Safely Initiating a Training Program For The Young Athlete

Safely Initiating a Training Program For The Young Athlete

Strength and conditioning is a vital aspect for all young athletes performance and development.

There are often many questions asked when referring to a young athletes training regime, “when should they initiate a supervised strength and conditioning program?”, “Is it safe to do so?”, “Will their growth be affected?” These are all legitimate questions of concern to parents and caregivers.

The opportunity for children to participate in more competitive environments at earlier ages is a trend which has increased over the past years, driving the many questions around training, but more specifically, “when is too young to start an organised strength and conditioning  program?”

The Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA), hold the position that if a child is ready to participate in organised structured sport that are generally ready to participate in a supervised resistance training program. It is of the opinion that the earliest a child should begin a structured strength program is 6 years old, this starting age is fluid and very much dependent on the ability of the child to follow clear instructions. Training intensity and loading protocols vary depending on age and development.  A rough guideline for athletic development can be seen below.

Training Intensity/Load:

6-9 years of age: modification of body weight exercises and light resistance
9-12 years of age: 10-15 RM; (maximal loading approximately 60% maximum)
12-15 years of age: 8-15 RM; (maximal loading approximately 70% maximum)
15-18 years of age: 6-15 RM; (maximal loading approximately 80% maximum)

The concept of this outline doesn’t differ much from the mindset and approach we would take with an adult, regardless of their training experience. We would still check to make sure the technique is sound, that everything is moving well and functioning as it should before adding any load. Yes, someone with more training experience will likely move through this stage faster but the concept remains, the only difference being recommended age brackets in regards to progressions when dealing with youth.

 

Injury Risk, Growth and Height

Touching back on the question of safety, the effect on growth and eventual height. Evidence suggests that the key growth and development phase in childhood and early adolescence may be the most beneficial time to implement weight-bearing activities. Such as during a time while the body is continually developing bone mineral density, mass, and structure. In regards to growth and height, there are no studies to indicated that resistance training will effect eventual height or cause injury to growth plates.

Youth typically have lower levels of joint and muscle sprains when compared with adults. Injury risk for youth in strength programs generally arise from unsupervised accidents either with equipment or from inappropriate training loads. This is where a qualified supervisor/coach becomes critical to the safety and effectiveness of a strength and conditioning program.

 

Let’s get onto the good stuff, the benefits!

 

 

Injury Prevention

A dynamic, multi-faceted approach to training has widely been shown to reduce injury risk amongst young athletes, very much similar to the effect it has on adults. It is vital to initially develop fundamental motor patterns in youth athletes that can then be transitioned over to competition or into the gym. Generally, athletes that regularly participate in a well-structured training program will often suffer fewer injuries and be able to recover faster from any injury sustained.

 

Performance enhancement

Benefits of resistance training in youth:

    • Improvements in muscular strength
    • Power production
    • Running velocity
    • Change-of-direction speed
    • General motor performance

 

 

Training Models 

Integrative neuromuscular training (INT) is a conceptual training model that describes a training program that incorporates a range of general and specific strength and conditioning activities specifically designed to enhance health and skill-related components of physical fitness. Health-related components including flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, and cardiovascular health. Skill-related components including coordination, speed, power, balance and agility.

By taking a multi-faceted approach for the athlete we are ensuring that they are physically prepared for all requirements of their chosen sport or activity.

The below graph represents the difference between the initiation of these integrative training techniques during pre-adolescence and adolescence compared to sport only and no sport.

 

the young athlete

The graph displays a clear benefit of initiating neuromuscular training during both pre-adolescence and adolescence stages of development. Neuromuscular training initiated earlier in the developmental stage likely leads to greater neuromuscular performance and greater capacity above mature performance potential.

 

 

Take home points

  • If a child is ready to participate in organised structured sport, they are generally ready to participate in a supervised resistance training program.
  • Resistance training initiated at an early age is beneficial to physical growth and development, while not being associated with growth abnormalities and increased injury risk.
  • A multi-faceted approach to strength and conditioning (such as the integrative neuromuscular training model) is beneficial for injury prevention, performance enhancement, and motor development + capacity.

 

 

Resources:

 

About the Author

 

Redefining the CORE: it’s more than just your abs!

Redefining the CORE: it’s more than just your abs!

What is the core?

‘The Core’ is essentially a collective term to refer to the primary muscles at your centre. These muscles collectively bring stability to the spine and support movement of the limbs. The core makes up nearly half the body, and includes all the muscles that attach to the pelvis and spine.

To the rehabilitation world the core is the thoraco-lumbar-pelvic (trunk) complex. It is composed of as many as 35 different muscle groups! These muscles connect into the pelvis from the spine and hip area. In order to simplify the Core muscles I usually divide them into four regions; back extensors, abdominals, lateral trunk muscles, and the hip muscles.

The core as a cylinder, not a 6 pack

Put simply, you can think about the core as a cylinder; it has a bottom (the pelvic floor muscles), a top (the diaphragm) and sides (the abdominals, obliques and back muscles). I’ve put in some diagrams to really help you see how all these muscles come together to create ‘the Core’.

the front of the core, the most superficial muscles

The back of the core, the most superficial muscles

See how it looks like a cylinder? You can see the deep back, front, side and pelvic floor muscles

the deep back muscles of the core

the lateral or side muscles of the core

The core’s VIP: The Diaphragm

We already know that it’s primary function is to stabilise, but how? Well, this is where the diaphragm is really funky and important: the core creates stability when it generates intra-abdominal pressure by a gentle ‘drawing in’ action from all sides of the cylinder at the same time… but particularly from the diaphragm being a secure lid.

So what happens if our diaphragm doesn’t function optimally?

Well, studies have looked at the associations between lower back pain and diaphragm functioning. One study in particular found:

  • Comparing people with lower back pain (LBP) to people without, the LBP group had less diaphragm movement when they inhaled and exhaled
  • The difference was more noticeable during inhalation, and they noted the diaphragm was positioned higher than the other pain-free group
  • This finding was even more pronounced when they added a level of physical exertion (a simple postural task)

The researchers hypothesize that this dysfunction of the diaphragm may exacerbate syptoms of lower back pain by increasing the anterior shear forces on the ventral region of the spinal column.

It’s all very interesting. But how does this information help you?

Well, it means you now know where to start if you want to prevent or start treating lower back pain. Let the process of holistic treatment begin…

 

 

How to train and strengthen your core

There are a plethora of ways to train your core. Let me tell you, sit-ups and crunches are NOT THE ONLY WAY! (they’re actually the worst way). Now that you understand how the core functions, you can see how it comes into play all the time, not just when we try to isolate it. Since our centre of gravity resides within our pelvis, and is where all movement begins; our core becomes fundamental for creating stability of all our lower limb movements. This even includes simple ankle and knee movements!

Start with:

  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Transverse abdominus activation
  • Pelvic tilts
  • Isometric exercises (no movement) e.g. dead bugs

Then build strength and control:

  • Animal crawls
  • Bird-dog (4-point alternative arm leg extension)
  • Forearm plank and side plank

Then implement into:

  • Compound movements e.g. lunges or lunges with single arm press
  • Dynamic movements e.g. cable rotations
  • Unilateral exercises e.g. single arm cable or dumbbell press

There are many exercises that I prescribe to my patients for core strengthening. The exercises include basic body-weight movements, sometimes really simple exercise to increase body awareness, proprioception and neuromuscular connection; it doesn’t always need to feel like its burning for it to be having seriously positive benefits!

Our philosophy is to progress things to more functional movement patterns where they have to rely on core strength and stability to complete movements with good technique and control.

A strong and stable core can improve optimal performance throughout the whole body and enable you move better, move more, and move longer, as well as preventing injuries!

If you want to train with me, you can book online here: https://informhealth.com/people/jacinta-brinsley/
If you want to read more of my blogs, click here: https://informhealth.com/author/jacinta-brinsley/
If you’re interested in doing yoga with me, click here: http://bit.ly/iwanttodoyoga

About the Author

 

Weight Training and Joint Health: What You Need to Know

Weight Training and Joint Health: What You Need to Know

Weight training and joint health. Find out everything you need to know about lifting weights to improve the health of your joints!

When I first stepped foot into a gym, I spent a lot of time watching other people (not like that, you creep).

I was genuinely interested in what they were doing. What exercises they chose to do, why they were doing them, and what the results of those exercises were.

With this, I spent a lot of time trying to learn from some of the older guys in the gym.

Guys who simply screamed ‘old man strength’.

And I quickly noticed that these people could easily fall into one of two categories.

  1. Jacked old guys who moved well, lifted a whole lot of weight, and were pain free, or;
  2. Jacked old guys who could lift a ton of weight, but spent their time hobbling around the gym in obvious pain, and wore braces on every single one of their joints.

So what gives?

Is weight training good for your joints? Is weight training bad for your joints?

Does it come down to genetics, diet, or lifestyle factors?

Or maybe it comes down to how you train… (hint: it probably comes down to how you train).

 

Weight Training and Joint Health

exercises to burn more calories

Contrary to popular belief, there is a large body of evidence showing that lifting weights can be pretty damn good for your joints.

See, weight training increases the strength of the muscles that surround your joints. This improves your ability to stabilize those joints during movement, which ultimately reduces joint wear and tear.

It is for this reason that weight training is actually pretty good for people with osteoarthritis.

However, there is a caveat here.

If you train like an idiot, then your joints will hate you.

 

Training like an idiot…

So, what do I mean by this?

Well, i guess I would characterize it by two things:

  1. Lifting weights with poor form and an inadequate range of motion
  2. Training heavy all the time

To put it simply, weight training with poor form is a great way to place undesirable loads on your joints. It is this load that has the potential to cause an acute joint injury. Similarly, lifting with a small range of motion means that you will only become stable in that short range of motion, which can create joint instability everywhere else — which may also act as a precursor for a joint injury.

Pretty simply, make sure your prioritize technique.

On the other hand, we have heavy weight training (as in lifting really heavy loads for 1-5 repetitions).

Now, just to be clear, I think heavy weight training is the cats pajamas.

It is integral to building strength, increasing power, enchaining stability, and generally making you a more robust human being.

And seriously, who doesn’t want to be a more robust human being?

But the kicker here is that it places much more load on your joints than weight training performed using higher rep ranges, and lower loads.

So if you lift heavy week in week out, you wont allow your joints time to recover between workouts, which can take an obvious toll on your joint health.

As a result, you want to make sure that you match your periods of heavy lifting with periods of higher rep stuff using lighter loads. This gives your joints some time to recover, and ensures that you continue to build strength and stability in the long run.

 

But Won’t Weight Training Ruin My Flexibility?

A common knock on weight training is that it will make you stiff and immobile — leaving you completely unable to get your arms over your head.

But, much like the above, I would argue that this only happens if you lift weights using inadequate range of motion,

In fact, if you weight train using a full range of motion, you can actually cause some pretty large improvements in flexibility. Impressively, some these improvements are even comparable to those caused by stretching.

Additionally, you want to make sure that you are performing a variety of movements that train all of the muscles surrounding your joints. This will ensure that you do not develop any muscular imbalances that can lead to unstable joint positions.

So, in short, no — if you train appropriately, it will not ruin your flexibility at all.

 

 

Best 4 Tips on Weight Training for Joint Health

With all this in mind, there a couple of things you can do to make sure that your weight training improves the health of your joints, rather than hinders it:

  1. Train using a full range of motion for every exercise
  2. If you enjoy heavy strength training, make sure that you also employ periods training with lighter loads and higher rep ranges
  3. Use a variety of exercises to ensure you do not develop any muscular imbalances
  4. Stretch any stiff muscles if you do have some limitations in flexibility before you start your weight training session

Simple and effective.

 

Take Home Message

When performed properly, weight training actually has the ability to improve your joint health — which is pretty incredible if you think about it.

But not that I said “when performed properly”…

So make sure you use the tips outlined in this article, and drop us a comment t if you have any questions!

About the Author

How Long Do I NEED to Work Out For? The Perfect Short Workout.

How Long Do I NEED to Work Out For? The Perfect Short Workout.

Have you ever wondered how long you need to work out for to get results? Well, the good news for you is that its not all that long. Enter the perfect short workout

Hi, my name is Hunter, and I am a recovering meathead.

For the longest time, I trained in the gym 5-6 times per week for a minimum of 60 minutes per session. I guzzled protein shakes, wore singlets, and made sure to consume 200 grams of protein per day, every single day.

And I was pretty cool

Or maybe I mean moronic?

Yeah, definitely moronic…

See, I honestly thought that to maximize the results of your training, you needed to exercise hard all the time. That your sessions had to be long and grueling. That if you didn’t leave the gym in a pool of sweat and muscle spasms, it was a wasted workout.

Read: moron.

Why am I telling you all of this.

Well, I guess the first thing is to demonstrate that people can change.

I mean, kind of, anyway.

You see, I no longer train quite so long in the gym (or so often, for that matter). I eat a little less protein, and heaps more veggies. My protein shake intake is markedly less.

Oh, and save my singlets for festival season only now.

But the main reason I am telling you this is to outline something that I have learnt over the last few years.

Your training sessions do not have to last an hour to be effective.

I honestly used to think that if I couldn’t get into the gym for at least an hour, then there was no point going at all. I believed that for a workout to elicit any sort of training effect, it needed to break you down so that you could be built back up again.

Which couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

How long do you need to work out for?

I have since come to realize that doing something is always better than doing nothing.

I now know that you can make some serious change in as little as 20 minutes (or even less) if you do it right.

When implemented effectively, a short workout can give you the opportunity to improve technique, stress your aerobic system, and even increase your strength.

The trick is to prioritizing what you do in that 20 minutes to meet your individual goals and your individual needs.

 

The Perfect Short workout.

With all this in mind, I have put together a couple of really quick workouts that will take you 20 minutes to complete. Each of these are tailored to a specific training goal, and are easily adaptable. This means that you can make them suit your individual capabilities and preferences.

Seriously, what more could you want?

 

The Perfect Short Workout for Strength

This one is great.

To start, you are going to choose three exercises from the table below (one lower body exercise, one upper body pressing exercise, and one upper body rowing exercise).

Lower Body ExercisesUpper Body PressingUpper Body Rowing
  • Trap bar deadlift
  • Front squat
  • Back squat
  • Barbell deadlift
  • Goblet Squat
  • Kettlebell deadlift
  • Bench press
  • Push up
  • Overhead press
  • Seated shoulder press
  • Incline press
  • Push press
  • Chin ups
  • Inverted row
  • TRX row
  • Seated cable row
  • Bent over row
  • Pull ups

You are then going to perform those exercises using a moderately heavy weight for five repetitions each, in circuit style fashion for a grand total of 20 minutes. Within this, make sure you take 20-30 seconds rest between each exercise.

For example, I might choose to do a barbell deadlift, weighted push ups, and pull ups.

My session would then look something like this.

  • Deadlift x 5 repetitions
  • 30 seconds rest
  • Weighed push up x 5 repetitions
  • 30 seconds rest
  • Pull Up x 5 repetitions
  • 30 seconds rest

I would then try and perform as many rounds as I possible could in 20 minutes.

Simple.

 

The Perfect Short Workout for Technique

If there is an exercise that you have been working on for a while (and really want to get better at), then this is for you.

Simply choose that specific exercise, and perform 10 repetitions using a light weight. The take 30-40 seconds to do some gentle core work.

Then repeat this entire process for a total of 20 minutes.

Say hypothetically I wanted to improve my front squat, my workout might look like this:

  • Front squat (light weight) x 10 repetitions
  • Very gentle fitball roll outs x 30 seconds

I would then repeat this for 20 minutes, trying to get in as many rounds as i could in that time.

 

The Perfect Short Workout for Aerobic Fitness

I have written about the merits of high intensity interval training (or HIIT for you cool kids) in the past, so I wont go into too much detail here.

What I do want to discuss is the fact that it allows you to get in a super effective aerobic workout in a very short amount of time.

In fact, a performing a simple 20 minute interval workout twice per week has been shown to cause comparable improvements in health and fitness to a couple of hours of low intensity cardio.

In short, it works.

Now, one of my favorite protocols is super simple and super effective — although I must admit, its can be a bit of challenge (in a good way, of course…).

Pick your favorite form of torture piece of equipment and simply go at around 80% of your max speed for a whole 60 seconds.  After that 60 seconds is up, go at a nice leisurely pace for another 60 seconds.

Repeat 10 times, for a grand total of 20 minutes.

As a bonus, you could do this on a rower, a bike, a treadmill, or even with some battle ropes

See? Simple.

 

 

The Perfect Short Workout for Mobility

Last but not least, we are going to go over a nice short workout that prioritizes mobility.

Like the strength circuit, you are simply going to choose three exercises from the table below (two lower body mobility exercises, and one upper body mobility exercise).

Lower Body Exercise 1Lower Body Exercise 2Upper Body Exercise
  • TRX squat
  • Deep goblet squat
  • Lateral TRX lunge
  • Cossack squat
  • Bulgarian split squat (deep)
  • Split squat with front foot elevated
  • Reverse Lunge with front foot elevated
  • Side lying thoracic rotation
  • Yoga push up
  • Single arm cable row with rotation

You are then going to perform these movements with a very light weight (or even using your body weight) for 12 repetitions each back to back in a circuit style fashion for a grand total of… you guessed it… 20 minutes!

For example, I might choose to do a Cossack squat, a Deep Bulgarian Split Squat, and some Side lying thoracic rotations.

Then my session would then look something like this.

  • Deep Cossack squat x 12 repetitions
  • Deep Bulgarian split squat x 12 repetitions per side
  • Side lying thoracic rotations x 12 repetitions per side

I would then try and perform as many rounds as I possible could in that 20 minute bout.

The important thing to remember here is that every single rep needs to be of a high quality. It should be slow and controlled, and each subsequent set you should be aiming to achieve more range of motion than you did for the set that came before it.

As a result, at the end of the circuit you should be blowing a bit, and feel nice and mobile.

This is the perfect workout to burn some energy and improve your movement capabilities.

 

Take Home Message

Your workout doesn’t have to last hours on end to be effective. In fact, you can see some serious results from your training in as little as 20 minutes.

So next time you are short on time, give one of these guys a go and let me know what you think.

About The Author

The Big Rocks of Diet: Eating For Health

The Big Rocks of Diet: Eating For Health

Eating for health doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, all it takes is a couple of very simple steps, and then sticking to them 90% of the time.

Over the last few weeks I have seen a large number of ‘Instagram exercise professionals’ (read: people who have a lot of followers and take a lot of selfies…) posting about some amazing new supplement. Coming with the statement that they will ‘detox your body’ and ‘stoke your metabolic fire’, they are almost always posted with a half naked picture and a great big ‘please buy this from me‘ smile.

You know what I am talking about.

Those ridiculous detox juice cleanses, fit teas, and fat burners.

Like seriously, what the hell makes a tea ‘fit’ anyway.

Anyhow, I am getting off track a little here. Seeing these posts has got me thinking about all that is wrong with the health industry. I mean, these so called ‘fitness gurus’ are literally preying on the self-conscious. They are using the fact that they look good naked to sell some trashy supplement that does absolutely nothing, just to make a quick buck.

It is more than a little unethical.

The fact of the matter is that, even despite these things being sold across the world, they do not do a single thing.

And as much as we would like to think that there is a quick fix to health and fitness, there simply isn’t. It all comes down to exercising often, and eating well 90% of the time.

Boring? Yep.

Difficult? Often a little bit, yes.

But complex? No.

Or at least, it doesn’t have to be.

With this in mind, I wanted to outline what I believe to be the big rocks of diet. The simple strategies that I use on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, to make sure my diet is pretty reasonable without a whole lot of effort.

Which is what I believe is most important when eating for health.

 

The Big Rocks of Diet: Eating For Health

Before I get into these tips , I wanted to add a bit of a disclaimer: I am not a dietitian. This is simple dietary advice that I have found works for me. It will not cure cancer. It will not stoke your metabolic fire, and it will not help you lose 10kgs in 3 weeks.

But it might get you healthier, which is pretty damn important (maybe even more important?).

 

1. Eat a Serve of Veggies With Every Meal

Well, it turns out grandma was right. Eat your veggies and grow up big and strong.

Its #science.

In all seriousness, vegetables are the bees knees. They are full to the brim with essential vitamins and minerals that help your body function effectively and keep you disease free. In short, they improve your health and keep your immune system strong.

As an added bonus, despite their extremely high vitamin and mineral content, vegetables contain very little energy. This means that you can eat a whole heap of them without running any real risk of weight gain, which (if you are a pig like me) is quite nice.

Who would of thought that eating for health starts with veggies…

 

2. Eat a Serve of Protein Every Meal

Another simple tip that can have a huge impact.

Over the last few decades, the western diet has evolved into something that is extremely carbohydrate dense (think breads, pastas, rice, and breakfast cereals).

With the increased consumption of these foods, we have less room for protein dense foods. Which is a shame, because protein essentially acts as the building blocks for our entire body. We use them to repair damaged tissue, recover from exercise, build enzymes, and to even produce new bone and connective tissue.

Protein is important.

Additionally, protein is also very satiating. This means that it makes you feel fuller, for longer.

As a result, if you eat a serve of protein at regular intervals throughout the day, you are going to be less likely to snack on junk food.

 

 

3. Try and Avoid ‘Over Consuming’ Processed Carbohydrates

I have already touched on the fact that we tend to eat a diet that is fairly dense in breads, pastas, rice, and breakfast cereals

While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with these foods, I should also note that they don’t really offer us a whole lot of nutritional value. To put it simply, they contain very few vitamins and minerals, and a whole lot of energy.

This means that they provide you with very little bang-for-your-buck.

To add to this, opposite to protein, carbohydrates are not particularly filling. With this in mind, they provide you with a heap of energy, but don’t make you feel any fuller – which is a recipe for overeating.

 

4. Drink More Water

Did you know that body is approximately 70% water?

Well, I read it on the bottom of a bottle cap, so it must be true.

In all seriousness, your body functions better when it is hydrated. You feel better, you have more energy, and you will be less susceptible to disease and illness.

Water is good for you.

However, most of us don’t drink anywhere near enough. We go through our daily lives in a perpetual state of dehydration, in some cases even mistaking our thirst signals for hunger signals and overeating as a result.

Fortunately, there is a very simply remedy for this – drink more water.

Genius…

Start your day with a 500ml glass of water before taking a single bite to eat. Then try and carry a 1 litre drink bottle with you throughout the day, and drink all of it before you get home. Finally, have another 500ml glass of water with dinner.

This is a very easy way to ensure you are getting in at least 2 litres of water per day (which you will thank me for later)

 

5. Don’t Let Your Diet Rule Your Life

The last thing I wanted to touch on is more of a mindset thing.

How many times have yo told yourself you are going to eat well, and then tried to stick to that plan with a near religious intent? You then went out to dinner, went off track, and completely beat yourself about it?

If you are anything like me, too many times.

In my mind, you should aim to stick to eating well around 90 percent of the time.

What about the other 10 percent?

Enjoy yourself.

Go out for dinner with your friends and family. Have some desert. Have a couple of glasses of wine. A pie at the footy? Go for it.

And most importantly, don’t feel guilty about it.

As important as eating well is, it shouldn’t impact your happiness. Sometimes its about finding balance, doing as well as you possible can for 90 percent of the time,and then getting back on track straight after you have a big night out with friends.

Simple.

 

Take Home Message

Eating for health doesn’t have to be complex. All it takes is implementing a few simple steps into your daily life, and sticking to them 90 percent of the time.

Easy!

About The Author

 

5 Things You Should Know About Yoga

5 Things You Should Know About Yoga

About Yoga

Yoga is an ancient and complex practice, rooted in Indian philosophy, that originated several thousand years ago. Yoga began as a spiritual practice, as a way of reaching enlightenment, but in Western culture it has become popular as a way of promoting physical and mental well-being.

Although classical yoga also includes other elements, yoga as practiced in the West typically emphasizes physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana). Popular yoga styles such as hatha, iyengar, bikram, and vinyasa yoga focus on these elements. Several traditional yoga styles encourage daily practice with periodic days of rest, whereas others encourage individuals to develop schedules that fit their needs.

What do we know about the effectiveness of yoga?

  • National survey results from 2012 show that many people who practice yoga believe that it improves their general well-being, and there is beginning to be evidence that it actually may help with certain aspects of wellness including stress management, positive aspects of mental health, promoting healthy eating and physical activity habits
  • Yoga may help relieve low-back pain and neck pain
  • There’s promising evidence that yoga may help people with some chronic diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life
  • Yoga may help people with diabetes control their blood sugar
  • Growing evidence indicates that yoga may help women manage both physical and psychological symptoms of menopause
  • Yoga may be helpful for anxiety or depressive symptoms associated with difficult life situations
  • Yoga may help people to manage sleep problems
  • Yoga may be helpful for people who are trying to quit smoking
  • Yoga-based interventions may help overweight/obese people lose weight

 

What do we know about the safety of yoga?

Yoga is generally considered a safe form of physical activity when performed properly, under the guidance of a qualified instructor. Serious injuries are rare, however, as with other types of physical activity, injuries can occur. (One of our honours students, Zoe Toland, is currently working with one of our EPs, to investigate the most common forms of yoga injuries as reported by physiotherapists, yoga teachers and yoga practitioners – we’ll keep you updated with the results!).

The most important thing to remember, as with any exercise, is to listen to the feedback your body gives you and modify and adjust what you’re doing accordingly. We want to push ourselves, and whilst feeling some level of discomfort is okay (think muscle burn and high level of challenge), but pain is our bodies way of saying ‘probably best to not do this’.

People with certain health conditions, older adults, and pregnant women may need to avoid or modify some yoga poses and practices. These individuals should discuss their specific needs with their health care professional/yoga instructor and may be better suited to more clinical yoga classes.

What happens in a yoga class?

Sometimes the biggest thing that stops us from trying something new is not knowing what to expect and fearing we’ll be the awkward newbie!  So let’s go through what you can expect from a yoga class (or at least ours!)

  • Yoga mats and all the props you will need (a block, a strap, a bolster, a towel) are provided, but you can always bring your own if you would prefer!
  • The teacher will introduce themselves and talk about what the focus of the class will be; this could be a range of things from a certain postural focus, or an attention focus, or it could be a focus on the pace of movement
  • Classes start with slow, controlled, warm-up type movements and typically move into some more challenging series of movements; you can expect challenges that target strength, balance, range of motion, focus, stability, control and your attitude toward the practice

What you won’t get…

  • Spiritual-talk. We’re not dissing the spiritual talk, but we prefer to focus on your physical and mental alignment in class
  • Chanting. We get it, it feels a bit weird.
  • Basically, anything that’s not evidence-based within the scientific literature, won’t be included in our classes (e.g., chakras, lifestyle choices)

How often should I practice yoga?

The recommended frequency and duration of yoga sessions varies depending on the condition being treated. In general, studies examining yoga have included weekly or twice weekly 60- to 90-minute classes. For some studies, classes are shorter, but there are more classes per week. So whilst the research evidence is inconclusive, we think that any form of exercise that is challenging strength through range of motion, and providing you with a form of mindfulness is a great addition to your weekly activities!

Our recommendation: as much or as little as suits your body’s needs and fits in with your weekly schedule.

 

iNform’s NEW Clinical Yoga Classes!

We are super excited to be launching clinical yoga classes at the end of May, at our new Malvern clinic! Classes will run on Thursday mornings and evenings, for a duration of 45 minutes and will be run by our Exercise Physiologist and Yoga Teacher: Jacinta Brinsley. Jacinta is also completing a PhD in the area of yoga and mental health/mental illness.

If you have any questions, want further information, or want to book in for a yoga class – fill out this form

 

About the Author