Health & Fitness Articles

Thanks for visiting my health and fitness articles page. These articles cover a variety of topics such as workout routines, general health, fitness, nutrition, chronic disease and anti-aging strategies. These articles are published in 5 local newspapers in Georgia and are uploaded here the following Monday after each print publication.
I wish you the best in health and fitness~
Wade Yoder, Master Trainer & Fitness Nutrition Specialist
How Negatives and Injuries Strengthen Us

 The way our body gains strength and muscle is one of the more intriguing sides of health and fitness to me. We have a tendency of taking the path of least resistance, when oft times this is the very thing that will build us up. 
Muscle and strength are built through injury from doing something the muscle isn't used to doing, the body simply responds by rebuilding the muscle bigger, faster and stronger so that it can handle the new stress better. 
Our muscles also respond in exactly the opposite way when we avoid physical stress, by shrinking and weakening muscle, (muscle atrophy). An increase or a decrease in muscle tone, size, strength and capabilities (through our action or inaction) is simply our body doing what we tell it to do. 
Positives and Negatives: when we do a set of arm curls, 1 repetition would be the curl upward and the lowering of the bar back to the start position. The positive part of the movement is the curling upward, the negative is the lowering back down to the start position. Positive = the lifting part of the movement, Negative = the lowering part of the movement. 
What stands out to me in this whole muscle building process, is how the least impressive part of a repetition (the negative) is the most responsible for growth. Injury stimulates the need for new muscle growth and negatives cause the greatest injury to muscle tissue.
Example: when we do a bench press,it's hard to impress ourselves and the others around us by the control we exhibit in lowering the bar to our chest, so most of the attention is put in the thrust upward. However, when we lower the bar and weights rapidly, and then bounce off the chest, to help us drive the bar upward in the positive part of the movement, (we are depriving ourselves of a very powerful stimulator of muscle strength and growth)! 
Using good form in exercise not only helps protect us from the injuries and muscle imbalances that using bad form can bring, it is also a major stimulator in muscle building, strengthening and toning! 
What helps me the most to know what is good form, is knowing the 2 primary contributing factors in muscle building and strengthening. The 2 main contributing factors are: muscle stretch and muscle tension. Most times the stretch is going to be felt during the negative part of the movement and the tension felt in the positive part of the movement. The negative part of the movement should be done slower and the positive should be done faster.
The human body is designed to use stress and injury as signaling mechanisms to stimulate an increase in strength, whether it's mental or physical. If we avoid physical or mental stress, our corresponding systems will get weaker and weaker. Keeping ourselves challenged both mentally and physically is important if we are to keep or improve what we've been blessed with.

I had something happen here at the gym yesterday, that put me through probably the worst work project that I've had in the past 10 years, but weird thing is, I'm happier since then and everything in my life seems easier! So obviously (at least for me), negatives and adversity help both physically and mentally.    
The positive things in life look and feel great, but how we handle the negatives and recover from our injuries, plays a big part in building true strength, endurance and character!! 

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