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

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

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.

 

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!

Immune Boosting Foods

With winter fast approaching, finding ways to boost your immune system is vital. Liam in London Bridge and Clapham Junction is on hand to provide us with the best foods to include in your diet to boost your immunity before you pick up that bug going around the Northern and Jubilee lines….

Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds

Brazil nuts are high in the antioxidant selenium and pumpkin seeds are very high in zinc. Both nutrients support your body at a cellular level, strengthening your immune system.

Make a brazil nut and pumpkin seed vanilla smoothie

Broccoli

A powerhouse vegetable that is highly nutrient- dense, broccoli is rich in chlorophyll and contains other beneficial nutrients like vitamin C, carotenoids and phytonutrients.

Steam for 2 minutes then pan fry in chilli and garlic

Garlic and ginger

Ginger and garlic are an awesome immune function double team. They contain compounds such as allicin and gingerols that have immunostimulatory effects, antimicrobial properties and help lower inflammation . All helping support a healthy immune system.

Add to a stir fry!

Green Tea

Rich in antioxidant polyphenols and catechins, green tea has been used as a health-promoting beverage for centuries. Catechins have antimicrobial properties and the antioxidants may help reduce the effects of stress, in addition to supporting immune function.

Try to drink 2-3 cups per day – or brew some and then let it cool and add to smoothies.

Shiitake Mushrooms

Not only are shiitake mushrooms high in amino acids, rich in B vitamins and are a good source of vitamin D. They also contain beta glucans and polysaccharides which naturally improve the function of your T-cells (immune system cells).

Whack them in a stir fry or make some chicken and mushroom soup

Turmeric

Now this is a proper superfood! This spice delivers a wealth of phytonutrients and has been shown to numerous benefits for overall health and performance. The active compound in turmeric is curcumin. This warrior can reduce oxidative stress, stimulate the T cells responsible for immune health, and aid in cellular protection Pretty impressive stuff!

Make sure you take it with black pepper and a fat source to increase absorption. Perfect recipe would be turmeric roasted salmon.

Immune Boosting Foods Third Space Sports Medicine

Don’t Shoulder The Pain

Shoulder and upper back pain are so endemic that our patients often report that it is so common to feel it that it has become ‘normal’. Just to be clear, shoulder aches and pains in everyday life should never be ‘normal’.

The postural muscles around the scapular and thoracic spine are prone to getting chronically tight in response to postural behaviours like sitting at a desk or slouching as they try to keep the upper back and rib cage stable. This tension is then felt in those low grade but sometimes agonising pesky aches and pains.

This video shows an easy release for these muscles that can be done anywhere so try it today and get friends and family who get bogged down by headaches to try as well – you’ll be amazed at the immediate results you can have if these muscles are tight!

For other stretches please see our YouTube Channel here.

STOP Foam Rolling Your ITB!

Foam rolling is painful at the best of times, but if you have been rolling your ITB you are a glutton for punishment with no benefit to you! The ITB is not a muscle so won’t respond to deep massage, what you need is to loosen the muscles that influence it, namely the TFL, Quads and Hamstrings.

This single stretch for your TFL is easy for anyone to do and takes half the time of foam rolling which I call a double win. For other stretches for your quads or hamstrings please see our YouTube Channel here.

Open Up & Stretch

Sitting is a sad reality of modern life. So if we can’t reduce the amount we sit for whatever reason, we can try and do somethings to counteract the effects.

This single hip stretch can open out the hips, stretch the quadriceps muscles and  prevent that joint restriction and muscle tension from causing more problems above in your back or below in your knees.