Over physical training

Over physical training is a poorly defined complex of the body’s psycho-physiological responses to:

1) an excessive training load;

2) too frequent competitions;

3) Inadequate recovery time following an intensive work load, or any combination of these. It may be aggravated by other "stressors" in the athlete’s life, such as financial or work pressures, social stresses, excessive travel, inadequate sleep and nutrition, or lack of recreational opportunities.

1.Short term over physical training
This may be difficult to distinguish from the normal sense of fatigue which accompanies an intensive training program. However, adequate recovery from and/or management of stressors will lead to an improved state of fitness and better performance. Inadequate recovery leads to a persistent sense of fatigue, often accompanied by muscle soreness, greater effort sense during training, and poorer performances during training and competition.

2.Long term over physical training
This syndrome may occur if the factors which precipitated the short term condition persist another important cause is misinterpretation by a coach or athlete of undesirable performance results being due to under training. In this situation, there may be a profound breakdown of various psychos-physiological systems which may not recover without many weeks or months of rest.

Over physical training can also disrupt the immune system, which makes the athlete more susceptible to infections. The endocrine system may show a stress response. Similarly, over training can profoundly affect the psychological status of the athlete. The widely used Profile of Mood States (POMS) shows a characteristic "inverse iceberg profile," with low levels of vigor, and high indices of fatigue, depression, and anger. This profile can be reversed with appropriate management of training, and time allowed for recovery.

B.Prevention of over physical training
The highly trained, strongly motivated elite athlete constantly treads a fine line between optimal levels of training, and over training. Close communication between insightful coaches and athletes who are "tuned in" to monitoring their own mental and physical responses to training is required to detect the "early warning signs" of over training and to react appropriately.


The Heart as a Site of Fatigue

In healthy individuals there is no direct evidence that exercise, even prolonged endurance exercise, is limited by fatigue of the heart muscle. Because the heart in effect gets first choice at cardiac output, the heart is well oxygenated and nourished, even at maximal heart rate. In addition, because the heart is "omnivorous" in its appetite for fuels, it can be sustained by either lactic acid (which rises in short - term work) or fatty acids (which rise in long-term work). In individuals free of heart disease, the ECG does not reveal signs of ischemia (inadequate blood flow) during exercise. If ischemic symptoms are observed - then this is, in fact, evidence of heart disease.

During prolonged work that leads to severe dehydration and major fluid and electrolyte shifts, or other situations in which exercise is performed after thermal dehydration or diarrhea, changes in plasma, Na+ , K+ , or Ca2+ . can affect excitation - contraction coupling of the heart. In these cases, cardiac arrhythmias are possible, and exercise is not advised.


Grouping of Cardiorespiratory Endurance Activities

Group 1 Activities that can be readily maintained at a constant intensity and inter inter-individual variation in energy expenditure is relatively low desirable for more precise control of exercise intensity, as in the early stages of a rehabilitation program. Examples of these activities are walking and cycling,especially treadmill and cycle ergometry.

Group 2 Activities where the rate of energy expenditure is highly related to skill, but for a given individual can provide a constant intensity. May also be useful in early stages of conditioning, but skill level must be considered. Examples include swimming and cross - country skiing.

Group 3 Activities where both skill and intensity of exercise are highly variable. Such activities can be very useful to provide group interaction and variety in exercise, but must be cautiously considered for high - risk, low - fit, and/or symptomatic individuals. Competitive factors must also be considered and minimized. Examples of these activities are racquet sports and basketball.

The risk of injury associated with high impact activities or high intensity weight training must also be weighed when selecting exercise modalities, especially for the novice exerciser or an obese individual. It may be desirable to engage in several different activities to reduce repetitive orthopedic stresses and involve a greater number of muscle groups. Because improvement in muscular endurance is largely specific to the muscles involved in exercise. It is important to consider unique vocational or recreational objectives of the exercise program when selecting activities. Finally, it is important to consider other barriers that might decrease the likelihood of compliance with, or adherence to, the exercise program (travel, cost, spousal or partner involvement, etc.).


The Relationship between Muscle Strength and Muscle Flexibility

It is often said that strength training has a negative effect on flexibility. For example, someone who develops large bulk through strength training is often referred to as "muscle - bound." The term muscle - bound has negative connotations in terms of the ability of that athlete to move. We tend to think of athletes who have highly developed muscles as having lost much of their ability to move freely through a full range of motion. Occasionally an athlete develops so much bulk that the physical size of the muscle prevents a normal range of motion. It is certainly true that strength training that is not properly done can impair movement; however, there is no reason to believe that weight training, if done properly through a full range of motion, will impair flexibility. Proper strength training probably improves dynamic flexibility and, if combined with a rigorous stretching program, can greatly enhance powerful and coordinated movements that are essential for success in many athletic activities. In all cases a heavy weight - training program should be accompanied by a strong flexibility program.


Practical Application of Muscle Stretching Techniques

Although all three Muscle stretching techniques have been demonstrated to effectively improve flexibility, there is still considerable debate as to which technique produces the greatest increases in range of movement. The ballistic technique is seldom recommended because of the potential for causing muscle soreness. However, it must be added that most sport activities are ballistic in nature (e.g., kicking, running), and those activities use the stretch reflex to enhance performance. In highly trained individuals, it is unlikely that ballistic stretching will result in muscle soreness. Static stretching is perhaps the most widely used technique. It is a simple technique and does not require a partner. A fully non-restricted range of motion can be attained through static stretching over time.

The PNF stretching techniques are capable of producing dramatic increases in range of motion during one stretching session. Studies comparing static and PNF stretching suggest that PNF stretching is capable of producing greater improvement in flexibility over an extended training period. The major disadvantage of PNF stretching is that a partner is required for stretching, although stretching with a partner may have some motivational advantages. An increasing number of athletic teams are adopting the PNF technique as the method of choice for improving flexibility.


Muscle Stretching Techniques - PNF Stretching Techniques (PNF, Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation)

The PNF techniques were first used by physical therapists for treating patients who had various types of neuromuscular paralysis. Only recently have PNF stretching exercises been used as a stretching technique for increasing flexibility.

There are a number of different PNF techniques currently being used for stretching, including slow - reversal - hold - relax, contract - relax, and hold - relax techniques. All involve some combination of alternating contraction and relaxation of both agonist and antagonist muscles (a 10 - second pushing phase followed by a 10 -second relaxing phase). Using a hamstring stretching technique as an example, the slow - reversal - hold – relax technique would be done as follows. With the athlete lying supine with the knee extended and the ankle flexed to 90 degrees, the athletic trainer passively flexes the hip joint to the point at which there is slight discomfort in the muscle. At this point the athlete begins pushing against the athletic trainer's resistance by contracting the hamstring muscle. After pushing for 10 seconds, the hamstring muscles are relaxed and the agonist quadriceps muscle is contracted while the athletic trainer applies passive pressure to further stretch the antagonist hamstrings. This should move the leg so that there is increased hip joint flexion. The relaxing phase lasts for 10 seconds, at which time the athlete pushes against the athletic trainer's resistance, beginning at this new joint angle. The push - relax sequence is repealed at least three times.

The contract - relax and hold - relax techniques are variations Ml the slow - reversal hold - relax method. In the contract - relax method, the hamstring are isotonically contracted so that the leg actually moves toward the floor during the push phase. The hold - relax method involves an isometric hamstring contraction against immovable resistance during the push phase. During the relax phase, both techniques involve relaxation of hamstrings and quadriceps while the hamstrings are passively stretched. This same basic PNF technique can be used to stretch any muscle in the body. The PNF stretching techniques are perhaps best performed with a partner, although they may also be done using a wall as resistance.


Muscle Stretching Techniques - Static Stretching

The static stretching technique is a widely used and effective technique of stretching. This technique involves passively stretching a given antagonist muscle by placing it in a maximal position of stretch and holding it there for an extended time. Recommendations for the optimal time for holding this stretched position vary, ranging from as short as 3 seconds to as long as 60 second. Data are inconclusive at present; however, it appears that 30 seconds may be a good lime. The static stretch of each muscle should be repeated three or four times.

Much research has been done comparing ballistic and static stretching techniques for the improvement of flexibility. It has been shown that both static and ballistic stretching are effective in increasing flexibility and that there is no significant difference between the two. However, with static stretching there is less danger of exceeding the extensibility limits of the involved joints because the stretch is more controlled. Ballistic stretching is apt to cause muscular soreness, whereas static stretching generally does not and is commonly used in injury rehabilitation of sore or strained muscles.

Static stretching is certainly a much safer stretching technique, especially for sedentary or untrained individuals. However, many physical activities involve dynamic movement. Thus stretching as a warm - up for these types of activity should begin with static stretching followed by ballistic stretching, which more closely resembles the dynamic activity.


Muscle Stretching Techniques – Ballistic Stretching

Ballistic stretching involves a bouncing movement in which repetitive contractions of the agonist muscle are used, to produce quick stretches of the antagonist muscle. The ballistic stretching technique, although apparently effective in improving range of motion, has been criticized because increased range of motion is achieved through a series of jerks or pulls on the resistant muscle tissue. If the forces generated by the jerks are greater than the tissues' extensibility, muscle injury may result.

Successive forceful contractions of the agonist that results in stretching of the antagonist may cause muscle soreness. For example, forcefully kicking a soccer ball 50 times may result in muscular soreness of the hamstrings (antagonist muscle) as a result of eccentric contraction of the hamstrings to control the dynamic movement of the quadriceps (agonist muscle). Ballistic stretching that is controlled usually does not cause muscle soreness. 


Muscle Stretching Techniques - Agonist Versos Antagonist Muscles

The maintenance of a full, non-restricted range of motion has long been recognized as critical to injury prevention and as an essential component of a conditioning program.

The goal of any effective flexibility program should be to improve the range of motion at a given articulation by altering the extensibility of the musculotendinous units that produce movement at that joint. It is well documented that exercises that stretch these musculotendinous units over a period of time increase the range of movement possible about a given joint.

Stretching techniques for improving flexibility have evolved over the years. The oldest technique for stretching is called ballistic stretching, which makes use of repetitive bouncing motions. A second technique, known as static stretching, involves stretching a muscle to the point of discomfort and then holding it at the point for an extended time, this technique has been used for many years. Recently another group of stretching techniques known collectively as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), involving alternating contractions and stretches, has been recommended.

Before discussing the three different stretching techniques it is essential to define the terms agonist and antagonist muscles. Most joints in the body are capable of more than one movement. The knee joint, for example, is capable of flexion and extension. Contraction of the quadriceps group of muscles on the front of the thigh causes knee extension, whereas contraction of the hamstring muscles on the back of the thigh produces knee flexion.

To achieve knee extension, the quadriceps group contracts while the hamstring muscles relax and stretch. The muscle that contracts to produce a movement, in this case the quadriceps, is referred to as the agonist muscle. The muscle being stretched in response to contraction of the agonist muscle is called the antagonist muscle. In knee extension, the antagonist muscle would be the hamstring group. Some degree of balance in strength between agonist and antagonist muscle groups is necessary for normal smooth coordinated movement and for reducing the likelihood of muscle strain caused by muscular imbalance.


Muscle Soreness and Dynamic Muscle Flexibility

Muscular overexertion may present as muscle soreness, muscle stiffness, and muscle spasm. According to the muscle spasm hypothesis of muscle soreness, ischemia to the muscles release pain substances from the muscle fibers and stimulate the pain receptors, resulting in reflex spastic contractions and a continued cycle of ischemia and pain, Stretching the muscles helps reduce the spasms and associated pain. According it) the tissue damage hypothesis, micro-tears occur and pain/soreness results from the nerve - endings being stimulated by muscle tissue swelling. Proper massage aid in reducing tissue edema, and decreasing accompanying muscle spasm. Ice applications or other forms of cryotherapy, and pool training, may facilitate the body's healing response. Appropriate rest will allow microscopic damage of the tissue to heal.

Active range of motion, also called dynamic flexibility, refers to the degree to which a joint can be moved by a muscle contraction, usually through the mid-range of movement. Dynamic flexibility is not necessarily a good indicator of the stiffness or looseness of a joint because it applies to the ability to move a joint efficiently, with little resistance to motion.

Passive range of motion, sometimes called static flexibility, refers to the degree to which a joint may be passively moved to the endpoints in the range of motion. No muscle contraction is involved to move a joint through a passive range.

When a muscle actively contracts, it produces a joint movement through a specific range of motion. However, if passive pressure is applied to an extremity, it is capable of moving farther in the range of motion. It is essential in sport activities that an extremity is capable of moving through a non-restricted range of motion. For example, a hurdler who cannot fully extend the knee joint in a normal stride is at considerable disadvantage because stride length and thus speed will be reduced significantly.

Passive range of motion is important for injury prevention. There are many situations in sport in which a muscle is forced to stretch beyond its normal active limits. If the muscle does not have enough elasticity to compensate for this additional stretch, it is likely that the musculotendinous unit will be injured.


ATP -The Immediate Energy Source

Various sports activities involve specific demands for energy. For example, sprinting and jumping are high - energy activities, requiring a relatively large production of energy for a short time. Long - distance running and swimming, on the other hand, are mostly low - energy activities per unit of time, requiring energy production for a prolonged time. Other physical activities demand a blend of both high - and low - energy output. These various energy demands can be met by the different processes in which energy can be supplied to the skeletal muscles.

Energy is produced from the breakdown of nutrient foodstuffs?' This energy is used to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the ultimate usable form of energy for muscular activity. Adenosine triphosphate is produced in the muscle tissue from blood glucose or glycogen. Glucose is derived from the breakdown of dietary carbohydrates. Glucose not needed immediately is stored as glycogen in the resting muscle and liver. Stored glycogen in the liver can later be converted back to glucose and transferred to the blood to meet the body’s energy needs. Fats and proteins can also be metabolized to generate ATP.

Once much of the muscle and liver glycogen is depleted, the body relies more heavily on fats stored in adipose tissue to meet its energy needs. The longer die duration of an activity, the greater the amount of fat that is used, especially during the later stages of endurance events. During rest and sub maximal exertion, both fat and carbohydrates are used as energy substrate in approximately a 60% to 40% ratio.

Regardless of the nutrient source that produces ATP, it is always available in the cell as an immediate energy source. When all available sources of ATP are depleted, more must be regenerated for muscular contraction to continue.


Fatigue during Muscular Exercise

Muscular fatigue is usually defined as the inability to maintain a given exercise intensity. As we will see, there is no one cause of fatigue. Fatigue is task - specific and its causes are multifocal and vary from occasion to occasion. Fatigue during muscular exercise is often due to impairment within the active muscles themselves, in which case the fatigue is peripheral to the CNS and is due to muscle fatigue. Muscular fatigue can also be due to more diffuse, or more central, factors. For example, for psychological reasons an athlete may be unable to bring his or her full muscle power to bear in performing an activity. Alternatively, environmental factors such as hot, humid conditions may precipitate a whole series of physiological responses that detract from performance. In such cases, the cause of the fatigue resides outside the muscles.

Not only does the cause of fatigue vary with the nature of the activity, but the training and physiological status of the individual, as well as environmental conditions, affect the progress of fatigue during exercise. Fatigue can be due specifically to depletion of key metabolites in muscle or to the accumulation of other metabolites, which can affect the intracellular environment and also spill out into the circulation and affect the general homeostasis. The failure of one enzyme system, cell, or muscle group is likely to affect numerous other cells, organs, and tissues. Therefore, the causes of fatigue are interactive.

The study of fatigue in exercise has occupied the attention of many of the best biological scientists. Identifying a cause of fatigue is not simple, as it is often difficult to separate causality from concurrent appearance.


Common Sense Treatment For Majority of Back Pain

It's encouraging to know, however, that the majority of back pain can and should be treated without ongoing care or surgery. A good rule of thumb when caring for your back at home is to start small, simple, traditional remedies are the best way to go. Most pain can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Intermittently applying ice and heat to the affected area is also effective for most people. Total bed rest is more harmful than good, however, because reclining for long periods of time can aggravate the discomfort by making muscles tighter. A better choice than bed rest is to avoid activities that increase your pain, but to maintain activities that do not. Keep moving, if possible, but use common sense when lifting and doing other activities that could worsen your condition.

Left untreated, back pain can increase greatly, so it's important to treat discomfort as early as possible. Failure to do so could eventually cause changes in posture and further muscle aggravation that could worsen the condition.

When a patient treats back pain with home remedies, in the majority of cases recovery takes less than four weeks. If pain persists past the four week point, you should see a doctor. But if your back pain is due to a fall or other trauma, see a physician immediately. It's also crucial to see a doctor when your pain could be due to a more serious illness. Though only one in 200 people has back pain solely as a symptom of something more dangerous, if you experience fever, bowel or bladder difficulties, unexplained weight loss, numbness tingling, or if you have a history of cancer or previous back injury, seek medical help immediately.


Back to the Basic Spinal Care

Brace yourself. If it hasn't affected you yet, the statistics say it probably will. Maybe it will strike after you've lifted a heavy bag of groceries. Maybe turning quickly in response to an unusual noise will trigger it. The sobering fact is, no matter how familiar or benign a movement has been in the past, your back may suddenly take it as an affront, and it will let you know about it.

Almost 85 percent of Americans will experience some type of back pain in their lives. Not surprisingly then, back pain is the second leading cause of doctor office visits in the United States. A 2006 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that $ 50 billion was spent that year on the diagnosis and treatment of spinal ailments in this country a-lone. This is a tremendous increase from the 1950s.

Most physicians feel sedentary lifestyles have caused this rise in back pain and injuries. In our increasingly automated, hurried age we exert ourselves less and stress ourselves more. As a result, we are more likely to have poorly conditioned muscles and carry extra weight, both of which are important factors in whether a person develops back pain. Poor posture, incorrect lifting techniques, soft mattresses, awkward sleep positions and muscular inflexibility are other factors that contribute to back problems.

Understanding some basic anatomy might help explain how back pain can come on so unexpectedly. The spine comprises 24 vertebrae, the sacrum (the triangular bone connected to the pelvis) and the coccyx (tailbone connected to the sacrum). Forty muscles, 31 pairs of nerves, and countless tendons and ligaments wave their way around and through these bones. Muscles such as the latissimus dorsi stabilize the spine as it lifts, twists, straightens or bends. Muscles in the buttocks and upper thighs provide additional stabilization and postural support. As a shock absorber for it all, gelatinous discs of cartilage sit between each vertebra and aid in keeping the spine flexible.

As with any complex instrument, things can go wrong when the back is not cared for properly or is unduly strained. Because the spine's components work together inextricably, even the slightest damage within any of its systems can make movement painful.

A regular exercise program is your best, most crucial defense against back pain and injury. It's also great for your physical, mental and spiritual health in general. Activities like walking, Swimming and biking are excellent because they can relax you and stress your back less than sitting and standing do. They may also help you lose any excess weight that could exacerbate your discomfort. Modified sit ups are excellent as well, because keeping the abdominal muscles in shape helps protect the lower back. For more information about activities, your doctor can provide you with a personalized list of exercises that can strengthen the abdominal, leg and back muscles, all of which are important to back health.

In addition to exercise, watch your posture and be careful when lifting. Do not bend at your waist, bend at your knees and use your legs to lift. Use a stepladder instead of reaching for high objects, and don't carry heavy objects by yourself. Your physician has literature explaining proper lifting techniques as well as stretches and sleep positions that may improve your flexibility and chances of avoiding back pain.

When exercise, good posture, proper lifting and the like are part of your daily life, our spine should respond well to your care. Back pain is treatable but, more important, it's often preventable. Your health is worth any lifestyle changes that might be necessary.

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