Archive for June, 2009

Vibration Training for people with disabilities

June 23rd, 2009

A mother and her adult son are frequent visitors to the vibration training studio where I work.

For the mother it’s a chance to have just a little time-out while doing her work-out as I work with her son.  Mother gains all the benefits of vibration training on the level 2 high force platform named the Bullet while her son uses the platform that has side handlebars.

It’s a slow process as Jack (name changed to protect identity) walks across the room taking in his suroundings.  He’s very tall and sometimes walks with a slight stoop.  An obsession with spaceships and travel makes for interesting, if sometimes a little incoherant, conversation.  When he reaches the machine he steps up very slowly and deliberately and gets into position to do an assisted squat; assisted as he uses the side handlebars to help support his weight, taking some of the pressure of his hips and legs, and also helping him stay in position as his disabilities make him less able.

Jack is easy to work with and is able to do about half of the regular program.  He tries to get into each position correctly and I take care to be slow and careful with him, talking to him as I know he understands me even though he babbles on about other things some days.  He likes to look over at the reception desk and is interested in the computer screen.

When he finishes his workout on the lineal vibration machine including as many repeats of the assisted squat as he is able and willing to do, some times three or four, Jack walks back across the room, this time holding his head up high and his body more upright, and he then stands on a small pivotal platform for 5-10 minutes.  This also helps with his posture and walking ability and his mother told me that the program overall is helping deter nocturnal enuresis.

Vibration Training and Therapy is very helpful for Jack.

Females and feelings

June 18th, 2009

It’s very cold outside today, not  damp although there was rain overnight, just that icy cold of mid-winter.  While I find it invigorating many of this mornings customers have said they were having a “bad mood” day and blamed it on the cold.  One, who had walked a few kilometers to the studio, said she was colder than when she’d left home and had not warmed up at all despite walking briskly and she’d become very grumpy along the way.

Guys can have moody days too but it does seem very common for females.  offended girlAs we are usually the ones who nurture and care for others we have learnt to feel emotion in ways that guys don’t have a clue about.  Females of all ages can be affected by their hormonal cycle, tiredness from broken sleep as they care for their children on call 24 hours of the day, worries of all sorts right down the basic what shall we have for dinner or how will I fit in everything I have to do today.  Add in very cold and sometimes wet weather over the past two or three weeks and it’s easy to feel just a little down.

Can exercise help?

Studies have shown that yes, exercise does lift the mood, due in part to the increase in mood enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain.  Vibration Training brings about an increase in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has a big effect on mood and also regulates sensory perception, body temperature and more.  When serotonin levels rise even the onset of sleep is easier.  Low levels have been indicated in muscle stiffness and weakness and may be involved in fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome.

A recent study led by Dr Jeremy Sibold, lead researcher and assistant professor of rehabilitation and movement science at the University of Vermont, Burlington, showed that not only does immediate mood elevation occur after exercsie but this effect remains for at least 12 hours.  Customers tell me they feel so much better after their Vibra-Train session and that the next morning they wake up feeling alert.  Even knowing this they complain that it’s hard work, and we all smile;

Hard Work but with Great Results!

(Exercise Study Comment Source: American College of Sports Medicine)

I haven’t lost weight.. but

June 17th, 2009

Many of the women who come into the Vibra-Train studio where I work mornings list weightloss as one of their goals.

dreamstimefree_49575011For some it’s the first question they ask me, “Will I lose weight?” I explain, yes, but I think what they really want to lose is fat.  It’s very important to explain that they might not actually lose weight in the first few weeks of their vibration training sessions.  I tell them they will lose some fat and gain some muscle so weighing themself is not an accurate measure of what’s happening.  It is even possible that by working-out hard they might even gain a little weight at first which can be a bit off-putting unless they understand what is really happening.

Lloyd Shaw, owner of Vibra-Train, tells customers to look in the mirror without clothes on, first thing in the morning.  Morning is important as any swelling, fluid retention and hormonal issues will have settled overnight.  Then in three weeks time (about 10 – 12 vibration training sessions) they should look in the mirror again and they will see some shape change.  I think they don’t even need to look again to know they’ve lost fat as they tell me their jeans have become loose or their belt has had to be tightened.  Women also tend to lose size from their bust which is a very good excuse for a fun shopping afternoon with girlfriends.

Some customers get concerned that the scales are still saying they weigh exactly the same as when they started or so little loss as to be inconsequential but when they do look into the mirror again they see how their body has toned up.  They notice the areas fat has gone from, often their belly and their buttocks.  Sometimes they notice increased muscle definition but most women aren’t really interested in this.

A few customers have said they’ve changed their diet and cut out “bad” foods and they attribute their changed shape to this but it can’t be true when they haven’t lost weight?  Eating healthier foods or changing one’s diet is important but it’s my opinion that it’s better to leave diet alone and increase exercise for at least the first two weeks of any weightloss/fatloss program.  Exercise increases metabolism (the rate of calorie burn) and that’s enough.  In fact severely reducing calorie intake is counterproductive as the body reacts to this starvation by holding onto fat and even by storing more fat around the internal organs.

After a few weeks of exercise weightloss usually begins.  This is the time to look at diet.  One visit to a qualified dietician can be helpful or simply following a balanced eating plan.  I don’t personally like restrictive diets so I avoid discussion about them, instead telling customers to eat protein after exercise.  This helps with healing and muscle repair and of course if one has eaten protein they are less likely to crave sweet foods and carbohydrate treats.

I’ve seen some good changes in customers who have come in seeking weightloss and toning.  It’s a prvilege to be a small part in their success.

Does Vibration Training really work for women?

June 15th, 2009

Wow, what a loaded question! 

I answer with, what results do you want to see?

It’s all to easy to answer such a generalised question with: Of course it works! You’ll lose weight and get stronger in no time at all.

One of the lessons I learnt when I first worked in a Fitness Facility was, never, ever guess what results a person wants or expects from their program.  Never look at a person who’s overweight and assume that’s the area they want results.  It might be that they are okay with their size and really want to improve their core stability or just get rid of back pain.  A common answer to the question, “what are your goals and what results do you want to see?” is “I just want to feel better, not so tired all the time”.  Telling that person that they need to lose weight would offend and they’d probably never come back.

Vibration Training on high force, high quality platforms offers so many benefits and that’s the reason I am so passionate about it.  I don’t have to hype up an answer to any question I am asked; there’s so much I can honestly say.

Slim girl in big size jeansWhen asked about weight-loss I prefer to say that vibration training has great toning effects.  It’s intense though short sessions cause the body to use up large amounts of energy.  It definitely feels like exercise and leaves the user tired but with a great, after-exercise “buzz”.  After about 3 weeks (maybe 10 sessions) women see results; the bathroom mirror becomes a friend rather than enemy as a sideways glance shows shape changes.  I’ve had customers complain that their expensive designer jeans no longer fit well yet the scales aren’t showing any major weightloss yet.  For me, that’s the most exciting time; being able to say that a customer has gained muscle and so has gained strength, improved their overall fitness, looks brighter, feels better and the list goes on.

Did I say they are also maintaining or gently improving their bone density and ridding their body of toxins due to the increased blood supply and all that vibration thinning out and squeezing some fluid from cells where it’s been lying stagnant for who know how long.  And balancing out their homones; but that will keep for another blog.

Thin Women – Thin Bones?

June 11th, 2009

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As our society fixates on slim being attractive and models starve themselves to achieve “the look”, then parade “the look” on the catwalk, in magazine advertisements selling everything from clothes to cosmetics, women of all ages try to emulate that style, with teens and young women even competing with each other to become thin, severely restricting their diets and sometimes exercising to extreme and in the process starving their bones.  Doctors have spoken out about the dangers but women still think that Osteoporosis is a disease that their great-grandmothers had and they don’t realise that it is becoming more prevalent today and in younger women too.

Underweight women have below normal levels of calcium, and sometimes estrogen, making them more likely to fracture bones and putting themselves at increased risk of Osteoporosis, a progressive disease that can strike at any age.  Larger women rarely get Osteoporosis; the increased weight supports and strengthens the bones while estrogen metabolites produced by fat cells also help with bone strength.  Even after menopause hormones produced by the adrenal glands are metabolised by fat cells and coverted into the estrogen needed to protect the bones.  Of course, being overweight brings its own risks and causes wear and tear of the joints of the ankles and the knees.

Low body weight with it’s associated low bone density is a serious problem and it affects men as well as women.  If blood calcium levels drop too low over time from decreased calcium intake increased parathyroid hormone levels stimute bones to release calcium, further depleting them.

It is impossible to consume all the nutrients required for good health, bone growth and maintenance on a low calorie diet alone. Women who insist on attaining thinness must supplement their diet with calcium and other nutrients and are advised to do this under the guidance of a medical professional or qualified dietician.

Stop Smoking! Smoking also puts the bones at increased risk of Osteoporosis. It is not yet fully known how it does this but it robs the protective effect of calcium and works to prevent bone reformation.  Nicotine also inhibits estrogen release and causes it’s breakdown by the liver.  Smokers have twice the risk of hip fracture as non-smokers.  Smokers also tend to be thinner than non-smokers.

It is possible to be slim without putting bones at risk. Healthy Bones require healthy eating along with regular exercise to strengthen muscles and bones; particularly resistance exercise and this is where Vibration Training can help.  By increasing muscle strength bones are better supported while increased blood supply allows the bones to receive the nutrients needed for strength and growth.  Forces like tension or vibration cause electrical activity in the bone which stimulates osteoblasts to enhance bone growth.

If dieting has become an obsession, EDEN can help.

Don’t overeat to relieve stress!

June 9th, 2009

Cortisol is a hormone produced and released by the adrenal glands in response to stress.  It’s sudden small increase and secretion into the blood stream activates the quick burst of energy required for survival in life threatening situations.  The heightened memory, sharp decision making and action, and lower sensitivity to pain so necessary in “fight or flight” situations are all enhanced by small increases in cortisol.

dreamstimefree_1780080The problem is we often don’t relax once the crisis has passed.  Or because of our rush-rush busy lives we live in a constant state of “increased stress”.  In this situation the increases of cortisol are not helpful at all.  Blood sugar remains high, blood pressure is elevated, thyroid function suppressed, cognitive skills can be impaired, inflamatory response and immunity are lowered, headaches and fatigue set in, muscle strength decreases, and along with all this, abdominal fat increases.  The higher level of cortisone prevents the body return to homeostasis which is exactly the opposite of the proper use of this hormone.

Increased cortisol causes the body to make more adrenaline giving us the boost needed for escape or to “fight the enemy”.  Adrenaline signals cause release of fatty acids into the blood stream to be used for energy.  How our body works is truely amazing but what if we don’t really need those extra fatty acids? What if we are simply sitting about worrying or rushing about so busy that we don’t stop to sit down for a meal, instead we eat on the run; hamburgers, pizza, corn chips and sour cream dips (my downfall), take-out, fat laden meals, and alcohol.  Our body then stores the unused fatty acids as belly fat and adds to this any fat it can pull from the food we eat.  Perceiving danger and the need for extra energy the body stores fat in the abdominal area as this area has many cortisol receptors. Studies have shown that under ongoing stress people who secrete more cortisol also eat more carbohydrates which can add to blood sugar imbalances along with adding even more fat from the fats in the carbohydrate foods.

We respond to Stress in individual ways; of course it is not only a negative in our lives, it’s the impetus needed to bring about action, but if you’re sensitive to stress reaction you need to take steps to break the cortisol belly fat problem along with learning to relax completely.  Ways to do this include journeling, listening to music or even watching a movie, deep breathing, adequate sleep, exercise as simple as taking a walk, sex (yes, I really did say this), and remember, Don’t overeat to relieve Stress!

Vibration Training works well to release stress. The body reacts to “attack” by the machine by pulling away but by fighting back instead, keeping in perfect position with the end result of increased blood supply; the fatty acids start to get used for energy and this continues over the next 24 or more hours as the body’s metabolic rate has increased.  Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for “good” feeling is increased along with endorphins which give the “runners high” that comes from exercise.  There’s even the creation of new nerves within the brain. Sounds good to me!