Monthly Archives: May 2017

Plyometric exercise to keep your body fit

Plyometrics is a term coined by former U.S. Olympic long-distance runner, Fred Wilt and Michael Yessis, a biochemist, sports trainer and academic in 1975. While Wilt was warming up, he noticed that the Russians included different jumps into their warm-ups prior to competing. This was in stark contrast to the Americans, who warmed up with static stretching. Wilt theorized that one of the reasons the Soviets were so competitive was because of the plyometric exercises they had practiced and perfected.

Over the next few years, Wilt and Yessis would continue their work in the sport of track and field and more specifically, running. And with the help of Yuri Verkhoshansky, a fellow biochemist and sports trainer out of the Soviet Union, the pair eventually brought this information to the masses in 1984 with their first book, “Soviet Theory, Technique and Training for Running and Hurdling.” But why did Wilt and Yessis seek out Verkhoshanksy? Because of his work with the depth jump, also know as the shock method.

The depth jump is a tested plyometric exercise, which starts an athlete on a box of a chosen height. They jump off the box, quickly rebound and jump as high as possible. In Verkhoshanksy’s 1968 work in which he describes the shock method, he concluded that, “the height of the vertical jump was highest when the athlete performed it immediately after landing from a drop height of 50 cm (20 inches).” It would take 16 years before Verkhoshanksy’s connected the dots between the depth jump and athletic performance.

In 1986, he conducted a 12-week study in which he tested whether the shock method would increase explosive strength in volleyball players. He concluded that not only was explosive strength significantly improved over the course of the study but that maximal strength in isometric movements was improved as well. (01) And so began the use of plyometrics in athletic training.

But, why are plyometric exercises so important? Why should we care about creating plyometrics workouts? It lies in the mechanics of the vertical jump.

The mechanics of the vertical jump, as stated by a 1998 study lead by Brian R. Umberger of the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, lies in the structure of the two joint muscle. The idea is that muscles that span two joints — i.e. the quads, hamstrings and calves — transfer their energy during a vertical jump to create a highly coordinated sequence of muscle actions to produce this specific movement. (02)

Because of this, the vertical jump can be a useful indicator of lower limb power, muscle recruitment and coordination for many athletes. Not only is it a great test for athletes, but it is also a great training tool to develop that explosive power and athletic coordination. And it’s for these reasons that plyometric training is so important not only for elite-level athletes but for the general population a

 4 Benefits of Plyometrics

1. Increased Agility

Plyometric training recruits the major muscles of the legs in a specific sequence. This sequence generates explosiveness, lower limb power and increases overall agility. (03)

This is important because agility is functional. Have you ever tripped on a curb or on your shoelace? Agility is the difference between just tripping and falling on your face. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines agility as “a state of being agile; marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace.” And one of the best ways to improve your dexterity is through plyometrics.

2. It’s a Great Way to Mix Up Your Training

Do you ever feel like you’re in a training rut? Do you feel like you’ve plateaued and aren’t seeing the same improvements in your strength and stamina as when you started?

The body will adapt to the stress and stimulus you introduce to it. This principle is called the Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands or SAID. If you don’t continue to challenge your body in new ways, your performance will become static and unchanging. Introducing new movements and greater challenges keeps your mind engaged and your body agile.

3. Improves Your Cardiovascular Fitness

Yes, plyometric training is considered a cardio workout, plus it’s a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness because of the recruitment of the major muscle groups during each exercise. This along with varying the intensity and speed of each movement elicits the same response as running or rowing in increasing your heart rate. (04)

4. Increased Proprioception

Proprioception is a fancy word for your mind understanding where your body is in space in relation to other objects. The mind senses the world around us and tells the body how to respond in an efficient and effective manner. This connection, just like anything else, can be strengthen and trained.

By including plyometrics into your training routine, you teach yourself how to move more efficiently through space by increasing your reaction time, smoothing out your footwork and developing a greater awareness of yourself in space.

Top Plyometric Exercises

This list of plyometric exercises only includes some of the most common exercises you’ll see in general fitness programs or classes. The overall list is long and all exercises include some form of dynamic movement or jump training.

Whether you are looking for specific plyometric exercises for runners or beginners or new movements to include in your weekly training routine, these 10 plyo exercises are simple, require little equipment and are scalable to any population. Try adding one of these exercises to your next workout and feel the difference!

  • Box jumps
  • Box squat to box jump
  • Squat jumps
  • Toe taps
  • Jumping pushups
  • Lateral jumps
  • Jumping lunges
  • Jumping jacks
  • Burpees
  • Plank jumping jacks

My Plyometric Workout

Plyometric exercises can be incorporated into your workouts in a multitude of ways. You can add a single movements as a superset by alternating between a weighted movement like a front squat or weighted lunge and a box jump. Or you can create longer plyometric circuits with 3–5 movements that creates one long workout.

What is a plyometric circuit? This type of workout takes multiple exercises and creates a series of movements to be completed one after the other. Time domains, rep schemes and movements can vary depending on your goals and current fitness level. But the great thing about circuit training is that it allow you to mix up your training, rest between movements and work your entire body or just a group of muscles so you never hit that dreaded plateau. (05)

Want to give it a try? This circuit is short and sweet and can be done for a single round or for multiple rounds depending on your fitness level and time restrictions. Before you start, make sure you warm-up properly before diving into this plyometric focused workout.


As with any fitness regime or modality, there are some precautions we want to acknowledge before diving into plyometric training.

1. Focus on precision and technique

Jump training should be graceful, smooth and light on your feet. Focus on landing onto the box or floor during any jumping movement lightly and with precision. Because of the dynamic nature of this movement, learning to land comfortably on your feet in the same position you started will help you prevent injuries and help you capture the benefits of this movement.

So what is a good landing position? You should land with your feet hips distance apart. Your knees should be bent to allow your shoulders to stack vertically over the center of your feet. (06)

2. Warm-up thoroughly before training begins

Before performing your workout, it is a critical that your muscles, heart and mind are ready to move. (07) Start by moving your whole body either by running, rowing or walking up stairs for up to 5 minutes. Then, move to dynamic stretches to increase your range of motion and then to muscle activation to make sure your muscles are firing correctly. Warm-ups are a great way to increase your performance and help prevent injuries for all plyometric exercises.

3. Don’t forget to rest!

When you first start to use plyometric boxes or add plyometric exercises to your routine, it’s critical that you not only rest between exercises to allow your body to adapt and prevent over use injuries but that you also take days off from this type of training. In as little as 2 training sessions a week, an athlete can improve their agility and athletic performance. (08)

Plyometric training is an incredible way to improve athletic performance and fitness through increased power, agility and speed. This type of training can be a great addition to any fitness program with the proper dose and a focus on form and techniqu

Causes and symptoms of hepatitis b and its natural treatments

Hepatitis B is caused by a viral infection. The virus can survive outside of the body for at least seven days. During this time, it can infect a person if it enters his or her body. It can be detected within 30 to 60 days after infection. It can persist and develop into chronic hepatitis B, especially if someone is infected at a young age.

It can be transmitted or spread in several ways, including (8):

  • Perinatal transmission: One of the most common ways that it spreads in endemic areas is by transmission from mother to child at birth.
  • Exposure to infected blood: Another common cause of hepatitis B is exposure to infected blood. Transmission from an infected child to an uninfected child during the first 5 years of life is especially common. Some scenarios that put a person at risk of transmitting the virus through exposure to blood include sharing razors, toothbrushes or any sharp instruments with an infected person. If infected blood comes into contact with open sores of an uninfected person, this can spread hepatitis B.
  • Sexual transmission: Sexual transmission of hepatitis B occurs when the body fluids, such as semen or vaginal secretions, of an infected person enter the body of an uninfected person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, hepatitis B most commonly spreads through sexual transmission, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of all acute hepatitis B cases. People with multiple sex partners or men who have sex with men are the most at risk of transmitting hepatitis B through sexual exposure. (9)
  • Needle sharing: The reuse of needles and syringes can transmit hepatitis B. This can happen in a health care setting or among people who inject drugs. It can also spread through instruments contaminated with blood used in tattooing or medical procedures.

Anyone can get hepatitis B. But some people are at a greater risk of exposure to the virus. This includes people who:

  • have multiple sex partners
  • inject drugs or share needles
  • have spent time in prison
  • live with or have close contact with a person with chronic hepatitis B
  • are exposed to blood at work (such as health care workers)
  • are hemodialysis patients
  • travel to countries with a high hepatitis B

Conventional Treatment

Because the symptoms of hepatitis B are similar to those of other viral infections, an accurate diagnosis should be made with a blood test that detects the hepatitis B surface antigen HBsAg. If the presence of HBsAg persists for at least six months, this serves as a principal marker of risk for developing liver disease later in life. During the initial phase of the infection, patients will test positive for HBeAg, an antigen that indicates that the blood and body fluids of the infected person are highly infectious.

There is no specific treatment for acute hepatitis B. But for people with chronic hepatitis B, antiviral agents are usually prescribed to slow the progression of liver disease and reduce the incidence of liver cancer. Some of the most common medications used by patients with chronic hepatitis B are tenofovir and entecavir, which are used to suppress the virus. These drugs don’t cure most people. But they do help by suppressing the replication of the hepatitis B virus and therefore reduce the risk of developing life-threatening liver conditions. Many people with chronic hepatitis B have to stay on these medications for the rest of their lives.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a vaccine can be used to prevent the possibility of infection with the hepatitis B virus. WHO recommends that “all infants receive the hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours … The birth dose should be followed by 2 or 3 doses to complete the primary series.” WHO also indicates that the low incidence of chronic hepatitis B cases in children under the age of 5 is due to the widespread use of hepatitis B vaccine. And the vaccine is 95 percent effective in preventing infection and the development of chronic liver conditions due to the infection. The CDC reports that since 1991, the rates of acute hepatitis B in the U.S. have declined by approximately 82 percent. The vaccine lasts for 20 years. It’s probably lifelong, so you don’t need a booster vaccination. (10, 11)

It’s important to note that yeast is used when making the hepatitis B vaccine. So anyone allergic to yeast should not receive it. The vaccine also isn’t recommended for people who have had serious allergic reactions to a prior dose of the vaccine.

To protect infants from getting hepatitis B from his or her infected mother, the CDC recommends that the infant receive a shot called Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth. Then the infant should receive two to three additional shots to finish the series within six months. Precautions should be taken with infants of infected mothers because they have a 90 percent chance of developing chronic hepatitis B if the infection isn’t treated properly. (12)

5  Natural Treatments to Manage Hepatitis B Symptoms

1. Eat a Healthy & Well Balanced Diet

One of the most important ways for a person with hepatitis B to live a longer, healthier life is to focus on maintaining an adequate nutritional balance with a whole foods and anti-inflammatory diet. Eating foods that contain chlorophyll can also be beneficial for reducing oxidative stress and liver damage. Some of the most beneficial, detoxifying, liver-cleansing and cancer-fighting foods include (13, 14):

  • leafy green vegetables, like spinach, kale, arugula, collard greens and romaine lettuce
  • cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts
  • root vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes, beets and butternut squash
  • fresh fruit, especially blueberries, strawberries, goji berries and citrus fruits
  • fresh herbs, like basil, parsley, oregano and ginger
  • organic meat and wild-caught fish
  • grass-fed cattle or chicken liver
  • probiotic dairy, like kefir, cottage cheese and yogurt
  • nuts and seeds, especially walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds
  • unrefined oils, such as healthy coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil

Some common symptoms of acute hepatitis B are nausea and vomiting. It may be helpful to eat a more substantial breakfast. Then keep your lunch and dinner on the lighter side if you experience an upset stomach. You can also add 1–2 drops of peppermint oil to a glass of water to help get rid of nausea naturally. To be sure that you’re getting adequate nutrients and fluids, try fruit and vegetable juices or smoothies instead of heavier meals. This will be easier for you to digest and using immune-boosting ingredients will help you to recover.

2. Avoid Inflammatory Foods and Drinks

To help prevent the spread of the hepatitis B virus and ease the symptoms of an acute infection, avoid consuming foods and drinks that increase inflammation. This includes sugar, refined oils, refined carbohydrates, conventional dairy products and farm-raised meats. Try not to eat processed foods that typically contain refined ingredients and additives. It’s also very important to avoid drinking alcohol or using over-the-counter drugs, especially acetaminophen. They can worsen liver damage, which is a concern for people with hepatitis B. (15)

3. Stay Hydrated

Vomiting is a common symptom of hepatitis B, which can cause dehydration. You need to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids throughout the day so that you don’t become dehydrated. Drink plenty of water. Have at least an 8-ounce glass with every meal and water between meals, too. Drinking fresh fruit and veggie juices can be helpful. So can consuming bone broth, which is full of essential nutrients that will boost your immune system and help you to fight the virus. Instead of turning to sports drinks that are full of sugar and artificial flavors, drink coconut water, which will help you to avoid an electrolyte imbalance.

4. Reduce Stress

To help relieve hepatitis B symptoms and prevent the spread of the virus, you have to reduce stress levels and take it easy. Don’t engage in strenuous activities, especially if you are feeling tired and low energy. Allow your body to rest. Try some natural stress relievers, like taking a short walk outside, doing some gentle yoga. Take a warm bath or read an uplifting book. Another easy way to reduce stress and bring on feelings of peace is to diffuse lavender essential oil at home or work. If you don’t have a diffuser, just tub 1–2 drops of lavender oil into your temples or inhale it directly from the bottle.

5. Try Milk Thistle

Milk thistle benefits and supports the liver. It’s a powerful detoxifier. It helps rebuild liver cells while removing bodily toxins that are processed through the liver. The silymarin found in milk thistle acts as an antioxidant by reducing free radical production and oxidative stress. It even acts as a toxin blockade agent that inhibits the binding of toxins in liver cells. Research on milk thistle shows it can be used to treat acute and chronic viral hepatitis and liver disease

Mediterranean style diet

Meals from the sunny Mediterranean have been linked to stronger bones, a healthier heart and longer life, along with a reduced risk for diabetes and high blood pressure.Now you can add lowering your risk for dementia to the ever growing list of reasons to follow the Mediterranean diet or one of its dietary cousins.

New research being presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International conference in London this week found healthy older adults who followed the Mediterranean or the similar MIND diet lowered their risk of dementia by a third.
“Eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with better cognitive function and around 30% to 35% lower risk of cognitive impairment during aging,” said lead author Claire McEvoy, of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.
McEvoy stressed that because the study was conducted in a nationally representative older population “the findings are relevant to the general public.”
“While 35% is a greater than expected decrease for a lifestyle choice, I am not surprised,” said Rudolph Tanzi, who directs the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and recently co-authored a book with Deepak Chopra on genes and aging called “Super Genes.”
“The activity of our genes is highly dependent on four main factors: diet, exercise, sleep and stress management,” said Tanzi, who was not involved in the study. “Of these, perhaps diet is most important
inRead invented by Teads
Eating the Mediterranean diet may lead to a longer life
McEvoy’s study investigated at the eating habits of nearly 6,000 older Americans with an average age of 68. After adjusting for age, gender, race, low educational attainment and lifestyle and health issues — such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression, smoking and physical inactivity — researchers found that those who followed the MIND or Mediterranean diet had a 30% to 35% lower risk of cognitive impairment.
The more people stayed on those diets, said McEvoy, the better they functioned cognitively.
Those who marginally followed the diet also benefited, but by a much smaller margin. They were 18% less likely to exhibit signs of cognitive impairment.
What are the Mediterranean and MIND diets?
Forget lasagne, pizza, spanakopita and lamb souvlaki — they are not on the daily menu of those who live by the sunny Mediterranean seaside.
The true diet is simple, plant-based cooking, with the majority of each meal focused on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and seeds, with a few nuts and a heavy emphasis on extra virgin olive oil. Say goodbye to refined sugar or flour and fats other than olive oil, such as butter, are consumed rarely, if at all.
Meat can make a rare appearance, but usually only to flavor a dish. Instead, meals may include eggs, dairy and poultry, but in much smaller portions than in the traditional Western diet. Fish, however, are a staple.
The MIND diet takes the best brain foods of the Mediterranean diet and the famous salt-reducing DASH diet, and puts them together. MIND encourages a focus on eating from 10 healthy food groups while rejecting foods from five unhealthy groups.
MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, with DASH standing for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
MIND was developed by Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center in the US.
Those who follow MIND reject butter and stick margarine, red meats, cheeses, fried or fast food and sweets. Instead, they eat at least six servings a week of green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale, and at least one serving a day of another vegetable. Three servings a day of whole grains are a must.
They also add in at least three servings of beans, two or more servings of berries, two servings of chicken or turkey, and once serving of fish each week. Olive oil is their main cooking ingredient, and they drink a glass of wine a day.

Physical Therapy Helps Ankylosing Spondylitis

Even though medications provide much relief from AS symptoms and could even slow down its progression, physical therapy can be a valuable part of your ankylosing spondylitis care. Physical therapy components, like stretching, exercise, improving posture, and even strategies such as selecting the right mattress and workplace chair, focus in on your specific needs to improve your quality of life.

Since ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that affects your spine and functions associated with your spine, using the supporting modalities make sense, says rheumatologist Daniel Clegg, MD, chief of the division of rheumatology the University of Utah Healthcare in Salt Lake City. “Physical therapy for range of motion and posture are really important, because if you aren’t in a good posture and have the unfortunate outcome of fusing in that position, that can be even more debilitating.” Physical therapy can help maintain your quality of life, adds Dr. Clegg.

Romanian researchers screening nearly 100 people with AS confirmed that a postural assessment along with correcting any misalignments should be part of the physical therapy strategy for people with ankylosing spondylitis.

The Benefits of Physical Therapy for AS

“The most important thing physical therapy can provide is helping with respect to self-management of ankylosing spondylitis,” says physical therapy expert and educator Maura Iversen, chair and professor in the department of physical therapy at Northeastern University in Boston.

“The main symptoms are loss of mobility of the spine over time, which can be very debilitating with respect to aerobic capacity,” says Iversen. If your vertebra and your ribs fuse, your rib cage loses flexibility, which means your lungs are less able to expand fully.

Physical therapy can also help with other symptoms including tendon pain and stiffness and painful joints. Correcting your habits of movement and positioning early on with AS can help maintain your long-term mobility and health. For example, uncorrected poor posture could result in a curved spine and, eventually, difficulty looking at level or up.

Physical therapists with AS skills can provide strategies to reduce AS pain, create exercise plans that will help you stay mobile and active longer, find ways to work around your changing mobility, and even restore mobility after you’ve lost it.

Making the Most of Physical Therapy for AS

Iversen says that paying for AS physical therapy can sometimes be a challenge for patients, so she plans her sessions in order to maximize time. That means teaching people stretches and exercises they can do at home without her and using their sessions with her to focus on activities that can’t be done outside of her office. She also might use computer or phone video chats to record patients walking in their usual, relaxed posture and then provide a comparison of correct movement and posture so they can self-correct at home.

Because ankylosing spondylitis is a progressive condition, you might be building a long-term relationship with a physical therapist or physical therapy practice, so it’s important to trust the PT you’re working with. Your doctor can help you decide if PT should be part of your plan and can help refer you to a therapist who understands the needs of AS