Strong Core is Key to Back Pain Problems

Back pain for many, not just athletes, is more than just discomfort. It can be debilitating and counterproductive. Athletes are the ones who come to mind when we talk of back pain but surprisingly, non-athletes who have desk jobs or who lead couch potato lives are just as vulnerable.

In a New York Times article, “Twist and Ouch”, Gretchen Reynolds writes:

To build a better back, most experts agree, you need a solid core. “The core” is one of those areas of the body that coaches and athletes refer to constantly but few people can accurately locate. “It’s not just the abdominal area, as many people think,” says Vijay Vad, a sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and a back-care adviser to the PGA Tour and the professional men’s tennis circuit. “To really include all of the elements that move and stabilize the spine, you have to go from your knees to your nipples. That’s the core.”

The muscles, ligaments and tendons that make up the elaborate core muscle system provide rigging for the spine. The rectus, transverse and oblique abdominals, for instance — the big muscles at the front and sides of the spine — are particularly important in stabilizing the back. So are the less familiar intertransversi, interspinalis and multifidus muscles, which link to the larger abdominal group but which rarely figure in magazine articles about washboard abs. Each of these muscles must be strong and supple if the spine is to remain stable.

In that article, Michael Higgins, the director of athletic-training education at Towson University in Maryland and the author of several prominent academic articles about back injuries in athletes was also quoted as stating how important endurance was. “Without endurance, what you often see is that near the end of a game, the muscles can’t quite control the movement of the spine adequately anymore.”

There are a few other things Higgins points out in this article:

* Sports involving power (football, boxing) and consistency (golf) can be the undoing of one’s back. Strength is not the answer.

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Pinoy Inmates Rock to “Thriller”

Last Friday, I was unwinding and watching TV Patrol when the newscasters featured a YouTube video posted just last July 17, 2007 by Byron Garcia, prison supervisor of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRV), Cebu, Philippines. Byron Garcia himself was interviewed by TV Patrol as he explained that he simply posted this video on YouTube to share his innovation with the rest of the penal community, not expecting the international hit that it would become.

You may ask — what’s so unusual about this YouTube video?

* It features about 1,000 neon orange-clad prisoners from CPDRC doing their morning exercise

* These inmates all dance, without missing a beat, to the song of Michael Jackson’s Thriller in amazing choreographed moves

* As of this posting, this video has had over 2.3 million views (talk of a video epidemic!)

The video got its share of positive and negative reactions from viewers and media around the world.

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You’re Fit…But Are You Healthy?

Are you necessarily healthy when you’re fit? Sadly, I found out the answer is NO.

Yoga has reshaped me and given me fairly toned arms, a slim build, flat tummy and 6-pack abs. A regular, active gym routine plus yoga keeps me fit. But reality came crashing down on me when, 2 weeks ago, I suddenly had an attack of excruciating pain on the left side of my back. Tests confirmed that a kidney stone I had 2 years ago had grown to a 1 cm. stone that blocked my urether and was too large to pass out.

That pain caused me to be confined for 2 days as tests were run. I was discharged with oral medications for two weeks. The other day, further tests showed that there was no improvement in my condition and by this weekend, I am supposed to check back into the hospital so that I could undergo laser or blasting of the stones (yes, there is more than one) under general anesthesia.

What is the point? Continue reading

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A Bloggers Yoga Class is A-Brewing!

An exciting fitness event is coming up this Tuesday, June 19 in the Ortigas area — an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment yoga class to be attended by 4 bloggers!

Just through email and chats, 3 wonderful, daring bloggers (2 of whom are PMN mommies) plan to join me at Vinyasa Yoga Center this coming Tuesday, June 19, for the 11:00 AM class — Cathy, Dine and Jayvee.

Our goal? An hour and a half of great yoga and a simple bonding-over-lunch afterwards at Greenhills Christian Fellowship (just a stone’s throw away from the yoga center).

What truly amazes me is this — I still have to personally meet Cathy and Jayvee. Ang lalakas ng loob ng mga ito to trust me, sight unseen! Hahahaha….

In case any of you are free and wish to join us, invitations are open. Drop me a line at my newly-born yoga blog, The Yogini From Manila. You may also email me at <>. Here are some more details:

* Venue is Vinyasa Yoga Center, 17/F, Strata 100 Bldg, Felix Ortigas Road (formerly Emerald Ave.), Ortigas Center. There are several open, pay parking areas in the vicinity. There is one right beside the building.

* Please be there before 11 AM. Classes start promptly and it is recommended that you do some warm-up exercises prior to actual class

* Attire: For tops — spandex top or loose tshirt. Bottoms: shorts or jogging pants. Bring a small towel to wipe off sweat.

* The Center has yoga mats for first-timers (bring your own if you have one). However to ensure there will be enough mats, anyone interested has to contact me prior to Tuesday.

* Preferably eat at least 2 hours before 11AM so your food has time to digest. Sufficient hydration (drinking water) prior to class is highly recommended but NO DRINKING OF WATER DURING THE CLASS PROPER.

* The center is still in the process of putting in a shower area so bring extra set of clothes.

* The trial session costs P400.


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Love Your Body!

If you ask me, there are many things I could change in my body if I had a magic wand. I wish I had an oval-shaped face rather than my present square face (my Dad’s genes) . My thighs could stand improvement. When I began losing pound after pound after my braces were attached, it showed on my face but not on my thighs, where I wish it went.

So reading the April 3, 2007 article written by Dero Pedero in the Philippine Star was a reminder to me to be grateful for the body given by the Lord. As in that poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann which was put to music and which has remained one of my favorites, ” If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”

Pedero’s column reminds us of this miraculously efficient machine that heals itself, wards off diseases, pumps blood continuously, digests food, etc. He enumerates several ways for us to continue loving our bodies. Below are excerpts from that article: Continue reading

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Enter the Yo Mommas…

The streetdancing class at the gym I go to has just become a regular one every Saturday. These last 3 Saturdays, several of us mommies either linger after an earlier yoga class or come in just for this one-hour class.

Today, we had a new classmate….a grandma! For a while there, I was a bit concerned about her since I was not too sure if she could keep up with the rest of us who were younger than her but to my great surprise, she SURVIVED with flying colors!

Bismarc, our teacher, starts us out with head, shoulders and feet warm-ups set to hiphop music. Then he teaches us step after step, usually about 8-10 different routines to make up a complete dance. Every week he teaches us new dance steps combined with old ones learned.

The steps are not as complicated as the heart-stopping, one-hand stands and head-twirling ones done by kids half our age but they are enough to get the heart pumping real fast! Great cardio workout!!!

The mommies in my class are pretty cool. No one gets lost and it seems everyone seems to be able to keep up for the most part with the beat and the routines. More than just reaping the cardio benefits, all of us get such a high from it (and have fun too!).

A good priest-friend at our boys’ school, Fr. Guy, has “baptized” this Saturday group of ours the “YO MOMMAS”. Hehehe. I like that name…..

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