Monday, December 27, 2010

Mental Health Providers Should Prescribe Exercise More Often for Depression, Anxiety, Research Suggests

Here at Jungle Miami we're sick of hearing about how doctors keeps prescribing pills for any little thing. We believe these doctors need to have their heads checked!

Mental Health Providers Should Prescribe Exercise More Often for Depression, Anxiety, Research Suggests

ScienceDaily (Apr. 6, 2010) — Exercise is a magic drug for many people with depression and anxiety disorders, and it should be more widely prescribed by mental health care providers, according to researchers who analyzed the results of numerous published studies.

"Exercise has been shown to have tremendous benefits for mental health," says Jasper Smits, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "The more therapists who are trained in exercise therapy, the better off patients will be."

Smits and Michael Otto, psychology professor at Boston University, based their finding on an analysis of dozens of population-based studies, clinical studies and meta-analytic reviews related to exercise and mental health, including the authors' meta-analysis of exercise interventions for mental health and studies on reducing anxiety sensitivity with exercise. The researchers' review demonstrated the efficacy of exercise programs in reducing depression and anxiety.

The traditional treatments of cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy don't reach everyone who needs them, says Smits, an associate professor of psychology.

"Exercise can fill the gap for people who can't receive traditional therapies because of cost or lack of access, or who don't want to because of the perceived social stigma associated with these treatments," he says. "Exercise also can supplement traditional treatments, helping patients become more focused and engaged."

The researchers presented their findings March 6 in Baltimore at the annual conference of the Anxiety Disorder Association of America. Their workshop was based on their therapist guide "Exercise for Mood and Anxiety Disorders," with accompanying patient workbook (Oxford University Press, September 2009). For links to more information see

"Individuals who exercise report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of stress and anger," Smits says. "Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors. For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears of fear and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing."

After patients have passed a health assessment, Smits says, they should work up to the public health dose, which is 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity. At a time when 40 percent of Americans are sedentary, he says, mental health care providers can serve as their patients' exercise guides and motivators.

"Rather than emphasize the long-term health benefits of an exercise program -- which can be difficult to sustain -- we urge providers to focus with their patients on the immediate benefits," he says. "After just 25 minutes, your mood improves, you are less stressed, you have more energy -- and you'll be motivated to exercise again tomorrow. A bad mood is no longer a barrier to exercise; it is the very reason to exercise."

Smits says health care providers who prescribe exercise also must give their patients the tools they need to succeed, such as the daily schedules, problem-solving strategies and goal-setting featured in his guide for therapists.

"Therapists can help their patients take specific, achievable steps," he says. "This isn't about working out five times a week for the next year. It's about exercising for 20 or 30 minutes and feeling better today."

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Southern Methodist University, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Study Shows Best Time To Workout To Burn Fat...Before Breakfast

Here at Jungle Miami, I'm about to embark on a three day journey where I'll gain five to ten pounds over Christmas weekend.  But, I've got the secret weapon to shield me against those unwanted inches.  See you in the morning!
Phys Ed: The Benefits of Exercising Before Breakfast

The holiday season brings many joys and, unfortunately, many countervailing dietary pitfalls. Even the fittest and most disciplined of us can succumb, indulging in more fat and calories than at any other time of the year. The health consequences, if the behavior is unchecked, can be swift and worrying. A recent study by scientists in Australia found that after only three days, an extremely high-fat, high-calorie diet can lead to increased blood sugar and insulin resistance, potentially increasing the risk for Type 2 diabetes. Waistlines also can expand at this time of year, prompting self-recrimination and unrealistic New Year’s resolutions.

But a new study published in The Journal of Physiology suggests a more reliable and far simpler response. Run or bicycle before breakfast. Exercising in the morning, before eating, the study results show, seems to significantly lessen the ill effects of holiday Bacchanalias.

For the study, researchers in Belgium recruited 28 healthy, active young men and began stuffing them with a truly lousy diet, composed of 50 percent fat and 30 percent more calories, overall, than the men had been consuming. Some of the men agreed not to exercise during the experiment. The rest were assigned to one of two exercise groups. The groups’ regimens were identical and exhausting. The men worked out four times a week in the mornings, running and cycling at a strenuous intensity. Two of the sessions lasted 90 minutes, the others, an hour. All of the workouts were supervised, so the energy expenditure of the two groups was identical.

Their early-morning routines, however, were not. One of the groups ate a hefty, carbohydrate-rich breakfast before exercising and continued to ingest carbohydrates, in the form of something like a sports drink, throughout their workouts. The second group worked out without eating first and drank only water during the training. They made up for their abstinence with breakfast later that morning, comparable in calories to the other group’s trencherman portions.

The experiment lasted for six weeks. At the end, the nonexercising group was, to no one’s surprise, super-sized, having packed on an average of more than six pounds. They had also developed insulin resistance — their muscles were no longer responding well to insulin and weren’t pulling sugar (or, more technically, glucose) out of the bloodstream efficiently — and they had begun storing extra fat within and between their muscle cells. Both insulin resistance and fat-marbled muscles are metabolically unhealthy conditions that can be precursors of diabetes.

The men who ate breakfast before exercising gained weight, too, although only about half as much as the control group. Like those sedentary big eaters, however, they had become more insulin-resistant and were storing a greater amount of fat in their muscles.

Only the group that exercised before breakfast gained almost no weight and showed no signs of insulin resistance. They also burned the fat they were taking in more efficiently. “Our current data,” the study’s authors wrote, “indicate that exercise training in the fasted state is more effective than exercise in the carbohydrate-fed state to stimulate glucose tolerance despite a hypercaloric high-fat diet.”

Just how exercising before breakfast blunts the deleterious effects of overindulging is not completely understood, although this study points toward several intriguing explanations. For one, as has been known for some time, exercising in a fasted state (usually possible only before breakfast), coaxes the body to burn a greater percentage of fat for fuel during vigorous exercise, instead of relying primarily on carbohydrates. When you burn fat, you obviously don’t store it in your muscles. In “our study, only the fasted group demonstrated beneficial metabolic adaptations, which eventually may enhance oxidative fatty acid turnover,” said Peter Hespel, Ph.D., a professor in the Research Center for Exercise and Health at Catholic University Leuven in Belgium and senior author of the study.

At the same time, the fasting group showed increased levels of a muscle protein that “is responsible for insulin-stimulated glucose transport in muscle and thus plays a pivotal role in regulation of insulin sensitivity,” Dr Hespel said.

In other words, working out before breakfast directly combated the two most detrimental effects of eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet. It also helped the men avoid gaining weight.

There are caveats, of course. Exercising on an empty stomach is unlikely to improve your performance during that workout. Carbohydrates are easier for working muscles to access and burn for energy than fat, which is why athletes typically eat a high-carbohydrate diet. The researchers also don’t know whether the same benefits will accrue if you exercise at a more leisurely pace and for less time than in this study, although, according to Leonie Heilbronn, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia, who has extensively studied the effects of high-fat diets and wrote a commentary about the Belgian study, “I would predict low intensity is better than nothing.”

So, unpleasant as the prospect may be, set your alarm after the next Christmas party to wake you early enough that you can run before sitting down to breakfast. “I would recommend this,” Dr. Heilbronn concluded, “as a way of combating Christmas” and those insidiously delectable cookies.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Strength Training Could Cure Our Ailing Healthcare System AND Make Us Smarter?

Here at Jungle Miami, we are always talking about the benefits of strength training and how EXERCISE IS MEDICINE. As a matter of fact, exercise is the best kind of medicine, preventative. But, it also seems that exercise can cure our healthcare dilemma, too!

Strength Training for Seniors Provides Cognitive Function, Economic Benefits

ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2010) — A one-year follow-up study on seniors who participated in a strength training exercise program shows sustained cognitive benefits as well as savings for the healthcare system. The research, conducted at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia, is published December 13 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study is the first to examine whether both cognitive and economic benefits are sustained after formal cessation of a tailored exercise program. It builds on the Brain Power Study, published in the January 2010 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, which demonstrated that 12 months of once-weekly or twice-weekly progressive strength training improved executive cognitive function in women aged 65- to 75- years- old. Executive cognitive functions are cognitive abilities necessary for independent living.

Both studies were led by Teresa Liu-Ambrose, principal investigator at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility and Brain Research Centre at Vancouver Coastal Health and UBC, and assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at UBC's Faculty of Medicine. The one year follow-up study found the cognitive benefits of strength training persisted, and with two critical findings.

"We were very surprised to discover the group that sustained cognitive benefits was the once-weekly strength training group rather than the twice-weekly training group," says Liu-Ambrose, who's also a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research scholar. "What we realized was that this group was more successful at being able to maintain the same level of physical activity achieved in the original study."

In fact, the researchers found that while both the once-weekly strength training group and the control group -- which performed twice-weekly balancing and toning exercises -- were able to maintain higher levels of activity than when they first began the original study, individuals in the twice per week strength training group showed a reduction in physical activity. This reduction may be due community factors, both a lack of strength or weigh training programs tailored for older adults and the perception from seniors that they may need to undertake an activity program multiple times per week to receive any benefit.

The second important finding relates to the economic benefits of once-weekly strength training. Using the data from the Brain Power Study and the one-year follow-up study, health economists Jennifer Davis and Carlo Marra, research scientists with the Collaboration for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at St. Paul's Hospital and UBC Faculty of Medicine, were able to show that the economic benefits of once-weekly strength training were sustained 12 months after its formal cessation. Specifically, the researchers found the once-weekly strength group incurred fewer health care resource utilization costs and had fewer falls than the twice-weekly balance and tone group.

"This suggests that once-weekly resistance training is cost saving, and the right type of exercise for seniors to achieve maximum economic and health benefits," says Davis.

Cognitive decline among seniors is a pressing health care issue and a key risk factor for falls. Approximately 30 per cent of B.C. seniors experience a fall each year and fall-related hip fractures account for more than 4,000 injures each year at a cost of $75 million to the healthcare system.

The number of seniors in B.C. is expected to increase by 220 per cent by 2031, representing 23.5 per cent of B.C. population. Effective strategies to prevent cognitive decline are essential to improving quality of life for older British Columbians and to save the healthcare system millions in associated costs.

Support for this research has been provided by a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Establishment Grant, the Vancouver Foundation, and infrastructure support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Story Source:
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of British Columbia.

Journal Reference:
1.Jennifer C. Davis et al. Sustained Cognitive and Economic Benefits of Resistance Training Among Community- Dwelling Senior Women: A 1-Year Follow-up Study of the Brain Power Study. Arch Intern Med., 2010;170(22):2036-2038 DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2010.462

Friday, December 10, 2010

The chilling news about Ice Therapy

As many of my colleagues have been doing  as well, we at Jungle recommend icing injuries for a period no longer than 10 minutes.

Today, we publish everything there is to know about ice therapy.

Cryotherapy - ice therapy - why you should apply ice for just 10 minutes

The next time you or one of your athletes inflame a knee joint, strain a muscle, or twist an ankle during a sporting activity, make certain that you ice the area correctly; inappropriate icing can sometimes make an injury worse rather than better.

'Many athletes spend 20 to 30 minutes continuously applying ice to an aching joint or throbbing muscle, but that can really be counterproductive,' states cryotherapy expert Dr Romain Meeusen of the Free University of Brussels. Meeusen's interest in the sometimes surprising effects of icing the human body began when he was growing up in the northern part of Belgium near Antwerp. As he played with snow as a child, lobbing snowballs into the grey waters of the river Schelde, Meeusen noticed that his bare hands were at first blanched and chilled by the snow but eventually turned bright red and warm, despite their continued contact with the ice-cold snow. The redness and warmness, of course, indicated that prolonged exposure to the icy snow had actually increased blood flow to his hands.

This seemingly strange reaction, in which ice or an application of cold actually increases the flow of blood to a region of the body, represents one reason why Meeusen is concerned about how ice is used therapeutically. After all, one of the goals of cryotherapy is to diminish the movement of blood to the site of an injury, so that there will be less chance of forming a sizeable haematoma (a swollen, painful area containing blood). Since ice can sometimes increase the amount of blood flooding into an injured part of the body, it must be used with caution.

Why it happens

But how can the application of ice enhance the passage of blood into a body region, when everything one's ever learned suggests that ice hampers blood flow? Basically, when body tissues are cooled, nerve cells in the chilled area initially force adjacent blood vessels to constrict, leading to a marked reduction in blood flow in that portion of the body. However, if the temperature of the affected area continues to drop, nerve activity is depressed and the blood vessels begin to open up again, bringing in an onslaught of blood which re-warms the tissues, even though cold is still being applied. Once the nerves heat up (because of the inflow of blood), they shut down the blood vessels again, commencing a new cycle of chilling and warming (like the blanching and then reddening of Meeusen's gloveless hands).

The somewhat surprising increase in blood flow to body parts during cryotherapy (or unprotected activity in cold environments) has been documented by a number of researchers. For example, a classic study on the effects of cold application found that blood flow decreased when body regions were subjected to moderate cooling but increased when colder temperatures were reached ('Hyperemia Following Sustained Contractions at Different Temperatures,' Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol. 137, p. 45P, 1957). Another investigation uncovered a large increase in muscular blood flow as tissue temperatures plummeted ('Vascular Reactions of the Human Forearm to Cold,' Clinical Science, Vol. 17, pp. 165-179, 1958). This flood-of-blood effect is the human body's attempt to thwart severe cold injury in a body part subjected to a chilling stress.

Limit ice applications to 10 minutes

If an injured area is compressed and elevated while it is being treated with ice, the potential increase in blood flow can be partially controlled, but Meeusen still believes it is important to strictly limit the time duration of an ice application in order to minimise the chances that a tidal flow of blood will sweep into an injured joint or muscle. Fairly brief applications of ice also diminish the risk of frostbite-like damage to superficial tissues which are in close contact with the ice. For these reasons, the Belgian researcher and physiotherapist suggests that ice applications should be limited to about 10 minutes or so.

Sceptics who contend that it takes longer than 10 minutes to adequately refrigerate an injured inner region of the body may scoff at the idea of applying ice to a damaged area for such a brief period, but Meeusen's research has turned up some interesting facts which support his contention. For one thing, Meeusen has found that when ice is applied to an injured part of the body for 10 minutes and then removed, the temperature of the skin in the affected area will begin to rise immediately after the ice removal, but the temperature of the muscles and other tissues beneath the skin will actually continue to drop for a few minutes, even though the ice has been taken away.

The continued drop in inner muscle temperature, even after the removal of the ice, occurs because the layer of fat found beneath the skin functions as an insulating material which keeps heat from moving inward to the muscle from the skin and outside world. In addition, the blood vessels leading to the damaged muscle stay constricted for a while in response to the icing (they haven't been chilled enough in 10 minutes for them to open up yet), leading to an actual continued decline in muscle temperature.

Enter the lymphatic vessels

Meeusen's careful research has uncovered another important fact: when ice is applied to a body part for a prolonged period, nearby lymphatic vessels begin to dramatically increase their permeability (lymphatic vessels are 'dead-end' tubes which ordinarily help carry excess tissue fluids back into the cardiovascular system). As the lymphatic permeability is enhanced, large amounts of fluid begin to pour from the lymphatics 'in the wrong direction' (into the injured area), increasing the amount of local swelling and pressure and potentially contributing to greater pain ('The Use of Cryotherapy in Sports Injuries,' Sports Medicine, Vol. 3, pp. 398-414, 1986). If the icing goes on for too long, the lymphatic vessels can actually be nearly obliterated, losing all of their fluid to the surrounding tissues and thus failing to carry excess water away from the injured area (6th European Congress of Sports Medicine, Budapest, Hungary, p. 179, 17-20 June, 1991).

That's why Meeusen has settled on his 10-minutes-at-a-time icing recommendation. With the 10 minutes of ice-induced cooling and a couple of minutes of additional cooling (see above) that occur in a damaged muscle or joint after the ice has been removed, an injured athlete can get a nice chilling effect without running the risk of flushing the site of injury with blood and water or freezing some superficial skin and nerve cells to death.

'Instead of putting ice on an injured area for 20 to 25 minutes, three or four times a day, as many athletes do, it's better to ice the damaged region for 10 minutes immediately after the injury, remove the ice for about 30 minutes, and then reapply it for 10 additional minutes. Repeat this cycle of about two 10-minute icings per hour as often as possible during the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury. Then, use the same technique (two 10-minute icings separated by a 30-minute break) about three to five times a day until the injury resolves itself,' recommends Meeusen.

Be wary of refrigerant gels

What kind of ice therapy should be employed? 'Ice packs are very practical to use, and an ice massage will produce a rapid and profound cooling. Because of their potentially extreme temperatures (as low as minus 20 degrees Centigrade), refrigerant gels should be used with extreme caution: always place a towel between the gel and your skin,' suggests the Belgian researcher. 'Remember that the main effect of 'cooling' sprays is actually the easing of pain; they produce only a temporary chilling of the skin and do not lower the temperature of the deeper tissues,' says Meeusen.

Here's a tip concerning an easy and practical way to apply ice to an injury: simply fill a styrofoam cup with water, place it in the freezer section of your refrigerator, and remove the cup once the water has frozen solid. Peel away the styrofoam around the top of the cup, exposing a solid 'bulb' of pure ice. Massage the injured area of your body with this bulb for 10 minutes, as suggested by Meeusen, and then repeat the massage 30 minutes after the end of this first ice application. Continue in the manner recommended by Meeusen, replacing your styrofoam-cup cryotherapeutic device as often as needed.

Cryotherapy is not new: the famous Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC) knew about the benefits of placing ice or snow on injured regions of the body. None the less, we are continuing to refine the manner in which ice is used therapeutically. Meeusen's research suggests that ice should be used often and for brief 10-minute intervals, rather than for more prolonged periods of time. It's a good recommendation. After all, overly long applications of ice can result in frostbite injury to the skin, nerve damage, and increased swelling and inflammation. The next time you injure yourself during your sporting activity (or even during every-day life), try Romain Meeusen's 10-minute ice applications, along with compression and elevation of the injured area, if possible. By using ice in this way, you won't chill your chances of a quick recovery.

Jim Bledsoe

Article's website.


What is the RICE Technique?

The R.I.C.E technique is the gold standard treatment of acute sporting injuries.The most important time in the treatment of acute sporting injuries is in the first 24-48 hours. When soft tissue damage occurs, for example, when a muscle tears, blood vessels rupture and the injury site begins to swell. This increase in blood volume in the area can cause cell death by what is known as secondary hypoxic injury. Thus, every effort should be made to control excessive bleeding.

The R.I.C.E technique involves all the components that are needed to prevent further injury to the damaged site immediately after the injury has been sustained. If applied correctly and in time the R.I.C.E technique can greatly reduce the recovery time of the athlete. In order to have a full understanding of the therapeutic mechanisms behind the R.I.C.E method, a knowledge of the body's intrinsic reaction to tissue damage, the inflammatory response, is needed. The letters R.I.C.E are abbreviations for:





Each component functions to help limit swelling and decrease pain of the injury.


Rest is the first line of action for any sporting injury. It does not only refer to a prolonged period of time following the injury but also relates to resting immediately from sporting activities. An athlete must know when to stop training -repetitive minor injuries can commonly result in a large scale injury that could have been prevented by adequate rest and treatment.

If an injury is sustained during sporting activity some athletes have a tendency to 'run it off'. This implies that with increased exercise the pain and injury will simply go away. In a lot of cases, nothing could be further from the truth. It may be possible that by continuing to exercise the athletes pain may seem less intense. This may be due to a number of factors. During exercise, nerve fibres that respond to mechanical signals such as touch can over-ride the impulses from the pain nerve fibres- a phenomenon known as the pain gate theory. In addition other factors such as the player's mentality can all play a part in over-riding the pain- however the tissue itself is still damaged and continued activity could cause serious further injury.


Ice therapy also known as cryotherapy is one of the most widely used treatment modalities used for acute sports injuries. It is cheap, easy to use and requires little time to prepare. The application of ice to an injury,in the acute phase can substantially decrease the extent of the damage. It achieves this in a number of different ways:

Decreases the amount of bleeding by vasoconstriction into the injury site and so lessens swelling

Reduces pain

Reduces muscle spasm

Reduces the risk of cell death by decreasing the rate of metabolism

Ice is usually applied to the injured site by means of a bag filled with crushed ice which is wrapped in a damp towel. The ice should be left in place for approximately 15-20 minutes. A more detailed overview on the correct use of ice therapy and the indications for its use are available on the application page.


Applying compression to a wound has the effect of preventing excessive swelling occurring and should be applied for about 24-48 hours from the onset of injury. Compression of the limb functions to increase the pressure within the tissue thus narrowing the blood vessels. This slows down the inflammatory process and so prevents excessive edema building up within the joint. This edema, when present, can severely affect the functional ability of the limb. Compression can be applied by a number of means.

The most effective of these is by using a compression bandage which is an elasticized tube-like bandage that simply fits around the affected limb. The advantages of the compression bandage are that it is easy to apply and the elastic provides the sufficient pressure needed to stop some od the bleeding in the area.

Alternatively a regular bandage can be applied to the area however care should be taken not to over-tighten the bandage as this will contribute to tissue death. If the peripheral limbs become discoloured or become cold then it is possible that the bandage is too tight. Bandaging should begin below the injured site with each layer overlapping the underlying layer.

Compression can also be applied with the ice-pack itself, either manually or by wrapping the ice pack in bandage.


Elevation of the injured limb allows gravity to draw the fluid away from the injured site. This aids in decreasing the swelling and so can decrease pain associated with this edema. In lower limb injuries try and keep the ankle above the level of the hip. Upper limb injuries can be elevated by use of pillow or sling. The injured limb should be elevated for as long as possible throughout the day for the first 48 hours.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Empowerment of martial arts good for all ages

At Jungle we firmly believe Martial Arts are great for everyone. This is the subject of today's post.

Empowerment of martial arts good for all ages

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Record


It was intended simply as a one-time supportive gesture. Frank Giglio's son was starting a new martial arts school, so his father went to a class on the first day.

Phil Nizza, 59, takes to the mat with Damien Amores, 31, at Tiger Schulmann's Mixed Martial Arts in Paramus. "I put on a uniform and came to give him a $100 bill to stick on the wall and to say 'Good luck,' " says Giglio of his initial trip to his son Frank's Hawthorne Institute of Martial Arts (HIMA).

Six years later, Frank the father was a black belt. Fifteen years in, now 65 years old, he is still going, taking classes with kids nearly 50 years younger than he is.

And he's not the only area man who could tuck an AARP card into his black belt.

About seven years ago, Phil Nizza's teenage son wanted to start karate, so the Ridgewood resident started looking into it. At a Tiger Schulmann's Mixed Martial Arts school in Paramus they suggested he try a class himself.

"I really got hooked," says Nizza, now 59 and a black belt.

All over the area, men and women in their 40s, 50s and 60s are taking — and teaching — martial arts classes.

"People feel that the number limits them," says Richard Faustini of Faustini's Institute of Martial Arts and Fitness in Oradell. "There's only one thing we can't control — our chronological number. A lot of things we can control, like how we feel. I'm 60 years old and I'm still moving."

Let's be clear. We're not talking about the cage here or getting into a ring. That is an aspect of mixed martial arts to be sure, but that's almost exclusively for young men.

But this isn't poses and meditation. This is a contact sport. It involves sparring and grappling and even when punches are pulled, the intensity gets pretty high, especially at the black belt levels, no matter the age of the participant.

The generation gap disappears on the mat. Respect is a large part of any martial arts program, but there is no going easy on the elders when skills are equal. And the older guys sometimes seek out the kids to spar.

"I generally like the 16 to 21-year-olds because they're strong enough to make it worthwhile," says Nizza.

While all schools say they have their own specific approach, there is one unifying theme. Mixed martial arts is empowering. Confidence comes with getting in shape and learning self-defense. This can fundamentally change people.

"If someone offered me a million dollars for my black belt, I wouldn't sell it," says 42-year-old Frank Giglio — fifth-degree black belt, HIMA owner, Hawthorne police officer and instructor at the Passaic County Police Academy. "If it meant giving back the confidence, discipline, focus, respect and self-defense, I would never give that back. It made me what I am today."

For kids, classes in mixed martial arts can draw out the overly passive and reign in the aggressive. For adults, there is the added benefit of stress release to the great physical workout that doesn't require a 20-year-old's body. Classes and movements can be modified for chronic injuries without losing the benefits.

Forty-year-olds taking classes at HIMA say they have lost their age-related aches and pains, sleep better, have improved stamina and endurance on top of knowing if the need to defend themselves or their family arises, they can.

Nizza says mixed martial arts is one of the only workouts he can do, as he tries to avoid the repetitive motions of running, biking or certain exercise classes that bore him or aggravate his knees.

And at 15, 50 or 65, mixed martial arts students are in pretty darn good shape, too.

"It's such a great all-around workout," says Nizza. "I can't think of anything better, having done everything there is out there."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Article's Website

Friday, December 3, 2010

Exercise often enough for Achilles injury recovery

At Jungle, we are always hearing  some story about some type of injury. Through out our lives we will all get injuries of one type or another.  This piece of news touches the subject of Aquilles tendon injuries, which are very common. We bring you this post today for we thought, we can all benefit from it. Enjoy it.

Exercise often enough for Achilles injury recovery

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Most people with inflammation of the Achilles tendon, a common overuse injury, can recover with the help of exercise therapy alone, a small study suggests.

A full recovery might take time, as tendons are often slow to heal, researchers say, but sticking with exercise could help people avoid more invasive treatments like drug injections into the joint or even surgery.

The study found that among 34 patients who had exercise therapy for so-called Achilles tendinopathy for three to six months, 80 percent fully recovered with no further treatment -- though some developed new symptoms over the next several years.

Another seven patients (20 percent) continued to have pain or other symptoms, but for three, the symptoms were minimal, and only one sought a different form of treatment.

Achilles tendinopathy, also sometimes called Achilles tendinitis, refers to an injury in the band of tissue connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is one of the more common sports-related overuse injuries, estimated to account for about one in 10 running injuries.

Exercise therapy is known to be effective for Achilles tendinopathy, particularly so-called eccentric exercises where the calf muscles contract while being lengthened; an example would be rising onto the balls of the feet, then slowly lowering the heels back to the ground.

But it is not clear exactly how long patients can, or should, stick with exercise before moving on to more invasive treatments.

.A common recommendation is for people with Achilles tendinopathy to try exercise therapy for three months, and if they have not recovered at that point, to consider other options.

That is a fairly arbitrary recommendation, however, based on studies that have chosen that window of treatment time. In real life, three months may be too short a time for a full recovery, explained Karin Gravare Silbernagel, a physical therapist and the lead researcher on the new study.

It's known that injured tendons need "mechanical loading" -- that is, exercise -- to heal, said Silbernagel, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and the University of Delaware in Newark.

"But we also know that a tendon can take a year to heal," she told Reuters Health.

If exercise therapy is given time, according to Silbernagel, many people with Achilles tendinopathy will do well. What's more, they need not give up being active in their daily lives during that potentially lengthy recovery, she noted.

The patients in the current study were all originally part of a clinical trial looking at the effects of three to six months of exercise therapy for Achilles tendinopathy. In that trial, half were told that they could continue their usual physical activities during their rehab, while the other half were told to rest for the first six weeks of therapy.

One year later, both groups were showing similar improvements in pain and functional ability -- suggesting that people with Achilles tendinopathy can stay active in their day-to-day lives during therapy, as long as they monitor their symptoms and cut back on exercise if necessary.

The current study, published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, was a five-year follow-up of that original patient group. At the five-year mark, 65 percent had no symptoms from their initial injury, while 15 percent (five patients) had fully recovered but eventually developed new Achilles symptoms. Only one person in that latter group sought treatment, in the form of further exercise therapy.

"I think the bottom line is that exercise is a treatment that can provide a full recovery," Silbernagel said.

And longer duration exercise therapy need not mean six months of sessions with a physical therapist, she said. Instead, people can learn exercises to perform on their own at home, and if needed, see their physical therapist for follow-ups.

Silbernagel and her colleagues also found that patients' "fear of movement" was related to their long-term recovery of functional ability -- as measured by a heel-rise test. Those with a greater level of anxiety about exercising causing pain or raising the risk of an Achilles tendon rupture tended to show less recovery of their muscular endurance.

According to Silbernagel, this suggests that reassuring patients that exercise is a key part of recovery from Achilles tendinopathy might ultimately lead to better treatment outcomes.

Short of surgery, other treatment options for Achilles tendinopathy include standard painkillers, injections of medications like aprotinin (a substance derived from cow lungs that may inhibit an enzyme that breaks down collagen), and injections of platelet-rich plasma, which involves infusing a person's own blood plasma into the injured joint to promote healing.

But whether any of those therapies are truly effective remains unclear. A clinical trial published earlier this year found that platelet-rich plasma, used in addition to eccentric exercises, offered no additional benefit to patients with Achilles tendinopathy.


American Journal of Sports Medicine

November 17, 2010


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kids and Weight Training. The benefits.

November 24, 2010

There is a notion out there that weight training in kids can harm them.  We at Jungle have found this interesting article on the subject. Hope you enjoy it and please, feel free to let us know you opinion. It matters.

The Benefits of Weight Training for Children


Back in the 1970s, researchers in Japan studied child laborers and discovered that, among their many misfortunes, the juvenile workers tended to be abnormally short. Physical labor, the researchers concluded, with its hours of lifting and moving heavy weights, had stunted the children’s growth. Somewhat improbably, from that scientific finding and other similar reports, as well as from anecdotes and accreting myth, many people came to believe “that children and adolescents should not” practice weight training, said Avery Faigenbaum, a professor of exercise science at the College of New Jersey. That idea retains a sturdy hold in the popular imagination. As a recent position paper on the topic of children and resistance training points out, many parents, coaches and pediatricians remain convinced that weight training by children will “result in short stature, epiphyseal plate” — or growth plate — “damage, lack of strength increases due to a lack of testosterone and a variety of safety issues.”

Kids, in other words, many of us believe, won’t get stronger by lifting weights and will probably hurt themselves. But a major new review just published in Pediatrics, together with a growing body of other scientific reports, suggest that, in fact, weight training can be not only safe for young people, it can also be beneficial, even essential.

In the Pediatrics review, researchers with the Institute of Training Science and Sports Informatics in Cologne, Germany, analyzed 60 years’ worth of studies of children and weightlifting. The studies covered boys and girls from age 6 to 18. The researchers found that, almost without exception, children and adolescents benefited from weight training. They grew stronger. Older children, particularly teenagers, tended to add more strength than younger ones, as would be expected, but the difference was not enormous. Over all, strength gains were “linear,” the researchers found. They didn’t spike wildly after puberty for boys or girls, even though boys at that age are awash in testosterone, the sex hormone known to increase muscle mass in adults. That was something of a surprise. On the other hand, a reliable if predictable factor was consistency. Young people of any age who participated in resistance training at least twice a week for a month or more showed greater strength gains than those who worked out only once a week or for shorter periods.

Over all, the researchers concluded, “regardless of maturational age, children generally seem to be capable of increasing muscular strength.”

.That finding, which busts one of the most pervasive myths about resistance training for young people — that they won’t actually get stronger — is in accord with the results and opinions of most researchers who have studied the subject. “We’ve worked with kindergartners, having them just use balloons and dowels” as strength training tools, “and found that they developed strength increases,” said Dr. Faigenbaum, a widely acknowledged expert on the topic of youth strength training. (His most recent book is in fact titled “Youth Strength Training.”)

But interestingly, young people do not generally add muscular power in quite the same way as adults. They rarely pack on bulk. Adults, particularly men but also women, typically add muscle mass when they start weight training, a process known as muscular hypertrophy (or, less technically, getting buff). Youths do not add as much or sometimes any obvious muscle mass as a result of strength training, which is one of the reasons many people thought they did not grow stronger. Their strength gains seem generally to involve “neurological” changes, Dr. Faigenbaum said. Their nervous systems and muscles start interacting more efficiently. A few small studies have shown that children develop a significant increase in motor-unit activation within their muscles after weight training. A motor unit consists of a single neuron and all of the muscle cells that it controls. When more motor units fire, a muscle contracts more efficiently. So, in essence, strength training in children seems to liberate the innate strength of the muscle, to activate the power that has been in abeyance, unused.

And that fact, from both a physiological and philosophical standpoint, is perhaps why strength training for children is so important, a growing chorus of experts says. “We are urban dwellers stuck in hunter-gatherer bodies,” said Lyle Micheli, M.D., the director of sports medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston and professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard University, as well as a co-author, with Dr. Faigenbaum, of the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s 2009 position paper about children and resistance training. “That’s true for children as well as adults. There was a time when children ‘weight trained’ by carrying milk pails and helping around the farm. Now few children, even young athletes, get sufficient activity” to fully strengthen their muscles, tendons and other tissues. “If a kid sits in class or in front of a screen for hours and then you throw them out onto the soccer field or basketball court, they don’t have the tissue strength to withstand the forces involved in their sports. That can contribute to injury.”

Consequently, many experts say, by strength training, young athletes can reduce their risk of injury, not the reverse. “The scientific literature is quite clear that strength training is safe for young people, if it’s properly supervised,” Dr. Faigenbaum says. “It will not stunt growth or lead to growth-plate injuries. That doesn’t mean young people should be allowed to go down into the basement and lift Dad’s weights by themselves. That’s when you see accidents.” The most common, he added, involve injuries to the hands and feet. “Unsupervised kids drop weights on their toes or pinch their fingers in the machines,” he said.

In fact, the ideal weight-training program for many children need not involve weights at all. “The body doesn’t know the difference between a weight machine, a medicine ball, an elastic band and your own body weight,” Dr. Faigenbaum said. In his own work with local schools, he often leads physical-education class warm-ups that involve passing a medicine ball (usually a “1 kilogram ball for elementary-school-age children” and heavier ones for teenagers) or holding a broomstick to teach lunges safely. He has the kids hop, skip and leap on one leg. They do some push-ups, perhaps one-handed on a medicine ball for older kids. (For specifics about creating strength-training programs for young athletes of various ages, including teenagers, and avoiding injury, visit, a Web site set up by Dr. Faigenbaum, or the Children’s Hospital Boston sports medicine site.)

As for the ideal age to start weight training, Dr. Faigenbaum said: “Any age is a good age. But there does seem to be something special about the time from about age 7 to 12. The nervous system is very plastic. The kids are very eager. It seems to be an ideal time to hard-wire strength gains and movement patterns.” And if you structure a program right, he added, “it can be so much fun that it never occurs to the kids that they’re getting quote-unquote ‘strength training’ at all.”


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