Muscle Health Toolkit

November 01, 2016
Lat Pulldown

Did you know you have more than 600 muscles in your body? These muscles help you move, lift things, pump blood through your body, and even help you breathe.

Keeping your muscles healthy will help you walk, run, jump, lift things, play sports, and do all the other things you love to do. And they help you do those not so fun things, like making the bed, vacuuming the carpet, or mowing the lawn. Healthy muscles let you move freely and keep your body strong. Exercising, getting enough rest, and eating a balanced diet will help to keep your muscles healthy for life.

Strong muscles also help to keep your joints in good shape. If the muscles around your knee, for example, get weak, you may be more likely to injure that knee. Strong muscles also help you keep your balance, so you are less likely to slip or fall. And remember—the activities that make your skeletal muscles strong will also help to keep your heart muscle strong!

The Plate Method for Balance

By Ana Zeller, Wellness Nutritionist

Plate split into quarters with dotted lineMaintain a healthy body weight by balancing your protein, carb and fat intake using the Plate Method. Follow these simple guidelines to create a healthy meal and support a healthy lifestyle.

Plate Method =

  • ½ Plate Non Starchy Vegetables
  • ¼ Lean Protein
  • ¼ Whole Grains
  • 2-3 Tbsp Fats/oils per day 

Eat unlimited non-starchy vegetables any time of day

Stuff an omelet with spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini. Have a side salad with lunch or dinner. Add spinach to smoothies for added health benefits without altering the taste.

Cut your protein in half

Protein should only take up ¼ of your plate and should be no more than 3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards). Choose lean proteins like chicken, fish, turkey, and vegetable based protein sources like beans, lentils, veggie burgers and soy products. Avoid frying and breading your protein.

Make your grains whole grains

Food labels can be misleading. Check the ingredient label and make sure the first item listed contains the word whole grain (not enriched). Also check the label for at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving. Choose whole grains, such as wheat berry, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and steel cut oats.

Be wary of fruit juice

While 100% fruit juice does count as a serving of fruit, remember that juices are packed with sugar. Try to make the majority of your fruit and vegetable choices from whole foods. You’ll get more vitamins, minerals and fiber that way.

Make veggie dips with low or nonfat Greek yogurt

Great ready-to-eat veggies include red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes. Keep them handy for dipping.

Try this healthier Ranch Dressing from Wellness Mama

Strength Training Guidelines

By Jason Albertson, Employee Fitness Center Manager

You know that strength training is a key to improving body’s performance. Here are some basic guidelines to get started. If you ever have any questions, feel free to ask a professional trainer.

Health Benefits of Resistance Training

  • Improves cardio respiratory fitness
  • Reduces body fat
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces glucose-stimulated plasma insulin concentrations
  • Improves bone density

Training Frequency

  • 2 - 3 days per week (48 - 72 hrs between workouts)
  • Progress is made during the recuperation between workouts 


  • Perform 4 to 8 Exercises Focused on Training Major Muscle Groups
  • Choose more compound or multi-joint exercises to involve more muscles with fewer exercises
  • Perform a Set of 8 to 12 Repetitions of Each
  • Consider warm-up set(s) if using heavy weights
  • An increase in weight of 2 to 10 pounds is sufficient when you can perform more that 12 repetitions

Specific Warm Up

12 - 15 repetitions performed at approximately 50% of workout weight (10 RM)

Health Benefits of Specific Warm Up

  • Muscles and joints move using the same mechanics as that which will be performed during workout set(s)
  • Muscles and joints are less susceptible to injury
  • Motor skills and breathing can be rehearsed 

Exercise Sequence

Squat1. Large muscle before small muscle group exercises

2. Multi-joint exercises before single-joint exercises

3. Higher intensity before lower intensity exercises

Perform Exercises Through a Full Range of Motion

  • Perform the exercises in the maximum range of motion that does not elicit pain or discomfort
  • Develop strength throughout full range of motion; do not let momentum move the weight
  • Maintain flexibility necessary for joint integrity
  • Joint adapts to full extension and flexion
  • Less susceptible to injury in real world situations
  • Conditions stabilizing muscles surrounding your joints


Categories: Your Health

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