Saturday, September 26, 2009

Functional Fitness and Vitamin D in NYT

Here are two good articles recently in the New York Times. They have a theme in common with my ideas on fitness and health- Humans are made for moving around in the randomness of Nature, and we should either do that, or at least train as close to that as possible. That means working with things like free weights, TRX or Olympic rings, and especially, not sitting down and using muscle isolating machines, plus getting lots of sunlight and fresh air.

"Back to Basics: Yes, Sergeant!" is about functional fitness and boot camps.

"He makes use of other low-tech equipment that has resurfaced in recent years, including kettle bells (borrowed from the early Soviet military); stability balls (popularized in Switzerland in the 1960s); air-filled balance boards (a physical therapy staple); and medicine balls (“In ancient times, they’d fill an animal bladder with water or sand,” Mr. Roozen said of the balls’ origins). While such rough-hewn techniques and gear may look old-fashioned, they comport with a modern shift away from developing individual muscle groups and toward so-called functional fitness, which refers to overall strength and comfort in performing everyday activities, like lifting, walking and reaching, along with cardiovascular health."

More information on vitamin D, in the NYT story "Can Vitamin D Improve Your Athletic Performance?" It seems that vitamin D level is being positively linked to performance, although the research is fairly new.

I've written about vitamin D before; this is just strengthens my belief in its importance.

A new exercise, or variation of old exercises, is a current favorite of mine. It is an alternating ring fly-out and press. Here's how it works.

Suspend Olympic rings or TRX handles at a low to medium height, try waist high to start. Stand a meter behind them, with your feet wide. Grasp the handles.

Try each of the separate moves. First, a press(push-up), then a fly. The combo is to do a fly with one arm and a press with the other, and alternate between them. Serious strength, balance, and core, all at once.

Experiment with the height of the grips, how far back you stand, and how wide your feet are. The more horizontal you are the harder it will be, and the narrower your stance is the more stability you'll have to draw from within to keep from falling.

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