What is metabolic syndrome?(Part 2)

Causes

Overweight and obesity[1]

If you are overweight and obese, very likely, you will developmetabolic syndrome(MS). Hence, you need to compute for your ideal body weight (IBW) every now and then so that you will know if your weight is falling beyond the normal and accepted figures; if overweight, you need to shed off some of your weight. The formula to be used in computing for your IBW is discussed in Powertec (20).

Inactive lifestyle[1]

Inactive lifestyle—that is, you lack physical exercises for a long time—will also lead to the development of MS. The reason for this is that if your life is largely sedentary, you will gain weight and become overweight.

Insulin resistance[1]

Normally, when you take your foods rich in carbohydrates, the glucose level in your blood rises. Consequently, your insulin which is responsible for the cellular absorption of your glucose will also increase. With the action of your insulin, the glucose molecules enter your cells, and it will be used as source of energy. If there is insulin resistance, your cells will not positively react to the presence of glucose even if insulin is around and available. Hence, glucose is not absorbed by your cells[2].

Age[1]

As you grow older, the possibility that you will develop MS increases.This is one of the factors that you cannot control. Therefore, if you have been having hypertension since the middle period of your life, and if you have been gaining weight, you might develop it.

Genetics[1]

Your predisposition to develop MS is also beyond your control. Among its causes,insulin resistance is one of the genetically acquired. It runs in your family; hence, if one or more of your siblings has(have) it, you will, by and large, develop it,too. As early as possible, submit yourself to some laboratory tests.

Excessive blood clotting[1]

There are indications that when you have excessive blood clotting, you are prone to have MS. Thus, if there were occasions in medical settings beforethat you were found to have this medical disorder, search for the indications of other components of MS because, by and large, you have them, too.

Low-grade inflammation throughout the body[1]

When you have inflammation in a certain part of your body, such as in your knee joints, you will experience pain; depending on its severity, you will correspondingly experience a particular intensity of pain—the more severe it is, the more painful it will be. In the case of MS, you have been experiencing low-grade inflammation throughout your body, but   you may not be able to feel and experience the pain; instead, some complications have been taking place in your different organs. With generalized inflammation, the small blood vessels—known as coronary arteries—in your heart may have been reacting to it, and the diameter of their openings may have been reduced, promoting the occurrences of heart attack or myocardial infarction. Your kidneys may also react to the inflammation, and their filtrating structures, known as glomeruli, may be damaged. Since it is generalized, no part of your body would be spared from its adverse effects.

Others

The following may also cause MS: fatty liver, polycystic ovarian syndrome, gallstones, breathing problems during sleep. Right now, these possible causes of MS are still under investigation[1].

Symptoms

The symptoms of metabolic syndrome are related to its complications. Hence, if you already have hypertension, you may experience headache and dizziness; if diabetes has been present, you may experience frequent urination, weakness, and thirst[1]; if the increased levels of triglycerides and cholesterol have taken their toll, you may experience chest pain upon exertion.

(To be continued)

References:

  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, US Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms/causes
  2. Mayo Clinic, Diseases and Conditions, Metabolic Syndrome. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20027243

What is metabolic syndrome?(Part 1)

Definition

Metabolic syndrome (MS) refers to a medical condition wherein you have a combination of abnormal findings in your health profile. These are: 1. increased blood pressure{systolic blood pressure of 130 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or greater, or diastolic blood pressure of 85 mmHg or greater}, 2.a high fasting blood sugar {100 mg/dl or greater}, 3.excess body fat around the waist {waist circumference of 40 inches or over in men, and 35 inches or over in women}, 4. the level of HDL cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dl in men or less than 50 mg/dl in women, and 5.abnormal triglyceride levels {150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dl) or greater}. To label you as having MS, you should have at least three of these abnormalities in your medical profile[1,2].

Stricter definition

Based on the report of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute/American Heart Association Conference on Scientific Issues Related to Definition, however, there were six components of MS which were identified. These are (1) abdominal obesity, (2) atherogenic dyslipidemia, (3) raised blood pressure, (4) insulin resistance with or without glucose intolerance, (5) proinflammatory state, and (6) prothrombotic state[3].

Abdominal obesity[3]

This refers to the increased waistline circumference as described in the preceding.

Atherogenic dyslipidemia[3]

When a substance is considered as atherogenic, this means that it can be deposited along the internal lining of your   blood vessel wall. When this takes place, your blood vessels become inelastic and rigid that eventually your blood pressure increases. Thus, as much as possible, these substances (cholesterol and triglycerides) need to be at normal levels in your blood in most of the times.

In the cholesterol profile, the factor which is more important is the level of the so-called HDL-cholesterol which is otherwise known as the “goodcholesterol. This is considered as “good” because it is responsible for the reverse cholesterol transport whose main function is to carry allcholesterol molecules from the different organs of your body back to the liver for elimination. If this is low, more cholesterol stays in your peripheral circulation, promoting possible attachment in the internal lining of your blood vessels. This becomes an atherogenic factor which should be addressed at the soonest possible time.

Raised blood pressure[3]

This refers to the elevation of your blood pressure as described in the preceding. Have your blood pressure checked regularly. When you find out that it is elevated, you need to consult your medical doctor for proper medication(s). It has to be lowered as soon as possible so that complications will not set in.

Insulin resistance [3]

The substance responsible for the absorption of glucose in your cells is the protein known as insulin. If you are suffering from MS, glucose is no longer sensitive to the action of insulin. Thus, in spite of having enough concentration of insulin in your cells, glucose is not absorbed and therefore not used.

Proinflammatory state[3]

If you are obese and your C-reactive protein (CRP) is elevated,aside from having inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, it is greatly possible that you have MS. There are a number of causes of the CRP elevation, but obesity is one of the causes because excess adipose tissue releases inflammatory substances that will cause elevation of CRP[3].

Prothrombotic state[3]

When your plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 and your fibrinogen are elevated[3], then very likely you have MS. These are additional substances which indicate that some inflammatory substances are highly elevated in your body, promoting the development of cardiovascular diseases.

(To be continued)

References:

  1. Mayo Clinic, Diseases and Conditions, Metabolic Syndrome. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20027243
  2. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MetabolicSyndrome/About-Metabolic-Syndrome_UCM_301920_Article.jsp#.VsxroH197IU
  3. NHLBI/AHA Conference Proceedings. Circ.ahajournals.org/content/109/3/433.full

Importance of hydration in physical exercises (Part 3)

Precautions in hydration

Existing hypertension

While it is true that you need to replace the salt that you lose while you do your physical exercises, you need to be cautious in doing it if you have hypertension. As mentioned in the preceding article, preponderance of salt in the bloodflowing in your blood vessels will increase your intravascular volume, then ultimately increasing your blood pressure. Therefore, if you have existing hypertension, you need to be very careful in your intake of salt-rich foods or drinks while you do your physical exercises.

Before you engage in any form of physical exercises, especially if you have hypertension, you need to take your medications as scheduled. If you have one or two tablet(s) scheduled to be taken before doing your physical exercises, then take them before you plunge into intense physical activities. Being hypertensive is not a hindrance to having physical exercises; however, take your medications as prescribed by your medical doctor(s).

Existing kidney problem

In some existing kidney problems, you cannot eliminate as much water as you used to be because your kidney(s) could no longer do so. In another saying, your kidney(s) could no longer produce the amount of urine that you used to have because they are now afflicted with a particular disease. Hence, if you drink a lot of water, you may overload your body with it that you will have difficulty in breathing! Thus, if you have a history of some kidney diseases, you need to be very careful with your intake of so much water. Find out from your medical doctor if you need to limit your water intake.

Balance between health and physical exercises

You need to strike at a rational balance between the state of your health and the degree of your physical exercises. If you do not have medical problems—that is, you are healthy—you have the freedom to do whatever form of physical exercises you would like to engage in, for as long as you do them in the proper form, proper duration and intensity, with proper preparation and hydration. However, if you have been afflicted with some diseases, you need to seek medical clearance from your medical doctor, and find out from him what physical exercises you can afford to do. Surely, you will be allowed to engage in some form of physical exercises, but with some limitations. Observe these limitations, and proceed with your physical exercises.

Limited physical exercises and their health effects

It is not enough that you proceed with your physical exercises and that is all in it! You need to observe the effects of your physical exercises on your health. If you feel and believe that what you have been performing is too much for your health, you can consult your medical doctor and explain to him what you have been feeling. There might be a need to adjust your physical exercises, and he will advise you accordingly. The intensity, duration, and frequency of your physical exercises may be reduced. However, if, on the other hand, you feel that your health could afford more intense physical activities, in spite of your illness, you can again consult your medical doctor, and find out from him if you can proceed with what you plan to do. If he approves it, you can gradually make your workouts harder and more intense. Your medical doctor may not have the time to fully explain to you how you can increase or decrease the intensity of your physical exercises. Hence, in the gym, you can refer your case to an adviser who could guide you accordingly. With existing limitations in your health, always proceed with caution when it comes to engaging in physical exercises.

(Last of a series of 3)

Importance of hydration in physical exercises (Part 2)

Determinants of intravascular volume

Amount of water being taken in

The intravascular volume (IV) refers to the total amount of fluid that is in your blood vessels. If you are dehydrated, resulting from either severe physical exercises or severe loose bowel movement, otherwise known as diarrhea, your IV shrinks, and your blood pressure decreases. Thus, when you are sweating a lot as a consequence of doing physical exercises, you need to take in waterregularly so that the water that you lost will be replenished.If you have been suffering from severe diarrhea, you need to take in water as needed, or to be inserted with intravenous fluid so that your lost water will be replaced. This process of replacing your lost water is called hydration.

Amount of salt being taken in

When you sweat as a result of doing physical exercises and of hot weather, salt in your body, otherwise known as sodium chloride (NaCl), is lost. Sodium chloride is also lost when you have diarrhea for some time. For this reason, when you do intense physical exercises, or when you are exposed to hot temperature in your work, or when you are having diarrhea, you need to take some amount of salt. For strenuous sport like tennis, there are special drinks which are recommended, and these contain some amount of sodium chloride. For hot temperature, in your work or in your place of residence, it is enough that you take diet with adequate salt—not low or high. For diarrhea, there are tablets containing electrolytes, such as sodium chloride and potassium, that you can take.

The importance of sodium chloride in the maintenance of intravascular volume can be explained through the biological mechanism known as osmosis. The principle of osmosis states that in a compartment where the concentration of sodium is high, much water will go to that compartment until such time that the concentration of the said salt is equal to the other compartments. The net effect is that with high concentration of sodium in a compartment, such as your blood vessels, much water will be retained, increasing your intravascular volume.

 

 

Need for hydration

From the preceding discussion, it is clear that hydration is very important while you do physical exercises. To avoid dehydration and other complications of intense physical exercises, you need to observe and remember the following:

  1. You must drink, drink, drink—before, during, and after doing any physical exercise and throughout the day[1];
  2. When the temperature of the day is higher than usual, you need to take more water and other forms of fluid[1];
  3. If you lack carbohydrates and other sources of sugar, you may slow down in your movements; but if you lack water, you may die from it[1];
  4. If the pacing of your physical exercise is more intense than usual, you will lose more water than you used to be[1];
  5. If you physically exercise in a windy place, lowering the environmental temperature, you will sweat less[1];
  6. If your fitness level is high, you will have more and enlarged sweat glands producing more sweat to cool your body. You also perspire sooner compared to others with low fitness level[1];
  7. Genetics has role in your degree of sweating. If your family members have been sweating a lot, it is greatly possible that you will also have the same predisposition[1];
  8. If you have a bigger body, you will sweat more than those with smaller ones [1];
  9. If you are a man, expectedly, you will sweat more than a woman[1].

 

(To be continued)

Reference:

Glover B, Shepherd J, Glover SF. Hydration for Running. In: The Runner’s Handbook. 2nd revised ed. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc.; 1996:300-315.

Importance of hydration in physical exercises (Part 1)

Physiological consequences of physical exercises

Burning of energy

When you physically exercise, your muscles will either relax or contract. However, not all muscles will contract at the same time, and not all muscles will relax at the same time. At certain point in time, some muscles will contract, and some will relax. The net result of this is the generation of movement, which could be in the form of breathing, running, walking, dancing, and many more. As the muscles contract and relax, there is burning of energy which is ultimately derived from the foods that you take. Without the foods that you take, the muscles could not efficiently work. Thus, when you exercise without previously taking your meal, you will feel weak and could not continue doing your workout.

Production of heat

When the energy is burned—and the burning is quite fast in physical exercises—there is heat production, as one form of energy is transformed into another. This biological event increases your body temperature.

Sweating

When your body temperature rises, there must be a biological mechanism of lowering it. Otherwise, your body will suffer from overheating, otherwise known as heat stroke. Hence, your body sweats; the more intense your exercise is, the more sweat your body will produce. As the water flows out from your sweat glands located beneath your skin, your body temperature goes down.

Water loss

When you sweat, water and some electrolytes, such as sodium, are lost from your body. If you do not replenish the lost water, you will suffer from a number of consequences.

Consequences of severe water loss

Dehydration

When water loss from severe sweating is so significant, you will suffer from dehydration if you will not have adequate hydration as you physically exercise. There are three gradations of dehydration. These are mild, moderate, and severe dehydration. Whichever the case is, you will need to take adequate water so that one gradation will not progress to a worse situation. If you have reached the stage of severe dehydration, and yet you do not have adequate water replacement, you may die from the so-called hypovolemic shock.

Hypovolemic shock

One of the vital signs of your body is yourblood pressure (BP). It has two figures written in a fraction form. The upper number, or numerator, represents the systolic blood pressure, and the lower number, or the denominator, represents the diastolic blood pressure. The normal systolic pressure ranges from 90 to 140 mm Hg, while the normal diastolic blood pressure is 60 to 90 mm Hg. When your blood pressure is lower than 90/60, you have low blood pressure; when your blood pressure is higher than 140/90, you have high blood pressure.

There are two determinants of your blood pressure. These are the cardiac output (CO) and the peripheral resistance (PR). Thus,

Equation 1: BP = CO x PR.

In turn, your CO equals the product of the stroke volume times your heart rate and the PR is the determined by your intravascular volume and the diameter of your blood vessels. If we summarize the relationships of the different variables, we have this equation:

Equation 2:BP = {Stroke volume x heart rate} {Intravascular volume/diameter of your blood vessels}

Based on Equation 2, even if we hold all the other variables as constants, and only the intravascular volume changes, you can conclude that the blood pressure changes. When you lose too much water from any form of physical exercises, the intravascular volume decreases, and your blood pressure drops. When the water loss is too much, your intravascular volume decreases severely and your blood pressure will drop significantly, leading to hypovolemic shock and then death.

(To be continued)

What are strengthening physical exercises?(Part 7)

Muscle groups and their corresponding functions

Shins[1,2]

The shins refer to the front portions of your lower legs, and the largest muscle in this region is the tibialis anterior, whose main function is to flex your foot upward (dorsiflexion) and to extend your toes [1].Thus, it controls your foot and your leg as you strike the ground. When the muscles in the front portion of your lower leg is weaker compared to the calf muscles—which are located at the back of your lower leg and in opposite area relative to the position of yourshin muscles, you will suffer from the so-called shin splints[2].To prevent this potential imbalance between the shin and the calf muscles, thus preventing shin splints, you can perform the following physical exercises.

 

Strengthening exercises for the shin muscles using body weight

 

Toe lifts[2]

Sit on a chair, and then extend forward your legs resting on your heels until they are around one foot away from where they should be if they are immediately below your knees. Extend your toes until your feet are flat on the ground. Gradually flex your toes toward your knees while keeping your heels on the ground. When you feel that the muscles in front of the shins contract, hold it for 3 to 10 seconds, then relax. Do this 10 times[2].

Towel sweep[2]

Sit on a chair and then step on a towel with one of your feet and with your heel off the edge of the towel. Using solely your toes, move the towel outward, inward, and towards you with the heel planted and static on the ground. Do each movement 5 times with each foot [2].

Ankle band exercises[2]

Sit on a chair. With your ankles and knees together, tie a rubber exercise band around your feet in front of the ankles. Press outward with your feet then relax. Do this 10 times. After this, cross your ankles and then tie your feet with the rubber exercise band. Using one of your feet, push to the outside while your knees and ankles are kept together. Relax and then shift to using the other foot. Do 10 times with each foot [2].

 

Foot press[2]

While sitting down, put one of your feet on top of the other. Pull up with the lower foot and resisted by the other foot. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch the positions of your feet and do the same. Do 5 sets for each position [2].

Suggested strengthening workouts using body weight

To wrap up the discussion of the different workouts using your body weight, some of the most important strengthening physical exercises that you can perform are enumeratedhereunder:

  1. Squats, for quadriceps, hamstrings, and buttocks; {See Powertec (162)}
  2. Push-ups, for your upper body; {See Powertec (161)}
  3. Crunches, for your abdominals; {Powertec (157)}
  4. Sitting leg extensions, for your quadriceps; {See Powertec (162)}
  5. Reverse sit-ups, for your lower abdominals; {See Powertec (157)}
  6. Side leg raises, for your hip abductors;
  7. Chair press, for your hip adductors;
  8. Foot press, for your shins[2]. {See Powertec (164)}

If you do the enumerated physical exercises, start with the large muscle groups then go to the smaller ones. You can add some of the physical exercises that you want to include; however, for as long as your time permits and your body could afford, do all of the abovecited physical exercises at least 3 times a week. By doing these routinely, they will help you improve your performance and avoid injuries[2] while participating in some sport activities.

(To be continued)

References:

  1. http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/abdomen-muscles#seoBlock
  2. Glover B, Shepherd J, Glover SF. Strengthening. In: The Runner’s Handbook. 2nd revised ed. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc.; 1996:578-597.

What are strengthening physical exercises?(Part 6)

Muscle groups and their corresponding functions

Ankles[1,2]

The ankle refers to the joint where your lower leg and your foot are joined. Since the foot requires a number of movements—aside from flexion and extension—a number of muscles (more than 20) hold the two structures together. Largely, these muscles act as flexors and extensors that play a pivotal role in movements and balancing of your body. To provide stability and versatility in your movements, some of these muscles are so long that they are attached at a point as high as the back of your knee[1].

The muscles that greatly influence the movements of your foot are the following:

  • Soleus: This muscle is found at the back of your lower leg. It extends from the back of your knee to your heel. It is very much needed for your walking and standing. When you are falling forward, this muscle contracts so that your foot hits the ground, stabilizing you and maintaining your erect position[1].
  • Gastrocnemius: This is found at the back portion of your lower leg, and it runs over its entire length. It is connected at the back of your knee and to your heel. When this muscle contracts, your lower leg is pulled towards your upper leg, causing bending at your knees. More importantly, this muscle plays an active role when you walk because it extends your foot[1].
  • Other muscles: Other muscles that influence the movements of your foot are plantaris, abductor hallucis, tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum longus, flexor digitorum longus, fibularis longus, fibularistertius, andfibularis brevis[1].

Strengthening exercises for the ankle muscles using body weight

Ankle push[2]

You can sit down on the floor and then provide resistance to your foot with your hand as it moves downward, upward, inward, or outward—holding each movement for 10 seconds and doing it for 3 to 5 times [2].

 

 

Towel sweep[2]

Sit on a chair and then step on a towel with one of your feet and with the heel off the edge of the towel. Using solely your toes, move the towel outward, inward, and towards you with the heel planted and static on the ground. Do each movement 5 times with each foot[2].

Ankle bend exercises[2]

Sit on a chair. With your ankles and knees together, tie a rubber exercise band around your feet in front of the ankles. Press outward with your feet then relax. Do this 10 times. After this, cross your ankles and then tie your feet with the rubber exercise band. Using one of your feet, push to the outside while your knees and ankles are kept together. Relax and then shift to using the other foot. Do 10 times with each foot[2].

Arches[1,2]

When you look forarches, you are referring to the angles formed at the bottom of your feet by its bones and strengthened by its tendons, ligaments, and muscles. There are three: (1) the medial arch, (2) the lateral arch, and (3) the fundamental longitudinal arch. The arches are actually curves at the bottom of your feet, and they make your walking easier and less taxing for your body[1].

Strengthening exercise for the arches using body weight

Towel exercise[2]

Stand and place one of your feet over a towel. Curl your toes to put the towel under you, with your leg and your heel not moving at all. Keep on doing it until the towel is totally under you. Reverse the process by pushing the towel away from you. Do this for 2 to 3 times for each foot[2].

(To be continued)

References:

  1. http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/abdomen-muscles#seoBlock
  2. Glover B, Shepherd J, Glover SF. Strengthening. In: The Runner’s Handbook. 2nd revised ed. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc.; 1996:578-597.

What are strengthening physical exercises?(Part 5)

Muscle groups and their corresponding functions

Quadriceps [1,2]

Strengthening exercises for the quadriceps using body weight

Sitting leg extensions[2]

Sit on a chair or on the edge of a table. Extend your one leg and tighten it, holding your kneecap parallel to the floor. Tighten your muscles for 2 to 3 seconds in isometric contraction—wherein there is no movement at the joint but the muscle fibers are working or contracting. Complete 10 to 20 times. You can repeat the same procedure with the other leg. If you believe your legs have grown stronger, you can add a 2-pound ankle weight and do the physical exercise [2].

Squats[2]

Stand with your feet around one foot apart, and then slowly squat to one-fourth or one-third of the way down and hold for 2 or 3 seconds before slowly returning to the starting or standing position. Complete 10 to 20 times. Do not squat exceeding halfway down to avoid injury! To provide yourself with added protection, you can do chair squats wherein you can lower your buttocks slightly over the chair and proceed doing the full exercise as described in the preceding[2].

Buttocks[1,2]

The principal muscle in the buttocks is the gluteus maximus, and it is regarded as one of the strongest muscles in the human body. It is attached to the coccyx, otherwise known as tailbone, and to the nearby bones. It is responsible for the movement of the hip and the thigh. Specifically, it aids in standing up from a sitting position, climbing stairs, and in maintaining erect position[1]. Other muscles in the buttocks are gluteus minimus and medius[2].

Strengthening exercises for the buttocks using body weight

Butt raisers [2]

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. With your heels serving as the fulcrum, raise you pelvis one inch off the floor and hold it for 10 seconds, release and relax. Do this exercise for 5 to 10 times [2].

Pelvic tilt[2]

Lie flat on the floor in supine position, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Simultaneously tighten your butt muscles and your abdominals while raising your pelvis from the floor. While raising your pelvis, press your lower back towards the floor. Hold contracted muscles for 3 to 10 seconds while exhaling. You can do this for 3 to 5 times [2].

Hips and groin[1,2]

The most prominent muscle in the groin is the gracilis. It is quite a long muscle because it extends from the pelvic bone up to the bone of the lower leg. Its main functionsare to assist in knee flexion and to adduct the legs. Adducting the legs means bringing them from the outside toward the center; hence, it means bringing the feet and legs together at the center. It is also responsible for stabilizing and rotating the knee inward. Aside from the gracilis, there are other important muscles in the groin. These include the pectineus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, and the adductor magnus[1].

Strengthening exercises for the hips and groin using body weight

 

Inside leg raises (for the adductors) [1,2]

Lie on your right side with your head resting on the outstretched right arm and your left arm aligned with your body. Flex your left leg at the knee and place the left lower leg in front of the right upper leg. Slowly raise your stretched right leg as high and as far as you can and then slowly returning to the starting position. Complete 2 or 3 sets of 10 with each leg. If you feel that your adductors have gained strength, you can add weight in your ankle to increase the resistance[2].

(To be continued)

References:

  1. http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/abdomen-muscles#seoBlock
  2. Glover B, Shepherd J, Glover SF. Strengthening. In: The Runner’s Handbook. 2nd revised ed. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc.; 1996:578-597.

What are strengthening physical exercises?(Part 4)

Muscle groups and their corresponding functions

Upper body[1,2]

When you mention upper body, you are referring mainly to the arms. Thus, the muscles in this region will be discussed, and the most important ones are: (1) biceps brachii, (2) triceps, (3) brachioradialis, (4) extensor carpi radialis longus, and (5) deltoid muscle. The biceps is very much attached to the humerus, which is the bone of the upper arm. With that position, it rotates the forearm and flexes the forearm at the elbow. The triceps, on the other hand, is located at the back of the upper arm, and it assists in straightening the whole arm. The brachioradialis covers parts of the upper and lower arms, and it is mainly responsible for flexing the forearm at the elbow. In addition, it helps in the rotation of the forearm both outwardly and inwardly[1].

The extensor carpi radialis longus is located near the brachioradialis, and it is one of the five major muscles responsible for moving the hand at the wrist in different directions. When you clench your fist, this muscle becomes visible as it rises below your skin. The deltoid is the main muscle at your shoulder, and it controls all movements arising from the shoulder joint[1].

Strengthening exercises for the muscles in the upper body using body weight

Push-ups [2]                               

Lie flat with your face against the floor. With the use of your arms, raise your body from the floor until your arms are fully extended. When your arms are fully extended, ensure that your hands are parallel,while your arms are perpendicular, to the floor. From an elevated position, go down to your starting point. Complete two or three sets of five, having breaks in between sets to perform other physical exercises. Gradually, increase your daily goal to sets of 20 or so with the right form [2].

Reverse push-ups [2]

Stand with your back facing a table or chair. Place your hands on the table or chair with your extended legs moved forward in front of you. Slowly lower your body towards the table or chair and with your legs slightly flexed at the knees and your heels serving as your fulcrum. After lowering your body as far as you can, you can return to your starting position. Do 10 to 20 times. To increase the difficulty of this exercise, you can select another support which is lower than a chair or table. A good suggestion is a bench. Before starting this exercise, however, ensure that your support is in good condition and stable so that you will not be injured. This specific exercise is intended for the triceps which are located at the back of the upper arms [2].

Quadriceps[1,2]

The quadriceps are group of four muscles located at the front of the thigh. These muscles are: (1) vastus lateralis, (2) vastus medialis, (3) vastus intermedius, and (4) rectus femoris. Each of the vastus muscles is attached to the femur, which is the primary bone of the upper leg, and is attached down under in the patella or the kneecap. The rectus femoris is also attached to the patella; however, in the higher portion, it is attached to the hip bone—and not to the femur[1].

As suggested by their location, the quadriceps are very important in extending the lower legs at the knees. In addition, these are used for walking, running, and other physical activities; hence, they are prone to injuries, such as strains, tears, and ruptures [1].

(To be continued)

References:

  1. http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/abdomen-muscles#seoBlock
  2. Glover B, Shepherd J, Glover SF. Strengthening. In: The Runner’s Handbook. 2nd revised ed. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc.; 1996:578-597.

What are strengthening physical exercises?(Part 3)

Muscle groups and their corresponding functions

Calf muscles [1,2]

When you are talking about the calf muscles, you are actually referring to: (1) the gastrocnemius, and (2) the soleus muscles. Both of them are located at the back of your lower legs, and play important role when you walk, run, jump, and stand at the balls of your feet. These two muscles are attached to your heel bone by the so-called Achilles tendon.When you overwork your Achilles tendon, you will have inflammation on it, and this is called tendinitis[1].

Strengthening exercises for the calf muscles using body weight

Toe raises[2]

Face the wall and place one hand against it to support you. Slowly raise your whole body on your toes then slowly return your heel to the floor. Perform two or three sets of 10 to 20 toe raises. In between, you can have a 1-minute rest. As your legs get stronger, you can hold additional weights in your hands or place barbell over your shoulders behind the neck to increase the resistance[2].

Hamstrings[1,2]

The hamstrings are muscles that occupy the back portion of your thigh. One of these is calledthe biceps femoris which is a two-headed muscle. One of its heads is attached to the ischiumwhich is the lower and back part of the hip bone and the other one is attached to the femur which is the main bone of your upper leg. The other hamstring muscles are the semitendinosus and the semimembranosus. Lumping the three muscles togetherinto one, their main actions are to flex the knee and extend the hip. In addition to these main functions, however, the biceps femoris is involved in the internal and external rotation of the legs [1].

Strengthening exercises for the hamstrings using body weight

Hamstring curls[2]

Stand in front of a table or any other object whose height is at the level of your thigh and which could serve as your support. Place your hands on the supporting table and bend backward your one leg at the knee, maintaining that your thigh is still aligned with your upper body. Slowly raise your foot towards your buttocks as far as you can and slowly return to the starting point. Finish two or three sets of 20 with each leg[2].

Back muscles[1,2]

The three muscles at the back are the following: (1) multifidus, (2)longissimus, and (3) spinalis.The multifidus muscle stabilizes and supports the spinal column. Thus, it provides stiffness to it[1].The longissimus muscles, on the other hand, flex the head and neck on the same side, and they extend the vertebral column [3]. Finally, the spinalis muscle extends and laterally bends the neck and the trunk [1].

Strengthening exercises for the back muscles using body weight

Back extensions[2]

Lie flat on yourfront abdomen with your hands under your shoulders as if you are about to do push-ups. Slowly raise your chest up using solely your back muscles and slightly assisted by your arms. As your chest goes up, exhale and pause at the top of the exercise. Go down slowly and inhale as you do it. Complete two or three sets of 10 [2].

Alternate extensions[2]

Lie flat on your front abdomen with your arms extended in front of you. Rest your forehead on a folded towel on the floor. Raise one of your arms simultaneously with the opposite leg. Maintain it for three seconds and then slowly lower it down to the starting position. Complete ten repetitions for each.

(To be continued)

References:

  1. http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/abdomen-muscles#seoBlock
  2. Glover B, Shepherd J, Glover SF. Strengthening. In: The Runner’s Handbook. 2nd revised ed. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc.; 1996:578-597.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longissimus