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Tag: Physical Exercise

Scientists uncover how caffeine boosts athletes’ performance

In a study published in Friday’s online issue of the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, researchers from McMaster University Medical Centre found that caffeine tricks an athlete’s brain into delaying the perception of pain and fatigue. More importantly, it also tricks muscles into releasing more of the calcium needed to contract and relax.

“The caffeine is allowing a little bit more calcium to be released into that muscle,” said Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky. “It would make that muscle contraction a little bit stronger, so you can actually either run at the same pace with less input, or run at a faster pace for the same input.” Research from the University of Guelph showed caffeine in high concentrations can actually have the opposite effect, which is one of the reasons it is no longer banned at the Olympics.

Ron Charles from CBC talks about it in the video below:

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Exercise program may help migraine sufferers

While physical exercise has been shown to trigger migraine headaches among sufferers, a new study published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain describes an exercise program that is well tolerated by patients. The findings show that the program decreased the frequency of headaches and improved quality of life.

The study used a sample of migraine sufferers who were examined before, during and after an aerobic exercise intervention. The program was based on indoor cycling (for continuous aerobic exercise) and was designed to improve maximal oxygen uptake without worsening the patients’ migraines.

After the treatment period, patients’ maximum oxygen uptake increased significantly. There was no worsening of migraine status at any time during the study period and, during the last month of treatment, there was a significant decrease in the number of migraine attacks, the number of days with migraine per month, headache intensity and amount of headache medication used.

An abstract of the publication can be found at the Wiley InterScience website. More about this in the video below by Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV:

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The Alexander Technique: realign your body

The Alexander Technique is a method that works to change movement habits in our everyday activities. It is a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination. The technique teaches the use of the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity, giving you more energy for all your activities. It is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a reeducation of the mind and body. It is promoted for the alleviation of back pain, rehabilitation after accidents, improving breathing, playing musical instruments and singing.

The technique dates back to the 1890s when Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), an actor who began his career as a Shakespearean orator, developed chronic laryngitis while performing. Determined to restore the full use of his voice, he carefully watched himself while speaking, and observed that undue muscular tension accounted for his vocal problem. He sought a way to eliminate that restriction. Over time, he discovered and articulated a principle that profoundly influences health and well-being: when neck tension is reduced, the head no longer compresses the spine and the spine is free to lengthen. From this work on himself and others, he evolved this hands-on teaching method that encourages all the body processes to work more efficiently - as an integrated, dynamic whole.

The Alexander Technique is not something you can learn from a video or a book. You need a teacher to review your own personal situation and guide you, so taking lessons is very important. If you are in the New York area, I suggest you contact Mark Josefsberg who is a certified Alexander Technique teacher. You can find a lot of informative articles and videos regarding this topic, as well as his contact information on his website at www.MarkJosefsberg.com .

You can find a detailed guide about the technique at AlexanderTechnique.com. Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV explains it more in the video below:

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Vibrosphere: a good workout in half the time

The Swedish company ProMedVi is introducing a new gadget called Vibrosphere for those eager to lose weight in half the time. The gadget combines two recognized methods of training: balance and vibration training.

According to the company, the tactile stimulation under the feet in combination with the element of balance can lead to a rapid improvement in proprioception and consequently balance. The vibrations also increase activity in the neuromuscular system through involuntary muscle contractions which contribute to an improved musculature performance and interplay between the muscles and the nerves.

Check out the video below from CTV for more information:

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Staying active throughout the day can help people with Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. It affects three times more men than women. The individual with sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening. Snoring and daily fatigue are the common symptoms of this disorder.

Toronto researchers suggest that people who sit for long periods of time, like working on a computer, accumulate fluids in their legs during the day. And that fluid moves from the legs to the neck when you lie down to sleep, making breathing very difficult. But staying active during the day, such as stretching, exercising, or even a short walk can help with the problem. It is unclear yet how much movement is needed and needs further studies.

More about this in the video below by Monica Matys from CTV Lifetime:

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