Its golf season again, are you ready for it? While golf may not challenge your fitness like other sports, it is very demanding on certain areas of the body – especially to the ligaments, stabilizing muscles, and joint surfaces of your hips, spine and shoulders. Taking some time to specifically condition these areas of your body can go a long way to making the most of your game. Many people say that golf is “a long walk…spoiled”, come see Dr. Ryan Oughtred for his Golf assessment this spring/ summer to make of most of your long walk!
Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’
Top 3 Recommendations for Weight Loss:
Before writing this article, a personal trainer had asked to me jot down 3 recommendations that I would have for someone that wanted to lose weight. My recommendations were:
1. If you want to lose weight fast, you have to measure your caloric intake and eat less. You can count your calories outright or you can use a system like weight watchers, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you learn which foods have the most calories and which ones have the least.
2. Balance your hormones, be healthy and decrease your stress. Seeing a professional to make sure you don’t have any health obstacles to losing weight can help to make the process safer and may increase your long term success rate. For instance, certain medications and even high levels of stress can throw off your hormones and slow down your metabolism.
3. For prevention of weight gain long term, make physical activity a part of your everyday or weekly routine and stick to it. Make an effort to search out activities that you enjoy, otherwise you probably will not follow through with them over time.
I think I said a lot of useful things within the few words that I had used!
The Magic Weight Loss Formula:
There is still no magic formula for weight loss, sorry. Here it is:
Calories In < Calories Out
Most people fail on both sides of the above equation, meaning they eat too many calories and they exercise too little. Some people stay thin by eating very little, some stay thin because they have a higher resting metabolism that leads to more calories burned each day, and some burn large amounts of calories by exercising a lot. Medications or illnesses can decrease your amount of ‘calories out’; for instance, having thyroid problems or taking certain medications such as antidepressants or contraceptives can lead to weight gain. There can be many reasons for an imbalance in your formula, but in the end you simply must not consume more calories than your body is able to expend in a given period of time if you wish to lose weight. Diet: The Easiest and Fastest Way to Lose Weight The preferred method for weight loss is to diet – decreasing the amount of calories coming in is much easier than increasing the amount of calories going out, and it eliminates much of the risk of injury that can be incurred when someone who is both out of shape and unfit embarks on a new exercise plan. That said, if you are willing to spend the time to learn how to exercise right, you can lose significant amounts of weight by exercising, but you have exercise a lot. Let’s say you want to lose 1-2 lbs of weight per week. That means you need to remove roughly 500-1000 kCal/ day from your diet each day, or exercise for the equivalent amount. For a 150 lb. woman to burn 700 kCal she would have to cycle for roughly 30 km’s. A beginner would likely take more than 2 hours to ride that far. Or she could simply remove 2 slices of bread, 2 slices of cheese, 1 cup of orange juice, and one cookie from her diet and get the same results. Also, dieting usually leads to less cravings and feelings of hunger than an increase in exercise usually does. To top it all off, dieting aggressively is stressful, and the added stress of large amounts of exercise can lead to too much stress on the body. I am not saying that you shouldn’t exercise while you lose weight – you should, but the focus should be on diet if you plan to lose weight quickly. My approach is to use the weight loss period to prepare the individual for an increase in exercise at the cessation of their diet. You can use the weight loss period to work on your low intensity cardio, flexibility, joint stability, posture, and your alignment for proper squatting, lunging, running, pushing, pulling and other movements. Once the diet is done, you will enter your exercise program better prepared both physically and mentally. Is it dangerous to lose weight quickly? Will I gain it all back if I go too fast? As long as your body gets the essential nutrients it needs to prevent deficiency, you can reasonably lose weight as fast as you like. Consuming liberal amounts of low calorie veggies, adequate amounts of lean proteins, and small amounts of essential fats and fruits will ensure that you get what you need. That said, you will slow your metabolism down with an aggressive diet, so you will need to focus aggressively on increasing your muscle mass and increasing your metabolism after an aggressive diet so that you don’t gain the weight back. Regular exercise is the best medicine for preventing weight gain. A faster metabolism from regular exercise will buy you more ‘wiggle room’ in your diet so that you will not have to work as hard long term to keep your calories under control. Most yo-yo dieters have poor lifestyles and they usually don’t exercise regularly. Don’t be one of those people! Depending on the size of the person, the minimum amount of calories you should probably consume on a diet lies somewhere between 600 to 1500 kCal’s. If you decide to lose weight quickly and aggressively (>2 lbs per week), then I suggest you consult a professional during the process.
Aerobic Exercise Is King
During the weight loss process, aerobic exercise is king, hands down. Aerobic metabolism burns fat while anaerobic metabolism burns carbohydrates for energy. Aerobic exercise allows you to do more work in a shorter period of time, whereas strength training and even high intensity interval workouts require that you take too much rest during the workout. Aerobic exercise is also much less stressful to the your body, so it does not exacerbate the stress of your diet as much as anaerobic exercise does.
Is there any use for anaerobic exercise? Yes, it is not very useful in the short term for weight loss, but it can be very effective long term at increasing your maximal energy output during a workout – for instance, if you do high intensity intervals from time to time, your pace when doing a 30 minute run will be much quicker, and thus you will be able to run further and burn more calories. Also, strength training increases your muscle mass, which can increase your resting metabolism and allow you to burn more calories while you rest. Who doesn’t want to burn more calories when they sleep? It almost seems like cheating!
Running or cycling makes me bored. Is there something else I can do for Cardio?
Absolutely, it doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do for your cardiorespiratory exercise, you just have to increase your heart rate to a point where your breathing is deep, regular and it would be difficult for you to carry on a conversation without some interruptions in your speech. With this criteria in mind, your exercise could be brisk walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, swimming, or organized sports such as soccer, hockey, or squash. Even weight lifting sessions are acceptable, provided you do not take too much rest between sets and you use full body types of activities that get your heart rate up.
Investing in a heart rate monitor is a great way to turn the exercises that you enjoy into a good cardio workout. For instance, you may really enjoy horseback riding, and would like the make that your cardio workout. Wearing the heart rate monitor while you do that activity can tell us how hard you are exerting yourself while riding. The age – 220 rule is crude, but acceptable as a first time estimate of your max heart rate. If you are exercising between 65-80% of your max heart rate (about 6-7/ 10 effort) for a prolonged period (>30 minutes), you are getting a good cardiorespiratory workout.
The treadmill tells me I should be going really slow to be in the Fat Burning Zone – is that right?
The problem with age-determined heart rates for exercise is that they can often be off by as much as 20 beats per minute. Some people have low heart rates and some people have high rates, and so the formulas will not work properly for them. Better than using age-determined heart rates is to simply use your own perceived exertion while you are doing the activity. Provided the exercise is steady and you are not taking any breaks, you will do very well if you shoot for a 6-7/10 effort for your cardio workouts. This might be a little more intense than what you are used to, but for burning the most calories in a short amount of time, this intensity is probably best. If you have all the time in world for exercise, and you plan to ride your bike for 2-3 hours, then 5/10 effort is perfect.
Your body burns proportionately more fat for fuel at low intensities, so this is why treadmills and other cardio machines have a cardio zone that is set at a fairly low heart rate. This is the perfect heart rate for a long cardio session (60-90 minutes), but if you only have 30-45 minutes, you should warm up for 15-20 minutes, then go at a higher heart rate (7/10 effort) for 20-30 minutes – this will burn more total calories, even though you might be using more carbohydrates for energy during the workout.
The best way to learn about how hard you should push during a cardio workout is to do a lactate threshold test. This test will tell you how exactly at what heart rate your body shifts from burning primarily fat, to burning carbohydrates for energy, and it tells you how hard you can push when you are short on time, and still get an effective cardio workout in which the most calories are burned. Even though this test is usually done with high end athletes, I have found the all of my patients are benefiting from doing the test, and it helps to educate them about how to monitor and change their workout intensities.
Part 2 – Coming next Week!
Next month I will review some of the common diets that are out there, explaining to you why they work and whey they fail. Then we will get down to brass tacks and talk about food in a practical way that you can take home with you and really apply on a day to day basis.
Until then, start counting your calories if you haven’t already done so. There are good calorie counting applications for your iphone, ipad, your computer, or your blackberry that will help you both set a goal and start to figure out how much you should be eating on a day to day basis. (I recommend Mynetdiary)
Until next month……
Dr. Ryan Oughtred
60 minutes last week aired a segment that featured the work of Dr. Kirsch from Harvard University. His work compares the effect of placebo against that of antidepressant medications. The results if his studies and many other studies is that antidepressants are no better than placebo in the treatment of most types if depression, except for the small group of patients that have severe depression. This is not new to Canadian and British physicians who no longer recommend the use of antidepressant medications for moderate to severe depression. It was good to see this topic making news, but it’s unfortunate that the message is arriving so late. What is also unfortunate is the amount of patients that I still see that have been prescribed antidepressant medications for short term and mild types of depression. Obviously we need more media messages to drive the point home, thank you 60 minutes.
Monthly Theme: Speed
July’s theme is speed and agility. Almost all of us need speed and agility whether we realize it or not; even the elderly sometimes need to move quickly in order to stop themselves from falling or to catch something quickly. Most sports require significant amounts of quickness in order to execute perfect shots, run really fast, change direction, dodge another person, or to maintain their balance. Strength training allows an athlete to develop more muscle mass and create more force in the muscle, but speed and agility training helps to make that force into something an athlete can use to do their sport better. “Train slow, be slow” is a good catch phrase to keep in mind for training, and that is why it is good to stress quickness at certain times of the year.
So how often should people train for speed and agility, and what types of exercises should you choose? At minimum, most people would benefit from doing basic footwork agility once per week. This could be as simple as stepping forwards and backwards over a single line as quickly as you can for 20 seconds X 3 sets. The type of exercises you choose should vary based on the demands of your lifestyle and sports that you choose. Some athletes will have 3-4 workouts per week that are dedicated to combinations of jumps and sprinting, while some people may only need to do a couple of agility exercises in their garage once per week. Some speed/ agility drills can also put significant loads on the joints of the body, and so anyone who has arthritis or any other medical problem that could be worsened by exercise should be careful what exercises they choose.
The following is a list of various speed and agility drills that you can try. Be careful to choose only exercises that are similar to exercises that you have done in the last 2 months – if they are new to you, you should do the minimum amounts of sets and make sure your quality is good before progressing toward to going 100% with your efforts. Start with the low impact ones and slowly progress (over 3-6 months) toward the higher impact ones.
Sample Speed/ Agility Drills
Perform between 3-6 of the following drills in any given workout, for 1-3 sets per exercise. Keep the time for each set to less than 20 seconds. You should stop before the body starts to feel fatigued, and always allow lots of rest (1-2 minutes) between sets if you want to make the most improvement possible.
- Stepping over a single line
- Side to side
- Forward and back
- Stepping in a ladder
- Various patterns that involve side to side, diagonals, forward and backward movements.
- Stepping over a low hurdle or another low obstacle
- Forward and back, side to side, crossing over.
- Eccentric drops
- Dropping quickly into a squat, one leg or two legs.
- Catching balls
- Medicine balls – dropping to catch them.
- Tennis balls – having to move short distances to reach the ball
- Throwing balls – side to side, single arm, double arm, against a wall or mini tramp.
- Any core drills that involve quick movements with the upper body and or lower body.
- Quick contacts, 2 feet on the spot.
- Hopping over a single line
- 2 feet first
- Progress to one foot over time.
- various directions/ patterns.
- Hopping in a ladder
- Various patterns.
- Running drills (keep intensity low and sets long at first, then progress to higher intensities for shorter amounts of time)
- Side to side shuffle touching cones
- Slalom around cones or set 90 degree turn patterns.
- Forward and back around cones in figure 8 pattern – moderate intensity.
- Low intensity squat jumps and step jumps
- Sprints – 100 meters and less
- Hops over hurdles of various heights
- 2 footed hops over low hurdle
- Change of direction running drills
- 5-yard line touching drills
- Slalom cone drills.
- 5-10-5 pro agility drill.
- T agility drills
- 3 cone shuttle/ L drills.
- Vertical Jumps, tuck jumps, standing broad jumps, lateral bounding jumps, S foot jumps, S leg penta jumps.
Monthly Theme: Flexibility
June’s theme is flexibility. The high volumes of activity in June will add tension to the body – often in the wrong places. Joint irritation from overuse and repetitious movements like running and cycling can make your flexibility even worse.
Poor flexibility can lead to increased tension in tendons, which leads to less blood flow, which can lead to poor healing of tissues, which leads to injury. Poor flexibility also affects your posture, which can cause pain and muscle fatigue over time. When your joints lack flexibility, the body has to compensate for those inflexibilities by overusing other joints and changing the way that it moves – this often creates pain in other joints for seemingly no reason. Whenever something starts to hurt and you don’t know why, take a look at the neighboring joints and you may find the cause!
Flexibility becomes exceedingly important as we age; tasks that seemed simple when you were 50 can quickly become difficult at 70. Maintaining a component of your fitness is always easier then improving it. “Use it or lose it” is a good rule of thumb for every person as they age.
Notes for all stretches:
Stretches for healthy joints should typically be done at least 3 times per day to get improvements, and at least 2 times per week for maintenance. Passive stretches should be done after exercise or when the body is warm, and held for 30-60 seconds at a time. Before exercise, it is better to use active versions of these stretches where you use exercises that naturally stretch these joints while warming up the nerves and muscles at the same time.
The hip flexors are a group of muscles in the front of the hip. They become tight with endurance types of activities like running, biking, or rowing and they also become tight with sitting. Almost everyone would benefit from stretching his or her hip flexors more often.
When the hip flexors are tight, it puts more compression and torsion through the low back and pelvis while also putting more strain on the lower extremities making injury to the knees, ankles and feet also more likely.
How to do the stretch:
With one knee down and directly underneath you, turn your hips back like you are trying to pour water out the back of your pelvis. This should create enough of a stretch for you; if not, you can lunge your hips slightly forward. If you have to lunge far forward, you aren’t using your tummy enough!
Where to feel the stretch:
In the front of your pelvis and upper thigh.
Ankle Extension (Calf/ Achilles Stretch):
Proper ankle extension is essential to maintaining proper form for walking, running and squatting activities. When they are tight (they are tight very often), it puts additional stress on the foot, knee, hip and pelvis. Stretching the ankles into extension is a key treatment for many foot and ankle problems, the most common of which is plantar fasciitis. Proper ankle flexibility can also allow the foot to sit more naturally on the ground and allow for better balance and coordination for sports.
How to do the stretch:
Place your foot onto a ramped surface and then move the knee toward the toe. Do not let the knee move to the inside or outside, keep it in line, and be sure the arch of the foot does not collapse. Do the stretch with a bent knee sometimes and with a straight knee sometimes. This stretch may need to be performed more than other stretches in order to get results, as the ankle can be very stubborn to improvements.
Where to feel the stretch
Deep inside the ankle and in the back of the lower leg.
Shoulder flexion is basically reaching the arms over the head. Loss of shoulder flexion comes primarily from poor posture and not actually doing the motion enough. Tight chest and back muscles make it even more difficult to do proper shoulder flexion.
The result of poor shoulder flexion is overuse of the neck, back and shoulder joint – which causes painful syndromes in each of these body parts. It also makes doing overhead tasks at home very tiring; changing a light bulb or building some shelves at home can all of a sudden become an embarrassing activity to perform if you don’t keep up your shoulder flexibility!
How to do the stretch
Point the thumb up in the hitch hiking position, keep the arm perfectly straight, and raise the arm straight in front of you and over your head. Use a doorway if you are standing or use a chair or Swiss ball in front of you if you are kneeling and add passive overpressure to push the arm back over your head. Keep your tummy tight so you don’t just bend back in your back instead of the shoulder.
Where to feel the stretch
Different people will feel this stretch in different places, but in general you will feel stretching deep in the shoulder, in the chest, and also in latissimus muscles.
New to 2010 is Dr Oughtred’s annual health assessment: a comprehensive health assessment that includes a medical assessment, a physical therapy type of assessment, and a fitness and lifestyle assessment. Patients will receive a 15 page booklet outlining and explaining their results, and it comes complete with a comprehensive plan that includes dietary recommendations, supplement and medication recommendations, exercise programs and tips, stretching advice, or recommendations for physical therapies or other hands on techniques.
The center piece of your assessment is the summary page, which quickly displays and colour codes your results alongside your recommended goals for the following year. This page gives you a comprehensive, yet simple ‘snapshot’ of your current state of health and fitness, and can act as a great motivator for the future.
For those of you who have extended medical insurance, your coverage will likely cover you for all, if not part of the assessment.
- Review and assessment of your current and past health concerns
- Relevant physical examination
- Orthopedic Assessment (Joint Alignment, Range of Motion, Posture, Strength, Stability)
- Fitness Assessment (Everything from grip strength and body fat to cardiorespiratory fitness and lactate threshold testing)
- Nutritional and Lifestyle Assessment
- Disease Risk Assessment (Framingham score, diet, biometrics, other)
- When indicated, referral to other health professionals, physicians or laboratories.
Your assessment acts like an annual membership, and you will be reminded when you are due for follow ups and important preventive medical screening tests and visits.
For fitness enthusiasts, the process involves measurement of lactate thresholds for precise assessment of endurance over time and selection of future training intensities. For those who want to manage their disease risk over time, the assessment gives you a framingham score, estimating your 10 year risk for developing coronary artery disease. This is the perfect annual health screen for someone who is looking for an executive health assessment with a strong focus on fitness, lifestyle, and athletic performance. Together with the advice and medical testing of your family doctor, your assessment will leave you feeling as though no ‘stone is left unturned’ with regard to your health.
Aside from your assessments with your medical doctor, all parts of your annual assessment are performed by Dr Oughtred himself which provides for a 5-star professional experience which you won’t forget. Take the time for your assessment now, and see what new avenues of health open up for you.
Lactate Testing is quickly becoming the preferred test for people that want to assess their aerobic capacity and determine how to make the most of their exercise program. I began to offer lactate testing to all of my patients in 2009 and I have found it effective not only for athletes but also for anyone that wants to take a more precise, deliberate approach to their exercise program.
Testing blood lactates is a relatively new practice in sport that has become popular in the last 10-20 years, especially in sports such as swimming, rowing, speed skating and endurance sports like marathons, triathalons, cycling, etc. At first, even the best trainers in the world were often confused with the use of lactate testing, but over the last 10 years, some consensus seems to have been reached on some topics and experts agree that lactate testing is a superior tool for 3 key purposes:
1 – Measurement of Endurance Performance:
Traditionally the preferred performance test for endurance activities has been the VO2 max test. A drawback to the VO2 max test is that it assesses aerobic power at a maximal intensity over a short period of time – this is not reflective of a true endurance activity which requires a longer duration of activity at a submaximal effort. Other downsides to VO2 max testing is that it can be very expensive (good equipment is very costly) and the devices used to breath in and out of can cause anxiety and discomfort in for the athlete. Aside from the minor discomfort of finger tip blood sampling, lactate testing suffers from none of these drawbacks, and is probably a better performance indicator at submaximal efforts.
2 – Assessment of changes in aerobic fitness over time:
The lactate test measures your lactate levels at many different levels of exertion. As you become more fit, your lactate levels will be lower at each of these individual exertion points; the test demonstrates that you are doing the same amount of work at lower intesities than before. This shift in lactate levels over time is a very sensitive indicator of training adaptation.
3 – A tool to opimize training intensities:
Because lactates can be used to estimate your intensity levels during exercise, it is probably the best method to determine and prescribe future training intensities or ‘training zones’. This is especially useful for fitness professionals so they can avoid overtraining or undertraining an athlete. Learning your ‘Lactate Thresholds’ can essentially make your training more specific to your goals. Whatever your goals, lactates can be used to help get reach them quicker; you can more precisely improve your endurance, your V02 max, your ability to heal and recover, or your ability to burn fat during a workout.
In his book, “The Science of Winning”, Jan Olbrecht talks about how he uses the lactate tests with elite athletes prior to big events in order to properly balance their aerobic and anaerobic systems. Although this use is less popular, it is very enticing; it is hard to argue with the 40 olympic medals that Olbrecht was part of in the Athens Olympics!
Understanding Blood Lactate
Lactate is a byproduct of glucose, or ‘sugar’ in your body. As lactate accumulates during exercise, we can assume that you are using glucose as an energy source. As the intensity of an activity increases, the percentage of energy that comes from glucose will increase, and you will produce more lactate, which can be measured in the blood. At low intensities of exercise, your body uses its aerobic energy systems (using oxygen for energy) which spares glucose and keeps lactate levels low. The more aerobically fit you are, the harder you can push yourself without accumulating lactate. Over time, as you become more aerobically fit, you will be able to achieve higher levels of intensity and keep your lactate levels the same. If we graphed this over time, your lactate curve would shift downwards, and to the right.
As you increase your intensity during exercise, you will eventually overwhelm your body’s ability to recycle or remove lactate from the blood. The highest intensity at which you can create lactate in the body and still remove it from your blood is called your lactate balance point. This is an important intensity to learn, and it has many other names; ‘anaerobic threshold’, ‘lactate threshold’, or just ‘threshold’ are the other most common names used. As you push yourself beyond this intensity, your body’s energy systems will actually become inhibited and your performance will suffer if you hope to perform much longer than 5-8 minutes. Getting to know this balance point is critical for everyone, not just athletes, exceeding your balance point in training could have negative effects to your health, your performance or even your ability to lose body fat.
How Lactate Testing is Done
So what does a blood lactate test look like? The most widely used method involves an endurance test that has incremental increases in intensity. Each stage can be anywhere from 2-5 minutes, and at the end of each stage a small blood sample is taken by a fingerprick and placed into an analyzer. The total test length can vary anywhere from 20-60 minutes, depending on the fitness of the athlete and the length or increments of the stages. Testing is usually performed on a bicycle ergometer or a treadmill. As stated previously, the test is approximating intensity at all stages, and so it does not require the participant to go ‘all out’, but it does require the participant to go up to at least an 8 or a 9/10 on the exertion scale.
Becoming more popular is the FACT method, which involves an initial staged performance test as outlined above and then follows that up with a another staged approach that is thought to better isolate the balance point between lactate production and removal from the body. I utilize both methods, as I find the traditional method effectively demonstrates fitness adaptations over time and the FACT method is excellent for determining future training intensities or ‘training zones’.
Set Your Targets and Optimize Your Training Time
After your lactate test, you will have objective information from which you can set future targets for improvements. You will also have an outline of your individualized training zones that you can use to effectively target your weaknesses and make the most of your limited training time.
The 2 supplements that I recommend the most are Fish Oil and Vitamin D. Lately, its seems that the evidence for supplemental Vitamin D is mounting at a rapid rate, and I thought it would be appropriate to write about it.
Vitamins are called vitamins because our body’s cannot function without them – they are vital to life. Almost all of them have to be consumed in the food we eat, or we will get deficiency syndromes and die. Vitamin D is different; our primary source of vitamin D is from the sun.
Vitamin D functions as a hormone in the body, which makes it unique from other vitamins. The human body can make it, but unfortunately it needs a little help to be switched on. This is the where sunlight comes in; circulating vitamin D close to the surface of the skin is altered by the sun’s radiation, converting it from D2 to D3, the active form of the vitamin.
The active form of Vitamin D governs the absorption and metabolism of Calcium in the body, and calcium is used by all cells in the body. Thus it allows for proper functioning of the entire body, but in particular the immune system, the nervous system and the skeletal system allowing for strong bones and teeth.
Right now, research is demonstrating that lower levels of Vitamin D are associated with a variety of problems. For instance, experts agree that the increased incidence of Multiple Sclerosis and other autoimmune conditions at higher latitudes is at least partly due to a lower supply of Vitamin D from the sun. People with darker skin who live in higher latitudes are more susceptable to deficiency because dark skin acts as natural sunblock, and prevents the activation of Vit D. It is no coincidence that people with lighter skin live at higher latitudes.
It’s a catch 22: direct sunlight can lead to skin cancer, and the lack of direct sunlight can lead to more cancer, weak bones, insomnia, dementia, autoimmune disease and who knows what else. I don’t recommend tanning beds because it is too easy to burn your skin with them. Dietary sources of Vitamin D are usually not adequate on their own.
The solution is to either supplement your sunlight or supplement your diet. You would need at least 30 minutes of direct sunlight sunlight on at least 3 days of the week to get it from the sun, and even with that amount you are not guaranteed optimal intake. Because I live in Vancouver, where sun is hard to find in the winter, I recommend supplementation for most patients. Walter Willet from Harvard’s school of public health recommends 1000 IU for all people, regardless of where they live, and he says that the recommendation may increase pending further research. I recommend 1500 IU per day during the dark winter months and 1000 IU per day during the brighter/ sunnier months. When in doubt with your dosage, you can have your blood tested to fine tune your optimal dosage. I shoot for 60-100 pmol/L with my patients.
Supplement 1000 IU – 1500 IU Vit D per day, or ensure > 30 minutes of direct sunlight on 3 or more days of the week.
If in doubt, have your Vit D levels tested to see what your optimal intake is.
During my athletic career, I was impressed by the knowledge and understanding of the physical therapists that helped me. Unfortunately, I almost always had to be injured before I would benefit from their expertise. It made no sense to me to wait until I was hurt before addressing my physical weaknesses ; I wanted something more pro-active. Prehabilitation (prehab) is the act of applying rehab principles to healthy individuals in order to prevent injury and enhance physical performance.
Rehabilitative principles are applied in a step-by-step fashion, to ensure that the body is not forced to do anything that it is not ready for. I will outline some of these steps, and give you examples of why each could be important to you:
Reduce Pain and Inflammation
Pain or inflammation in a joint causes key muscles to be deactivated, as well leads to patterns of avoidance. Running with a sore back for instance can train key stabilizing muscles not to work, leading to instability of the back long term, and can cause you to adopt habits that could make you a slower runner in the long term.
Ensure Proper Joint Motion and Stability
Tight ankles, especially one sided, can cause rotation through the entire body, cause unequal wear and tear of joints, overuse of other joints, and poor balance. Weak hamstring muscles can increase your likelihood of tearing ligaments in your knee.
Efficient Movement and Posture
Your technique when you exercise determines which muscles get strong, which ones stay long and supple, which joints get stressed, and how tired you get. Anti-inflammatory herbs or medications may help for your knee pain, but if the cause of the knee pain is the way you walk or run, then your pain will always recur.
Notice that none of the above steps have much to do with general fitness; someone can be very strong or fit, and still fail some of these steps. Every day, people are exercising or performing simple daily tasks with limitations in the above categories, and those seemingly healthy activities can be making them unhealthy. Don’t wait until you are unsatisfied with your physical health; learn about your physical limitations and what you can do about them right now.
A study in Maryland found that people who had less sleep had a greater chance of getting breast cancer. The CDC recognizes sleep deprivation as a serious health problem with fewer and fewer people getting the sleep that they need to be healthy. Lack of sleep is associated with many chronic ailments, including obesity, depression, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Where are the studies that demonstrate effective techniques to get people sleeping and exercising more?
In most people, blood pressure decreases while they sleep – a phenomenon that is thought to decrease the strain on the heart and blood vessels during the night. Japanese researchers showed that individuals who had less sleep also had higher sleeping blood pressure, and consequently had more cardiovascular disease.
Nicotinamide (Vit B3) has long been used by Naturopathic Physicians as a treatment for neurological problems, and to enhance cognition. This recent study suggests it may limit the progression of alzheimers disease in mice, but it is too soon to recommend it in humans because Vit B3 is toxic if taken in too high a dose. Which begs the question…should I stop drinking water because it could kill me if taken in too high a dose? B3 is very safe when taken in the right form and the right dose – consult your physician before using it.
Cholesterol is a good measure of cardiovascular disease risk, but it is definitely not the only story behind heart disease. With the widespread use of statin medications, cholesterol is becoming better controlled, but other risk factors like body weight and blood triglycerides are still increasing – evidence that we need to start treating the causes of heart disease instead of trying to mask its symptoms with costly medications that come with side effects.
A recent pediatric study proves that children will mirror the eating habits of their parents, underlining the importance of learning healthy eating habits not just for your own health, but for the health of your children as well.
In light of a recent study, Britain has decreased its guidelines for caffeine intake to a maximum of 200mg/ day. This is probably the equivalent of 2 small cups of coffee. This same article from the BBC also mentions that the FSA may actually relax its guideline for alcohol consumption during pregnancy, as alcohol consumption is currently not recommended.
A recent paper published in the journal Cell, discusses how Seratonin that is formed in the gut actually promotes the breakdown of bone in genetically modified mice. Commonly referenced for its relationship to positive moods, seratonin is actually most plentiful in the human digestive tract, and the full scope of its effects have yet to be discovered.
Researchers in Europe are doing a good job at discrediting the old body mass index (BMI) model for cardiac risk analysis, in favor of a simpler and more effective waist to hip ratio. It is the size of your waist (the area around your belly button) and your body shape that really matters when it comes to predicting your risk of dying from heart disease.
Simply applying ‘good bacteria’ to curtains and other surfaces in hospitals has shown to cut down on infection rates, and the effects are comparable to that of antibiotic solutions.