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Burlington, Ontario, Canada
I choose to focus training and nutrition on the individual. I believe in a totally holistic approach emcompassing body, mind and soul and the interaction between them. Utilizing the disciplines of weight-training , pilates, ballet and yoga to ease pain, heal injuries and strengthen the body,and the spirit. Never give up! Never step down!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Medications that can effect weight gain

Here is a list of commonly used drugs associated with weight gain: 1) Benadryl drugs-that-cause-weight-gain-1 Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine, which is used for allergies and as a sleep aid. It is found in Tylenol PM. Histamine is a chemical crucial for regulating food intake, causing appetite suppression when it binds to a specific receptor in the brain. It may also increase the breakdown of fat.1 When the histamine receptor is blocked, its effect on appetite is decreased, leading to increased food intake and weight gain. A large review study found that people who used antihistamines had higher weights, waist circumferences, and insulin concentrations than those who did not.2 Alternatives: Ask your doctor about inhaled medications for allergies which are not generally associated with weight gain. If you have trouble sleeping, consider natural remedies and better sleep habits (i.e. no caffeine late in afternoon, no TV in bed room, etc.). 2) Antidepressants drugs-that-cause-weight-gain-2 The most widely prescribed antidepressants are from a class called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Simply, serotonin is thought to play a role in mood, and brain levels are low in many depressed patients. SSRIs allow serotonin to stay active longer, contributing to enhanced mood in many people. Serotonin is also well known to be an appetite suppressant, so it stands to reason that these drugs will help with weight loss. It turns out that the opposite is true. This paradoxical effect is not completely understood, though likely has to do with the complex interaction between serotonin and other appetite regulating mechanisms. Certain SSRIs, like Prozac, are associated with short term weight loss, though this is temporary and long-term data show a weight-neutral or weight gain effect.3 Alternatives: These should be discussed with your doctor. 3) Beta Blockers drugs-that-cause-weight-gain-3 These drugs are used to treat high blood pressure as well as certain heart conditions. While it is unclear exactly how these drugs contribute to weight gain, it is likely at least partially related to metabolic slowdown. One of the ways these drugs work is by slowing down the heart, which decreases exercise capacity. Additionally, they may cause fatigue, which will then lead to decreased activity and less caloric expenditure. Alternatives: If you are taking a beta blocker for high blood pressure, discuss other medication options with your doctor. 4) Prednisone drugs-that-cause-weight-gain-4 A synthetic corticosteroid, prednisone has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to treat asthma flares and allergic skin conditions, as well as certain autoimmune diseases and arthritis. Prednisone causes water retention and increased appetite. And while prednisone is a catabolic hormone, meaning it causes the breakdown of fat and protein, these effects are more than offset by its appetite stimulating properties. To make matters worse, excess calories consumed in the setting of elevated corticosteroid levels tend to be preferentially deposited around the middle. Alternatives: Doctors should prescribe prednisone when there is no option for a less potent drug. If you must take prednisone or any steroid, it is very important to be aware of its ability to increase appetite and watch your calorie intake very carefully. 5) Seizure Drugs & Mood Stabilizers drugs-that-cause-weight-gain-5 These drugs include Depakote, Risperdal and Olanzapine. The weight gain associated with these medications is often rapid and significant, with research showing as much as a 37 pound weight gain during the course of treatment.4 Scientists believe the drugs’ action on the histamine receptor in the brain is responsible for the effect.5 Alternatives: Discuss this with your doctor. People taking these medications need to be aware of the potential for weight gain and work with a qualified professional to mitigate this side effect as much as possible. Since weight gain can be rapid, it is a good idea to start as soon as treatment commences. 6) Insulin & Other Diabetes Drugs drugs-that-cause-weight-gain-6 Since weight loss is a primary goal of treating type 2 diabetes, it seems illegal that some of the most commonly used drugs to lower blood sugar can cause significant weight gain. When a patient is diagnosed with diabetes, there is often a frantic rush to get the blood sugar down using any means necessary. By giving insulin or insulin releasing agents, sugar is removed from the blood stream and often stored as fat. The result is a lower blood sugar but often 10 or more extra pounds of fat, which can then increase medication requirements and cause more fat storage.6 This vicious cycle continues and makes it essentially impossible for many patients to ever get off medication. Additionally, aggressive blood sugar lowering effects can often cause hypoglycemia, or too low blood sugar, when must be remedied by eating sugar (Often diabetics will need to eat candy or drink juice to get their blood sugar up.) which causes more fat gain from the extra calories. Alternatives: There is no easy answer here. Short-term blood sugar lowering must be viewed in a long-term context. This is certainly a controversial area where mainstream medicine often differs in opinion from complimentary or alternative medicine. If you find yourself familiar with the scenario laid out above, educate yourself and find a qualified professional whom you trust to work with. This is not to propose that you should not take a medication if your doctor says it is necessary. But if you are taking a medication that can contribute to weight gain, it helps to know ahead of time and create a plan to attempt to negate some of the weight gain side effect.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bounce Back Into Shape This Spring It’s that time again – if you’ve let your muscles go over the winter, here’s the best way to get them back. The first glimmer of spring sets things in rapid motion as eager sports buffs emerge from months of hibernation with golf club in one hand, tennis racket in the other and a baseball bat impatiently waiting its turn to send that ball sailing over the bleachers. Too often, however, a lack of conditioning means the only thing soaring is your elevated risk for injury. “Would you trust your car in a cross-country race after it has basically sat in the garage all winter? Probably not. So don’t expect your body to give you its best performance when it’s basically rusty, seized-up and in need of a tune-up!” says Alwyn Cosgrove, a former world Taekwondo champion and internationally renowned specialist in athletic preparation currently living in southern California. While popular early-bird activities such as tennis, golf and softball appear at first glance to be fairly low key pursuits, their emphasis on explosive movement and stop-and-start action makes unconditioned players particularly vulnerable to getting hurt. “Aside from poor performance, which some would say is the biggest risk, the obvious problem associated with spring sports and inadequate conditioning is injury. Although people think of golf, softball and tennis as fun recreational activities, they are still high force, high velocity, ballistic activities that you need to prepare for several weeks prior to the season,” Cosgrove says. Cardiovascular training, which goes a long way to promoting good health, is not enough, according to Cosgrove. “Strength and flexibility take priority, followed by cardiovascular conditioning. Doing cardio first, as most people do, is akin to putting a new V8 engine in your car, with no back wheels, a broken axle and a front end out of alignment. You need to work on the structure before we work on the capacity of the body.” Work to condition the entire body, with the aim of becoming injury-resistant and enhancing athletic performance by building overall muscle strength. Cosgrove also recommends focusing on the big stretches — hip flexor, glutes, hamstrings and lower back – all the muscles involved in rotation. “For conditioning you can’t go wrong with classic exercises such as squats, lunges, push ups and rows. You must, however, train in all three planes of motion — so rotational lunges, rotational push ups, for instance, will all be extremely valuable.” Spring into Shape: “I’d start with two to three sessions of strength and flexibility each week with one cardio session each week for the first three weeks and build up to three strength/flexibility sessions with two to three cardio workouts,” says Cosgrove, who suggests the following exercises: Bulgarian Split Squats: “Perhaps the most single hated exercise in my training facility — so simple yet brutally effective that I think it’s a must for any training program” Start in standing position with the bench behind you Facing away from the bench, place one foot on bench and one foot two or three feet in front of bench — you are in a modified lunge stance With bulk of bodyweight on front leg, bend front knee until your thigh is below parallel and the knee of your trailing leg is grazing the floor Pause and return to fully upright stance. Repeat for desired reps and then switch sides Supine Hip Extension with Leg Curl: “One of only two exercises that target both functions of the hamstring—hip extension and knee flexion—simultaneously.” Lie on the floor with calves on exercise ball, arms out to your sides with palms face up Extend upward from hips until your body forms a straight line with your feet, hips and shoulders Keeping hips elevated, draw the ball toward you by bending your knees. Hips should remain in line with shoulders and knees Slowly straighten legs and lower hip to starting position

4 Ways to Spring Clean from the Inside Out

4 Ways to Spring Clean from the Inside Out

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How People Wreck Their Backs

For many people, back pain seems like an unavoidable discomfort. But you may have more control than you think.

You can wreck your back in any number of ways, but a few major offenders stand out: Not stretching, not paying attention to your movements, and years of wear and tear.
Here are five habits that put your spine at risk and simple strategies to stop them before the damage is done.

Back Wrecker #1: Weekend Warfare..Most often, I see people who injured themselves during a weekend basketball game or a round of golf. These people think they're athletes, but don't train like the pros, and as a result, their backs suffer.

Tackling those "Honey Do" lists at home can also set you up for injury, especially if you were idle for most of the week. Cleaning out the garage, bending over a workbench, or spending hours in the yard or garden can be just as hard on your back as anything you do on a playing field.

Prevent it: The only preventive solution I've found for back pain is exercise. The fix is to stretch and strengthen your core muscles.

The obliques -- the abdominal muscles on your sides -- are especially important for back stability,get an inflatable exercise ball. Use it in your workouts and sit on it, instead of a chair, to engage your abs.

Back Wrecker #2: Poor Lifting TechniqueImproper bending and lifting causes back injury.

Prevent it: Engage your abs to help support your back. Here are the basic principles :

Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Don't bend at your waist.
Keep the object close to you. The farther away you hold it from your body, the more it stresses your back.
Never hold an item higher than your armpit or lower than your knees.
Don't move something that weighs more than 20% of your body weight.
Don't pivot, twist, or turn while lifting. Point your feet at the item you're lifting and face it as you pick it up. Change direction with your feet, not your waist.

Back Wrecker #3: Absentmindedness During Daily ActivitySimple tasks like taking out the trash or washing the dishes can get your spine bent out of shape if your body isn't ready.

The movement doesn't necessarily have to be exaggerated or involve a heavy object. You can hurt your back grabbing a paperclip off the floor or loading the dishwasher.

And if your mind is running on auto-pilot instead of focusing on what you're doing, you could be in trouble.

Prevent it: Train yourself to keep your core muscles engaged.

A simple way to do that is to pull your navel toward your spine and imagine you're wearing a corset that pulls the sides of your abs inward. Doing that throughout the day -- and especially when lifting or bending -- strengthens and supports your back.

Back Wreckers #4 and #5: Commuting and Computing
You sit, and you sit, and you sit some more -- at work, while driving, and in front of the TV. And your back doesn't like it. Here's why.

Your discs are spongy and cushion the vertebrae in your spine, but discs have poor blood supply, Hisey says. When you move, fluid circulates through the discs. When you sit still, the fluid is wrung out, so you're depriving discs of nutrition, he says. Spending so much time behind the wheel of a car or sitting in front of a computer adds mileage to our discs, which leads to stress in your back.

The discs in your spine are nourished by motion.So sitting still is hard on your back and neck, and can do long-term damage. Studies have also shown that sitting puts more pressure on your spine than lying down or standing up.

The worst posture is sitting and leaning forward. This makes you lock your pelvis and flex your spine, putting pressure on the front of the vertebrae, where your discs are. The more you arch forward and exaggerate the curve of the spine, the more pressure you're putting on your discs. This uneven pressure on a disc puts it at high risk of rupture.

Prevent it: You're going to sit. So try these tactics to lessen its impact on your back:

Get up and move at least once every 20 minutes, unless you're driving. Set your screen saver to remind you; make a habit of going for a drink of water; when you answer the phone, stand up to stretch and change positions.
Keep your spine properly aligned by holding reading material at eye level (when sitting or standing) rather than bending over. Don't lean over a desk or table to work. Whenever possible, your spine should be straight.
Choose a chair that supports your back. Adjust the chair so that your feet stay flat on the floor. If the chair doesn't support your lower back's curve, place a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back. Remove anything from your back pockets, especially a wallet, if you'll be seated for long periods of time because this puts your spine out of alignment.

The following exercises help lengthen your spine:

Get on your hands and knees. Reach your left arm straight ahead and straighten your right leg behind you. Use your stomach muscles to stabilize. Hold for 5-10 seconds and slowly return to starting position. Switch arm and leg. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.

Sit tall, lengthen your spine, and let your shoulders relax. Concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades together, keeping your arms hanging at your sides. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then release. Repeat 10-20 times.

Most back pain should abate with in 48 hours with a nonprescription pain reliever. But in some cases, your pain could require urgent care.

You need immediate attention if you suffer any loss of bladder or bowel control with your back pain, Hisey says. This is associated with a disc that's pressing on nerves and the faster you relieve the pressure, the faster the function returns.

Most back pain won't radiate below the waist.If you feel pain in the thighs or knees, you may have a disc herniation causing nerve compression.Seek medical attention and get a scan to ensure there isn't more serious damage.

If your back pain keeps coming back, see a medical professional. You may have begun to rupture a disc or have another injury that could require treatment. The older you are, the quicker you should get to a specialist.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Exercise may be a better option for back pain than surgery.

"Bob" thought surgery had put an end to nearly 15 years of back pain. After a double discectomy about eight years ago, he says, "I could wake up in the morning without worrying that I wouldn't be able to get out of bed. I became a human being again!"

Feeling revitalized, Bob, in his 50's, decided to return to his former hobby: golf. "I played as frequently as I could," says Dunn. "Since then I've been told that golf is about the worst thing you can do if you have a back problem. Soon I was having back spasms that left me incapacitated for a day or two at a time."

Bob was referred to the sports medicine program, where he soon found that, although he was very fit for a man his age, he'd neglected some areas of his body. "The muscle groups I was using were in good shape, but then I'd isolate other muscle groups, and I could barely lift the weight. I was like an infant," Bob says.

About 25% of North-Americans are affected by back pain in a given year, and they spend more time at the doctor's office for back pain than for any other medical condition except high blood pressure and diabetes.

Instead of jumping for pills or surgery, people with chronic back pain should first seek out a thorough functional assessment from a qualified trainer with experience in sports medicine.

Exercising for Back Pain

A lot of back pain is due to postural alignment problems. If you catch it soon enough and correct the problem with exercise and strengthening, you can avoid future pain.

Today, Bob has learned a number of ways to use exercise to relieve and prevent back pain. For example, he works hard on strengthening the muscles involved in the body's core stabilization such as the glutes, a key element in a golfer's swing.

When your torso and hips are moving rapidly from back to front, your back can keep your torso rotating and put incredible strain on your spine. When you engage your glutes at the end of the swing, it's like a brake on the spine.

Back pain can be relieved by many different types of exercises. For instance, a knees-to-chest exercise can be a big help if your pain is due to spinal stenosis, a narrowing of areas in the spine that can put pressure on the nerves. That's because lying on your back and pulling the knees to the chest for about 60 seconds opens up the disc space in the back, which relieves pressure on the nerves.

Today, Bob says, "I still have a tight back from time to time, but the pain has almost completely gone away." Even better: "I haven't had to give up golfing!"

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Morning Stiffness

Main Causes of Morning Stiffness
The basic causes of morning stiffness are lack of daily physical activity, being overweight, having a poor diet, not sleeping properly, and being in an environment that tends to be cold and/or damp.

Exercising on a daily basis (even walking while swinging your arms) is a great way to release those feel-good endorphins, get the blood moving and help clear nasty toxins from the body.

Being overweight causes you to carrying unnecessary poundage, which puts strain on your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

A poor diet that is high in simple carbohydrates causes weak muscles, bad posture and lethargy.

A poor sleeping posture can lock your body in a bad position for hours, causing reduced blood flow to the local muscles, and a buildup of lactic acid, causing stiffness.

Living or working in cold or damp environment causes muscles to stiffen because the cold or damp affects the blood flow throughout the body.

Relieving Morning Stiffness
You can be happy to know that what is causing your morning stiffness can be avoided or corrected... Here are 10 easy things you can do to make a big difference in your life.

1) Be sure to get ample deep sleep, so your body can repair and recharge. Forget about those troubles or conversations or tasks that need addressing; they can be handled tomorrow. Also, be sure to sleep either on your side or on your back—as stomach sleeping causes unnecessary stress on the low back and spine.

2) If your room is drafty, seal the windows or door. If it is cold, try a space heater or using extra blankets to prevent that cold or dampness from stiffening your body.

3) Do some easy stretches while lying in bed, then sitting up in bed—such as bending to the front and sides. This will stretch and loosen the muscles and help flush them with more blood.

4) Take a hot shower. This serves as a means to induce sweating, promote blood circulation and release muscle spasms. Simply stand under the hot water and... relax.

5) After you are warmed up from the shower, do some gentle knee bends—as far as you can go without falling! You can hold on to something for balance, if needed. You don't have to go all the way down, either. These exercise almost 90% of the skeletal muscles. Find a counter, table or chair and use your hands for support. Then exhale and squat as low as you can go, then inhale and stand up again. Do 10 of these to get the morning blood flowing and creaky joints silent.

6) Drink the best water you can get. Often the tap water in our cities is not the freshest or safest. City water can have traces of psychiatric medicines and estrogenic-like compounds in its tap water—and these toxins build up in our systems over time, causing pain. It is advisable to drink either bottled water or reverse osmosis filtered water.

7) Eat better. Cut down on simple carbohydrates and start reading labels to avoid consuming more toxins. Simply eliminate all foods with artificial color, enriched white flour and artificial flavors / sweeteners (high fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose and aspartame). If you don't know what it is, avoid ingesting it.

8) Learn some coping mechanisms and stress management techniques, so that you're not lying awake all night thinking about your problems. Learning how to deal with toxic people in your life will both allow you to sleep better and reduce the stress-induced muscle spasms that cause pain.

9) Get some regular exercise. The idea is to go out and do some something physical with your body. Even a simple routine of 10000 steps a day (buy a pedometer!) will greatly improve your health! Dance, swim, bike, just be sure to move that body every day.

10) You want to dress appropriately for these cold months, and you might do well to sleep in flannel pajamas or sweats. Remember, cold air causes muscles and joints to stiffen.

These simple tips followed with a little dedication, along with some minor lifestyle changes and changes to the living environment, can help you overcome morning stiffness in no time.

Back pain Related to Inflexibility

A Great percentage of Back pain is related to lack of flexibility , not just to injuries, aging, and lack of muscle strength. This is particularly evidenced by body-builders and people who regularly weight train but fail to perform stretches with any consistency.
The greatest omission is to think " I don't have a problem with pain or any present injuries so why bother wasting my time on stretching?"
There is the true story of the muscle competitor who had to squeeze his shampoo onto the shower wall and then rub his head on it because he was unable to reach his arms overhead, he had lost that much flexibility.
It really won't matter, believe me, as you age , how much you can lift or how fast you can walk if you can't touch your feet to tie your shoelaces, or feel like you can move freely when having sex, or play with your grandchildren because it's impossible to bend, or reach the things on the top shelf etc.

Stretching works best when the body is warm, so before exercise you want to do generalized stretches to limber up but the bulk of your stretching and specific stretches should be after working out. First thing in the morning , when you are still warm from being under the covers is another good time to stretch generally , and to stretch the lower back and hips, as is after that bath or shower.
People , especially women, will tend to stiffen sooner in the dominent hip.
Below are some stretches you can use.
Please feel free to write me with questions!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Back Pain-Post 1-

So many of my clients have back pain , I have decided to post a series of articles addressing back pain from various different avenues-

Today I will take the approach from using Yoga as a therapeutic tool:

When doing yoga to increase your back's flexibility, balance is the word. Balance is achieved by doing a combination of actions that oppose one another as you move through the poses. For back pain sufferers, it doesn't have to be a challenging workout. But it is important to follow up bending forward, for example, with bending back. Balanced work strengthens and stretches the back and abs, and helps them to coordinate spinal stability. It prevents the predominance of strength in certain muscles over others, a precursor to back injury. This article presents a series of 4 yoga poses for the flexibility of your back.

What Type of Back Injury Do You Have?
It is a good idea to start by assessing any back injuries you may have either currently or in the past. The poses presented in this article alternate between arching the back and rounding it. To know when to take it easy on your back, understand the nature of your injury. As a general rule, facet joint problems such as spondylolysis will be irritated by arching the back. Disk problems may be worsened by rounding the back. Ask your doctor or therapist if you're ready for these spinal movements and to suggest any necessary safety precautions.

•Facet Joint Syndrome
•Disk and Disk Problems

Stages of Healing
If you are working with a back injury, be aware that there are stages of injury healing, each one with its own implication for physical movement. In the acute and subacute stages, which are the first two, you will likely be under the guidance of your doctor and/or physical therapist. Usually, the third and final stage is the most appropriate for taking on yoga to help heal and strengthen your back. Of course, if you don't have an injury, then you can use yoga to maintain your present condition level, to prevent injury and/or to address minor aches and pains.
•Acute and Sub-Acute Stages of Healing
•Chronic Stage of Healing
•Inflammatory Reaction

Cat-Cow Pose
In the cat-cow pose, you move your spine back and forth between rounding and arching. Here, it really pays to know the nature of your injury because one of the two movements may affect it. Cat-cow has several benefits, among them:
1.establishes ideal spinal alignment
2.strengthens and stretches back muscles
3.develops coordination of spinal movement.

Downward Facing Dog Pose
Downward facing dog (or downdog for short) is a basic yet challenging yoga pose that stretches and lengthens the spine, develops shoulder muscles and can address postural conditions such as kyphosis.

Cobra Pose
While the cobra pose is a pose that many people readily associate with yoga, its not safe for all types of back problems. The basic movement of the cobra is to arch the spine backward. People with facet joint problems, for example, spondylolisthesis, should approach cobra pose cautiously, if at all. Facet joint problems tend to become irritated when the spine is arched. Ask your doctor or physical therapist if this pose is okay for your condition.

Child's Pose
The child’s pose is a beginner yoga pose that stretches the muscles of the low back, as well as the inner thighs. For those with tight back and hip muscles, this will, of course, feel like work. But get beyond the tension, and child’s pose is deeply relaxing. It promotes flexibility, stress relief and helps circulation to the muscles, joints and disks of the back.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Exercise and Running in the Heat

Running in heat and humidity can put you at risk for dehydration, heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. Common sense is the key to avoiding problems, so be sure to follow these precautions:

Stay Hydrated
The easiest way to avoid heat disorders is to keep your body hydrated. This means drinking fluids before, during and after exercise. The body's fluid needs vary with exertion, climate, humidity, terrain, and other factors. The new fluid recommendations for runners say that they should "obey your thirst" and drink when their mouth is dry and they feel the need to drink. In training, drink before workouts and make sure you have access to fluids if exercising longer than 30 minutes. During longer workouts, some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink (like Gatorade) to replace lost salt and other minerals andelectrolytes

Choose Clothing Carefully
Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will help your body breathe and cool itself down naturally. Tight clothing restricts that process and dark colors absorb the sun's light and heat. Wear synthetic fabrics (not cotton) because they will wick moisture away from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur.

Run Early or Late
Try to avoid running between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's intensity is at its greatest. If you must train during those hours, try to stick to shady roads or trails.

Wear Sunscreen
Protect your skin with a waterproof sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and offers broad spectrum protection, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Stick formulations are good for runners' faces because the sunscreen won't run into your eyes.

Don't Push It
On a race day (or during any intense workout), take weather conditions into account. Brutal heat and humidity mean you should scale back your performance goals. Don't try to beat the heat.

Make a Splash
Use water to cool yourself during runs. If you are overheating, splashing water on your head and body will cool you down quickly and have a lasting effect as the water evaporates from your skin.

Be Educated
You should be very familiar with the signs of heat problems so you recognize them in yourself or in a running partner. If you feel faint, dizzy, disoriented, have stopped sweating, or your skin is cool and clammy, slow down or stop running. If symptoms continue, sit or lie down in the shade and seek help.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Part of what inspired me to pursue the study of psychology and counseling is the experience of seeing people respond differently to the same situation: whether the circumstance is heavy traffic or a bone-shattering car accident, some people respond by meeting stressors with strength and perhaps growing from the experience while others may become undone by similar circumstances. So far, my favorite branch of psychology--positive psychology--has come up with a few answers. (Read more on stress and resilience.) To my delight, another study has shed new light on the origin of personal resilience.
According to a new study by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychologist and colleagues, people who seed their life with frequent moments of positive emotions increase their resilience against challenges.

"This study shows that if happiness is something you want out of life, then focusing daily on the small moments and cultivating positive emotions is the way to go," said Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences and the principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory, in a press release. "Those small moments let positive emotions blossom, and that helps us become more open. That openness then helps us build resources that can help us rebound better from adversity and stress, ward off depression and continue to grow."

In the month long study, 86 participants were asked to submit daily "emotion reports," rather than answering general questions on their happiness history.

"Getting those daily reports helped us gather more accurate recollections of feelings and allowed us to capture emotional ups and downs," said Fredrickson, a leading expert in the field of positive psychology.

Amassing a daily collection of positive emotions does not require banishing negative emotions, she said. I particularly like this finding because it helps clarify a 'sticking point' for many: it's okay to feel less-than-positive emotions! (In fact, denying that we feel 'negative' emotions can hamper our ability to cope with them in a healthy way, and can rob us of the 'gifts' they often bring--clarity, motivation for change, etc.)

As with changing one's diet , exercise regime or other lifestyle areas, it's simpler and more effective to add what you want more of (whether it's recognition of positive events in your life, or a diet richer in fruits and vegetables) thank to focus on 'giving up' things that are hard to relinquish (from moods to foods).

Fredrickson elaborated, "The levels of positive emotions that produced good benefits weren't extreme. Participants with average and stable levels of positive emotions still showed growth in resilience even when their days included negative emotions."

Fredrickson recommends focusing on the "micro-moments" that can help unlock one positive emotion here or there.

A lot of times we get so wrapped up in thinking about the future and the past that we are blind to the goodness we have in front of us at this moment.
As the saying goes " the past is history, the future a mystery, that's why we call the present "THE PRESENT".

I am grateful for the wonders and moments I have before me today!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Net Bridge Offers New Way to Repair Torn Rotator Cuff

A torn rotator cuff can be an aggravating and disabling injury for many athletes. In the worst tears, traditional surgical repair is the standard treatment. Unfortunately, nearly fifteen percent of these traditional repairs fail and patients will need additional surgery.

A new surgical procedure called the Net Bridge may change the way rotator cuff repairs are done. The technique, developed by L.A. Dodgers' team doctor, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, has shown promising results so far. The Net Bridge repairs the torn rotator cuff tendon by placing small anchors in the bone and attaching a special fiber-tape that looks and acts like a compression net over the torn tendon, affixing it to the bone. Rather than having one point of attachment, the net provides even distribution of fixation over a large area, and provides more protection and strength of the repair.

So far, the Net Bridge has been successful. According to Dr. ElAttrache, there is a much lower risk of re-injuring the shoulder with the Net Bridge procedure than with traditional repairs and most patients are able to resume activities within six weeks of the surgery.

Don't forget that the best injury treatment is still prevention. To help prevent shoulder pain and injury write me for a complete exercise program to prevent or heal shoulder injuries.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ways to Avoid Weight Gain this Summer

Most people know to be prepared to fight weight gain in the winter, when the holidays and decreased activity can lead to a few extra pounds. But summer -- with its backyard barbecues, s'mores around the campfire, and yummy ice cream treats -- can also be a diet-sabotaging season if you're not careful. Here are some nutrition and fitness tips to help avoid weight gain this summer:

Make Lighter Sides
Pasta salad goes great with burgers and dogs, but one cup of pasta salad can equal more than 500 calories. To save calories, use whole-wheat pasta and light vinaigrette or low-calorie Italian dressing. When you make coleslaw or potato salad, use light or non-fat mayonnaise.

Watch What You Drink
It's nice to have a refreshing, cold drink when it's hot out, but high-calorie beverages like regular soda, juices, alcohol, and sweetened iced tea add empty calories and won't fill you up. Instead, drink water with lemon or lime, or try seltzer or unsweetened iced tea.

Be Active on Vacation
Summer is a great time for beach vacations, but try not to spend all your days relaxing in the sand. Go for a swim, try kayaking, or take a hike -- anything that will get you burning calories.

Eat Fresh Fruit for Dessert
Instead of high-calorie, high-fat desserts, enjoy seasonal, fresh fruits. Watermelon is a great choice because it's low in calories (only 46 calories per cup), and it fills you up because it's 92 percent water.

Avoid Binging at Summer Parties
Many summer activities, like picnics and barbecues, revolve around an unlimited spread of food. Be smart when you're at these types of events. Don't overload your plate and try to avoid going back for seconds. Make spending time with family and friends your focus, not the food.

Go Easy on the Burgers and Dogs
It's tough to be at a barbecue or picnic and resist the temptation to eat burgers and hot dogs. If you have to eat that hot dog, try to stick to healthier toppings like sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard or relish. Stay away from cheesy sauces and chili. When you make your own burgers, try using the leanest beef, and throw in some chopped veggies such as mushrooms, onions and peppers to increase nutrients and save on calories.

Eat Grilled Veggies
Prepare healthy grilled veggies, such as corn on the cob (use no-calorie butter spray) or make veggie kabobs with zucchini, onions, tomatoes and eggplant.

Beat the Heat
Don't let the heat be an excuse not to exercise. Do your runs early in the morning or late in the evening, and make sure that you're staying hydrated on the run. If it's too hot and humid to run outside, move your runs indoors to the treadmill or try a different activity, like swimming.

Limit Ice Cream and Other Treats
It's easy to make eating ice cream a regular habit in the summer, but try to limit frozen treats like ice cream to no more than once a week. Or, better yet, stick to low-calorie but refreshing alternatives like ice pops or sorbet.