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Readers Question: When to stretch?

In the gym, we always stretch after the lesson. I have also heard that you just have to stretch before exercising, or after warming up. What is the best?

-Merel

Mark Chen, Physiotherapist:

There is a lot of discussion about stretching. For years scientific research has been done to establish the value of stretching before, during and after training. Yet there is still little clarity about what the best way of stretching is and when it can best be done.

In addition, there are also a lot different of ways to stretch, for example static, active or dynamic. All there own strengths for different goals. So the most important question is: what do you want to achieve with the stretching?

The main reason for stretching is relaxation or restoring the resting tension of the muscle. This is often done after training because it has a soothing effect on the muscles. Especially static stretching is suitable for this. Often a light stretch is maintained for a longer period (more than 30 seconds).

To get ready for training, you can actively or dynamically stretch as warming up. This way, you prepare the muscles for a work to come.

Stretching is an important part of a complete training, but is an art in itself. Choosing the right version, maintaining good technique and breathing are all important conditions for your results. So consult your instructor or coach once and see where you can improve.

Hope that helps!

 

Mark

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Episode 4: Self testing the Front-line

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Episode 3: Recovering From Injury

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Myth Busted: Muscle vs. Fat

Pictures like the one featured perform very well in social media. They’re also a standard argument for when clients encounter a bit of a plateau when it comes to weight loss. “muscle weighs more than fat”.
Which would indicate that you’re still making progress even though it doesn’t show up on the scale.

Although it’s true that you can make progress without it being visible on the scale , the difference in size/weight is often heavily exaggerated.

In pictures like this one, it seems like fat takes up about 5 times more space than muscle in terms of size. This would mean that muscle is about 5x heavier than fat if the size is the same. But is that really true?

The mass of tissue can be expressed in a volume unit such as the cubic centimeter (cm3).  Water is 1 gram per cm3, while a muscle weighs 1.06 grams per cm3 (UrbanChecka M 2001). Fat mass has a weight of 0.9 grams per cm3 and would, therefore, stay afloat. In ascending order we would rank fat, water and finally muscle mass. Muscles are at most a fifth (20%)  heavier than fat, not 500 percent, as the picture suggests. The picture below would be a more accurate representation of the actual relationship. But that’s not as spectacular as the fake version of course  😉

 

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Readers Question: Groin Pain

I play soccer and fitness, but during training I often suffer from pain in the groin. Two years ago, my left groin was strained and I started exercising a little bit too soon. Now I have a lot of problems with my right groin during and after training. I find it very annoying during exercise, but also in daily life. Do you have tips?

-Stephan

 

Mark Chen, physiotherapist

You’re partly answering your question yourself. You started training too early. We are all bound to certain laws of nature when it comes to repairing damage in the movement system. This recovery takes place in a number of phases and is time-bound. There are a number of things you can do to speed up the recovery, but speeding it up is not possible. But slowing down is!

It seems that this happened to you. If you have suffered damage to your muscle fibers, they must fully recover before they are able to be stressed at the same level again. Especially in sports like football, where the entire lower body is heavily loaded. Starting your training too early can ensure that your injuries are maintained or worsened. Time to reduce the load and practice patience.

Visit a physiotherapist and have your groin checked. This way you can exclude that damage is still present and make an estimate for how much you can stress the area at this time. Often there are also ways to take pressure off parts of your body during activity. Think of athletic tape for example. These are the brightly colored pieces of tape that you see often nowadays, with football players, runners and even swimmers to support peak effort. Sometimes this can help you to train without your groin being constantly overloaded.

Good luck!

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Reader Question: Swimming for Arthritis ?

I have osteoarthritis throughout my body. My neck, shoulders and right hip are the worst. Which sport can I practice? I would like to swim, is this possible?
– Lida

 

Mark Chen, physiotherapist:

Osteoarthritis means that the quantity and sometimes quality of the cartilage is reduced. We also call it ‘wear-and-tear’. This is a normal phenomenon and sooner or later we will all experience it. It can cause pain symptoms but it doesn’t have to. The cartilage acts as a shock absorb-er. The joints can start to hurt if there is too much pressure on the amount of cartilage.

Swimming is therefore often an obvious choice; in the water you only weigh about 20 percent of your weight ‘on the dry’. So it is a very friendly way of moving for your joints. In addition, you also use almost all muscles while swimming. It provides a good blood circulation and improves the endurance of the strength-supplying muscles. Swimming can also ensures a quick improvement of the cardio-vascular system! Swimmers are among the fittest athletes in the sports world.

There are, however, a number of side notes to make. Posture and technique are important during swimming. Especially the neck can sometimes suffer severely. Take for example the breaststroke, which is popular with many swimmers. Take a good look and you will see many people swimming with an unnatural position of the neck. Almost as if the head is forced to be kept above water. If there is wear and tear at the vertebrae where this “kink” exists, it could cause more complaints instead of less.

The same applies to the shoulder. A considerable amount of movement is needed to make a nice stroke and sometimes osteoarthritis is accompanied by clear limitations in mobility.

Swimming is a nice and friendly sport for the body, but I recommend to look at the above factors. Any physical limitations can be picked up and possibly treated by a physiotherapist possibly in combination with a swimming instructor.

 

Good luck!

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Reader Question: Train Abs every day?

My question is about training the abdominal muscles. I train in a gym and I know that between sports I have to take a day off. But does that also apply to your abdominal muscles? Or can you train it every day?
-Damian

 

Mark Chen, physiotherapist

A certain rule applies to muscles: after a considerable training load, they need 24 to 72 (!) Hours to fully recover. This applies, in contrast to what some sources mention, for the abdominal muscles as well. When you wake up after a heavy workout with strong muscle pain, you’ll often feel and know that you need a day of rest!

The intensity of the training is the decisive factor here. You can load your abdominal muscles every day if you do not fully exhaust them, but the question is whether it is the most efficient way of training. In addition, there are numerous ways to train your abdominal muscles. I see many people doing sit ups almost exclusively, whereas in my opinion this is one of the least valuable exercises for a strong core.

The abdominal muscles are power suppliers for movements of the trunk, but they are also important stabilizers. This means that when they work well together with the back muscles, they ensure a good and strong support of the spine. So if you are working on exercises in which your whole body has to work together, like a squat or a dead lift, the abdominal muscles are also fully active. That way you can train your whole body including your abdominal muscles, without having to do sit ups! Ideal right?

 

Hope that helps,

 

Need any help on your training goals?

Contact me
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Must Watch: Anti – Hangover Remedy and much more (What I’ve Learned)

Credit goes to What I’ve learned 

His Youtube Channel is FULL of easy to understand, well animated and impact-full information regarding health and exercise.

Subscribing is highly recommended!

 

 

If you need some help on improving your health through nutrition and training, you’re always one click away

Contact me
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Mindset : Embrace the Pain

 

You should feel that little feeling in your chest
When you’re breaking out of your comfort zone
Or dealing with success barriers
You should be seeking out those moments
And that’s what causes progress

If I don’t feel that, I feel dead inside
Because guess what, that’s what changes you
The stuff that emotionally traumatizes you
That’s what changes you internally

You can either view it in a negative , traumatic way
And you can experience it in a positive, euphoric way
That’s also when you feel the most alive
The choice is there.

Credit: Julien Himself (RSD)