Tag Archives: Physical exercise

TATTOO BIOSENSOR HELPS ATHLETES AVOID BONK

Scientists are working on a new biosensor, applied to the human skin like a temporary tattoo, that can alert marathoners, competitive bikers and other “extreme” athletes that they’re about to “bonk,” or “hit the wall.” The study, in ACS’ journal Analytical Chemistry, describes the first human tests of this sensor, which also could help soldiers and others who engage in intense exercise — and their trainers — monitor stamina and fitness.

MINDING MUSCLES
The sensor monitors lactate, a form of lactic acid released in sweat. Lactate forms when the muscles need more energy than the body can supply from aerobic respiration. The body then shifts to anaerobic metabolism, producing lactic acid and lactate. That helps for a while, but lactate builds up in the body, causing extreme fatigue and the infamous “bonking out,” where an athlete just cannot continue. Current methods of measuring lactate are cumbersome, require blood samples or do not give instant results. Joseph Wang and his colleagues sought to develop a better approach.

In their study they describe the first human tests of a lactate sensor applied to the skin like a temporary tattoo that stays on and flexes with body movements. Tests on 10 human volunteers showed that the sensor accurately measured lactate levels in sweat during exercise.  The scientists say that such skin-worn metabolite biosensors could lead to useful insights into physical performance and overall physiological status, hence offering considerable promise for diverse sport, military, and biomedical applications.

Future research will further correlate sweat lactate levels with fitness, performance and blood lactate levels, Wang added.

AVOID THE BONK
If you exercise at high intensities for more than 90 minutes, you’ll need to fuSports Nutrition Guidebook 3rd Editionel properly to avoid hitting the wall. How do you know if you’ve hit the wall? You’ll feel dizzy, disoriented, and suddenly heavy and uncoordinated. At this point, it’s best to stop and get some glucose (sugar) into your system. Gels and drinks (Gatorade, Powerade) are best as they take less energy to absorb compared to nutritional bars or bananas.

For more on fueling properly before/during/after a workout, check out Nancy Clark’s books on sports nutrition.

EXERCISE REDUCES ADDICTION RELAPSE

Addiction, be it to nicotine, cocaine, alcohol, obsessive sex or compulsive gambling is ultimately about self-soothing. The substance or behavior is done to calm nerves or take the edge off by numbing.  And to do that, you have to ignore and abuse the body.

To return to the body is therefore a crucial part of the recovery process. In a recent issue of Massage Therapy Journal, Clare La Plante details how massage can help people in addiction recovery.

EXERCISE IN RECOVERY
According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, exercise is increasingly becoming a component of many treatment programs and has proven effective, when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy, at helping people quit smoking. Exercise, the experts say, may help by addressing psychosocial and physiological needs that nicotine replacement alone does not.  Exercise helps because it reduces negative feelings and stress, and by preventing weight gain following cessation. Research to determine if and how exercise programs can play a similar role in the treatment of other forms of drug abuse is under way.

JUST DO IT ALREADY
That researchers are moving forward to “prove” the exercise benefit is a good, however, it’s also disturbing in my opinion that exercise as part of addiction treatment/recovery process is not yet mainstream. What are we waiting for?  In the most simplistic and obvious of terms, we have bodies and minds.  How can you treat addictions by focusing primarily on the mind and talk therapy?

Get people to feel their own innate power, the surge of blood coursing through their veins instead of cocaine, and you might reduce the high relapse rate.  Yes there are often gyms on site, but that’s extracurricular. What I’m talking about is integrating exercise in a more comprehensive and substantive way.

We know that exercise benefits the body and mind.  A simple search will pull up reams of data from the likes of Harvard, National Institutes of Health and Mayo clinic.  Exercise:

  • Improves mood
  • Relives mild depression
  • Increases cognitive function

The August edition of Scientific American features an article on exercise and its affects on the cell biology that point to how movement can reduce cancer risk, improve cognition in the elderly, and change how cholesterol moves through your blood system. in ways you may not realize. And guess what?  When it comes to kids, physical activity may thwart drug abuse altogether.

So if you’re trying to quit, in a program already, or trying to help someone you love, consider adding massage therapy and exercise of some kind.  It can’t hurt and it may very well help.  Certainly worth a try, don’t you think?

Love,
JoAnn

PILATES LATERAL-BREATHING INCREASES LUNG CAPACITY

Joseph Pilates was known to say that breathing is the first and last act of life. Can’t argue with that.  But breathing is not something we think about ordinarily;  it is mostly an unconscious biological function.  When we do pay attention, breathing can transform your Pilates workout and your life.

PILATES LATERAL BREATHING
In Pilates, the breath is used to assist motion and to better activate the deep core muscle.  By following the natural exhale you find that your belly muscles compress.  Sneezing and couching are an extreme example of how much abdominals contract when breath is strongly pushed out of the body.  Go ahead, try it.

We want to keep the belly actively pulled in. So how the heck can you breathe deeply while holding in your belly?  Lateral breathing.  It means using the full capacity of our lungs.  Try this simple exercise using a flexible flat band.  You can do this standing, sitting, or lying down.  It’s a great way to start your workout and relax at the end of your day.

  1. wrap the band around your body just underneath or breastbone, at the highest point of your six pack
  2. cross the band so that when you pull it tightens like belt
  3. inhale to prepare
  4. exhale our of your mouth and slowly pull the band tighter as you complete your exhale (notice how it deepens your belly)
  5. inhale to release the band tension

Do this several times.  Repeat with the band around your waist and a third position, around your hips covering the hip bones.

For more on how to do this, check out this excerpt from Pilates Master Rael Isacowitz

Take care to breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth like you’re fogging up a mirror.  Do that consistently throughout your practice. You will notice a difference. As a Pilates instructor I know people can feel self-conscious about breathing audibly. At very least, you should hear your own breath.

Joe Pilates was asthmatic at time when there was no medication – he breathed his way back to life.   Someday we will all take our last breath – so breathe deeply and completely to get the most out of your life now.

Love,
JoAnn

PILATES IMPROVES SEX

Pilates does a body good in many ways. Improves balance, strength, flexibility, confidence and strengthens the pelvic floor. All that helps improve that most intimate of act, sex.  Most people have heard of the Kegel method to improve a woman’s pelvic floor, but Pilates can be better.  So says this blogger/ Pilates instructor in the Huffington Post.  As a longtime Pilates devotee and instructor myself, I totally agree with her post.

THE CORE AND MORE
If you’re talking about the “core” of the body you can’t get anymore centrally located then the pelvic floor. It’s what helps you activate your “corset” muscle known as the transversus abdominis, the muscles that hug around your waist and help support your spine.  Of course, all that flexibility can add much fun in the bedroom too.

When it comes to attractiveness, confidence goes along a way.  There’s nothing like the rush of mastering a new move like plank on the reformer, or teasers performed smoothly and slowly with control.  It’s elegance and power in motion.  It’s a turn on for you.  Nothing like post Pilates glow.

JUST SO YOU KNOW
Many people, especially men, come to Pilates later in life and because they have injured themselves. But why wait?  You can prevent injuries, get stronger and more flexible as you age instead of the reverse.  And guess what guys,  improving pelvic floor is not just for women. There’s a lot reasons it can benefit you too.  For details, read here.

And for more mojo, reformer planks will keep you going strong . . .

Enjoy the Journey
JoAnn

NATIONAL DONUT DAY

Well in case you missed it, yesterday June 7 was National Donut Day.  But don’t worry there’s still time to do something sweet for a good cause and you could win free donuts for a year. In its continued support of The Salvation Army, from May 1st to June 15th Entenmann’s Bakery will donate $1 to the organization for every person who “likes” the Entemann’s Facebook page up to $30,000.

Entenmann’s will also be rewarding lucky winners with ‘Free Donuts for a Year’ and additional prizes through a sweepstakes link on their Facebook page. All entries must be received by 11:59: p.m. ET on June 30, 2013. Winners will be randomly selected from all submissions. Official Rules can be found at http://www.entenmanns.com 

A SWEET TRADITION
The first National Donut Day was celebrated by The Salvation Army in Chicago in 1938 to help raise needed funds during the Great Depression and commemorate the work of the “donut lassies” who helped make the donut what it is today by feeding the tasty confection to American soldiers during World War I. The donuts became synonymous with The Salvation Army, as well as the American soldiers who were returning home with the nickname, “doughboys.”

This significant occasion established the donut as a long-standing symbol of the services The Salvation Army continues to provide. The partnership between Entenmann’s and The Salvation Army reinforces Entenmann’s as a brand synonymous with National Donut Day.

JUST SO YOU KNOW
While it’s fine to indulge that sweet tooth every once in a while, there are some down sides.  Sugar and fat in combination can create powerful cravings. Some experts even say that that combination is down right addictive.  Regardless, the scant nutrition means you’ll be hungry soon after chowing down on donuts.  That’s why you can eat a few of them in short amount of time but I double dog dare you to try to eat five bananas. Your body absorbs the nutrients from bananas but there isn’t much nutrition in a donut so nothing to really satisfy you biologically speaking. One Starbucks Old Fashioned glazed donut  has nearly 500 calories and so does five bananas.

How long does it take to burn off 500 calories? About an hour’s worth of moderate to high aerobics to burn off.  Just so you know.

Bon Appetit
JoAnn

FINDING A GOOD PILATES INSTRUCTOR

Pilates certifications can be snagged in weekend or take several years and hundreds of hours to earn. Good instructors gain the equivalent of a Master’s degree. When you want high quality instruction, look for:

  • Minimum of 300 training hours
  • Comprehensive and mat certifications
  • Several years of teaching
  • Ask about specialties. Some instructors focus on populations such as seniors, pre/post natal, rehab or high performance athletes.

Like yoga, Pilates has evolved through time. Today, there are a variety of styles but core development is fundamental to them all. Among the most well-known trademarked brands are: Stott, Power Pilates, Core Dynamics, the Physical Mind Institute, and Romana’s Pilates. But a trademark doesn’t necessarily ensure quality instruction.

“Anyone can take a list of exercises and teach them,” says Chicago-based Vered Arbel of Elements in Motion, “how you analyze and fit the exercises to the needs of the person requires anatomical and biomechanical knowledge. Really look for that.”

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT STUDIO FOR YOU
A web search will result in lots of choices and can reveal a lot about a place.  What’s the vibe?  Warm and welcoming?  Super intense high energy?  Look at the pictures and the language.  Do they communicate well?  What do the instructors say about themselves? Look for client testimonials and consult Yelp.

Ask them questions that relate to what you are looking for and they should ask you questions too.  That will reveal their level of experience and care about new clients.  Questions instructors  should ask you include:

  • What do you do for exercise now?
  • What attracts you to Pilates?
  • What are your fitness goals?
  • Any injuries?

Taking a mat class is an inexpensive way to check out a studio and discover if the place simply feels right to you. Also, many studios offer discounted rates for first time students.

Counteracting the stresses of everyday life is among the main benefits of any exercise discipline.  Ultimately, Pilates can balance the body helping you feel at ease and comfort in your skin, increase energy, rid you of body aches and possibly back pain too. Well worth the price of admission.

Love,
JoAnn

RELIEVE YOUR BACK PAIN NOW

The bad news is that back pain will likely plague you at some point in your life, and probably more than once. The good news is there is a lot you can do to prevent, manage and relieve that pain. Heat and ice treatments work wonders and both bring easy, convenient, and fast relief.

WHEN TO HEAT AND ICE
You can treat any sprain/strain injuries with hot and cold packs because both help reduce muscle spasm and pain. There are differences in these temperature treatments though. Ice reduces blood flow thereby quieting swollen tissues. Heat, on the other hand, stimulates blood flow. The increased circulation brings more nutrients to the injured site and helps relax sore muscles.

At the first sign of an injury it’s recommended that you start with ice to calm the swelling. Ice the area for about 15 minutes then repeat the icing in about an hour. After 24-48 hours, move to heat treatments.

Note that alternating ice / heat is a general recommendation. Because both ice and heat are pain-relieving, do which ever makes you feel better. There’s no magic rule. Some people like to alternate hot/cold packs, while others prefer to stick one temperature.

PACKAGED AND DIY PRODUCTS
There are a lot of products on the market today that make hot/cold back therapy easy. They can be conveniently heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer. Look for those which are large and can be draped around an area. Some are specially made for the lower back and attach with Velcro much like weight belt.

No cold pack? A bag of frozen peas can do wonders in a pinch. Whatever your do, avoid putting ice directly on your skin, it’s irritating. Place ice cubes in a bag, wrap a towel around it and apply. Be patient. It takes a few minutes for the cold to come through. Likewise, you can heat up a moistened towel in the microwave for a comforting moist heat wrap. Again, take care when applying to skin. You may need a second towel wrapped around the first.

PREVENTING BACK PAIN
A strong healthy body with good core strength helps prevent back pain in the first place.  Pilates is all about the spine and among the best ways to keep your back healthy for life. There are some simple exercises to bring quick relief such as this easy to do anywhere anytime upper back release.

What’s SUP? Stand-Up Paddleboarding.

Stand-up paddleboarding that what’s up.  The sport is a combo of kayaking and surfing. You stand on a wide board and paddle your way through the water. Originally used by ancient Polynesian cultures, it’s been steadily making its way from Hawaii  as a great way to play on water and get a good workout too. Talk about balance and power, you’ll need that plus a sense of humor when you fall off. Read and see all about it here, at SUP magazine.

NEW CITY VIEW
Finally thawing out of the cold, cruel and LONG winter this year, we Chicagoans are every ready to get out and play.  Enjoy the city skyline in a whole new way, by jumping on a board.  Yeah, Lake Michigan can be choppy, but hey there are rivers too and some days all our waters are as calm as glass.  This outfitter will help you get started with gear and lessons.

A FESTIVAL AFLOAT
Up north, standup paddleboarding is exploding in popularity in Madison, Wisconsin.  This summer, industry leader SUP the Mag, is sponsoring the Midwest Standup Paddle Festival, a benefit for the UW Health Children’s Hospital and the Henry Vilas Zoo. It’s set for July 12 & 13, 2013 at Bishop’s Bay Country Club in Middleton, WI. The abundance of clean flatwater in the area plus the reputation Madison has for being such an active community led organizers to add Madison to its nationwide festival of events.  Madison is one of eight stops on their SUP America Tour.

STAY ON BOARD WITH CORE POWER
Your core muscles are like the glue that holds everything together while your arms push and pull you through the water. Lots of ways to keep that core strong as you move your limbs, and Pilates is one of the best ways to get in shape and stay in shape for all you do.  Great for post rehab and even better, Pilates is a highly efficient muscle balancing full workout that helps you avoid injuries in the first place. Good instructors can customize the workout for your specific sport.

Now go out and play!

Love,
JoAnn Milivojevic
Certified Pilates Instructor

Reduce Cancer Risk and Return to Life

You’ve probably heard that poor nutrition and lack of physical activity can lead to so called “lifestyle” diseases namely high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems and type II diabetes. But did you know that inactivity and a lousy diet increases cancer risk?

A recent report from the National Cancer Institute, highlights the effects of excess weight and lack of physical activity on cancer risk. Esophageal adenocarcinoma, cancers of the colon and rectum, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer among postmenopausal women are all associated with being overweight or obese.

WHAT TO DO?

No matter your age, your fitness level or social status – exercise WILL make you feel better.  As a Pilates instructor I’ve worked with retirees, lawyers, insurance executives and school teachers – some are uber athletes some are just getting started.  ALL are happier for having exercised. As Joseph Pilates has said, to be physically fit is to return to LIFE.

BEYOND DISEASE PREVENTION

So while being active and eating right will do much to prevent diseases, how about just feeling better about who you are? How about igniting your spirit? Finding joy? Feeling powerful and strong? How about simply climbing those stairs without feeling fatigued?

All that and more belongs to you.  If you live near Chicago, join me for Pilates, Zumba and/or Yoga.

Love,

JoAnn

Each day is a new opportunity to start anew.

Depressed? Anxious? Exercise Helps says Mayo Clinic

Exercise is the great elixir.  Fountain of youth and mood enhancer.  For those that need proof, countless scientific reports show that exercise helps those with diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis. Ditto for anxiety, depression.

It doesn’t matter what you do – it’s moving that matters. Bike. Hike. Garden. Lift weights. Jump rope. Dance. Wash the car.  If you’re in Chicago, you can join me for Pilates, Yoga, and Zumba.

Even more good news is that exercise may also help keep anxiety and depression from coming back once you’re feeling better.  According the experts at the Mayo clinic, the benefits are many.

How exercise helps:

  • Releases feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
  • Reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increases body temperature, which may have calming effects
  • Boosts confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
  • Takes your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
  • Improves social interaction. Exercise may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
  • Helps you Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptom

While exercise can make you look better, the most significant benefit is that you will feel better for having done it. Just move!

Love,

JoAnn