4 Reasons Why Winter Sun Is GREAT

Today’s blog post comes from the wonderful Lucy Anderson, one of our highly experienced osteopath and pilates instructor who specialises in your total wellbeing, not just getting rid of the niggles meaning you feel great for a long long time.

As I was going for my morning run in the park today, I couldn’t help but be reminded of what a difference a sunny day makes. I actually felt motivated and energised to push myself a bit further and less foggy-headed… like I should be back in bed!

But why does sunshine make us feel so much better?

Serotonin release: Sunshine exposure has been shown to increase brain cell production of serotonin – a hormone and neurotransmitter intricately linked with mood and central nervous system function. Research has shown a link between depression and low serotonin levels.

Vitamin D synthesis – Sunlight exposure is known to promote synthesis of Vitamin D in our skin, which is by far our most effective source. Insufficient vitamin D production makes us feel sleepy and sluggish and generally feel low by virtue of it’s link with immune and metabolic processes.
Vitamin D is not only important for mood, but also for bone health. We need Vitamin D to absorb calcium in the gut which is important for maintaining bone density.

Influences circadian rhythms – exposure to sunlight particularly in the morning and daytime helps to switch off production of melatonin, a hormone needed to promote sleep. This improves release of melatonin when it gets dark helping you sleep better.
Other benefits:….

Sunlight not only makes us feel better, but it has also been shown to help lower blood pressure. Sunlight exposure promotes release of nitric oxide from the skin. Nitric Oxide is a potent vasodilator – I.e. It widens blood vessel lumens. This reduces resistance to flow of blood within the vessel resulting in reducing blood pressure.

How can I get more sunshine in the middle of winter?
Getting sufficient sunlight exposure in the winter can be tricky given the short days and often cloudy weather (sadly, we have no control over it!) However, I have put together a few simple ideas to help improve your sunlight exposure in the winter:

1) Walk to work – ok, you might not have time to walk all the way to work, but consider getting off the tube one stop earlier and walking for 15 minutes. This has the added benefit of endorphin release from the exercise. It doesn’t always feel appealing to walk around on a cold day, but the cold air is a great way to help you wake up and become more alert for the day ahead.

2) Run outside instead of on the treadmill – Again, this might feel less tempting on a cold day, but. once you’ve taken that first difficult step out of the door there really is nothing more refreshing than a cold run along the river or through the park. Make sure you wrap up warm and invest in a good pair of running leggings – brushed fabrics offer more warmth. If, like me, you find the cold air harsh on your lungs, ears and nose, wear a hat that covers your ears – we lost most of our body heat through our head so a hat really does make a huge difference. A thin scarf or snood over your mouth and nose can help to warm the air as it passes into the lungs and also reduce pollution exposure.

3) Pop out for a coffee – while the coffee machines at work may be convenient and free, leaving the office for that mid-morning coffee instead of staying in will give you some sunlight exposure, fresh air and helps to dull that late-morning slump.

4) Invest in a light box – On gloomy days or dark mornings, sitting in front of a light box has been shown to be helpful in improving mood.

5) Take a winter holiday – depending on where you go, it can be a cheaper and a less busy time of year to get away to a beautiful beach destination. A weeks’ holiday in the sun really does help to beat the winter blues and break up the long, cold, dark days.

 

4 Reasons Why Winter Sun Is GREAT Third Space Sports Medicine

Snap, Crackle & Pop

Is that Snapping Hips Syndrome? 

1. Internal Snapping Hip

When a tendon slides over a bit of bone, the result is a snap. This is by far the most common and usually caused by Iliopsoas slipping over a protrusion of the pelvis called the iliopectineal prominence or Rectus Femoris, your main quadriceps muscle moving over the head of the femur (your thigh bone).

Symptoms?

  • Popping when running, or when the hip is flexed more than 90degrees or rotates away from the body.
  • Popping with a sharp sudden pain at the front deep in the groin.
  • Pain worsens with activity
  • The original onset is vague and may have begun as a mild annoyance.

Treatment Required? Not always. If pain is present then yes as it is important to offload the irritated tendon and make sure the iliopsoas bursa isn’t involved but usually just lots of stretching and flexibility work should resolve the issue in a couple of weeks.

2. External Snapping HipThis is also when a tendon slides over a bit of bone but this time between the bone and the skin rather than deeper in the pelvis. This is still very common and usually caused by the ITB (iliotibial band) or Gluteus Maximus slipping over part of the top of the femur called the greater trochanter.

Symptoms?

  • Popping when the hip is flexing and extending e.g. when climbing stairs. Carrying heavy bags or playing golf or tennis makes this more prominent.
  • Popping with a sharp sudden pain on the outside of the hip. Sometimes this can be seen too.
  • The hip feels like it may pop out of its socket (it’s not, don’t worry!)
  • The original onset is vague and may have begun as a mild annoyance.

Treatment Required? More often than not, treatment is needed to nudge a patient in the right direction for rehabilitation. If pain is present then this is a must as your gait is likely to have been affected, which can lead to further problems down the line.

3. Intra-Articular Snapping Hip

This is a problem with the hip itself. Less common but not unheard and should always be treated professionally.Causes?

  • Acetabular Labral Tear – When the tough cartilage that rings the hip joint tears. Symptoms include snapping and pain in the groin area. The most common cause of intra-articular snapping hip.
  • Injury to articular cartilage – the surface of the joint is damaged causing aching deep in the hip, not always snapping.
  • Loose bodies in the hip – When a fragment of bone or soft tissue breaks away and gets trapped between the hip joint causing snapping or a vague locking sensation in the hip.
  • The original onset is usually traumatic and pain starts immediately.

Treatment Required? Yes, identifying what is going on with this form of snapping hip is important as the longer it goes on the longer term the effect on the function of your body.

These are the musculoskeletal causes of a snapping hip. There are other things that may cause a change in the biomechanics of the hip which may mimic this, from arthritis to infection to tumours. It is really important that these more serious causes of any pain you are experiencing is ruled out.

So if you are struggling, then our team is always here to help, whether that is on email, phone or in person.

EPOC Training

Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption

Why you need to know about EPOC

We all want to get maximum results in the shortest amount of time. What would you say if I told you that the type of exercise you do can help to burn more calories whilst you are sitting writing that presentation? This physiological effect is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. Want to find out how to achieve this? We need to geek out a bit….

EPOC is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to homeostasis (basically its normal level of metabolic function). Exercise that places a greater demand on the anaerobic energy pathways (higher intensity) can increase the need for oxygen long after the workout has finished, thereby enhancing the EPOC effect. During more steady state, lower intensity exercise, the body’s aerobic system can replenish the “oxygen debt” and you recovery quickly. This result is you only burn the calories during the actual workout. High intensity exercise is the best way to stimulate the EPOC effect.

The body expends approximately 5 calories of energy to consume 1 liter of oxygen. Therefore, increasing the amount of oxygen consumed both during and after a workout, can increase the amount of net calories burned. Burn more calories DURING and AFTER the workout…WIN WIN.

A perfect class for this is AFTERBURN. This type of training can be beneficial even if you are training for longer more endurance based events such as a marathon or triathlon. You will find that when you do go back to slower, steady state cardio, you’ll be able to maintain that longer with more ease.

Nutritionally you will need to ensure you “refill the tank” after this type of training. You will have depleted your muscle glycogen (energy stores) and the first hour after is the best time to replenish these stores. A meal containing quality protein, carbohydrates and a small amount of fat is idea. Head down to Natural fitness food and grab yourself the perfect refuel meal!

References

Bersheim, E. and Bahr, R. (2003). Effect of exercise intensity, duration and mode on post-exercise oxygen consumption. Sports Medicine, 33, 14, 1037-1060

LaForgia, J., Withers, R. and Gore, C. (2006). Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Journal of Sport Sciences, 24, 12, 1247-1264

Evening Refuelling

If you train in the evening, Liam Holmes, our resident there are some areas that you need to focus on with regards to your nutrition and your sleep:

There is research out there that suggests the time of day you train can have a big impact on the physiological responses to your session. In my opinion it comes down to just getting your session done! Here is some advice to help you structure your nutrition for evening training and recovery.

FUELLING THROUGHOUT THE DAY

Whether your training starts at 6pm or 9pm you have to ensure that you are fuelled adequately for the session. Too often I see athletes that will eat lunch at 1pm and then not eat again until after the session or grab something on route to training. Regardless of your training stimulus you need to be fuelling your body by providing enough calories over the whole day. Remember you are providing your body energy for work not just training.

Having a mid afternoon “mini-meal” will help you in three ways:

  • It will provide calories to support your evening training session.
  • It can help to prevent that energy slump mid afternoon or early evening.
  • It will support your recovery and help sleep (more on this later).

What you choose to have for your mini meal depends on your personal goals, training type and volume. But some meals I suggest to the athletes I work with:

The reasoning behind a mini meal is it will combat over-snacking, which often doesn’t leave you full enough (which in turn causes more snacking).

REFUELLING CORRECTLY

Ever struggled to get to sleep after an evening training session? Laying in bed wide awake is not good for any athletes recovery. Luckily there are specific foods and nutrients can balance hormones and neurotransmitters that have been either elevated or suppressed during any evening exercise.

Boosting melatonin, serotonin and growth hormone levels will help to induce a nice healthy sleep and kick-start your recovery. If you get your nutrition on point you can take advantage of this spike in growth hormone to maximise your recovery.

Foods that will help you achieve this include carbohydrates. Yep that’s right I said it – eat carbs in the evening! Why? After exercise your body is primed to absorb carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores. This is absolutely essential if you are training or competing the next day. For those of you thinking about training low or metabolic flexibility I will be writing an article on these very soon.

Carbohydrates will also lower cortisol levels due to insulin secretion. The consumption of certain foods that increase the availability of tryptophan, alongside synthesis of serotonin and melatonin, will also aid in promoting sleep.

Eating some protein containing Omega-3 fatty acids is also recommended. I don’t need to tell you the importance of protein for muscle repair, but eating quality protein in the evening can also increase your serotonin levels. The very last thing you want to be doing is eating foods that heighten the inflammatory response. Foods that are deep-fried or high in refined sugar should not even be on your radar.

Here are some recipe ideas that I always suggest, that help induce healthy sleep:

Human Carpentry

Yesterday I went to watch a particularly interesting surgery – Sacroiliac Fusion using the Si-Bone implant system.  Essentially what happens is three triangular shaped titanium rods are chiselled through the joint to hold the back of the pelvis in place.

These patients are disabled with their pain before their surgery – manual therapy like osteopathy and physiotherapy had been done to exhaustion and wasn’t giving any lasting relief. However, after the surgery, these patients often “bound out of bed” (in the words of Mr Khai Lam, the surgeon performing the days surgery). A great result all round. Remarkable but the good news for the vast majority of patients is that surgery isn’t usually needed and a few visits to the good old osteopath or physiotherapist should get you the strength and movement back into your joints.

Have a look at the video for exactly how it is done (don’t worry, all animated not real life gore) and the picture for highly technical, yet remarkable carpenter-like equipment used during the procedure.

 

7 Reasons Diets Don’t Work

When we hear the word diet we often think of food deprivation, bland meals and unpleasant periods of semi-starvation. Thinking like this is completely wrong as a diet does not have to mean any of the above. Let us teach you how you can replace this way of thinking with a sustainable long-term healthy eating plan allowing you to eat normal foods without restricting yourself and learn the reasons why diets do not work.

BIOCHEMICAL INDIVIDUALITY:

DON’T FOLLOW SOMEONES ELSES PLAN – EVOLVE YOUR OWN

There are many fad diets out there and each is said to be able to help every single one of us, but what they do not take into consideration is how we are all physiologically different and how all of our bodies need different foods and requirements. This may explain how you and your friend have both been following the same diet but she has managed to loose 10lbs and you only 2lbs.

DEPRIVATION:

When a calorie restricted diet is followed over a prolonged period of time your body will go into famine mode and start to hold onto the calories that you eat and the stored body fat. It can even start eating into its own muscles for fuel (becoming catabolic). Chronic under eating tends to lead to binge eating and feeling bloated. Bloating often happens after a binge eating session as your body has consumed foods it is not used to, alongside the increase in volume. Shocking the body like this is not sustainable.

NOT SUSTAINABLE:

A diet is often perceived as a quick fix and something you can dip in and out of when you want to lose weight for a certain event or time of year. Ultimately most people think that these diets are unsustainable as they are not suitable to be followed over a prolonged period of time. The most efficient change you can make is in experimenting and finding out what will work for you, eliminating any foods that cause you irritation and monitoring your calories in and calories out. Be sure to add in lots of protein, good fats, vegetables and salad. Don’t forget that you can also have treats, but in moderation.

Don’t turn your treat into a daily habit – it is not a treat then!

DIET FOODS:

EAT PROPER FOOD!!

Many of us have to come think that “diet foods” are the best and most effective way to lose weight. In fact they may even be hindering your weight loss progress as these low fat, fat free products are all highly refined and processed containing virtually no nutrients whatsoever, so aim to avoid these wherever possible.

WEIGHT GAIN:

The cycle of deprivation and binge eating mentioned earlier can lead to weight gain and not weight loss, so you could become your own worst enemy. The most effective way to find a sustainable plan is to find real foods that are nutrient dense helping to keep you fuller for longer and aiding your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function.

PROMOTE UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD:

Following a calorie-restricted diet and depriving yourself of foods which you deem to be bad can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, leading to cycles of deprivation and binge eating. The most important point to take on board here is to focus on eating good fats, proteins and vegetables allowing nutrient dense foods to nourish your body, helping you to build a good relationship with proper food.

DAMAGE METABOLISM:

When restricting calories your body will become stressed and an unfavourable hormonal environment can be created. Changes such as raised cortisol levels, thyroid dysfunction, impaired detoxification and altered energy production can make it much more difficult for you to burn fat and lose weight.

Using functional medicine testing  you can identify where and what is affecting your metabolism.

IN CONCLUSION

For all of the reasons above it is suggested that following a “diet” is not the best way to lose weight and become healthy, in fact following a sustainable life-long healthy eating programme is.

Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

HoHo..Oh. Back Pain Season, Part 3 – Driving Home For Christmas

Cars are often cited as a cause for aggravation of back pain. Rather than buying every contraption possible on the internet we have some simpler tips to help you get comfortable for your Christmas getaway…

1. Pick Your Car

All people are different shapes and sizes so if you are in the market for a new car try and take this into consideration too as some cars provide better care for your back than others. This might not help this Christmas but equally if you have the choice between your friend’s amazing Lamborghini to drive the length of the country vs. your own sturdy VW Golf then pick the one that will let you stand up straight without crying in pain at the end (I mean the Golf….definitely the Golf).

2. Prepare Your Space

Unless you are just popping to the next suburb for your Christmas lunch, the likelihood is you will be driving over an hour. So spend 90 seconds getting the seat you will be confined to more suited to you. Raise the back of the seat relative to the front, implement the lumbar support if there is one and raise the head rest so you can actually rest your head onto it.The problem is that the human body isn’t designed to spend long periods of time sitting down. Sitting down for long periods of time, combined with using your feet means you can’t support or stabilise our lower body, as we might when sitting in a chair. This leads to problems and lots of muscle fatigue, particularly in the lower back and hip flexors.

3. Take a Break

Taking a break to stretch your legs and your back (and your shoulders and your neck!) is as important as taking a break when you are tired. It adds a couple of minutes to your journey and will mean you don’t spend the first day of your trip fighting off the remnants of the ache.If you have found yourself reading this after you have arrive home from Christmas, come and see our team and we will help straighten you out!

We will be offline next week so we would like to wish all of our patients a very healthy Christmas and New Year. Thank you for being part of our clinic and we hope you have an injury free 2017!

Can you have your Turkey & Trimmings and Eat it?

Ahhhh the festive season. Mulled wine, chocolates, work nights out with half a tonne of mini burgers, it can all be too much. Here is some advice on how to manage your nutrition during this period.

Manage your excess.

Don’t let one purple quality street turn into an empty box. It is fine to be a little more relaxed with your nutrition but you need to employ a smidgen of self-control. If you know you are going to have a big feast or a big night out then be disciplined in the time leading up to this. Get in credit which will enable you to fully enjoy the event!

You can also be smart when knowing there is potential to eat off plan. Lower your calories over the day so you can indulge slightly at a social event. HOWEVER MAKING DRASTIC CHANGES SUCH AS ONLY EATING 400 CALORIES OVER THE DAY SO YOU CAN EAT 1500 AT DINNER IS NOT ADVISED!

Do some glycogen depleting training.

Training with high intensity and volume will deplete muscle glycogen levels. You can then increase carbohydrate intake (helloooo roasties!). Depleting muscle glycogen will ensure that the majority of the carbs you are eating will be used to replenish your energy stores opposed to being stored as body fat.

Eat protein and fat first.

Can you have your Turkey & Trimmings and Eat it? Third Space Sports Medicine

How you eat your meals can make a big difference in the way the food is digested and stored in your body. More on this in January.

Fill your plate with veggies, protein, fats and carbs – IN THAT ORDER!

Doing this will reduce the amount of starchy carbs you put on your plate. Pile that turkey high!! Less room for the goose fat potatoes!

Eat before a night out.

Canopies, finger food and set menus. These are the devils for keeping your nutrition on point. Too easy to overeat with minimal nutritional value. The trick? Eat a fibre and protein rich meal before you head out. M & S superfood salad or a homemade mint and avocado chocolate smoothie. This will reduce the urge to mindlessly snack.

Xmas specific supplements.

Supporting the liver (number one priority) and taking certain nutrients to maintain body composition can be extremely helpful. Eating more of these foods can help support liver function.
With most of the patients we work with trying to employ the 80/20 rule is advised. Be on your plan for 80% of the time. 20% you can be more relaxed.

Forward Head Posture

HoHo..Oh. Back Pain Season, Part 2

The head is heavy and balanced on top of the rather thin spinal column. The average head weighs somewhere between 8 and 12 pounds if it is balanced happily atop the spine. But if the head moves forward to any degree, the weight the spine has to cope with increases.

That extra weight can be a problem, because it adds the tension to connective tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia.

Forward head posture

Forward head posture, which is exactly what it sounds like, is one of the most common problems for the upright skeleton, especially with these days of walking and texting – AKA Text Neck

But if your head is forward trying to pull it back into a better position is not really the answer. You have to realign the rest of your posture to enable the head to move backwards. A simple three-step way to look at it is:

1. Chest Up
2. Shoulders Down
3. Chin Tucked In

If this doesn’t work in the medium term, we need to look further afield which is where Clinical Pilates comes in. This form of Pilates is a way to teach you how to recognise where your body is in space – a surprisingly difficult task – and enables the muscles to work appropriately and to take the tension away from the wrong muscles, ligaments and connective tissue and improve blood flow around the spine and neck and help you feel all round better.

If you would like to see Lucy or Claire at our London Bridge Clinic location for 1-2-1 clinical Pilates, please see the link here

Forward Head Posture Third Space Sports Medicine

 

Inflame In The Membrane

Understanding how to manage inflammation can help boost your health and supercharge your performance. Inflammation is a crucial part of the bodies immune response. However there are two sides to the story!

There are two types of inflammation – acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation can be a response to exercise stress, an injury or infection. Physiological changes that occur include increased blood flow, accumulation of white blood cells, redness, heat, swelling and pain at the affected site. We need acute inflammation to promote the generation of new cells which leads to healing. With exercise stress this is how the body adapts to the stimulus and recovers.

Acute inflammation is crucial but it needs to be managed in the correct way.

Chronic inflammation is a long-term physiological response to one or more factors. It is a failure of the body’s immune system to maintain a healthy homeostatic state. It occurs when there is repeated exposure to acute inflammation or it is poorly managed. Factors such as poor nutrition, environmental toxins, over-training or infection can lead to chronic inflammation. If you do not address your nutrition and lifestyle then it could lead to the clinical symptoms of disease and poor performance.

Chronic inflammation is something we want to minimise as much as possible! Luckily we have put some tips together to help guide you in managing inflammation.

EAT THE RAINBOW

Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, E, zinc and selenium which will reduce inflammation.

●  Vitamin A is found in eggs, pumpkin, carrots and sweet potato.

●  Vitamin C is found in broccoli, cauliflower, citrus fruit, tomatoes and berries.

●  Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, avocado and eggs.

●  Zinc is found in meat, nuts and seeds

●  Selenium is found in Brazil nuts and seafood

●  Pineapple and papaya contain enzymes (bromelain and papain) that lower inflammation

ENSURE YOU GET GOOD QUALITY SLEEP

Growth hormone levels are highest with good quality sleep. When we are sleep deprived, T cells (important for immunity) are lowered and cytokines (inflammatory cells) are raised. Bottom line……ENSURE YOU GET ENOUGH SLEEP.

USE LOTS OF SPICES

Certain spices aid in reducing inflammation in the body, as well as making your food taste better. Be generous with the ginger, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon.

CUT DOWN ON PROCESSED FOODS

Steering clear of processed foods is a quick way to avoid many inflammatory agents. These include omega-6 fatty acids, trans fats and refined carbohydrates.

EAT FOODS RICH IN OMEGA 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. The highest levels are
found in wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, eggs, walnuts and flax seed and oil and green leafy vegetables.

GET YOUR B – VITAMINS

B – Vitamins perform hundreds of different functions to help us produce energy, improve digestion and create anti-inflammatory substances from our food. Increase the amount of beans, vegetables, seafood and meat you eat alongside supplementing with a high strength B-Complex.

EXERCISE – FIND A BALANCE

Exercise reduces inflammation, but it also increases it. And depending on the context, this increased inflammation due to exercise is either a good thing or a bad thing. Confused?!? It is all about balance.

Whatever your exercise regime, whether it is regular walking, high intensity gym work or marathon training make sure you are implementing proper recovery time with sound nutrition support.

Want to work with Liam in London Bridge to get your bespoke nutrition plan? Head over to here to book in!