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Warming Up

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

Warming Up:

“Getting Active”, our earlier blog, spoke about the importance of being active to help us stay prepared for life’s challenges. Most people who’ve tried sport at any level know that warming up for a strenuous or repetitive task is important, both for reducing injuries and hitting peak performance. We naturally tend to do it before exercise or sport, but sometimes forget to apply the rule to other activities which may cause injury.

Things like renovating, vigorous garden work or household chores, heavy lifting or even leisure activities like trail walks; all present injury risk because they apply stress to our bodies in ways which we may not be used to or prepared for.

For a long time stretching was the go to warm up move, but we have recently discovered it gives no injury prevention benefit. Stretching is better when cooling down or for recovery, but can still be useful for warming up if combined with other techniques, and if the stretch is not exaggerated or held more than a few seconds. We know now that the best way to warm up for these risky activities are:

  • 1.For complicated activities that may have awkward positions, slowly mimic the movement pattern of the activity. For example a few slow air squats and /or sidebends before picking something up, or slowly raising your arms like a rainbow, or with a broomstick, before overhead activities.
  • 2.Before heavy lifting, or running or athletic activity, do something to test your balance. This makes sure both sides of your core, legs and arms are activated and working in co-ordination. Stand upright on one leg, and try squatting a little next to a wall, with only a few fingers touching the wall to help your balance. The side that needs your whole hand leaning on the wall needs more warming up until you feel even.
  • 3.During your warm up and the activity itself, imagine and visualise the movement, and yourself doing it. Picture the muscles and areas of your body working as you do the movement, as this helps your brain pattern and perform the movement better.

As you get stuck into another household or garden project, or as you get healthy again with exercise or sport, don’t let injury get in your way. Get serious about warming up to get the most out of yourself every time, all the while hurting less as you do. If you have any questions about warming up and getting active, chat to Kyle by giving us a call at King Street Natural Health Centre (02 46208630).

Sources:

The effectiveness of neuromuscular warm-up strategies, that require no additional equipment, for preventing lower limb injuries during sports participation: a systematic review - Katherine Herman, Christian Barton, Peter Malliaras and Dylan Morrissey (BMC Medicine)

Image: Training Think Tank Blog

Diet to Reduce Inflammation

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

Did you know that your last meal choice may contribute to the severity of your headache, low back pain and just about any other pain in your body? This is due to inflammation, our body’s natural healing mechanism. Short term inflammation protects an injured area from further damage (with pain) and ultimately heals the injury over time. Uncontrolled long term, or chronic, inflammation may be responsible, at least partly, for most of the long term conditions we deal with regularly.

Inflammation and immunity is partly dependant on a healthy gut. Your gut maintains health by digesting foods which help regulate and reduce inflammation, as well as by maintaining a healthy environment for the good bacteria, or gut flora, which naturally live there. “Good” foods tend to be foods that reduce inflammation, while “unhealthy” foods increase inflammation, according to Harvard Medical School.

Anti-inflammatory foods include nuts, fish, leafy vegetables and fruit. Pro-inflammatory foods include refined carbs (like bread), soda, fried foods and processed meats. Most people eat too much inflammatory foods and not enough anti-inflammatory foods, so even though we need both, reducing the refined, processed stuff usually helps most people feel significantly better.

Research from multiple sources, including the International Journal of Food Microbiology, show findings of eating fermented foods being associated with reducing inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcers and IBS, as well as preventing allergies in infants. Fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut, or fermented dairy such as yogurt or kafir, allow for better vitamin and mineral absorption, prevent bad bacterial attacks on the gut and protect and strengthen the gut wall to help keep it healthy.

So by reducing inflammatory foods and increasing anti-inflammatory and fermented foods, you can improve general wellbeing, immunity, reduce pain and inflammation in the gut and body, and even possibly prevent allergies for your children. That’s happy healthy eating. If you have any questions about eating to reduce joint and body pain, ask Kyle at King Street Natural Health Centre.

Sources:

www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation

https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-fermented-foods/

Getting Active

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

Getting Active:

“If exercise could be purchased as a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine today.” (Robert Butler, Professor of Geriatrics).

It has been well known since the 50’s that daily physical activity drastically improves many aspects of life over the sedentary lifestyle. In fact, recent review of the evidence in Australia shows that physically active people have 30% better survivability against the most common causes of mortality than those who are sedentary. That statistic applies across all age groups, is similar for men and women, different nationalities and to people of any weight range. Basically it’s for everyone!

You can enjoy these health benefits quite easily by following some simple government guidelines for health. First, try to see movement as an opportunity to improve your health (because it is), as opposed to a “chore” or “waste of time”. Next, try to be as active as you can on a daily basis, as in avoid the lift and take the stairs, or schedule a daily walk into your routine before or after work. Finally, aim to get 30 minutes of moderate activity in per day, even if it’s spread over 2 or 3 separate sessions!

By starting slow and working yourself up to the above recommendations, you can enjoy much improved survivability and quality of life. Doesn’t seem too difficult right? If your lifestyle allows, it is also recommended to enjoy some vigorous exercise in pursuit of fitness or activity goals. This doesn’t only mean hitting the gym 3 times a week. The best workout is the one you keep doing, so extra activities should be doing things you enjoy safely (e.g. team sports, bushwalks), with gym workouts supplementing those enjoyable things, or helping to prevent injury while doing them.

Comment here about activities you regularly enjoy doing or active habits you find are easy to pick up, help your friends get active too! If you have any questions about getting more active, safe exercises or getting back into it after being sedentary, ask Kyle at King Street Natural Health Centre.

Breathing

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

 

Did you know the way you breathe when you’re stressed may be a cause of your pain? We take 23000 breaths a day, which are affected by mood, conversation and level of exertion, so the manner in which we breathe heavily affects energy, muscle stiffness and pain on a daily basis. Studies have shown a strong connection between diaphragm activation (your breathing muscle) and core stability, so lower back pain can be reduced and prevented first by practising the correct breathing patterns.

As we’ve seen from Yoga for thousands of years, as well as more recently with Pilates, breathing patterns can directly affect muscle tightness. These activities serve to settle and improve the muscles. Conversely, a faulty breathing pattern caused by stress can stiffen and worsen muscle condition. This is further worsened by the fact that breathing is so automatic that we can go for weeks and months retaining this stress-breathing pattern. This long-term stress state can make “mountains out of molehills” for new and existing injuries, making them more painful and debilitating, and extending their healing time.

Most people think a deep breath fills the chest, but in reality it is much deeper. A healthy deep breath STARTS in the chest, engages the whole abdomen and lower back, and fills all the way down to the pelvic floor. Learning how to breathe like this will provide more energy and improved performance, increased core stability and will prevent and protect against injury. To learn more about breathing, how NOT to stress breathe and how to breathe for better core stability, come visit Kyle at King Street Natural Health Centre.

(Image taken from pinnaclehealth.org)


 

Magnesium

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

Every day in clinic, we are asked about how to reduce inflammation, be it general or specific, in our bodies. I often ask in return: “Do you take Magnesium?” and while some already do, most say “no” or “I eat bananas often”. But why should people supplement Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral always present in our bodies, involved in over 300 bodily processes. While bananas do contain it, the best sources are nuts, leafy vegetables, beans and other foods rich in dietary fibre. It is involved in healthy function of bones, muscles, nerves, and Magnesium deficiency may be linked to fatigue, numbness, spasm, tingling and heart problems.

There has been little study done on Magnesium’s effects on the body, however most recently the evidence has grown and there many profound benefits. Some studies suggest that simple Magnesium treatment assisted in rapid recovery of major depression. It has also been suggested that Magnesium supplementation may assist recovery of mild traumatic brain injury by reducing inflammation. Studies have also found it may help people with migraines and osteoporosis.

Although many people report it helps with restless legs and muscle spasm, studies on this are limited at present. Given that it helps us in so many ways, if you experience any of the things mentioned here, or if your diet may lack Magnesium, why not try supplementing it? Magnesium citrate, amino acid chelate, orotate or glycinate (on the labels) are the best forms to try for the best absorption. If you have any questions about Magnesium, or other supplements, ask Kyle at King Street Natural Health Centre.

Sources:

-National Institute of Health: Magnesium Fact Sheet for Healthcare Professionals

-Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment –George Eby Research for Medical Hypotheses 2006 (67)

-Magnesium for Muscle Cramps – Cochrane Systematic Reviews

-Image: https://bebrainfit.com/magnesium-anxiety-stress/