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Learn how to keep your shoulders healthy in Mike’s article, “Graceful Shoulder Aging”. Jeff Tirrell gives some practical advice on how to train, and Mike explains the importance of changing your fitness routine.

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Standing Desk Exercise Rx

Work Station Transition Training

As a physical therapist making his living taking care of people with pain problems and physical limitations caused by prolonged sitting, I am an avid promoter of standing desks.  Over the last five years, the prices of standing desk products have come down and the variety has increased.  Manufacturers now permit a 30 day “no risk” trial.  Try a standing desk for thirty days and then ship it back if it does not meet your needs.  I encourage anyone who must sit for more than five hours a day to convert some of those sitting hours to a stand up desk.  Employers are now aware of the benefit of standing desks and actively encouraging their use.  It can take some time to become accustomed to working at a standing desk.  I have three training tools that can help make working at a standing desk easier.  Read this article and watch the video for a demonstration of how to use each product.

Foot Care With a Spiky Ball

The bottom of the foot is a busy intersection of muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves.  Heel and plantar pain are common reasons we see patients in the physical therapy clinic.  Foot pain problems can take months to fully recover.  A little proactive soft tissue treatment will bulletproof the feet from overuse injury and pain.   A spiky ball is a small sphere with fairly aggressive projections.  Take off your shoes and give your peds a little love by rolling the bottom of your foot over a spiky ball.  Spiky balls come in various sizes and resistances.  I have found the smaller (2 ½ – 3 inch) and firmer models work the best for my foot.  Most people report that it “hurts good” and often get one for work and one for the home office.  Most spiky balls cost around seven dollars.

Posture Correction With Resistance Bands

If you have been a long-term seated data input warrior, you have probably been infected with the i-hunch virus.  As we get older, the muscles that hold the thoracic region tall and pull the shoulder blades back tend to get weaker at a faster rate than other muscles.  Prolonged standing is going to be challenging without some remedial rebooting of the software that holds you tight and tall.  I keep a ¼ inch superband (nine dollars from performbetter.com) at my desk and perform two upper body postural strengthening exercises.  Posture restoration takes some time so work on these drills every day for at least three months.

Band Pull Aparts

Choose a resistance band that allows you to perform a complete set without reaching failure.  The force produced by the band becomes greater as you travel through the movement so avoid a band with a strong resistance.   The tempo of the movement should stay smooth and steady.

Stand tall with the chest proud and the head pulled back.  Do not arch the upper back.  Tighten the abdominal muscle and keep the front of the rib cage down.  Hold the elbows fully extended and the wrist in neutral.  You can use either a palms up or a palms down arm position.  Individuals with some shoulder wear and tear may feel better with a palms up position.  Hold the arms up to 85 degree shoulder flexion and start with a low level of tension on the band.  Concentrate your efforts on the muscles between your shoulder blades as you pull the band apart and bring the hands out to the side.  Let the band stretch across the chest and pull the hands behind the body.  Tempo: Two counts- pull the band apart. Two counts- hold at end range. Two counts- return to the starting position.   Repetitions:  10 – 20 repetitions.

Postural Band Aid

One of the most convenient and easy to perform postural correction activities is an exercise I call the postural band aid.  Take a short length of therapy resistance band and stand up.  Assume a tall posture with a proud chest and the head pulled back.  Hold one side of the band in each hand with the palms up.  Keep the elbows by the side and bent to 90 degrees.  Pull the band apart so that your arms form a letter W with your arms and body.  You should feel a tightening of the muscle between your shoulder blades.  Hold the band apart for three counts and then slowly release back to the starting position.  Perform ten repetitions.

Dynamic Core Stability With Dynamax Medicine Ball

Physical therapy patients and fitness clients often complain of lower back fatigue when using a standing desk.  Solve this problem with some dynamic stabilization training.  Place a Dynamax medicine ball or an under inflated basketball under the desk and take turns elevating one leg up onto the ball.  The round ball creates a degree of instability that kicks in the stabilizers of the pelvic girdle and lower back.  Changing position and relieving stress on the joints in the pelvic girdle and lumbar spine can help abolish symptoms of fatigue.  It is one of the reasons your local saloon has a place to rest your foot when you belly up to the bar.  The majority of standing desk users report an improvement in symptoms using this simple alteration in stance.

Watch the video here

Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS

 

Eight Habits for Long Term Fitness Success–#8 Embrace the Suck

There are thousands of different workout programs and methods to use to become more fit.  These range from at home workout videos, to aerobic or yoga classes, to bootcamps and group functional training workouts.  Methods, benefits, and risks/drawbacks could be debated until our last breath and often are among fitness professionals.  One thing I’ve come to learn in my twenty years in this industry is that dogmatic approaches rarely pan out, and you are better off steering clear of anything or anyone who claims any one method of training is optimal and a cure all for everyone under every circumstance.  However, I do believe that there are some universal habits that will vastly improve someone’s fitness.  For the sake of this article, I will stick with habits which only involve movement, with an understanding that nutrition, rest, recovery, stress management, and body weight all impact fitness as well.

To know what habits will best improve long term fitness, we must first define the term.  There are three definitions of fitness. The first (and newest, brought on by the growth of the fitness industry) is “the condition of being physically fit and healthy.” This definition misses the mark as it uses the root of the word in it, and doesn’t really tell us anything.  The second definition is “the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.”  This definition is a little bit better.  We can see here that the fitness required to be an NFL offensive lineman and the fitness required to run the Ironman in Hawaii is much different.  This still doesn’t get to what most of us think of when we describe someone as being fit.  The third definition, and the one I find to be most relevant to the general population, is “an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.”  Put differently, your ability to reproduce and pass your genes onto the next generation.  At first glance, this may seem like a poor definition.  If we go back 100-500 years to a time where modern technology and medicine couldn’t “fix” everything, this definition is ideal.  If someone is over or underweight, they struggle with fertility.  If someone has major health complications, injuries, etc. they would have a hard time attracting a mate, defending themselves/home, or feeding themselves.  Certain lifestyle choices will absolutely reduce fertility rates (smoking, drinking, stress) therefore decreasing one’s fitness.  Operating with the biological definition of fitness, I find that the following eight habits will set you up for a lifetime of greatness.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

Embrace the Suck

As humans we tend to gravitate toward things that we are good at and that don’t make us uncomfortable.  In training it’s fine to play to your strengths.  Do the things you like, enjoy, and are good at.  After all, one of the most important things for long term success is consistency.  If you don’t like what you are doing, then long term you won’t stick with it.  However, the things that we aren’t good at often expose critical weaknesses or shortcomings.  Find the things you aren’t good with and do at least one of them each time you train.  This could be mobility, balance, heavy strength work, a certain exercise, etc.  For every three things you do that you like and are good at, try to have one thing included that is mentally and/or physically challenging that doesn’t feel natural (but is still pain free) and you don’t particularly enjoy.  This will help ensure that there are no “kinks” in your fitness armor.

Wrapping It All Up

Move daily doing something.  Accumulate 4+ hours of training each week.  Hit every movement pattern while minimizing machines and single joint movements.  Training should be ordered as follows: Soft tissue/self-massage, stretch/mobilize, activation/core/balance, speed/power/agility, strength, and then conditioning/cardio. Do things you aren’t good at, and don’t ignore pain.  Do all of this for months, years, and decades on end and reap the rewards of a solid fitness program on quality of life, aesthetics, and resiliency.

 

Eight Habits for Long Term Fitness Success–#7 Don’t Train Through Pain

There are thousands of different workout programs and methods to use to become more fit.  These range from at home workout videos, to aerobic or yoga classes, to bootcamps and group functional training workouts.  Methods, benefits, and risks/drawbacks could be debated until our last breath and often are among fitness professionals.  One thing I’ve come to learn in my twenty years in this industry is that dogmatic approaches rarely pan out, and you are better off steering clear of anything or anyone who claims any one method of training is optimal and a cure all for everyone under every circumstance.  However, I do believe that there are some universal habits that will vastly improve someone’s fitness.  For the sake of this article, I will stick with habits which only involve movement, with an understanding that nutrition, rest, recovery, stress management, and body weight all impact fitness as well.

To know what habits will best improve long term fitness, we must first define the term.  There are three definitions of fitness. The first (and newest, brought on by the growth of the fitness industry) is “the condition of being physically fit and healthy.” This definition misses the mark as it uses the root of the word in it, and doesn’t really tell us anything.  The second definition is “the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.”  This definition is a little bit better.  We can see here that the fitness required to be an NFL offensive lineman and the fitness required to run the Ironman in Hawaii is much different.  This still doesn’t get to what most of us think of when we describe someone as being fit.  The third definition, and the one I find to be most relevant to the general population, is “an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.”  Put differently, your ability to reproduce and pass your genes onto the next generation.  At first glance, this may seem like a poor definition.  If we go back 100-500 years to a time where modern technology and medicine couldn’t “fix” everything, this definition is ideal.  If someone is over or underweight, they struggle with fertility.  If someone has major health complications, injuries, etc. they would have a hard time attracting a mate, defending themselves/home, or feeding themselves.  Certain lifestyle choices will absolutely reduce fertility rates (smoking, drinking, stress) therefore decreasing one’s fitness.  Operating with the biological definition of fitness, I find that the following eight habits will set you up for a lifetime of greatness.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

Don’t Train Through Pain

We’ve all heard the tough guy mantras of “No Pain, No Gain” or the Marine Corps mantra of “Pain is weakness leaving the body”.  The reality is that pain is a big red flag that something is wrong.  While there are a lot of reasons pain can be present (including mental health issues), training through pain typically only makes things worse, can lead to more serious injury, and may lead to a long-term time off from training.  When pain is present, we want to train around it, not through it.  This can be done by limiting range of motion, elimination or emphasizing certain muscle actions (Eccentric, Concentric, Isometric), or simply finding a different exercise that targets the same muscle groups.  Some individuals just seem to have problems with certain exercises.  As long as there are other exercises that they can train the same muscles with similar types of movements, then this is not a big deal.  If pain is chronically present and begins to impact day to day activities, then it’s best to see a skilled Physical Therapist to help troubleshoot and find a good solution.  Effort/challenge are good and often needed for progress.  Pain on the other hand, especially long term will lead to problems.

Eight Habits for Long Term Fitness Success–#6 Be Functional

There are thousands of different workout programs and methods to use to become more fit.  These range from at home workout videos, to aerobic or yoga classes, to bootcamps and group functional training workouts.  Methods, benefits, and risks/drawbacks could be debated until our last breath and often are among fitness professionals.  One thing I’ve come to learn in my twenty years in this industry is that dogmatic approaches rarely pan out, and you are better off steering clear of anything or anyone who claims any one method of training is optimal and a cure all for everyone under every circumstance.  However, I do believe that there are some universal habits that will vastly improve someone’s fitness.  For the sake of this article, I will stick with habits which only involve movement, with an understanding that nutrition, rest, recovery, stress management, and body weight all impact fitness as well.

To know what habits will best improve long term fitness, we must first define the term.  There are three definitions of fitness. The first (and newest, brought on by the growth of the fitness industry) is “the condition of being physically fit and healthy.” This definition misses the mark as it uses the root of the word in it, and doesn’t really tell us anything.  The second definition is “the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.”  This definition is a little bit better.  We can see here that the fitness required to be an NFL offensive lineman and the fitness required to run the Ironman in Hawaii is much different.  This still doesn’t get to what most of us think of when we describe someone as being fit.  The third definition, and the one I find to be most relevant to the general population, is “an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.”  Put differently, your ability to reproduce and pass your genes onto the next generation.  At first glance, this may seem like a poor definition.  If we go back 100-500 years to a time where modern technology and medicine couldn’t “fix” everything, this definition is ideal.  If someone is over or underweight, they struggle with fertility.  If someone has major health complications, injuries, etc. they would have a hard time attracting a mate, defending themselves/home, or feeding themselves.  Certain lifestyle choices will absolutely reduce fertility rates (smoking, drinking, stress) therefore decreasing one’s fitness.  Operating with the biological definition of fitness, I find that the following eight habits will set you up for a lifetime of greatness.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

Be Functional

Functional fitness started out with the best of intentions.  Good strength coaches and Physical Therapists saw a disconnect between the machine based and single joint isolation work that many bodybuilders had popularized in the 80s and 90s, and wanted to promote training that made the body more resilient and better able to perform daily tasks.  When we are talking about being functional, we simply want our training to help us with day to day tasks and reduce injury risk.  This is typically best done by training on our feet, on the floor, single arm/single leg, and using multi joint movements.  An easy recommendation is that no more than ⅓ of your training should involve sitting, machines, or single joint movements unless you have major orthopedic limitations.  Pushing, Pulling, Carrying/Crawling, Squatting, Lunging/Step Ups, and Hip Hinges should all be a regular part of your weekly training plan with each pattern being performed 2 times per week or more ideally.

Falling Facts

NY Times Article on Fall Prevention

When discussing fitness goals, most people never mention fall prevention, but I suggest that it is more important than fat loss or improving your cardiovascular capacity.  Please take the time to read Gretchen Reynolds excellent article; Falls Can Kill You. Here’s How to Minimize the Risk.  In the article, Ms. Reynolds presents several good lifestyle modifications and medication precautions that will help prevent a fall.  Try adding some of my long standing fall prevention training tips.

Exercise in a standing position. 

If your goal is to move better and remain free of injury, then 90% of your exercise activity should be performed in standing.  Developing better kinesthetic awareness, strength, and coordination in a standing posture is the crucial component of training that prevents a fall.  During my visits to commercial gyms, most of the exercise activity I witness is performed in a supine, seated, or supported position.

Practice moving in all directions.

Fall prevention training involves improving multi-directional movement skills.  Most falls happen from an unexpected disruption of your equilibrium.  You get pushed to one side, twisted off center, or a foot slides from under the body.  Most gym activities are predominantly sagittal plane- forward and backward.  We need to be able to move well in all directions.

Practice moving faster.

Fall reaction training should focus on exercise activities that make you quicker.  Research on falls has shown that a gait pattern (how you walk) that starts to slow down is the best predictor for a future fall.  Agility ladder footwork, medicine ball throws, and hurdle drills are examples of faster paced training activities.  Yoga, Pilates, recumbent bicycle riding, and muscle isolation exercises will not make you better at moving faster.

Stand on one leg.

A simple and proven fall prevention activity is single leg stance balance training.  Single leg balance is a skill that tends to deteriorate with age, injury, and a sedentary lifestyle.  Stand on one leg for twenty seconds.  Stand on one leg and turn your head side to side.  Stand on one leg and then close your eyes.

Practice getting up and down off the floor. 

One of the best anti fall training activities is consistent practice of getting up and down off the floor.  Moving gracefully from standing to the floor and back up again is a life skill that keeps you independent and safe.  As a Physical Therapist, I frequently find people who are very impaired in this basic task of mobility.  They crawl to a piece of furniture for an assist and transition from the floor in an unsteady and unsafe manner.  Most of these patients are not elderly, they are tight, weak, and deconditioned.

Perform single leg strength training. 

We are monopods.  We absorb and then create force one leg at a time.  During activities of daily living, one leg is loaded more than the other.  It only makes sense that we train our legs the same way we use them.  Work with a trainer and learn how to perform step ups, single leg squats, rear foot elevated split squats, single leg deadlifts…

Become a better shock absorber.

Fall events often occur because of an impact.  The force of the impact causes our body to give in to gravity and down we go.  Just like any other physical attribute, impact resilience can be trained.  Mat work, medicine ball throws, and rope drills are some of the activities that can be used to improve impact resilience.

Make balance practice a daily event.

Integrate anti-fall training into your lifestyle.  Stand on one leg while you brush your teeth–right leg thirty seconds then left leg thirty seconds.  Perform multi directional exercise as movement preparation before a bike ride or run.  Get some instruction on a program of exercise that improves agility, single leg strength, and power production.

Someday, somehow, and when you least expect it, you are going to have an unplanned interaction with gravity.  Your fitness program should make you more responsive to a fall event and less likely to be injured.

Link to article: here

Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS

Eight Habits for Long Term Fitness Success–#5 Get Fast and Explosive

There are thousands of different workout programs and methods to use to become more fit.  These range from at home workout videos, to aerobic or yoga classes, to bootcamps and group functional training workouts.  Methods, benefits, and risks/drawbacks could be debated until our last breath and often are among fitness professionals.  One thing I’ve come to learn in my twenty years in this industry is that dogmatic approaches rarely pan out, and you are better off steering clear of anything or anyone who claims any one method of training is optimal and a cure all for everyone under every circumstance.  However, I do believe that there are some universal habits that will vastly improve someone’s fitness.  For the sake of this article, I will stick with habits which only involve movement, with an understanding that nutrition, rest, recovery, stress management, and body weight all impact fitness as well.

To know what habits will best improve long term fitness, we must first define the term.  There are three definitions of fitness. The first (and newest, brought on by the growth of the fitness industry) is “the condition of being physically fit and healthy.” This definition misses the mark as it uses the root of the word in it, and doesn’t really tell us anything.  The second definition is “the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.”  This definition is a little bit better.  We can see here that the fitness required to be an NFL offensive lineman and the fitness required to run the Ironman in Hawaii is much different.  This still doesn’t get to what most of us think of when we describe someone as being fit.  The third definition, and the one I find to be most relevant to the general population, is “an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.”  Put differently, your ability to reproduce and pass your genes onto the next generation.  At first glance, this may seem like a poor definition.  If we go back 100-500 years to a time where modern technology and medicine couldn’t “fix” everything, this definition is ideal.  If someone is over or underweight, they struggle with fertility.  If someone has major health complications, injuries, etc. they would have a hard time attracting a mate, defending themselves/home, or feeding themselves.  Certain lifestyle choices will absolutely reduce fertility rates (smoking, drinking, stress) therefore decreasing one’s fitness.  Operating with the biological definition of fitness, I find that the following eight habits will set you up for a lifetime of greatness.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

Get Fast & Explosive

One area that is often neglected in many general fitness plans is power, speed, and agility work.  This is unfortunate as this is one of the quickest areas to decrease as we age.  This type of training should be done after a thorough warm up (soft tissue work, stretching, and activation work).  This work can include Medicine Ball Throws, KB Swings, Olympic Weightlifting variations (cleans, snatches, and their variations), jumps, sprints, bounds, hops, and various change in direction drills.  What’s important is that these things are not done in a state of fatigue.  If our explosiveness, power, or speed begin to decrease substantially, then we cease to get the benefits we are striving for.  We want to pick things that we are competent in, have progressed to slowly, and that don’t cause an undue risk of injury.  We start most of our clients with Med Ball throws starting in kneeling position, bounds/skips, and box jumps.  For many people, this is all they will need, for others we will progress to move complex or taxing modalities based off their ability, goals, and tolerance.  It’s best to perform this type of training 2-3 times per week before your strength or conditioning work for 3-10 sets or 2-6 repetitions with plenty of rest between sets.

Pressurize Your Anatomical Inner Tube

Push Up Position Planks

The center of the body is a cylindrical tube of interwoven muscle and fascia.  On the top and bottom, you have the diaphragm and pelvic floor.  The sides are reinforced by the oblique muscles and across the front by the rectus and tranverse abdominus muscles.  These muscles work together to create pressure inside the cylinder.  The tension capacity of our “anatomical inner tube” allows us to lift, carry, push, and pull loads that would overwhelm any single joint in the spine.  Developing better tension strength will improve athleticism and reduce injuries.  One of the best exercises to improve tension strength is the Push Up Position Plank.

Push Up Position Planks – PUPP

Place the hands under the shoulders with the elbows extended.  Pull your shoulder blades down your back and keep your neck long.  Lift your pelvis so that your body is supported on the feet and hands.  Pull the legs together and lift up onto the balls of the feet.  Your body is held in one long line from the ears to the ankles.  Do not let your hips sink or rise up—check your position in a mirror.  Create an isometric external rotation force in the shoulders by screwing the hands into the floor.  Imagine you are crushing oranges in your armpits.  Now squeeze the legs together and pull the hands toward the toes.  Hold that position for twenty seconds and work up to longer durations.  A good goal is a thirty-second high tension PUPP.

Elevated Feet-Push Up Position Plank

Once you can hold a solid thirty second push up position plank with the feet on the floor, progress to elevating the feet on a step or exercise bench for more resistance.  Work up to a thirty-second hold.

In rehab, we use push up position planks to help patients recover function in their neck, shoulders, lumbar spine, and pelvis.  For the fitness client, try putting two or three sets of  PUPPs between pulling exercises.  Watch the demonstrations and give the push up position plank a try.

View video here

Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS

Eight Habits for Long Term Fitness Success–#4 Condition/Cardio

There are thousands of different workout programs and methods to use to become more fit.  These range from at home workout videos, to aerobic or yoga classes, to bootcamps and group functional training workouts.  Methods, benefits, and risks/drawbacks could be debated until our last breath and often are among fitness professionals.  One thing I’ve come to learn in my twenty years in this industry is that dogmatic approaches rarely pan out, and you are better off steering clear of anything or anyone who claims any one method of training is optimal and a cure all for everyone under every circumstance.  However, I do believe that there are some universal habits that will vastly improve someone’s fitness.  For the sake of this article, I will stick with habits which only involve movement, with an understanding that nutrition, rest, recovery, stress management, and body weight all impact fitness as well.

To know what habits will best improve long term fitness, we must first define the term.  There are three definitions of fitness. The first (and newest, brought on by the growth of the fitness industry) is “the condition of being physically fit and healthy.” This definition misses the mark as it uses the root of the word in it, and doesn’t really tell us anything.  The second definition is “the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.”  This definition is a little bit better.  We can see here that the fitness required to be an NFL offensive lineman and the fitness required to run the Ironman in Hawaii is much different.  This still doesn’t get to what most of us think of when we describe someone as being fit.  The third definition, and the one I find to be most relevant to the general population, is “an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.”  Put differently, your ability to reproduce and pass your genes onto the next generation.  At first glance, this may seem like a poor definition.  If we go back 100-500 years to a time where modern technology and medicine couldn’t “fix” everything, this definition is ideal.  If someone is over or underweight, they struggle with fertility.  If someone has major health complications, injuries, etc. they would have a hard time attracting a mate, defending themselves/home, or feeding themselves.  Certain lifestyle choices will absolutely reduce fertility rates (smoking, drinking, stress) therefore decreasing one’s fitness.  Operating with the biological definition of fitness, I find that the following eight habits will set you up for a lifetime of greatness.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

Condition/Cardio

All of the strength, mobility, and stability in the world are somewhat useless if basic tasks fatigue or wind you.  Cardiovascular training or conditioning work (depending on what you want to call it) can be done in a number of different ways, but it’s important that it gets done.  Benefits can be seen with as little as 2 sessions per week lasting less than 20 minutes.  You can perform High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or low to moderate intensity steady state training (think walking, jogging, riding a bike, etc.) depending on time, preference, and orthopedic limitations.  These can be built into your strength training workouts or done on separate days.  The main thing to keep in mind when training your cardiovascular system or working on conditioning is to pick low risk exercise options.  Jumps, repeated sprints, Olympic weight lifting, burpees, and the like are not great options to use as conditioning tools.  When fatigue increases, form/technique decreases, and risk of injury drastically rises.  It is best to pick modes of exercise that require little thought for form or technique when picking conditioning tools.  At Fenton Fitness, we personally like Walking, Sled Push/Pulls, Upright Bikes, Rowers, Ski Ergometers, Jacobs Ladder (or Step mills), and Slide Boards.

 

Push Ups and Longevity

Recent Study is a Biomarker Reminder

Take a moment and read the recent New York Times article, How Many Push-Ups Can You Do? It May Be a Good Predictor of Heart Health. It appears that being able to perform well on a push up test is a better predictor of heart health than the traditional treadmill test.  The article postulates several reasons for the research results.  We only need to read the book Biomarkers for a thorough explanation.

In the book Drs. Evans and Rosenburg looked at the measurable “biomarkers” that keep humans healthy, independent, and fit over an entire life span.  They have determined the top four biomarkers are:

  1. Muscle Mass.  What percentage of your body is made of muscle.
  2. Strength.  Can you use that muscle to push, pull, lift and carry.
  3. Basal Metabolic Rate.  The number of calories your body expends at rest.
  4. Bodyfat Percentage.  What percentage of your body is composed of fat.

The authors named these top four biomarkers, the decisive tetrad.  They are the prerequisites to maintaining healthy numbers in all of the other essential biomarkers.

  1. Aerobic Capacity
  2. Blood Sugar Tolerance
  3. Cholesterol / HDL ratio
  4. Blood Pressure
  5. Bone Density
  6. Internal Body Temperature Regulation

Push up proficiency requires muscle mass, strength, and a minimal amount of extra load to lift in the form of bodyfat.  Those three traits are all a part of the decisive tetrad. To age well, stay durable–no injuries, and maintain control of all health parameters–we need to maintain or improve muscle mass / strength and not avoid extra bodyfat.  An ongoing program of strength training and nutritional discipline are the foremost components of fitness and health.

Now get on the floor and give me twenty.

View the article here.

Michael O’Hara PT, OCS, CSCS

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