Wellness

INFLAMMATION STARTS IN THE GUT - ADDRESS YOUR DIET

This article shares some great points regarding foods that are pro-inflammatory and some alternative substitutes.  

I would highly recommend looking at your diet if you suffer from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis; any allergies; crohn's disease; eczema; fibromyalgia; psoriasis...and the list goes on.  
The vast majority of inflammatory conditions begin in the gut.  

Of course, it doesn't stop with just working on diet. You have to also take into account stress levels; movement levels; emotional state & hydration as some additional factors to assess and address. The body is a system, you can't treat the symptom without treating the cause and your body won't heal unless given the right environment to do so.

YOUR CHILD'S IPAD POSTURE

YOUR CHILD'S IPAD POSTURE

Examples of good and bad postures for kids on Ipads.

LOW BACK PAIN AND MOVEMENT

LOW BACK PAIN AND MOVEMENT

Movement is the best treatment for low back pain and recovery from discectomy.

CORE EXERCISE #1 : BREATHING

Four of my top core exercises everyone should make a part of their exercise regime...

First up is...

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BREATHING:

The first being BREATHING:
Before you laugh, yes, I did say breathing!
Simple right? Not really. Most of us (myself being a culprit at times) are dysfunctional breathers, this being due to stress; injury; emotional issues; poor health etc. We breathe around 20,000+ breaths per day, that is a lot of opportunity for dysfunction.

We use our core muscles for breathing; simplified our diaphragm & pelvic floor contract together on the inhale to create Intra Abdominal Pressure (IAP), this stabilises our spine & we recruit our remaining core muscles on the exhale.

The dysfunction comes in when we either hold in our stomachs for long periods (females being biggest culprits) or start taking shallower breaths. This makes it extremely hard for normal functional breathing and requires us to recruit our neck and chest muscles with every breath.

To learn how to work on your breathing keep reading. I would highly recommend ANYONE with lower back pain to focus on their breathing especially but really EVERYONE should be doing it...

Visit our exercise library and have a read through our Stability Exercises the first 3 exercises that come up which are about BREATHING.

THOSE AHA MOMENTS...

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I love nothing more than when a client has a lightbulb moment.  I live for these moments! Here is one from yesterday:

Client:  “I’m not sure if it was right but when I was carrying my shopping home yesterday I tried to focus on keeping my shoulder drawn back and down and gently squeezing my arm to my side like we have been doing in the exercise you get me to do.  I noticed that my shoulder that usually aches a lot after my shopping trip was fine yesterday and thought I’d ask if I was doing the right thing?”

Me: “Hell yeah, you were doing the right thing!  That’s what I like to call body awareness, AKA progress!  That is EXACTLY what you should be doing every time you carry anything.”

Client:  “Ah, I thought it must have been right as my shoulder didn’t hurt”.

The scenario ended with a HIGH 5! ☺

When we make our bodies more aware of good movement patterns and enforce it as a habit that is where CHANGE occurs! Those “AHA” moments are way more effective if the client is taught the biomechanics of a movement, along with the FEEL of it.  These movement patterns are then trained and re-inforced in session.  When this translates to their lives and they begin to make connections between WHY we are doing what we are in the gym and how it translates to their lives it is hugely empowering for each individual.  It doesn’t always make sense when explained during sessions until the connection is made outside of the gym through body awareness. 

I always try and train my clients for LIFE, to prepare them for whatever life throws at them and in order for them to achieve functional and pain free lives.  Everything we do in-session has a purpose and a direct translation to their necessary function through life, whether it be through sport; certain hobbies; achieving basic pain free functional movement patterns or just being ready for the unpredictable!

MOVEMENT...WHAT IT REALLY MEANS!

 American Turner Gymnasium 1860

American Turner Gymnasium 1860

An online lecture I saw recently given by Dr Ed Thomas, an expert in the foundation of Physical Education, drove me to analyse what fitness is today in comparison to what it was historically.  Historically, there are three fundamentals of movement and fitness, these are Progression, Variety & Precision.  

Now from what I can tell and have observed over the years is that the majority of fitness enthusiasts seem to do well to take care of the Variety aspect of fitness, it's not hard to keep workouts varied.  Progression seems to be mostly adhered to, it's quite simple, you learn a movement to a satisfactory level until it becomes quite comfortable and then you progress that movement, either by adding weight, increasing reps or challenging the movement to a higher level of difficulty (i.e. advancing from a squat to a single leg squat progression).  Now, I have to take a pause here, although progression seems to be quite evident in most fitness programmes, there is a little issue that is quite niggling…this would be the over-eagerness to progress.  This is a huge issue that is present within our field, you may have someone who is recently able to squat their own bodyweight comfortably but then wants to throw 40kgs onto their back and continue to squat, or a personal trainer who wants to make a client sweat more by handing them heavier weights resulting in a less precise movement pattern.  You can't expect the body to move as efficiently with extra load in a movement pattern that is newly learned with only bodyweight or that is challenging enough with the current weight used.  This brings me to the third and final (and I personally believe the most important) fundamental...Precision.

We need to find a way back to basics and get the population moving well and precisely again, we are so far away from our own mind-body connection that most people just go through the motions of exercise without ever making a conscious connection to how they are moving, why they are moving or how they are breathing.  There was no sloppiness in movement back in the 1800's & most of the 1900's, precision was the key focus and the fitness just followed.

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In Gray Cook's book, "Movement", he talks about the origins of Martial Arts and sums up what fitness should and used to be.  Somehow recent generations have managed to distort this approach and turn it on it's back.  Current jobs and lifestyles have a huge role to play and make it hard for the body to hold onto fundamental physical fitness, but not impossible by far!  "Purposeful movement perfection was the focus, and physical conditioning happened as a natural side effect".

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Modern day gyms are stacked full of equipment promoting dysfunctional movement.  The use of fixed machines encourage your body not to utilise it's core stabilising musculature and instead, rely on your large, global muscles for movement.  In our daily lives we need to be able to squat, lunge, push, pull, reach, run, bend and rotate, all done whilst fighting gravity (not sitting locked into a machine).  This is when our bodies are moving as intended.  These are the movements we need to perfect and do with precision in order to be healthy, fit individuals avoiding injury.

Look at gyms from ancient times and see if you can spot a hamstring curl, a pec deck or a leg extension machine anywhere?  They only use anti-gravity equipment in the form of ropes, rings, parallel bars, ladders etc and hand weights in the shape of dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls and clubs.

Train functional movement patterns and make sure you do it with Precision, Variety & Progression in order to achieve true fitness.  Don't rush into a new movement before you have perfected its predecessor and don't load up a movement pattern before being comfortable and strong enough in doing it body weighted first.