Friday, February 2, 2024

Benefits of a Cold Shower

 Some of you may know that I’m a big fan of the Wim Hof Method and part of my regular morning routine is starting the day off with a cold shower. There are a number of benefits besides the rush of “waking you up” in the morning with that dopamine kick.

  • Cold showers improve your metabolism.   Getting your mitochondria to burn extra fuel to produce energy and keep you warm helps your body become more efficient.

  • Cold showers are a healthy way to burn fat and lose weight.

  • Cold showers help to convert white flabby fat cells to brown fat (Brown Adipose Tissue) which translate to higher insulin sensitivity for clearing glucose into your bloodstream.

  • Cold showers help with blood circulation..

  • Cold showers help improve your immune system by keeping inflammation in check.

  • Cold showers help reduce stress.


Taking a cold shower is best done in the morning to help get you energized.  Start out with your normal shower and then turn the tap to cold for around a minute.  Make sure you’ve checked with your health professional first before you try it.  Once you start doing this morning ritual you’ll wonder why you didn’t start doing it sooner.  It feels great!


To learn more about Cold Showers and the Wim Hof methods, check out the following link;

https://www.wimhofmethod.com/benefits-of-col -showers




Saturday, December 2, 2023

A Tragically Hip

 Today we are sitting so much that our mobility is suffering dramatically.  Most people have lost their capacity to effectively put their leg behind their body.  As we move, be it walk, run, or even going down stairs,  we need good hip extension, that is,  to be able to move the knee behind the butt.  

Hip extension uses one of your strongest muscles - hip extensors, which helps stabilize your pelvis and is important for daily movement, exercise and sport activities.  Loss of glute function has an effect on control of our back and can create low back pain or knee pain.


Here’s a simple drill to check your hip mobility to see if it needs improvement;


With arms over head, step forward in a Deep Lunge.  Your front leg should be at a 90 degree angle with the knee in line with the ankle.  Your back foot should be far enough back that your knee should be behind your butt.  Squeeze your butt to activate the glutes.  Your arms help to keep your back more upright.  You can place your knee on the ground or slightly above if you can handle it.  Hold that stretch for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.


This exercise not only helps you understand your body alignment but it is a great stretch for your gluteal muscles - as it helps reduce tension, tightness and prevents injury.


It’s important to realize that movement is key to longevity and quality of life.  Working your hip extensors helps improve movement, coordination and a sense of body awareness.  Something that I incorporate in all of my fitness workouts.


Saturday, November 18, 2023

Your Largest Organ

 I just finished listening to a Mel Robbins podcast on The Science of Strength Training: Learn how lifting weights helps you lose weight, feel better and Live longer.  Her guest was

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon's forthcoming book "Forever Strong: A New, Science-Based Strategy for Aging Well,"   Here’s an interesting fact;


What do you think is the largest organ in the body?


Well…


It’s your Skeletal Muscles.  It makes up 40% of your bodyweight and is a nutrient sensing system. And when you contract your skeletal muscles it releases myokines, communicating with other organs of the body moving glucose into your cells.  And the best way to contract those skeletal muscles is through exercise.


Oh, and if you guessed your skin it only accounts for 5.5% of the total body weight.  And your actual skeleton is around 14% of your body weight. 


Here are some interesting takeaways from this podcast;

-Your Skeletal Muscles is a nutrient sensing system.

-People are too concerned about being overweight.  They need to stop thinking of what to lose (weight) and shift to what you can gain (muscle).

-There is no healthy sedentary person.

-Muscle is the currency of health.  You Must Earn It!


I totally agree!


Thursday, November 2, 2023

Key to Longevity is Resistance Training NOT Cardio

The other weekend I attended the Manitoba Fitness Council’s conference.  One of the main presenters, Christine van der Hoek emphasized the importance of Lifting for Longevity.   Although an endurance athlete, she stated that the key to Longevity is Resistance Training and NOT Cardio.  As we age, fast twitch muscle decline and Scarponia (loss of muscle mass) is prevalent.  As strength is the foundation for all forms of activity the need to focus on fast twitch muscle fibers becomes a necessity. The most effective way to preserve muscle mass is to focus on POWER - either through Heavy Lifting or Going Fast.  Here’s the formula for Power;

POWER = LOAD/FORCE + VELOCITY/SPEED


Fast twitch muscle training not only alters skeletal muscle, but is also more metabolically active and can contribute to improvements in body composition, improving reaction time (less falls), and overall improved quality of life.


Muscle growth is important for movement and  longevity, and it's your nervous system that dictates the size and strength of your muscles.   Movement is governed by the relationship between the nervous system, neurons, and their connection to muscle. A nerve stimulus is needed to make the muscles want to change and focusing on your fast twitch muscles increases this stimulus. As we improve muscle quality, it changes how your entire body works - the nervous system, muscular system, immune system and internal organs.  I


The key to good quality health is Resistance Training - something we should always be striving for. 

So Use it!

Doug


Friday, August 11, 2023

Old Man Balance Test

 Here’s a fun test that you can do to challenge your balance and coordination.  It’s called the “Old Man Balance Test” and was created by coach Chris Henshaw as a fun little competition with his kids.

You start by putting your socks and shoes on the floor in front of you.  Standing on one leg you reach down and grab your sock and you put it on without placing your foot down.  Then you reach down and grab your shoe and put your shoe on and tie it without touching the floor.   You then switch and do it on the other side.   

This is a great two minute balance practice and you don't have to be an old man to try it. This can help identify flexibility and balance issues regardless of your age!