All Posts tagged Exercise

Thera-band Launches CLX

In January 2015 Thera-Band will launch the CLX.

Dr. Jeffrey Tucker requested that Thera-band make a continuous loop band like the Stretch Strap and in 2014 they gave Dr. Tucker a prototype. He has been beta testing the CLX for a year before the ‘launch’ in his private practice in Los Angeles, CA. He put together routines based on traditional band and bodyweight training.

Dr. Tucker says “I combined my knowledge of anatomy and movement  into progressive CLX training” for my patients”. Dr. Tucker has 30 years of experience teaching patients flexibility and strength training. CLX represents an evolved fusion of the Thera-band Stretch Strap and Dr. Tucker’s fascial knowledge and bodyweight strength methods.

Many techniques are combined using the CLX – fascial stretch, PNF, muscle release techniques, static stretch techniques along with proper form and progressions.

“Those doctors, patients and athletes familiar with CLX will be ahead of the pack.  Come in and visit me to learn bleeding-edge exercises, new approaches, next-gen thinking in band training and therapy.”



Want to run faster, jump higher, move quicker and get in better shape, all at the same time? If you’re answer is yes, it’s time for a lesson in plyometrics. Exercises based on plyometrics repeatedly and rapidly stretch muscles and then contract them, improving muscle power. And don’t we all want a little more muscle power, whether it helps us compete in our favorite sport or just perform our daily physical activities a little easier? Here’s your introduction to plyometrics and a sample routine you can do today.

I recall being in awe watching Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt flash across the finish line at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and being so impressed with his speed and ability. I continue to be amazed at top basketball players, tennis players, football players, and other athletes as they jump up in the air repeatedly, skillfully maneuver their arms and legs while airborne, land on a small portion of one or both feet, and then move immediately to the next position – all without falling (usually). I shake my head and say to myself, “Now that is power!” One of the best ways to develop this type of power is through plyometric training.

Plyometric training is used to produce fast, powerful movements and improve the function of the nervous system for explosive power. This helps you create muscular movements in the shortest period of time and is especially beneficial to sprinters and athletes who need to accelerate quickly. Plyometric movements train the muscle to load, unload and then reload in rapid sequence, allowing you to jump higher, run faster, throw farther or hit harder, depending on the desired training goal. In short, plyometrics help us improve our speed because we train the body to jump and land with speed.


Vitamin C Update

Vitamin C may decrease heart rate during exercise and reduce the perception of fatigue and exertion.

A four-week study with 20 adults found that a daily supplement of 500 mg of vitamin C was associated with an average 11 fewer heart beats during exercise, compared to three fewer beats in the control group, according to findings published in the journal Nutrition.

Scientists from the University of Wisconsin and Arizona State University recruited 20 adults with an average age of 35 and an average BMI of 34.3 kg/m2 to participate in their study. All participants consumed a calorie-controlled diet for four weeks with or without a daily vitamin C supplement.

At the start and end of the study, the participants performed 60 minutes of exercise at an intensity of 50% predicted maximal oxygen consumption.

Results showed that both groups lost about four kilograms and there were no differences in breathing between the groups. However, the vitamin C group had significantly lower heart rates during exercise, compared with the control group.

In addition, the Rates of Perceived Exertion (RPE) were also significantly reduced in the vitamin C group. Perceived fatigue was also reduced.

“[Perceived exertion] is typically correlated to heart rate and blood lactate concentrations and is considered a gauge for muscular effort, fatigue and muscle aches,” explained Johnston and her co-workers.

“The RPE during the 60-minute walk was decreased 10% in the VC [vitamin C] group and increased one percent in the CON [control] group at week four compared with baseline. Because heart rate is a contributing factor to perceived effort, the significant decrease in the exercising heart rate noted for the VC participants may have influenced the reported RPE values.”

“These data provide preliminary evidence that vitamin C supplementation decreases feelings of fatigue and perceptions of exertion during moderate exercise in obese individuals. Because strategies to improve adherence to exercise protocols are needed, further investigations of the impact of vitamin C status on perceptions of effort during exercise are warranted,” they concluded.



Co-enzyme Q10 before exercise

Co-enzyme Q10 – also known as ubiquinone – is a powerful antioxidant found in every cell of the body, where it has important functions within the mitochondria – the “powerhouses” of cells.  Javier Diaz-Castro, from the University of Granada (Spain), and colleagues studied elite runners participating in a 50-kilometer run across Europe’s highest road in the Sierra Nevada. Twenty athletes participated in the study, who were divided into two groups: one group received one 30 mg capsule of Q10 two days before the run, three 30 mg capsules the day before the run, and one capsule one hour prior to the run. The other group received placebo at the same time. Whereas the placebo group displayed a 100% increase in oxidative stress markers, only 37.5% of the Q10-supplemented runners experienced the same stresses. Suggesting that Q 10 countered the overexpression of certain pro-inflammatory compounds after exercise, the researchers conclude that: “Co Q10 supplementation before strenuous exercise decreases the oxidative stress and modulates the inflammatory signaling, reducing the subsequent muscle damage.”


Leucine Supplements Boost Muscle Synthesis by 33% During Exercise

Consumption of leucine-enriched essential amino acid supplements during endurance exercise may enhance the synthesis of muscle protein by 33%, says a new study from the U.S. Army.

In addition to the implications for sports nutrition, results of the randomized crossover study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, may have implications for populations susceptible to muscle loss due to conditions such as sarcopenia.

“… increasing leucine provision during endurance-type exercise by dietary supplementation enhances muscle protein anabolism in recovery,” wrote researchers from the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Tufts University, and Louisiana State University System.

The effects of resistance exercise on the metabolism of protein in muscles and the effects of endurance exercise on protein metabolism is not well established. “Increasing the concentration of leucine within an optimal dose of EAA [essential amino acid] does not have an added stimulatory effect on resting and post-resistance exercise muscle protein synthesis,” explained the researchers, led by the U.S. Army’s Stefan Pasiakos.

“In contrast with resistance exercise, sustained endurance exercise is mainly catabolic, yielding simultaneous reductions in muscle protein synthesis and plasma leucine concentrations during exercise, which may be attributed to the metabolic demand for branched chain amino acids in exercising skeletal muscle.”

Eight volunteers consumed 10 grams of protein drinks with either 1.87 or 3.5 grams of leucine during a cycling test.

Results showed that the leucine-enriched beverage was associated with a 33% increase in muscle protein synthesis, compared with the control beverage. “[In addition] whole-body protein breakdown and synthesis were lower and oxidation was greater after consumption of [leucine-enriched essential amino acid supplement] than after consumption of [essential amino acid supplement],” added the researchers.

“These data indicate that increasing leucine availability during steady state exercise promotes skeletal muscle protein anabolism and spares endogenous protein,” wrote Pasiakos and his co-workers.

“Our findings indicate that increasing the leucine content of protein supplements provided for those populations susceptible to muscle loss, including proteolytic conditions—such as cachexia, sarcopenia and calorie deprivation—may warrant further exploration,” they added.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 94(3):809-181, 2011


Low Intensity Sample Workout

This is a perfect workout to get your energy flowing but not your sweat! 

March in place for two minutes.

Vertical Push-Up: Stand at arm’s length from a wall. Keeping your elbows at shoulder level, place both hands against the wall, shoulder-width apart. Lean into the wall, bending your elbows as you come forward… and straightening them out as you push back. Try to do 10-12 reps.

Squats: Stand one foot away from a chair, facing away from it. Bend at your knees, lean forward and bend – keeping your back straight – until you are seated in the chair. Rest for a second, place your hands on your thighs, and push off using your legs… and stand. Try to do 8-12 reps.

Crunches: Sit on a desk, bench, or other straight surface. Cup your ears with your hands. Bring your left knee up and across to your right elbow. Pause, tighten your ab muscles, and return to your starting position. Bring your right knee up and across to your left elbow. Pause, tighten your ab muscles, and return to your starting position. Try to repeat 6–10 times.

Do 10-12 more wall push-ups. Do 8-12 more squats. And finally march in place for two minutes.



Sample Bodyweight Workout

Workout #1  All you need is a clock and just 10 minutes per session!

Walk in place for one minute.

Jump rope for one minute.

Do as many pushups as you can for one minute.

Do as many crunches as you can for one minute.

Jump rope for two minutes.

Do another round of pushups for one minute.

Do another round of crunches for one minute.

Jump rope for one minute.

Walk in place for one minute.


Exercise, Soybeans and Tofu Snacks

The branched-chain amino acids in soybeans stop muscle degradation during long bike rides and runs while the antioxidants help alleviate post-exercsie aches and pains. Research published in The Nutrition Journal found that both soy and whey proteins build lean muscle mass, but soy protein also prevents exercise-induced inflammation. Chocolate soy milk makes an excellent recovery drink.  Also, keep soy nuts in the car or at the office for a great protein-rich snack.


Effects of the dietary approaches to stop hypertension diet, exercise, and caloric restriction on neurocognition in overweight adults with high blood pressure.

Smith PJ, Blumenthal JA, Babyak MA, Craighead L, Welsh-Bohmer KA, Browndyke JN, Strauman TA, Sherwood A.  Effects of the dietary approaches to stop hypertension diet, exercise, and caloric restriction on neurocognition in overweight adults with high blood pressure.  Hypertension. 2010 Jun;55(6):1331-8

“High blood pressure increases the risks of stroke, dementia, and neurocognitive dysfunction. Although aerobic exercise and dietary modifications have been shown to reduce blood pressure, no randomized trials have examined the effects of aerobic exercise combined with dietary modification on neurocognitive functioning in individuals with high blood pressure (ie, prehypertension and stage 1 hypertension). As part of a larger investigation, 124 participants with elevated blood pressure (systolic blood pressure 130 to 159 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure 85 to 99 mm Hg) who were sedentary and overweight or obese (body mass index: 25 to 40 kg/m(2)) were randomized to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet alone, DASH combined with a behavioral weight management program including exercise and caloric restriction, or a usual diet control group. Participants completed a battery of neurocognitive tests of executive function-memory-learning and psychomotor speed at baseline and again after the 4-month intervention. Participants on the DASH diet combined with a behavioral weight management program exhibited greater improvements in executive function-memory-learning (Cohen’s D=0.562; P=0.008) and psychomotor speed (Cohen’s D=0.480; P=0.023), and DASH diet alone participants exhibited better psychomotor speed (Cohen’s D=0.440; P=0.036) compared with the usual diet control. Neurocognitive improvements appeared to be mediated by increased aerobic fitness and weight loss. Also, participants with greater intima-medial thickness and higher systolic blood pressure showed greater improvements in executive function-memory-learning in the group on the DASH diet combined with a behavioral weight management program. In conclusion, combining aerobic exercise with the DASH diet and caloric restriction improves neurocognitive function among sedentary and overweight/obese individuals with prehypertension and hypertension.


Walking Protects Against Alzheimer’s

A new Alzheimer’s study that used MRI scans was recently conducted at the University of Pittsburgh. Researchers recruited more than 400 older adult subjects–some with Alzheimer’s, some with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and some with no signs of dementia. Physical activity was monitored, and each patient underwent two MRI brain scans approximately 10 years apart. In a press release, the study’s lead author, Cyrus Raji, Ph.D., described the results: “We found that walking five miles per week protects the brain structure over 10 years in people with Alzheimer’s and MCI, especially in areas of the brain’s key memory and learning centers.”

Mental exam scores dropped an average of five points over five years among patients with cognitive impairment who were physically inactive. But scores for physically active patients dropped only one point on average. Dr. Raji also noted that patients who walked five miles per week showed slower decline in memory loss over five years. There was also good news for the healthy, dementia-free subjects. Those who walked at least six miles per week maintained normal brain volume and significantly reduced risk of cognitive decline. Dr. Raji: “Volume is a vital sign for the brain. When it decreases, that means brain cells are dying. But when it remains higher, brain health is being maintained.” 

Whenever someone asks me what I want as a gift, I usually remember to say more IQ points.  Key take away – stay active to help keep the brain healthier longer.