Challenge Yourself Each Day To Be Better Than You Were Yesterday!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Keeping Your Joints Healthy!

I recently came across this great article on natural ways of keeping your joints healthy, this is extremely important especially as we age, so I thought that I would pass it on.

Looking after your joint health certainly becomes a priority as we age. Joints are crucial to our mobility and if they start to become stiff and sore it’s very difficult to maintain our routines and keep active. The human body has an amazing capacity to repair itself, however, our joints often need extra love and care.

A joint is a connection between two bones in our body. Joints and their supporting structures allow you to bend your elbows and knees, bend your back, move your hips, turn your head and even move your fingers.

Smooth tissue called cartilage, synovium and a lubricant called synovial fluid cushion the joints so that our bones do not rub together. Increasing age, injury and carrying too muchweight can lead to increased wear and tear of your cartilage – which subsequently can lead to discomfort, pain or even debilitating joint conditions.

Fortunately, taking steps to protect our joints now can reduce the chances of needing to replace them later in life. Here are a number of ways you can support your joints.

1. Muscle-Strengthening Exercise

Muscles essentially act like shock absorbers in our bodies and help to stabilise and protect joints. Muscle strengthening movement such as light weight training can be incredibly protective for joint (and bone) health. It becomes increasingly important as you age that you continue to strengthen your muscles with weight bearing exercise. Knee joints, in particular, are the most prone to wear and tear - so strengthening the muscles with movement such as cycling, can help protect them from premature damage.

2. Joint Mobility Movements

When we move a joint, in a safe and full range of motion, we move the synovial fluid within the joint. This fluid is the joint’s lubrication. By moving our bodies, we help the synovial fluid to move. This joint movement moves the old fluid out and allows new fluid to move in. Old synovial fluid can  accumulate of mineral deposit and microbes. Moving your body and your joints every day is a wonderful way to lubricate your joints naturally. Incorporate 5-10 minutes of joint mobility movement each morning.

3. Body Rolling

When we’re inactive, our muscles and connective tissue can become tight and inflexible. The stress being applied to a joint may be due imbalances in muscle strength - for example, one muscle being too tight, another being too weak – subsequently your body makes adjustments to compensate. Body rolling with a foam roller can be very helpful in addressing these imbalances. If you are experiencing joint pain or stiffness, it can be incredibly helpful to seek treatment and support from a physiotherapist or osteopath.

4. Keep Joints Lubricated With Helpful Fats

The fats that you eat eventually become the fats that populate your cell membranes, that also encapsulate your cells. These membrane fats become the building blocks for molecules that either call for inflammation or fight inflammation in the body. It is absolutely essential we nourish our bodies with fats from avocado, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish such as salmon (or flaxseed).
 
Omega 3 fatty acids are particularly effective in fighting inflammation in the body, and can be easily incorporated into our diets by eating omega-3 rich salmon or flaxseed. The Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC) scored fish oil, derived from fatty fish such as sardines and salmon, as a maximum five for effectiveness. If you can't eat enough omega 3s, then consider supplementing with them. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and pecans are also good sources of omega 3 fats.
 

Foods And Nutrients That Support Joint Health

  • Research had consistently shown that a high plant diet has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. It is likely that this is in part due to some of the substances unique to plants, such as the indoles and sulforaphane in the Brassica family of vegetables. It is likely that a high plant diet is also beneficial, as when we focus on eating more plants, we omit many fake food ingredients that are added to processed foods.
  • Glutathione is a potent antioxidant. It helps our body to fight free radicals that we are exposed to every day from pollution, chemicals, even inflammation in the body caused by stress. Glutathione as a supplement may support joint health due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Vitamin A, C and E are all potent antioxidants that act as antioxidant support in the body.
  • Glucosamine is an amino sugar naturally produced by the body. It is one of the building blocks of cartilage. Glucosamine comes in two forms – glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. It is often found in joint care supplements in combination with chondroitin. Chondroitin is also a natural substance found in the body. It is believed to help draw water and nutrients into the cartilage, keeping it healthy and sponge-like. There is some evidence to suggest that glucosamine and chondroitin are helpful in the treatment and management of some joint conditions.

5. Acupuncture

Acupuncture's origins date back to China more than 2,000 years ago. When properly administered, by an experienced practitioner it can be effective in providing relief for arthritic conditions, pain or inflammation of the joints.

Acupuncture is a very effective form of pain control and works in a number of ways. Firstly, it assists the body to produce chemicals called endorphins, which make us feel good and in turn inhibit our bodies ability to feel pain. Secondly, it stops the transmission of pain signals to the brain through the nervous system. Thirdly, it works on trigger points. Trigger points are tender and extremely reactivate areas that develop within specific areas of our muscles. The result being a widespread relaxation of both body and mind.

6. Massage

Massage involves the manipulation of tissues utilising pressure, tension and motion. It targets the soft tissues of the body, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage can be done manually, using hands, fingers, elbows, or with mechanical aids. It can be wonderful at helping to ease muscle tension and subsequently joint aches.

7. Keep Your Core Strong

The strength of the diaphragm relates to the strength of our core muscles, mainly our abdominal muscles. When our core is strong, posture and movement are improved and there is a reduction in stress loads placed on our joints. Yoga and pilates are great movements to improve your core muscle strength and help support joint stability.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year!

Its the new year and time to make some changes! If fitness and a healthier lifestyle are part of your resolution, then its time to get going and it doesn't need to be unenjoyable! Set up some realistic goals (write them down) and start implementing them into your daily routines. Keep a food log and a workout schedule to keep yourself on track and make sure to have short term and long term goal dates set up to keep you accountable and then just go for it!! Once you get that first set of goals checked off, it will be that much easier to keep moving forward. Good Luck!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Micronutrients!

What are Micro-Nutrients?

Micronutrients are what are commonly referred to as vitamins & minerals and are extremely important for your overall health. Micronutrients include such minerals as fluoride, selenium, sodium, iodine, copper & zinc. They also include vitamins C, A, D, E, & K as well as the B-Complex vitamins.

Micronutrients are different from Macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates & Fat), micronutrients are called "Micro-Nutrients" because your body only needs small quantities of them for survival. However if your body does not get those small quantities then serious health problems can result.

Micronutrients are vital to the proper functioning of all of your bodies systems. Here are some examples:


  • Sodium is responsible for maintaining the bodies proper fluid balance, it helps fluids pass through cell walls and helps regulate pH levels in your blood.
  • Manganese promotes bone formation and energy production, and helps your body metabolize the Macronutrients, Protein, Carbohydrates and fat.
  • Magnesium helps your heart maintain its normal rhythm. It helps your body convert glucose (blood sugar) into energy, and it is necessary for the metabolism of micronutrients, calcium and vitamin C.
  • Iron helps your body produce red blood cells and lymphocytes.
  • Iodine helps your thyroid gland develop and function. It helps your body to metabolize fats, and promotes energy production and growth.
  • Chloride helps regulate water and electrolytes within your cells, as well as helping to maintain appropriate cellular pH.
Getting Enough Micronutrients 

Getting Enough Micronutrients is not hard, just eat a balanced diet and include plenty of nuts, whole grains, colorful fruits & vegetables (especially the leafy green vegetables). Enjoy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

HIIT Training!


I am a big fan of high intensity interval training (HIIT) it is absolutely one of the best ways to do effective high calorie burning cardio training, pair this with strength/Resistance training and you have one intense and highly effective routine that you can do just about anywhere!

How it works: Interval training is done by combining timed high intensity intervals with a timed rest or lower intensity period, which has proven to burn calories for much longer than steady state cardio, so you will definitely achieve that lean & toned physique with this type of program. The main reason HIIT works so well for dropping body fat is due to the greater calorie burn that's maintained after the workout is over (sometimes up to 36hrs). In addition to this increase in resting metabolism, HIIT is effective at enhancing the mechanisms in muscle cells that promote fat burning and blunt fat storage.

A HIIT workout can be completed with great success and just about any activity can be used for HIIT training, the idea is to go intense for a set amount of time followed by a recovery period (usually a 2:1 ratio), repeat as necessary depending on your routine and by incorporating strength training within your program, you really are able to get an incredible workout.

You can implement many different exercises into your HIIT routines, these can include sprints, mountain climbers, burpees, push ups, pull ups, high knee runs just to name a few. This really is a great way to get your cardio in and burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time but make sure you are ready for this sort of routine it can be intense!

Always make sure you check with your Dr. before starting any workout program.

Good luck!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

TRX Suspension Training!


If you are looking for a great way to train anywhere or an effective workout to add to your existing routine, then you should definitely try the TRX Suspension Training System. I took a TRX certification course about a year and a half ago and was extremely impressed with the workout that I got from using the system and how many different exercises that you can actually do with it! TRX will challenge your body in every way, it really is an intense workout! So if you are looking for the ultimate in functional bodyweight training, look no further.

What is TRX Suspension Training?

The TRX Suspension Trainer is a performance training tool that uses your bodyweight to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability through 100s of different exercises. It is extremely versatile and can be used just about anywhere, from your own home, outdoors, the gym, or even when your traveling. TRX weighs less than 2 pounds and consists of an anchoring point above your head, suspended are two flexible straps with handles on the end for your hands to grip as well as your feet (depending on the exercise), you then will use your body position as lever and force to attain desired resistance and intensity. Whats great about this system is it can be used by just about any fitness level from beginner to elite athlete, as the difficulty of the exercises can evolve along with your level of fitness.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Benefits of Sports Massage!

Getting fit and staying fit involves more than just getting your workouts in (although that is a huge part!), it also involves eating healthy and taking care of your body on all levels & if you are working out on a regular basis sports massage is definitely something you should be doing to ease the strain on your body. So whether you are a professional athlete, a fitness enthusiast or just an overall active person, the benefits of regular sports massage are extremely important to overall health & fitness.

Does Sports Massage Improve Performance & Recovery?

Many elite athletes consider sports massage an essential part of their training and recovery routine. These athletes report that a sports massage helps them train more effectively, improve performance, prevent injury and recover quickly. Historically, competitive and professional athletes have been some of the biggest proponents of sports massage. Today, a growing number of massage therapists offer therapeutic sports massage and many recreational athletes enjoy the benefits of sports massage on a regular basis.

What is therapeutic sports massage?

Therapeutic sports massage is a type of massage technique that focuses on treating soft tissue aches, pains and injuries that are associated with recreational activities. Massage can reduce muscle stiffness and improve relaxation by reducing heart rate and blood pressure.

While many athletes are convinced of the physical benefit of massage, research on its effectiveness is accumulating. Massage involves applying mechanical pressure to the soft tissues and this has been linked with improved muscle flexibility, increased range of motion in the joints, and decreased muscle stiffness. Recently, research has shown that deep massage after an intense workout actually causes muscles to enlarge and grow  new mitochondria. Mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells, are responsible for converting nutrients into useful energy.

The pressure of massage may also improve blood flow and increase muscle temperature, massage also reduces heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. All of these things as well as reduced anxiety and improved mood may indeed give athletes physical and psychological benefits.

For most athletes and physically active people, enjoying less muscle stiffness and improved relaxation and well-being is reason enough to enjoy regular massage but as research continues to grow on the real physical benefits, more and more people will be taking advantage of this feel good training method!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Full Body Training!

The full body workout is a great way to get in shape, gain muscle mass, and tone your body, without spending countless hours in the gym, 3 days a week with a rest/recovery day between each workout is all you will need (M,W,F) for example. Its also the perfect way for a beginner to start a strength training routine and go through an adaptation phase before moving on to a muscle building (hypertrophy) stage in their training.

A full body training routine, which sticks to mostly compound lifts, definitely gives you more benefit than isolation work, however keeping some isolation lifts is just fine. So what are compound exercises? Compound exercises are lifts which use more than one muscle group or joint group at one time and will build muscle and increase strength much faster than any other form of training.  The following compound lifts should be the core of any full body strength training routine:


  • Deadlifts
  • Squats
  • Bench Press (free weight) or Push Ups
  • Shoulder Press
  • Free Weight Rows
  • Pull Ups or Pull Downs

These are your main exercises to develop a great physique!

Compound lifts are great for beginners or advanced strength trainers because they can be performed with weights or by just using your own body weight and are great for both men & women it does not matter. Compound lifts are actually becoming more & more popular with women who want to gain lean muscle & lose fat. To get the best results you must use the proper amount of resistance & reps (8-12 max) and increase your resistance every week or two. Don't forget to always use proper form, if you are not sure how to do something make sure you work with someone who does. Enjoy your workout!