The Healthy View
Summer weather is here and we are ready for it! Staying fit has become difficult the longer we stay in isolation but we can do this together. Some days can be dedicated to staying in and baking, while others can be all about getting outside and moving – it’s all about balance.
Although it can feel challenging when we are isolated at home, we have some great ideas and tips for you to try both at home and outdoors. Don’t forget that if you are looking for an at home exercise program or therapeutic advice, our team is available for virtual consultations. To schedule a virtual appointment, email the Clinic or contact your therapist directly.
Holly's Morning Glory Muffins
by: Holly Zita, Registered Massage Therapist, Sport Medicine Clinic
This week, Holly baked healthy and breakfast approved muffins and we can’t wait to make them as well. They’re guilt free and kid-approved!
Why these muffins great:
- They’re nutrient packed
- They're free of refined sugar
- They’re made with whole wheat flour and whole grains
- They’re great for an on-the-go breakfast
- 1 & 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (or white)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup large flaked oats
- 1/2 cups raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or nut of your choice)
- 4 medium carrots, shredded
- 1 large egg
- 3 tbsp melted (liquid) coconut oil (or olive oil)
- 1/3 cup skim milk
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 large mashed banana
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, grease muffin tins or place muffin liners in tray.
- Soak raisins (just enough water so that they are submerged) in warm water for 10 minutes, no more, no less. Strain raisins and pat dry with paper towel.
- While raisins are soaking, mix all dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and oats) with a whisk in a large bowl.
- Mix patted-down raisins and nuts into dry mixture.
- Mash banana in a smaller mixing bowl and mix in the rest of the wet ingredients (shredded carrots, egg, oil, skim milk, maple syrup, molasses, and vanilla).
- Add wet ingredients to dry.
- Spoon 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin liner.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes (so muffins puff up) **do not open oven door**. Lower temperature to 350 degrees F for 15 additional minutes. Muffins are ready when toothpick comes out with a few dry crumbs when inserted.
- Let muffins stand in tray for 10 minutes to cool before moving to wire rack to cool for another 20 minutes.
Upper Cross Syndrome
by: Jocelyn Nullmeyer, Physiotherapist, Sport Medicine Clinic
Suffering from neck and shoulder pain as a result of sitting in one position all day? Poor posture can lead to Upper Cross Syndrome, a term used to describe altered muscle function and behaviour. Most commonly, this syndrome develops as a result of poor posture during computer use, driving, gardening, reading, and other prolonged positions. As a result, muscles surrounding the neck and shoulder region become tight and weak.
This muscular imbalance results in a typical presentation of a forward head position with rounded shoulders. These postural irregularities cause reduced mobility and muscle pain, while placing more stress through the remaining tissues and joints which can lead to further deficiencies.
Evidence based practice suggests the most effective treatment for Upper Cross Syndrome is exercise and postural changes. This video will take you through a series of exercises that will help target neck and shoulder muscles through strength and mobility training.
Have any questions? Contact Jocelyn directly.
Golf 2020 - Are you Ready?
by: Eric Bols, Personal Trainer, Toronto Athletic Club
Dust off your sticks. The 2020 golf season is here. YES!!!
The question is: Are you physically prepared?
Golf requires a combination of mobility, strength, and speed. Because of these physical demands, this athletic swing can put a lot of stress on certain areas of the body if you aren’t flexible or strong enough. Therefore, you need to understand what exercise protocols to implement in order to get fit for golf. I recommend incorporating a dynamic golf warm-up before you practice or play a round.
A recent Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) study showed that using an active warm-up before play, resulted in an increase of 10 yards with a driver. Who wouldn’t want that? Why spend the first nine holes trying to get warmed up? Implement this 5-minute routine before you start and get the body ready to move.
There are a few key areas that we will focus on to maximize your body-swing connection. By activating the hips, trunk, and shoulders you will ensure that you are involving these powerful muscles, generating force from the ground up. That is the definition of an ideal kinematic sequence. A series of segmental movements during your downswing that produces power and results in increased clubhead speed, consistent contact, and decreased chances of injury.
Then let’s get started. Perform 5 - 10 repetitions of each exercise and focus on form and control while trying to feel specific muscles.
If you have specific questions regarding your golf fitness, reach out to Eric directly. You can also follow him on Instagram at @AdvanceFormGolfFitness for weekly exercises, info, and tips geared towards rotational sport performance.
So, don’t leave your swing to chance this summer. Feel connected on every shot and get fit for golf!
Stress and Diaphragmatic Breathing Webinar Recap
by: Joanne Ukposidolo, Physiotherapist & Certified Pelvic Floor Health Specialist, Sport Medicine Clinic
During stressful situations, our breathing pattern can be unconsciously compromised. We may start chest breathing, taking shallow breaths, or even holding our breath. These inefficient breathing techniques use our accessory breathing muscles in our neck, chest and shoulders as opposed to our diaphragm. This could lead to the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscular tension
- Pain and Numbness
Chest breathing is part of our sympathetic nervous system response to stress or our fight-or-flight response. The primary aim of this system is to prepare our body to fight or flee. It does so by shunting blood to essential large muscle groups and away from non-essential organs such as our digestive system. With chronic exposure to stress, it can lead to poor bowel movements, muscular wear and tear, in addition to hormonal imbalance and decreased function of our immune system.
How can we stop the fight-or-flight response?
We can stop the fight-or-flight response by breathing diaphragmatically. Diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the vagus nerve alerting the parasympathetic nervous system. This system promotes blood flow towards the organs necessary for “rest and digest” and “feed and breed” activities while simultaneously halting or decreasing the fight-or-flight response.
How to Breath Optimally
Your diaphragm is a thin dome shaped skeletal muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. Diaphragmatic breathing is taking a deep, full, 360-degree breath that expands our lungs like a balloon… and then exhaling slowly. It is the most effective method of respiration and is the natural breathing pattern of babies and sleeping adults.
- Get into a comfortable position.
- Place one hand on your chest, the other hand on your abdomen, just below your belly button.
- Relax your jaw: Your tongue should be resting on the tissue just behind your top front teeth.
- Close your eyes and bring your attention to your body and breath.
- Inhale deeply through your nose, sending the breath through the back of your throat allowing your abdomen to fill with air, gently expanding out.
- Exhale by relaxing, letting your abdomen slowly deflate and releasing all the air through your nose.
- As you breathe in and out through your nose, focus on shifting your breath so that you can feel the rise and fall of your breathing in your abdomen more than in your chest.
- Take three more slow deep breaths with conscious focus on the rise and fall of your abdomen.
Continue to breathe fully and deeply, allowing and trusting your body as your breath slows and becomes more relaxed.
Diaphragmatic breathing can feel strange. Start practicing daily for five minutes or five breaths, three sets. As you become more comfortable gradually increase until you reach the ideal 15-20 minutes a day. Remember, you can do these exercises anytime and anywhere. Here are a couple of tips to get you started.
Breathe through your nose
Your mouth is not made for breathing. Your nose has a natural barrier which filters the air from unwanted particles like dust or bacteria. Your nose also warms and moistens the air before it enters your lungs, making it easier for the lungs to do their job.
Breathe rhythmically and relaxed
If you are noticing the hand on your upper chest moving more than the lower hand, you are breathing inefficiently. It is common for people to breathe in much more fully than they breathe out. This breathing pattern increases the amount of oxygen in the body which can lead to instances of dizziness, blurry vision or light-headedness. This small level of hyperventilation is much more common than people think. Focus on equalizing your inhalation and exhalation, which can help to alleviate fight-or-flight symptoms
Try to take 5 seconds on the inhale and 5 seconds on the exhale
- Inhale Time = Exhale Time
- Inhale for 5 seconds
- Hold for 3 seconds
- Exhale for 5 seconds
In time we want to establish a rhythmic breathing pattern in which you exhale longer than you inhale.
- Inhale < Ehale
- Inhale for 4 seconds
- Hold for 7 seconds
- Exhale for 8 seconds
A longer exhale creates a negative pressure in your lungs and more air can fill the base lobes upon inhale.
Breathe with good posture
It is easier to breath with good posture. Imagine you are a puppet with a string attached at the top of your head. Imagine that someone has just pulled your string making you taller. Because breathing requires creating a negative space in your body, good posture makes it significantly easier. Practice breathing laying down, then sitting and then standing. Air goes towards the path of least resistance so make sure to reduce the tension in your back, jaw and face as you breath diaphragmatically.
Benefits of Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, alerting the parasympathetic nervous system ushering us into state of calm and rest.
Practicing diaphragmatic breathing leads to
- Lowered heart rate and blood pressure
- Decreased muscle tension
- Decreased physical and emotional stress
- Better sleep
- Better sex
- Better digestion and bowel movements
Let us set you up for Success
How you breath greatly affects your overall physical performance and mental acuity. Inefficient breathing techniques will result in poor performance, productivity, and a decreased quality of life. Certain dysfunctions (see below) could lead to or be caused by poor breathing techniques.
- Poor posture
- Shoulder pain
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- TMJ dysfunction
- Pelvic Health Dysfunctions
Please reach out if you feel that you are not breathing optimally. We can assess and treat physical restrictions (muscle tension, joint stiffness) that may be preventing you from obtaining an optimal breath. Let us set you up for success!
Take a moment and enjoy a gorgeous full breath. Your body and mind will thank you!
For more information regarding Diaphragmatic breathing, please speak with Joanne Ukposidolo directly, our Physiotherapist and Certified Pelvic Floor Health Specialist.
Have something you think we should cover in the Healthy View? Email the Clinic.