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Sprains, Strains and how to Prevent Them in the First Place

We all want to stay active and a regular exercise routine is an essential way to ensure that you maintain a healthy lifestyle. The one drawback to regular exercise is the possibility of injury. This is something that we cannot always avoid and when it happens it can really affect our exercise routine and our everyday lives. We have all heard the horror stories of people doing some exercise and ending up with broken limbs, sprained ankles, pulled muscles and ligament injuries. This can put you out of commission for several days to several months. So what injuries are possible and what can we do to avoid them? Below we will see what can happen and how we can prevent them from happening.

While listening to the radio I heard the story of a young woman who decided to participate in crossfit training. This is a high impact type of exercise that includes exercises such as high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, girevoy sport,calisthenics, strongman and other exercises. These types of exercises requires a high level of athleticism and great strength. The young lady loved doing crossfit as she had a been involved in sports her whole life including competing in the Olympics for martial arts. Crossfit provided her with an opportunity to compete with others and remain athletic at the same time even if she was not able to it at an Olympic level. One day she was doing box jumps (literally jumping up on boxes from a standing position) and she felt her leg crumble underneath her weight. It turned out she had shattered her lower leg from ankle to knee breaking it in multiple places. It took several surgeries, a lot of physiotherapy and many months of recuperation to get her walking again much less working out.

Traumatic injuries such as the one described above are the worst types of injuries we can suffer while working out. Common injuries like sprains and pulled muscles are a bigger concern for everyday people. But it is important to remember that exercise is not inert. They can provide you with great benefits but can also cause great injuries. It is best to do any exercise with great care and preparation. Also, consult your doctor before you do anything strenuous or if you feel that you are experiencing pain or discomfort while doing the exercise.

How do you get a sprain?

Sprains can happen all over your body. When do exercise you may encounter a sprained ankle or wrist. Sprains are injuries to ligaments when they are suddenly pushed past their limits. They can tear or become deformed as a result. Usually, you just need to give your sprain some time to heal and some cold compress. If they are particularly bad, you may need to seek some medical attention as soon as possible.

How to prevent sprains?

Some ways to prevent the injury are to not over do it if you have not done an activity for a while. Say you had to take an extended break from playing basketball and finally got the opportunity to start playing again. Do not over do it by playing exhaustively for an hour. Your ligaments and muscles just cannot take it. You need to give them some time to stretch and get used to being used in that way. Stretch first, take it easy for the first few times on the court (do not exert yourself too much), play for a short period of time, and stop if you feel any discomfort.

Another type of muscle sprain is a groin pull. It can occur when you push off your feet in a side to side motion, like when you run. You see this injury in athletes all the time especially in sports such as hockey, soccer or football. In these sports, people are required to run or skate at the drop of a hat and it is this kind of situation can cause a groin pull.

You can prevent a groin pull by stretching and warming up beforehand. Make sure that you do so in a through manner to ensure the best results. Also, just like the basketball player above, make sure that you have conditioned your muscles for the task at hand. Build up conditioning through repeated exercise over time can prepare your muscles for any activity you might do.

Can Feng Shui improve my workout?

Feng Shui is the Chinese philosophy system of harmonizing oneself with their environment.  In it, one seeks to arrange their space to ensure that energy is able to flow uninterrupted throughout.  Remember Yin and Yang, well they also play a part in feng shui in that they help to describe the flow of energy within a space.

How does this help you with your exercise routine? It just so happens that creating a feng shui space can allow you to energize your workout, improve your desire to work out and make you feel better in the long run.

What exactly are we feng shui'ing? We want to focus on the space so we want to select, arrange and prepare a space that is conducive to the flow of energy.  We can accomplish this by doing some very specific things to our personal gym rooms at home.
What colour should I use?
We should start with colours that you should not choose.  Dark colours such as brown and black are not the colours you should be painting the wall of you personal gym.  They tend to bring down the mood of a room and can cause people to feel tired and ready to got to sleep (definitely not traits of a room we want to do energizing exercise in).  
You should pick a colour that will make you want to move and shed those pesky pounds.  Colours you may want to pick are ones that reflect nature and the outdoors such as shades of green or sky blue.  These colours will put you in a peaceful mood that will allow you to focus on your exercise.  Or you may want to pick a pale yellow that will reflect the natural light coming from your windows.  And lastly, you can pick a hot colour like red that will increase you energy and make you feel like working extra hard to burn your calories.
Selection of a room
If you are so lucky as to be able to pick the room you will be exercising in you should pick a room that gets lots of natural light and maybe a bit a breeze.  This will provide you with a space that has the proper flow to it.  Also, try to find a space that is away from too much noise, but be sure to balance it out with some sort of energizing element (perhaps some red paint) as too much tranquility will not give you a well balanced space.

Arranging your gym equipment
To make sure that you place your gym equipment in a manner conducive to feng shui the first step is to make sure that your space is kept clean and tidy.  The best way to ensure that the space is able to encourage the flow of energy is to keep it clean.  
Next, if you can put some of it away in a closet you can ensure the space is kept as open as possible and that it will not disrupt the energy flow.  Place the equipment in the eastern section of your house.  This is the area most associated with new beginnings, family, friends and health.

Feng shui is a great tool in ensuring that your exercise is done in a positive and productive space.  Using the ancient Chinese philosophy will help you to lose those pounds you want in no time.

Indoor Archery Ranges in Toronto

Q

"Is there any indoor archery ranges in Toronto?"

A

This is a frequently asked question. The answer is "Yes, there are, but it is complicated and difficult to get into them."

The reason why it is complicated/difficult is because of the following reasons.

#1. The Hart House Archery Range (University of Toronto) is full. No new members allowed except for 1 day during Frosh Week in September each year and 1 day at the start of January each year. So unless you are an U of T student or alumni, don't bother.

#2. The Ryerson Archery Club is also full. The club is brand new as of Jan. 2015, and they're already full. Ryerson students come first of course, but even so the club is officially full. So unless you are a Ryerson student and willing to wait until September maybe then they will allow in new members.

#3. Casa Loma used to have an archery range and taught longbow lessons once upon a time, but they have since shut it down due to liability concerns. So you are not going to find any help there.

#4. The Toronto School of Archery has 3 locations in Etobicoke (only on Mondays and Thursdays), East York (only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and Beaches (which is full and not accepting new members). The "ranges" are in the basement of a church, a community centre, etc, and only operate between 6 PM and 9 PM. Which severely limits your options if you are busy on weekday evenings.

#5. The JCCC (Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre) does have a gym they use as an archery range - but it is only for people who sign up to study Kyudo (Japanese archery using yumi bows). Kyudo is highly ceremonial and is basically the archery equivalent of Japanese tea ceremony. So unless you are a patient type of person who loves all things zen then you are probably not going to enjoy Kyudo.

#6. Archery District is not a real archery range but I am listing it anyway. It is a facility for people into Archery Tag™, and costs $24 + HST per person for 1 hour of usage. You use the bows and equipment provided and no outside equipment is allowed. During that hour you play with up to 20 people games of Archery Tag™, wherein you shoot each other with boffer arrows. I have been to Archery District twice myself so far and it is a lot of fun, but for people who enjoy accuracy, shooting long distances, just want to practice then you need to find a different place to practice. So unless you want to practice shooting at moving targets you need to find a different place to practice.

#7. Archery Camps / Day Camps is another option if you are looking for a place for your kids to practice. There are a number of day camps and archery camps in or near Toronto which offer archery (either indoor or outdoors). ArcheryToronto.ca maintains a list of archery camps and day camps. However unless you are a kid in the right age group this isn't going to help you.

"So where can I practice indoors then?"

After reading all of the above you are probably feeling a bit disheartened and wondering if you will ever be able to find an indoor archery range in Toronto that is open 7 days per week, is indoors, and will let in anyone as a member.

But do not despair I am working on just that.

For the past year almost I have been building a Waiting List for an Indoor Archery Range - which I am tentatively calling Toronto's Indoor Archery Gymnasium (TIAG). To get on the waiting list please email cardiotrek@gmail.com and give your name, email address, phone number and whether you want a monthly or annual membership.

This indoor archery range will be located in the Leaside / Davisville area of Toronto and work on a gym membership basis. Monthly membership will be $100 and annual membership will be $800. Once the Toronto's Indoor Archery Gymnasium is up and running smoothly the rates will come down, but at present the only way to make such an indoor archery range financially viable is to charge the rates mentioned above in order to get a space large enough for multiple shooting lanes.

So far 30 people have signed up for the Waiting List, but we need 50 people to sign up in order to open an indoor range. 50 people x $800 = $40,000. That is how much we need to lease, renovate, and maintain a space, and as the membership grows each year we will lower the annual rates in order to encourage more members to sign up for the annual membership.

Range hours will likely be:
Sunday 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Monday 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

The range will also be hiring staff to supervise the range + archery instructors - people who have experience teaching longbows, recurves (traditional and Olympic), compound bows and shortbows / horsebows.

The range will be designed to be friendly to hunters, competitive shooters and recreational archers. Everyone will be welcome. The photos shown on this page are photos showing how other archery ranges are designed. The Toronto Indoor Archery Gymnasium will be designed using a mixture of styles. We will also be making an effort to make sure the space is wheel chair accessible (several of the other ranges mentioned above are not wheel chair accessible).

"What if I am looking for a crossbow range in Toronto?

Lastly the Toronto's Indoor Archery Gymnasium will include space for people who are into crossbows - making it the only crossbow range in Toronto. So if you are looking for a crossbow range in Toronto, please email cardiotrek@gmail.com to add your name to the Waiting List.

Archery Vs Wind Speed and Time of Year

Q

"Hello!

What is the best time of year to do archery in Toronto? I am asking with respect to weather conditions.

- John W."

A

Hello John!

Ignoring rain, I think the biggest factor would be wind conditions - especially for shooting longer distances because the wind effects the arrow 4 times as much at 80 yards compared to 20 yards.

Judging by the average month to month wind speeds in Toronto (as well as a measurement of the average number of days with strong wind (52 kph or more) then the best month to do archery in Toronto is August.


I created the chart above using data from currentresults.com. The statistics below are likewise from the same website. If you want to check the wind, temperature, precipitation and humidity for other times of the year I recommend visiting the website. Other people reading this can also check their local weather conditions to see which is the best times of the year for them to practice if they want ideal conditions.

Temperature wise August's temperatures average between a high of 26 C and a low of 17 C.

Average precipitation during August is 81 mm, so there should be plenty of dry days.

Average humidity during August is 81% in the morning and 61% in the afternoon, which means the best time of day to go to the Toronto Archery Range is the afternoon or early evening.

Personally I like shooting during September and October. Sure it is slightly windier in September and October, but the temperature is more comfortable and there is less humidity in the afternoons.

Another factor, outside of wind conditions, is how busy it is at the archery range at different times during the week. The best time to go is a weekday morning or early afternoon. On weekends the range tends to get crowded.

Lastly I want to note that what you are asking for is basically when is the best time to get the ideal weather conditions in order to get more accuracy, however when doing archery outdoors the primary purpose really should be to learn how to adjust for wind / weather conditions. Thus you learn how to shoot regardless of whether it is raining, windy, snowing, foggy, cold, hot, humid or any other kind of conditions.

I personally love shooting at a moving target on a windy day. The smaller the moving target the better.


Celebrity Health Diets: When to listen to celebrity advice

Do celebrities know what they are talking about when they recommend a health product or lifestyle?

Celebrities from Gwyneth Paltrow to the Kardashians are trying to get you to buy into their particular brand of health product.

This in and of itself could be a good thing, in fact some of these products could be really helpful in getting you into shape.

But it may also be a bad thing because a recommendation from a celebrity may not be the most informed source of information about your health (better sources include your doctor or a scientist).

So let's look at some celebrity health products and lifestyles and follow some simple rules that will help us make the best decision.

If the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) says it is not good, that might be a sign.

A health supplement and sexual enhancing drug has been endorsed by the football personalities Jimmy Johnson.

In a commercial, he says that the product works for him and with 1 billion pills sold it must work for the other men who purchased them (which is faulty logic because all we really know is that they purchased it not that it works for them; in fact for all we know a good proportion of the men that purchased the pills could be suffering from adverse health effects because of the pill [though this has not been proven]).

Despite the praise showered on the drug by Jimmy Johnson, the FDA has denounced the drug and issued a voluntary recall for it in 2011.

The spokesman at the FDA said that they have received reports of spiked products, poor regulation of what is put in the pill (including counterfeit and undeclared ingredients) and that it included ingredients that have been banned in the United States (including 1 that is known to cause heart disease.

If the celebrity is a little shady.

I am talking about those celebrities (and I use that word very loosely) that you are not so sure should be celebrities.  These include the reality stars or the 15 minutes of fame on Youtube variety.  These people essentially hit the lottery and have done nothing to deserve your attention.

A lot of the time these people want to extend their paydays and by extension their celebrity so they may endorse things that in the long run (or short run for that matter) are not the best choices for your health.  Snooki and The Situation from MTV's reality hit Jersey Shore are just some celebrities that have endorsed products that are meant to make you healthier but really there are  questions marks about the products efficacy.

Snooki endorsed a cookie diet, but even she has conceded that working out everyday is the best way to lose weight.

The Situation has endorsed a protein infused vodka drink that falls short in terms of it's weight losing abilities.

If it just sounds crazy.

Some diets are just a little too crazy for normal people.  If your job is to look good all day and you have the means to ensure you can maintain your lifestyle then have at it, but if you have a full time job, kids, friends and family or a restricted budget then this diet may not be for you.

Posh Spice otherwise known as Victoria Beckham swore by her 5 Hands diet in which she only ate 5 handfuls of food (which was only berries, nuts and grains) a day.  That sounds great for her, but if you need a lot of energy and you want to make it through the day this may not be the best thing for you.

Gwyneth Paltrow used to live by her organic and macrobiotic diet where she would only eat whole unprocessed foods.  This seemingly does not sound too extreme but when you think about it it has 2 major problems.

The first is money.  How in the world could a normal person with a family possibly maintain that kind of diet financially.  Organic foods way are more expensive that regular foods and could break the bank of us non-celebrities.

The second problem is nutrition. You will have to ban meat and dairy products from your diet. These foods provide important vitamins and nutrients that you will have to supplement in someway to ensure you stay healthy and without the proper guidance you could be putting your health in serious danger.  Ms. Paltrow herself has since relaxed her diet restrictions so even she has admitted that her diet may not be the best way to live your life.

Listen to yourself

The best way to tell if a celebrity diet or lifestyle is a good idea for you is to check with yourself.  Pay attention to what your body is saying to you.  If you feel pain, stop that particular exercise.  If you feel hungry or lightheaded, eat.  If you feel full, stop eating.  If you feel that a particular pill you are taking is making you ill, consult your physician.  Everyone is different and we all have different circumstances we are living in so make sure that whatever you are doing is right for you and makes you feel better.

A Handful of Nose Exercise Questions and Answers

It has been awhile since I have answered any nose exercise questions so here are a few I received recently. See my past posts on:

Nose Exercises Vs Rhinoplasty

Fixing a Crooked Nose using Nose Exercises

Do you actually need Nose Exercises?

Will Nose Exercises make your nose thinner?

His name has been omitted for privacy reasons.

Q

"Hello,

I was wondering if there was anything I can do for a crooked nose that doesn't involve surgery is it true that nose exercises can fix many of these concerns?"
A
Yes, as long as the damage doesn't include damage to the bone or cartilage. See the instructions on the website.

Q

"I have noticed that many of these exercises are making my nose wider is that supposed to be happen? Also will it make it too wide?"

A

"Yes, with the exception of the Nose Narrowing exercise, the other exercises build muscle and that will make a person's nose slightly thicker."

Q

"Are there any other negative side effects associated with doing such exercises? Why haven't doctors recommended them?"

A

They're exercises associated with facial expressions. People wrinkle their nose / etc all the time when they smile, frown, etc, so no, there is no risks associated with nose exercises.

Nose exercises just change the shape of a person's nose slowly over time, either to correct a crooked nose due to damaged muscle tissue or to change the shape of the nose by reshaping the muscle tissue under the skin. Your nose shape is dictated by muscle tissue, cartilage and the nose bone part of the skull where the skull meets the nose. By reshaping the muscle within the nose using exercises it can lengthen, shorten, narrow, or widen the nose - as well as fix problems wherein nose muscle tissue was damaged.

Nose exercises cannot change the shape of the nose bone however. A broken nose (nasal fractures are a common sports injury) can be realigned in most cases to prevent deformity as the broken nose bone will heal over time if it is in the correct position to restitch itself back together, which means nose exercises can be used during treatment and post treatment to keep the nose aligned. Depending on the severity of the broken nose, surgery is sometimes necessary in order to prevent deformity.

Plastic surgeons would never recommend nose exercises because their goal is to get people to buy rhinoplasty. In the case of a severe nasal fracture the patient doesn't have much choice however.
It would be like asking a doctor who does liposuction whether he approves of people just exercising to lose weight. The doctor's goal is to make money so they would likely respond with laughter and saying something like "Well yes, I suppose you could, but how has that been going for you? If exercise was working for you then why are you here? It is very difficult to lose weight exercising so if you can afford it why not just pay for the liposuction instead?"

The vast majority of people who have contacted me about nose exercises actually have very nice noses with a minor problem that doesn't require surgery and is easily fixed by doing nose exercises for several months. I have only encountered one person (who had a very large nose bone protruding from his skull which made his nose unusually large) who could not be helped because the size and shape of his nose was due to elongated shape of the nose bone.

A few people who have contacted me don't even need the exercises. Their worries appear to be more mental and the shape of their nose, in my opinion, is already ideal. They are worrying over nothing.
In your case the muscle tissue has become imbalanced on opposite sides of your nose. Basically the muscles on one side of your nose is bigger than the other side. The nose straightening exercise will build up muscle tissue on both sides, equalizing the muscles on both sides over time and straightening out your nose, and making your nose slightly thicker in the process. When you cease doing the exercises in the future your nose will lose the extra thickness after a month or so and go back to its normal size, but it will have straightened out long before then.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 30

Hello Toronto!

Today is my last day of 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

I admit it has been a fun experiment, but my conclusion is that I am not cut out to be a vegetarian. (I will be having bacon and eggs for breakfast tomorrow morning.)

I have lost some weight around my middle - although I do wonder if I could have lost more if it had not been that huge blip that was Valentines.

My weight as of this morning (my final weigh in was after breakfast) is 191.5 lbs. When I started this experiment I was 197.6, so I have lost slightly more than 6 lbs, which suggests I lost roughly 0.2 lbs day. Mathematically that is 700 calories per day that I was either taking in less food / burning calories through exercise. When you consider the average person should be eating 1800 to 2000 calories per day, 700 calories per day is a huge reduction.

Again, I probably would have lost more if it had not been that huge blip following Valentines. I would probably be around 189 or 190 if it had not been for that over-consumption of food on Valentines.

I am going to continue to eat healthy after this experiment, but meat will be back on the menu as an option. I hope that what I take from this experiment is that I will continue to eat healthier - more veggies and so forth - and I will have a greater appreciation of being an omnivore.

There will definitely be a lasting effect on my diet in the future. There will be lots more strawberry shakes (see photos below of the 3 step process it takes to make a strawberry shake) and I think I will go back to The Duke of Richmond sometime for that black bean veggie burger that was soooo good. I will also be making more veggie soups and stews in the future as I think I am addicted to those now. But it will be nice to have the option to throw in some leftover meat with the soup for added flavour.




Later tonight I am going to be having a veggie burger, veggie pizza and beer during a social event. But so far today I have had cereal and a salad. I will likely have some carrot sticks before I leave for the event in the evening.

This has been fun. I may or may not do something similar again in the future. Possibly 30 Days as a Pescetarian would be fun as I have determined being a vegetarian is not for me.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 28

Only today, tomorrow and Friday left to go for my 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

The end is in sight! I can almost taste the bacon!

I am going to be so happy when this is over.

I do have some conclusions on what has happened thus far.

#1. It is not so much what I am eating - vegetarian food can be equally fattening if it is deep fried, high in carbs, high in sugar, etc. The biggest difference clearly is HOW MUCH I am eating - as clearly demonstrated with what happened on Valentines when I clearly overate and ate too much greasy food.

#2. I also saw larger differences on the days after large amounts of exercise. Clearly exercising does pay off in the waistline department, but the trick for people is to make exercising sustainable. If they lose interest they will stop doing it.

Note - See Day 14 of 30 Days as a Vegetarian to see my exercise routine.

#3. I think for me having exercises to do every day (including shoveling snow) helped with the weight loss more than the process of eating vegetarian. Exercising was by far the biggest factor for me.

#4. Binging on Valentines = Bad.

#5. Eating healthy and lots of exercise on the days following Valentines = Good. See why below...

Yesterday I had leftover veggie soup, potatoes, a veggie burger and caesar salad at Johnny Rockets (as usual for Tuesdays).

This morning before breakfast I weighed in at 192.3 lbs and my waist is 40.5 inches. So evidently the weight gain from overeating on Valentines turned out to be temporary and I have even lost 0.1 lbs in the last 6 days.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 26

Day 26 of 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

Today at noon (after lunch) I weighed in at 195.6 lbs, and yet surprisingly my waist measured only 40.5 inches at the widest point.

So compared to 4 days ago (before Valentines) when I weighed 192.4 after breakfast, I have gained 3.2 lbs in 4 days - most of which happened on Valentines with the ridiculous amount of food I ate.

I don't even want to know what my weight was yesterday (Sunday). All I can say is wow. Binging on Valentines really can make a huge difference to your weight.

What is strange however is that this extra weight didn't go to my belly (possibly because it has not yet had time to do so) as my waist is still hovering at 40.5 at the widest point. I am uncertain WHY or WHAT happened, but if my waist hasn't caught up to this sudden weight fluctuation maybe there is hope this is just temporary.

Update: Today I had cereal, veggie soup, mashed potatoes and peas - and a beer closer to the evening.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 24

Day 24 of 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

Okay so technically I am writing this on Day 25 because yesterday was Valentines and I was too busy to have time to write it.

And honestly I am not even going to check my weight today. I am just going to try ignore everything that I ate on Valentines as it was a lot...

Friday I had cereal, soup and a veggie burger.

Saturday (Valentines) I had:

  1. [Breakfast] Cereal + green tea.
  2. [Snack] Hot Chocolate from Tim Hortons (while visiting the Toronto Archery Range).
  3. [Lunch] All you can eat Chinese food (vegetarian items only), many of which were deep fried.
  4. [Snack] Chocolate.
  5. [Supper] Grilled Cheese, Fries, Nachos and roughly 2.5 beers at a pub.
  6. [Snack] More chocolate.

By the time I went to bed last night I felt like a beached whale and "so full I might burst".

Hopefully if I play my cards right that Valentines food binge will likely be meaningless by the time Monday rolls around. Eating all that food yesterday for Valentines seems to have resulted in a deflated appetite today. We shall see when I weigh in on Monday (tomorrow).

Update - I did go to an event on Sunday where I had a plate of fries (it was the only thing vegetarian on the menu) and a beer. I didn't feel hungry that day and was probably still on a sugar high from Valentines.
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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