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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Lori Cates Hand

Recent Posts by Lori Cates Hand:

Thomas’s Corner: Using Tennis Balls for Self Myofascial Release

By now, you may have been to the gym a few times and have seen or even tried using the foam rollers. As we have learned from NIFS Personal Trainer Kris Simpson in her blog, foam rollers are a great way to loosen up the muscles by promoting flexibility, blood circulation, and recovery through self myofascial release. Although foam rolling is great, we can take the self myofascial release techniques a step further by implementing a commonly found piece of fitness gear, the tennis ball (or lacrosse ball).

Differences Between Foam Rollers and a Tennis Ball

A tennis ball or lacrosse ball can be used as a tool for applying self myofascial release to the muscle, similar to foam rolling. Differences between foam rolling and tennis ball rolling go beyond the obvious. Visually, a foam roller is traditionally a cylindrical, foam object and can be rather bulky, which would be fine for large muscle groups such as the glutes, hamstrings, or latissimus dorsi. The tennis ball is much smaller and round, giving it the ability to reach smaller areas and pinpoint tight, sore muscles. This is great news for small-muscle issues, but it is not exactly practical for total body myofascial release.myofascial release

How to Use a Tennis Ball for Self Myofascial Release

Some examples of areas on which I like to utilize a tennis ball or lacrosse ball(pictured) include the hip flexor, the glute, and the shoulder blade. Follow these steps:

  1. Rest your body weight (as much as you can handle) on the tennis ball.
  2. Support yourself with your opposite-side leg and foot or with your upper body (depending on the areamyofascial release you are targeting).
  3. Then, roll over your target area, pinpointing and triggering muscles that otherwise may have been missed by the bigger foam roller.

Foam rolling and tennis ball rolling intensity can be determined by increasing or decreasing the size, shape, and hardness of the tool. The various tools you bring to the table will ultimately determine the experience you have with myofascial release.

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If you are new to self myofascial release or want to experience some new rolling techniques and tips, meet with a NIFS health fitness specialist or personal trainer to get started on your way to wellness excellence. A more fit day is right around the corner.

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This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: NIFS Thomas' Corner shoulders injury prevention muscles flexibility stretching

“Fight for Air Climb” Raises Money to Beat Lung Disease

Imagine the last time you ran up a few flights of stairs because you were running late to a Fight for Air Climbmeeting or were struck with a sudden burst of energy. Your legs probably began to tighten up and burn a little. Your heart rate suddenly climbs and you begin to consume more and more oxygen with every step. You have to, your body is craving oxygen to supply a rich blood flow to the working muscles so you can get to that meeting on time.

Now try to imagine that same climb up the stairs, but this time you have lung disease and you are unable to deliver that much-needed oxygen to your working body. I think it would be safe to say that you may be late to that meeting.

The Fight for Air Climb

The Fight for Air Climb is an event that can give you a taste of feeling unable to breathe while trying to get somewhere. This annual event, presented by the American Lung Association, helps raise money for lung disease research and educates people on the seriousness of this group of debilitating conditions.

The unique format is unlike any other race or fitness challenge out there. The site for this year’s event is the Chase Tower, and the challenge is to climb all 47 floors. If that’s not enough of a challenge for you to climb the tallest building in Indianapolis, do it twice or even three times for a total of 141 floors. There is a challenge for everyone.

A True Fitness ChallengeFight for Air Climb

I climbed my first event last year at the Regions Tower, made up of 35 floors, with a motivated and determined group from NIFS. Now I have run my fair share of half marathons, and even conquered a Tough Mudder, so I was pretty confident that this would be a challenge I could soar through. It wasn’t until I reached the 17th floor on my first run that I realized I was very much mistaken.

I took the Ultimate Challenge course and climbed the tower three times. It was about that time, halfway up on my first run, that I knew I was facing a mountain of a challenge (insert lame-joke rim shot here). It really is like no other feeling, midway up, and not being able to breathe very well at all and having 18 floors to go, plus 70 more. It really was like no other challenge I have ever faced.

Although the physical effort was immense, it did not compare to the empathy I felt for those who can barely walk around their homes without feeling this way. It’s for those individuals that we climb, because they can’t. It is so uplifting to see so many climb in hope of making the lives of those suffering from a lung disorder better by supporting the research needed to battle these conditions.

Fight for Air Climb Boot Camp

Last year, I also had the pleasure of helping train many of the individuals participating in the climb here at NIFS through our Fight for Air Climb Boot Camp. It was great to work with so many inspiring climbers all with a unique story of why they have decided to put their body through a grueling challenge. Many of them have loved ones battling a lung disease or have lost someone to the same battle. No matter the details of the story, there was always a consistent message: “Let’s climb for those who can’t.” 

The American Lung Association and NIFS have joined together to bring participants a FREE training program for the climb. You do NOT need to be a member of NIFS to participate, you just need to be registered for the The Fight for Air Climb event.

Tony Maloney is NIFS Fitness Center Manager and leads group training Sunday through Thursday. Follow Tony on Facebook at NIFS Elite. Meet all of our NIFS Bloggers.

 

Topics: NIFS cardio running step group training challenge boot camp endurance training disease prevention

Thomas’ Corner: No Pain, No Gain?

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“No Pain, No Gain.” This motto has been forever linked to wellness and fitness. We know that without a little struggle, there will be no progress, but is it really necessary to “bring the pain?”

We do know that when we workout, we create muscle soreness. This is, in part, due to overload of the muscle during exercise or even creating very small tears in the muscle fiber. There is good news though! Your body will repair these muscle tears and become even stronger, allowing you to better handle the workloads of your future workouts.

A concern does arise, however, if significant and repeated tissue tearing is happening frequently; a severe injury or tissue damage could take place. (See this article for more on the hazards of overtraining.) To prevent this from happening, you can start one of several pre-workout rituals, including foam rolling and dynamic stretching. A post-workout stretching is also equally important followed by good nutrition and adequate rest.

Creating a plan of action with a fitness specialist or personal trainer will help you develop a workout that is appropriate for your goals! Yes there may still be some pain at times but it's the gain you'll remember.

Evolve and rejoice,

Thomas

This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: fitness center Thomas' Corner workouts injury prevention overtraining stretching

HIT (High Intensity Training) at NIFS

HIT, or High Intensity Training, is a fitness buzzword, they may leave a lot of us wondering exactly what HIT is and how it differs from other training methods.

HIT WOD

By definition, High Intensity Training is a workout characterized by the increased level of effort put into relatively short bursts of energy rather than “typical” training methods that focus on lower intensity levels and longer workout periods. The hype around these workouts comes with the side effects of increased fat loss and increased muscle definition in a shorter period of time. The Journal of Applied Physiology showed that women completing these high-intensity workouts will burn more fat than those completing moderate to low-intensity steady-state workouts.

To summarize, HIT classes are high intensity, high energy, fast, and fun! The name may sound intimidating, but the great thing about HIT workouts is that the intensity is all relative to the person completing the workout.

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What Is a HIT Workout Like?

Workouts focus on strengthening the entire body, making participants stronger and better prepared for everyday life experiences. People of all shapes, sizes, and ages at a moderate to intermediate fitness level attend these classes to be pushed to the next level. During these intense workout sessions, the class forms a sense of camaraderie, which allows participants to push each other to the finish.

 

Upon arriving at class, you will see the scheduled WOD or Workout of the Day posted on the whiteboard, including many pieces of functional training equipment that you may not typically use when working out on your own.

There is no need to feel intimidated if this is your first class. The instructors understand that people of all experience levels are joining in on the hard work. The instructors will thoroughly explain each exercise and how to use any accompanying equipment and will be available for assistance throughout the entire 60-minute session.

HIT workouts are always changing and the instructors will provide you with everything that you need. All you need to bring is yourself, a water bottle, a towel, and some determination.

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Watch the video to see a HIT class in action!

NIFS Offers HIT Classes

If you are curious, and want to experience HIT, NIFS offers one free introductory class. OR, If you like water resistance exercise, we also offer a HIT class in the pool every second Thursday of the month. See Class times and instructors listed on the HIT schedule.

 

Written by Tara Deal, NIFS Membership Manager, Group Fitness Instructor, and author of Treble in the Kitchen.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness cardio group fitness functional training HIT

NIFS March Class of the Month: CXWORX™

Are you in a time crunch when heading to the gym and trying to squeeze in the most effective workout in a short amount of time? Les Mills CXWORX™is geared toward those who are looking for a quick, to-the-point workout that will help to build strength and lean muscle.

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CXWORX™ is the group fitness class of the month for March at NIFS. When attending this class, you can expect to work your core, back, and glutes. The class focuses on strengthening these muscles through movements such as crunches, leg extensions, and balance exercises such as the hover. But don’t worry; you won’t be lying on the floor doing crunches the entire class!

CXWORX™ is great for participants of all levels, and classes are put together using scientifically proven exercises set to awesome music to maximize your 30-minute workout. Before you know it, your workout will be complete!

Les Mills CXWORKS

If you are looking to increase the amount of time you can hold a hover, run faster, play harder, or build overall strength, this is the class that will push you to achieve your goals.

Equipment needed for this class often includes a mat, a resistance band, and a weight plate. No need to bring your own, though. NIFS has plenty of equipment to go around. All that you need to bring is a towel, a water bottle, and your mental determination to power through this 30-minute fitness class.

Just like other Les Mills classes, every three months, a new release of music and the latest exercises are launched to keep your body in peak condition.

Make sure to join Ryan, Tasha, Mary, Michael, and Kristen for CXWORX™. Check the Group Fitness Schedule for times and locations!

Want to see more? Click here to see a portion of a CXWORX™ class by Les Mills.

Request a free class pass to attend this group fitness class or any other class you want to try at NIFS.

This blog was written by Tara Deal, NIFS Group Fitness Instructor and author of Treble in the Kitchen.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness group fitness balance strength core