-osteopathic-medicine/benefits-of-yoga/

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/set-slim-sportive-young-woman-doing- 1556386601

Bench Press Benefits and How to

By: Maynard Smith

Bench press is one of the more commonly performed lifts, and there are multiple reasons for that. The primary reason for this is how much the bench press benefits the lifter. Bench press is a core exercise which means the lift works multiple different muscle groups. The main muscles worked are pec major, pec minor, serratus anterior, delts and triceps. Do to bench press activating varies muscle groups, this lift helps increase strength and bone health of the upper body, making this lift a very popular lift amongst athletes.

Now that we’ve talked about the benefits of bench press lets talk about how to perform a proper bench press. First the lifter is going to lie flat on their back on the bench. Next, grip the bar with hands just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart (there should be a line on the barbell indicating an estimation of where the lifter hands should go). This helps so that when the lifter is at the bottom of the lift their hands are above their elbows maximizing force generation.

https://www.pexels.com/

Bring the bar slowly down to your chest as you breathe in. Push up as you breathe out, gripping the bar hard (applying pressure inward with your hands can help increase the benefits of the lift) and watching a spot on the ceiling rather than the bar, so you can ensure it travels the same path every time to ensure the muscles are being properly worked.

 

https://www.pexels.com/

Now that we have discussed the benefits and proper form of bench press, individuals pursuing physical activity can hopefully use this information to increase their strength health and knowledge in the gym.

 

 

 

 

References

“11 Undeniable Benefits of the Bench Press.” BarBend, 19 Oct. 2018, https://barbend.com/11-undeniable-benefits-of-bench-pressing/.

“Read up on These 9 Proven Benefits of the Bench Press.” BarBend, 22 Sept. 2021, https://barbend.com/benefits-of-bench-press/.

Snape, Joel, and Nick Harris-Fry. “How to Master the Bench Press.” Coachmaguk, Coach, 12 July 2021, https://www.coachmag.co.uk/exercises/chest-exercises/186/bench-press-technique-tips.

Keywords: Bench Press, Sports, Health

Medication or Dedication?

by: Alexis Roe

Can we prevent depression by becoming more physically active? Recent studies suggest that physical activity is as beneficial as other forms of treatment (psychological and pharma-cological) for depression in older adults.

Current meta-analytic reviews show that physical activity reduces both clinical depression and the experience of a depressed mood. In a study of clinically depressed older adults, physical activity was found to be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, psychodynamic therapy, and cognitive therapy for treating depression. Overall, research as a whole suggests that physical activity plays an anti-depressant role in older adults. However, the treatment of depression is just one benefit of exercising. For more information about exercise benefits, check out the infographic!

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BENEFITS INFOGRAPHIC

References

Chodzko-Zajko, W. (Ed). (2014). ACSM’s exercise for older adults. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.

Picture retrieved from: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.guideposts.org%2Fbetter-living%2Fhealth-and-wellness%2Fliving-longer-living-better%2Fjust-this-much-exercise-could-help-you&psig=AOvVaw1jz3szaL9NrHzCPlgNU6Xz&ust=1646770971916000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAsQjRxqFwoTCID-o4fqtPYCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

Does Depth Matter?

by: Regan Colley

Social Media has become one of the most influential fitness. With quick and easy access to fitness “information” or “trends”, individuals can get numerous ideas and apply them to their fitness routines. While this can be helpful, it can also be harmful. One of the most recent trends that is sweeping the internet is on a popular video streaming application properly used to post short videos for comedy or informational purposes. The most recent trend that has been spreading is the trend of individuals comparing their “squat depth”. The trend is spreading the idea that if an individual’s squat depth does not exceed the squat rack safety bar, then it is not valid. For example, on most videos, the commenters say that “if the squatter’s butt is not touching the ground, the rep is not valid” or even “that the rep is not completed if the squatter does not squat below the squat safety rack”. These comments are not accurate and ignore the fact that exercise programming should take an individualized approach.. When doing a proper squat, proper form should take priority over squat depth and squat depth will depend on the goals, abilities and limitations of that specific individual.

An individual must have proper form, this is due to the fact that when an individual does not have proper form, they are at a higher risk for lower back injuries due to improper kinetics such as lumber shear forces with lumbar flexion (Schoenfeld et al. 2010). When an individual does not have proper form and does not maintain a upper trunk parallel or neutral lower back position, it can cause the individual to have what is commonly referred to as a “butt wink” and can cause excess pressure on the lumbar portion of the spine and on the intervertebral disks which can lead to injury.

Picture from:

Comment corriger le Butt Wink et améliorer la posture du squat ? (wodnews.com)

In order to combat potential risks to this trend, individuals should do simple exercises in order to improve form and decrease injury risk to themselves. These exercises can be done at home and are simple and effective to improving overall form when performing an overhead squat (Cruz 2022). The first exercise that individuals can perform what is called a “Hip Hinge”. Individuals can perform this in order to feel the basics of what proper squat position is while also correcting the twinging of  the lower back or the “butt wink” and even arching the lower back. The second exercise is called a “Hip Bridge with a Resistance Band”. The purpose of this exercise is to establish gluteal activation in order to correct lumbar positioning (Cruz 2022). Both of these exercises can help individuals with their form, and extend their knowledge and decrease injury risk from improper form. Ultimately, it is vital individuals are knowledgeable about what proper form is when performing any exercise, especially with exercises that utilize weights with it because when individuals follow instant trends they can be more susceptible to serious injuries such as lower back injuries.

References

David Cruz, D. C. (n.d.). Squat form – what does it tell us? part 2. NASM. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from https://blog.nasm.org/newletter/squat-form-tell-us-part-2

Schoenfeld, B. 2010. Squatting Kinematics and Kinetics and Their Application to Exercise            Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 24(12):3497-3506.

David Cruz, D. C. (n.d.). Squat form – what does it tell us? part 1. NASM. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from https://blog.nasm.org/newletter/squat-form

 

Deadlift 101

By: Sarah Knox

The Conventional Deadlift, an exercise known by many, when done correctly can completely transform your physique.  Deadlifts are an underrated exercise that emphasize the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and lower back) but can benefit the entire body. Because the deadlift demands engagement from all muscle groups, deadlifting consistently can aide in strengthening other lifts such as bench, squat, overhead press, and lunges. Prioritizing technique is crucial to reaping the benefits of deadlifting. To begin deadlifting consistently, you can incorporate exercises like superman, good mornings, and back extensions to train your body to lift the bar effectively and correctly under load. A limiting factor to beginning deadlifts is lower back strength, not because the lower back lifts the weight, but because there usually is a muscular imbalance to the antagonist muscles, the abdominals. Most know to train the abdominals but do not know that there are a series of muscles that encapsulate the spine that do not receive as much attention. Incorporating these exercises will elevate your experience during deadlift as well as protecting your lower back from potential injury.

Image Link: https://www.boomfit.com/en/blog/deadlift-most-common-mistakes-b42.html

HOW TO: Begin with feet shoulder width apart facing the barbell. There should be a soft bend in the knee before you reach down for the bar. As you reach down, you will bend the knees and hinge the hips back. You would want to think about closing a door with your rear end.  Shoulder blades will be activated by bringing the shoulders to the ears like a shrug, pushing the chest out and pulling the shoulder blades back, and then “locking the lats” in place by pushing the shoulders down. Address the bar by gripping the knurling (the rough grip on the bar) just outside of where your shins are on the bar. Inhale deeply, then exhale and contract the abdominals. Your head should be in line with the spine; look forward but not up. From here act like you want to push the floor away from you. Viola, you have completed a deadlift.

References

Stiefel, S. (2006, 04). BACK FROM THE DEAD. Joe Weider’s Muscle & Fitness, 67, 78. Retrieved from https://libproxy.uco.edu/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/magazines/back-dead/docview/216375801/se-2?accountid=14516

Can Time of Day Affect Your Workout Performance?

by: Reagan Crichton

We all know the benefits of exercises and how good it is for us, but have you ever sat back and thought that you could be getting more benefits if you workout at a different time? Yes, you will always benefit from the physical activity and exercise you are participating in. There have been studies done that can suggest working out at night has added benefits and can help you reach peak performance during activity. However, there have been other studies conducted that suggest that it just depends on person to person, and it can rely on their genetics and habits. (Gorski, 2015)

Working out at night has been looked at as having an added benefit because as the day goes on your body typically relaxes allowing muscle power to increase the later it gets. Your muscle power increases at the end of the day because you become more relaxed resulting in lower blood pressure, heart rate, and even body temperature.  Some have found that working out in the latter half of the day can also help you sleep better at night, while others have shown it has been linked to an inability to fall asleep. With all that being said working out at any time will benefit you, there have just been “proven” added benefits to performing at a later time. 

File:Runners – Dodicesima Legnano Night Run, 09-09-2016 Piazza Giuseppe Frua, Legnano MI.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

When the other study was conducted it suggested that it depends on person to person when it comes to looking at time and working out, which is also true. You cannot make a night owl an early bird, and you cannot make an early bird a night owl. It is not simple but there are ways to train your body to adapt to your workout times. Dr. Philip Skiba is the regional director of sports medicine at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, and he suggested you just need to train your body clock to perform at its peak performance according to the schedule you are on. (Gorski, 2015)  Even though you can see difference when you change your performance time, you should not force your body to adapt to a schedule that it is not meant to run on. If mornings are when you feel your best and most motivated continue performing in the morning, and if it’s 1 o’clock in the afternoon then keep that going as well! 

Reference

Time of day could impact athletes’ performance peak. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2021, from https://www.insidescience.org/news/time-day-could-impact-athletes-performance-peak

File:Runners – Dodicesima Legnano Night Run, 09-09-2016 Piazza Giuseppe Frua, Legnano MI.jpg – Wikimedia Commons