Ways to Increase Endorphins

Don’t we all like to be happy all the time? During this time, I feel it would be a good opportunity to share some hope and bring some joy while we are locked in our own house! The main hormone that triggers happiness in our body is endorphin. So this week, let’s talk about a couple of natural (and legal) ways to release endorphins in our body.

 

  1. I’m pretty sure we’ve all hit a low point in our lives before, whether it’s a terrible break up, someone passing away or when you’ve lost all hope. During those times we may have stuffed ourselves with our favourite food. Eating is often a go to way for people to cheer up during these hard times. That is because eating your favour meal triggers your brain to release feel good hormones like endorphins! But don’t go overboard as we know there are bigger health complications due to obesity!
  2. This is one that I personally do whenever I’m not feeling at 100%. That is exercise. Exercise is a great way for you to forget about all your problems for a short period of time. That is because all forms of exercise triggers the body to release endorphin. This can be anything from cardio training, weight training, HIIT training or even sports. Perhaps it is a good time to release all the negative energy and use it as fuel to get fit and feel good at the same time.
  3. There is something special about Mother Nature. Nature literally mother’s us when we are down and helps us feel better. Going out doors is a great way to release endorphin. Especially, in a place which is nice and empty. Although it is difficult in this time right now, a simple method is to go out in your garden and enjoy the sunshine. That’ll have to do for the time being!
  4. LOL literally laugh out loud. Why do we laugh? Usually something happy or funny happens. When we laugh out loud, our brain releases so much endorphins that it can even increase our pain threshold. Use this opportunity to binge watch on a comedy like Friends or Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Those shows will crack you up.

 

I have just listed 4 ways to raise endorphin levels while we are all being quarantined. These are difficult times but if we all just stick together as a nation, we are bound to go through this tough patch! Hopefully, these 4 tips will help you cheer your day up and bring you hope!

 

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Cool Down: Why or Why Not

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the importance of warming up and how it was crucial before we jump into our workout. So today we are going to skip the workout and head straight into the cool down and why it’s important to do a cool down after. Some of you may think cool downs are a waste of time and it is extremely boring. I was on that boat myself not too long ago until I decided to give it a go and see what the difference was. So let’s go through a couple of important reasons why you should always cool down after a big workout.

 

  1. It can lead to a reduction of lactic acid build up. After a big workout, our muscles secrete a large amount of lactic acid. It is this lactic acid that causes our muscles to be sore. So to prevent muscle soreness it is best to reduce the amount of lactic acid continually building up. Research has shown that doing a warm down such as a slow paced walk or a gentle stretch is the most effective way or reducing lactic acid. So if you don’t like sore muscles the next day, do a warm down!
  2. A warm down prevents venous pooling of the blood in our extremities. This pooling of blood in the extremities may lead to dizziness and fainting. This is because when we are exercising our sympathetic nervous system comes into play. When we are in this state, our blood pressure and heart beat rises. When we stop moving, our body switches over to the parasympathetic state. In this state our blood pressure drops. Because of the sudden drop of blood pressure, the blood will have gathered into your extremity and not enough blood would’ve been pumped into your brain. Due to the lack of oxygen in the brain, it can cause dizziness and fainting.
  3. It’s a great time for reflection. After every sports game or workout, it is a good time to reflect on how well you did and what you can improve on. Of course, you always deserve a pat on the back as well after working out. Cooling down is a great way to calm your mind while still being engaged at your previous task.

 

Cooling down is just as important as warming up. It allows us to decrease the likelihood of muscle soreness, prevents dizziness and fainting and allows us a good time to reflect. There are also many great reasons why cooling down is a must after every workout! So remember to spend 5 minutes to either go for a small walk, a stretch or something with low impact after your next work out!

 

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Fit For Life

Ready to workout? Think again…

 

Warming up before a workout is even more important than you think!

 

How many times have we just jumped into exercising without warming up properly? How many times have we got injured? Well, the two things mentioned above, warming up and getting hurt, go hand in hand. Warming up is extremely important due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, it can help loosen up our joints, muscles, and ligaments. Secondly, it can raise the body temperature and increase blood flow to muscles. Finally, it can help improve our performance in whatever form of exercise.

Warming up is extremely important for the body to prevent injury. Having a good warm-up can help loosen the joints, muscles, and ligaments in our body and stimulate our nervous system. Before we start exercising, our body is stiff, and we cannot move as smoothly as we would like. This puts us in a state which is more fragile. As we warm up, our joints, muscles and ligaments begin to have more laxity gradually. This is because warming up can stimulate the body to create more synovial fluids around the joint, which means we will not be suddenly overstressing any part of the body.

Additionally, it will also increase the speed that nerve impulses travel, leading to improved balance, motor control, coordination, and proprioception. All those components are crucial for doing any sports as it helps with performance and avoiding injuries. As a result, warming up can decrease the likelihood of overstressing your body and minimize any falls or accidents.

 

Functions of Temperature 

 

Warming up our bodies before we exercise can also raise the core body temperature and increase blood flow to muscles. When the body transitions from everyday life to high-intensity physical workout, a host of biological changes happens to our body. That’s why it’s good to ease into it. During our warm-up, breathing and heart rate gradually rise, leading to an increase of energy increase. Due to the increase in energy exertion, the body gradually warms up. Additionally, with heart rate rising, the muscles will be supplied with more oxygen. This results in a higher metabolism as the body will need more energy to function at its capacity. Having a warmer body temperature for our muscles can lead to increase elasticity in the muscles again, this can result in decreasing the chances of any injuries

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Effects on workout

 

Finally, warming up can increase our performance. This is due to two reasons; the alterations in the body and the change in mentality. As mentioned in the paragraph above, a good warm-up can increase our metabolism, helping reach one’s performance potential. A thorough warm-up can change our mindset and mentally prepare for the upcoming task. With most sports and workout, it requires high levels of alertness and concentration. This adjustment in mindset can enhance the concentration on technique. With better technique again, it can lead to a decrease in injury. Andrea Pirlo, a famous footballer once said, “We play football with the head. Your feet are just tools.” This quote cannot more relatable with any sports or workout. The first change that occurs should be in your mind before you start performing. This is where an excellent warm-up comes into play.

Warming up is often overlooked by many amateurs or people who have just started to exercise. It can be argued it may be one of the most important aspects of the workout. Warming up properly can help loosen the muscles, ligament, and joints in the body, and it can help raise our core body temperature. Both of these can diminish the chances of injury. Most importantly, though, it can help mentally prepare us for the workout, exercise, and game that’s coming up. So before jumping straight into it next time, arrive 15 minutes earlier to prepare and get a good quality warm-up.

 

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Deadlift Foot Placement (Part 1)

Background

There is nothing quite like the feeling of picking up a heavy weight in your hands. As with any movement or exercise in the gym, when repeatedly done incorrectly the deadlift can lead to some issues.

Although the deadlift appears simple, there are a few things you need to pay attention to. The first is foot position. It’s not uncommon for me to see people in the gym deadlifting with their feet in too wide a stance. I’m referring to the conventional deadlift here, not the sumo deadlift where the feet are supposed to be placed in a wide stance.

How and Why

Having your feet too far apart will mean that your knees will cave inward to make room for your arms to grab the bar. This is not good as it will stress the ligaments of the knees, increasing your chance of injury or at the very least, decreasing your power output during the lift.

Exact foot position will vary slightly from person to person but for general consideration, if your stance is too narrow you may struggle to engage the glutes at the top of the lift. If the stance is too wide, as mentioned it will push the knees inward.

A good place to start is with feet hip width apart (please note that this is narrower than shoulder width apart!). With the feet in this position they will be directly beneath the hips, allowing you to grab the bar with your hands shoulder width apart.

Image result for feet hip width apart for deadlift

There are dozens of other things to look out for when deadlifting. But getting your feet in the right place is a good place to start.

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Important Habits To Keep The Weight Off

There is a lot of information and weight loss programs out there claiming to help you rapidly lose weight that say something like “how lose 20 kilos in 3 days”. Losing extreme amounts of weight in a short period of time will often require unsustainable habits.

If you are serious about weight loss the most important thing isn’t to lose it quickly but to keep it off once you lose it.

There are a few key behaviours and habits among people who have shed body fat and kept it off. None of them should be surprising!

1) Cognitive restrain:

this means you must have a way to help stop you from overeating. This can be things like: restricting the amount of time you eat during the day (known as intermittent fasting), limit intake of a food group (usually fats or carbohydrates for example).

To keep you on track it will be useful to use a food journal, weighing yourself to monitor weight change (keep in mind that most people will fluctuate up and down couple of kilos throughout the day so you want to look at long term trend over weeks) or taking body measurements. Keeping regular tabs will help you adjust what you are doing so you don’t get too far off track.

2) Regular exercise:

Regular exercise will increase the energy you use in a given day so you aren’t storing excess bodyweight. Exercise also helps your brain better recognize satiety signals so you don’t eat as much!

3) Long term focus:

like anything worth having in life, financial independence, a university education or mastering a trade, maintaining a healthy body takes short term sacrifice for long term gain. From time to time you can have a treat, but when treats become the norm they are no longer a treat.

4) Social support:

Having someone supporting you on the journey will hugely help you in reaching and maintaining a healthier weight. Such as joining a boot camp type training facility or sports team or even an online forum can help give you outside support to reach your goals

-Karfopoulou, E., Anastasiou, C., Avgeraki, E., Kosmidis, M., & Yannakoulia, M. (2016). The role of social support in weight loss maintenance: Results from the medweight study. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 39(3), 511-8.

-Kraschnewski et al. (2010). Long-term weight loss maintenance in the United States. International journal of obesity (2005), 34(11), 1644–1654.

-Kruger et al. (2006). Dietary and physical activity behaviors among adults successful at weight loss maintenance. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 3, 17.
Nicklas et al. (2012). Successful weight loss among obese U.S. adults. American journal of preventive medicine, 42(5), 481–485.

 

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Should I Warm Up Before & Cool Down After Exercising?

Throughout any intense exercise session, the body is handling stress and has a risk of injury. This can be minimised by warming up and cooling down before and after your workout.

Before getting into your sport or strength training session, you want to get a warm up. This is going to prepare your body for exercise and increase your heart rate and breathing. Ideally, your warm up routine will consist of two-parts: a general warm up and specific warm up.

The general warm up

consists of jogging, biking, rowing or any other cardio exercise followed by dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is not your typical “touch your toes” stretching. It consists of movements that take your joints through their ranges of motion to warm up and stretch the muscles. For example, you can perform leg swings, shoulder circles and bodyweight lunges. The bodyweight lunges serve as a nice stretch for your hip flexors while also adding a little resistance exercise for your quads and glutes to warm them up.

The specific warm up

consists of specific exercises that closely resemble movements that you’ll be performing in your actual sport or training. For example, jumping exercises before getting onto the basketball court or some lightly weighted squats before your leg session in the gym.

The warm up is essential for your performance as it increases blood flow and oxygen to muscles, increases neural impulses to wake up your muscles and, most importantly, decreases the stiffness of connective tissues (ligaments and tendons) to avoid any muscle tears. Studies have shown that a structured warm-up can reduce your chance of injury by more than 50% and that’s on top of helping you perform better!

The cool down

is also important as it helps flush out any lactate (waste), prevent dizziness from blood pooling. It also decreases muscle soreness after your session. It consists of gradually decreasing your heart rate and stretching out your muscles. This also has two parts: general cool down and static stretching/foam rolling.

The general cool down

is similar to the general warm up since you can use jogging, biking or any activity at a progressively decreased intensity. Your aim should not be to sweat and go fast at this point, you just want to go through the motions and let your body slow down to a relaxing stop.

Following your general cool down you can get into some static stretching, which is the basic stretching where you hold stretches for around 15-30 seconds. You can also choose to use foam rollers or massage balls after your exercise to restore length in the connective tissues. The stretching and foam rolling helps reduce muscle soreness, increase muscle flexibility and stimulate circulation to flush out the lactate.

Be sure to hydrate well and eat a healthy meal after your workout to keep your body fuelled and recovering well!

Stay tuned next week for when we’ll take you through our ideal general warm-up and cool-down routine to cover all your bases!

Chiropractor Auckland

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File:Man Doing Warm Up Exercise Cartoon.svg - Wikimedia Commons

 

Core: 7 Exercises

Core: 7 Exercises

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Core Exercises Fitness Model - Must Link to https://thorou… | Flickr