BY DR. LISA GOODMAN, DC, CCSP, CACCP
Hey there, Wash Park people! First things first, you guys are a great looking, fit and healthy bunch. Let’s be honest, we live in a very active and health conscious neighborhood. We eat well, we bike everywhere we have a dozen gyms to choose from. But most likely, the reason we embody these characteristics, is because we are consistent and we are educated consumers. So let’s break down a few trends in health and fitness to see if they are worth investigating.
K-Tape, KT Tape, RockTape, are just a few brands of kinesiology tape. Call it what you want, it is everywhere. It initially gained attention during the 2008 Beijing Olympics when USA volleyball player Kerry Walsh was seen wearing it. It has only become more popular. How does it work: while kinesiology tape proposes several benefits, the most well supported are reducing pain, reducing swelling and providing compression. Think – ACE wrap that is much more comfortable, can be worn 24/7 and can be worn in the shower. What Kinesiology Tape does not do well is immobilize or prevent injury. Fact or Fad? Fact. Kinesiology tape, if applied correctly does aid in rehab and recovery.
Again, gaining fame during the Olympic games, this time on Michael Phelps in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, curiosity around cupping is holding steady. How does it work: Cupping is an ancient Chinese healing practice often used in conjunction with acupuncture. Physiologically, cupping brings blood flow closer to the surface and the suction causes blood vessels to break. It is known to speed healing of sore muscles, release fascial restrictions and reduce inflammation. In addition, cupping is good for decreasing congestion in the chest and sinuses during a cold or in the case of asthma. Due to the skyrocketing popularity, many athletes have been doing cupping on themselves, teammates or having coaches do it. Cupping, like any physical medicine procedure, should only be done by a licensed health care provider. Fact or Fad? Fact. Cupping is a solid alternative to treat muscle pain, inflammation and congestion. Just be careful not to overdo in frequency (wait for ‘bruises’ to heal before applying again) and be sure to seek out a qualified, experienced professional for best results.
The ketogenic diet was first created in the early 1900’s to treat epilepsy in children; today the diet shows promise to treat not only epilepsy, but other neurological disorders such as MS, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, autism and even certain cancers. It has become a fad diet due to the rapid weight loss that occurs when starting the diet. The diet consists of consuming high amounts of healthy fats, a moderate amount of protein and a very low amount of carbohydrates. Why it works: The body’s preferred source of energy comes from glucose (carbohydrates), in the absence of glucose the body breaks down stored fat molecules and converts them to ketone bodies for energy. The drawbacks to the keto diet for weight loss include difficulty maintaining the diet long term and insufficient scientific evidence that it is a healthy diet long term. Fact or Fad? Fact. The ketogenic diet has numerous therapeutic benefits for those suffering from neurological disorders, works for rapid weight loss and short term nutrition goals. The healthiest long term option is to eat a well rounded diet of whole foods, avoiding processed foods and excess sugar.
While there is no single workout formula that will suit everyone, CrossFit’s founder, Greg Glassman would like you to view his brand that way. Infinitely scalable and inclusive, CrossFit’s formula of strength training as conditioning was designed for everyone. But it sure has gotten a bad rap. The idea isn’t unique – old school strength training like squats and deadlifts, combined with gymnastics including pull-ups and handstands, combined with cardio such as rowing, biking or running – but the combination is where the magic lies. Lifting heavy weights builds muscle necessary for strength and weight loss. Moving at high intensity improves cardiovascular endurance and fat loss. Including functional gymnastics rounds out the workouts which are generally speaking, fun. Founded in 2000, Glassman’s structure stresses that the workouts be observable, measurable and repeatable. So why the bad rap? The inherent competitive nature of CrossFit it what separates it from most other fitness brands. The idea that you are ‘keeping score’ against yourself or someone else could lead to pushing too hard or too heavy. Fact or Fad? Fact. CrossFit has stood the test of time and continues to grow in affiliates and athletes. If you can manage your inner competitor, CrossFit could be a good choice for a tough, quality workout.
When evaluating health and fitness trends, do your research! What you will typically find, is that many health and fitness trends are built on strong foundations and even solid research. In addition, many of these trends are a great fit for specific populations. But the big truth, at the end of the day, is that every health and fitness trend will NEVER be a perfect fit for everyone. What? Most nutritional plans will help you lose weight. Are they healthy? Sustainable? Do they make sense for your genetic makeup or fitness level? Most manual medicine treatments are beneficial, but is it possible to over or under-use them? It is possible to use too much or not enough intensity? Again, does the method make sense for your genetics and fitness regimen? Lastly, ALL of the fitness studies and gyms in Wash Park are capable of helping people become more fit while having fun. Try them out and see what fits your fitness goals and ability. What you want to look for in a fitness program, is that it provides a high enough intensity while offering scalability, reduces injury risk and makes you want to come back!