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You are in Control!
It is important to remember that you are ultimately responsible for your own health. Doctors, specialists, trainers, and so called experts can only guide you to your goal. You must take on the responsibility to become, and stay, healthy through exercise & the way you eat. Take small steps, graduate slowly, and reward yourself regularly. Be patient. To see changes in your body takes time.
To decrease pain and increase health, a balanced program of fitness needs to be achieved. Cardio exercise, flexibility, strength, endurance, hobbies, sleeping and eating habits are all part of achieving your goals. Attention to postural changes and the control of daily stress is a good start. Remember, if you keep doing what you are doing, your body is going to keep responding the way it is responding.
Stay positive and keep smiling!
Increasing ones lean body mass ie: decreasing ones percentage body fat, is more complex than simple weight loss. Body fat does not just end up in your thighs, belly or face, it also builds up around all your organs and muscles. The leaner your muscle tissue becomes, the less stress it puts on the heart and joints. Muscles then do not need to work as hard to do their job and energy is spent more efficiently. It is important to realise that muscle weighs more than fat and has a higher Basal Metabolic Rate, therefore, as you continue to exercise you may not notice drastic changes on the scales but your body will be functioning more efficiently and will be healthier for it.
In order to decrease your percentage body fat it is important to find out your ‘Optimal Fat Burning Rate’ (OFBR). This will enable you to perform cardio training at your anaerobic threshold. This is the level of work that allows you to burn fat most efficiently during your workout. The OFBR can be calculated by your rehab care provider and the results from this test will tell you how long and how hard you can push yourself safely.
Most people breath into their upper chest. This is termed “paradoxical” breathing. Proper breathing is abdominal breathing, which uses the diaphragm to bring air into the lower lung fields.
To perform, lay on your back, place one hand on top of the other over your belly button. As you inhale, allow the air to enter your lower lung fields. Your belly should rise up first and higher than your chest. As you exhale relax the stomach muscles and repeat.
Performing this alone can help alleviate discomfort in the upper back, lower back and neck areas.
Abdominal hollowing is simply the exhale position of abdominal breathing taken one step further.
As you continue to fully exhale, suck in your lower abdominal muscles (belly button) toward the spine to the point of tightness. As you force air out, you should feel the muscles below the belly button get tight. Practice holding your lower abdominals tight while you breath.
Abdominal hollowing should be performed throughout your activities of daily living. When lifting groceries, children, or shovelling, as well as when getting out of bed in the morning and rising from a seated position, suck in the abdominals in order to stabilize and protect your lower back.
There are three phases the body goes through to heal any injury.
The first phase is simply INFLAMMATION and occurs within the first 48-72 hour post injury. During this phase the most important thing to do is control the inflammation, usually by using ICE, and avoid further irritation to the area. Sometimes immobilization with a brace is necessary.
The second phase of healing, up until 6 weeks post injury, is when your body begins to REPAIR AND REGENERATE. This is when scar tissue formation occurs. Our muscles and organs are covered with a material much like plastic wrap, that’s called fascia. When injured, the scar tissue turns this area of ‘plastic wrap’ into a material much like ‘wax paper’, inflexible and without circulation. This will cause a weak spot in the tissue that was injured allowing the margin of ‘plastic wrap’ and ‘wax paper’ to be injured again or torn more easily unless it is knitted together properly from the beginning. The most important thing to do during this phase is gentle, pain free range of motion exercises and stretching. By starting motion as early as possible we can stop the scar from becoming too large, and allow the tissue it is healing to regain its flexibility and strength.
The third phase of healing, which can take up to 12 months, is when the tissues REMODEL AND MATURE. The only way that the body can complete this healing process is by the performance of specific exercises prescribed for your individual needs. Exercises geared toward building strength and endurance through safe ranges of joint motion will enable the body to heal with strength, balance and stability and be less prone to re- injury.