This Article Could Save Your Life

    In this monthly read we generally discuss improving our lifestyle by exploring a fresh perspective on fitness and nutrition. But what do we do when all our efforts are cast aside by a random twist of fate? What do we do in that moment when family history grabs us by the throat and we are looking a heart attack in the eye? Or when our tennis partner is suddenly brought to her knees by an allergic reaction to a bee sting? What do we do when an accident happens and there is bleeding and crying and fear? All the background in fitness and nutrition in the world means squat when there is an emergency and you don't know what to do. Fortunately, training is available to provide us, the common folk, with the tools to handle the most common acute crises.
    This past month all the staff from our training facility took a certification course in CPR and First Aid. Thanks to the American Heart Association and John Gill of The Town of Hilton Head Fire Department it was an unbelievably informative and interesting few hours. We learned how to identify and responsibly deal with various types of injuries and ailments including stroke, heart attack, heat stroke, allergic reactions, deep and superficial wounds, and burns. Myths were dispelled and comprehensive demonstrations were performed. We were able to practice CPR and learned how to use a defibrillator. At the end of our training, as a staff and as individuals, we felt equipped to administer life-saving first aid in a multitude of scenarios. We also were able to procure two outstanding resource books on both CPR and First Aid that included DVD's to help refresh our memories and keep us current.
    It is my opinion that every business, no matter how large or small, should require this certification for its employees. And if the company you work for doesn't require the certification, you should take it upon yourself to sign up for a class. Various certification classes are offered on a regular basis at the Fire and Rescue Headquarters off of Dillon Road. If you want to organize a group to take the class, Cinda Seamon, Public Education Officer, will help coordinate things according to your needs and schedule.
    Cost is no excuse. The fees are so reasonable I felt compelled to double check the math. At the time we got our certification the cost for educating our staff and purchasing reference material was $48. And that was for a double certification. You have the opportunity to obtain the skills to save someone's life and it costs less than a Vente Cappucino Extra Foam at Starbucks.
    It is astonishing that some fitness certifications don't require first aid and CPR training. Every fitness facility should make sure its employees have these skills. Be a proactive consumer and ask if your local gym provides the safety and security you deserve by being prepared to handle any kind of emergency. A first aid kit in the office doesn't do a lot of good if the employees don't know how to use it. If the answer is less than satisfactory, approach the management and encourage them to remedy the situation. Explain how easy and affordable it is to educate their staff.
    I am thrilled that you read this column. Because in doing so you express an interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You care about what you put in your body and you care about realizing your body's full potential. You love it when you feel great and everything feels right. Now I implore you to care about knowing what to do when things go wrong. It sounds dramatic to say that this article could save a life. But if it inspires people to find the time to take advantage of the outstanding program The Town of Hilton Head Fire Department offers than it could do just that.


Dear A.J,
  "Is static stretching during my warm-up beneficial for me?"
    First of all, what is the purpose of warming up before exercise?  Some of the reasons we warm-up  before sporting events or exercise are to increase body temperature, elevate heart rate, excite the neuromuscular system, increase joint range of motion, and help prevent or reduce the risk of injuries. Static stretching involves gradually easing into a stretch position and holding that position for as long as 2 minutes. Do you believe that sitting down in a relaxed state is going to increase body temperature, elevate your heart rate, or excite your neuromuscular system?  Obviously not!  Static stretching actually calms the muscles and relaxes the body.  In regards to injury prevention, it is important to note that several studies have stated that static stretching alone before exercise does little in terms of injury prevention.  This is a debatable topic and more research in that area needs to be conducted.  In essence, you must decide why you are warming up. Is it to prepare your body for work or is it to gain flexibility?  If improving flexibility is your goal, then perhaps static stretching before exercise would make sense.  For athletic purposes, the majority of, if not all of your warm-up should involve dynamic stretches.  Research has shown that static stretching in your warm-up will lower your vertical jump, decrease speed, and could decrease strength by as much as 30%.  These effects could be detrimental to your performance for as long as 1 Ω hours.

A.J. Kelly BS, CSCS, is a Fitness Consultant / Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist at The Center for Health, Fitness & Sports Performance. He has a Bachelor's in Exercise Science and has completed his Master's curriculum (Master's to be awarded after thesis completion). A.J. is also the Hilton Head Christian Academy Head Strength Coach. He has worked with all ages and fitness levels from youth to seniors as well as all skill levels from amateur to professional athlete. A.J. can be reached at 843.338.8752 and by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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