Monday, October 11, 2010

Organic Exercise, a Gray Cook Perspective

The importance of exercising the entire body at once, in natural ways, over isolating body parts with machines and artificial movements, is a major focus of my personal training.  The term functional fitness incorporates this concept.

Here's an article with an excellent analogy to food from the most influential person in functional movement today, Gray Cook:

Organic Exercise?
Is there such a thing as organic exercise? The word organic is often associated with concepts like natural, whole, unrefined and authentic. The term that was once only applied to our food is now being applied to our other lifestyle choices as well.
Some other good quotes:
Our dissection and analysis of the body has produced isolated exercises that assume movement patterns will spontaneously reset themselves.
...
Our movement learning system rarely benefits from isolated exercises or focus on single body parts. Just like highly processed fortified food, the isolated exercises seem more scientifically complex, and therefore in the public eye, are assumed to be better.
...
The takeaway—Eat a balanced variety of clean whole foods and exercise in a balanced variety of clean whole movement patterns.
Most people have become aware of these facts about our food.  The next step is realizing the same concepts apply to how we exercise.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vitamin D and Orthopedic Surgery

Yet again, vitamin D is linked to health, especially bone and muscle healing:
Vitamin D Deficiency Rampant in Patients Undergoing Orthopedic Surgery, Damaging Patient Recovery
ScienceDaily (Oct. 6, 2010) — Almost 50 percent of patients undergoing orthopedic surgery have vitamin D deficiency that should be corrected before surgery to improve patient outcomes, according to a study by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City. Vitamin D is essential for bone healing and muscle function and is critical for a patient's recovery.
The amazing vitamin D has been mentioned several times here, especially the post Vitamin D, Sunlight, and Health.  It isn't just in the extreme case of surgery that it helps your muscles, bones, and many other important bits.

Have I mentioned that I offer personal training in parks?  Outdoors and in the sun...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Exercise and Vitamin Supplements

Exercise creates free radicals, charged molecules that can damage our cells, and anti-oxidant vitamins neutralize free radicals. Therefore we should take vitamins after exercise, right? Well, maybe not:

October 6, 2010, 12:01 am
Phys Ed: Free the Free Radicals
By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS
‘‘The evidence suggests that antioxidants are not needed’’ by most athletes, even those training strenuously, said Li Li Ji, a professor of exercise physiology and nutritional science at the University of Wisconsin and one of the authors of the rat study. ‘‘The body adapts,’’ he said, a process that can, it seems, be altered by antioxidant supplements.

Another lesson: ‘‘Eat well,’’ he said. Although this is not yet proved, it seems likely, he continued, that antioxidants from foods, like blueberries, green tea and carrots, may work in tandem with the body’s natural antioxidant defenses better than those from supplements.

My suggestion is to eat a piece of fruit after a workout to get anti-oxidants in their natural state together with other phyto(plant) nutrients. The immediate calorie intake can also help replenish your glycogen, your muscles' preferred form of stored energy, and that helps enable protein synthesis- otherwise known as building muscle.

I'll note that there is a lot of debate on post-exercise nutrition, which is another good reason to stick to simple, natural foods and not be too analytical about your body. Science changes, nature does not.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Inflamation Helps Wounds Heal

Inflammation is usually considered bad, and to be reduced at all times. New research shows that it can actually help a wound to heal faster:

Surprise: Scientists Discover That Inflammation Helps to Heal Wounds
ScienceDaily (Oct. 5, 2010) — A new research study published in The FASEB Journal may change how sports injuries involving muscle tissue are treated, as well as how much patient monitoring is necessary when potent anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for a long time. That's because the study shows for the first time that inflammation actually helps to heal damaged muscle tissue, turning conventional wisdom on its head that inflammation must be largely controlled to encourage healing.
The right balance needs to be found, but this suggests another instance where allowing the body's natural systems to function is better than impeding them.