Filed under: Exercise
A strong core can enhance balance and stability and may even improve your performance. For more reasons to strengthen your core, here are seven from the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, visit the Mayo Clinic’s slideshow for core strengthening exercises.
You may be anxious to get your workout started, but take the time to warm up and you'll avoid injury and perform better. Click here for more information on why you should stretch. To review warm-up and stretching techniques, see Chapters 4 & 7 in the Navy Seal Fitness Guide.
With the hot sun of summer, make sure your skin is protected when exercising outdoors. This isn't just a cosmetic issue, but a health issue, as well. Apply enough sunblock of the correct type for the exercise you're performing outdoors. Visit Environment, Health, and Safety Online for general sun safety tips.
When performing physical activities in the heat, avoid drinking liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar since these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they may cause stomach cramps.
Remember, taking dietary supplements alone will not reduce your disease risk. You must engage in complementary behaviors such as healthy eating and regular physical activity. Visit the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" publication for more information.
From the June 15, 2010 edition of the New York Times.
Heatstroke is a potentially deadly consequence of exercising. "This is a very controversial area, even more so than concussions," said Dr. Francis G. O'Connor, president of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine. He moderated a debate on the topic at a recent meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.
The book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall has been a primary catalyst for the rapid expansion of the population of “barefoot runners” over the past year. Most barefoot running advocates are in reality minimalist runners – they wear as little on their feet as possible. In most cases they wear just enough to provide a little cushion on concrete or other hard surfaces or to provide a thin layer of protection from glass or other sharp objects. Minimalist footwear is referred to as “barefoot technology,” which, at some level, seems to be an oxymoron. The cynical side of me says the term was coined by those expecting to make money off a new trend.
It is important to first note that there is no evidence-based information to support either side of the debate on the efficacy of being either shod or unshod. The most interesting research pointing toward the possible advantages of the minimalist approach is outlined by a Harvard professor and his colleagues in a January 2010 edition of the journal “Nature.” A counter to the assertion that barefoot running is beneficial can be found on a website titled “Barefoot Running is Bad.” The pro barefoot running community points to initial research that indicates there is more force absorbed by the body by a runner wearing shoes than by barefoot runners. The greatest difference is that barefoot runners have a forefoot strike, while runners wearing modern running shoes tend to have a heel strike. The opposition community points to anecdotal information that there has been a rapid rise in the incidence of stress fractures in the feet of barefoot or minimalist runners.
For me, the jury is still out. I find the concept that we should allow our feet to function as designed intriguing. My advice to those in the military interested in transitioning to a barefoot regimen is to first consult their local provider for advice. In addition, anyone starting a barefoot running program should increase the barefoot component of their normal workout routine gradually. A good rule of thumb is to increase the barefoot part of the program by no more than 10 percent each week. Barefoot adherents should also listen to their bodies and stop any activity that leads to joint or soft tissue pain.
My closing concern: warriors, regardless of where they are assigned, will spend a considerable amount of time in some sort of boot technology while training or deployed. As the sports medicine community debates the value of being barefoot in contrast to lacing up the latest Nike technology, we need to determine if there is any advantage for warriors adopting a partial or full barefoot workout program. This research should include an assessment of the positive or negative effects of frequently transitioning between minimalist footwear and boots. As more warriors get the minimalist footwear bug, it is important that we provide them the best evidence-based information that supports or argues against the practice.