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  • 3 Useful Tips to Help Muscle Soreness after Working Out 3 Useful Tips to Help Muscle Soreness after Working Out 12/13/2019 If your muscles feel fine right after a workout, but begin to feel sore a couple of days later, you're
    probably experiencin...


    If your muscles feel fine right after a workout, but begin to feel sore a couple of days later, you're probably experiencing something called delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. Treating DOMS can be tricky. There is no guaranteed cure, and different studies say different things about what to do for effective recovery. It's not hard, however, to find ways to help the discomfort that you feel as your DOMS goes through its course.

    To begin, what is DOMS?
    When you go through a good, intense workout, you allow microscopic tears to form in your muscles. While these tears are a natural part of the muscle building process, they can gradually lead to inflammation over a couple of days. While it hasn't been proven yet, scientists believe that the tears and inflammation come about when you perform deadlifts, squats and other eccentric movements that cause your muscles to stretch. In general, you're more likely to sustain DOMS when you try exercise forms that you've never done before, or ones that you haven't done in a while. Luckily, there are home remedies that you can try.

    1. Use Hot And Cold Compresses
    Different research papers favor either hot or cold compresses for DOMS. There is some research to show that both are beneficial, as well. Cold compresses with ice may slow down recovery, but can help with the pain. Heating pads can help both hasten healing, and offer pain relief. In general, it's okay to do whatever feels good.

    2. Look For a Few Things in the Refrigerator And The Kitchen
    Cherry juice has been found in studies to help inflammation through increasing the antioxidative capacity of the body. Other studies point to the usefulness of chocolate milkshakes after strenuous exercise as a way to replenish the body's reserves of protein. Turmeric is a useful kitchen ingredient to try, as well. Watching your nutrition is helpful to the healing process in general. Making sure that you eat a balanced meal three times a day can help with the pain and inflammation.

    3. Try Active Recovery And Foam Rolling
    Studies indicate that active recovery can help with DOMS. There are a range of alternative exercises that you can try. Yoga, cycling, fast-walking and light weightlifting can all help. The repeated bout effect, can help, as well. Some studies indicate that doing the very same workout that gives you the sore muscles to begin, can help. The repeated bouts that you try are supposed to be light in intensity, however. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that foam rolling can be useful, too. You need to buy a foam roller, and roll on it using the parts of your body that are sore. Foam rolling can hasten the healing process by increasing blood flow to the areas affected.

    Understand That Soreness And Pain Are Different
    Before you start to treat yourself for DOMS, you need to make sure that you know how to tell the difference between soreness and actual pain. Soreness tends to merely be uncomfortable, and to last a few days. Pain, on the other hand, can be more intense, and can last longer. If you experience pain, a great deal of rest, and a visit to the doctor may be called for. Treating DOMS at home is simple, and works the same way, no matter what part of the body is affected. If you experience DOMS, you don't need to stop working out until the soreness goes away. You can continue to work out after making sure that you get enough sleep at night.


  • Great Exercises That Require No Equipment Great Exercises That Require No Equipment 11/19/2019 Sometimes making a trip to the gym just isn't possible. Fortunately, there are exercises that you can do at home or on-the-go t...

    Sometimes making a trip to the gym just isn't possible. Fortunately, there are exercises that you can do at home or on-the-go that don't require any equipment. The following list includes exercise that work upper body, lower body, and core:

    1. Push-ups. Push-ups are a timeless and very effective exercise. They work the chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and core. To get the most out of them, do push-up variations. Alternate between wide-grip, close-grip, standard, and diamond. You can get a great upper body workout just using push-ups.
    2. Squats. Squats are the go-to exercise for improving the lower body. While squats are often done with a barbell and weights, they can be effective with only the weight of your body. Make them more effective by doing variations. Try squat jumps, pauses at the bottom, and slow squats.
    3. Lunges. Lunges are another great lower body exercise. They work many different muscle groups in the legs. You can perform lunges in one place based on repetitions or you can lunge for a certain distance.
    4. Burpees. Burpees are an amazing total body exercise. Burpees work the upper body, lower body, and core. They also are a good form of cardio. If you're looking for the exercise that achieves the most in the shortest amount of time, look no further than the burpee.
    5. Crunches. Crunches are a solid core exercise. They require no one or nothing to hold your feet like sit-ups do. Crunches really work the abdominal muscles. For maximum effectiveness, do some variations like star crunches or bicycle crunches.
    With a proper work ethic, you can get a great workout using one or more of the exercises listed
    above. Your fitness doesn't have to suffer simply because you don't have time to make it to the
    gym or don't have the money for a membership. Pick a few exercises and crush a great workout
    with no expensive equipment.

  • Wearable Tech Named Top Fitness Trend for 2020 Wearable Tech Named Top Fitness Trend for 2020 American College of Sports Medicine | 11/07/2019 Do you use your smartwatch or fitness tracker to track your exercise, heart rate, calorie consumption or sleep quality? If you ...

    Do you use your smartwatch or fitness tracker to track your exercise, heart rate, calorie consumption or sleep quality? If you answered yes, you’re among the millions of adults who use a wearable device at least monthly and part of the growing movement of individuals taking control of their health. Thus, it’s not shocking that more than 3,000 health and fitness pros surveyed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) say wearable tech will be the top trend in fitness in the coming year. ACSM released the results of its annual fitness trend forecast in the article “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2020” published today in the November/December issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®.

    “Wearable tech has become ingrained in today’s culture, and the industry shows no signs of slowing down,” said ACSM Past President Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, the lead author of the survey and associate dean in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta. “Tech advances have made it easier than ever for users to collect important health metrics and work with fitness professionals and health care providers to improve exercise efficiency, develop healthy lifestyles, manage chronic diseases and, ultimately, increase quality of life.”
    According to the “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2020,” the top 20 fitness trends are:
    1. Wearable technology: Includes fitness trackers, smart health watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices. Examples include fitness and activity trackers like those manufactured by Fitbit®, Samsung Gear Fit2®, Misfit®, Garmin®, and Apple®. These devices can track HR, calories, sitting time, and much more. While there was some question of accuracy, these issues have seemed to be resolved well enough. Wearable technology has been estimated to be about a $95 billion industry.
    2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. Despite concerns expressed by some fitness professionals, these 30-minute or fewer sessions continue to be a popular form of exercise around the world.
    3. Group training: Group exercise instructors teach, lead and motivate individuals through intentionally designed, larger, in-person group movement classes of more than five participants. Group programs are designed to be motivational and effective for people at different fitness levels, with instructors using leadership techniques that help individuals achieve fitness goals.
    4. Training with free weights: Instructors focus on teaching proper form for exercises using barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells and/or medicine balls. Resistance progressively increases as the correct form is accomplished.
    5. Personal Training: The popularity of one-on-one training continues to increase as it becomes more accessible online, in clubs, at home, and in worksite fitness facilities. Personal training includes fitness testing and goal setting with the trainer working one on one with a client to prescribe workouts specific to individual needs and goals.
    6. Exercise is Medicine®: This global health initiative by ACSM encourages health care providers to include physical activity assessment and associated referrals to certified fitness professionals in the community as part of every patient visit.
    7. Bodyweight Training: Bodyweight training uses minimal equipment, making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
    8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults: As Baby Boomers age into retirement, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.
    9. Health/Wellness Coaching: This growing trend integrates behavioral science into health promotion and lifestyle medicine programs. A one-on-one and small group approach provides support, goal setting, and encouragement.
    10. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals: Hiring health/fitness professionals certified through programs accredited by the NCCA is more important than ever. ACSM is one of the largest and most prestigious fitness-certification organizations in the world.
    11. Exercise for weight loss: Most diet programs incorporate some kind of exercise program into the daily routine of caloric restriction adding the caloric expenditure of physical activity.
    12. Functional fitness training: This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance, coordination, muscular strength, and endurance to improve activities of daily living typically for older adults but also in clinical populations. This type of training replicates actual physical activities someone might do as a function of their daily routine.
    13. Outdoor activities: More outdoor activities such as group walks, group rides, or organized hiking groups are becoming popular. They can be short events, daylong events, or planned weeklong hiking excursions. Participants often meet in a local park, hiking area, or on a bike trail typically with a leader.
    14. Yoga: Yoga has taken on a variety of forms in the past (including Power Yoga, Yogilates, yoga in hot environments, and many others). On-demand videos and books are plentiful, as are certifications in the many yoga formats.
    15. Licensure for fitness professionals: There are some professions in the United States and around the world that are regulated by local, state, or national licensure. For example, people cannot call themselves a medical doctor or nurse or, in most states, a physical therapist or dietitian, without holding a license. This is a trend in the fitness industry to pursue regulation of fitness professionals such as personal trainers and exercise physiologists.
    16. Lifestyle medicine: Lifestyle medicine is the evidence-based practice of helping individuals and families adopt and sustain healthy behaviors that affect health and quality of life. Examples of target patient behaviors include, but are not limited to, eliminating tobacco use, improving diet, increasing physical activity, and moderating alcohol consumption. Lifestyle medicine promotes healthy behaviors as the foundation to medical care, disease prevention, and health promotion.
    17. Circuit training: Circuit training is similar to HIIT, but at a much lower or even moderate intensity (some have called this moderate-intensity interval training). Circuit training is typically a group of about 10 exercises that are completed in succession and in a predetermined sequence. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set time period before having a quick rest and moving on to the next exercise.
    18. Worksite health promotion and workplace well-being programs: This is a trend toward a range of programs and services provided by employers to improve the health and wellness of workers integrated with systems to support the evaluation of and reporting on the effect on health, costs, and productivity. Programs are generally on-site or with a local gym.
    19. Outcome measurements: There are efforts to define, track, and report outcomes leading to the accountability of both the health club member and the trainer. Measurements are necessary to determine the benefits of health and fitness programs in disease management and to document success in changing negative lifestyle habits. The proliferation of technology aids in data collection to support these efforts.
    20. Children and exercise: Childhood and adolescent obesity continues to be a major health issue in most developed and developing nations and is important because of its association with other medical issues such as diabetes and hypertension.

  • Stretch Your Way to Better Sleep Stretch Your Way to Better Sleep 03/13/2019 Stretching before you go to bed will loosen muscle tightness and help you relax so that you feel comfortable and are ready for ...

    Do you lie awake at night feeling frustrated because you can’t sleep? Alternatively, maybe you wake frequently and end up feeling grouchy and tired in the day. If such symptoms of insomnia plague you, it might be worth taking expert advice and partaking in more exercise than you do currently.

    Studies reveal that people who find it hard to fall asleep do not usually engage in enough physical activity to promote a healthy night‘s rest. However, people who are physically active on a regular basis tend to enjoy sound sleep. If you have a desk job, chances are you don’t have many opportunities to exercise. Maybe, like many people in the modern world, a great deal of your life revolves around laborsaving technology, which helps provide you with more time in which to work. As a result, you might feel tired at the end of the day, but your body has not really had an adequate workout.
    Stretching is a great technique to encourage sleep to come your way as it can help you unwind and release stress. At the same time, exercising in the comfort of your home is cost-effective and easy compared to going to a fitness center. 

    Guide to Stretching Safely  
    Carry out a light physical activity before beginning as this will help ease you gently into stretching exercises. If you experience pain, stop the particular exercise you are doing, and moderate your regime so that you are comfortable. At the same time, if you have an injury or health condition, ask your physician to recommend the best type of stretches to suit your needs.


    • Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor.
    • Extend your arms by your sides, and face the palms of your hands upwards.
    • Keeping your arms, the backs of your hands, and your feet on the floor, raise the mid section of your body to form a bridge shape.
    • Hold this position for 10 seconds before resting.
    Calf Stretch
    • Stand an arm’s length away from a wall.
    • Place your left foot behind your right foot.
    • Bend your right leg forward gently while keeping your left knee straight.
    • Keep your back straight, and your feet on the floor pointing forward.
    • Hold for 30 seconds before repeating the exercise with the opposite leg.
    Seated Side Bend
    • Sit cross-legged on a cushion.
    • Place your right hand on the ground next to your right hip, and bend your elbow a little.
    • Extend your left arm up over your head, past your left ear.
    • Lean to the right, and hold the position for a count of 10.
    • Repeat the stretch with the opposite arm.

    Stretching before you go to bed will loosen muscle tightness and help you relax, so that you feel comfortable and are ready for a good night’s sleep. There are many other stretching exercises that you might like to try, including some that target specific areas of your body. However, the bridge, calf stretch, and seated side bend are excellent exercises with which to begin.


  • How to Stick to Your Workout During the Holidays How to Stick to Your Workout During the Holidays 12/11/2018 You don't have to sacrifice your fitness during the holidays.

    The holiday season is full of fun and togetherness, but it can also be hectic on your daily schedule. Finding time for a run around the block or to hit the gym can be difficult, with all the shopping and celebrations. Some people might put their fitness on hold for the holidays, but you don't have to! These tips will help you stay on top of your exercise regimen.


    1. Workout in the morning
      Holiday celebrations tend to happen later in the day, so you might want to consider moving your workouts to earlier in the morning. This way, you won't need to worry about finding time for your workout in a busy afternoon or having to skip workouts to go to holiday parties. Try to start working out in the morning as soon as possible, so that when the busy holiday time comes around, you'll already be in the habit.
    2. Set goals when you wake up 
      The most common personality trait for successful people is setting goals every day. Apply this to your workout routine. When you wake up, tell yourself what your exercise goals are. Do you want to run on the treadmill for at least a mile? Or maybe you want to make it through a full Pilates routine? Setting goals is important because it gives you something to strive for every day. Make sure they are low enough that you can reliably reach them most days since you don't want to discourage yourself, but also make sure they are substantial enough that you will actually feel proud accomplishing them. Whatever your fitness goals are, remind yourself of them before you start your day.
    3. Keep a calendar
      A calendar is so much more than a collection of days and events. It serves as a reminder of where you're going and where you've been. After completing your workouts, record them on your calendar for that day. Something as simple as "ran two miles" will do the trick. The key is to only add your exercise after the workout. This way you can keep yourself accountable for sticking to your regimen. If you notice a series of blank days, you'll know something is keeping you from working out. Perhaps because you've been too busy shopping for presents. The calendar will let you know when there is a problem so that you can figure out what you need to change in order to get your exercise back on track.
    4. Consider shorter workouts
      If you have an exceptionally busy holiday season, you might want to consider cutting your exercise time. While this isn't ideal, you don't want to overtax yourself during what is already a stressful season. If you're worried about slowing down your fitness progress, you can always opt for more rigorous workouts to make up for the loss of time.
    You don't have to sacrifice your fitness to enjoy the holiday season. By incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you can stay on top of your workouts and maintain your momentum toward your exercise goals. Enter the new year as a healthier you!


  • The Fellowship of Sweat in a Spartanburg Running Club The Fellowship of Sweat in a Spartanburg Running Club Ned Barrett | 08/27/2018 If you look around Spartanburg, you’ll notice more of these kinds of groups—social events where people exercise.

    Most Tuesday evenings for the last couple of years, you’ll find me running with the RJ Rockers Run Club. This event, hosted by Partners for Active Living and RJ Rockers, has become one of my can’t-miss dates. There are usually 20 or so runners who take on the 3-mile course with an option to add a mile. We run through Hampton Heights or Converse Heights or Wofford. It’s a pretty strong group of runners, and every week, it seems, there are a couple of new people. We encourage and push and hold each other accountable.

    Or maybe we all want to come out on Tuesdays because we’ve come to like each other. Icee pops and water are free, and the beer Rockers sells helps support our mission. The community we create is real. Don’t get me wrong—I do most of my running solo. But as a social animal, I still like my group runs. We talk about everything and nothing, and the miles pass by sometimes unnoticed.

    If you look around Spartanburg, you’ll notice more of these kinds of groups—social events where people exercise. There are other running groups that meet at different places, several bike rides from various locations every week, workout groups that coordinate through social media, and I see groups of friends walking or running on the MBF Rail Trail every day. When we talk about building community, this is part of the story.

    Getting out takes discipline, but the “good-mornings” and waves on the Rail Trail, the fellowship of sweat, the beer and icee pops after a summer run, the “you-can-do-its” from your buddies and maybe the responsibility of showing up keep you going.

    Learn more about the RJ Rockers Run Club.

  • Morning Walks at Cottonwood Trail Morning Walks at Cottonwood Trail Ned Barrett | 08/15/2018 I started going to Cottonwood Trail in Spartanburg for its flatness and of course for its beauty. But now that I’ve started run...

    Every morning for about three weeks, I walked with my dog Hope on the Cottonwood Trail in Spartanburg. For at least twenty minutes every morning, Hope explored her way - nose down -finding out who knows what about the world there.

    I think it’s her reminder that has made this become a ritual. She holds me accountable in her way, looking up when I approach my shoes or the drawer where we keep the leashes. It’s something that I find more and more important for my own healthy habits.

    I get a wake up walk at a slower pace than I’m used to. This habit started when I rolled my ankle running on July 4, 2017. My first thought was of chronic ankle injuries that really limited my friends’ running—not something I’m interested in. My running habit is at the top of my list.

    So I committed to a slow but consistent rehabilitation. I started going to Cottonwood Trail for its flatness and of course for its beauty. But now that I’ve started running again, I want to keep my promise to Hope of a daily morning walk.

    All along I’ve used various methods to hold myself accountable to my goals large and small, from telling my friends to raising money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research to being nudged by my current canine exercise partner. All have helped me maintain the motivation to stay active and healthy.

    This article was originally published in Partners for Active Living by Ned Barrett .

  • My Three Favorite Hikes in Spartanburg at Croft State Park My Three Favorite Hikes in Spartanburg at Croft State Park Ned Barrett | 08/15/2018 If you’re looking for a nice place to hike in the Upstate, these three trails at Croft State Park in Spartanburg, SC will give ...

    If you’re looking for a nice place to hike in the Upstate, these three trails at Croft State Park are pretty easy in terms of terrain and way-finding. Each will give you a glimpse of a different element of the park, from lakeside to creekside to hillside.

    1. Lake Johnson Trail (1.5 miles) This trail loops around Lake Johnson, the smaller of the lakes at Croft State Park. With views of the lake nearly the entire time, this trail is a sure crowd pleaser. Add in that it is one of the least difficult trails at Croft and you have the makings of a wonderful family outing. This loop requires some road walking. Park at Lake Johnson (on Johnson Lake Road—I know) and start off behind the picnic shelter.
    2. The Nature Trail (1.5 miles) This trail starts near the riding ring in the center of the park, and parallels the Fairforest Creek for a good ways, then returns higher up the hillside above the creek. You also pass an old iron bridge near the site of Foster’s Mill, remnants from the long history of the Croft area. Park near the Park Office.
    3. Fern Gully Trail (1.75 miles total) The Fern Gully Trail itself is a little less than a mile long (it links two other sections of trail for the loop), but it provides plenty of punch. Access to this trail is easiest from the Southside Park area; start off on Southside Loop (either way). The first trail intersection you come to will be Fern Gully. The Trail traverses the drainages that flow down into the Fairforest Creek through an established hardwood forest. Not much up-and-down here, but plenty of twists and turns.

    Learn more about Croft State Park in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

    This article was originally published in Partners for Active Living by Ned Barrett .

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