Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thank You Mr Lee Kuan Yew



For all you have done. Forever grateful.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Napping Increases Your Pain Tolerance

Napping or knocked out?
Well, here's a study showing a great reason for you to nap, if you can afford to take one.

If you haven't had a good night's sleep, consider a quick morning snooze instead. The quick catnap may not make you less sleepy but research shows a surprising benefit of a quick 30 minute snooze, subjects became less sensitive to pain.

In this study, researchers restricted the healthy subjects to just two hours of sleep. The subjects were then tested for pain tolerance with heat, cold and pressure on their upper back, lower back and thighs.

The subjects reported that their lower backs hurt more with heat and their upper backs felt worse with pressure compared to when they were well rested and not sleep deprived.

On another occasion, the subjects went through the same tests, albeit with two 30 minute naps in the morning and afternoon. The naps did not reduce sleepiness, in fact most subjects said they felt more sleepy after the naps.

What was surprising was that the naps restored pain sensitivity to previous baseline levels.

Bearing in mind that naps are not a substitute for a full night's rest, this may be indicative that napping may help recovery processes that occur during sleep including tissue repair and growth hormone release.

Not every subject in the stusy had the same degree of benefit and more research will be needed to confirm results.

My take on this? Try short 10-30 minute naps in the late morning (especially if you get up very early to train) and see if this helps your training. I find that if I nap in the afternoon it becomes more difficult for me to fall asleep that night.

Reference

Faraut B, Leger D et al (2015). Napping Reverses Increased Pain Sensitivity Due To Sleep Restriction. PlosOne. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117425.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Why Your Doctor May Not Give The Best Nutritional Advice

Picture by DES Daughter from Flickr
While doing some research on the Mediterranean-style diet (that will probably be another post), I came across and read with interest an article in the Chicago Tribune. Of the many, many thousand hours that doctors spend training to become doctors, only 19 of those are devoted to studying nutrition.

Not surprising then that a study from the Journal of American College of Nutrition shows that 14 % of internal medicine interns feel they can talk adequately to their patients although 94 % feel it's their responsibility to do so.

Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against doctors nor do I claim to be an expert in nutrition. How can I be since I love eating chips and drinking Coke (although I very seldom indulge now after my accident).

For most people I know, doctors are their gatekeepers to health information. They know doctors are educated in their profession and are generally trustworthy. It seems then that a doctor's advice must be reliable. I guess some people think curing diseases/ illnesses" is the same as preventing diseases/ illnesses.

Let me be clear here though, my opinion is that this is a failing of the medical educational system and not the fault of our doctors.

One of medicine's basic tenets: "First do no harm." So doctors must make sure any treatment must not make a patients's condition worse. For nutrition, this usually translates into standard dietary advice.

Let me give you an example. A doctor is faced with the choice of giving a recommendation that's in line with the status quo such as limiting sodium (or salt) intake, or go against the norm by saying that you don't have to worry about salt intake.The doctor will usually avoid controversy and just say limit salt intake.

Also among other obstacles? In the same Chicago Tribune article, it is suggested that "many physicians are overweight themselves and may feel uncomfortable talking about healthy diet and physical activity when they themselves struggle with similar issues."

When faced with conflicting information, most of us deal with it in different ways. Some like my wife (bless her) are self-learners, they read voraciously until they can navigate through the noise. Most people may just default to someone they trust to tell them what to do.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

After You Donate Blood .....

..... you can race again in about 2 weeks, according to published research.

Picture by Howard Lake from Flickr
That's about how long it takes before you regain your pre donation levels.

A group of regular blood donor runners with normal blood levels did a 3 kilometre treadmill time trial in this particular study. The time trial was repeated 2, 7, 14 and 28 days after donating blood. Their haemoglobin (Hb) levels were measured on those sessions. Hb is a protein in the red blood cells that ferries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.

3 days after giving blood, the runners were about 5.4 % slower before giving blood. 2 weeks after giving blood, the runners had regained the pre donation speed although Hb levels were still 5.9 % lower.

28 days later, the runners ran as quick as pre donation, but Hb levels were still lower (even though they were higher than after 2 weeks).
This study measured 3 kilometre time trial performance, bear in mind that fif you want to race well for longer events, you may take a longer time to regain your pre donation levels.

The researchers suggest that you can resume training the next day after giving blood, but wait at least 2 weeks before you rave again.

Reference

Zieglar, AK, Grand, J et al (2014). Time Course For The Recovery Of Physical Performance, Blood Hemoglobin, And Ferritin Content After Blood Donation. Transfusion. DOI: 10.11111./trt.12926.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Eating Like The Caveman? ST 050315


Our Sports Solutions blog has a much bigger head start on the Straits Times this time round with their article on "Eat Like A Caveman" in today's Straits Times in the Mind Your Body section on pages 8-9.

I first wrote about this caveman diet (or Paleolithic diet) way back in 2009 and a more detailed follow up article after that. Clink on the links to have a read.

Like I said, more reason to read our blogs.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

You Saw The Coffee Article On Our Other Blog First


We got a slight head start on Straits Times on informing you about the benefits on drinking coffee published in our Physio Solutions blog. More reason to read our blogs.

The Straits Times article is on page A6 under "Top of the news".

Go take a look.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gotta Love Hills

Now those were some hills we ran in Hong Kong during the Trailwalker
I love the hills when running cross country as a kid in school. Probably because I didn't weigh that much then, so I could often accelerate up the slopes at Macritchie reservoir (yes during my time, all the schools cross country races were all held there and not Bedok reservoir). That means I could either break up the pack of runners in our group or hang in there when the going got tough.

Well, now it looks like you (the runner) should run more hills since correct practise makes perfect.

What's more, recent published evidence suggest that both up and downhill running does not seem to harm your Achilles tendon as some believe. It was previously assumed that the forces exerted on your Achilles tendon during downhill running could stretch it further leading to possible long term injury.

The Achilles tendon stretches naturally on every run. It stores elastic energy to reduce the load on your calf muscles especially. It is believed that this constant stretching leads to micro damage in the tendon, especially running downhill.

This was proved wrong after researchers (who used high speed cameras and Doppler ultrasound) proved that the Achilles maintained the same thickness during flat, up and downhill runs.

A word of caution before you attack the hills. The study was done on a group of well trained runners and this may be one of the reasons why the Achilles tendons adapted well to the different inclines.

If you are a fairly new runner and have not done many miles, do add hill running gradually to give your Achilles tendon time to adapt.

Reference

Neves KA, Johnson AW e al (2014). Does Achilles Tendon Cross Sectional Area Differ After Downhill, Level And Uphill Running In Trained Runners? J Sports Sci Med. 13: 823-828.