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Do You Need A Nutrition Consultation?

Aug 30, 2014   //   by Tracy Rewerts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Do You Need A Nutrition Consultation?

Do You Need A Nutrition Consultation?According to some reports, by 2030 more than half the U.S. population will be obese. It’s an epidemic and there’s something you can do about it right now. Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, and live a healthy lifestyle, your limiting factor usually lies beyond just exercising. Nutrition is arguably more than 70% of  the battle of getting healthy and I can help you.

In addition to my weekly Fitness Groups and Time For Change Mobile Personal Training I offer to my clients, I’ll now be able to even further assist you with your health and fitness goals. In April I passed my exam from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS).

My goal is to help provide you with:

  • Up-to-date nutritional information, consult clients on proper food intake, weight loss/management strategies, recommendations of nutrients, and guidance to help you achieve your health and weight loss goals.
  • Nutritional information so that it will become a lifestyle for you that you can actually stick with and enjoy at the same time.
  • Information on how activity, energy, caloric needs, metabolism, and food choices can affect your weight.

Educating you on how to read food labels, recognize appropriate portion sizes, and make better food choices to complement your goals and nutritional needs.
What separates a good personal trainer from a great one is their ability to change their clients lives by changing their lifestyle habits in and outside of the gym. If you’re exercising on a regular basis and not seeing the results that you’d like, it’s a good indication that it may be due to a poor diet and poor lifestyle habits outside of the workouts.

Here are some of the services that I’ll be offering as part of my Nutritional Consultations & Packages:

  • Weight Loss/Management
  • Nutritional Meal Planning
  • Grocery Shopping Learning Trip
  • Kitchen Clean Out

I look forward to providing professional in-home personal training and nutritional guidance designed to meet your individual health and fitness goals.  Click on the Time For Change Personal Training Services tab for details on my Nutrition Consultation Services.

 

The Scoop On Sugar

Aug 30, 2014   //   by Tracy Rewerts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on The Scoop On Sugar

The Scoop On SugarWe all know that sugar is not good for you, so the more you cut down on it or change the kind of sugar, the better. If you can eliminate sugar all together that would be the best choice, but for the majority of the population, they’re not there yet…so hopefully this article will help you make wiser choices.

The American diet is full of sugar and research shows that sugary liquids (soda and fruit juices) are among the worst. Drinking concentrated sugar causes your liver to convert the fructose into dangerous fats. We won’t even go into all of the terrible food choices that are laden with sugar.

People who often over-indulge in sugar may develop some of the following health issues: elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol, fatty livers, high triglyceride levels, have a greater risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, kidney stones, insulin resistance, cancer and more.

Here’s a short list of the artificial sweeteners to avoid at all costs: aspartame (brands NutraSweet, Equal), sucralose (Splenda), and saccharin (Sweet’N Low). Other sugars that cause problems mostly because of the way they are processed or converted in your body are: agave, beet sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, powdered sugar, high fructose corn syrup, granulated white sugar, and many others.

It’s much better to eat your sugars from natural sources like those in vegetables and fruits where the sugars are mixed with minerals, vitamins, enzymes, fiber, and phytonutrients. Your body knows what to do with these sugars and other beneficial nutrients.

One of the better sugar substitutes is Stevia, a herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant.  It has zero calories and is about 300 times sweeter than sugar, so you only need a very small amount (a few drops) to sweeten mostly drinks and some food.  Powdered stevia can leave a bitter after-taste, so the liquid stevia drops are a better choice.

A sugar alcohol called xylitol is a good choice for cooking and baking with a 1:1 ratio. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that can be extracted from plant materials like corn, and it comes with a benefit of fighting tooth decay. As a side note, xylitol is toxic to dogs and some other animals, so be sure to keep it away from your pets.

As with most things, stevia and xylitol should be used in moderation. Try getting into the habit of reading labels on all food and drink items so you know what you’re consuming. Again, no sugar would be your best choice, but as a stepping stone to a healthy lifestyle, these are some healthier alternatives.

If you need help with improving your nutrition and overall health, I’m here to help you. Click on the Time For Change Personal Training Services tab for more information on the Nutrition Programs that I offer to my clients.

Finding The Courage To Ask For Help

Mar 11, 2014   //   by Tracy Rewerts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Finding The Courage To Ask For Help

Finding The Courage To Ask For Help

Finding The Courage To Ask For HelpThe society norm tells us that asking for help is a sign of weakness or failure. I disagree, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a confidence in yourself knowing that you want to take the next step. It’s a vulnerability, and it gives someone else the opportunity to be a blessing to you.  

When it comes to your health and fitness goals, don’t be afraid to ask for fitness and nutritional help from a qualified, experienced, Certified Personal Trainer. You’re asking for directions or a blueprint that will save you a lot of frustration, time, and money. 

Most people don’t have the fitness knowledge or the consistent motivation to do it on their own and that is ok.  All you need to do is admit that you need some help in this area and contact me to join one of my fitness groups or get personal training that will give you the blueprint you need, plus accountability and motivation.

How To Ask For Help

If exercise consistency and intensity is something you struggle with, you need to find a workout partner. A few of my closest friends attend my fitness groups 2-3 times per week and they challenge me to work harder and get stronger. They help push me and I help push them, we keep each other motivated and on track. 

When you come to my fitness group, you matter, and you enter a place of FUN and support. If you miss a time, someone will notice and ask if you’re ok. If you don’t have a workout place of fun and support in your life, don’t just wish something will change, go and seek it out.

You can attend one of my fitness group session for free to come experience what all the buzz is about. My fitness groups are for women (and teens) only and we meet on Tuesday evenings at 7pm in Frederick, Monday and Fridays at 8:30am in Niwot, and Monday and Wednesdays at 4pm in Niwot. I’ve been asked to start a 6th group which may start soon, so I’ll keep you posted.

You may have questions swirling in your head like….what will happen if I’m the worst one there?  will everyone think I am weird? or weak? what if I can’t lift a lot or move like that? and so on…no worries. No one is going to judge you and we all have been there. We all have to start somewhere and know that all fitness levels are welcome.  

Several years ago I was at home as a mom with my two little ones and before I became a personal trainer, I couldn’t even do a push-up, so I know exactly how you may be feeling. Where do you start you might ask? Start by finding the courage to ask for help and I’ll meet you right where you are.

Find the courage to ask for help, push past the doubt and discomfort, and you will achieve transformation and success you never thought possible. I look forward to working with you in one of my fitness group classes or through personal training sessions one-on-one or in a small group. Click here on the Time For Change Personal Training Services tab or at the top of the page to find out more information on how I can help you reach your goals.

Actions Today = Better Health Tomorrow

Feb 4, 2014   //   by Tracy Rewerts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Actions Today = Better Health Tomorrow

Your Actions Today Will Bring You Closer To Better Health Tomorrow

We know that we can’t predict our future, but we can control the habits and actions we do today to help make for a healthier tomorrow.

So let’s throw out the question: What kind of health do you want for your body 10-20 years from now?

Do you want a body that can walk around the block with ease, ski, hike, play games with the kids or grandkids, swim, bike around the neighborhood, workout and many more?

Or…do you want a body that will hurt with every step, one that gets out of breath with minimal activity, one that would rather sit on the couch, is overweight, maybe in a wheelchair or a motorized scooter, or you may not be around to experience life with your family and friends in 20 years?

I want to help you be the first set of answers and I hope you’ll reach out to me so I can help you.

Actions Today = Better Health Tomorrow

Here’s another scenario: As a mom you would do anything for your kids, right?  You will make sure they have everything they need, stay up all night when they are sick, and you’ll make sure they get to the various appointments, practices/games, etc. 

Once your baby is born and they grow up, the attention usually continues to stay on the child and that is when many moms begin to slowly lose the importance of herself and her health.

When you, as a mom, take care of yourself, you’re modeling healthy behaviors to your kids.  We all know that your kids watch what you do and learn from what you do much more then what you say. Your kids will see that mom is taking the time to plan and cook healthy meals, read labels at the store, and workout with weights to increase strength, etc.

Of course this isn’t a 100% guarantee that your child will grow up to be healthy, but it’s a great start as many kids want to be just like mom or dad.

Carbon Valley Half Marathon Autism RaceMoms, I would like to encourage you to bring your female teens (age 12 and up) along with you to one of the five ladies fitness groups I offer in Frederick and Niwot. It’s a time of getting healthy, fun, and mother/daughter time spent together. I’m also a mobile personal trainer that can come to your home and help you and your family workout together. 

Other ideas would be for your family to do a fun run or 5K together. Pictured here you see me and my family together last year as we did the Carbon Valley Half Marathon Autism Race together.

If you have younger children, you can also incorporate your kids/grandkids into your activities or workouts at home sometimes, and let them see that you’re taking your own health and wellness seriously. 

If you need help getting started or you’re ready to take action today for a healthier tomorrow, I’m here to help you through exercise and nutritional help. Click here or on the Time For Change Personal Training Services tab to start changing your life for the better today.

Commit To Get Fit in 2014…The Healthy Weight Loss Challenge Could Earn You Cash!

Feb 3, 2014   //   by Tracy Rewerts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Commit To Get Fit in 2014…The Healthy Weight Loss Challenge Could Earn You Cash!

12 Week Healthy Weight Loss Challange

Commit To Get Fit in 2014…The Healthy Weight Loss Challenge Could Earn You Cash!

Join our FUN Healthy Weight Loss Challenge by committing to get fit in 2014 and it could earn you cash back. This healthy weight loss challenge is a twelve week individual challenge that focuses on healthy living and a healthier YOU in the new year.

Whether you want to make a healthy weight-loss goal, fitness goal and improve your overall health, this challenge will help motivate you to become a healthier individual.

On average, 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail, so this year make it stick and make a change for good. Joining this challenge will help you get back in control of your health.

The whole goal of this challenge is to get you in a steady habit of a healthy way of life. Once you’ve been exercising and eating healthy for 3 months, you’ll be well on your way to making a permanent healthy lifestyle change.

The 12 Week Healthy Weight Loss Challenge

So how do you participate? Register in person with a weigh in, before picture and a $20 buy-in for the 12 week challenge. During the registration process, you’ll get information on my fitness programs (fitness group and personal training one-on-one), tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle,  and get info on my recommended weight loss program. 

At the end of the 12 week Healthy Weight Loss Challenge, the person with the highest percentage of weight loss will get 75% of the money, and second place will take 25%.

You will then have 3 months to lose weight, get fit, and improve your health. Final weigh-ins will be held the week of March 24th, 2014. We’ll keep you posted on the results.

This challenge will help to get everyone moving. Everyone can do more that what they’re currently doing, so why not have a little cash motivation to keep you going?

Join us today committing to get fit in 2014 by joining the Healthy Weight Loss Challenge and you could win the cash prize. Everyone will win by getting fit and improving their health along the way.  Find out more about Time For Change Personal Training Services by clicking on the link here or above.

Healthy Strategies For The Holidays

Feb 3, 2014   //   by Tracy Rewerts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Healthy Strategies For The Holidays

 

Healthy Strategies For The Holidays

Healthy Strategies For The Holidays

Here are some healthy strategies for the holidays so you can get through them with ease. It’s a special time of year to celebrate with family and friends, but unfortunately, it can also become a time of high stress, over-eating, and weight gain.

This doesn’t have to be the case, so this year focus on a healthy balance of food, fun, and activities.

  • Make Exercise A Priority – Making a conscious effort of actually scheduling your workouts in your calendar on a regular basis. This will help decrease stress, give you more energy, and make maintaining your weight an easier task. This doesn’t mean it’s a free ride to eat whatever you want all month long, but a moderate exercise program can help partially offset increased occasional holiday eating.
  • Workout Ideas – Join us at one of my fitness groups (5 different times to choose from) or exercise with a friend. If you don’t have time for a full workout all at one time, break it up by doing a few 10-15-minute spurts of exercise throughout the day. Try fitting in a workout before you go to a party as you’ll be too tired from the celebration afterwards. If the party lasts all day long, ask some of the other guests to join you on a brisk walk or play a ball game outside, the kids especially love this. If the party is located where there is snow on ground, go with the kids outside to play in the snow.
  • Stay Hydrated –  When it gets cooler outside, you may find that you drink less water throughout the day. Try using a water bottle that has the amount of fluids you’re drinking on the side so you’ll know exactly where you’re at with the amount. You should be drinking, at a minimum, half of your body weight in ounces per day.  If you’ll be drinking a cocktail at a party, be sure to drink water in between, as this will help in your recovery the next day.
  • Do Fun, Non-Food Activities Together – It doesn’t always have to be about eating food. Plan group activities with family and friends by creating projects together like making wreaths and Christmas decorations. Sign up to volunteer at a local community shelter serving a meal, playing board or card games with a friend in a nursing home, or walk through the neighborhood looking at decorated homes.
  • Don’t Skip A Meal So You Can Overeat Later – It’s better to eat healthy like you usually would during the day so you’ll feel better and stay in control over your food choices at the party.
  • Make Fun, Healthy Food Art – Like the healthy veggie Christmas tree pictured along with this article, you could make this for the holiday party or have your kids make healthy food and snacks in your favorite holiday shapes. See Google images for hundreds of ideas.
  • Smart Choices At The Party – Volunteer to bring a healthy side dish, so you’ll at least have one item that will be a smart choice.  Choose your favorite items in smaller portions, and eat slowly to savor every bite. Try to eat a variety of vegetables, lean protein, and keep your serving size reasonable. If there is a buffet food table at the party, move away from that area so you won’t be tempted to ‘graze’ on more while you talk.
  • What If You Overeat? – If you overeat at one meal, consume less calories on the next one. Research shows that it takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound. While it is impossible to gain weight from one piece of pie, if you choose to do this over and over again, this is where you’ll start gaining weight. The next day, get right back on track with your workout routine and healthy eating.
  • Stash Healthy Foods In Your Desk At Work – If you have healthy snacks readily available to you at your desk, you won’t be as tempted by the unhealthy holiday treats at the office.
  • Stock The Freezer Now With Healthy Meals –  Everyone is over scheduled during the holidays with seeing friends and family, shows, parties, decorating, and shopping. This usually leaves less time for cooking healthy meals, and choosing fast, unhealthy options. Plan ahead now by making up some healthy dishes that you can freeze and have a few to choose from when you need to stick one in the oven later for a quick meal.
  • Get Plenty Of Sleep – If you’re tired, you’re more likely to have less energy to workout, you’ll make poor food choices, and it will be hard to stay on track.

Hopefully some of these healthy strategies for the holidays will help you have a more enjoyable holiday season. In the long run, your mind and body will thank you. If you need help getting started with a healthy workout or healthy nutrition, click on the Time For Change Personal Training Services tab for info on how I can help you with your fitness and weight loss goals.

 

 

What Are The Health Benefits Of Blending vs Juicing

Nov 16, 2013   //   by Tracy Rewerts   //   Blog  //  1 Comment

What Are The Health Benefits Of Blending vs Juicing

What Are The Health Benefits of Blending vs JuicingSo what are the health benefits of blending vs juicing? Many would consider the terms blending and juicing as the same, but there is a difference between the two, along with extra health benefits.

Just to clarify, whether you decide to try blending or juicing, your main source of nutrition should not consist of only liquids. Your body needs a variety of whole foods packed with fiber as a foundation of a healthy diet.

The most recent dietary guidelines call for around 5-6 cups of vegetables and fruits a day based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet (the exact amount depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity), but the average American consumes around 1-2 cups per day, not including potatoes.

So, on average, most of us are not getting even near what we should be consuming of veggies and fruit on a daily basis. Blending just might be the answer to this problem and can be a part of a healthy diet if followed in moderation.

 Juicing

First we’ll look at juicing. When juicing vegetables and fruit, it separates the juice from the fiber (also known as the pulp), and you drink only the juice. You can absorb the nutrients faster this way, but you’re getting rid of so many of the health benefits in the fiber, including losing some of the antioxidants.

Without the fiber, juicing is not a very filling meal or snack and will often leave you feeling hungry in a short amount of time. Also, many advise that diabetics should steer clear of juicing, as it sends a very quick delivery of sugars into the blood stream and will drastically affect blood sugar levels.

 Blending

Now we’ll look at blending. Blending is one of the most convenient ways to prepare food and get in a lot of vegetables and fruits, plus as an added bonus, you can add protein and healthy fats to make a well-rounded meal out of it. When blending these foods, it breaks down the food into molecules that are efficiently metabolized and readily absorbed into your body in a manner that it can be used.

The other important benefit of blending is that you consume the fiber of the veggies and fruit you put in. The fiber gives you more nutrient availability that you need, helps in preventing or relieving constipation, and will aide in a slower delivery of sugars into the blood stream, which again is important for diabetics. Consuming more fiber also helps in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, helps you feel more full each meal, will help in weight loss, and lowers your risk of many diseases.

The ADA recommends that you consume 25-30 grams of fiber per day, so if you aren’t eating enough fiber-rich foods, then blending a smoothie into your daily routine is a beneficial thing to do. In general, blenders are less expensive than juicers, and, because they have fewer moving parts, they’re simpler to clean.

Some of the favorite things to blend are: kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, carrots, romaine, Swiss chard, apples, oranges, pineapple, beets, limes, ginger, pears, bananas, berries, avocados, cinnamon, and almond milk. For added protein and/or healthy fat you can add nut butter, almonds, non-GMO protein powders, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and Greek yogurt (fat-free plain).

If you’re not sure where to start with blending or what recipes to follow, I’ll be posting many yummy smoothie recipes (using a blender) for the next month on my Facebook business page. So if you’re on Facebook, go now and “LIKE” my Facebook page at http://facebook.com/timeforchangepersonaltraining, or in the search bar on Facebook at the top type in Time For Change Personal Training and it will show up.

Good Fats vs Bad Fats

Oct 5, 2013   //   by Tracy Rewerts   //   Blog  //  1 Comment

Good Fats vs Bad Fats

Good Fats vs Bad FatsWhat foods should you eat that are good fats and which ones are bad fats, that is the question. It’s confusing, so I’m going to help you understand the basics so you can make better choices about what you’re consuming and your health.

There’s a misconception that cutting all fats completely out of your diet will lead to weight loss, this simply is not true. What does help in weight loss is cutting your calories, eating healthy foods, and increasing exercise.

 Good Fats

There are several good fats that need to remain as an important part of your diet. When eaten in moderation, good fats can help the development and function of your brain, heart, and eyes, and can also help prevent stroke, heart disease, depression, and arthritis.

Fats can provide valuable energy to your body, are the building blocks of cell membranes, and assist in a variety of hormones and other functions. Good fats are carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins, aid in the absorption of minerals and the metabolism of sugar and insulin, and aid by slowing the absorption of nutrients into your system so you can go longer without feeling hungry.

The good fats considered to be the healthiest come from plants and are called unsaturated fats. This group of unsaturated fats are then broken into two categories, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In general they help raise the good HDL cholesterol and lower the bad LDL cholesterol.

Monounsaturated fats include olive oil, safflower oil, avocados, nuts like almonds, peanuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans.

Polyunsaturated fats are also important because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease your risk of coronary artery disease. These include sunflower oil, walnuts, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, non-GMO soy, and fish including salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and trout (be sure to get wild caught, not farm raised to reduce mercury contamination).

The American Heart Association recommends that mostly unsaturated fats make up 25-35% of your daily diet, and only 7% of those should from the bad fat list.

 Bad Fats

Now for the fats that are considered bad fats. These fats are broken up into two different categories as well, saturated fats and trans fats.

Saturated fats need to be consumed in moderation as they raise good HDL cholesterol, but they also can raise bad LDL cholesterol. They can be found in animal products from beef, lamb, pork, and chicken skin, coconut oil, whole fat dairy (milk, cream), butter, lard, cheese, and ice cream.

Be sure to always avoid trans fats as they lower good HDL cholesterol and raise bad LDL cholesterol, a double negative that can increase your risk for heart disease. These can be found in processed baked goods (muffins, cookies, pie crusts, doughnuts, cakes, pizza dough), snack foods (crackers, chips, microwave popcorn), stick margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods like French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, and candy bars.

The bottom line is that you need to be reading the labels when you go grocery shopping…the good fats can make you healthier and the bad fats can increase your risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other serious diseases. Hopefully this information will help you make an informed decision on what good fats to consume and what bad fats to avoid.

Detoxify Your Body For Life

Sep 4, 2013   //   by Tracy Rewerts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Detoxify Your Body For Life

Detoxify Your Body For Life

Detoxify Your Body For LifeLearn how to detoxify your body for life. Maintaining a toxin-free body is more than just cleaning out your system just once. No, I’m not talking about a colon cleanse, I’m talking about full body detoxification. Detoxifying the whole body includes a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition, exercise, reducing stress, being watchful of the products you put in and on your body, as well as having a healthy non-toxic home.

There are many benefits of detoxifying your body which include improvement in the function of major organs, lowering your risk of many diseases, an improved immune system, circulation, metabolism, energy, and brain function just to name a few.

Whether you’re struggling with your weight, challenged with a health diagnosis, or you’re trying to improve your overall health, learning some easy steps that you can do on a daily basis to detoxify your body will help jump start you on a journey of improved health and wellness.

In September, be a part of our private Facebook group that will join in with a Certified Nutritionist for a FREE month long challenge that teaches you to detoxify your body for life.

How To Detoxify Your Body For Life:

Below are the key areas that will be discussed:

Nutrition: Fast food and pre-packaged snacks have become an easy go-to for many. You’ll learn which foods are toxic that can lead to inflammation and ultimately disease, and replace them with healthy alternatives. Find out about proteins, carbohydrates, fats, gluten, dairy, sugars, water, and more.

Stress: When you’re stressed you can’t live life to your fullest potential, so take time to recharge our body, mind and soul. You’ll learn ways to start reducing your stress, including exercise and more, so you can experience a healthy life from the inside out.

Toxic Chemicals Are All Around You: Your skin is the largest organ in your body and can absorb up to 60 percent of whatever is applied to it, and that eventually goes straight into your bloodstream and cells. You’ll learn what toxic, synthetic chemicals to avoid and what other options you have for a healthier you. Many EPA studies indicate that elevated concentration of household chemicals persists in the air, and long-term exposure to chemicals inside our homes may be harmful to us and our families. By reducing toxic chemicals in the home, certain respiratory problems like asthma, allergies and skin irritations can improve including our overall well-being.

Join us online for this free healthy challenge in September to learn some helpful ways you and your family can detoxify your body for life by transforming your health in the simplest way possible, one day at a time. Contact me by clicking the contact tab at the top of the page and I can get you added to our private Facebook group and you can join in on the challenge too.

Keep Low Back Pain At Bay With Exercising

Sep 4, 2013   //   by Tracy Rewerts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Keep Low Back Pain At Bay With Exercising

Keep Low Back Pain At Bay With Exercising

Keep Low Back Pain At Bay With ExercisingFind out how to keep low back pain at bay with exercising, and how you can prevent low back pain if you take the time to do a few simple exercises to help strengthen and take the pressure off the back.

Back pain can be caused by many different stressors including sitting for long periods of time, muscle strain, structural abnormalities, stress, and more. If you’re suffering from back pain, be sure to ask your doctor if an exercise program is right for you.

When back exercises are done in a gradual and controlled manner, important nutrients are distributed into the soft tissues and disc space, which helps to keep your back healthy. When these exercises are also done consistently, they can help prevent reoccurring back pain, weaknesses, and stiffness. The trouble is getting people to do exercises before the back pain starts. Prevention is the key and will help to alleviate a lot of the problems of lower back pain.

Doing the right kinds of exercises is important, but especially for the lower back and core. This is one of the better explanations I’ve seen to describe the spine and the supporting muscles to help you understand this concept better.

As Dr. Cooper, MD explains, “The spine is like a mast on a ship. The same way that a mast on a ship has all these ropes attached to it, the ropes are attached to the mast to help unload the mast so that the mast doesn’t fall over and crack. A mast cannot support its own weight without the ropes. The same is true with the human spine. If you take the human spine out and put it on the table and you put some axial pressure on it, it can support about thirty-five pounds of pressure. We all weigh more than thirty-five pounds, so we rely on certain muscles that attach onto the spine to take the pressure off of the spine. When those muscles are weak or imbalanced, this leads to a lot of wear and tear within the spine. By getting the muscles right, we take the pressure off the spine and we make the spine a lot more durable”.

Try some of these tips to help keep low back pain at bay with exercising:

  • Engage your ‘dormant muscles’, the glutes and hamstrings, and stretch out your ‘shortened muscles’, most often the hip flexors, to undo the adverse effects of sitting for a long time each day and promote muscle balance. Most people will also have tight hamstrings, so be sure to include daily gentle stretches for these as well.
  • Exercise releases endorphins and are the body’s natural pain relievers. Endorphins are chemicals that occur naturally in the body, and when released they help block pain signals from registering with the brain, and alleviate stress, anxiety, depression and more.
  • The core muscles of the body, which include the abdominal and back muscles, play a critical role in supporting the lower back. If they’re not actively exercised on a regular basis, more strain will be placed on the lower back for everyday functional movements. You’ll most often hear people working their abdominal muscles and focusing on getting a ‘six-pack’, but don’t forget to strengthen the many extensor muscles of your back, as they are equally important.
  • Many people underestimate the impact of regularly applying forms of cold packs (to reduce inflammation) and/or hot packs (to help blood flow to the affected area) to help reduce lower back pain and the healing process.
  • Our spines are optimized for standing, walking, and moving around. So to prevent low back pain in the future or ease the pain if you suffer from it already, be sure to get out there and start moving to loosen things up and strengthen the muscles that are needed for support.

If you don’t know where to start and you need help in this area, click on the Time For Change Personal Training Services tab to either join our fitness group or work with me one-on-one to help strengthen your back and core muscles.

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