What’s The Buzz?

At Body Alive we are constantly learning more and expanding our practice, knowledge base, health, wellness and fitness horizons. What ever is going on in our world, we want to share with you! Whether its a new Body Alive class launching, a scientific study with compelling content, or a letter from our owner, “The Buzz” will keep you in the loop with all High Energy Fitness news!

Alignment Classes At Body Alive!

Very exciting news! Body Alive classes are bringing a whole lot more attention to alignment – the “how” of taking care of the body while doing any of our classes – be it yoga, barre, body challenge or cycle.

This extra emphasis on alignment helps protect against strain in muscles and joints, and enhances efficiency, coordination and ease.

What exactly is Alignment?

Alignment is the foundation skill for using the whole body in a safer and more efficient manner no matter what the activity being performed.

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Instead of moving with old habits that might include tension and collapse, alignment means the movements are done with deliberate care.

Most importantly, the restricting effects of poor postural habits are minimized.

There is a special focus on relaxing the neck, and lengthening the back.

Movements are then able to be “head lead” which is actually how our bodies are supposed to function. Our bodies can spend more time in a higher quality condition of ease and spaciousness, rather than tension and collapse.

Members will be able to attend classes that have a specific focus on Alignment like our “Beginner Hot Alignment” class, and also notice that more Alignment cues are being given in the other classes.

STAY TUNED!

Anatomy of the Wrist

Anatomy of the Wrist

Intro
The anatomy of the wrist joint is extremely complex, probably the most complex of all the joints in the body.  The wrist is actually a collection of many bones and joints.  These bones and joints let us use our hands in a lot of different ways.   Our wrists need to be extremely mobile to allow our hands a full range of motion, but at the same time, the wrist must provide a good amount of strength.
Important Structures
The important structures of the wrist can be divided into several categories:
  • Bones and Joints
  • Ligaments and Tendons
  • Muscles
  • Nerves
  • Blood Vessels
Bones and Joints
There are 15 bones that form connections from the end of the forearm to the hand.  The wrist itself contains eight small bones, called Carpal Bones.   These bones are grouped in two rows across the wrist:
  1. Proximal Row – Where the wrist creases when you bend it.  Beginning with the thumb side of the wrist, the proximal row of carpal bones is made of the scaphoid, lunate, and triquetrum.
  2. Distal Row- Meets the proximal row a little further towards the fingers.  The distal row is made up of the trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, hamate, and pisiform bones.
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The proximal row of carpal bones connects the two bones of the forearm, the radius and the ulna,  to the bones of the hand.  The bones of the hand are called the metacarpal bones.  These are the long bones that lie within the palm of the hand.  The metacarpals attach to the phalanges, which are the bones in the fingers and thumb.
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* One reason that the wrist is so complicated is because every small carpal bone forms a joint with a bone next to it.  This means that what we call the wrist joint is actually made of many small joints.
Cartilage
Articular Cartilage is the material that covers the ends of the bones of any joint.   Articular cartilage can be up to one quarter of an inch thick in the large, weight bearing joints.  It is thinner in joints such as the wrist that don’t support a lot of weight.
The function of the articular cartilage is to absorb shock and provide an extremely smooth surface to make motion easier.  We have articular cartilage essentially everywhere that two boney surfaces move agains one another.  In the wrist, articular cartilage covers the sides of all the carpals and the ends of the bones that connect from the forearm to the finger.
Ligaments and Tendons
Ligaments are soft tissue structures that connect bones to bones.  The ligaments around a joint usually combine to form a joint capsule.  A joint capsule is a watertight sac that surrounds a joint and contains lubricating fluid called synovial fluid.  In the wrist, the eight carpal bones are surrounded and supported by a joint capsule.
There are two important ligaments that support the sides of the wrist call the collateral ligaments.
  • Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) is on the ulnar side of the wrist.  It crosses the ulnar edge (the side away from the thumb) The UCL stabilizes and keeps the wrist from bending too far to the side (towards the thumb)
  • Radial Collateral Ligament (RCL) is on the thumb side of the wrist. The RCL prevents the wrist from bending too far to the side (away from the thumb)
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Movement of the wrist
There are four different movements of the wrist:
  • Abduction – Bending the thumb side of the hand toward the thumb side of the forearm
  • Adduction – Bending the pinky side of the hand toward the little finger side of the forearm
  • Flexion –  If your palm is facing down and you bend your wrist towards the floor
  • Extension – If your palm is facing down and you bend your wrist towards the sky
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The movement that will most likely cause pain in the wrist is extension.   Most people spend a lot of time every day with their wrist in mild extension (ex. hands at a keyboard).  The hand has its most powerful grip with the wrist in mild extension.  The wrist spends very little time in full flexion or full extension and like any join, will lost any part of it’s range of motion that isn’t used regularly. Most people gradually lose the ability to move easily and safely into full wrist extension.
Wrist Pain
A lot of wrist pain and discomfort is caused by soft tissue strain that occurs when the ligaments and tendons are forced into extension beyond their customary range.
If students complain of wrist pain a good recommendation would be to scale back on poses that bear weight onto the hands.   You can also vary the degree of extension of your wrists.  If placing the heels of your hands directly below your shoulders feels too intense, you can move your hands out a little in from of your shoulders, reducing the amount of extension.   As the wrists stretch out over time, begin to work them back beneath the shoulders.   As the wrists gain range of motion and endurance, more weight can be put on them.
Increasing wrist flexibility may help you avoid problems down the road.  Strengthen this key joint with these yoga poses!

A Guide to Hip Anatomy

A Guide to Hip Anatomy

 
The hip joint is one of the largest joints in the body and is a major weight-bearing joint.  It is one of the most important joints in the human body as it allows us to walk, run, and jump.   It bears our body’s weight and the force of the strong muscles of the hip and leg.  Still, the hip joint is also one of our most flexible joints and allows a greater range of motion than all our other joints in the body, except for the shoulder.
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Bones
The hip joint is made up of two bones: the pelvis and the femur (the thignbone).  It is ball and socket joint, the “ball” is the rounded end of the femur (also called the femoral head) and the “socket” is a concave depression in the lower side of the pelvis (also called the acetabulum).  The femoral head fits into the acetabulum to form the hip joint.
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Muscles and Tendons
The motion of the ball and socket is controlled by several very powerful muscles which attach to the bones.
  • Gluteus Maximus (Glutes) – the large, strong muscles that attach to the back of your hip bones and comprise the buttocks. It is regarded as one of the strongest muscles in the human body and is responsible for the movement of the hip and thigh.
  • Gluteus Medius – Works to provide rotation of the thigh outward, from the center of the body
  • Adductor muscles – Located the inside of your thigh.  This muscle group is used to stabilize left to right movements of the trunk.
  • Illiopsoas muscle (Psoas major & Illiacus)- A hip flexor muscle that attaches to the upper thigh bone.  It is the strongest of the hip flexor and it flexes, laterally rotates, and adducts the hip.
  • Piriformis – Located from the front part of the sacrum and connected at the back part of the hip joint. Laterally rotates the femur with hip extension and abducts the femur with hip flexion.
  • Pectineus – Located at the front of the upper and inner thigh. It is one of the muscles primarily responsible for hip flexion.  It also adducts the thigh.
Hip Mobility
Our joints, limbs, and muscles, all working together, is what moves our body.  Different people will have different levels of mobility in different areas of the body.  The most common deficiency resides in the hips.  People have forgotten (or don’t know) how to use their hips the way evolution designed them to be used.  For example, instead of sitting  back with their hips to pick something up, followed by a hip extension to bring it up, they’ll bend at the waist and lift with the lower back.   You can get away with poor hip mobility for awhile, but eventually, injury is waiting to happen.
Sitting.  We all sit too much.  Sitting impacts hip mobility in two major ways:
  • It weakens the glutes
  • It shortens the hip flexors
Both your glutes and your hip flexors are important in the activation of the hips so when they are weak or inactive, they lower back takes over.  The spine is there for support and stability and with poor hip mobility brought on by excessive sitting and a weak posterior, your hip extension is no longer sufficient  and comes in the lower back.
Our hips are obviously designed to generate a ton of power!  The ligaments, the tendons, the musculature, and the bones are all dense, hardy, and robust and they’re made for activity and mobility – but too many are selling their hips short.  When this happens, we tend to lean on our other joints and muscles (like knees and spine) to pick up the slack, often times causing injury.
Restoring hip mobility
  • Should reduce or eliminate lower back and or knee pain stemming from overcompensation.
  • Improve your power output by allowing you to full engage your posterior chain
  • Improve the strength and power of your hip extension
  • Will improve our rotational stretching (instead of rotating with the lumbar spine!)
Remember, everyone will have different levels of mobility in their hips, but this is a great place to start to get the alignment of the rest of the body correct and take the strain away from other parts of the body.

Power with Purpose: Savory Baked Apples for Fall!

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Are you ready for fall?!  Spice up your dinner with this healthy fall recipe from Cooking Light!

Ingredients:

2/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup uncooked brown rice
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup apple cider
4 large Rome apples, cored
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
1 (4-ounce) link sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3 tablespoons minced green onions
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Bring broth to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 50 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes.

3. Combine cranberries and cider in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add mixture to rice.

4. Using a small spoon, carefully scoop out centers of apples, leaving a 1/2-inch-thick shell, and chop apple flesh. Brush the inside of apples with 1 tablespoon butter. Place apples on a baking sheet, and bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until just tender.

5. Preheat broiler to high.

6. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, and sauté 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Remove from pan; drain. Wipe skillet, and melt remaining butter in pan. Add chopped apple, yellow onion, and next 3 ingredients (through pepper); sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sausage, onion mixture, walnuts, and next 3 ingredients (through sage) to rice; toss. Divide rice mixture evenly among apples; top with cheese. Broil for 5 minutes or until golden.

The basics of the Spine

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The four curves of the spice balance the two primary functions of our skeletal system: Stability and mobility. 

 
 The four curves: comprised of 24 vertebrae
  • Cervical Spine – topmost curve – comprised of 7 vertebrae in the neck
  • Thoracic Spine – 12 vertebrae to which the ribs attach
  • Lumbar Curve – 5 vertebrae – the largest vertebrae of the spine
  • Sacrum – bottom most curve – 5 fused vertebrae followed by 4 fused vertebrae in the coccyx.
  • The bottommost curve of the spine joins with the pelvis and serves as the back of the pelvic bowl.
Movement
There are generally thought to be four possible movements of the spine: flexion, extension, axial rotation (twisting), and lateral flexion (side bending)
  • Bending to tie your shoes – flexion
  • Reaching for something on a high shelf – extension
  • Grabbing a bag in the car seat behind you – axial rotation
  • Reaching your arm into a sleeve of a coat – lateral flexion
Click here to view 4 yoga postures from mindbodygreen.com to give your spine a complete stretch.

Nuun Tablets are here!

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Hydration is important whether you’re running a marathon or a marathon of errands. A consistent intake of water throughout the day is the easiest way to start living a healthier lifestyle. Drinking more water everyday can lead to increased energy levels, it can support healthy body function, and can help increase the absorption of nutrients.

We are a proud retailer of Nuun tablets! Packed with electrolytes, light flavor, no sugars or carbs, and portable, Nuun active hydration is the perfect sports drink! Just add one to your 16oz water and you’re good to go! Get yourself a pack today!

 

Teacher of the Month! Get to know Alyssa Hayes!

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Introducing our teacher of the month, Alyssa Hayes! We interviewed Alyssa which you can read below!

1.) Tell us about yourself: I am originally from Erie, Pennsylvania but after many years here I know call Cincinnati home. I am married to my favorite guy, Paul and I have 2 fabulous cuties that call me mom. I am a nurse practitioner, college professor and in my spare time I get to hang out at Body Alive and share my love of yoga and cycling with all of the amazing students that come to the studio!

2.) Tell us one thing we don’t know about you: I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen. I don’t follow recipes so when I make something yummy it’s often a one time deal because I can’t remember what I did!

3.) What is the number one most played song(s) on your iTunes currently? Most of my students have probably caught on to the fact that I love Walk the Moon but right now my favorite song is Aquaman

4.) When you were planning your future career, did you ever see yourself working in fitness? NO, I have never been considered graceful or coordinated. In fact I am kind of clumsy! Clumsiness is an endearing quality right?

5.) Give us three words someone else would use to describe you. Dedicated, loving and thoughtful.

6.) What is your favorite part about teaching class? In cycle, i love seeing my students push their limits and get out of their comfort zone. The energy when people are working hard in cycle is amazing!!!
In yoga, I love how each person has an individual practice and i enjoy seeing the growth in my students from class to class. I also love the power of breath and how it is used within a class, maybe it’s the nurse in me but when I hear people bringing their fierce ujjayi breath to class I feed off of that energy!!! Another favorite part for me in teaching both is finding music to play, I love using my music to tell a story or get you motivated to push through that last hill or set of jumps or help you relax and find peace during savasana.
About taking class? I LOVE to sweat so if I am sweaty in class then I am happy.

7.) If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive who would it be? Definitely my Gramps, he was one awesome guy!

8.) Your favorite Body Alive memory? I love all of my time at Body Alive but a great memory was when Leilani and Joe helped me get into a headstand for the first time. I was so afraid of inversions and they helped give me the confidence I needed to give it a try. It was such a great feeling of accomplishment and I remember going home and basically standing on my head whenever I had the chance!

9.) How has yoga changed your life? In my family we are always on the go. Yoga has given me the tools to know when to slow down and be present in the moment. Coming to mat gives me a chance to center myself and nurture my mind, body and spirit. Life can be so crazy and hectic so I am grateful for the chance to take my mat and just breathe smile emoticon

10.) What is your favorite yoga pose? I love anything twisty. Parivrtta Trikonasana (revolved triangle) or Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana (wide legged forward fold with a twist) Say that 5 times fast wink emoticon

11.) Best advice you’ve ever received. Go to bed tired. Live each day to the fullest, conquer it, breathe in each moment and soak up the day. I also love the saying “don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”…Remember to take time for yourself, you only get one life, don’t forget to live it!!!!