Crossfit

As a health care provider, I constantly stress the need for exercise.

The benefits of exercise, if being done correctly, are unquestioned. If being done correctly!

In the last couple of years, a new Gym has burst on the scene called Crossfit. As Crossfit grew, news, both positive and negative, flooded the airwaves. People were loving their results, while other people were saying they were getting hurt.

I decided to visit a local Crossfit gym to learn first hand what it was all about.

I met with Robby Blanchard the owner of Crossfit Reach on Route 27 in Acton Ma. I found Robby to be knowledgeable, passionate and excited about helping people reach their fitness goals. The gym is beautiful and I was impressed at how much care Robby took in regards to teaching people about exercising the proper way.

I asked him if he write a guest post for the blog. His article is below.

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How to use CrossFit to achieve your fitness goals…in a safe and effective way. 
When it comes to fitness programs, there is no more popular and controversial program than CrossFit.  In just a few short years, CrossFit has gone from being just one small gym in California to now being a worldwide phenomenon with over 10,000 gyms.
The success of CrossFit stems from the results people see from doing the workouts.
CrossFit workouts are functional meaning they use movements that mimic things you may see in everyday life.  Sitting down in a chair? That’s a squat.  Looking to pick something heavy off of the floor? That is a deadlift. CrossFit utilizes functional training to prepare the body for everyday life. By combining these functional movements with other movements such as
With all of the success and results that people are seeing from CrossFit, there are still many concerns about injuries and getting seriously hurt from this type of training.
As the owner of CrossFit Reach in Acton, MA, I see hundreds of clients each and every day. We see clients with various backgrounds and abilities; from the world class athlete to the everyday Joe starting from scratch. Regardless of the background, our gym treats every client the same when it comes to performing CrossFit movements safely.
I firmly believe in the concept of M.C.I., or Mechanics, Consistency and Intensity.
Mechanics can be defined as how well you are performing a certain movement in CrossFit.  Mechanics or form, is by far the most important aspect of preventing injury.  If your form is incorrect, you greatly increase the chances of getting hurt.  When you first start to CrossFit, it is best to forget about how much weight you are lifting, leave your ego at the door and work towards perfecting your form.
Consistency builds on the Mechanics.  Now that you have proper form down, now you need to be able to do this consistently.  Consistency also refers to attending classes and working out regularly as well.  Here at CrossFit Reach we recommend a minimum of 3 days per week to start. If you are coming just once or twice a week, this increases the chances of getting injured. Start on a 3 day per week regiment and gradually build from there.
Intensity is the last step on the journey. Your mechanics are good and you are able to be consistent in both your form and your workout routine.  Once the first two are mastered then we can add in the Intensity. This can be in several different shapes such as how much weight you are lifting or how fast your are doing a movement.  It is important to increase intensity to continue to see results, just as long as you are not sacrificing the mechanics and consistency.
When done properly, CrossFit can be one of the most effective workout routines that you can do at any age.  Above all it is important to leave your ego at the door and do not be a hero. Start small, be consistent and progress at your own pace.  Fitness is a journey and not a destination, a marathon and not a sprint. If you follow these principles, you will be very satisfied with the results!
Robby Blanchard, BS, MBA, CPT
Owner/CrossFit Reach

 

Children Training for Sports

RemembeEarly Youth Specialization in Sportsr when you were growing up and you went outside to play, relatively unsupervised (Gasp!)?

In the spring you played baseball, the summer you swam, the fall you’d play two hand touch/tackle football and in the winter you would skate when the ponds froze. There were no adults, refs or scoreboards. There was trash talking, competition, and most of all fun. I still remember fondly the touchdown catch I had on Kimball St. in Quincy to beat the kids from White St.

Let’s just say it is not like that anymore.

The Boston Globe ran an article in which they covered a gym that specializes in training young athletes for the sport(s) of their choice. At first I thought they were talking about teens, however, as I read on I discovered they were talking about kids as young as ten. Ten!

For the longest time, the thought was exercising before puberty would stunt growth by closing the growth plates earlier than they should. New research suggests that exercising at a young age, if done responsibly, is actually good for bone growth.

Now look, we are not talking about having kids bench press 200 pounds or squat 300 pounds.

We are talking about having kids exercise with body weight. If they do graduate to using weights, then the weight is kept low while the reps are high.

Now with all of this comes the one worry: Further specialization in sports at a younger and younger age.

Recently there was an excellent graphic that showed the breakdown of Ohio State’s football recruits. Of the 47 recruits 5 played only football in high school. 42 were multi-sport athletes!

Why am I writing about this?

Overuse injuries.

Every day I am seeing more and more kids with spines and complaints similar to those of someone 20-30 years their superior. It is not unusual for kids to come and see me with back pain, neck pain, headaches, or various joint pains. Many of these kids are playing one sport sometimes up to 6 days per week for 40-50 weeks a year.

Each year 3.5 million kids under the age of 14 are treated for sports injuries with more than half being treated for overuse. The sad part is that the number of overuse injuries is on the rise, while the average age is on the decline. In the past 10 years there has been a 5 fold increase in shoulder and elbow injuries in youth softball and baseball players alone.

As a long time hockey coach, trust me when I tell you this. Early specialization almost never pans out. The amount of burnout that I see is staggering. Latest stats claim that 70% of kids by will quit sports by the time they are 13.

As a long time chiropractor, trust me when I tell you, early specialization will age your child’s body way before it’s time.

 

Exercise and Your Heart

I read something once that said, “You can’t out exercise a bad diet.” I have to be honest, that one surprised me a bit. Growing up I was always told, as long as you exercise enough, you can pretty much eat what you want, within reason.

Recently, the director of the Boston Marathon, a runner that has run in 130 marathons and several Ironman distance triathalons, was diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

Talk about a shock. How could someone in such good condition get coronary artery disease?

It turns out that while exercise will do wonders for your weight, blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels, it may fool you and your doctor into thinking your heart is healthier than it is. Particularly if you are eating a terrible diet.

As more studies come out, there is a growing body of research that running a large amount might (key word) actually damage your heart and arteries.

James O’Keefe, a Kansas City cardiologist and ex triathlete, believes that sustained endurance exercise can damage the heart and recommends no more than 20 miles per week at a modest pace.

To say that not all cardiologists are on board with this thinking is a slight understatement.

What everyone seems to be in agreement with is; as you get older, it is imperative that you continue to get your heart and arteries checked, especially if there is a history of heart disease in your family.

 

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Keeping Your Balance

Balance through movementLet’s be honest, how often have you given your sense of balance any thought? If you are like most of us, never right?

Did you know that falling is the number one source of injuries for people over 65? Every 17 seconds someone is seen in the ER for a fall. Every 30 minutes, someone will die from injuries caused by a fall.

I have to be honest, I didn’t know that until a doctor I know brought it up.

Want to know the good news? Chiropractic helps with balance. Please let me explain.

A region of the brain, called the cerebellum, controls balance by coordinating three systems: vision, inner ear and where you sense your body is, also called propriocepetion.

It also works with the spinal cord, for as we know, the nerves control the whole body and spinal cord is where the nerves for the body originate.

What does Chiropractic influence? That’s right the spinal nerves.

If you would be interested in a case of vertigo that we helped please read our January 2014 Case of the Month.

Let’s discuss some other things you can do to improve your sense of balance.

Get Moving
As you perceive that you are getting a little shaky, people start to get nervous and become sedentary. That is the worst thing you can do.

Go for a walk in a park. Alternate between pavement, trails and grass as the different surfaces will force your muscles to work harder.

Create Unstable Surfaces
Try standing on a couple of pillows at home. Once comfortable, stand on one leg while swinging the other leg in the air.

Once that gets easy, try closing your eyes. Add in upper body in by swinging your right arm and your left leg for 15 seconds, then switch to your left arm and right leg for 15 seconds. Repeat this cycle 3 times.

Strengthen Your Core
People often mistake the core for being your abs only. Your core actually consists of you abdominal muscles, your legs, both front and back, and your low back.

If you are looking for core work a quick Google search will give you more than you could ever want. Hiring a personal trainer is never wasted money!

Yoga
It is well known that yoga can boost balance ability as it increases flexibility as well as strengthening tons of different muscles.

The key to yoga, however, is the emotional component. Studies have shown that people are more confident in their body when they have done yoga.

If you or someone you know is having a hard time with their balance, have them give me a call. We may be able to help them more than they realized.

Rotating Your Running Sneakers

JoggerI am always asking my patients that are serious runners if they change their shoes out every six months or so.

It turns out I should be asking them a different question…are you rotating between two pairs of shoes all the time?

In a groundbreaking study, researchers in Luxembourg looked at a variety of different things with shoe usage being the most interesting.The study consisted of 264 adult recreational runners.

Of the 264 runners, 116 were classified as single-shoe wearers; runners in this group did 91% of their mileage in the same shoe, and ran in an average of 1.3 pairs of shoes during the study. The other 148 were classified as multiple-shoe wearers; runners in this group tended to have a main shoe, which they wore for an average of 58% of their mileage, but they rotated among an average of 3.6 pairs of shoes for their training during the study.

After processing the data, the researchers found the shoe rotating group had 39% less injuries. 39%!!! That’s huge!

The researchers wrote that this could well be because different shoes distribute the impact forces of running differently, thereby lessening the strain on any given tissue.

When I asked some of the runners that are shoe rotators why they thought this was, they consistently echoed what the researchers thought… midsole height and midsole firmness create differences in gait components such as stride length and ground reaction time.

As the researchers put it, “the concomitant use of different pairs of running shoes will provide alternation in the running pattern and vary external and active forces  on the lower legs during running activity. Whether the reduced [injury] risk can be ascribed to alternation of different shoe characteristics, such as midsole densities, structures or geometries cannot be determined from these results and warrants future research.”

Supporting this idea of reducing injury risk by varying tissue loads, the researchers also found that runners who reported more cross-training had a lower incidence of injury.

“Multiple shoe use and participation in other sporting activities are strategies leading to a variation of external and internal loads applied to the musculoskeletal system that could have a beneficial effect on [running injuries]. Although speculative, it could be that any training paradigm that limits excess repetitions will decrease the risk of [running injuries], especially overuse injuries,” the researchers wrote.

I will add in one more thought, however, this one is mine alone and not backed up by research yet. Wearing multiple pairs of shoes allows the shoes you are wearing a longer time to dry out. This makes for a lighter shoe.

No matter what the reasons are, if you are serious about running, get yourself multiple pairs of shoes and make sure that you are rotating them consistently!

Shameless plug time…the runners who keep up with their chiropractic care tell me they run faster, further and with greater ease. If you haven’t had your spine checked in a while, drop in and we will help keep you in top running shape.

Fitness Apps

As the entire world seems to be going mobile, if you are looking to lose weight, get in better shape or keep track of your diet; do not despair. There is an app for that!

As new apps are constantly being introduced I would like to cover a few of the most popular ones when it comes to your health. Best part of all? These apps are all free!

 Jillian Michaels Fitness Motivation

If any of you have ever seen The Biggest Loser, you know that Jillian Michaels is a popular trainer with a great track record of getting people motivated to work out. Her app has easy to use videos that include stretching, calisthenics and free weights. There is also a section for running and tracking calories.

My Fitness Pal Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker

One of the cool things about this app is that it is Canadian Based. Not sure how many calories are in that Tim Horton breakfast sandwich? This app has an extensive database that you can search. This app works best when you use it as a food diary, exercise tracker and diet coach. It currently boasts a database of over 425,000 food. If you are looking to lose weight, this app will flag how many calories you have remaining in order to meet your daily goal.

7 Minute Workout by Bytesize

This app offers a high intensity workout anytime, anywhere for free! This app will have you moving with 12 30 second long exercises with 10 second breaks between them. The only requirements are you, a wall and a chair. Perfect for anyone traveling that wants to stay in shape.

 Map My Fitness

Congrats that you are out running, walking or hiking. Ever wonder how far you went? This fitness app uses your phones GPS and maps out all of your fitness activities. It can calculate distance, pace, speed, duration, elevation and more.

Sit Up Straight and Drink More Water App

OK so I haven’t created this app yet, however, I should! Poor posture is one of the underlying biggest reasons people end up in pain. Sitting too long slouched over your laptop is no way to treat your spine. And don’t even get me started with text neck! A perfect break from sitting? Walk to the water cooler and do one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself…drink water!

With all of the information available today, there really is no excuse for not working out and watching your diet. As smartphone technology gets better and better, the only thing holding you back is you.

Take some action today, and get the ball rolling!!

Winter Blues

Here in the Northeast, the days have gotten short awfully quickly.  It is not unusual to go to work in the dark and come home in the dark.  Mix that in with gray skies and no green/leaves on the trees and it is easy to slide into a funk.

Here are a couple of tips to help avoid the winter blues:

  • Accept winter for what it is and get out there and do something fun…the big thing around here is paddle…me I am dying to try curling.
  • Dress in bright colors.  Who said we have to go all drab?  Bust out the pastels, but please do us all a favor…those white pants weren’t working before Labor Day, nevermind after it…:)
  • Exercise, Exercise, Exercise…you simply can’t do enough of it.  Get out, get in, get moving.  Like to skiing, walking with snow shoes or hitting the elliptical will help fight off the blues.
  • Have friends over the house….nothing beats the blues like socializing.  Try this, get an outdoor fire pit, start a fire and invite people over to make smores…trust me there will be smiles everywhere.
  • Consider getting a chiropractic adjustment, what did you think I was going to recommend???  There are promising case studies out there linking the adjustment to better moods.

Lastly, make sure you are supplementing with Vitamin D.  The chief source of vitamin D is sunlight and when that goes away we can become deficient very quickly.

How do you fight the winter blues, please comment below.