Apr 2015
Sweet relief! Medical experts agree too much stress will negatively impact our health in a serious way. Try this exercise to help reduce daily tension and feel like yourself again.   Relieving neck tension can restore confidence in yourself and your ideas and cause others to perceive you as a leader, not to mention helping you sleep better and get through your day a lot more comfortably.   The goal is to get your nervous system to let go of its grip on your cervical vertebra – the bones in your neck – to allow them to move more freely.  To do this, we just have to remind your brain how your neck is meant to move.   Here’s what you can do:   1. Check your baseline.   Turn your head gently and slowly to the right and left to see how far you can twist, picking a point in the room for reference. Don’t force it, we’re just looking at your available range of motion. Also, pro tip: moving slower allows your nervous system time to adjust and you’ll get more range of motion instantly. Whipping your head around quickly causes your body to guard the delicate neck muscles, especially if they’re already tight and rigid.   2. Place your hands on your cheeks.   Let your elbows hang down heavily, relaxing your shoulders.   3. Pick a side and twist in that direction.   Move from your belly button up, so you’re turning your torso, arms, head and neck all as one unit. Only go as far as is comfortable. It’s not a contest. You’ll get more out of working within your comfortable range of motion than you will from trying to overachieve and strain yourself.   4. Once you’ve completed several twists in one direction, drop your hands and turn your head that same way.   Check to see if the range of motion has increased. You’ll know because you can turn further and see past the point that you originally marked in step one.   5. Repeat steps 2-4 on the opposite side.   Enjoy your new found range of motion! It’s amazing how liberating it is to be able to look over your shoulder without turning your whole body, almost like being let out of prison.  

Excerpt from SuzieBaxter.com – read the full article here

Apr 2015
Nutrition? There are some widely accepted nutritional concepts that we have been told to abide by – but are they really that serious?   By Janet Helm for U.S. News   We all know about the book and movie with “shades of grey” in the title. That phrase may conjure up certain images in your head, but it got me thinking about all the shades of grey in nutrition.   People frequently speak about food in absolutes — this food is bad, or this diet is best. Well, it’s not that simple: Nutrition is not always so black or white.   To me, shades of grey means there’s a little bit of right and wrong. With so many of today’s food fads, popular diets and nutrition claims there’s typically a nugget of truth. Yet things get exaggerated or blown out of proportion. The reality lies somewhere in between.   Here are five shades of grey in nutrition.   1. Butter is back: Not really. While headlines and popular books are making a hero out of butter and other saturated fats (such as coconut oil and lard), that’s not exactly true. Just because something may not be as bad as previously thought, it doesn’t make it good. Much of this hero worshipping got started when a recent analysis appeared to let saturated fat off the hook when it comes to heart disease. It’s true that researchers found little differences in heart disease rates when comparing those who ate the most vs. the least saturated fat. But the results are not so clear cut. The study did not look at what else people were eating. So if eating less saturated fat means eating more refined starch and sugar, then no wonder there’s little or no improvements. However, if saturated fat is replaced with polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat in the form of olive oil, nuts and other plant oils, there’s a lot of evidence that heart disease risk will be reduced. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded that our diets are still too high in saturated fat, especially for those over age 50. There’s no need to totally ban the butter or ditch your coconut oil, but don’t buy into the idea that these fats are suddenly health foods.   2. Avoid refined grains: Not completely. While Americans eat too many refined grains (white bread, pasta and pizza crusts) and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends replacing most refined grains with whole grains, you don’t need to fully banish them from your diet. Just be choosy. Switch to whole grains when you can, but there may be times when only the white version will do — maybe you want a slice of a crunchy baguette with dinner or to savor a hot croissant in the morning. In moderation, refined grains are not “toxic,” and you shouldn’t feel guilty when you eat them. Refined grains are typically low in fiber but are enriched with iron and B vitamins and fortified with folic acid. Look for ways to reduce refined grains, but don’t think you need to abolish them.   3. Fresh is best: Not always. Sure, it’s great to eat fresh, local and in-season fruits and vegetables. If you can pick up your produce at a farmer’s market, that’s even better. Yet, that’s not always possible. The most important thing is to eat more fruits and vegetables — no matter what form. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh; studies have demonstrated this time and time again. And if you tend to leave your fresh veggies a little too long in the crisper drawer, the nutrient content can plummet. So frozen vegetables could even be more nutrient-dense. If fresh fruit tends to go to waste in your house before you can eat it, there’s nothing wrong with stocking up on bags of unsweetened frozen berries, or buying cans, jars and single-serve containers of fruit packed in water or juice.   4. Only shop the perimeter of the grocery store: Not needed. You’ll often hear this advice to help steer people away from processed foods. It’s true that the produce aisle, fresh meats, dairy and other “whole foods” are typically in the outer sections of a supermarket, but there are plenty of cart-worthy options up and down the middle of the store. What about packages of whole-grain pastas, bags of brown rice or quinoa, nuts, canned beans, reduced-sodium soups, frozen vegetables and dried fruit? You won’t find these convenient, nutrient-rich items in a store’s perimeter. I think we need to give families reasonable options and make it simple and doable. If we make the ideal so lofty, it doesn’t seem attainable. I think it’s more valuable to provide ideas on how to evaluate choices in those middle aisles instead of telling people to avoid them entirely. Plus, many supermarkets are not even organized that way anymore, so the rule doesn’t always hold true.   5. Choose the “healthy” option. Not always. Many foods boast about their health credentials on the front of the package or on restaurant menus. That’s fine, just don’t let these health halos tempt you to eat larger portions, which has been documented numerous times. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that people chose larger portions of “healthy” foods because they assumed they had fewer calories than the standard version — even though the calories were the same in the two options of coleslaw, cereal and drinks that were offered to the study participants. Previous studies have found similar results. When people saw “low fat” on a label, they ate even more because they felt less guilt.   50 Shades of Grey in Nutrition was originally published on U.S. News & World Report.

Apr 2015
Junk food! 
The short answer: nothing good. In just a short 5 days this kind of diet already negatively affects how muscles process nutrients – & it gets worse from there.  
The human body is an amazing machine. Capable of:
  • Climbing mountains,
  • Adapting to environments as disparate as the arctic and the tropical rain forest.
  • Running for hundreds of kilometres at a stretch,
  • Lifting freakishly heavy weights.
  • Amazing technological advances,
  • Creating art that can elevate the soul
Unfortunately, what your body can’t do is consume junk food –aka the Standard American Diet– without starting to fall apart.  
What does this mean to you?
  • As yummy as sausage biscuits smothered in gravy and bacon smells, you may not want to eat it very often. Your body hasn’t evolved (devolved) to handle this type of food.
  • If you can’t resist the siren song of Mac ‘n Cheese, space it out with some healthy food, like a Big Salad, to help your muscles sensitive to insulin.
  • The next time you hear about a study saying High-Fat or High-Carb diets are bad, take a closer look at what the researchers consider high-fat or high-carb.dia

Continue reading at healthhabits.ca

Apr 2015
Fitness Bucket List You’ve all heard of a bucket list – but what about a Fitness one? Not only is it a great way to work toward your goals and have some fun, but it will keep you in shape along the way.   And we do all love a good list – shopping list, the wish list and even the not so popular “honey-do” list. But if you want to stay active your whole life and maybe even have some fun along the way, get started on your Fitness Bucket List! What’s one event that makes your heart pound just thinking about it?   Well then – Put it on a list, stay accountable and get training! Here are 5 ideas to get that list started.  

1. Newbie’ Runners to the seasoned Marathoner:

  Join your local running group and enter a 5k or 10k for charity – plenty to choose from here– not only will you tick that box and meet new people you are raising much-needed funds!   Sign up for a marathon in another country, here are just a few:   Boston Marathon because it’s the oldest and most prestigious in the US (hint if you don’t make the qualifying race time, you can run under a charity name instead);   Berlin Marathon the fastest marathon course;   Athens Marathon This is where it all began!   Of course the reward for all your hard work will be a holiday to celebrate in some of these amazing places!  

2. Vertical Racing:

  Think stairs, lots of them, climbing….up! Definitely a challenging one for the bucket list, but stair climbing is a total body workout and you need to build some serious strength in those legs and lungs! Don’t be fooled by the thought of a ‘sprint’, you going to need endurance and strength – fast!   Vertical World Circuit’ (yup), so you are covered all around the world.   Empire State Building with 1,576 steps   Eureka Tower Climb in Melbourne with 1642 stairs   Tower 42 London with 932!  

Click here to continue reading at AmeliaPhillips.com!

Apr 2015
Technology & Fitness A collaborative approach between health scientists, designers and social media experts has produced a health app that actually works to get normal people to be more active.   The multidisciplinary research group from the University of South Australia designed the trial Facebook app to harnesses the power of friendship to increase physical activity.   Named ‘Active Team’, the pilot app allows users to invite Facebook friends to join them in a physical activity challenge, using a pedometer to track and increase their exercise.   An eight-week pilot study in South Australia found that compared to groups of friends not using Active Team, average weekly physical activity increased by over two hours per person in the groups with app access.   Project leader Dr Carol Maher admits even the research group was surprised about the results.   “Seeing a two hour increase in average physical activity levels associated with Active Team usage was quite exciting for us,” she said.   “Often more conventional new health interventions will only lead to physical activity improvements of the order of 20 minutes or so.”   The results from the Active Team pilot trial are being prepared for publication this year (continue reading)

Apr 2015

Ice Bath! Did you know that FIX has a cold tub that you can use – for free? Give us a call today!

It’s an age-old question among athletes: Should you use ice or heat after an injury?

Jumping into an ice bath might not be the most comfortable situation, but ice is the most effective treatment for acute injuries, experts say.

“You should never heat the immediate area after injury,” says Erin Corbo, PDT, physical therapist at Hospital for Special Surgeries. “As a rule of thumb, between five to seven days after immediate injury, you should always ice.”

Icing a strained or sprained muscle can help reduce swelling and inflammation and control pain by constricting blood vessels in the skin to decrease blood flow.

But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo your heat pads for good. Heating promotes blood flow and warmth throughout your muscles, and can be administered with a heating pad or even through physical activity.

“We usually won’t use direct heat, but we have people warm up on a bike,” Corbo tells Yahoo Health.

You can also go for a light jog or walk. This wakes and warms up tight, overused, or injured muscles for a workout or physical therapy session. Injuries should then be followed up with ice.

Think you can find a quick fix in pain-relieving creams like Bengay, Icy Hot, and Tiger Balm? While they might temporarily soothe muscles, they can actually mask pain and could lead to a more intense muscle strain, Corbo says.

Although most injuries call for ice first, certain cases call for specific treatment plans. Here are six commons aches, strains, and sprains and how to treat them… (continue reading)

Apr 2015
Pool time! Water aerobics. Yes, this form of fitness tends to attract an older population and those with injuries, but it can be a great challenge to add to any workout routine.
Properly using the water’s resistance can increase muscle strength and endurance while staying easy on the joints. Participants can burn up to 500 calories per hour in a water aerobics class, according to the Aquatic Exercise Association. But the actual amount you burn will depend on your size, the intensity of your movements as well as water temperature and depth. Faster movements that incorporate the upper and lower body in deep water will offer the greatest calorie burn. There are several water class formats offered. More and more aquatic fitness professionals are finding ways to take advantage of the water’s benefits while keeping the workout fun. Here are a few class formats that can mix up your workout… (continue reading)

Apr 2015
Don't Worry - Be Happy! By Elizabeth Landau, CNN Happiness — you know it when you see it, but it’s hard to define.
You might call it a sense of well-being, of optimism or of meaningfulness in life, although those could also be treated as separate entities. But whatever happiness is, we know that we want it, and that is just somehow good. We also know that we don’t always have control over our happiness. Research suggests that genetics may play a big role in our normal level of subjective well-being, so some of us may start out at a disadvantage. On top of that, between unexpected tragedies and daily habitual stress, environmental factors can bring down mood and dry up our thirst for living. Being able to manage the emotional ups and downs is important for both body and mind, said Laura Kubzansky, professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard School of Public Health. “For physical health, it’s not so much happiness per se, but this ability to regulate and have a sense of purpose and meaning,” Kubzansky said. Read full article here:

Apr 2015
High endurance athlete? It is usually assumed that respiratory muscle performance is ample for most people undertaking endurance sports like cycling. However, studies have shown that in some cases performance can be improved by suitable respiratory training. Simple exercises to improve activation of the diaphragm are recommended, because when performing at a high intensity, the ability to supply oxygen and remove waste product via respiration will affect your performance no matter how much strength work you have done previously. Here is one for you to try:
  1. Lie on the floor face up with knees slightly bent.
  2. Place a small pillow under the head if that is more comfortable for you.
  3. Place your hands lightly on your stomach.
  4. Concentrate on breathing using the diaphragm, not using the chest, and feeling the stomach rise as the lungs fill from the bottom.
  5. Let the stomach fall naturally when breathing out by relaxing the diaphragm.
  6. Progress by placing a small weight on the stomach, such as a small book, on do it all again.
  7. The next stage is to stand up and place your hands on your stomach again, feeling how you breathe. Surprisingly, you may find this step requires some concentration initially.
  8. Finally, practice breathing correctly whilst on the bicycle.
Read Full Article Here:

Apr 2015
White or brown? Are you convinced that brown rice truly is superior to white? Let’s look at the differences. Brown rice is brown because it’s got the bran on it. White rice is just rice with the bran and germ removed. The germ is extremely susceptible to rancidity, which is bad because of the very high content of polyunsaturated fat it contains, which is easily oxidized, and leads to all sorts of problematic reactions in the body. Great. Leave it out, then. The bran is good for pretty much nothing but fiber. But, you know what? (Oh, man — brace yourselves! Major violation of politically-correct nutrition advice, coming your way!) FIBER IS NOT GOD’S GREATEST GIFT TO NUTRIENT-KIND. Many people eat way, way too much fiber, which can lead to serious digestive disorders, and even colon cancer. Read Fiber Menace for more information on that. I’m not saying we should be afraid of it, but if you’re finding the need to intentionally force yourself to eat more of it, like in fibery brown rice, there’s a bigger issue you’re not dealing with. So, everyone choking down their Fiber-One cereals and psyllium husks really aren’t doing themselves any favors at all. And the only reason they’re constipated is because their metabolism sucks! (Which you can fix!) Healthy people don’t need tons of fiber, and they generally don’t need to go out of their way looking for it. Fiber. Check. Don’t need it. What else is there? Oh, alright, fine. There are some nutrients in rice bran. Some B vitamins, some minerals, amino acids, blah, blah — yes, most naturally-occurring foods have nutrients. And along with those nutrients, quite a lot of anti-nutrients are all up in your brown rice bran, too!

Stop the Hate! Brown Rice Really isn’t All That Great.

Yeah, so, that other thing that the rice bran has to bestow upon our righteously-healthy-whole-grain-eating selves?   Phytic acid! Yes. The primary anti-nutrient we traditional foodies work so hard to negate by soaking, sprouting, or fermenting our grains. Rice bran is very high in phytic acid, which binds to minerals in your body and leaches them out of you. What’s that you say? Just soak the rice, as you would traditionally prepare other whole grains, and the phytic acid will be neutralized? Not according to one of the biggest phytic acid haters of all time (and one of the most knowledgable experts on the subject), author of Cure Tooth Decay, Ramiel Nagel. He says that soaking brown rice does very little to neutralize it, and that before we had machines to make white rice, traditional people used to pound the rice up with a mortar and pestle and then sift out the bran, making the available minerals more absorbable since the phytic acid in the bran is removed. Smart! So, let’s recap. The phytic acid in rice lives in the bran. White rice doesn’t have it. The only other thing the bran is good for is fiber, which you really probably don’t need, and can harm you when eaten in excess. And the germ is filled with easily-oxidized PUFA oils. Also not present in white rice.
Starting to see where I’m coming from with my love for this much-maligned “processed” grain?

White Rice Nutrition: Starch is Super

So, what are we left with when we take away the oily, rancid germ and the mineral-depleting phytic acid from our little friend, the grain of rice? The endosperm. Which is essentially pure starch. Sadly, this has become somewhat of a dirty word in the world of nutrition. People who advocate low-carb and so-called “ancestral” diets often like to say that starch is toxic because it breaks down into glucose, which raises insulin, which can cause problems like insulin resistance. Here’s the thing, though, about our bodies. We run on glucose. It’s our primary fuel source, and we need it. And glucose from carbohydrates like starch doesn’t actually cause insulin resistance at all. In fact, it’s a huge part of the diet of many, many healthy traditional cultures.
“There are literally billions of people eating high-starch diets worldwide, and you can find many examples of cultures that consume a large percentage of calories from starch where obesity, metabolic problems and modern, inflammatory disease are rare or nonexistent. These include the Kitava in the Pacific Islands, Tukisenta in the Papa New Guinea Highlands and Okinawans in Japan among others. The Kitavan diet is 69% carb, 21% fat, and 10% protein. The Okinawan diet is even more carb-heavy, at 85% carb, 9% protein and 6% fat. The Tukisenta diet is astonishingly high in carbohydrate: 94.6% according to extensive studies in the 60s and 70s. All of these cultures are fit and lean with low and practically non-existent rates of heart disease and other modern chronic disease.Chris Kresser, L.Ac; ChrisKresser.com
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not advocating low-fat or 95% carb or anything, here (and neither is Chris). It’s just important that we understand that starch is a nutrient in its own right, eating lots of it can be congruent with health and leanness, and it doesn’t have to be eaten only in “moderation.” White rice is an excellent source of healthful starch and supplies the body with needed glucose. Oh and also? Getting plenty of glucose flowing into your body is a hugely important part of fixing a slow metabolism. My mother, who’s been using Diet Recovery to raise her body temperatures, heal hypothyroidism, and improve her metabolism, says that nothing gets her temperature rising (literally) quite like white rice. A scoop or two of the stuff and she’s one burnin’ hot mama. I’m not surprised. It’s a great source of quick, easily digestible glucose. White rice to the metabolic rescue!

So Which Rice is Best?

Some types of rice are actually more nutritious than others. In general, it’s better to go with the long-grain varieties of white rice. Long-grain varieties are supposed to be nutritionally superior to plainer, short-grain types of rice. Really though, the differences probably aren’t huge. It’s all basically the same thing — starch. Long grain basmati and jasmine are the tastiest to me, so that’s what I usually eat, but I’m all for some sticky sweet rice now and again, too.  Original Article