Training Modifications That Help With Your Medication
Statin medications are amazingly effective at lowering blood lipids and have, undoubtedly, lengthened lives. More doctors are recommending their patients start on these drugs at younger ages. For a long time, we have known that a common side effect of cholesterol lowering statin drugs is severe muscle soreness after exercise. Recent research on animal models has demonstrated that statin medications inhibit the beneficial muscle adaptations that occur with exercise. If you are taking a statin drug, take the time to read Gretchen Reynolds’s interesting article in The New York Times, “A Fitness Downside to Statin Drugs?” Over the years, I have found certain exercise modifications help reduce the muscle soreness symptoms in physical therapy and fitness clients who are taking statins. The following recommendations may work for you.
Delayed onset muscle soreness is more pronounced with two types of training: eccentric type muscle contractions (the muscle lengthens against resistance) and deceleration activities (landing from a jump, hop, or stride). I have found that managing eccentric muscle contractions and reducing deceleration activity allows clients taking statins the ability to perform beneficial training with less discomfort.
Manage Eccentric Muscle Contractions
Eccentric contractions (the muscle lengthens against resistance) create more micro trauma to the muscle fibers, and it takes longer to recover from a bout of training that involves more eccentric repetitions. Controlled pace, bodybuilding type muscle isolation training delivers eccentric loading in an effort to stimulate a hypertrophy response in the muscle.
Performing isometric strength training (no movement of the joints) completely eliminates the eccentric portion of an exercise. Sled pulling and pushing has no eccentric component and many statin medicated fitness clients say this fairly intense fitness activity is well tolerated. A suspension trainer works well to preferentially unload the eccentric portion of a squat or lunge movement pattern. Strength training with resistance tubing creates an accommodated force curve that reduces eccentric loading of the muscles. At FFAC, we have a Surge 360 that is a concentric only device that works all directions of a push or pull with no eccentric muscle stress. A good fitness coach can find multiple ways to reduce the eccentric involvement of an exercise activity.
Impact activities produce high intensity, eccentric muscle contractions. Land from a jump off a box and your quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles must create a quick, coordinated contraction that slows your interaction with gravity. Deceleration eccentric exercises create more muscle damage and repeated deceleration events are notorious for creating higher levels of delayed onset muscle soreness.
If you want to perform “cardio exercise,” choose the elliptical, Ski Erg, or one of the many types of bikes. If you possess the mobility, use a Concept 2 rower. Stay away from the impact of treadmill running and avoid jumping rope, jumping jacks, and any activity that involves both feet leaving the ground. Medicine ball throws can be performed with minimal impact and produce an excellent muscular and neurological training response. Avoid box jumps, Olympic lifts, and any other activity that creates an impact on your body.
Talk to Your Doctor
I have worked with many people who had a discussion with their doctor and a simple alteration of their statin medication resulted in far fewer side effects. I am always surprised by how often patients are reluctant to report their symptoms of severe muscle soreness to their physician.
So those are the hints that have come from years of my work with physical therapy patients and fitness clients. Stay off the wheel and stay healthy.
Read the NY Times article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/04/well/move/a-fitness-downside-to-statin-drugs.html
-Michael S. O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS
That Office Chair Can Be Keeping You From Your Fat Loss Goal
For many years, I have been preaching about the negative impact prolonged sitting has on our metabolic health and musculoskeletal system. All the research has demonstrated that adaptive shortening of connective tissues and weakening of muscles occurs with as little as two days of prolonged sitting. New studies of daily movement patterns demonstrate that sitting has an even more severe impact on our ability to metabolize body fat. Take the time to read the article “Keep It Moving” by Gretchen Reynolds in the December 9, 2016 issue of the New York Times.
Once again, the answer is to get up off the Aeron, Barcalounger, La-Z-Boy, or setee and move around. Every twenty minutes, stand upright and defy gravity with some good old fashioned ambulation. Do not exercise in a seated position–train in a standing position. More and more we are learning that consistent daily movement is an essential element of human health.
Read the NY Times article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/well/move/keep-it-moving.html
Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS
I recently had the opportunity to hear a presentation on the latest and greatest in running research. The presenters used sophisticated computer software to measure the forces runners created with every foot contact. The variance between runners was dramatic. Some glided along with minimal evidence of foot to ground interaction and others shook the earth. The numbers did not coincide with greater bodyweights or sex. Some of the heaviest individuals ran with minimal impact and some of the more svelte runners were thunderfoots. Men did not necessarily land harder than women. What researchers did find is that high impact runners are far more likely to suffer an overuse injury.
Not everyone has access to force plates to measure ground force reactions, so how do you know if you are a high impact runner? The advice the researchers gave was to listen. The individuals with the highest force plate impact numbers were the ones who produced the most noise when they ran on a treadmill. After analyzing over 200 runners, the students and researchers were able to easily predict force plate results based on the noise they heard during the treadmill warm up.
Distance running is a very high-level fitness activity, and you must have all performance parameters functioning at optimal levels to avoid injury. If you fail the treadmill listen test, then work on developing a smoother and less stressful gait pattern. Landing lightly has a big impact on staying healthy and pain-free while running. Take the time to read the February 10, 2016, New York Times article by Gretchen Reynolds, “Why We Get Running Injuries (and How to Prevent Them).”
Click on the link below to read the article:
-Michael S. O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS