Reflexology is the ancient art of foot massage which originated in China and which was also known to the Ancient Egyptians. It is believed that energy runs through the body in channels known as meridians and that massage of the feet stimulates these energy channels, promoting healing and relaxation. Every part of the foot corresponds to an area of the body, and massage of the feet stimulates the corresponding part of the body so that receiving a reflexology massage is regarded as the equivalent of a full body massage.
The most obvious effect of reflexology massage is that of stress reduction. The techniques of reflexology include finger or thumb walking–where the reflexologist walks the finger or thumb over different areas of the feet in a set sequence–and massage and kneading of the foot using the whole hand. The experience is generally firm, but gentle, and should never cause discomfort or pain. According to ¡°The Complete Illustrated Guide to Reflexology,¡± people of any age or sex–the elderly, women, men, teenagers, children and babies–can derive positive benefits from reflexology.¡± Although results vary from individual to individual, the soothing action of reflexology generally leaves the recipient feeling deeply relaxed and peaceful afterwards.
Reflexologists believe that that illness is caused by blockages in the meridians or energy channels. These blockages inhibit the flow of life enhancing energy, also known as ¡®chi,¡¯ causing the accumulation of negative energy, resulting in pain or disease. There are over 7,000 nerve endings in the feet, and these are connected to the whole body through the central nervous system, to the whole body. Massage of the feet, and therefore these nerve endings, stimulates the body, promoting self-healing. Says Ali Headeach, reflexologist from Margate, United Kingdomg, ¡°The massage is designed to restore the delicate balance between the different body systems and functions, and when this happens harmony is restored. As a consequence of this, and because reflexology is so relaxing, it is also very effective in pain relief, as tension is taken out of the body and stress reduced, so pain is also reduced.¡±
Reflexology increases the flow of energy, increases the circulation and stimulates the digestive system. It is so effective at this that most people feel a need to pee after a session, and are nearly always thirsty, as toxins are eliminated from the body. It is also recommended that you do not drink alcohol in the 24 hours before or after a session, as the effects of the alcohol can be multiplied. It is also inadvisable to have reflexology if you have a pacemaker fitted, or if you have diabetes.
Your mouthguard is an important piece of safety equipment in many sports. Football, boxing and many martial arts require it, while it remains optional but recommended in many others. A mouthguard cushions the impact of a blow to the chin. This protects your teeth from breaking under the impact, and helps reduce the amount of kinetic energy that transfers upward into your brain. Sizing a mouthguard is not intuitive, but it is easy once you know how. These instructions are for basic mouthguards. For more expensive and complex models, consult with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Put the mouthguard in your mouth. Close your mouth normally and focus on the back of your mouth, near your molars. If you feel the mouthguard is pressing against your jaw hinge, or triggering your gag reflex, remove and trim the guard at the two open ends. Most brands of mouthguards have lines marking the ends for best results when trimming.
Repeat step one until the mouthguard is comfortable in terms of how it fills your mouth.
Pour one cup of water into the glass bowl, then heat for two minutes on high in a microwave.
Drop the mouthguard in the hot water for a count of 10. Fish it out using your spoon, or chopsticks.
Shake the mouthguard once to remove any excess hot water, then place it in your mouth. Bite down firmly for a slow count of 20.
Remove the mouthguard and drop it in the ice water for two minutes. This will set the newly fitted mouthguard permanently to match your mouth and teeth.
Pull the mouthguard out of the ice water. Dry it off and put it away.
Lacrosse and football cleats serve the same basic purpose: to give the players extra traction on different types of surfaces, from natural grass to artificial turf. This helps with player mobility while helping protect them from injury. Although similar in many ways, a few differences exist between the cleats for lacrosse and football.
Football and lacrosse cleats must deal with wet, treacherous ground as well as dry turf, so each need a variety of stud options. Cleats for both sports offer molded studs, where they’re built into the soles, as well as detachable studs, which allow the players to change them out. Both sports use cleats with leather or synthetic uppers. They also focus the location of most of the cleats along the outer edges of the shoe for maximum traction during lateral movements.
Shoes for the two sports differ in how well they enable air to flow around the feet. Lacrosse shoes are designed for breathability while football cleats must provide protection from the cleats of other players in close-quarters contact. Many lacrosse cleats have mesh vents in the uppers for extra airflow. Leather uppers provide more breathability than synthetic uppers, even without vents, which don’t appear on many football cleats.
Although the number of studs may differ by cleat style and the player’s preference, in general, lacrosse cleats have more studs than football cleats. A basic cleat layout for a lacrosse shoe is four studs around the heel and six to eight studs in the toe and ball of the foot areas. Football cleats typically have two studs at the back of the heel and five under the toe and ball of the foot.
Both sports offer cleats in different heights, but the differences are more dramatic in football cleats. Lacrosse uses mid-cuts for support and low-cuts for flexibility. Football cleat styles tend to vary by position. Linemen need great ankle support, so they often choose high-tops. Mid-cuts support the ankles, but they’re flexible too, which makes them ideal for quarterbacks. Players who seek maximum speed and agility might go for low-cut cleats, which tend to be lighter.
While spectacular shooting and deft passing may lead the highlight shows most nights, coaches implore their players to hustle and play hard from start to finish in every basketball game. This manifests itself in hustle plays when a rebound or a loose ball could go to either team. These close plays are 50-50 balls in basketball and the top teams find a way to win most of these battles.
Every time a missed shot is taken in basketball, the resulting rebound is seemingly a 50-50 ball. Neither team can control the way a ball bounces off the rim or backboard, so your team often has an equal chance to gain possession. If you position yourself correctly you improve your odds of grabbing a rebound. If you win the rebounding battle you often have the best chance of winning a majority of your games. If you gain a significant number of offensive rebounds, in particular, you’ll take charge of most games.
Sometimes it takes extraordinary effort to win a 50-50 ball. For example, you may anticipate the way a player you’re guarding will dribble, allowing you to knock the ball away. If your opponent holds his ground he’ll likely recover the ball. But if you dive after the loose ball, you have a better chance of recovering it and creating a turnover. This win on a 50-50 ball will give your team a chance to score on the offensive end.
Prepare yourself to battle for 50-50 balls by running drills in practice. Divide your team into two groups with equal numbers of forwards, centers and guards. Give the biggest player on each team the number 1, the second-biggest the number 2, and so on. Have each player kneel on the sideline with their backs to the court. Have a coach or another player place a ball on the court, equidistant between the two groups, then have him call out a number from 1 through 5. The appropriately-numbered players run onto the court and battle for the ball. The winning player then drives to the hoop while the other player defends. Continue the drill until every player has had several turns.
Teams that win a significant number of 50-50 balls in a short time gain momentum. If you set an example by hustling after a loose ball, your teammates often will try to do the same. And it can serve as a negative factor for opponents. If they are losing the battle for 50-50 balls, it can drain momentum and energy and lead to fatigue. When your team surges and your opponent gets tired, momentum changes and your team can take charge, increasing your chances for victory.
Wearing the wrong shoes, especially for running, can cause foot injuries such as plantar fasciitis, which is common in those just starting to work out. Ballerinas who go on pointe must stretch their feet to increase flexion in their arches. Foot stretches with an exercise band strengthen your ankles, while stretches on a stair step loosen your heels, plantar fascia and calves.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your feet together. Wrap a wide exercise band around the balls of your feet and hold onto each end with one hand.
Pull the ends of the band toward you until your feet flex. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
Point your toes, pulling against the band. Maintain enough resistance in your grip that the tension between your arms and feet is balanced. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and release the band. Repeat the exercise five to 10 times or as many times as needed.
Stand with the balls of your feet on a stair step or an aerobics step with one or two risers underneath.
Hang your heels off the edge of the step. Your heels should be lower than the balls of your feet, and you should feel this stretch in your calves.
Hold the stretch for five to 10 seconds. Rise up on the balls of your feet and hold that position for five to 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise five to 10 times or as many times as needed.
Stand with one foot on the ground and a tennis ball under the arch of the other foot.
Put as much pressure on the tennis ball as you can. Roll the sole of your foot on the tennis ball, holding for a few seconds in sore spots until the tension releases.
Repeat the exercise on the other foot.
Becoming a surrogate mother, in which you carry a child for another woman who is unable to conceive, is a big commitment with a process that has several requirements. Most of those requirements are not set in stone; determinations are made on a case-by-case basis. The parents-to-be, the clinic and the surrogate’s primary doctor all make decisions and choices regarding the surrogacy. There are, however, some common guidelines to becoming a surrogate.
Having previously given birth is the single most important requirement to becoming a surrogate mother. This requirement is unwavering. A surrogate must prove that she is able to carry a child before she is trusted to carry someone else’s child. Infertility is not uncommon, and with surrogacy as expensive as it is, a woman without any proven successful births is not a good candidate to carry someone else’s child. Emotional issues go along with this as well. The surrogate may have strong attachment issues to the child. A woman who has given birth prior to the surrogacy has children of her own to go home to after the birth.
A healthy surrogate is always wanted. This means you should not have a history of pregnancy-related medical complications such as premature births, miscarriages, gestational diabetes or ectopic pregnancies. In addition, a good candidate should be free of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. Surrogates should be in good general health as well. Many clinics will turn away surrogates who are overweight or those who smoke. Medical history is also something to consider. A family history of cancer, birth defects or learning disorders is also frowned upon.
While this requirement is not set in stone, Surrogate Alternatives Inc. says a surrogate must be between the ages of 21 and 40. If the surrogate is 37 or older, she must have given birth within the past two years and have clearance from her physician. Again, age requirements vary on a case-by-case basis.
According to The Center for Surrogate Parenting Inc., a background check of your criminal and driving record will be conducted. An attorney is also necessary. She will review your insurance policies and make sure the pregnancy and delivery are covered. A surrogacy contract is also recommended. This should establish financial responsibilities of the intended parents, issues concerning abortion, especially if potential birth defects become apparent, and agreement on medical insurance and payments.
As mentioned, requirements vary especially from state to state. Additional requirements may include things like willingness to undergo psychiatric evaluation, stable residency and no form of government assistance. Clinics and intended parents will be trying to understand your motives for being a surrogate, and you may have to give them your private information.
Anaerobic exercise is a form of high-intensity exercise that increases a substantial oxygen deficit. When performing at elevated intensity levels, your cardiovascular system has a challenging time delivering the oxygen requirement needed to your muscles fast enough. Since muscles require oxygen to maintain prolonged exertion, anaerobic exercises can only continue for short periods of time. Examples of anaerobic activity include sprinting, high-intensity interval training, powerlifting and most athletic sports.
Aerobic metabolism burns fat for energy while anaerobic exercise burns glycogen to meet its energy requirement. As exercise intensity increases, the need for energy release ultimately surpasses levels that can be fulfilled by aerobic metabolism. During anaerobic activity, muscles require more response to sustain the energy requirements. Consequently, anaerobic metabolic involvement increases, known as metabolic threshold. Since anaerobic activity raises your heart rate close to your maximum heart rate, always consult with your physician prior to beginning any anaerobic exercise.
Biking sprints, swimming sprints and running sprints are examples of anaerobic activities. During sprinting, the muscles rapidly deplete energy reserves before heavy breathing begins. Sprinting demonstrates the requirement of a significant amount of oxygen needed by muscles to perform the activity. To perform, bike, swim or jog slowly for five minutes, then sprint at maximum speed for 30 to 90 seconds. Return to a slow speed for two minutes. Repeat the sprint and slow interval for 30 minutes.
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is another form of anaerobic exercise. According to the American Council on Exercise, ¡°High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a cardiorespiratory training technique that alternates brief speed and recovery intervals to increase the overall intensity of your workout.¡± HIIT can be performed with body-weight activities, such as pushups or crunches, to develop strength and power. To perform, walk for three minutes followed by performing as many pushups or crunches as you can in 20 seconds followed by gentle walking for 10 seconds. Repeat this interval 10 times, followed by a three-minute cool-down.
Anaerobic training develops the anaerobic metabolic capability of the muscles trained, raising the capacity of the athlete training and functioning at elevated exercise concentration. Powerlifting is a type of anaerobic resistance training that necessitates the bodybuilder to accomplish one repetition maximum each of three different lifts ¨C squat, bench press and deadlift. Powerlifting is performed with a maximum amount of weight, with maximal effort and for three to 10 seconds. The main objective of this type of training is to intensify strength and power.
Anaerobic exercises comprise brief periods of physical exertion and high-intensity, strength-training activities. Sports such as basketball, football, tennis, racquetball and baseball are also anaerobic activities. These sports require brief surges of high-intensity activity, lasting two minutes or fewer, with short episodes of recovery. Since anaerobic activities allow quicker recovery time, sports are efficient forms of anaerobic exercises.
According to Fox Soccer, there were nearly 25 million soccer players lacing up their boots in the United States in 2013. Knowing what the scouts are looking for is one way to get a leg up on the competition. Scouts look for a combination of tangible and intangible qualities, like a player¡¯s physical attributes, mental makeup, and, of course, talent and technical skill.
Much to the chagrin of young players, some things simply can’t be taught. Speed and size are two things you¡¯re either born with or born without. Every position on the pitch utilizes pace. Scouts have to see you have the foot speed to outrun a defender or hang with a speedy opponent. Size, while an important asset for many positions, is especially important for goalkeepers. Some scouts will even perform tests on younger athletes to forecast their growth potential.
Although most scouts will rarely watch the ball during a match, a player is expected to showcase solid technique while on the ball. Players should be able to dribble and pass with their head up, and should possess two strong feet. A deft first touch is something a scout will look for in young players. A useful first touch illustrates a player is thinking one step ahead and knows what to do with the ball before it comes to them.
Soccer is a cerebral sport and its mental aspects are hard to teach. Some scouts watch where a player positions himself, while others focus on a player¡¯s movement without the ball. Players should never stand still; those that do are called ¡°ball watchers,¡± a term that makes scouts cringe. The players with the highest soccer IQs make runs and effectively move into space to receive a pass or draw the defense. Great players possess the awareness and instincts to know not only where all the other players are, but also where they will be.
Depending on the level of competition, scouts may interview players and their families to assess temperaments. A pro scout, for example, must know if a player can handle the pressure of playing at a big club in front of thousands of fans. Players need to harness their emotions and remain focused over an entire game of 90-plus minutes. Players also must show they can work well with the other 10 players on their side.
You can¡¯t get noticed if you aren¡¯t out there competing. Tony Lepore, the director of scouting for the US Soccer Development Academy, gave young players hope in 2013 when he said, ¡°It¡¯s hard to hide good players. If you¡¯re a good player we¡¯ll find you.¡±
Running a youth baseball practice is about teaching players the fundamentals of the game. The key to doing this is finding a way to hold your players’ interests throughout the entire practice. You can go through fundamental infield, outfield and batting drills, but you must combine these basics with fun-to-play games that your young players will enjoy.
Line five of your players along the third-base line. Place one player at home plate, the next at third base, the next about 60 feet past the player at third base and two additional players at 60-foot intervals. This should put the last player fairly close to the left-field foul pole. Line two other groups of five players parallel to the original group. Give the first player in each line the baseball–the one at home plate or the equivalent spot in the other lines–and have him throw the ball to the next player on your signal. That player has to catch the ball and then throw it to the next player in line. The relay continues in this manner all the way to the end of the line and then it reverses until the catcher has the ball. The team that gets the ball back to the catcher first wins. There’s one rule in this game: the ball cannot hit the ground. If any player drops the ball or makes an uncatchable throw, they must start the relay over again. This game helps players with their throwing and catching.
This is a game that young players love in practice. Divide your team into groups of three or four. If you have three groups of four players at practice, send the first group of four into the dugout to prepare for a round of batting practice. Put another group of four in the infield and the third group of four around the outfield. Send the first batter to the plate for batting practice. He gets three strikes to put the ball in play. If he gets a hit, he stays on base. If he is retired on a ground ball or fly ball, he is out. Then, the next batter comes up. Each batter in the group gets three at bats. After the last at bat, the next group of four hitters moves in for batting practice. Then, the group in the outfield moves into the infield and the group that had been at bat goes to the outfield. Keep proceeding in this manner until each group has had a chance to hit the ball. The team that comes up with the most hits wins the drill.
This is a great game to help pitchers learn the value of control. Line all of your team up behind the pitcher’s mound. The first player takes the ball and throws a pitch from the pitching rubber to a coach who is catching and calling the pitch. If it is a strike, the pitcher is “safe” and he goes to the back of the line. If it is a ball, he is on the “hot seat.” The next player throws a pitch. If it is a strike and the previous pitcher threw a ball, then the first pitcher is knocked out. If the second pitcher throws a ball, then the first pitcher is safe and the second pitcher is on the hot seat. Continue along in this manner until all players have been knocked out and there is one “king of the hill” left. You may want to reward that player by letting him pitch in the next game.
The speed ball is one of the key tools used by boxers to prepare for a fight. The speed ball–also known as the speed bag–hangs on a swivel hook at a height slightly above eye level. A boxer uses the speed ball to improve hand-eye coordination, punching accuracy, quickness and confidence. It is a staple exercise for all boxers.
Boxers need sharp reflexes and well-developed hand-eye coordination. The instant you see an opening, you must be able to deliver a jab with speed and accuracy. The speed ball will help you do just that. When pounding the speed bag, the left jab is the primary punch you will use. In order to hit the speed bag correctly, pound out a rhythm with your left jab. You must concentrate on hitting the bottom center portion of the bag so it hits the supporting rim and bounces back to you.
Quickness comes into play when you add footwork to your training with the speed ball. Boxing is not a static sport and hitting the speed ball becomes an even more effective tool when adding footwork. If you are a right-handed boxer, you will usually circle your opponent to your left. Keep this pattern in mind as you practice on the speed ball, picking up the pace as you go along. Good boxers learn to keep the speed ball moving in a rhythmic pattern as they move.
Hitting the speed bag while mimicking a boxing match can help a boxer develop a high level of fitness. Hit the speed bag for three minutes at a time–the same amount of time in a boxing round–without resting. Take a one-minute break and then repeat this for three to six rounds. This helps you maintain form and strength longer than those who do not spend the time working on the speed bag.
Boxers have to learn how to hit the speed bag. It takes time, effort and concentration to do it well. New boxers are often frustrated when they start hitting the speed ball. However, when you start to get your rhythm and learn to hit the bag, you performance in the ring during sparring sessions will likely improve. As boxers improve their quickness, hand speed and hand-eye coordination, their confidence grows and that helps their performance in the ring.
Many video feature stories on boxers open with a champion boxer hitting the speed ball with an impressive rhythm. It is a shot that gets the viewer’s attention and draws them into the story. However, this is not just a gimmick. This is one of the prime tools used to get a boxer ready for action in the ring. Sugar Ray Robinson, a Hall of Fame fighter who dominated the sport in the 1940s and ’50s, used the speed bag to build his overall quickness and hand speed throughout his career. He could make the bag move so fast that it was said to “sing” when he hit it in full rhythm. Other boxers who could do the same included Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Kid Gavilan, Roberto Duran and Manny Pacquiao.