If your guy is a fitness buff, giving him something that reflects his pastime is a great way to make sure he’ll actually use and appreciate the gift. Even if the man in your life is just starting on the road to better fitness, you can help him reach his goals. Gadgets, weight lifting equipment and even motivation are good birthday, Christmas or anniversary gifts that show you care about his health.
If he always has to go to the gym to lift weights, because there is not enough space in the house for a lot of dumbbells, Esquire Magazine recommends Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells, which have every standard weight on one bar. He selects the weight he wants by sliding the dial to it and automatically has the right dumbbell at his disposal–without separate units or a large rack. Ankle weights, wrist weights and doorway pull-up bars are also good choices for a guy who is short on space.
Scouring the latest fitness magazines and manufacturers for the best new gadgets is a good way to give him something he doesn’t already have. New gadgets for the fitness-inclined appear every day, including items like Bluetooth connected activity trackers, the latest in heart rate monitors, specialty stop watches, pedometers and watches with built-in GPS. Clothing made from the newest fabrics, such as microfiber or a moisture-wicking polyester, compression-style leggings and accessories such as weight gloves and belts are welcomed items for his daily workouts.
If your guy isn’t a fitness buff, but he’d like to lose a few pounds and get into shape, purchasing a gym membership can get him started. A gym membership may be just the motivation he needs to get moving toward his fitness goals. For something different, a specialty gym, such as Crossfit, boxing, MMA or even rock climbing, or a few sessions with a trainer can help him get going on his goals. Add a membership for the family, and you can join him in his fitness adventure.
A subscription to a fitness magazine gives him something motivational to read on the treadmill. Specialty magazines focused on bodybuilding, camping, diet and nutrition, men’s fitness, outdoor adventures or extreme sports may keep him focused while he’s at the gym and at home after his latest workouts. A magazine subscription is an economical gift that lasts for 12 months.
Add some gym swag to his fitness wardrobe, with items such wrist straps, knee wraps, a weight lifting belt, microfiber towels or a good, insulated water bottle. You can have them personalized with his initials or select items with his favorite sports team logos. For real bragging rights at the gym, buy him an iPod and customize it with songs he loves or that will motivate him, and pair it with personalized arm bands, skins or fitness headphones.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient for humans and other animal species. It is necessary for the formation of connective tissues. As an antioxidant, it helps your body to fight stress and promote good health. Your body doesn’t make vitamin C, so it is important to eat fruits and vegetables high in the vitamin and take supplements as needed. Severe deficiency of vitamin C results in a disease called scurvy.
Scurvy was a serious consideration of marine travel throughout history. It was common among sailors, pirates and others aboard ships at sea, as well as soldiers, all of whom were separated from perishable fruits, vegetables and other food sources of natural vitamin C. Dr. James Lind, pioneer of 18th-century naval hygiene, proved by clinical trial that scurvy could be treated with citrus fruits. Today, scurvy is rare, except among the malnourished.
Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, so anemia is a common symptom of scurvy. Your anemia will become more severe as the disease progresses, internal bleeding being a later symptom. Other symptoms include loss of appetite and weight loss, sore and bleeding gums, skin hemorrhages and bruising, especially on the legs, and a general paleness and weakness. Aching and swelling joints and muscular pain make mobility difficult and eventually impossible.
Treatment for scurvy consists of a diet including lots of vitamin C-rich foods. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, sweet and white potatoes, cabbage, green peppers, leafy greens, and many kinds of berries are sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C supplements may also be added to your daily routine to speed recovery, and iron supplements can be added to help with your anemia. Most of your symptoms will disappear after two weeks of treatment.
Milder individual symptoms may indicate deficiency of vitamin C. If your immunity is low and your cold won’t go away, or you find that wounds take longer to heal, it might mean your vitamin C intake is insufficient. Lack of the antioxidant can result in premature aging of the skin as well as weakened bones and decreased muscle strength. Thyroid-related problems are also an indicator that you are in need of vitamin C.
Sports tryouts are more strenuous than regular exercise or activity, as added adrenaline and the pressure for an excellent performance add extra stress, mentally and physically. Eating before your tryout will help ensure a steady supply of glucose circulating in your bloodstream, ensuring that you have enough energy to do your very best. Proper food choices, such as a carbohydrate-rich meal, will help optimize your available glycogen.
Consume a meal of between 65 and 125 grams of carbohydrates four to five hours before your event. The suggested calorie range is between 400 to 800 calories, composed primarily of complex carbohydrates and little to no fat or sugar. Also avoid consuming foods high in protein, although a small amount is good. Carbohydrates, unlike fat or protein, can only be stored for a short period of time, making them your body’s first go-to source for energy when engaging in strenuous exercise. Fats will also delay digestion, reducing the amount of energy you will have available for the tryout. Good suggestions for foods include brown rice, whole grains, legumes and vegetables.
Eat a calorie-rich meal or drink a calorie-rich replacement beverage containing more than 19 grams of carbohydrates two hours before the event. The drink should be between 250 to 350 calories and low in fat, with less than 25 percent of your daily recommended fat intake. The high quantity of carbohydrates is more important for available energy in the short term.
Drink a carbohydrate-rich beverage one hour before your tryout to help maintain glycogen stores during the tryout itself. Unlike the meal-replacement drink, a carbohydrate-rich drink choice will contain little to no fat or protein and be nonetheless high in calories. A good carbohydrate-rich drink will contain 19 grams or more of carbohydrates and be between 250 to 350 calories for every 8-ounce serving.
Drink a sports drink or another fluid-replacement drink a half hour before your tryout and during your tryout to replenish your body¡¯s water supply. Fluid-replacement drinks contain sodium to help your body hold onto water and to restore your electrolyte balance during strenuous exercise. Drink both before and during the event, especially if you are conducting more than 60 minutes of high-energy exercise. The ideal fluid-replacement drink will have between 30 and 50 milligrams of potassium, between 50 and 170 milligrams of sodium, and possibly 19 grams or more of carbohydrates per 8-ounce serving.
Soccer, or football as it is known outside North America, is arguably the most popular sport to both play, talk about and support, according to the Football Association website. For many, watching their national team play in the football World Cup brings out passion and euphoria as well as a sense of unity and national identity. Football fever has long gripped the nations of Europe and South America but, perhaps surprisingly, football first originated in China.
Cuju is the name for a Chinese soccer-like game believed to exist 3,000 years ago, according to History of Soccer website. The game could be played with any part of the body apart from the hands, and the target was a small hole rather than a net. Sports historians also speculate that the Greeks and Romans had a game resembling soccer. Forms of the game were outlawed in England as early as King Edward’s reign in 1307 because of its brutality.
The game of soccer, as it exists today, officially took shape with the formation of the English Football Association in 1863, according to the FIFA website. The Football Association was a group of 11 schools and clubs that met one evening in a London Tavern to define the rules for the game. Over the next half century, hundreds more teams and competitions emerged as Britain’s growing working class started playing the game.
FIFA, or the Federation Internationale de Football Association, is soccer’s world governing body. It formed in Paris in 1904, with the founding countries being France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. FIFA anticipated that soccer’s popularity would spread and sought to establish the code of rules set by the English FA as the international standard for playing the game. The English FA initially refused to join this French-dominated European football alliance.
The first official World Cup was staged in Uruguay in 1930. Only 12 teams participated, four from Europe, and the hosts beat Argentina to win the cup. The shape of the tournament and the number of teams involved has changed many times over the years. All 208 FIFA member countries took part in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA world cup in South Africa, with the 32 best teams arriving on the continent to decide the 19th winners of the tournament.
Muscles are susceptible to damage, just like other body tissues. Trauma, infections, certain medications or even strenuous exercise can cause varying degrees of muscle injury. Pain is a common indicator of muscle damage but is generally not useful for establishing the extent of injury. For this reason, a biomarker in the bloodstream called creatine kinase is often measured to diagnose and evaluate muscle damage.
Creatine kinase, or CK, is a type of enzyme found within your muscles. It aids in the production of phosphocreatine, a molecule utilized by your muscles for energy. Injury to the membrane surrounding muscle cells allows CK to leak into the bloodstream. CK exists as three forms: CK-MM, CK-MB and CK-BB. CK-MM is located primarily in the skeletal muscles, whereas CK-MB is localized to the heart and CK-BB is mostly found in the brain. For males over 18 years of age, normal blood CK levels typically range from 52 to 336 units per L, or U/L. Normal CK levels in females usually range from 38 to 176 U/L.
Injuries to the skeletal muscles often trigger high levels of CK-MM. These muscles are the type that most commonly comes to mind when we hear the word muscle. They are “voluntary” muscles that you are able to control — for example, your bicep and tricep. Damage to the skeletal muscles can occur for various reasons, including muscular dystrophy, trauma, strenuous exercise, immobility, certain drugs, muscle injections, seizures and surgery. Strenuous exercise frequently triggers a rise in CK that peaks 16 to 24 hours following a workout, then stays elevated for 72 hours before falling back to baseline. Those with muscle diseases typically experience chronically elevated CK-MM. People with Duchenne muscular dystrophy may have CK-MM levels 50 times greater than normal.
Some studies suggest that amino acids may ameliorate elevation of CK levels after exercise. According to a study published in December 2007 in the “International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism,” branched-chain amino acid, or BCAA, supplements may reduce CK levels after exercise as well as muscle damage and soreness. The study researchers found that consumption of a beverage containing 200 kilocalories of BCAA immediately before and 60 minutes into a workout reduced CK levels 4, 24 and 48 hours after completion of exercise. These findings may be of benefit to people suffering from delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise.
One of the most common causes of elevated CK is a lack of oxygen to the heart muscle, known medically as a myocardial infarction or heart attack. CK-MB levels typically peak 2 to 24 hours following a heart attack and gradually fall back to baseline after three to four days. Seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of a heart attack, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, jaw pain that radiates to your left arm or excessive perspiration. Since many of the causes of skeletal muscle damage can also be quite serious, contact your doctor if you experience severe or prolonged muscle pain or weakness.
A golf strap is a necessity for using a carry golf bag around a course. Although many bags are sold with the straps attached, they can break and wear out over time, and you may decide you want to use a different type of strap. Although attaching a strap is easy, it must be properly adjusted to avoid back strain.
Remove the strap from the packaging and unfurl the strap onto a flat surface. Straps have one thick padded end with a clip and another narrower, unpadded end with its own separate clip.
Clip the padded end of the strap to the ring at the top of your golf bag. This part of the strap hangs over over your shoulder and bears the brunt of the bag’s weight.
Clip the narrow, unpadded end of the strap to the ring near the bottom of the bag. The second ring is sometimes located on the front of the bag and sometimes on the side, but it will attach to either location in the same way.
Slip the bag on with the padded end of the strap over your shoulder to determine if it’s adjusted properly. The center back pad of the golf bag should align with the lower lumbar region of your back to prevent back strain. Adjust the length of the strap as needed. Some models even allow you to adjust the strap length while walking.
P90X is a popular at-home fitness program. To execute its workouts properly you will need some basic P90X equipment. Basic equipment includes dumbbells or resistance bands, a chin-up bar and a yoga mat. Beachbody–the company that markets P90X–recommends additional equipment and supplements. While you could complete the P90X routines without this equipment, using it may improve your performance.
Yoga mat: Regardless of whether you have carpeted or hardwood floors, you may want to buy a yoga mat. The mat will help absorb shock and protect your joints during the high-impact P90X workouts. While some of the routines require a mat, you may want to use one even on routines that don¡¯t. Dumbbells or resistance bands: Most P90X routines require some form of weight resistance. Beachbody recommends dumbbells ranging from five to 70 lbs. The amount of weight you will need will vary depending on your fitness level and a particular routine. If you don¡¯t have access to weights, you can modify the routines with resistance bands. Chin-up bar: To complete the pull-ups and back exercises, you will need a chin-up bar. Most bars fit inside a doorway in your home. Many of these models can also double as push-up stands for the chest workouts.
Push-up stands: Beachbody recommends using these grips to help increase the intensity and effectiveness of the chest exercises. If you prefer, you can use your chin-up bar or a pair of dumbbells. Yoga blocks: If you¡¯re not very flexible and can¡¯t use your fingers or hands to support your body during the yoga sequences, you may want to invest in yoga blocks to provide extra support and stability.
Heart-rate monitor: Tony Horton, P90X¡¯s instructor, often references his heart rate during the intense cardiovascular portions of the series. If you want to exercise at your target heart rate, use a monitor to track it. Body-fat tester: This tracking tool can help you monitor the way your body changes as you progress through the P90X regimen.
Recovery drink: After cardiovascular and muscle conditioning routines, you will want to refuel and replenish your body with a mix of carbohydrates, protein and other essential nutrients. Beachbody markets a recovery drink, but you can purchase other products or make your own. Whey protein: Weight trainers often turn to this milk-derived protein to build muscle; Beachbody recommends adding this supplement to make sure you’re getting enough protein. Creatine: Athletes have long used creatine to increase energy production and muscle strength. Check with your health care provider before adding any workout supplement–including creatine–to your diet.
Beachbody sells a branded line of products through its website. Major discount department stores sell basic weight sets, resistance bands and mats. Sporting goods stores usually offer more specialized and varied equipment. P90X products, such as pull-up bars, have become major sellers at online retailers partly because of the program¡¯s large following.
You already know that it doesn’t matter what you wear to play a pickup game of soccer and that some form of the game can be played just about anywhere. Playing on an official team is a different matter. Rules governing clothing vary depending on the type of soccer league and where it’s located. For serious teams, the regulations of FIFA, which governs World Cup play, are generally followed. The team or league you play for often provides uniforms for players.
Most soccer teams outfit players with a T-shirt or jersey in the team colors. A number to identify players is marked on the back of the jersey. Jerseys are generally short-sleeved, although long-sleeved shirts are not uncommon and perfectly acceptable. If the weather is cold you can wear a long-sleeved shirt under your short-sleeved uniform top, but FIFA regulations state that the sleeves must be the same color as the top shirt. A goalkeeper’s shirt must be a different color than those of the rest of the team.
Field players always wear shorts made of lightweight material with an elastic waist. FIFA regulations allow for an extra pair of shorts under the main shorts as long as they are the same color. One-piece suits are not allowed in soccer. A player’s number is often printed on the shorts, but not always. Goalies can wear long pants, often with padded hips.
Socks and shin guards are required protective equipment for FIFA play. USA Youth Soccer, which oversees the majority of soccer leagues for kids, also requires that shin guards be worn for all practices in addition to games. FIFA prohibits items that can cause injury to other players but notes that headgear, face masks and other items made of soft and padded material are acceptable. Referees inspect players before a game and may disapprove the use of protective gear. Goalies are allowed to wear gloves.
Soccer shoes come in a few different styles, depending on the type of playing surface for the game. You will typically wear cleats to play games and practice on natural, outdoor surfaces. Cleats are molded into the bottom of soccer shoes, or are detachable, and help provide traction on slippery or unstable surfaces. For playing on indoor surfaces or artificial turf outdoors, shoes have grooves and patterns on the bottom, rather than cleats. Metal cleats are not prohibited for FIFA play, but youth and high school leagues set their own rules regarding cleat types. Referees will check the bottoms of shoes to ensure cleats are well-maintained and not sharp enough to injure other players.
Your glutes are the largest and strongest muscles in your body. They consist of three different muscles: gluteus minimus, medius and maximus. The three muscles work together to abduct, rotate and extend the hip. Strengthening your glutes can help improve posture and make sitting down, standing, picking up heavy objects and climbing stairs easier. Developing strong glutes can also improve athletic performance and decrease your risk for injuries.
Strong glutes are essential in almost every sport. They are responsible for accelerating, decelerating, changing directions and creating explosive power in jumps. Sprinting is one of the most effective exercises for simulating the glutes and activates 234 percent more of the gluteus maximus muscle than a vertical jump, reports Bret Contreras, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Athletes with strong glutes will be faster, more efficient and explosive in their movements than athletes with weaker glutes.
Developing strong glutes is not only essential for optimal performance, but also can decrease your risk for injury in the knees, lower back, hamstrings and groin. Weak glutes can cause an imbalance in the hip, which may lead to excessive medial rotation of the femur and lateral tracking of the patella, thus potentially causing knee pain, notes Mark Young, exercise and nutrition consultant. Strengthening your glutes decreases your risk for back injuries in exercises such as the deadlift and squat by taking some of the pressure off your lower back. Furthermore, weak glutes may also contribute to pulled muscles in your hamstring or groin.
Train your glutes at least once a week using mostly compound, multi-joint exercises, such as full squats, deadlifts, lunges and stepups. These exercises mimic real-life functional movements, which can help improve daily life. Additionally, include aerobic exercise in your weekly routine. Perform at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. Hill walking or elevating the incline on your treadmill or elliptical machine will help strengthen the glutes while burning fat. Intermediate or advanced trainees can replace one to three moderate-intensity aerobic sessions with high-intensity sprinting sessions to help build and strengthen the glutes.
Begin with a five to 10-minute aerobic warmup on the treadmill, bike or elliptical machine. Complete one or two warmup sets of full barbell squats using a light to moderate weight. Increase the weight on the barbell to 65 to 75 percent of your one rep maximum, and complete three sets of eight to 12 reps of full barbell squats in which your hips drop down below parallel to activate the glutes. Next, perform three sets of eight to 12 reps of straight leg deadlifts, hack squats, bench step-ups and walking lunges, taking long strides to place more emphasis on the glutes.
Compared to high impact sports like football, baseball seems relatively safe and injury free. Yet many players don’t realize the strain that throwing puts on the body. Whipping your arm around to sling a baseball at high speeds puts significant wear on your joints, muscles and tendons, particularly at the elbow.
Baseball players who experience pain while throwing a baseball are most commonly inflicted with a form of tendonitis. Elbow tendonitis is an inflammation of the area around the elbow. The elbow is made up of a series of muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. When these areas become overworked or injured they swell, causing pain in the elbow and surrounding areas when throwing a baseball. Specifically, the problem occurs where the tendons connect muscle to bone.
The most usual cause of elbow pain when throwing a baseball is simple overuse which wears down the elbow’s anatomy. When throwing a baseball, the tendons on the outside of the arm are stretched to maximum capacity. Conversely, the tendons on the inside of the arm are greatly compressed. The problem is exacerbated in players who do not warm up and subsequently stretch tendons that are cold and stiff. In players that throw often, especially pitchers, the frequent high speed motion can cause weakness in these tendons, eventually causing small fractures and inflammation. Elbow tendonitis is especially common in young players who have not adopted proper prevention strategies.
The symptoms of elbow tendonitis are pain and stiffness when moving the elbow. In baseball, symptoms will present mostly with throwing motions. Players may also notice swelling around the elbow. The pain is centered around the elbow, but can spread from the upper arm all the way down to the wrist. Standard treatment for elbow tendonitis is rest, up to eight weeks depending on the case. In addition to rest, players should regularly ice the elbow to help decrease swelling and inflammation. Pain killers may be prescribed in extreme cases.
The best way to avoid developing elbow tendonitis is by warming up and stretching properly before throwing at maximum capacity. Always begin your practices or games by engaging in light throwing sessions until your arm is warmed up. Pitchers especially should take plenty of time to warm up before throwing full speed. After your elbow is warmed up, stretch your entire arm; from the wrist all the way up to the shoulder. In between innings, players should wear a sweatshirt or jacket to keep the tendons warm.