Friday, April 25, 2014

How You Can Exercise, Train And Compete Safely While Fasting

Individuals who will be fasting as Ramadan is approaching and still want to train, exercise and compete safely and effectively have to read this.

This article is published by my ex-colleague, Abdul Rashid Aziz, from the Singapore Sports Council (or now known as the Singapore Sports Institute) as part of his Phd research. Rashid has published countless articles in many different journals. He is definitely considered an expert in this area. 

Rashid has previously helped me immensely while I was still training for triathlon and working as a full time Physiotherapist at SSC. He would interpret and explain my results after my V02 and lactate threshold testing and make recommendations on how to improve further. We travelled together as part of the support team for Team Singapore athletes at the 2006 Doha Asian Games (he as the Exercise Physiologist, and myself as Physiotherapist).

He has previously worked with our Team Singapore silat, badminton players, swimmers, footballers and many other athletes. Our Team Singapore athletes (who were fasting) leading up to the London 2012 Olympics followed his recommendations while training.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why Running At Night Seems Harder

Picture from Flickr by
As I was recuperating from my bike accident last year, I did some runs at night after my son had gone to bed after spending most of the day with him. After not exercising for a long time, most of the runs felt "hard" even though I was just running 2-3 km for starters. Yes, that was how I started, real slow and very very short runs.

After reading about optic flow, I guess I can say this is partly why running in the dark feels harder (other than me being terribly unfit after my fall). Optic flow is your visual sensation of moving through an environment. While running in the dark, you only see objects near to you. This is "fast" optic flow, in which scenery seems to be speeding by you quicker than normal.

As shown by researchers, optic flow can also affect estimation of distance ran. During a 5 km run with conditions of fast optic flow, the runners thought they'd ran 5 km when they had only covered 4.6 km. The take home message here is that in normal conditions (or slow optic flow), you will be able to run further for similar feelings of fatigue compared with night running (or fast optic flow).

Previous similar studies done on cyclists had similar results.

Remember this next time you're out riding or running when night falls. Something to remember especially if you're running the upcoming Sundown marathon which one of our staff did previously. 

Parry, D and Micklewright, D (2014). Optic Flow Influences Perceived Exertion And Distance Estimation But Not Running Pace. Med and Sci in Sports Ex. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000257.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Massage Does Not Flush Lactic Acid From Your Muscles

Picture from our Sports Massage course in July 2013
Finally, a published paper that suggests massage does help reduce inflammation in your fatigued muscles.

Hey, didn't the title say something else? Please read on to find out how massage reduces inflammation.

Many massage therapists, physiotherapists etc will say that massage can relieve your pain, DOMs (delayed onset of muscle soreness), promotes circulation, flushes your lactic acid/ toxins from your body, relieves your joint strain etc. However, published evidence does not totally support their claims fully.

Well, Sefton and colleagues (2012) can finally set the record straight. Massage cannot push toxins from muscles to your bloodstream. It also cannot flush lactic acid from your muscles. So do not believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

What massage can do is it can soften your fascia (which is found all over your body covering your muscles beneath your skin) and make your tight muscles relax. It can also remove adhesions between fascia and muscle (which can restrict your movement).

Crane's study also found 30 % more of a gene that helps muscle cells build mitochondria (mitochondria turns a cell's food into energy and facilitate its repair).

Well, great news for runners, athletes etc who rely on limber joints and muscles for pain free movement to ensure you perform optimally.

This also mean that regular massage can let runners, athletes etc tolerate more and harder training since it can hasten recovery and allow them to ability to train hard again two days later.

Other research suggests that besides reducing inflammation, massage also improves immune function. This suggests it may also help chronic diseases.

For more on Sports Massage please also see this and this.

Calling all runners, athletes, patients with chronic pain, call our clinics to book your Sports Massage appointment.


Crane JD et al (2012). Massage Therapy Attenuates Inflammatory Signaling After Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage. Sci Transl Med 4, 119ra13. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002882.

Rapaport MH, Schettler P et al (2012). A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of
Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals. J Altern Complement Med. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 March 01.

*Many thanks to Lim Ting Jun for the articles.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Treating A Muscle Tear

Here's more proof that Kinesio tapes if used correctly helps with a muscle tear. Have a look at my patient's hamstring injury from the pictures below.

This is the picture he sent me before he came to see me in the clinic.

Check out the muscle tear
After treating his back as well as his hamstring, I put some of the original Kinesio Tex tapes and here's another picture 3 days later.
How's that for improvement 3 days later
Well, I rest my case, for those of you with muscle tears, make sure the person treating you is using the original Kinesio Tex tapes, because the copy cat/ imitation tapes simply cannot compete.

Also have a look on how to treat your hamstring injuries.