Beta-Alanine May Reduce Muscle Fatigue, Says Study

Beta Alanine

Beta Alanine

 

During strenuous activity, hydrogen ions (protons) accumulate inside muscle cells. This causes fatigue and impairs performance.

More than 80 years ago, British physiologist A.V. Hill speculated that muscle cells possess “buffers,” chemicals that counteract or soak up these excessive protons.

More recent research supports this idea, linking improved buffering capacity with better performance. Many more recent research studies have demonstrated the benefits of consuming beta-alanine during various types of exercise, including resistance training and endurance sports.

That makes beta-alanine a key part of an athlete’s nutritional regimen. A naturally-occurring amino acid, beta-alanine makes a compound in your body called carnosine, which controls the buildup of acid in your muscles caused by intense or prolonged exercise.

Because acid buildup is a major factor in causing muscles to fatigue, using beta-alanine can help delay it. By improving buffering capacity during high-intensity exercise, you’re able to maintain performance at high workloads, building more muscle, increasing strength, and improving your explosive power.

According to Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research for Athletes’ Performance, the amount of beta-alanine needed to get the benefit of delayed muscle fatigue and more intense training is between 3 and 6.4 grams per day divided into two doses.

You get some beta-alanine in your daily diet, but typically only 15 to 20 percent of what your muscles need to control acid accumulation.

“We recommend consuming beta-alanine in divided doses throughout the day,” Carlson-Phillips says. “You can split up your doses around your training with the first coming 60 to 90 minutes before training and the second within two hours of finishing or you can divide it across your entire day.”

Great Article! Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett, WA

How to Avoid and Treat a Torn Meniscus

Torn Meniscus

Torn Meniscus

 

Overview

There are two types of cartilage in the knee that can be damaged. Articular cartilage is the smooth, semi-rigid tissue that covers the ends of bones and allows the knee joint to move freely. It can be torn away by impact during contact sports like football or hockey, or it can gradually wear thin with age, causing arthritis in the knee joint.

The other type of cartilage is meniscus cartilage and it refers to the crescent-shaped cushions between the lower part of the thigh bone and the upper part of the shin bone. Without the menisci, the bones of the upper and lower leg grind against each other, which may cause short-term pain and long-term arthritis. There are two menisci—one (lateral) on the outside of the knee joint, the other (medial) on the inside. The inside meniscus is the one most frequently injured in sports and the type of injury discussed below.

How a Torn Meniscus Happens

An athlete typically suffers a torn meniscus when they take a blow to the outside of the knee, forcing it inward and tearing the structure, or by some combination of bending or compressing the knee joint, twisting, pivoting, changing directions, or decelerating. It isn’t unusual for a torn meniscus to happen simultaneously with another traumatic injury, such as a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

For older athletes, the meniscus often becomes weak and frayed, making it more vulnerable to both contact and non-contact injuries. Something as simple as the up and down motion of squatting may cause a minor meniscus tear.

Degenerative changes involve frayed or jagged edges of the meniscus. A tear that occurs along the length of the meniscus is called a longitudinal tear. A tear where a portion of the meniscus becomes detached from a bone and forms a flap is called a bucket-handle tear.

Torn Meniscus by the Numbers

2-4 lbs
The increased amount of body weight force placed on the knee joints when walking.

6-8 lbs
The increased amount of body weight force placed on the knee joints when running.

5 times
The inside (medial) meniscus is five times more likely to be injured than the outside (lateral) meniscus..

90
The percent of meniscus tears that can be diagnosed (by a physician) with a careful injury history and physical examination.

Who’s at Risk of a Torn Meniscus

A soccer, basketball, lacrosse, tennis, or football player who plants a foot to change directions or who takes a hit from another player is vulnerable to meniscus injuries. Runners who misstep or step in a hole can sustain the same injury. Men are more likely to tear a meniscus than women, but that may be because of the number of men that participate in sports as opposed to a gender-specific cause.

Symptoms

  • Pain on the inside of knee joint or a dull pain throughout the joint.
  • Pain that may subside for a few days, but return with physical activity.
  • A popping sound at the time of the injury.
  • Swelling within 24-48 hours after an injury.
  • Stiffness, tightness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Inability to fully bend the knee.
  • Inability to put weight on the knee joint or buckling of the knee.
  • Locking or catching of the knee at a 45-degree angle.

Initial Treatment

  • Rest and don’t try to play through the pain (use crutches if needed).
  • Apply ice in 20-minute intervals several times a day during the first 48-72 hours after the injury.
  • Use a pillow or cushion to elevate the knee while at rest during the day and while sleeping at night.
  • Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen may relieve pain.
  • After 48-72 hours, use moist heat to increase circulation and relieve discomfort.
  • Get medical attention if the pain persists for a week or more, or if you think you have torn a meniscus.

Comeback Strategy

If a tear has occurred on the outer rim, there are enough blood vessels to allow the structure to heal. If the tear is in the central area where there isn’t a good supply of blood, the tissue may not ever heal and may need to be removed through arthroscopic surgery.

  • Recovery without surgery may take six to eight weeks.
  • Recovery with surgery may take three to four months.
  • Wear a knee brace or sleeve for protection.

Prehab

Incorporate these prehab exercises into your comeback routine:

  1. Foam Roll (quads and hips)
  2. Hip Rotation  – External – Sidelying
  3. Hip Abduction – Sidelying

How to Avoid a Torn Meniscus

  • Some meniscus tears aren’t preventable and might be considered an occupational or recreational risk that accompanies a sport.
  • Be especially careful doing squats to avoid excessive compression of the meniscus.
  • Work with a certified strength and conditioning coach to ensure proper lifting techniques in the weight room.
  • Work with a knowledgeable coach to ensure proper sport-specific technique to reduce the risk of meniscus injuries.

Movement Prep

Incorporate these movement prep exercises into your dynamic warm-up routine:

  1. Glute Bridge
  2. Inverted Hamstring Stretch
  3. The World’s Greatest Stretch

Jim Brown, Ph.D. has written 14 books on health, medicine, and sports. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Post, Sports Illustrated for Women and Better Homes & Gardens. He also writes for the Duke School of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic and Steadman-Hawkins Research Foundation.

Certified Personal Trainer Arturo Espitia Everett, WA

Relief for Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder Arthritis

 

Overview

There are two joints in the shoulder, and osteoarthritis—damage to the cartilage surface and the resulting inflammation—can develop in both of them.

First, let’s get to know the anatomy: The part of the scapula (shoulder blade) that makes up the top of the shoulder and connects with the clavicle (collarbone) is the acromion. The joint where the acromion and the clavicle come together is the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. This joint, no bigger than your thumb joint, allows you to raise your arms above your head. The AC joint contains cartilage tissue, menisci, nerves, blood vessels, and two sets of ligaments. It’s the most commonly injured joint in the shoulder. Injuries to this part of your shoulder can lead to arthritis later in life.

The glenohumeral joint, which is commonly referred to as the shoulder joint, is located where the humerus (upper arm bone) meets the scapula . It allows the arm to move in a circular rotation.

How Shoulder Arthritis Happens

AC Joint Arthritis

With AC joint arthritis, the cartilage surface between the collarbone and upper shoulder blade wears thin from repeated movements. Any activity that puts pressure on the joint, either normal or excessive, may eventually cause arthritis.

Glenohumeral Arthritis

Glenohumeral joint arthritis is caused by the destruction of the cartilage covering the bones in the glenohumeral joint. When the cartilage wears away, the bones begin to rub together. This can lead to bone spurs, bony growths that can put pressure and cause wear and tear on other bones. Friction increases and the shoulder can’t move smoothly or comfortably. As more bone spurs develop, range of motion decreases.

Shoulder Arthritis by the Numbers

3
The number of essential functions of a normal shoulder (fluid motion, stability, and strength).

3rd
Shoulder arthritis is the third most common joint to require surgery.

5-10
Percentage of patients with shoulder pain who have degenerative joint disease (arthritis).

20
Percentage of the older population that’s affected by glenohumeral joint arthritis.

14,000,000
The number of people in the United States who seek medical treatment for shoulder pain each year.

Who’s at Risk of Shoulder Arthritis

AC joint arthritis usually occurs in people over the age of 40 and in athletes who use their arms and shoulders for heavy lifting, reaching, or other sports-related overhead movements. Weightlifters are at the top of the list with swimmers, tennis players, and baseball players not far behind. Glenohumeral joint arthritis typically affects adults over the age of 50. Anyone who has had a serious shoulder injury is vulnerable to both kinds of shoulder arthritis.

AC Joint Arthritis Symptoms

  • Gradual onset of symptoms
  • Pain and stiffness in front of and on top of the shoulder
  • Increased pain when reaching behind the back
  • Pain when bringing the arm across the body to touch the opposite shoulder
  • Pain that radiates into the upper part of the neck and shoulder blade area
  • Joint tenderness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Possible clicking or snapping sensation as the shoulder moves

Glenohumeral Joint Arthritis Symptoms

  • Shoulder pain, stiffness
  • Pain that comes and goes but increases over a period of years
  • Pain that increases with shoulder movement
  • Pain that interferes with sleep

Initial Treatment

  • Limit the activities and movements that cause pain.
  • Ice or heat applications for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day, whichever one provides relief.
  • Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen may relieve pain.

Comeback Strategy

For mild cases of shoulder arthritis, you can return to training and competition when you can tolerate the pain. When surgery is performed to treat glenohumeral arthritis, complete recovery takes 4-6 months.

Incorporate these exercises into your comeback routine:

  1. Standing Shoulder External and Internal Rotation (two sets until fatigue)
  2. Floor Y’s and Floor T’s (2 sets of 10 repetitions for each move)

How to Prevent or Delay Shoulder Arthritis

There are things you can do that might help prevent or delay AC arthritis, but there are no guarantees. Try decreasing the weight, frequency, and duration of weightlifting. Also, incorporate the exercises below into your warm-up routine:

  1. Floor Posture Slides (2 sets, 10 repetitions)
  2. Floor Y (2 sets, 10 repetitions)
  3. Sidelying External Rotation (2 sets until fatigue)

 

Jim Brown, Ph.D. has written 14 books on health, medicine, and sports. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Post, Sports Illustrated for Women and Better Homes & Gardens. He also writes for the Duke School of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic and Steadman-Hawkins Research Foundation.

Great Article. Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett, WA

High Stress: It’s Like Smoking Five Cigarettes Per Day, Says Researcher

High Stress

High Stress

 

It’s impossible to avoid stressful situations, whether at work or in your private life. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel burdened by the stress. If you do, there’s a good chance that those negative emotions are hurting your heart, according to a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

So ask yourself, “Are you stressed?”

When researchers asked nearly 120,000 adults (age 43 to 74) that very question, and then tracked the subjects for 14 years, they found that those who initially felt the most stressed were 27 percent more likely to be diagnosed or die from coronary heart disease (CHD).

“While it is generally accepted that stress is related to heart disease, this is the first meta-analytic review of the association of perceived stress and incident CHD,” said study author Donald Edmondson, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, in a press release.

CHD is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries. More than 385,000 people die from CHD each year. Edmondson states that the increased risk from a high level of perceived stress is equivalent to a 50 mg/dl jump in LDL (bad) cholesterol or smoking five cigarettes per day.

To help tackle a high stress level, start by hitting the gym, since a sense of improving oneself can initiate more positive thoughts. And in the office, try utilizing these tips from the American Academy of Physicians:

  • Don’t worry about things you can’t control.
  • Solve the little problems. This can help you gain a feeling of control.
  • Prepare to the best of your ability for events you know may be stressful, such as a big meeting or presentation that you’ll be leading.
  • Try to look at change as a positive challenge, not as a threat.
  • Work to resolve conflicts with other people.
  • Talk with a trusted friend, family member, or co-worker about your stress.
  • Set realistic goals and avoid over-scheduling.

Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett, WA

Contrary to Theory: Westerners Metabolic Rates are Similar to Hunter-Gatherers

Western Metabolism

Western Metabolism

 

This may come as a surprise: While obesity and health problems are on the rise among westerners, fit and healthy hunter-gatherers don’t expend more energy than westerners, according to a study published in PLoS ONE.

Researchers measured the daily calories burned (energy) among the Hadza people, a group of hunter-gatherers who live in northern Tanzania, and compared them to energy burned by American and European adults. Contrary to theory, they found that westerners and hunter-gatherers use the same amount of energy. However, hunter-gatherers use more of their energy on physical activity, which may contribute to their overall wellbeing. The researchers also found that while westerners are burning the same amount of energy as hunter-gatherers, westerners are undernourished and overfed.

So what should you make of these findings? First, real food and regular movement matter. “You have to nourish your body, maintain strength and flexibility, and regularly move to balance hormones and decrease your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome,” says Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research at Core Performance. What’s more, counting calories is an oversimplified way of looking at weight loss. While calories do matter, Carlson-Phillips says you need to focus on quality food and increasing your metabolism with activities like weight training.

Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett, WA  Paleo  Crossfit



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