Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
STRETCH FOR HEALTH
By Samantha Horseman
Stretching has benefits for everyone - those who exercise and those who do not.
Although there has been a lot of controversy about how to stretch, experts agree that stretching needs to be part of everyone’s routine.
The human body is made up of different types of muscle. The two main groups are phasic and postural.
The phasic muscles are made up of fast-twitch, or Type 2, fibers such as quadriceps (the muscles in the front of the upper thigh) and rectus abdominis (abdominal muscles). These muscles are activated in short, explosive activities, such as sprinting to the bus, and are prone to getting weak.
The postural muscles are made up of slow-twitch, or Type-1 fibers such as gastrocnemius and soleus in the back of the lower leg, and pectoralis major and minor in the chest. These muscles are activated in long-sustained positions and movements. Over time, they are prone to getting tight and restricted.
The ability to stretch is influenced by age, gender, body type, temperature, psychological and physical stress, and muscle imbalances.
Stretching after exercise will ensure muscle relaxation, facilitate normal muscle resting length, improve circulation to structures and help remove waste products such as lactic acid.
Lifestyle will influence the health and function of the musculoskeletal system. Many studies indicate that a lot of low-back pain is due to muscle imbalances. For a well-balanced body, it is essential to add stretching as well as exercise to our daily routines.
How often you should stretch is not fully understood, but experts agree that daily stretching is best, or at least after a warm up before and after a sports activity. Frequent stretching reduces muscular imbalances sustained by daily activities or exercise.
Static, prolonged and sustained stretches, are the most effective. Do not bounce. That can cause microtrauma at the muscle-tendon junction.
Connective tissue elongation requires low-intensity and long-duration stretching. Evidence suggests that in order to involve the connective tissue, or tendons, and muscle, it is essential to hold stretches for at least 15-20 seconds.
Complete each stretch 10 times for each muscle, doing both the left and rights sides of the body. You should stretch only when your body is warm, which facilitates range of motion around joints. Never stretch first thing in the morning. If you exercise in the morning, always do a light warm up (5-10 minutes) to get your blood circulation up before you stretch.
(Originally published in the Arabian Sun, March 10, 2004.)
The Islamic Authority in Singapore is cracking down on restaurants and food firms with fake Halal certificates. Over the last 5 years, 33 companies have been fined for violations of Halal certification. (Reported on AFP News on March 5, 2004.)
Saudi Arabia has banned the import and sale of dietary supplements containing ephedra. The United States Food and Drug Administration has linked the stimulant to 155 deaths and has also banned it. (Reported in Arab News on March 12, 2004.)
After a long-term investigation, Finnish health authorities have determined that lettuce, contaminated with Yersinia pseudotuberculosis bacteria, caused the outbreak of infections that occured in 1998. The infection causes fever and abdominal pain that resembles the symptoms of acute appendicitis. It is suspected the lettuce was contaminated with deer feces containing the bacteria. (Reported on www.yahoo.com on March 1, 2004.)
The United States Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on companies that produce or distribute products containing androstenedione, also known as 'andro'. The substance is found in dietary supplements that are advertised for enhancing athletic performance. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said: "Young people should understand that there are no shortcuts to a stronger body and that the best way to get faster and stronger is through good diet, nutrition and exercise." The Secretary urged Congress to pass legislation classifying products containing andro as controlled substances. (Reported on the US Department of Health & Human Services website on March 11, 2004.)
Striking southern California grocery workers approved a new contract which brings their nearly 5 month strike to an end. The contract covers 70,000 workers. (Reported on the www.cbsnews.com on March 1, 2004.)
Dr. Heidrun B. Gross of the University of California - Davis has studied the effects of honey in the diet. She concludes that honey boosts the level of healthy antioxidants resulting in health benefits. The study showed that darker honey contains more antioxidants than light honey. She recommends adding some honey to the daily diet, perhaps substituting it for other sweeteners that do not increase the level of antioxidants in the body. Of course, Prophet, Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him, taught us the health benefits of honey over 1400 years ago. (Reported on www.yahoo.com on March 29, 2004.)