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2020

MIND-BODY MOVEMENT SUPPLEMENT

THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION UNDERSTANDING FASCIA AND KEEPING IT HEALTHY EXPAND YOUR TRAINING TOOLBOX THE NEUROSCIENCE OF MIND-BODY


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CONTENT

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

The Mind-Body Connection

Erin Eagan

FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

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IS YOUR CLIENT IN PAIN?

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UNDERSTANDING FASCIA AND KEEPING IT HEALTHY Help your clients harness this integral and ubiquitous tissue

By Kim Kraushar

How to help relieve tendinitis — or even prevent it

By Paula Wilbert

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THE NEUROSCIENCE OF MIND-BODY

While more research is needed, the evidence is convincing

By Ryan Glatt

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EXPAND YOUR TRAINING TOOLBOX

The what, why and how of integrating mindful movement into your repertoire

By Nora St. John, MS 4

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erin@rbpub.com

UNDERSTANDING THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION By Erin Eagan

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elcome to this special issue dedicated to The Mind-Body Connection. While an integrated mind-body approach to training isn’t a new concept, we have seen an increasing demand for it. The word is out on the benefits of yoga, meditation, cryotherapy and other modalities, and today’s consumers are seeking to find out for themselves. But that’s not what is really driving this movement. We now have a much better understanding of the mind’s power to enhance the body and vice versa — what affects one affects the other. There is science and research that demonstrates this correlation. Now’s the time to put it into practice to improve our clients’, and our own, overall well-being. Making a more concentrated effort to focus on recovery and mindfulness is part of a fundamental shift in our industry that’s here to stay. We hope you enjoy this special issue and it inspires you to join the movement — if you haven’t already!

Erin Eagan


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Paula Wilbert

www.getWAGs.com

IS YOUR CLIENT IN PAIN?

How to help relieve tendinitis — or even prevent it By Paula Wilbert

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ow are the New Year’s resolutions going? It’s easy to be overzealous in working out, especially when chasing a goal. If you find yourself or a client with an ache that won’t go away, the enthusiasm may have led to an injury. There may be a micro tear in a tendon or tendinitis, which is often caused from repetitive stress. Perhaps it developed over time by doing too many of the same movements or stretching excessively. So, watch out for a lot of burpees, sun salutations or overstretching in hot yoga. Tendinitis may also appear suddenly due to a high force on the muscle or rapid and jerky movement when doing kettle bells or lifting heavy weights. When your clients are building up strength and endurance remember that reduced muscle strength increases the stress on tendons and can lead to tendinitis. It’s important to deal with tendinitis as quickly as possible — the longer it persists the worse it may become and will take a longer time to heal. Plus, there is greater the chance of strains and other injuries due to overcompensation and reduced range of motion. Maybe an adaptation of the activity or exercise that was the culprit is all that’s needed. The most common places tendinitis occurs is at the base of the thumb where it connects to the wrist, the elbow, shoulder, hip, knee and Achilles tendon. The thumb and wrist aren’t areas thought of often. We use our hands and wrists in almost everything we do,

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especially when we exercise. It’s almost impossible to strengthen your core and arms without using your hands, which can strain the tendons. Sure, we can modify our exercise sequence to avoid bearing weight on our hands. We can skip the dips and push-ups, do planks on our elbows and use light weights for our arm strengthening. But the results just aren’t the same. Look for products that help ease tension, help relieve tendinitis or even prevent it, such as Wrist Assured Gloves (WAGs). A tool for the wrist and thumb, WAGs provide support and decrease wrist extension, thus avoiding the strain on the tendons. Weight bearing on the patented wedged gel pad reduces wrist extension 15 degrees and takes stress off the joint. Without the strain of full extension while weight bearing, planks, push-ups and pikes are done in comfort. Remember to catch tendinitis early on when the pain is mild. Tendons and ligaments have reduced blood supply which

makes healing slower. RICE is always good to recommend — a bag of frozen peas works well for smaller areas like the thumb and wrist. An ice massage directly on the painful area is also very effective. To keep the pain in check, modifications may be needed as well as joint supports. Help your clients stay injury-free and coming back to see you!

Paula OTR/L, is the founder and president of Joint Protection Products. After a wrist injury, she was unable to support weight on her hands. Using her background as an Occupational Therapist she invented a therapeutic gel pad to solve her problem and Wrist Assured Gloves came to be. She holds US, Canadian and EU patents on the gel pad inside the gloves. Prior to being an entrepreneur, she worked as an Occupational Therapist in various settings focusing on pediatrics, head injury rehab and ergonomics. She has a BS from the University of Kansas.


Ryan Glatt

www.brainhealthtrainer.com

THE NEUROSCIENCE OF MIND-BODY

While more research is needed, the evidence is convincing By Ryan Glatt

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n an era where neurological disorders and mental illness run rampant, effective and scalable non-pharmacological interventions are desperately needed. Luckily, science continues to demonstrate the efficacy of exercise-based interventions in improving cognitive, neurobiological and mental health outcomes in a variety of populations. Multiple modalities of exercise, such as aerobic training and resistance training, continue to demonstrate improvements in several measures associated with brain health. While aerobic exercise has received a majority of the spotlight over the past couple of decades, other forms of exercise have also moved to the forefront of the exercise-neuroscience literature. Mind-body exercise, referred to as “MBE� in research literature, is a sub-domain of exercise that often includes slower and lower-impact movements that can be initiated in sequences or choreographies of postures, stretches, movements and/or breathing patterns. MBE can include elements of rhythm, coordination, mindful awareness and focus. These integrated elements of MBE likely contribute its multifaceted benefits, while also positioning different types of MBE for potentially unique benefits on the brain. MBE can include yoga, TaiChi, QiGong, Pilates and other modalities that include such mind-body components.

The benefits of MBE can be understood at 3 levels. The "micro" level includes improvements in the neurotransmitters, neuronal, synaptic and vascular systems of the brain. The "macro" level refers to changes in neuronal networks, brain regions and functional brain networks. Changes at the behavioral level include changes in the cognitive and psychological systems. MBE positively affects the brain at all 3 of these levels of the brain, sometimes in specific ways. Areas of the brain responsible for emotional regulation, executive functions (higher level cognitive processes) and memory, are also positively affected by MBE. Research demonstrates that yoga can increase gray matter volume of temporal, prefrontal and limbic brain regions. In addition, various types of MBE including yoga and TaiChi, have been shown to improve executive functioning, attention, memory and language abilities. These benefits seem to be enhanced when combined with other modalities, such as aerobic exercise. MBE also has been shown to have positive effects on mental health. For instance, TaiChi has been hypothesized to modify the activity of connectivity of brain regions involved in mood regulation and depression, such as areas of the prefrontal cortex, the basal ganglia, the amygdala and regions in the parietal lobes. TaiChi is also thought to have

anti-inflammatory effects in the nervous system, while regulating the Autonomic Nervous System. MBE seems to have a positive effect on the Default Mode Network, which is affected in various mental illnesses such as depression and addiction. While more research is needed, the current evidence for MBE is both convincing and opportune. Comparative studies to further determine the unique benefits of different types of MBE are needed. Such findings would empower health and fitness professionals to program and recommend MBE for clients and local communities for specific outcomes. In the meantime, training, provision, and access to MBE should be a priority for the fitness, health and medical industries.

Ryan Glatt is a personal trainer and brain-health coach with over a decade of experience who currently practices brain-based strategies for cognitive enhancement at the Pacific Brain Health Center in Los Angeles. Ryan has undergone education from the Amen Clinics, the Neuroscience Academy, Academy for Brain Health & Performance and the Master's of Applied Neuroscience program at King's College. Ryan has created the Brain Health Trainer course, which is the first comprehensive course on the topic of brain health and exercise.

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UNDERSTANDING FASCIA AND KEEPING IT HEALTHY Help your clients harness this integral and ubiquitous tissue

By Kim Kraushar

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ver the last few years, there’s been a growing interest in fascia as more research has emerged about this amazing tissue’s importance to our everyday function and overall health. Made predominantly of collagen fibers and specialized cells that live in a gel-like fluid environment, this biological ‘fabric’ surrounds and invests muscles, nerves and organs, creates tendons, ligaments, aponeurosis and retinacula, and transmits forces efficiently throughout the body as long-chain myofascial continuities. It is found everywhere in the body, and is, in essence, what holds us together and, at the same time, separates us into definable parts. Despite our increasing knowledge of the fascial system, it is still difficult to define because it appears in many different forms in the body. It is also highly adaptable — and it changes in response to how we load and stimulate it. It can be a source of pain when it is immobilized and/or dehydrated, affecting movement efficiency and range of motion. Alternatively, it can be the driver behind free movement when it is fluid and flexible, helping in healing or regeneration. Research presented at the 5th International Fascia Research Congress in 2018, a global


and evaluate the body more effectively and customize programs that maximize results and potentially reduce injury. Q: How has knowing more about fascia improved your skills as an instructor and your work with clients?

or rehab patient. And it’s easy to remember the following key factors for healthy fascia because they apply to every type of training we do:  Change it up: Fascial tissue will adapt and get stronger as you load it. Make sure you add variety to your client’s programming,

Understanding how to train with consideration to the body’s fascial properties may prove to be the missing piece in a client’s progress.

collaboration of multidisciplinary scientists and health care professionals, revealed many new and interesting insights about fascia. They discussed how fascia relates to biomechanics and injury prevention, how it might be leveraged to assist those with chronic low back pain and other diseases and how it might be modified to assist seniors with mobility and stability issues. Their research is also validating the benefits of alternative treatment methods, such as acupuncture, self-myofascial release, yoga, Pilates and tai-chi, catapulting fascia into the fitness world and the mainstream lexicon. There are several important factors fitness professionals need to know about fascia, and how they can incorporate fascial movement into their programming to better serve their clients. Q: What should fitness professionals know about how fascia applies to exercise? A: Understanding the properties of fascia will help fitness professionals integrate fascial-focused training into any movement session. Healthy fascial tissue is well-hydrated, allowing for movement efficiency and optimal communication, ‘the glide and slide’ between neighboring tissues. A deeper understanding will allow instructors to see

A: Instructors should always seek to increase their education and knowledge because it will help them build confidence and diversify their client offering. I recommend reading the science on the Fascia Research Society website (www.fasciaresearchsociety.org) and enrolling in workshops and courses that are specific to their movement field and beyond. For me, having this extra layer of understanding of the fascial web has enhanced the way I observe clients in motion and can lead to more client-customized exercise choices. Understanding how to train with consideration to the body’s fascial properties may prove to be the missing piece in a client’s progress, whether it’s improving performance or rehabbing an injury. As part of Merrithew’s programming team, we use scientific information to inspire creative movement strategies that can be implemented into any exercise environment.

Q: What are some ways to keep fascia healthy? A: Because fascial tissue is diverse, training approaches are vast and varied — from playing with passive, slow myofascial release activities using a variety of props, such as soft balls or densely textured foam rollers, to more dynamic approaches like plyometric activities. Performing pendulum, or kettle bell-inspired motions, creates a traction effect that engages long myofascial chains and hydrates the fascial matrix. Swing patterns naturally inspire smooth, graceful, integrated movements that activate the entire body, and it’s through this high-quality movement that fascial training is achieved. Since fascia is found everywhere in the body, keeping it healthy is relevant to every client, whether they’re an athlete, older adult

so the tissue adapts to different movement patterns.  Move more: Healthy fascia thrives in a mobile body and remaining immobile for long periods causes fascial tissue to become dehydrated and less resilient. Encourage clients to move often throughout the day, even if it’s just by doing a bit of stretching after sitting for prolonged periods.  Address faulty posture habits: Faulty posture creates regions of chronic overload in the fascial tissues, which may also lead to dehydration, reduced resiliency and inefficient movement.  Don't forget recovery time: After intense bouts of activity, fascia tissues, like muscles, need recovery time. Make sure clients have 48-72 hours of lower intensity sessions and rest in between high intensity workouts. By better understanding fascia, you may be able to look at exercise through a whole different lens and program a more mindful movement experience for your clients.

Kim Kraushar is a Merrithew™ Master Instructor Trainer and owner of Merrithew Licensed Training Center, Interlude Spa, in Halifax, Canada. She’s an integral member of Merrithew’s programming and education team, with training in STOTT PILATES®, ZEN•GA®, CORE™, Halo® Training, Total Barre® and Merrithew Fascial Movement. She has a B.F.A./B. Ed. in Dance and a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. www.merrithew.com 2020 MIND-BODY MOVEMENT SUPPLEMENT | 9


EXPAND YOUR TRAINING TOOLBOX The what, why and how of integrating mindful movement into your repertoire | By Nora St. John, MS

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indful movement is a popular term in the fitness world but how does it apply to your business? While many trainers think only yoga and Pilates are mindful movement, the principles are applicable to all forms of fitness from indoor cycling to high-intensity interval training to working with clients with injuries. Let’s take a look at what it

lessly and knowing exactly where your body needs to be in the moment is one way of describing mindful movement. Learning to pay attention to both physical sensations and mental state can enhance the benefits of exercise and help clients maintain their exercise programs. BENEFITS OF MINDFUL MOVEMENT

ness when combined with dietary changes can help with intentional weight stabilization and loss. 3. Decreased likelihood of injuries — When a person is paying attention, they are less likely to over-train or push their body beyond its limits. 4. Increased adherence to a training program and long-term retention — Mind-body

is, why it’s useful and how you can incorporate it into your training toolbox. Mindful movement is simple in concept. It means paying attention to what you are doing at the moment you are doing it. Many athletes, both amateur and competitive, talk about “hitting the zone” or “getting in the flow.” That feeling of moving effort-

According to current research, documented benefits of mindfulness while exercising include: 1. Enhanced athletic performance — It can lead to decreased stress and increased ability to manage negative emotions during training and performance. 2. Heightened weight maintenance — Mindful-

movement involves the class or client in the process of self-discovery, keeping users motivated to return. 5. Decreased feelings of stress, depression and anxiety — Mindful practices combined with movement are effective at increasing parasympathetic tone and minimizing negative feeling states.

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WAYS TO ADD MINDFULNESS TO YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM Depending on the activity, mindfulness can take many different forms. When performing relatively slow, precise movements like yoga, Pilates or weightlifting, focusing on breath, form and physical sensation causes the client to fully experience the movement. By paying attention to each breath, clients are forced to tune in to the body several times a minute, keeping their minds focused on the movement. Cueing correct form and helping the client achieve it increases clients’ awareness of what the body is doing and how it is doing it. Focusing on physical sensation, such as where the weight is on the body or where they feel muscle activation is another way to tune in. If clients are doing a repetitive endurance sport such as running or cycling, zero in on what the body is doing for short bursts of time. Start with being fully present and focused for 10, 20 or 30 seconds, several times during the training period. Turn off the music, quiet the mind chatter and feel the body moving. Having

clients tune in to internal sensations provides information they can use in self-correction and following trainer’s cues. Encourage clients to pay attention to the following: a. Breath: Feel the breath moving in and out of the nose. Is the inhale or the exhale longer? Feel the movement of the ribs and the belly with the inhale and the exhale. b. Form: Notice the position of the pelvis and the alignment of the legs. Are they level and well-aligned or in need of correction? c. Physical sensation: How are the feet landing or the pedals moving? Listen to determine if the rhythm is the same on each side. If clients are in a fast-paced, competitive group environment like high-intensity interval training or CrossFit, add mindfulness by asking them to stay as present as possible during each exercise. Feel what the body is doing and pay attention to the amount of effort exerted. Focus on breath, form and sensation for the first 3 to 5 reps of an exercise and then increase the pace and focus on one or two el-

ements such as breath or one aspect of form. Connecting with your clients through mind, body and movement increases your ability to impact their performance and overall well-being. These results build respect, trust and longterm trainer-client relationships — and help attract new clients through word-of-mouth. For fitness professionals in today’s market, it’s a no-brainer to enhance your training and expand your business by going mindful!

Nora St. John, MS is Education Program Director at Balanced Body Education. Teaching Pilates since 1988, Nora creates teacher training courses in Pilates and Mind Body fitness modalities for Balanced Body. She holds degrees in Biology, Dance and Traditional Chinese Medicine and is the author of 15 teacher training manuals and several magazine articles. She is currently focused on creating educational experiences that are innovative, enlightening and effective.

By paying attention to each breath, clients are forced to tune in to the body several times a minute, keeping their minds focused on the movement.

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2020 Mind-Body Connection Supplement  

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