Healthy Living

Pilates not painkillers the best cure for backache

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According to the World Health Organization the lifetime prevalence of low back pain is 60-70%. This is significant. Unfortunately, for too many people the first intervention for back pain are NSAIDs. While these drugs may help temporarily, they do little to address the underlying issues that cause back pain. A Sunday Times article recently reviewed a study that suggests that the most effective treatments for back pain are exercise and psychological therapy, with exercise being used to treat the underlying condition and psychological therapy used to assist with pain management.

“Anti-inflammatory pills such as ibuprofen are widely used as a first choice for patients with lower back pain. However, scientists found that they made so little difference that most people would not notice the effect. Exercise is usually recommended instead, which for some patients could include Pilates, yoga or stretching.”

Read more here.

How to Minimize Cramping

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Now that the weather is warming up (FINALLY) you might find yourself more prone to cramping, especially if you’re prone to sweating lots, such as myself. Here are some tips to minimize cramping:

  1. Audit your hydration.
  2. Check your electrolytes.
  3. Massage, myofascial release, i.e., get on that foam roller.
  4. Hydrate every 15 minutes; that’s 3 times during and hour long class.

Read more details here.

Tips for exercising in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s

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30s

  • “Exercise in intense bursts at 80 to 95 percent of your max, interspersed with recovery pauses to allow your heart rate to return to normal.”
  • “Aim to exercise five times a week with one day reserved for high intensity cardio (at least 45 minutes).”
  • “Your exercise regimen should also include balance and flexibility training.”

40s

  • “Continue training with weights three to four times a week, and up the cardio to five times a week, reserving one day for rest.”
  • “In terms of strength training, remember quality over quantity. Focus on doing the movements slowly and with control.”
  • “Maintaining or improving flexibility will be crucial in the years ahead.”

50s

  • “Focus on saving your back by strengthening your core muscles and keeping good posture. Yoga and Pilates are helpful for both.”
  • “You will also need additional recovery time after a hard workout, so go easy — aim to exercise more frequently but with a moderate level of intensity.”
  • “Ideally, get in a half-hour of cardio every day.”

60s

  • “Weight training is a must, ideally three times a week, alternating between upper and lower body muscle groups and using light weights.”
  • “Incorporate balance exercises and stretch, stretch, stretch.”
  • “Aim for three days a week of moderately intense cardio.”

Read more here.

 

Make More Time – Become a Morning Person

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In theme with our recent articles on making time for exercise in our busy lives, is a recent Huffington Post article with 6 tips to become a morning person. If unlike myself, you don’t have a toddler who wakes you up between 5:00am – 6:00am, these tips may come in really handy.

  1. Calculate your ideal bedtime.
  2. Identify your stay-awake triggers.
  3. Create a morning to-do list.
  4. Reward yourself.
  5. Exercise
  6. Ask yourself, “Why do you want to do this?”

Read more here.

Seattle, the 8th Healthiest City in the Nation

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According to the American College of Sports Medicine, Seattle is the 8th healthiest city in the Nation. Our neighbors to the south, Portland rank just above as the 7th healthiest city and Washington D.C. ranks as the top healthy city in the nation.

According to the index Seattle can improve in the following areas:

  • Eat more fruit and vegetables
  • Quit Smoking
  • Build more swimming pools
  • Build more rec centers

Read all the index component here

Another Benefit of Mini-Workouts

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Exercising can be really intimidating, especially for populations that have poor health habits, lack of exercise aside. However more research is showing that even a little exercise can improve health outcomes for these populations. One such population are smokers. A study that followed nearly half a million Taiwainese smokers over 12 years found that smokers who exercised for just 15 minutes per day were 55% more successful at quitting smoking and 44% less likely to relapse. Just 15 minutes!!

Other similar studies have found:

  • Smokers who are exercises 30-minutes per day increased their life expectancy by 3.7 years
  • Ex-smokers who exercised 30-minutes per day increased their life expectancy by 5.6 years and reduced their risk of death by 43%

Read more details here

30 minutes sessions at Bodytonic range from $40-45 per session.

The Power of 30-minute Work Outs

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“We were surprised when we found out that the 71 minutes a week not only prevented a loss of fitness,” Church says, “but it actually resulted in an increase in fitness.”

One of the biggest obstacles to exercise adherence is lack of time. Now that I am mother to an on-the-go toddler I understand this so much more than ever. Juggling family time, work obligations, your children’s health and education needs, plus your own health and self-care needs can sometimes seem like an impossible scheduling dilemma. However there is good news; some researchers have found that your workouts don’t necessarily need to be an hour plus in duration to receive health benefits. The study referenced here followed a group of women who exercised for 25 minutes, 3 times per week.  At the end of this study all of these women saw improved cardiovascular fitness and decreased blood pressure.

Are you among the many people who have a hard time fitting in your work outs. If so, consider trying 30-minute Private Training Sessions at Bodytonic! Not only are these sessions easier to fit into your busy lives, they are also easier on your wallets.

30 minutes sessions at Bodytonic range from $40-45 per session.

The Axial Spine and Adrenal Medulla Connection

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Scientist are discovering connections between the muscles and nerves that control the axial spine and the adrenal medulla. In other words, they are discovering that there is a neural connection between the core muscles and one’s ability to feel or handle stress. Perhaps standing up tall can actually make you feel more confident and less susceptible to stress?

“The Pitt team didn’t think the primary motor cortex would control the adrenal medulla at all. But there are a whole lot of neurons there that do. And when you look at where those neurons are located, most are in the axial muscle part of that cortex.” (Hamblin, 2016).             Read more here.

One Approach to Build a Habit and Why Exercise Should Never be Self Torture

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“If you hate the monotony of running on the treadmill, but drag yourself to the cardio room daily, believing self-torture will eventually become a habit—that’s not heroic; it’s bad design.” (MacLallen, 2017)

So many people initiate health goals by putting themselves on severe diets or exercise regimens believing that in order to see change in their bodies and health they MUST SUFFER. The truth is this approach often leads to failure and long term healthy habits are built gradually. Along with a slow and steady approach one should seek habits that bring themselves pleasure. If you don’t like running, as is my case, explore different cardiovascular activities that you enjoy until you find one that is enjoyable. For me this is anything dance related and cardio kickboxing classes. Also, build your exercise routine gradually. Maybe start with blocking out 2 days of exercise per week for 1 month, then add one extra day per month over the next few months; this will give yourself time to adjust physically and mentally.

A Stanford psychologist and researchers has developed a helpful 3-step method to establish habits:

Fogg Method

  1. What is your desired outcome?
  2. Identify some easily achievable “tiny habits”.
  3. Identify and implement trigger for “tiny habit”.

Read more about Fogg and his approach here.

The Importance of Strength Training and Protein

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This is a great article that goes over the importance of a well balanced diet and exercise routine. So many of us get stuck into eating limited food groups, i.e. limiting our mineral and vitamin intake. The same goes with exercise, I often notice people who just do cardio or just do strength training when both forms are important to complete health. This article reviews one of the key benefits of strength training, increased resting metabolic rate. Also, it reports on a study of a high protein diet. It’s important to note that this high protein diet was not high in protein because it was low in carbohydrates. I’ve mentioned this in previous articles, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains are a necessary component to cardiovascular health. Rather than a low carbohydrate, high protein diet, the diet was low in fat and high protein.

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