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it’s time! Summer Q and A with Drex!

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Did We Make New Year's Resolutions or not, last time we met Drex?

Whether you are a “Make a New Year’s Resolution” person or not, the fact is that I last was interviewed by Drex over half a year ago! I wonder if you have improved anything in your health and fitness since then.  If you were hoping to make some changes and did then “Good Job!” to you. But if you needed to listen to this show as a reminder to kick start some changes before the summer ends, and 2017 is in the books then listen up as I’ve got some good information to share.

Here are some questions and answers that I was hoping Drex would ask me. If I get a chance I hope to ask him a few myself! What answers do you have to share with us?

#1 Why Is Nutrition Science So Confusing?

Dr. John Berardi, Ph.D. gives us 9 reasons eating well isn’t as straightforward as we’d like it to be. In my effort to eat the very best I can I admit frustration on many levels when there are gaps from research to reality. Even coffee, my own loved well-researched stimulant has many pros and cons. Here’s what Berardi says:

Nutrition research is still young: We continue to learn about food science and its implications on humans.

Most funding goes to disease treatment, not preventative nutrition: Most researchers would rather say, “How can we end this epidemic? then, How can we get abs?” (-1)

Where funding comes from can affect what studies find: Studies with financial conflict of interest can shape the design of the research and not accurately show the “real” results.

What you eat doesn’t affect your health right away: Do you want to be the one to eat red meat every day for 20 years to see what really happens?

You can never assume a study’s findings apply to you: The subjects could have been younger and healthier than you, or perhaps sick, ultra-fit or a different sex/species! Mice are relatively cheap and convenient to study.

If doing the research is difficult, then reporting on it is even tougher: Often those reporting exaggerate a single finding and fail to see the big picture when drawing conclusions.

#2 Are “Abs” really made in the kitchen?

“You can’t pick and choose where fat is lost from. Your body takes fat from wherever it most wants to take fat from,” said Dr. Brad Schoenfeld, director of the Human Performance Lab at New York City’s Lehman College whom I’ve heard lecture a few times myself.

“From a functional standpoint, if you don’t resistance train, your diet will result in muscle loss of about 25 per cent,” Schoenfeld said. If you lose four pounds, one pound will come from muscle, he warned. (-2)

Strength training also gives your body a metabolism boost. Your body keeps burning calories even after you’ve finished working out.

In a nutshell from Chai’s report:

 

  • Load up on protein
  • Don’t forget your fiber, healthy fats and complex carbs
  • Cut out processed food, fast food, and hidden sugars
  • Work Out: All kinds of cardio and strength training
  • Sleep well and keep stress levels low
  • Drink lots of water and green tea

# 3 What could be making me so hungry?

Trust WebMD to put out a slide show that drives home the fact that hunger has many facets.

Eating something high in sugar that digests and breaks down quickly in your system, and eating for the wrong reasons like stress, are both sure to add unneeded calories to your body. If your food was not nutritionally relevant, then perhaps it didn’t satisfy you in ways that it should leaving you with a desire to eat even more.

Maybe you saw an ad about ice cream or smelled fresh-baked cookies as you walked by the market’s bakery. That could be enough to make you want to eat, whether your body is hungry or not. Try to notice these triggers and then decide what you’re going to do. (-3)

Seeing or smelling something tasty does not make you eat it!  Try water first.

Other considerations worth sharing I thought:

  • Evaluate your medications as some can increase your appetite.
  • Be aware that being tired can influence your food choices, quality and quantity. So go to bed!

#4 Is your exercise routine working for you?

This really depends on what you are asking exercise to do for you. There are so many benefits to exercising but not all of them add up to weight loss or aesthetic minded goals.

 writes in The Washington Post, “Exercise does so much for you. Why won’t it make you lose weight?” The article does a good job of detailing just how much exercise is needed to create calorie deficits. A good take away from her article for me is this, “Exercise helps keep lost pounds off, but exercise alone can’t do the initial job of losing it.”

Despite the good and bad news here, keep in mind that exercise remains one of the best things you can do for yourself. It enhances health in numerous ways. It’s easy to lose sight of all the benefits when we are fixated on one aspect like the number on a scale.

Short list: Strengthens heart and lungs, reduces the risk of disease or improves existing disease outcomes, strengthens bones, elevates mood, improves sleep, reduce the risk of certain cancers, and keeps thinking and judgment sharp.

So you really need to ask yourself just what it is you want out of the exercise you do. Make a plan tailored to reach your goals and stay consistent to get your routine to work for you.

 

S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G What and Why?

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Are You Stuck in the Just Stretch More Mentality?

I get the impression that everyone thinks they should stretch more. Is stretching still the catchall that will make us fitter, faster, stronger, feel younger and prevent injury? Is this why that little voice in my head tells me  “I should stretch more!’ Will it solve all my troubles?

Stretching is one of the most controversial topics in fitness.

If we think stretching is going to help us in some way then I suppose it’s worth doing. But if you have been stretching and applying the same techniques to your body with no positive change in your results then perhaps its time to evaluate the “What’s and Why’s” of your stretching technique and practice.

When did you get so righty tightly and loosely goosey anyway?

Some of the factors influencing your flexibility are not within your control. Physiological, environmental, and lifestyle all can play a role to varying degrees. Just what you and I consider to be within a normal range of motion and sensitivity (that feeling) may differ. In a general sense, we have guidelines for optimal joint ranges of movement from the anatomy books yet few touch on the individual’s sense of feeling tight and restricted, or loose and unstable.

Just how you have either too much or too little movement comes down to joint structure, muscle and connective tissue quality (tendons, ligaments, and fascia) hyperlaxity, age, sex, temperature, activity and training quality and quantity. Throw in your sport and injury history and there goes your toe touch!

If you think you may be too flexible please take a look back and read this blog on “Joint Hypermobility and Joint Hypermobility Syndrome.” Being too flexible can be detrimental to your health and this blog explains why.

Just what goes on when you stretch is complicated and I think this is one of the reasons there are many opinions on stretching that don’t align. The Stark Reality of Stretching is a book by Dr. Steven Stark that gives a comprehensive enough overview if you are looking for the basics of the stretching science. I like the book’s simplicity and I feel the methods Dr. Stark explains are worthy of exploring.

Muscle imbalances develop over time if not because of what you are doing, because of what you aren’t! Then all of us have this aging thing as well. We can’t fight the loss of elasticity over time fast enough. So perhaps it is simply looking at yourself and the changes you see and feel that will make you realize that doing nothing or the same old things over and over again are not going to help.

Muscles have actions that produce movement of our bones and joints when they shorten or lengthen. Our connective tissues, that is tendons, ligaments and fascia are true to their name and connect our bones and structures but they all can’t be stretched and in fact, with age, they shorten. This shortening can reduce the range of motion and change the sensation and sensitivities we feel across the body.

Quick Anatomy Lesson

Connective tissue: Has both elastic and non-elastic properties. Depending on the purpose and location the amount of elasticity varies within our connective tissues even with young healthy individuals.

Muscles: Originate from a tendon and the tendon attaches to a bone. Muscle actions have a shortening, lengthening, holding, and resting phase.

Tendons:  These are the most inelastic of the connective tissues and they cannot be stretched. They attach muscle to bone.

Ligaments: Attach bone to bone and the degree of elasticity varies with location, gender, age, and fitness level.

Fascia: Is an elastic connective tissue sheath or netting that covers our muscles.

Plain old Stretching!

How long have you been stretching that way with no result? There are so many variables that we can adjust with stretching and asking the same questions on technique to different people will get you varied answers.

Traditional methods of training include static, dynamic, and PNF or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation.

Static stretching exercises are ones where your body position is held stationary for a predetermined period of time in a lengthened and loaded positon. (From 10-30 seconds to several minutes.) Recent research suggests that this type of stretching prior to a dynamic activity or sport may have a negative effect on performance outcomes.

Dynamic stretching exercises are functional and movement based without bouncing. Because they involve movement one could argue they are not technically stretches and are really moving mobilizations.

PNF uses the body’s proprioceptive system to facilitate or inhibit muscle contraction usually using two people. The “Contract – Relax Stretch”, or “Hold – Relax” cue is used for gaining range of motion in restricted areas of muscular tightness.  This type of stretching is largely performed by professionals such as physiotherapists and chiropractors although it can be done with a training partner, or by yourself, if you learn the proper techniques.

Dr. Stark’s book “The Stark Reality of Stretching,” holds value I think as it challenges some of our traditional methods on stretching. His key takeaways: Isolate, Find Zero Tension, Find First Awareness, Less is Best, and Allow the Loss of Tension. They have to be read in his book to understand them completely but I have been using them lately and agree they have merit.

What type of stretching, the length of time to hold the stretch, time of day, and relationship to activity are just a few of the variables I refer to. Let’s face it though if something works for me it may not work for you. I suggest you keep trying until you get the response and change in tissue quality, range of motion and sensitivity that you are looking for.

So what I’m really saying here is I don’t know what to tell you! In the morning, afternoon or evening, and before of after your training in this time crunched world will be just fine. Let’s look at another opinion….

“Stretching is not the answer.”

In his book “Becoming a Supple Leopard,” Dr. Kelly Starett states, “Stretching is not the answer.” It only addresses one aspect of our physiological system – your muscle. (-1) It doesn’t address the positions of your joints or what’s going on in those joints or your skin and nerves and how they affect your movement range.

It seems we are stuck in this “Just stretch it way of thinking.”  We need to move better and more often and yet our ability to move well limits our ability to do either.

So movement performance, essentially how you move is important. If you are restricted it influences your ability to successfully do all movements to some degree. Working on your limitations has to be part of your TOTAL Program to optimize results, reduce pain,  and decrease the potential for injury.

Starrett suggests a “Mobility System” that encompasses techniques that address your joint mechanics, sliding surfaces, and muscles. He suggests looking at joint capsule positions and influencing change with banded distractions. Therapists have used this technique through manual therapy for a long time but with the use of a band, you can create more space in a joint yourself.

Starrett believes your tissues should all slide and glide under the surface together. Sliding Surface Dysfunction is when this doesn’t happen and your tissues get all stuck together making them unresponsive and unable to lengthen and move. He explains that it is like your muscles are wearing a cast and movement is limited until you take care of the cast with methods like rolling, flossing and smashing to restore the glide.

Muscle Dynamics takes muscles that are used to being in a shortened position and working on improving their end range through mobilizations and self-contract relax methods. Working towards positions that resemble the position that you want to change and improve. If this interests you buy his book!

Set yourself up for success

Invest in some straps, rollers, and balls. Consider buying some books and investing in professional coaching to learn the specific how to’s of the different methods.

Put your self in an environment, posture, and position to stretch correctly.

Decide on an amount of time and commit to it.

Mistakes I see:

#1) Going way beyond the range of motion needed. Is this necessary or safe?

Example: Stretching your hip and taking it WAY out to the side with the use of a strap.

#2) Moving another section of your body without knowing you are compromising the value of the stretch/lengthening by doing it. *Moving the low back while trying to stretch the hip.

Example: Moving the low back while trying to stretch the hip. We call this compensatory movement in the body.

#3) Repeating the same things over and over and expecting a different result.

In My Opinion

Anything you do will not work unless you add low-level consistent core exercises to the mix. I cannot emphasize enough how much I mean this!! In my experience at it’s time! Fitness Results there have been challenges to convince clients of this and offer in our group classes the volume of basics that pretty much everyone needs and does not get. From a cost, time, and effort perspective everyone wants the quick fix to fitness. You will not get real results without dedicating more time to maintenance.

Your body is tight for many reasons as I have explained and any of the methods you implement will not work unless you change the strength of your core structure. Your core is weaker than you might think and the very reason why everything else stays tight and restricted.

They are boring, time-consuming and worth it if you decide to prioritize your body maintenance. My opinion remains to be proven. In time maybe? I can assure you that so far in my personal and professional experience this works and the results are worth it.

You can do it and you should! Good Luck!

Written by: Sheila Hamilton August 2017

Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic on the Jon McComb show.  The Fitness Segment airs live every Thursday at 9:05 on CKNW 980 am.

References:

The Stark Reality of Stretching: book Dr. Steven D Stark

https://www.nsca.com/education/articles/stretching-after-exercise-does-it-aid-in-recovery/

Stretching and Its Effects on Recovery: A Review

Sands, William A.; McNeal, Jeni R.; Murray, Steven R.; More

Strength & Conditioning Journal . 35(5):30-36, October 2013.

Preperformance Dynamic Flexibility Exercises: Might Be a Stretch

Koziris, Lymperis (Perry)

Strength & Conditioning Journal . 37(1):74-75, February 2015.

Preactivity Stretching Research and Current Coaching Practices: Why the Disconnect?

Judge, Lawrence W.; Craig, Bruce; Bellar, David; More

Strength & Conditioning Journal . 34(5):74-77, October 2012.

https://www.nsca.com/education/articles/kinetic-select/intro-to-dynamic-warm-up/

The Stark Reality of Stretching : Dr. Steven D. Stark p. 11-27

https://www.functionalmovement.com/articles/screening/2013-07-04_proprioceptive_neuromuscular_facilitation_the_foundation_of_functional_training

Becoming a Supple Leopard: book Dr. Kelly Starrett page 130 -131

NSCA’S Essentials of Personal Training: Second Edition  Coburna nd Malek p 251-259

Loose Joints? Don’t Overstretch!

 

Hey Cyclists! Get Off Your Bikes!

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The Missing Spoke: Athleticism

Don’t get me wrong – cycling is a fantastic form of exercise. Riding a bike is scalable and tailorable to different ages, abilities, interests, and levels of fitness. Whether your goals are competitive, recreational, or rehabilitative, benefits include heightened aerobic and/or anaerobic capacity, improved balance, and specific strength gains.

Some cyclists spend hours and hours on their bikes, and many start to develop functional imbalances and postural abnormalities. These can result in pain or injury, and negatively impact cycling performance. However, as determined athletes, most cyclists don’t want to stop riding, even if their bodies are suffering.

How can we fight this battle? I believe the answer is a return to ATHLETICISM. Get off the bike, continue to be active, but start targeting the basics of functional movement. Sort out your imbalances to make your time spent cycling more comfortable, more efficient, and your body more resilient.

Too much of a good thing…

First off, let’s look at some of the common issues associated with the specificity of prolonged cycling that are documented in the research, as well as those we see with many cyclists who come into our gym:

  • Poor Thoracic Mobility is the most common limitation we see in cyclists of all levels. Cyclists with road bikes are especially affected, as the forward flexion required to reach the handlebars sometimes 10cm below seat height is extreme. This can cause kyphotic posture.
  • Extreme Lumbar Flexion and Anterior Pelvic Tilt are sacrolumbar compensations that follow the rounded posture a cyclist gets while reaching for the handlebars. One of our hip flexors, the Psoas Major, is a dominant muscle during pedalling and originates on the sacrum, and its overuse further contributes to an anterior pelvic tilt. This particular sacrolumbar issue can lead to increased spinal stress and low back pain [1][4].
  • Poor Hip Extension comes as a result of the quad-dominant nature of cycling. When you sit on your glutes, the same phenomena that affects a generation of office workers persists – cue back and knee pain. Use them or lose them!
  • The Inability to “Own” Multiplanar Movement is often developed through cycling-specific training. Cycling is a purely sagittal movement (linear in the forward direction), and the physical design and support of a bike reinforces this [2]. Core instability in the lateral and rotational planes impairs hip stability on the saddle with each stride of the pedal, potentially contributing to back and hip discomfort [3].
  • Interestingly, the impact of cycling on Bone Density also appears in the research. Many middle-aged adults gravitate towards cycling as it is a low-impact activity for the joints. However, bone and soft tissue require loading to undergo structural changes – cycling does not offer an opportunity for this type of adaptation [2]. Weight bearing and loaded movements are needed.

How ATHLETICISM can help

Many of the aforementioned challenges can be mitigated or overcome if a cyclist takes the time to train with well-rounded athleticism in mind. Cycling is great, but it can be BETTER. Functional strength training is a good place to start.

John Weirath (a physiotherapist and professional bike fitter from Denver, CO), like our team at it’s time! Fitness Results, supports the Turkish Get Up! He claims “its combination of movements represents a nearly perfect mobility sequence for cyclists” [2]. Check out Sheila Hamilton’s Blog and our page on the Turkish Get Up Project Vancouver for more info. You’ll see that it naturally includes a corrective for each of issues outlined above.

There are plenty of other exercises that we can use to address the imbalances too. As a framework, you’ll want to include Myofascial Release, mobility drills targeting the thoracic spine and hip flexors, multiplanar core activation (ie. front planks, side planks, bird-dog exercises), and loaded hip dominant patterns (ie. bridges or moderate deadlifts). I’ve attached a sample of Warm Up and Maintenance Exercises for Cyclists at the end of this blog.

The most important thing is to get out and move beyond the constraints of the bike! A bike is a relatively static tool – your body is dynamic and adaptable, especially when you take care of it. Your spine, your muscles, and your existing aches and pains will thank you.

If the bike fits…

A good bike fit is critical if you plan to spend extensive time cycling. When purchasing a bike, make sure you get a good feel for it. If possible, strike a deal to use it on a trial basis for a few hours before finalizing the purchase.

If you’re serious about spending some time on your new wheels, take it to get custom fitted to the angles of your body. Details as small as pedal width and clip position affect how your knees track and things like proper handlebar width and angle can prevent numbness in hands and fingers.

Remember: Choose a bike based on your needs! Not everyone cycling around the city needs a racing bike with dropped handlebars. A bike that allows you to sit taller might be better for the “weekend” or “family” rider.

Bike maintenance is important for safety – no one should be out on the roads or the trails with unpredictable brakes or gears. Make sure you get a good tuneup every year.

Finally, know the rules of the road, and join a “New to Cycling” group if you’re unsure!

Warm Up and Maintenance Exercises for Cyclists

Neck mobility

Standing tall with straight spine. Look up and down, side to side, and tilt your head ear-to-ear

 

 

Seated T-spine rotation

Sit tall with knees straight and butt squeezed tight. With arms crossed on chest turn your body, rotating from the waist up.

 

 

 

 

T-spine extension on bench

Let upper back between shoulder blades fall towards the ground without letting the lower back drop or sag.

 

Half Kneeling Hip Stretch

Support the knee on a foam or pillow and maintain a tall spine. Weight down onto bent knee and tighten butt muscle on the same side.  Feel a stretch in the front of the hip and thigh.

Ankle Mobility

Stand in front of a wall with feet staggered but both toes facing ahead. Ensure that your feet are in line with your hips.  Begin with leading foot touching the wall. Gently rock forward so your knee touches the wall, tracking over the toes with either heel lifting.

 

Glute Bridges

Lie on your back with your core engaged, knees bent with feet hip width apart. Lift hips off the ground by squeezing your glutes (your bum!).

 

Turkish Get Up

Visit the Turkish Get Up Project Page and Blog

 

Written by Briana Kelly, Practicing Kinesiologist at it’s time! Fitness Results.

Click here to listen to Briana discuss this topic on the Jon McComb show.  The Fitness Segment airs live every Thursday at 9:05 on CKNW 980 am.

References

[1] Streisfeld GM et. al. Relationship Between Body Positioning, Muscle Activity, and Spinal Kinematics in Cyclists With and Without Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review (2016). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27784817.

[2] Weirath J. Want to be a better cyclist? Get off the bike. https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/want-to-be-a-better-cyclist-get-off-the-bike.

[3] Kidd S. How to reduce lower back pain from cycling. https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/how-to-reduce-lower-back-pain-from-cycling.

[4] Muyor JM. and Zabala M. Road Cycling and Mountain Biking Produces Adaptations on the Spine and Hamstring Extensibility. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26509372.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward – In Different Ways

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"I don't think we can key in on the ankle enough." - Gray Cook

Sometimes putting your best foot forward is a challenge. In these busy, wired and tired times I find some days a lot easier than others to not only keep my chin up but to put my best foot forward. I’m trying to draw a parallel here to the need to slow down a little and give some thought to some simple things that prioritize you.

It’s as simple as your ankles and feet sometimes!

Your ankles and feet play a larger role that you think in your movement journey. If you want to put your best foot forward I’m suggesting that you could start with taking some time to think about your ankle and foot history.

Have you been ignoring your ankles and feet?

Often when we think fitness we go right out at the activity, and some of us go pretty hard at that over time without the care and attention our precious feet require. I’ve heard Craig Liebenson say “The feet are the foundation of our posture.” and I couldn’t agree more.

The same could be said for life sometimes when we go hard and don’t give ourselves the care and attention we require. (Just saying.)

Do your ankles move the way they are supposed to?

You will find some tips here whether you have had foot and ankle issues in the past or not. I think a lot of people ignore their feet and I’m set today to convince you not to!

We need good ankle and foot movement for life!

Movement matters to your body on so many levels, including a cellular one. In her book “Dynamic Aging,” author Katy Bowman reminds us that physical movement is a modifiable factor. It needs to play a huge part in your life, “not so that we can age dynamically, but so that we can live dynamically,” states Bowman. (-1)

Just when did your ankles get so stiff? Any new or old ankle injuries, improper fitting shoes, or extended time in high heels? Did you properly rehabilitate your ankle injury?

Gray Cook speaks on “The Importance of Considering How The Ankle Influences Movement” in his Functional Movement System’s Whiteboard presentation. “You need to have fitness sufficient to the environment in which you desire to survive and thrive,” states Cook. So if you ankles are stiff and immobile and the demand you are putting on them requires them to move and they don’t then be sure that something else in the body is affected.

 

From your ankles to your whole body

So now we have made a connection from the ankle movement to “Your Movement.” I ask you, “Do you own it or not?” We have so many reasons to blame our movement limitations on. From your birthday to today the roadmap of your movement destination is yours. It’s not just sports and injuries that are driving your limitations. Today it’s your desk job, over-sitting, and your inability to move well and often that limit it.

Back to Foot and Ankles

Ankle stability is supported by a network of ligaments on either side of the ankle. Ankle Sprains are a very common injury. “Once you have had one sprain you are very likely to have another,” states Jay Hertel an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Virginia and an expert on the ankle.

Why is that?

“There are neural receptors in ligaments,” says Hertel. “When you damage the ligament, you damage the neuro receptors as well. Your brain no longer receives reliable signals from the ankle about how your ankle and foot are positioned in relation to the ground. Your proprioception — your sense of your body’s position in space — is impaired. You’re less stable and more prone to falling over and re-injuring yourself.”

This is why proper rehabilitation after an injury is so important. Don’t just get the swelling and pain down but ensure that long term you movement is not compromised. Get your ankle range of motion checked. Unlocking the ankle through proper movement coaching can be a breakthrough for back, hip and knee pain as well.

 

How to put your best foot forward

To put your best foot forward you must be continually trying whether you really want to or not. Let’s take a look at some common issues and ways you could improve of your feet, ankles and more.

Visual Inspection: How do they look?

Look at the wear and tear on your feet and think about the connection with that to your overall movement. Do you continually get thick skin beside your big toe for example? Does that foot turn out? Does the hip feel tight? I want you to start to see the connections and think about addressing your feet as part of your overall fitness plan.

How’s the color of your feet? Is there any swelling? If your circulation is impaired your pedal pulses will not be strong, color will be grey, nails thickened, and there could be swelling after prolonged standing.

*Note to diabetics to pay special attention to their foot and nail care.

Have your feet changed shape? Do you have arches, bunions, hammer toes, foot pain?

Movement Inspection: How do they move?

Do you have ankle dorsiflexion (35-40′ toe towards shin) and plantar flexion (point toes away)?

Can you rotate your ankles, invert (turn in) and evert (turn out) them?

Can you move your great toe independent of the others? Can you control your great toes and move the others one by one?

Do you have mobility in your great toe?

Sensory Inspection: How do they Feel?

Do you experience any cramping, pain or numbness or tingling in your feet?

Do you have Acute and/or Chronic conditions such as plantar fasciitis, neuromas, stress fractures?

 

What can you do?

Roll Your Feet and calves. In his book, “Becoming a Supple Leopard,” Dr. Kelly Starrett suggests that tight calf muscles are no accident. The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles which collectively we call the calves can be in a state of constant stiffness due to the serious repetitive loads they take on for us with each step. When your heel cords are like steel cables and you are missing ankle range of motion Starrett suggests you need more than aimless rolling, you need to smash. His techniques for smashing the calves range from the mildly uncomfortable to the horribly painful. (-2)

Toe Movements

Spread Your Toes and lift your toes.

Top of the foot stretch

Place foot behind you and bend the toes

Ankle movements

Both assisted and non-assisted. Can’t reach your feet? Lie on your back to work on them.

Massage

Massage your feet with lotion every day before putting your socks and shoes on.

Stretch your calves

So many ways to consider stretching your calves. I need a whole blog on it! I want to send a shout out to Dr. Steven Stark here and his book “The Stark Reality of Stretching.” I suggest you take the time to read this book and try his method of stretching as I think it holds value and challenges some of our traditional methods on stretching. His key takeaways: Isolate, Find Zero Tension, Find First Awareness, Less is Best, and Allow the Loss of Tension.

Walking Foot Drills

Walk on the insides and outsides of your feet, on your toes, on yur heels, pointing toes in as far as you can and out as far as you can. Make this a daily habit witht he other ideas suggested here.

I tried the “Wheelies” (also from Bowman’s blog) in the gym today and I couldn’t believe I have never done these before – definitely programming this into some of my classes.

Work on balance: It’s never one thing. Proporoception, core, vistubular, visual

I love a lot of the tips from Katy Bowman’s blog “Expert Ankles” Where she makes the connection very well on the importance of stretching, balance and standing on one foot for ankle strengthening.

The Pelvic List from Bowman’s book “Dynamic Aging” describes “an exercise that is designed specifically to target the muscles you need to be able to stand on one leg strongly.” Weight shift to one side and put pressure into the ground while lifting the opposite leg with a straight knee. Don’t allow the hips and back to change position; use your lateral hip muscles and balance!

Consider professionals such as podiatrists, chiropractors, and physiotherapists to help you make progress on your foot and ankle issues.

Great link to  Professor Jay Hertel’s video that demonstrates four balancing exercises to strengthen ankles. It’s worth a look!

Stretch, Mobilize, and Move those feet and ankles!

Some weeks it’s easier to stay ahead of the game of life with our jobs and responsibilities.  Putting our best foot forward on all levels is important no matter how you are feeling. Prioritizing yourself is important. Making movement happen daily is important. I know you can – and you should.

Written by; Sheila Hamilton July 2017

Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic on the Jon McComb show.  The Fitness Segment airs live every Thursday at 9:05 on CKNW 980 am.

References:

Becoming a Supple Leopard : Book Dr. Kelly Starrett (-2) p. 425- 430

Dynamic Aging: Katy Bowman Copyright 2017 p. 85, 163, 168

About

http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1007576-12-easy-anytime-moves-strengthen-feet-ankles/#slide=10

https://www.functionalmovement.com/articles/775/the_importance_of_considering_how_the_ankle_influences_movement

The Stark Reality of Stretching: book Dr. Steven D Stark

https://www.functionalmovement.com/articles/775/the_importance_of_considering_how_the_ankle_influences_movement#ooid=ZsZ3R1Yzo4ulfawcE67_LPfp7l0czE8V

Expert Ankles

 

Unlocking the Ankle

http://www.footankledc.com/specialties/common-foot-ankle-problems

When Should You Eat?

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Is timing everything? The hype and hope of Intermittent Fasting and Meal Timing.

I went to a local Farmers Market this past weekend and came away with more than I paid for. I did get a lot of local fresh produce including some awesome garlic, but I came away with this sense that I was constantly saying no to the food temptations that were in front of me. As I approached the first line of vendors all I could smell was cinnamon buns, and I could see a family of 5 close by digging their mouths into fresh buns they had in hand with the icing still warm. This was all in the first minute and it was followed by many more opportunities to eat non nutritionally relevant food!

It got me thinking about just saying no! The concept of saying no to food for periods of time has been around for many years and it’s time! that I explored what the terms “intermittent fasting” and “meal-timing” really mean. Have you heard of them?

Intermittent Fasting (IF)

IF can be defined as the abstention or minimal ingestion of food for a period of time.(-1) I found various types of fasting protocols in the literature typically ranging from 12 hours to three weeks. There are many combinations of fasting restrictions that use time windows to restrict yourself to ingesting anything. Random fasting without strict modifications, and fasting for religious reasons are also common.

Whether you love it, hate it, or do it for religious reasons, I want to know what’s really going on with it. Are there implications for weight control and athletic performance that are worth looking at?

It’s not something that I’ve done or that appeals to me but I’ve heard a lot of talk about IF and considering the problems our society is having with weight control I wonder if there is more to it. Like most things, it seems to come down to individuals and not a magic system that will work for all of us.

A lot goes on when we fast, and how your body deals with it can have good and bad results. Technically speaking the burning of fat (fatty acid oxidation) and other fancy reactions at the cellular level go on while you are fasting.  It all really means that your body is now eating the food that’s already on your body in terms of storage.

Talk centered around whether this concept is harder physiologically or psychologically is interesting to note. I think because there are a lot of traditions and generalizations that come to mind surrounding food we must be careful with what we say these days. Who says what works for them will work for you, and who made the rules in the past that hold up today?

Quicker than the textbooks can catch up to the technology and research that surrounds our eating, I want to know when and what I should eat. Will somebody just clear this matter up for me?

I heard Dr. John Berardi speak at the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s National Convention on this topic two years ago. In his presentation “Intermittent Fasting: Science or Fiction” (Full link below) he discusses both sides of the many common questions surrounding IF and introduces the concept of “metabolic flexibility.”

This term metabolic flexibility means the body has the ability to access the stored energy that you have under any conditions. This is the ideal so that we don’t get hypoglycemic and feel hungry. If we have food we eat it, and if we don’t we eat what’s on our body. Think of the military and their need to be able to function for long periods of time without food when under restricted conditions.

Metabolic inflexibility is when we are overfed but our tissues are starving. We are not regulating our systems well.

Meal Timing

Haven’t we been told not to skip breakfast for years? Have you heard if you don’t eat, you put yourself into starvation mode giving your body a chance to burn less and store more the next time you eat? What about eating breakfast king-size, lunch queen-size, and dinner like a popper? Don’t we think eating regularly will help to regulate blood sugar, decrease hunger, and avoid the metabolic slowing we fear? The concept of stoking the fire to keep the fire from going out comes to mind.

Berardi presents research to the contrary and although he states that responses are individual, and do not work for everyone, he has seen some incredible changes with intermittent fasting and meal timing, including with himself.” One fast can make you become more “metabolically flexible”, he states and then explains fasting can increase chemicals in the body such as epinephrine which actually increase your metabolic rate.

Women Read this part….

He had me hooked and dumbfounded with the compelling research and anecdotal stories of the success of IF until he got to the part about it not working for women. Some women have a problem with fasting because they are more sensitive from a hormonal and energy balance perspective. Metabolic damage may be inevitable for about 80% of females that try it. For this reason, Berardi cautions this is not something you should try yourself.

Because of the obesity epidemic, because of sedentary lifestyles, I suggest even the researchers are scrambling to find the right answers to help us all achieve and maintain healthy weights.

Berardi fasts, but states 95% of his clients do not. He admits we don’t know the answers yet. Is it the actual fast or the reduction in calories that provide the benefits?  The data is compelling and appealing to try but he cautions that until we find the answers it is not for frivolous experimentation.

 

 

Intermittent Fasting and Meal Timing – Hype, Hope or In-Between

Author Sean Casey writes in his blog that the concept of Intermittent Fasting “goes against popular dietary recommendations of the early to mid 2000’s which promoted the “small frequent meals every 2-4 hours” approach for weight and fat loss.  Casey states, “If look at well controlled metabolic studies, few show any significant differences in metabolic rate regardless of daily meal frequency.”

Is hunger an emergency?

The more I think about food the more I want it!  Am I hungry or thirsty? Is what I’m feeling right now a feeling that is an emergency? Food marketing is very powerful, more than we might know. Perhaps we should listen to our bodies and not the advertising. “I’m tired of thinking about food 24/7,” states one of my clients recently. What if I just eat two meals a day? Is that a good idea? Is that better than never letting myself get hungry?

Trial fasting is a great way to practice managing hunger. This is an essential skill for anyone who wants to get in shape and stay healthy and fit. This is stated at the #1 takeaway from Precision Nutrition’s e-book “Experiments with Intermittent Fasting.”

The International Society of Sports Nutrition’s position statement on meal frequency states definitive conclusions cannot be made. However it’s backed by some powerhouse names in the field of nutrition science who reviewed the current scientific literature and published their position statement that the age old advice is indeed old and outdated. It states, “Increasing meal frequency does not appear to favor change body composition in sedentary populations.”

Loss of Muscle

Another important concern with IF is the loss of lean body mass (muscle) as a result of prolonged periods of time without nutrients. To stabilize blood glucose levels, fasting will produce a shift in metabolism when glycogen stores are depleted. This process, known as gluconeogenesis, yields glucose at the expense of protein and fat substrates. So if you want to lean down and maintain muscle IF may present some challenges. Drinking lots of water and consuming branched chain amino acids have been documented strategies to avoid muscle loss during fasting.

I can’t eat with the family because I don’t eat anymore!

The social aspects of fasting makes it very limiting. Berardi jokes,” I can’t eat with the family ’cause I don’t eat anymore!” IF could affect your cognitive ability. Do you have any important decisions to make? (Like when you are going to start eating again;) Your decision making skills and judgement may be altered during a fast so Berardi cautions us to be aware of this for work and life responsibilities.

Excessive lifestyle stresses? A big question here as to coping might be better served with nutritionally relevant food vs. no food at all.

The fast or lower calories overall for weight loss?

Has a lower calorie intake been linked to longevity? Yes, but because of lower calories overall not through the restrictions of time with IF.

Could we just modify our existing lifestyle choices to trend us in the right direction? More great advice from Casey, “It’s foolish to impose a diet on yourself that you HATE doing! Thus choose the one that works best in YOUR life.”

I see the art of making good nutrition choices a lot easier than IF. It’s scaling the choices to reasonable levels for weight management and health that most struggle with. Eat to satisfy, with appropriate quantities and nutritional relevance. Eat at times that suit your lifestyle both socially and with performance activities in mind.

So just when did I eat and what??

No cinnamon buns today for me. It ended up being a sushi stop after the market but it’s not without a lot of thinking around why this was so difficult. Guess I should have packed a snack!

Key Finishing Point: Please consult a professional registered dietitian with education, experience, and credentials behind them if you need more information on this topic. Scope of practice is important to me. Providing you with information to make informed decisions is what is intended with this blog. A personalized nutrition program must take into consideration the demands and goals of an individual. Seek out professionals for professional advice. You can do it – and you should!

Written by: Sheila Hamilton July 2017

Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic on the Jon McComb show.  The Fitness Segment airs live every Thursday at 9:05 on CKNW 980 am.

References:

https://www.nsca.com/education/articles/kinetic-select/nutrition-professionals/

The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition Certification Manual and Workbook: p. 222

Learn More About Intermittent Fasting

https://www.nsca.com/education/articles/kinetic-select/nutrition-professionals/INTERMITTENT FASTING – AN UPDATE ON ITS EFFECTS ON ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE Author:ANDRES AYESTA, MS, RD, CSCS (-1)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4224222/ Evidence for Efficacy and Effectiveness of Changes in Eating Frequency for Body Weight Management

http://blog.nutribodies.com/18/intermittent-fasting-hype-hope-or-in-between Authour; Sean Casey

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3070624/: International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: meal frequency

www.nsca.com/uploadedFiles/NSCA/Resources/PDF/Education/Articles/Assoc_Publications_PDFs/coach_3.2-6_intermittent_fasting.pdf

How Healthy Are You Today? Canadian eh?

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Do you have a good plan that you are not executing, a plan that's not good, or no plan at all!

How healthy are you today? How do you measure your health? Is it the absence of disease or are there other measures that define your current state of health?

What kind of results are you looking for? Do you have a good plan that you are not executing, a plan that’s not good, or no plan at all?

Are you thinking years ahead, or months with this plan? Perhaps just weeks or days with no plan and just living it. Are you preventing disease and age related dysfunction?

Live in the day, think in the week, and plan in the years if you want to live long and healthy.

“At any age, and in nearly any state, the human animal is capable of an incredible amount of tissue repair and remodeling. The fact is our bodies will put up with silly movement and lifestyle choices because they have a freakish amount of functional tolerance built in,” states Dr. Kelly Starrett in his book Becoming a Supple Leopard.

 

True North and Strong

Let’s add a little Canada to this. How healthy a Canadian are you today? There are many ways of looking at the health of a population. The good news is that Canadians are living longer as our life expectancy has been increasing over the past decade and the gap between men and women has been narrowing. While Canadians are living longer it is important that they live longer in good health because of the implications on our health care system and the impact on future generations.

Four out of five Canadian adults have at least one or more modifiable risk factors for chronic disease:

  • High blood pressure (Hypertension in 70% of Canadians over age 65)
  • Prevalence of Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. (1 in 4 adults aged 20-34 smoke)
  • Obesity (high body fat % – 26.4% over age 18 are obese.)
  • Physical inactivity (75% of adults 35 + are inactive)
  • Prevalence of sedentary behaviour (Highest in youth aged 15-17 at 9.5 hours a day)
  • Excessive alcohol use. (30.6% aged 20-34 drink heavily)
  • Prevalence of Unhealthy Eating: diets low in fruits and vegetables, high in sodium and saturated fats (60.3% Canadians aged 12 and over eat less than 5 fruits and vegetables a day.)
  • Prevalence of Mood and Anxiety Disorders (Highest in adults aged 35-64, 10% of Canadians)

As well, 90% of Canadian children are not meeting current physical activity guidelines and 2.7 million of us have diabetes. The number of prevalent cases for diagnosed diabetes is projected to be over four million people by 2020.

Plan to Prevent

I’m suggesting you make a program for yourself. Call it “My Chronic Disease Prevention Program.” Factors that affect your individual health also affect those living around your influence. Whether it’s your children, parents or close friends, your prevention program can lead others into better overall health. Thinking of how impactful your influence can be on others may be a motivating factor for you. Making this connection and keeping it top of mind should help you make better decisions and keep yourself accountable to your goals.

What factors are limiting your health and fitness results? Which of these apply to you?

  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Dehydration
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Prolonged Sitting
  • Stress

Are your lifestyle choices trending you in the right direction? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you consider all the choices that are available to us on any given day. If you feel you could improve in some areas I suggest making small changes is the best way to achieve large long term results. Restrictive thinking, eating, and behavior may bring you some results in the short term but all will set us up for long term failure.

I want you to be stronger today for tomorrow’s challenges. This is a heartfelt message from me to you. My background in nursing ultimately led me to a breakdown of sorts as I continually witnessed disease, illness, and death. It was a breakdown and then a breakthrough as I came to realize that we all encounter challenges, and mine although unique to me are not unique in general. We all experience, feel, and deal with our challenges in different ways. It has given me empathy to the sick, and challenged those who don’t always deserve their circumstances, yet reveals the personal sharpness and leadership responsibility I put out there to share. Please don’t see this as judgement as we get enough of that. See this as reality. Set a realistic plan that puts reasonable amounts of movement to your body, food in your mouth, sleep for your soul, and stress you can manage.

It’s not without pain, sacrifice, and choice that we start to achieve the results we are looking for. There are no guarantees on your choices but holding yourself accountable to the changes you know you need to improve will in time get you trending in the right direction. There is no point in waiting any longer to start. The longer you drive away before turning around just makes the road back seem even harder to navigate. Start today.

The challenges we have faced to date are only part of the many we will encounter looking ahead. Even the best prepared event planner, plans for the unforeseen. There is no way of knowing what our future challenges will be so I encourage you to plan and prepare so that you can withstand and not become a victim from your own lack of accountability.

 

Small changes lead to big results

The things that stand between you and reaching your goals are your limiting factors. Identifying what they are and then developing strategies to make long lasting changes in your daily routine is key. The daily routine is where you live. Thinking for the weeks ahead, and planning in years is to be ready for the challenges that every tomorrow will bring in your future.

From meal planning to sleep planning if you don’t have a plan it’s likely that you need one if you want to improve and optimize your results.

What are your weakest links or limiting factors then? Pick one and start small with a plan to make some changes. Start with where you are today and build on this realistically.

Evaluate and repurpose your thinking to make the changes you need to change your health direction. Make new associations with the reasons behind your plan.

For example:

Lifting something heavy = improved bone density

Eating more vegetables = improved bowel function and decreased risk of colon cancers

Whether it’s for yourself or those within your influence you can change and become a healthier person as well as a healthier Canadian!

Becoming healthier today will help you prepare for tomorrows challenges. I know you can and you should!

Written by: Sheila Hamilton July 2017

Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic on the Jon McComb show.  The Fitness Segment airs live every Thursday at 9:05 on CKNW 980 am.

What You Can Do With Tools! Assisted Self Manual Therapy Explained

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Maintain and improve the quality of you and your tissues every day!

In an effort to start explaining this week’s topic I just kept taking breaks and going to the floor of my living room to actually do some release work in hopes that it might make this blog easier for you to understand as it’s a vast topic. You may think I mean stretching when I say “it” or release work, and although I think stretching (both static and dynamic) have their place that’s not what I mean here.

To explain it, feel it, and get results from it, we have to try to define what “it “really is? That’s not easy as I delve into the research on the meaning of “it” or “Self-myofascial Release” because 1) there is a lot of research 2) there is uncertainty in the research findings 3) I personally use it a lot and have experienced the benefits and 4) it comes in many shapes and sizes so defining it is very complicated.

I’ll start with researcher Chris Beardsley  whose own comprehensive review of Self-myofascial release has a mere 126 references and concludes:

Self-myofascial release is probably better termed “tool-assisted self-manual therapy” because of current uncertainty regarding its mechanisms of action. Using your own body weight combined with a tool to help you access and exert pressure on your tissues, you can work to release muscle tension, warm up your body and restore any imbalances in your muscle length-tension relationship. Injuries, overuse, and structural imbalances can lead to decreased performance and pain over the long term. So this is really a great idea in many ways to assist you on your health and fitness journey.

So there’s a start for us to get rolling on this topic and become more informed so we can all benefit from the time we dedicate to its practice.

Foam Rolling…..

It started as “foam rolling” and I was led to believe that is would really help my quad muscles from feeling so tight and it would reduce the sensation of pulling that I felt from my kneecaps. I was running a lot at the time and so I bought a foam roller and used it resulting in a lot of relief! Since then about 15 years have gone by and there has been explosion of rollers for sale commercially. Not only are there various types of materials and densities in the traditional roller, I’ve seen balls of many sizes, sticks and boxes that all essentially would be be considered tools to perform “self-manual therapy.”

Muscle and Fascia = Myofascial

The definitions that are currently used by researchers tell us that “myo” is our muscles, and fascia is a component of the connective tissue system in our body that forms a continuous three-dimensional matrix of structural support.

Myofascial release has become a term covering a wide variety of techniques that traditionally have been carried out by health practitioners such as massage therapists, physiotherapists, and chiropractors, among others who use their hands or tools/instruments to work on your soft tissue. It’s difficult to say whether it’s your muscle tissue, fascia, or a combination of both that is being treated. One has to first agree that something in the body feels tight, sensitive, or out of balance and that some kind of release will help to treat these issues.

“The sensations of pain that are caused by localized tightness in the fascia are generally referred to as “myofascial pain syndrome” and the localized tightness itself is thought to be caused by myofascial trigger points. Myofascial trigger points are more usually defined as “tender spots in discrete, taut bands of hardened muscle that produce local and referred pain.” (see review by Bron and Dommerholt, 2012/Chris Beardsley)

Many of us have been to a massage therapists or other health care providers for this kind of work, and because we felt the benefits of these visits, we have taken to self-myofascial release (the old foam rolling) or now the new catch phrase of “tool assisted self-massage.”

So if the benefits are there, and we have the research to back this up there is a lot to learn on how to take care of yourself using the various tools for self-release that are currently on the market. It surprises me the number of people who have still not really heard of this or are not aware of how the benefits could really help them. A few people might have heard a little or have an old foam roller collecting dust because they have not yet made the connection between their current state of fitness and their body “issues” and the growing support and research behind this topic. I encourage you to learn more about self-release and make this a permanent part of your fitness and health routine. In other words, dust off the rollers!

At it’s time! Fitness Results we encourage our clients to arrive before their session start time so they can work on their body and make some changes to the tissues. After doing this for a while you will start to notice that certain areas of your body may hold onto more tension than others and I would encourage you to spend more time working to release those places.

A little amount of basic strength is needed to get onto the roller on the floor so if you are starting out and very deconditioned this may present a few challenges until you become stronger. There are ways to use balls against the wall that are very effective and do not require one to get up and down from the floor.

Still not convinced? Then let’s look at a few more facts on the acute and chronic effects of self-release as it pertains to flexibility, athletic performance, balance, muscle soreness, and also your recovery, heart rate variability (HRV), and circulation.

Flexibility

Current best evidence points towards a neurophysiological mechanism involving muscle activity for acute changes, which differs from the way in which stretching is effective. Evidence suggests the combination of myofascial release and static stretching has positive outcomes for those requiring more flexibility.

Another key thing to note here links to earlier this year when it’s time! Fitness Results trainer and kinesiologist Andrea Brennan along with Niamh McGowan from Trimetrics Physiotherapy wrote on hypermobility syndrome in their blog Loose Joints? Don’t Overstretch.  Many people with hypermobility and Joint Hypermobility Syndrome have a strong desire to stretch. Stretching isn’t recommended because of laxity in the joints and so the urge to stretch should be replaced with rolling. We can say that self-myofascial release is recommended and thought to be beneficial to their condition as the mechanisms involved are different.

Another gem from Beardsley here shows that combining foam rolling and static stretching may add up to get you better results.

 

Athletic Performance

None of these studies found any adverse effects on athletic performance as a result of self-myofascial release. One study even found a benefit. This is in contrast to static stretching, which has often been found to decrease athletic performance.

Balance

There is very preliminary evidence that self-myofascial release might improve balance in chronic stroke patients, although the mechanisms by which might occur are unclear and the results must be confirmed in additional trials.

Muscle Soreness

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is pain in the muscles after a bout of exercise that may or may not be connected to actual underlying muscle damage, often where such exercise involved eccentric muscle actions or unaccustomed movements. DOMS commonly peaks 24 – 48 hours post-exercise.

Recovery, Heart Rate Variability, and Circulation

The mechanism by which myofascial release or self-myofascial release might improve blood flow is uncertain and may be multifactorial. There are indications that direct pressure could produce both a direct effect on tension in the smooth muscle of the arteries and also an increase in vasodilators, thereby enhancing blood flow.

Self-myofascial release may potentially: improve arterial stiffness, improve vascular endothelial function, reduce cortisol levels post-exercise, increase parasympathetic activity (high frequency HRV), and reduce sympathetic activity (low frequency HRV).

As much as these above affects are wanted and needed in many of us it’s still difficult to understand the exact mechanisms behind the success of employing these techniques on yourself. The exact mechanism by which self-myofascial release might affect either muscle and/or fascia in order to bring about these affects is still unknown and the topic is highly contentious, according to Beardsley.

Some of the current theories propose that there are mechanical, sensational, and neurophysiological mechanisms that could explain what happens for both the short and long term implementation and benefits of this practice.

Where to start?

  • From the bottom up or the top down – your choice!
  • Some common places: Feet, Calves, Shins, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gluteal/Hips, Back (avoid low back) , Lats, Shoulders, Arms, …the more you try the more effective you will be.
  • Slowly – Don’t make the mistake of going too fast and not making any change.
  • Sound effects allowed!
  • 10 passes in 10 places is a good starting point so that you can form an idea of where you personally hold tension. Everyone is different!
  • Be careful not to go too hard – yes you can bruise yourself and that’s not good.

Is there a whole body affect? Yes, I believe there is so don’t take this practice lightly. Commit to it and get the results. This is not a dusting over or a light pass-over. To be effective and change the quality of the tissues you must exert some pressure.

There are so many combinations and tools to use that I have included just a few pictures here to show you some options.

 

 

 

To do it or not to do it? I would like to encourage you to try it at least before passing judgement!  The investment in some tools (rollers, balls, and sticks) is small comparatively to individual massage and physio treatments. I know there is a place and need for their scope but if you respond to the benefits of their treatments perhaps you can lengthen the time needed between treatments or perhaps eliminate the need for additional therapy entirely.

Think of this as an investment in your body – time and effort to maintain and improve the quality of you and your tissues every day!

You can do it and you should! Now go and show me how you roll!

 

Written by: Sheila Hamilton July 2017

Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic on the Jon McComb show.  The Fitness Segment airs live every Thursday at 9:05 on CKNW 980 am.

References:

An Acute Bout of Self-Myofascial Release Increases Range of Motion Without a Subsequent Decrease in Muscle Activation or Force

MacDonald, Graham Z.; Penney, Michael D.H.; Mullaley, Michelle E.; Cuconato, Amanda L.; Drake, Corey D.J.; Behm, David G.; Button, Duane C.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2013 – Volume 27 – Issue 3 – p 812–821
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c2bc1
Original Research
Foam Rolling for Recovery and Performance :NSCA  PTQ 2.3 Authours Sean Kratchmen and Brian Jones

http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2013/03000/An_Acute_Bout_of_Self_Myofascial_Release_Increases.34.asp

The Effects of Myofascial Release With Foam Rolling on Performance

Healey, Kellie C.1; Hatfield, Disa L.1; Blanpied, Peter2; Dorfman, Leah R.1; Riebe, Deborah1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2014 – Volume 28 – Issue 1 – p 61–68
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182956569
Original Research

Foam rolling and self-myofascial release

 

Posture Snacks and a Cell Phone Diet

Golf Results: Distance, Direction, and Consistency

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" Your workout doesn't have to look or feel "golfish" to benefit your golf game." - C.W.

it’s time! again to talk golf and get excited about improving your distance, direction, and consistency and decreasing your risk of injury.

If these sound like things you would like to improve, then read on because in today’s world of golf you need a team approach if you want to be major player. I’m excited to share because I know that improving your fitness will improve your golf and I just love this because as I write I have a a hint of a smile knowing that we have lots to do here that can help you.

Golf isn’t just a leisure time activity to most that enjoy the game. There are so many aspects of the game that are good for your health but can also be bad for your health if you are playing without the knowledge of knowing the difference.

We can look at the traditional aspects of player development such as equipment, basic instruction, shot making skills, course management and psychological. And with the help of a golf professional on your team addressing these aspects you will improve your game. But if we don’t look at your physical conditioning, and in my opinion prioritize it, then you’re are going to come up short in the long game.

Why conditioning is so important

The golf swing itself is very technically demanding and complex. There are many ways to swing a golf club well, as evidenced by looking at how differently all the top players swing. But remember how you swing a club is based on what you can do physically. So if we identify and work on your physical limitations then we will improve the efficiency of your swing as well as improve other aspects of your game because there is more to it than just a good swing.

Your physical limitations affect your swing mechanics, performance, and increase your risk of injury. Are you Golf Fit?  The connection between your best round and your fitness was a topic that I wrote on last year. This year I’m even more convinced I can help improve your game for a few reasons. One is a continued relationship with Jeri O’Hara a local Class “A” LPGA Teaching Professional. Jeri wishes “All students would really understand how being fit is totally related to their success in golf. Most students don’t understand the association.”

The benefits of improving your physical condition are worth a close look if you are one of the people Jeri is talking about.  It’s more than reducing the risk of injury although that’s certainly a huge factor. It comes back to the top three things O’Hara says her students want: distance, direction, and consistency.

Benefits of Improved Physical Conditioning

Decreased Injury Risk means less pain and more time on the green.

Decreasing your risk of injury is an important consideration if your passion for the game is long term. Many people may think of golf as less physically demanding than most sports but in fact that is not true!  The golf swing is a complex series of integrated motions, involving a range of muscles and joints, where significant forces of up to 8 times of your bodyweight can be experienced. The most common injury sites are to the back, followed by the wrist, elbow, and shoulders. Depending on the frequency of your practice and games the number of swing repetitions can really add up to a lot of repetitive stress.

More Power in Your Swing means more distance

To enhance power in the golf swing, strength and power development should target whole-body, multi joint exercises that promote force transfer along the kinetic chain. However, there is often a consensus for training the “core” in isolation to generate high levels of force in rotational sports. This may not be the optimal approach, as exercises that elicit repeated simultaneous flexion and rotations in the lower-back (lumbar spine) increase the chance of spinal injury

Good kinematic sequencing and segmental stabilization is the key to accurate direction

When joints work together and movement is both mobile and stable in the right places the ability to direct the ball straight to the hole is what happens. Accessing the range of motion of joints that are locked up and muscles that are tight is going to take some effort but progress can be made. Get the ball straight where you want it, not to the left or right of it because you missed again.

The way in which you transfer speed generated in the body to the club head is known as the kinematic sequence. Good kinematic sequencing is key to consistent and accurate ball striking. Good ball strikers share remarkably similar kinematic sequencing, although visually their swings may look different, the timing of transfer of energy through the body and into the club remains consistent.

Kinetic Sequence

  1. Energy initiation -back swing
  • Lower body/hips
  • Thorax/torso
  • Arms
  • Club

2. Deceleration – same sequence, down swing

  • Each segment builds on the last one, adding to speed and force
  • Each segment slows down as the next one accelerates
  • Sequence is key to repeatability and consistency

Segmental Stabilization

Mobility and Stability in a joint by joint approach is what we refer to as segmental stabilization. Mobility is the joint range of motion and muscular flexibility. Stability equals the ability to maintain alignment in the presence of external forces. Optimal alignment can decrease the risk of injury. The joint by joint theory alternates mobile joints with joints requiring more stability for optimal movement. For example: Mobile ankles, stable knees, mobile hips, stable low back, and so on up the chain.

Consistency

Consistency comes with removing or improving the physical limitations that limit your ability to improve your swing flaws

Your physical limitations are in turn the underlying root of your swing flaws.  Ideally, we are looking for a balance in your movement patterns as well as solid competency in their execution, and often that is not what we see when completing movement assessments. Movements such as hinge, squat, push, pull, crawl, carry and core will provide a strong training foundation from which to develop sequential kinetic chain linking. It has been reported that the core is not a power generator, as power is generated in the hips and transmitted through a stable core. This makes me want to train my hips more!

There are many considerations to consider when programming for golf fitness.  I like to think of programming as human specific and goal related rather than golf specific. Call it what you will, the end result is something that shows in the score, game after game improving your handicap.

  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Power
  • Aerobic
  • Core box
  • Balance
  • Breathing
  • Recovery
  • Fueling for Performance. (Nutrition)

In his article “5 Myths About Golf Fitness”  author Clinton Shum saves the best Myth for last. He uses a quote from movement guru Charlie Weingroff that I love. ” Your workout doesn’t have to look or feel “golf-ish” to benefit your golf game.” You don’t have to mimic the golf swing in the gym to get golf fit and I believe you shouldn’t!  Below Shum explains why:

Golf-fish” exercises can be detrimental to your swing, despite the best intentions. You will have competing motor demands. Basically, in your attempt to replicate the swing, your brain files that information in the golf swing folder. After performing numerous altered swing patterns in the gym, these habits will cross over into your swing, impacting your mechanics. With the additional weight attached, you may sacrifice technique and stability in an attempt to mold that sought after swing position, in the process making unnecessary compensations. The best way to enhance the body to optimize performance is to develop sufficient stability, mobility and strength in a holistic manner, focusing on improving human movement quality such as squatting, lunging, hip hinging, pulling and pushing. When you become proficient in these movements, that movement literacy will carry over into you being able to meet the physical demands of the swing.

 

So there you have some key ideas for improving your distance, direction, and consistency on the course while decreasing your risk of injury.
Get training soon and see the results in your body and score!

My TPI Certification is current and I’m excited to be hosting a workshop at it’s time! Fitness Results on Sunday July 9 th with some special guests. I would love to see you there!

Written by: Sheila Hamilton Copyright June 2017 Notes from Andrea Brennan – thank you.

 

Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic on the Jon McComb show.  The Fitness Segment airs live every Thursday at 9:05 on CKNW 980 am.

References

http://www.mytpi.com/experts/sheila%40itstimefitnessresults.com

http://www.mytpi.com/articles/fitness/improving_from_the_ground_up_how_the_function_of_the_ankle_and_foot_influence_your_swing?search=direction%20of%20ball

Power Development for Golf

Morrison, Scot D. PT, DPT, CSCS1; Chaconas, Eric J. PT, DPT, CSCS2

doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000066
Article

http://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Fulltext/2014/08000/Power_Development_for_Golf.6.aspx

Core Muscle Activation and Activity Throughout the Different Phases of the Golf Swing: A Literature Review

Loock, Henriëtte V. MSc; Grace, Jeanne M. PhD; Semple, Stuart J. MTech, PhD

doi: 10.1519/SSC.0b013e3182a5601b
Article
Strength and Conditioning Considerations for Golf (-1)

Read, Paul J. MSc, CSCS1; Lloyd, Rhodri S. PhD, CSCS*D2

doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000062
Article

http://itstimefitnessresults.com/2016/05/18/golf-fit-the-connection-between-your-best-round-and-fitness/

http://www.mytpi.com/articles/fitness/5_myths_about_golf_fitness

http://www.mytpi.com/articles/fitness/every_golfer_can_learn_from_justin_rose’s_approach_to_fitness

Want Stronger Bones?

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Lifting Iron! The Real Bone Strengthening Hero

Osteoporosis is a metabolic skeletal disorder that causes low bone mineral density (BMD), reduced bone strength, and increased bone fragility over time. Reduced bone mineral density makes your bones susceptible to fractures. This is a disease in which I share a family history of as both my mother and aunt had osteoporosis and battled the disease for years.

Osteoporosis affects 200 million people worldwide, both men and women, and if you think you are too young to worry about it, I suggest you think again because preventing this disease is something you should be starting in your thirties or younger as bone remodeling begins to decline. Facts point to more women suffering bone fractures than men, but in Canada we are looking at 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 8 men having a fracture over the age of 50!

My aunt once allowed me to take this picture of her with the promise I would put it to some good one day. So here I share it with you knowing that the image is one of a woman who certainly did not enjoy any aspect of what this bone disease brought her.

Aunty Doris!

Strength and Conditioning professionals have known that traditional guidelines suggest that resistance training would be a key component in improved bone health. Recent evidence has suggested that greater benefits may be achieved with a combination of controlled higher impact (loading) exercise and resistance training. (-1) This newer evidence recommending higher intensities combined with physician clearance should improve the efficacy of programming.

The Official Diagnosis:

Bone Mineral Density is commonly measured by a DXA scanner to obtain an official diagnosis of Osteoporosis. The results are primarily expressed as a T-Score from the scan to the spine or hip.

The World Health Organization defines osteoporosis as a spinal or hip BMD of greater than or equal to 2.5 standard deviations below the mean for healthy, young women. (T-score of −2.5 SD or below)

The Z-score, (another interpretation value obtained from a DXA scan), is a comparison of a person’s bone density with that of a person of the same age and sex, which is often used to scrutinize one’s BMD for secondary conditions such as illness or disease.

Another classification used to describe impaired BMD is osteopenia, which is characterized by BMD that is lower than normal (T-score between −1 and −2.5 but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis). Clients who have osteopenia are at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis over time.

What is the difference between osteoporosis and osteoarthritis?

Despite the fact that osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are completely different conditions, they are frequently confused because the names are similar. Osteoporosis is a bone disease. Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints and surrounding tissue. Rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the lining of the joints, is another common form of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, which leads to the thinning or destruction of the cartilage, causing painful irritation of the joints and adjacent bone tissue. Bony growths may occur because of the abnormal rubbing together of bones.

Osteoarthritis:

  • Most often affects the hips, knees, fingers, feet or spine
  • Can be painful
  • Can be attributed to factors such as heredity, obesity and overuse or injury of joints

 

Types of Osteoporosis:

The current body of literature describes 3 common types of osteoporosis: primary, senile, and secondary.

Primary (Type 1) or postmenopausal osteoporosis is the most common type of osteoporosis which results in trabecular (spongy) bone loss. Because estrogen deficiency is believed to be the main underlying cause for this form of osteoporosis women are 8 times more likely to get primary osteoporosis than men. After the age of 45 when estrogen production slows and menopause begins a loss in bone density can begin and may lead to a 2–3% loss in bone density in the first 5 years after menopause. In men, bone loss (e.g., trabecular thinning) accelerates around the age of 45–50 years when there is a reduction of testosterone production.

Senile (Type II) osteoporosis often occurs after the age of 70 years, which results in both cortical (hard) and trabecular (spongy) bone loss. Women are 2 times more likely to suffer from senile osteoporosis than men and this form of osteoporosis often results from an age related vitamin D deficiency.

Secondary osteoporosis can occur at any age and is often caused by chronic diseases, endocrinopathies, metabolic conditions, nutritional deficiencies or absorption disorders, alcoholism, and certain medications.

 

What causes osteoporosis?

No single cause for osteoporosis has been identified. However these risk factors do seem to play a role in the development of the disease. Recognizing the risk factors may be valuable in terms of early detection and management of the disease. (-2)

Risk factors for primary Osteoporosis are:
  • Increasing age
  • Race: Caucasian or Asian
  • Nonuse of hormone replacement therapy in women
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Excessive alcohol use (more than 2 drinks per day)
  • Excessive coffee use (more than 5 cups per day)
  • Tobacco use
  • Certain medications
  • History of falls
  • Low calcium or Vitamin D intake
  • Personal fracture or family history of osteoporotic fractures
  • Low body mass (less than 127 lbs BMI or less than   25.1 kg/m2)

 

Management: Whoa there are options!

Well as I see it there are several areas you can look into for management of this disease. Consultation with your medical and health professionals are needed as well your own ability to advocate for your health by education and behavior modification.

1 – Reducing Risk Factors:

The first step would be to take a look at your risk factors and decide if there are any lifestyle modifications needed to reduce or eliminate your risks.

 

2 – Drug therapies:

There are several medications and dietary supplements that are used for the prevention and/or treatment of osteoporosis which include: bisphosphonates, calcitonin, and estrogen therapies.  All of these medications must be prescribed by your physician.

 

3 – Supplements:

The supplements that claim to help with Osteoporosis are vast and somewhat controversial. Calcium and Vitamin D are the main ones and the difficulty is in finding the consensus on type and dosage. Elemental calcium is key because it’s the actual amount of calcium in the supplement. It’s what your body absorbs for bone growth and other health benefits.

These over the counter (OTC) supplements are widely available so I suggest consulting a pharmacist or naturopath to review the choices you are putting the money into. This is definitely something to have a professional advice you on. Remember to tell your doctor what supplements you are taking as many calcium supplements for example interact with other common prescription medications.

The bioavailability of calcium is a term used to describe how much is available for the body to use as some food combinations and medications decrease how much your body can actually use.   Retaining the calcium you have ingested can be affected by salt and caffeine so these are factors to consider if your overall plan is using supplements to meet your daily requirements.

The recommended daily allowance and the upper level your body needs specifically are two considerations to address with your health professionals.

 

4 – Nutrition:

Nothing beats and well-rounded nutrition plan with lots of protein and vegetables. Dietary calcium is generally safe, but more isn’t necessarily better, and excessive calcium doesn’t provide extra bone protection. If you take calcium supplements and eat calcium-fortified foods, you may be getting more calcium than you realize.

There are three factors that are important in determining how much calcium we obtain from foods. We need to have enough vitamin D to promote absorption. The second factor is how much calcium is in the serving of food, and the third, whether the calcium is bioavailable as mentioned above.

Dark green leafy vegetables

Sure you can get calcium from dairy but the darker green vegetables can also help you meet your requirements.

Try some figs

If you’re looking for bone-strengthening fruits, figs should be near the top of your shopping list. Five medium fresh figs have around 90 milligrams of calcium and other skeleton-saving nutrients like potassium and magnesium. Fresh figs are grown in California through the summer and fall, but you can find them dried all year. And dried ones are just as good: Half a cup of dried figs have 120 milligrams of calcium.

Pass the potato

Two lesser known nutrients that help keep bones healthy are magnesium and potassium. If you’re low on magnesium, you can have problems with your vitamin D balance, which may affect your bone health. Potassium neutralizes acid in your body that can leach calcium out of your bones. One delicious way to get some of both of those nutrients is by eating a baked medium-size sweet potato with no salt, which has 31 milligrams of magnesium and 542 milligrams of potassium.

Canned fish with the bones ..if you can eat that!

Salmon and other types of fatty fish offer an array of bone-boosting nutrients. They contain vitamin D, which helps your body use calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.  Three ounces of canned salmon has 183 milligrams of calcium, and if  you can try and eat some of the small soft bones that get included in the canning process.

 

5 – Exercise Programming

Current evidence suggests a combined program of higher impact or loading activities and higher intensity resistance training is superior because of the benefits of improving BMD versus resistance training alone. (-3)

The higher loading of the musculoskeletal system forces the bone to adapt. (Wolff’s law) The imposed demand stimulates osteoblast activity to remodel and strengthen the bone. the bone remodels itself over time.

Despite these benefits I would recommend that strength training is programmed and monitored closely by a fitness professional. There are many movements that are currently considered to be controversial if you have a high risk of spinal fracture. (Flexion and rotation of the spine for example.) One has to build strength gradually and in a safe controlled environment as to not create a new problem while trying to improve on another one. The high risk of injury is the reason why many who suffer from osteoporosis have a fear of the gym, moving in general and lifting anything heavy. It would now seem that the very things that have been feared and avoided are those which should be done to get results.

Before implementing an exercise program, it is advised that physician clearance is obtained. Understanding the risk for fracture is key and liaising with your doctor is something any fitness professional should be able to do.

Please remember to share your medication history with your fitness professional.  It’s important for so many reasons. Often it is recored during the initial visit and updates are forgotten.

Stay current and safe and get stronger bones!

Written by: Sheila Hamilton Copyright June 2017.

Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic on the Jon McComb show.  The Fitness Segment airs live every Thursday at 9:05 on CKNW 980 am.

Do You Know Where You Stand and How to Improve It?

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The Basics of Good and Bad Posture

Do you know where you stand in terms of your posture? Is it good or bad? Is there room for improvement?

A lot of attention has been given lately to posture and the difficulties of maintaining and improving it. Our societies shift to an “electronic and sitting world” works against our human structure of being balanced and moving in the ways it was intended making it hard to be good.

What is balanced anatomy and good posture?

Who should we look to for the answers because as I see it there are several ways we can discuss posture, and it can be simple or it can get really complicated. Few norms have been established that are scientifically backed. What’s good and bad is largely based on a visual analysis which is subjective and influenced by the experience and education of the professional you are working with.

As expected in these times we have many posture apps that will analyze and tell you how bad things really are. Where you are today is a reflection of your genetics, habits, history and environment from not just now but going back to your birth.  Early rolling and crawling patterns, walking to running development, and growth patterns have all contributed to your posture today. Your injuries and history all play a part in how your posture would be considered good or bad.

From the book Anatomy Trains, author Thomas Myers reminds us “There is no virtue involved in having a symmetrical, balanced structure. Everyone has a good story and good stories always involve some imbalance. There is no moral advantage to being straight and balanced.” And I add you may have bad posture but you can still be a nice person!

What’s your postural vocabulary?

Let’s go over the terms so at least in an effort to say yours is good or bad we are on the same page. This is the start of the confusion I see because you could have good posture standing and bad posture sitting or sleeping. Then there’s movement. Everything from an easy walk to sport specific movement analysis. The golf and tennis swing, soccer, sailing and cycling positions all can be looked at here. You can see pretty quickly that there are many variables and hence many more terms than simply good of bad.

Left – Right – Forward – Back – Straight – Bent – Tilted – Rotated – Shifted

Then there are the more standard postural adjectives:

Anterior – Posterior – Superior – Inferior – Medial – Lateral.

Good posture should have evenness of tone, length of muscles, ease, and generosity of movement. (-1)

We can also look at specific body parts. Are we are looking at just your head or your head related to your torso?  Perhaps your head is tilted to the left and your ribs to the right? Compared to what? We must be careful who and what we compare ourselves to.

Keep in mind we are not static and fixed creatures but dynamic and neurologically adaptive ones. As we attempt to classify and put you in a box of good or bad and needing correction I caution the trainers that I mentor to remember that we don’t have a looking glass. Getting so specific on the reason we are “compensating” and “imbalanced” and in discomfort can be a slippery slope in my opinion. Thinking of your posture as having severe faults will only limit your ability to improve them.

Every movement you do is trying to help you move better. The sooner you start to think of movement like this your “compensations” will take a new place in your mind and repair.  Something is holding on to your hip like that so something else doesn’t fall apart! Getting rid of the tension is Step 1, getting rid of why there was tension in the first place is step 2-10. And this usually needs repeating as it took you awhile for your body to get that way. It’s not simply going to change with only one nudge in the good posture direction.

One thing I’d like to remind you of here is that I’m a trainer and although I could pull out a goniometer to determine the precise degrees of rotation of you neck, shoulder, hip or ankle, I often don’t. I can work with simple assessments to find the clients limitations and program to improve them using efficient exercises that are within the clients ability and progressed appropriately. Assisting someone to move better and improve their posture is a privilege and one hopes than with so many factors involved the process will yield results. Results for goals in the sport of life, sport specific, or sport of aging with a good handle on nutrition, sleep, movement, and mindset are what I want for us all.

What can you do? What do you envision for yourself?

Sarah Cahill, strength coach with Women’s USA Hockey says she has a saying: ”You can’t be it if you can’t see it.” (-2) I’m here to tell you that with a commitment to movement you can change and improve your posture every day.

Is what you are doing working for you? Whether you are working with a professional or not ask yourself the age old question: Am I getting a training effect? Am I seeing results? Assessment, evaluation, and revision of the plan may be needed if your answers are not what you are looking for. Doing the same thing over and over and not getting results is a waste of your time.

  • Can you do a push up, a pull up and crawl?
  • Can you touch your toes? You should be able to.
  • Can you look over your shoulder, side to side and up and down without restriction or pain?
  • Can you pull a sweater over your head without pain?
  • Can you pick up something heavy? How heavy without hurting yourself?
  • Do you have pelvic floor issues and do you know these could be improved with posture and core work?
  • Can you squat down without rounding your back and having your heels lift off the floor?
  • Do you ever go barefoot and work on your balance?
  • Can you get up and down from the floor easily?
  • Can you kneel?

Who sets the limitations on your goals? You do!

Working to improve you mobility, stability and strength will all improve your posture. Visualize your improvements and set some goals for yourself that you never thought possible.

You can do it – and you should.

 

Written by: Sheila Hamilton Copyright June 2017

Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic on the Jon McComb show.  The Fitness Segment airs live every Thursday at 9:05 on CKNW 980 am.

Anatomy Trains :Thomas Myers  2009 Page 229-232 (-1)

Dynamic Aging Katy Bowman Copyright 2017 p 120

(-2) below:

 

Physical Preparation with Chris Chase

 

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