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Fitness. Down to a Science

Strength Training

Learning Opportunities

Many thanks to those who came to our seminar series “Understanding and Overcoming Persistent Pain” at the Halifax Library. It was great to help people gain more knowledge about treating and, more importantly, preventing pain. Based on our experience, we know there is a gap in people’s understanding of pain. We wanted to let people know that (1) that they are not alone, (2) that help is available and (3) that it’s possible to regain control over that aspect of life. Our passion stems from helping people who are suffering with persistent pain live more fulfilled lives. Education, movement, and exercise are key to achieving this. We are firm believers that knowledge is power and it is the first step in gaining freedom from persistent pain. We were very pleased with the turnout for the last series of workshops and recognize that people want help managing their pain or a loved one’s pain. Here are some upcoming opportunities to learn more: April 27th at One to One Wellness: “Health Empowerment: 4 Steps for Shifting From Pain to Performance” June Seminar Series at the Halifax Library: “Strengthen Your Health” Monday, June 5, 7:00pm:  Expressing Authentic Movement Monday, June 12, 7:00pm:  Strength Training for Managing Chronic Conditions Monday, June 19, 7:00pm:  What the Foot: A Game-Changing Philosophy of Human Movement Monday, June 26, 7:00pm: From Pain to Performance  We will explore different wellness principles and how putting all the pieces together helps to not only overcome pain, but to optimize performance as well. Please come along and bring a friend. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to...

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Walking: An Exercise or Activity?

I’m often asked “Is walking good for you?” In short, the answer is YES but the rewards and drawbacks of ‘walking for exercise’ depends heavily on the individual. For example, are you are free of injuries or impairments that would cause you to walk with a correction? Do you have a sore heel causing you to put more weight on one leg? Do you experience pain while walking or after? Do you have poor balance and at times worried you might fall? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s important that you minimize risk. Injury will take the benefit out of any workout. What are the primary benefits of walking? For me, walking is an activity that can be fun (who doesn’t love a social walk with a friend on the waterfront.) Walking gets the body moving. Increases blood flow which contributes to a healthy heart and brings greater fluidity to lower body joints. Walking challenges your weight bearing bones to help fight osteoporosis. In general walking is a low-impact activity that has minimal “wear and tear” on your joints. Walking is free, can be done most anywhere and is one of the best things for your mind & body. The downside to walking: it won’t on its own build muscle. Walking gives you a great cardiovascular boost but offers little improvement in muscle strength. As we age (after the age of 25) we start to lose muscle mass, this is called “sarcopenia”. It becomes fairly critical that we continue to build muscle mass as we age. Walking alone will not give you everything you need to be fit for the long run. I like to think of walking as an “activity” rather than “exercise”. I think any type of sport or recreational movements are in the same column. Activity in my opinion still has many benefits (physical, as well as psychological and social) but if you really want to play or engage in an activity with less chances for injury or “wear and tear” on your joints, then you need to do the fundamental work called “exercise”. I highly suggest weight training using machines or free weights, yoga, pilates, and body-weight training movements (squats, push ups, planks). Exercise is the hard work, and activity is the fun! In summary, walking is great. It’s just not the “be all and end all” of a complete fitness program. If walking is the one thing you do, good for you. You are moving! That’s better than a lot of people! If you are keen to experience the benefits of true fitness try adding exercises that build muscle. You will soon discover an ability to enjoy all types of physical activity safely and with greater...

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Sleep, Exercise, Eat, and Relax Your Way to a Stronger Immune System

By Tara Patriquin, RMT Staying healthy is a balancing act between immune boosters and immunity drainers. After all, we’re surrounded by things that compromise our immune system on a daily basis, whether it’s pollution, questionable lifestyle choices, or viruses, to name a few. It seems that at no time do we hear more about “immune boosters” than in the winter. The common cold is one of the leading reasons for medical visits during the winter. But, building a healthy immune system is a year-round job. It is big business to sell products designed to strengthen your immune system. You can Google any number of lists offering the best immune boosters, with everything from the now mainstream Echinacea to the little known Graviola extract. But I’ve never been the most compliant with a supplement regimen, and I’m a simple girl after a simple approach. I keep my immune boosters old school: sleep, exercise, diet, and manual therapy. After all, these are the pillars of health and you always have them at your disposal; no hunting for rare ingredients required! Sleep The most basic and important thing to understand about sleep is that this is when many of our critical metabolic processes do their best work, like regulating body temperature, hormone levels, heart rate and other vital body functions. In other words, when we sleep we heal. In fact, a Chronobiology International publication as recent as August 2013 explores the link between the circadian clock and the body’s natural biological clock that regulates our immune cells and activity. The researchers discovered that the crosstalk between these clocks had potentially grave consequences on a person’s overall health in states of sleep deprivation. One of my favourite bedtime routines is to practice some Pranayama: the art of mindful breathing. The extra oxygen that you will take in will not only help to alleviate muscle tension, but it will relax the mind too. The rhythmic pattern of breathing can also be calming and meditative. And since stress can interfere with the immune system, a little meditation can go a long way. I’ve written more in-depth on the science of Pranayama. Exercise You don’t need to be a genius to know that exercise, particularly strength-training exercise, is the best support to our musculoskeletal health. Did you know that it is also an incredible immune-booster? However, the trick is in finding the amount of exercise that is right for you and your immune system. The biggest risk is in chronic overtraining. The idea that we need to sweat it out for an hour at the gym 5 days a week is rapidly falling by the wayside. Just as we heal in our sleep, we rebuild our exhausted muscles during our rest days. Remember that building tissue is a metabolic process that requires the right combination of stimulation, nutrients, and rest. The most beneficial exercise approach is...

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Strength Training: Live Long and Prosper

By Dave Lee, Physiotherapist I’m a huge Trekkie if you couldn’t tell by the title. I sometimes wonder if the secret to Vulcans (the alien species which Spock was a part of) living so long, being so strong and smart, was due to the fact that they practiced strength training. If you look at the people on earth and the research that definitively connects strength training to longevity in life, there must be some crossover here with Vulcans? But seriously, do we need anymore research to tell us that a lifetime of strength training (done properly, infrequently (1 x week) and intensely) can drastically improve quality of life and longevity? If you do, please check out another great video by Skyler Tanner on Strength Training for...

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A Healthier Nova Scotia…Wellness!

By Nick Matheson, Owner It was eleven years ago; a birthday truly worth celebrating. My oldest daughter, Maryn, had reached a milestone. Three years old and she was cancer free. Born with a rare tumour in her liver, the disease had progressed to her lungs, reaching stage 4, before we had the good fortune of an accidental discovery. A fall on her belly a few months previous ruptured the tumour, threw her into shock, and propelled our family into a 4-month sprint to conquer this disease. On this particular day, she raced all over the playground, climbing, swinging, and jumping. Not a big deal for most three year olds, but quite a feat for a kid who was only three weeks post liver transplant! Having donated a significant chunk of my liver to the effort, I was quite the contrast as I winced with pain and hobbled lethargically around the park trying in vain to keep up. At only 31 I was already envious of the energy and recovery potential of youth! My family’s brush with cancer taught me that there are many things in life that I cannot control. It was in that moment, full of joy in Maryn’s victory and facing struggle in my recovery, that I vowed to control those things I could. Until that point, health was something I took for granted. It’s easy to do that until you start to lose it. So many people spend so much time and energy focused on things that do not matter at all when their own health or the health of those they love is at risk. Illness can be an important wake up call. I’m sure my family has claimed more than our share of Nova Scotia’s health care dollars. We are very grateful that the stress of coping with a kid facing a serious illness was not compounded by wondering how we would pay for her care. We are incredibly thankful for the exceptional care that was provided and, of course, for a miraculous outcome. I realize that it is not without problems; however, the system was there for us when we needed it. For the most part, health care in Nova Scotia works when you are sick. The challenge is that it does very little to keep us well. And, frankly, I don’t think there is much it can do. The population of Nova Scotia is aging rapidly, chronic disease continues to increase, and unhealthy lifestyle habits are among the highest in the country. Illness places a growing burden on health care budgets and personnel. I understand fully that there are many things we cannot control. I invite every Nova Scotian to accept responsibility for controlling those they can. Wellness is too often sacrificed to denial or lack of awareness. Every choice takes one closer to or farther from a state of good health. The scientific literature is...

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Osteoarthritis: No effort, no improvement

By Keltie Cheney, Physiotherapist I am as guilty as anyone of trying to find the easiest way to get what I want accomplished and expecting the best results despite it. However, as a physiotherapist, I am a big promoter that the power to improve one’s health is proportionate to how much effort the individual puts into their treatment and home care. I see a lot of people with knee and hip pain and most of them start out with “I’m not sure if there is much you can do about it since I have Osteoarthritis (OA) in my joint(s)”.  There is evidence to show that people with OA can improve function and pain levels, though they the often don’t know what can be done or they don’t want to put in the effort to do it! I can understand why people may not want to do what may be very beneficial because just taking pain medication may seem easier than physical effort. This article explains quickly what I mean. Even though weight loss and exercise have been proven techniques to decrease pain and improve function, many people just don’t do it. Weight loss is a slow process and many types of exercise can appear intimidating, over-whelming, inconvenient, or even pain-inducing. At One to One Wellness, our clients experience how low-force strength training, along with prescribed and specific cardiovascular exercise, can create enormous gains. It is important for people suffering with OA that exercise is non-intimidating, welcoming, convenient, and above all, comfortable. Feel free to ask a physiotherapist how to get you more active on your own journey to improving the symptoms associated with OA.  A little bit work can go a very long...

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