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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!

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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