What would you say if you found out there were legitimate reasons why your exercise program was failing to give you the results you desired? There are five nervous system related issues that could be hindering your muscle strengthening and injury prevention efforts.
The brain communicates with every part of your body via nerves. This includes muscles, joints and various aspects of your skin. These nerves run to/from the brain, go down the spinal cord, and then branch off to each and every part of the body. If anything along this path is disrupted, the nervous system communication with the muscles, joints and skin is compromised. This means your muscles will not contract as efficiently as possible!
Here are 5 nervous system related issues that could be preventing YOU from activating the optimum number of muscle fibers each time you exercise:
1. Reduced sensitivity of joint receptors. This can impair feedback from the "end-point"(muscles) to the brain.
2. Muscles imbalances. This can result in POOR movement patterns.
3. Insufficient rest periods. Not resting enough (or resting too much) between sets can adversely affect recovery.
4. Poor coordination due to a lack of balance. This results in further muscle imbalances.
5. Impaired circulation. Nerves have their own circulation too. If this circulation becomes limited, the communication between muscles and nerves is negatively impacted.
Mind Over Muscle - Get Your Control Back!
The nervous system controls all the muscles of the body. Unfortunately, the mind-muscle link tends to weaken over a period of time unless you challenge your muscles on a consistent basis.
Here are 5 solutions to regain control of your muscles:
• Nurture the right mindset for exercise. Don't set yourself up for failure. The right amount of concentration helps optimize the results from your exercise routine.
• Move in functional directions. This means multi-dimensional, or 3-D movements. Remember to mix it up!
• Improve coordination by challenging yourself with new exercises. Every new exercise or movement pattern demands new pathways of "communication" between nerves and muscles. The greater the variety, the better it is for your muscles.
• Challenge your balance with core stabilization techniques. Ask your physical therapist to teach you the best exercises to improve your core stability.
• Optimize your rest period between exercises. The right amount of rest between exercises can help optimize muscle recovery. To determine the correct amount of rest in your therapeutic exercise regimen, give us a call.
Interval Training Can Boost Muscle Activation
What is interval training?
Interval training is a type of exercise training in which you alternate between various intensities of exercise in a single session; switching back and forth between a high intensity phase and a low intensity phase.
An example of this is an exercise session in which an intense phase of exercise like weight training is alternated with a period of walking on the treadmill.
The idea is to challenge muscles in an unpredictable manner and keep the body "guessing" about what's coming next.
Mixing up different components of your exercise routine (intensity, duration, frequency and type of muscles recruited) boosts the mind-muscle connection.
To find out more about how physical therapy can help you reach your goals, increase strength and reduce pain, get in touch with one of our highly qualified physical therapists.
It is hard to put into words the experience of Sunday's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. As I think about all the people that were represented there (and that was just in Maryland), I realize there are so many people affected by Breast Cancer and I am not alone. But as I reflect on the sacrifice of all the family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors that came all the way up to Hunt Valley before dawn to support our family, I am truly humbled by the fact that they want to be sure I know that I am not alone. It was without a doubt one of the highlights of my journey, if not a highlight of my entire life.
In the end, Kara's Krew was made up of 49 members and we raised $5,845.00. Come to find out if we had raised $5,000.00 before a certain date, we would have been able to have our own designated tailgate area. So, I guess we have a goal for ourselves for next year! The morning was not without its complications with an accident on I-83 that shut down the highway and kept a few of our team members from making it to the race in time. However, considering the huge numbers of people and the amazing sea of pink, Kara's Krew did a great job of finding each other. I think I was able to get a picture with almost every member of the team. Please click on the link below in order to see pictures of the day because they really tell you more than any words can say.
I will be sad to say goodbye to October and certainly miss seeing all the Breast Cancer Awareness stuff around.
- Kara Hamilton, DPT, MTC