Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Are Shin Splints? How to Prevent Them?

Medial Tibial Traction Periostitis, or Shin splint as it is commonly referred to, is a painful condition at the front of the lower leg. It usually occurs along the inside edge of the Tibia, which is the larger and the stronger of the two leg bones. The sheath surrounding the bone, the periosteum, gets inflamed. This causes the pain.


This condition occurs frequently in long distance runners. The continuous use of the leg muscles causes fatigue in the muscles. As a result, the muscles can’t take the strain properly and this gets transferred to the tibia. As a result, the tibia develops microscopic cracks. However due to the continuous usage the cracks don’t get time to repair themselves,. This causes an inflammation. This is one of the causes of shin splints. Other reasons such as sudden increase in the load due to excessive training can also cause this. Running on hard surfaces such as concrete can also cause shin splints. Hard surfaces don’t absorb any of the impact of the pounding of the feet and this gets transferred to the muscles and consequently the bones.


Pain in the inside lower half of the shin is the characteristic symptom of a shin splint. This is usually present at the beginning of the exercise session but reduces as the session progresses. It however reappears after the activity and may progressively get worse. In some cases, a slight swelling may also be visible. In the initial stages, the pain is bearable but as the condition progresses it can cause extreme discomfort and can prevent any activity.


A few preventive measures can help you avoid a shin splint.

1. Avoid overtraining. Overtraining causes your muscles to get fatigued and fatigued muscles cause splints. Proper rests in between training is absolutely essential to provide sufficient recovery time for the muscles. You must alternate between rest and training phases, to ensure this.

2. Avoid increasing your running distance or running time quickly. Your muscles are not strong enough to take huge leaps in loads. Increase your distance or time steadily, not more than 10% a week.

3. Strengthening your muscles is very important. Walking and running involves a set of muscles. If any of these muscles is weak, it causes unnecessary strain on the other muscles and may eventually cause splint. You must have a proper training regime to prevent this.

4. A good warm-up and stretching is essential. A warm-up prevents muscle-injury and thus enables them to take loads without giving away. Stretching strengthens the shin muscles. Stretching exercises such as toe-raises help in strengthening the shin muscles.

5. Proper footwear provides good support to your muscles and prevents their jarring while running. This helps preventing splints. Also the running surface plays an important role. A very hard surface doesn’t absorb the impact of the pounding and this is transferred to the body. A very soft surface such as sand needs a lot of energy for pushing off and causes muscle fatigue. The surface should be appropriate.

A proper training regime keeping all the above aspects in mind will go a long way in preventing shin splints.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Have the Right Vitamins to Maintain High Energy

Our bodies are like machines; they run in perfect coordination and precision. But if there is a minor problem in any part it affects the smooth functioning of the entire system. Hence one needs to maintain good health so that we are able to function efficiently. A critical factor in determining the health of our bodies is energy level. In order to be fit and in the right frame of mind to perform the daily tasks, one needs to have adequate energy levels.

Whenever out energy level dips we experience certain dullness, a sense of fatigue or even irritation and restlessness. Having high-energy foods such as glucose is essential at such times. Sometimes the problem could also be of not getting adequate rest. Hence one needs to balance the need for proper rest and nutrition.

Most of us know of the different nutrients that are a requirement for a healthy diet. We need to consume a proper balance between vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates to have a healthy body. Here it is important to note that vitamins are critical to our body, serving several functions, one of which includes maintaining energy.

Vitamins are excellent sources of vital nutrition. Vitamin B-complex in particular can give our bodies a good energy boost. This group of vitamins includes Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyriadoxine), B9 (folic acid), B12 (biotin) and pantothenic acid. Irrespective of the gender we all need a combination of these B-complex needs for energy. No matter what your age, vitamins are essential. Hence consuming these on a routine basis in appropriate quantity is a must. Vitamins can also help to lift your mood, in addition to boosting your energy. So if you are feeling irritable or restless for long periods, then maybe you need to include more vitamins in your diet.

Always remember that a natural source of vitamins is always better than consuming nutritional supplements. So for example, instead of consuming vitamin supplements you could consume sprouts, fresh fruits and vegetables that are an excellent source for vitamins. And those who are vegetarians need not worry, because even a diet devoid of any meat, fish or eggs can provide you with all the nutrition you need.

However do keep in mind that the B Vitamins are water-soluble. This means that do not remain in the body for too long. At times you might be consuming vitamin rich food but that might still not be enough for the body. So if you are recovering from and illness or if you are a sportsperson with a highly active lifestyle then you might need a little more vitamins. Hence in such cases, if might be advisable to take vitamin supplements. But bear in mind that even supplements need to be taken with a doctor’s consultation. Most importantly don’t forget that chronic stress can also sap your energy levels hence focus on having a healthy lifestyle overall. Get regular exercise, eat healthily and maintain a good stamina.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Health of Your Fingernails Reflect Your Overall Health and Fitness

Understanding your body and health is a very important aspect of leading a happy and well-balanced life. Every day we overcome several diseases that may attack us. Many a times our body is faced with several health adversaries that we may not even become aware of to treat. Detecting these health issues in the early stages is the most important aspect to taking the necessary precaution.

Furthermore, it helps you decide on the course of action that you must take there on. But is it possible to detect health issues before they even show? In fact yes, there are several ways you can detect bodily malfunctioning by simply observing your body. One of the most widely used techniques is observing your nails for a color change. A particular color change can be associated with several internal issues that your body may be in the initial stages of. This article will take you through some of the most common color changes that your nails may go through and what it could mean.

Your nails turn yellowish
This is by far the most common discoloring that your nails undergo. A yellow tint on your nails is mostly nothing serious. Generally, the aging process makes you nail appear yellow. Using nail paint also tends to leave yellow stains. People who smoke a lot too face this problem. However if none of these reasons suit your bill, then you may be facing a case of bacterial infection. Diabetes, liver dysfunction and even respiratory problems tend to show such a color change.

Your nails turn blue
A blue tint or discoloring is most often associated with heart and respiratory disorder related diseases. It is also associated with cancer. A thin blue line on your nail can be a very strong symptom of cancer. This sort of discoloring is uncommon, and if it accompanies any other sort of uneasiness, consulting a doctor is advised.

Your nails turn white
Whitening of nails is associated with anemia. It is a sign of low red blood cells. Fungal infections also show whitening of nails. A white strip on your nail in some rare cases is a sign of kidney disorder.

Your nails turn black
Some cases of anemia cause blackening of nails. It is also a result of heavy metals present in your blood. This can happen if you live in an industrial environment or you constantly work with heavy chemicals. A black strip on your nails or blackening of the area below your nails can be a sign of melanoma(skin tumor). Blackening of the cuticles is a symptom of adrenal gland problems.

Even the shape and texture of your nail can tell you a lot about your health. Iron deficiencies cause your nails to become thin and slightly more concave. Clubbing of nails or slight nail inversion is a sign of lung disorders. Noticing these small changes in your nail color, texture and feel can save you a great deal in serving as cues to your overall health. Catching such harmful diseases in their early stages can help you prevent it from becoming a major health threat.

If you would like to sign up for a free trial at Bootcamps in Sydney, or sign up for a free consultation at a Boot Camp Sydney, visit Sydney Personal Training.

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How Muscles Work to Burn Fat 24 Hours a Day

Everyone wants to have a lean, well-chiseled body with perfect muscles to show off. If you have more muscle weight, it not only makes you a better-looking person but also a healthier person. A person who is lean and well built is not a person who has low body weight as you may often think.

People with muscles weigh just as much as a normal person who has no muscles; in fact, they tend to weigh more. However, as they have more muscle mass as opposed to fat mass, their body structure is lean. Your muscles give you an added advantage – the ability to automatically burn fat by itself 24/7! Yes, you read it right. Scientific research has proven that possessing muscles can help you burn fat more efficiently and this article will guide you on how that works.

Burning Fat through the Day

Muscles propel you body like a fuel. As we know fuel uses up energy. Skeletal muscles are largely responsible for this. These are the muscles that are attached to the skeleton – you can see and feel on your body. They occur in pairs where one muscle moves the bone in one direction and the other helps in moving it back.

They are capable of both voluntary and involuntary motion. Thus through the day they are constantly and repeatedly working, with or without your notice. Other types of muscles such as smooth muscles (found in the stomach area) and cardiac muscles (found in the heart) also work by flexing and de-flexing involuntarily throughout the day, however they do not contribute too much to fat burning.

Burning Fat when you do nothing

We all know that while exercising we burn both carbohydrates and fat simultaneously .But a lesser-known fact is that fat is burnet even when you are idle! In addition, if you possess muscles, the rate at which you burn fat is higher. Fat is similar to a slow burning fuel, it requires oxygen to burn. This oxygen is mostly drawn from the body itself. If you have a fixed calorie intake and physical activity, your oxygen level in the body is more or less constant.

Under this situation, the body requires more oxygen in order to burn fat. This is not readily available in a format needed by the body. This is when you are asked to perform cardiovascular or aerobic exercise to generate the required oxygen. Individuals with more muscle mass have oxygen-pumping capacity. Thus, automatically you become more capable of burning fat. Your muscles can help you burn up to 50 calories by not doing anything at all!

Burning Fat to Provide Energy

Muscles also pump up your metabolism. With increased metabolism, the body’s need for energy also goes up. This excess need for energy is then drawn from the fat present in the body. Thus, the body generates an internal need to burn its own fat. This is of course only in the situation that you maintain a constant calorie intake.

Possessing muscles is not just a matter of looking good and being lean. Muscles become an important health benefactor in every step of your life, whether you are working out or you are idle.

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What Should You do if Your Weight Loss Regime Does Not Yield Results?

Weight loss training is often a long process. It involves several aspects of fitness that need to be attended to in order to work efficiently. Simply working out seldom helps. It needs to be backed up by a suitable diet and exercise regime, amongst other factors.

Many a times even though you think you are doing it right, your weight loss program does not yield you results which are visible or measurable to you. This can be quiet frustrating. This is however no situation to panic or get depressed about. This article will take you through some simple things you can do when your Weight Loss Regime does not yield Results.

Change your workout pattern
The first option you can consider is to change your workout schedule. It is quite possible that your layout is simply not working for you. Increasing aerobic exercise is a good alternative. You can also try outdoor workout options like running, jogging, cycling etc. along with gym exercise. Make sure you are consistent in working out. Any change in workout schedule will be of no use if you don’t implement it regularly. Keep a track of your exercise agenda.

Make sure you sleep well. Studies show that lack of sleep results in low metabolism, which in turn makes you crave for food even when not hungry. The result is an involuntary increase in calorie intake. Lack of sleep also increases you stress levels. Stress causes production of a hormone called cortisol, which causes an increase in hunger and causes fat storage in the abdominal area.

Check your diet
Overeating is the most common reason behind weight loss programs failing. If you are not constantly keeping calorie count, there is a very high possibility of you over eating. Start by keeping a diet journal where you note everything you eat as detailed as possible for a week. When you keep a ‘diet watch’ don’t just keep a watch for calories. Check if you are taking enough proteins. They help you burn fat mass and convert them to muscle mass.

If you are under medication, check your medicines
Some medicines contribute to weight gain. Birth control medication, oral steroids, anti-depressants and medication for diabetes are known to cause such an effect. Conditions such as a thyroid deficiency are also known to cause such side effects.

Get a personal trainer
Many a times while exercising by yourself, you may commit some rookie errors in exercise methods. These mistakes can render you work out ineffective and maybe even render you injured. Also many a times you cannot pin point your body’s requirements and tend to over work or under work- both giving negative results. This is where a personal trainer can help you. Not only can you have a workout plan designed specifically for your body, they also keep a track of your diet and life style to help you yield greater results.

Stagnant weight while undergoing weight loss training is highly common. Make sure you give yourself enough time to show results, they do not show overnight. You can always contact a doctor for further assistance if required.

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Three Fat Loss Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

Kya Grace

Being over-weight is not just an esteem issue; it gives rise to many health problems as well. Consequently, it is important that you keep your weight in check and maintain a healthy weight. Contrary to what you might believe, losing weight is not as hard as it seems. You have to understand that patience and persistence helps more than health food supplements. If you avoid some common mistakes people usually make to lose fat, you will get better results and most likely, you will not give up after training for a few days.

Three Fat Loss Mistakes

1. Fasting and Under-Eating – If you’re under the notion that not eating will help you reduce your weight fast, you are clearly mistaken. As much as people like to believe it is helps to just stop eating, your body needs food in order to lose fat. Depriving your body of food will make it harder for you to maintain a weight.

When you start starving yourself, you will definitely lose weight but as and when you do start normally again, your body will gain weight faster. When you are not sufficient nutrients, your body tries to hang on to every bit of energy it can which slows the metabolism process. As a result, once you eat anything, the fat is stored in your body faster. Moral of the story is – don’t starve yourself. Eat healthy food because the right food is equally important when you’re training to lose weight.

2. Low Intensity Cardio – Slow cardio exercises are efficient in burning calories but it’s not the best workout for you if you want to lose weight. For long term weight loss, your body needs a challenge which slow cardio doesn’t offer. You will need to push your body and make it work harder in order to lose weight.

Interval training can help you do that because it is more intense than regular cardio training as it works on the body as a whole. Weight lifting is also a good idea when you’re trying to lose those extra fats because more muscle weight tends to burn a lot of calories while you’re resting. Save your precious time and invest it into something that will give you better results than low intensity cardio.

3. No variety in work-outs – Doing the same exercises each day is boring. Mostly, people get bored of the same routines and give up. By changing your routines after a few days, you give your body some challenge. When you’re body get used to the work-out, metabolism slows and so does your weight-loss. Thus, you need to increase the intensity of your work-out but make sure it’s safe for you first.

Resting your body and following a diet plan also determine your weight loss. Without sleep, your body would be tired and won’t be able to exercise to its full capacity. And food will give you the energy to actually work out. Hence, for your body to relax and lose weight naturally, avoid these mistakes so that you don’t give up on yourself and your goal.

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