Back in the day, were you a weirdo?

I thought this headline might catch your attention!

5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2.  If these numbers and distances are familiar, you might be runner! If not, you may still enjoy this creative video exploring the history of running and why back in the day, it seemed to be for weirdos!

Copyright VOX 2016

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What Your Recovery Heart Rate Can Tell You!

Image result for heart rate

What is your recovery heart rate?

It is the difference between your exercise heart rate and 1-minute of rest. Example: 180 (peak exercise heart rate) – 130 (heart rate after 1-minute of rest) = 50 bpm (beats per minute) difference

What can it tell me?

Your recovery heart rate is a way to determine your physical state. The recovery number (which is the difference between your exercise heart rate and 1-minute of rest) correlates to your cardio (aerobic) fitness level; the higher the number, the better. If the number is low (20 beats or less) it is a sign that you are over-training (incomplete recovery) or the body is compromised (illness, stress). In extreme cases, it can even suggest a heart condition*.

What do I do with this “recovery heart rate” information?

Apply it to your workouts! Take your recovery heart rate after your initial warm-up and prior to your workout.  Determine if it is at or better than 20 beats per minute (bpm). If at or better, continue with your workout, but, if it’s 19 bpm or less, your body might be telling you it’s overtrained or comprimised.  If that’s the case, consider an easier workout or perhaps a day off. Regularly monitor your recovery heart rate and notice trends.

How do I determine my recovery heart rate?

Use your pre-workout warm-up (make sure it’s high intensity physical movement that corresponds to your fitness level) to elevate your heart rate. At the very least, move vigorously for one full minute! Note your peak (A) heart rate—-highest heart rate obtained during a single workout session—-during this time. Quickly move into seated and relaxed position. Record your heart rate after relaxing for one full minute (B).

Subtract your 1-minute recovery heart rate (B) from your peak heart rate (A). The difference is your recovery heart rate (see above). Determine your physical state by using the guidelines below.

< 10 bpm difference = Extreme caution

11-20 bpm difference = Low

21-40 bpm difference = Good

41-50 bpm difference = Excellent

> 50 bpm difference = Fit athlete

 

Whats the best way to take my heart rate?

You can take you heart rate manually by counting pulses at your carotid artery (neck), radial artery (wrist) or your heart. For a better reading, count for the full 60-seconds and apply light pressure at the artery. You can also take advantage of today’s technology. Using a heart rate sensor such as the Apple Watch, Garmin or Heart Zones Blink, makes heart rate readings easy and accurate!

* A low recovery heart rate doesn’t mean you have a heart condition. You would have to monitor this over time and consider all factors. Please discuss any irregularities with your physician.

 

 

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5-minutes of movement every hour has its benefits!

For those individuals that are sedentary, even low-intensity movement interruptions––five minutes every hour––can improve metabolic conditions.

The American Council on Exercise along with a team of researchers in the High Altitude Exercise Physiology Program at Western State Colorado University investigated the optimal frequency, intensity and time for reducing sedentary behavior to improve cardiometabolic health in middle-age and older adults.

Through this study we learn that improvements in one’s HDL, triglycerides and blood glucose can occur by simply moving, at a minimal intensity level, for five minutes every hour. In fact, duration and frequency proved more important than an increase in movement intensity.

Of course, these study results do not mean that regular, structured exercise is unimportant in the quest for better health. Rather, the focus should be placed on both regular exercise and reduced sitting time.

View the study’s results here.

Exercise Induced Inflammation

Read more about exercise induced inflammation and how to reduce it from the Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

Balancing-Exercise-Induced-Inflammation

Foam Rolling Exercise Handout

Here’s a great handout that you can use for your regular foam rolling!

Uncannily Youthful At 67, He Embodies Antidote To Bummer ‘Biggest Loser’ Study

Professor Wayne Westcott offers an uplifting antidote to the news that the TV show’s contestants tend to gain back all the weight and burn fewer calories.

Read the article here: Uncannily Youthful At 67, He Embodies Antidote To Bummer ‘Biggest Loser’ Study | CommonHealth

Sink or Swim?

In this guest post, my client graciously shares his inner struggles and physical challenges while preparing for his first half ironman. I thank him for sharing his story and my friend, Pam, for the guidance in the pool.

 

David crosses finish line

Crossing the finish line at St. Andrews New Brunswick Half Ironman

Glug! – Plunging in at the deep end

Have you ever hastily committed to something, caught up in the excitement of a great vision or goal, and then realized you have neither the skills nor the time to do it?

My brother, an experienced triathlete, asked if I’d like to join him and friends for a Half ironman in July. Over the last 5 years I had been gradually getting fitter, losing 100 lbs and taking on cycling and running challenges. I loved the idea! I could see myself drinking a beer, celebrating a great event.  My wife and kids loved the idea too and within a moment I parted with a big entrance fee and made travel plans.

Oh S**t what have I done!

“I can’t swim, I’m over 50, I go into panic when my head goes under water, I swallow water like it’s Guinness, I can’t swim half the length of a pool, and the thought of open murky water terrifies me.”

The sobering thoughts hit me like a bolt of lightning and I went into a grieving process.

  • Denial – Surely I can’t have been stupid enough to sign up. Tell me this is a bad dream. I didn’t really sign up for a triathlon with open water swim–that’s not me.
  • Anger – How could I be this stupid? What possessed me? I have set myself up for failure!
  • Bargaining – Can I switch to a relay? Can someone else do the swim leg? Can I use water wings?
  • Depression – I am going to let everyone down and never challenge myself again.
  • Acceptance – Do the best. It’s going to be an experience and I’ll learn something in the process.

5 P’s of success

I use to be a heavy, unfit guy a few years ago. Slowly but surely I became fitter by challenging myself to do more. I conquered the Manitou incline, my first 5k and my first hike up Pikes Peak to name just a few. July’s half ironman was my biggest challenge yet but I persevered by focusing on these 5 P’s of success:

  • Perspective – Who is going to die if you don’t do the swim? – Are there rescue boats that can help you if you get in trouble?
  • Plan – How are you going to learn to swim? Join the “Y” and my friend can teach you the basics
  • Persistence – Just do it, get yourself in the pool 2-3 times a week. Turning up is half the battle
  • Practice – Even if you can only swim half a length, swim it multiple times, just practice!
  • Patience – Be grateful for small steps.  Don’t be critical and compare against expectations or others. You are unique

Of course, I continued to build strength, endurance and flexibility out of the pool; swimming skills needs arm, shoulder and leg strength. Without a regular sanity check against these principles, set backs are out of context.

Getting it done.

I read books, watched videos and spoke with people in the hope of getting that miraculous secret to overcoming my water fears. Every week I hoped that it would all come together like switching on a light. It didn’t happen, my progress was slow, and was more like a very slow unveiling until my first lake swim just a month before my big event.

To say I didn’t feel confident for the swim would be an understatement. Come the day of the race I was still unsure if I could complete the 1.2 mile swim. Family and friends were rooting for me.  I was very slow, the rescue team were eyeing some action! I kept to the plan to finish within the cut off time, not to race the others. I remained persistent and patient and remembered to enjoy the moment as I passed each buoy.  I was one of the last out of the water but I had such a sense of relief that I smiled all the way through the bike and run and finished the triathlon in the rain nearly an hour before the cut off.

Glutton for punishment and gambling addiction

What a huge emotional high! To complete something extreme that I could never have dreamed a few years ago. My brother asked if I’d do the Boulder half Iron next year, I signed up and am happy to say I haven’t gone through the dread of last year (yet). I hope to be more confident and prepared. People ask if I would like to do a full ironman, I would like to try one in a couple of years if someone will do it with me!

Lessons learned

  • Fear is an incredible force – Accepting that trying as hard as you can is reward enough can be hard to come to terms with. While this gamble turned out well this time, the more I push for bigger goals, the more inevitable setbacks will be. Reminding myself that when those occur, it’s okay, the experience of trying and learning is part of the adventure.
  • The power of the mind can be greater than the body – Patiently balancing training of both is crucial.
  • Getting the help of a professional trainer – One willing to take the time to look at the complete picture and help figure a way forward for both mind and muscle is imperative
  • It’s very hard to do anything big on your own, being with friends and family on the journey. Celebrating, commiserating and putting things in perspective makes such a difference.
  • Having a goal can be fun – Like looking forward to a vacation, having an event on the calendar can be great for keeping the spirits high and adding some spice to life.