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Crossfit and Why it is Dangerous to Over Do It

Lets do a little myth busting.

First, yes, it is true that Crossfit exercise routines will help you lose weight.

But it is also true that Crossfit is dangerous, pushes people to extremes and even causing exercise addiction - and the resulting Crossfit devotees (or should we say addicts) get really into all the activities done at crossfit gyms - but the repetitive strain and the injuries pile up, which can lead to extreme injuries.

In fact to outline just how dangerous Crossfit is why not Google the words 'crossfit injuries' and read some of the 1.17 million webpages on the topic.

What is also funny is how many Crossfit enthusiasts (addicts) tell fellow enthusiasts to "suck it up", "no pain no gain", "don't be a wussy", etc whenever the topic of injuries come up.

 And we're not talking mild injuries. We're talking about people who injure themselves so much they can't even walk any more.

That puts it on the same level as people who are so anorexic they cannot walk any more, or people so obese they cannot walk any more... in this case it is people who exercised so much they injured themselves and now they cannot walk any more.

Cannot walk, are in severe debilitating pain, and in some cases will be like this the rest of their lives.

There are Iraq War Veterans out there missing limbs who are in better physical condition than some of the Crossfit devotees who injured themselves because they didn't know when was a good time to rest and recuperate.

So let me break this down for you.

When you exercise, weightlifting for example, you need about 24 to 48 hours (sometimes more depending on your age and how much weightlifting you do) in order to repair all the muscle tissue you ripped during your weightlifting session. With weightlifting you are often only challenging a few parts of your body at a time, which means your body only needs to repair muscle tissue in those areas after the exercise is over.

The purpose of Crossfit however is to rip muscles in almost every muscle in your body by pushing your limits in many different ways. Afterwards your body heals up and you end up being stronger all over (not just in specific muscle groups)... but because Crossfit is addictive you end up with people who are doing it 5 to 7+ times per week, leaving your body almost no time to repair itself.

Lack of repair time leads to repetitive strain injuries - and repetitive strain rip tendons.

Do you know how to fit a tendon?


Lots of surgery. It is painful and truth be told whatever body part you ripped the tendon in may never be the same again. It is a bit like someone who has a heart attack. Once you have your first heart attack it is pretty much all down hill from there.

Below is a photo of a ripped tendon in someone's arm being repaired via surgery. If he is lucky he still has full use of his arm, but the chances are more likely his arm will be in pain and have restricted motion for the rest of his life.

And this is just one of the many injuries people can develop from Crossfit.

As a personal trainer I actively discourage all of my clients from activities that could result in any kind of sports injuries. Yes, I know you want to lose weight and gain muscle - but sports injuries are not worth the risks associated with 'extreme fitness' activities like Crossfit.

In other news, Happy Halloween! I hope the above photo scared you away from Crossfit.

Oh and mountain climbing. That is pretty dangerous too. Trust me, I nearly died twice in South Korea while climbing mountains there. The view up there was nice, but in retrospect I should have taken the safer route to the top.

Olympic Archery and becoming an Olympian



I am thinking of getting into Olympic Archery and competing. What steps should I go through in order to compete?

Mark G.


Hello Mark!

A good question and my apologies if my answer is very long and actively dissuades you from competing. Olympic Archery is not for everyone and you will understand why as I go through the steps.

Step One - Learn how to shoot the old fashioned way using a recurve bow without using sights or gadgets. I think this is a problem for many new archers who want to jump straight into the Olympic style of shooting that they don't first learn how to shoot the old fashioned way. Traditional shooting requires the new archer to rely entirely on form and consistency. No gadgets and no sights. Perfect form. Gadgets are crutches for propping up archers who suffer from weak form.

Step Two - Determine whether you have any natural talent. This will become self evident during Step One. It is my opinion that archers should never go the Olympic route if they are doing it purely out of ego and have no natural talent. Don't judge yourself either, let other more experienced archers be the judge. If they are complimenting you on your skill and asking questions like "Do you compete?", "Have you ever competed?", "You have Robin Hood hidden in the trunk of your car right?" then you know what your next step is.

Step Three - Compete. There are plenty of traditional archery competitions out there. Pick a handful and go to maybe 5 of the competitions to start with.

Step Four - Take your winnings and buy Olympic equipment. Note that if you didn't win that much maybe you should repeat Step Three over again until you have enough winnings to pay for your expenditures plus the cost of buying Olympic equipment. Please note that when buying your equipment you don't need to buy the best. You just need all the basic Olympic gadgets and some cheap Olympic style arrows. The reason is simple - you will only end up losing or breaking a bunch of them anyway.

Step Five - Learn humility, perseverance and understanding. I am putting humility first because this is a big problem with Olympic archers who get into the sport out of ego and often lack skill, break under pressure and are easily distracted / overthink their shots. If you take the top 50 archers in the world and compare them the thing you will notice about the winners is that they are often very humble, came from humble beginnings, and they didn't break under the pressure of competition, media attention, nationalistic pride, etc. In Canada we are very guilty of putting too much pressure on our Olympic athletes and it is often the unknowns who win gold unexpectedly - and never repeat the feat because of all the media attention the 2nd time around. You are also going to need perseverance for all the practices and sacrifices you are going to be making. Practice, exercise, diet, strained or lost relationships, work complications, health complications, repetitive strain/sports injuries (eg. Archer's Elbow), etc. Lastly understanding - this is really about knowing yourself. Knowing when you are too excited to shoot properly, learning to control your emotions/adrenaline, etc. Becoming agitated can take a professional shooter and turn them into someone who starts shooting like a semi-pro.

Step Six - Diet. There is no easy way to say this. If you don't have the willpower to cut out the junk food from your diet then you are going to be at a physical and mental disadvantage when shooting. Think of this as one part mental conditioning and one part perfecting your physical body. You need to eat healthy to have a well oiled machine. This means lots of veggies, lots of protein, some carbs for extra energy since you are training, and vitamins / supplements. If you smoke or drink you also need to quit those cold turkey. You can drink after you win.

Step Seven - Exercise. This will many different exercises including possibly jogging, yoga, yogic breathing, weightlifting, body weight exercises, stretching for flexibility, swimming, cross-training with similar form oriented sports (golf, tennis, javelin, etc).

Step Eight - Expanded Competition. During steps 4, 5, 6 + 7 you should have continued competing in traditional archery competitions. The goal of continuing to compete in those competitions is to prepare yourself mentally for the challenges that await you when you start entering your first Olympic style competitions. Chances are likely you won't win anything during the first 5 competitions you attend. Not to be redundant, but they are very competitive and you are likely facing a mix of people better than you, mediocre, and even egotists who broke under pressure.

Step Nine - Dealing with Failure. How a person deals with their failures is often a sign of their character. Do they give up and sell their equipment, possibly never doing archery ever again? Or do they practice, exercise, diet and keep trying. The road to success if marked by failures, so how you deal with failure is equally as important as how you deal with success (don't let winning go to your head either - winning one competition doesn't make you Robin Hood).

Step Ten - Coaching. At some point you will be approached by a coach asking if you are looking for an archery coach. This is when you know you are ready for the next stage in your training. However a word of caution. Don't sign up with the first coach you meet. Browse around first. Find a coach who fits your needs, is conveniently located and has lots of time to be training / mentoring you. And to follow the theme I have going here, don't choose a coach who is all about winning and ego. Instead consider the person who had an illustrious Olympic career and is now retired and doesn't even coach. If you can coax them out of retirement to take up coaching you won't just be finding an excellent coach, you will be making a lifelong friend you will guide you all the way. Plus having a coach who has zero other students means you will have their undivided attention and a coach who has more time for training you. (Some of the archery coaches out there - including myself I admit - follow the mantra of teaching many students in the hopes of fostering new generations of archers and they don't really have time to be dedicating to coaching one student 3 - 4 times per week. I am not against limiting myself to one student or only a few students, but at present I quite enjoy introducing new people to the sport of archery.)

Note - Some people may follow a different order of events than what I have listed above. The exact order is not too big of an issue (eg. Step Nine might easily come after Step Three), but I do actively discourage people from getting into Olympic archery too quickly. Learn to shoot first, learn the basics of competition, don't rush into a huge time/money investment just because of your ego.

I know it may seem like I am beating a dead horse here, but Olympic archery is rife with egotists who break under pressure - or worse, barely know what they are doing because they never learned the basics or skipped over several steps I outlined above (eg. You can always spot the archers who don't exercise or diet because they get tired easily and botch their shots).

For example South Korean archers going through rigorous mental conditioning to prepare them for the Olympic games - activities like mountain climbing, sitting under a freezing cold waterfalls, etc. The kind of stuff you might imagine heroic warriors doing while training during a quest. The goal of the mental conditioning is to teach the archers humility, concentration skills and to prepare them for the rigors of competition - a place where having an over-inflated ego will be an Achilles Heel.

And their training appears to be working. South Korea currently holds 75% of the world's Olympic archery records for highest scores for men's, women's, men's team and women's team archer.

So my advice is to stay humble. Keep training with both traditional and Olympic. Don't let the gadgets in Olympic archery become the crutch which holds you back. Quality archer form and mental conditioning trumps gadgets.

Arrow Clustering at Work

To excel at archery you really have to become in tune with your body and learn from your mistakes. This requires a level of fitness, a level of physical self-awareness, a level of self-control, and a level of patience/perseverance otherwise you will give up before achieving the first three.

Beginner archers need to push themselves to hone their form so they make clusters of arrows. It is not so important to hit the proverbial 'bulls eye', what matters more is whether you can get your arrows in tight clusters. Hitting the bulls eye can sometimes be dumb luck.

Below is a photo of an arrow cluster on a moving target - but to achieve that level of accuracy the archer first needs to make a cluster on the target, and then the following round adjust their aim, all the while maintaining perfect form or at least the necessary level of form required to hit whatever it is they are aiming at. A minor form mistake could send their arrow too high, too low or to the left or right.

In the photo below is an example of an arrow cluster on a 40 cm target. The total score is 49 points out of 50. But this 'timbit sized' cluster on the yellow is the result of multiple rounds of carefully adjusting one's aim while simultaneously attempting to maintain perfect form despite heat, fatigue and other factors.

In the photo below is an example of one such arrow cluster - smaller than a doughnut, but was aimed too low, and you will note is basically just a left-right line (a shelf) because the wind was shifting in different directions. Had the wind been calmer we might have seen a super tight cluster on the red directly below the yellow.

In the photo below is an example of 'cluster shooting', during which the archer is no longer attempting to hit a target per se but instead is focused solely on shooting tight clusters. As you can see the arrows are so tight together they are all touching. The one arrow below which is slightly askew even bumped the nock on one of the arrows above.

Below is another example of a super tight cluster, this one is a line going left-right.

Having mastered the art of making super tight clusters a more advanced archer can then hone their aim by making clusters on specific parts of a target, like these two shots on the zombie wolf's eye.

Or perform amazing feats of archery - like shooting a moving target - and then Robin Hooding your own arrow on the now pinned moving target.

Or splitting an arrow on a moving target.

It should be noted however that with distance the prospect of shooting such tight clusters is dramatically reduced. For example the photo below is a cluster shot from 66 yards away on a somewhat windy (20 to 25 kmph) day. The wind makes a much bigger difference on longer distances and being able to shoot clusters like the one below indicates that the archer either waited for lulls in the wind gusts, or adjusted their shots based on the wind conditions. (The first option of waiting for the wind to die down is the easiest to do, the 2nd option is a more advanced skill which requires experience and some educated guesswork.)

Conclusions - You really need to master your archery form to achieve any level of accuracy. The better your form, the tighter your clusters are. Adjusting your aim is the easy part once your form has been perfected. Even learning to adjust your aim for wind conditions is easy once you've developed excellent form.

Walking to Fitness - Why many people ignore this as an option

Many people think they already walk quite a bit, but often they spend most of their days sitting in an office chair in a cubicle - or sitting on a chair or sofa at home.

In other words they really are not walking as much as they think they are.

Furthermore, when it comes to weight loss they ignore walking as an option because they don't realize how many calories the simple act of walking burns. They think it is such a tiny amount that they ignore it.

But I am going to show you the math behind how one woman in Iowa - who weighed 370 lbs when she started her walking regimen - lost 200 lbs just by walking around the airport terminal where she works. (You can Google the appropriate keywords to find this news story if you want to. The woman's name is Jill Vento.)

1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories.

200 lbs of fat = 700,000 calories.

Now you might think "Hey, that is going to require a lot of walking!"

But probably not as much as you think.

The woman in question did it by walking 15 minutes at a time (during breaks / etc), twice per day, 5 days per week. The news articles talking about her feat don't tell us how fast she was going, but we can assume as she got stronger and thinner she started walking faster.

Thus I have done the math for how many calories a 370 lb woman burns for 3 different speeds:

Walking 2 mph for 15 minutes - 117 calories
Walking 3 mph for 15 minutes - 183 calories
Walking 4 mph for 15 minutes - 216 calories

In the beginning she was only shedding 117 calories each time, and in the beginning she was only doing it once per day. But as she got stronger / more motivated she started walking twice per day and eventually three times per day. So for simplicity's sake we shall calculate that she was doing 10 fifteen minute walks per week. 117 x 10 = 1170 calories. Slightly more than one third of a pound of fat.

At that speed it would have taken her 600 weeks (11.53 years) to burn 700,000 calories. And yes, that would be a lot of walking - were it not for the fact that she started walking faster, getting additional exercise, and eating healthier too, thus speeding up the weight loss process.

In the first 9 weeks of walking she would have noticed that she lost 3 lbs - possibly more if she was getting additional exercise from other sources and eating healthy - which would explain why she eventually started walking around the airport terminal 3 times per day to speed up the process.

Plus as she got stronger she started walking faster and faster. So now we have to do the math again.

At this point lets assume she has already lost 70 lbs and now weighs 300 lbs instead of 370 (which conversely means she only has 455,000 left to go). But we will calculate that she is walking 4 mph instead because she gotten a lot faster.

Walking 2 mph for 15 minutes - 95 calories
Walking 3 mph for 15 minutes - 148 calories
Walking 4 mph for 15 minutes - 176 calories

As you can see she is using less energy at the slower speed, and the 3 mph speed is only marginally using more energy. The 4 mph speed is where she really burning calories fast.

At this point we will also calculate that she is walking at this speed 15 times per week. 176 x 15 = 2,640 calories. That is 75% of 1 lb. So she is losing 3 lbs every 4 weeks at this point.

At this point she has really started to see the difference. She is having to buy new clothes that fit her better, she is feeling super positive about herself, she doesn't binge eat when she is depressed any more (this is a common problem for obese people who binge eat their favourite comfort foods). She is seeing lots of results. At that rate she is losing 39.2 lbs per year.

Probably more if she is getting outside and doing other activities simultaneously, trying new activities, taking up bicycling or swimming.

Walking may not seem like it burns a lot of calories, but you know how people like to say that cigarettes/pot are gateway drugs? Well walking is a gateway exercise that gets you exercising plus opens your body and mind to the idea of other exercises.

Walking is a gateway exercise that gets you exercising plus opens your body and mind to the idea of other exercises.

And the next thing you know, it is several years later, you've lost 200 lbs and you feel really proud of yourself. Losing 50 lbs per year means you can be a whole new person in just 4 years. And all it takes is the will to start walking.

A journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step.

Wii Fit for Cancer Patients



My name is Robert and I am actually reaching out to you on behalf of a co-worker Miranda. Her husband Chad is battling cancer and has been going through chemo. He is at a point where he is not eating too much and not as mobile as what he should be... not so much that he can’t, it is more like he won’t so we are reaching out to see if you have experience dealing with cancer patients. It would be in home (Hamilton) and obviously not a vigorous work out but enough to get his strength up and a little motivated. Any help or referrals would be greatly appreciated.

Robert A."

(The names of the individuals mentioned in the above email and in my response have either been changed or omitted to protect the identity and privacy of the individuals.)


Hello Robyn!

Sorry, I don't live that close to Hamilton. However I do have a recommendation that has worked for several cancer patients.

My recommendation is that you get him a Nintendo Wii Fit. This is not a product endorsement on my part, rather it is more of an endorsement from a cancer patient I know who has attested to the product's ability to keep him motivated and exercising as much or as little as he feels like on any particular day. So if you are looking for something that will motivate him - and continue to motivate him even when there is no personal trainer present - this is certainly an option.

If you wish to research this topic I recommend reading the following article:

Charles Moffat

The Health Pros and Cons of Beer Drinking

I was researching heartburn recently and was dismayed to learn that beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks can trigger heartburn.

So let us mark that as the #1 reason why I need to cut back on drinking beer (it is true, even us personal trainers have difficulties cutting back on certain unhealthy foods).

Thus I decided to research and make a list of other reasons why I should not drink beer (so often). And while I was at it I also discovered there were positives to drinking beer in moderation.


#1. Causes Heartburn and Stomach Ulcers

The alcohol in beer can trigger acid reflux, which in turns causes heartburn. Despite the name this doesn't actually hurt your heart, but it can cause severe chest pain and even neck pain. The acid reflux can also lead to stomach ulcers.

#2. Calories

Typically it doesn't list it on the label, but beer typically has 154 calories per 356 mL can. Lately I have been trying to solve this problem by switching to a low calorie beer that has only 80 calories in it (which is approx. 36% less calories than orange juice).

For reference, 3500 calories equals 1 lb of fat. Thus drinking 23 cans of beer over a 1 month period could cause you to gain 1 lb if you are not exercising to keep off the weight.

#3. Beer can trigger asthma attacks.

#4. Beer is harmful to someone who has a history of congestive heart failure.

#5. Drinking too much beer can cause gout, insomnia, high blood pressure, liver disease, neurological conditions, pancreatitis, and mental problems. Beer should also never be consumed 2 weeks before any kind of surgery.


#1. Used in moderation, beer helps prevent diseases of the heart and circulatory system, including coronary heart disease, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), heart failure, heart attack, and stroke. Beer reduces the chance of death from heart attack and ischemic left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. While it is true that beer can prevent congestive heart failure, it actually hurts people who already have that condition.

#2. Beer is also used for treating Alzheimer's disease, weak bones (osteoporosis), gallstones, type 2 diabetes, heart disease in people with type 2 diabetes, kidney stones, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and other cancers.

#3. Beer is used by pregnant women to increase the flow of breast milk - however it should be noted that the alcohol can get into the breast milk and then trigger health problems for the baby.

#4. Beer helps stimulate the appetite and digestion.

#5. Beer prevents ulcers by reducing the chances of a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. H. pylori is the bacterium that causes ulcers.


A little beer can actually be beneficial. Too much obviously is dangerous. Perhaps I am on the right track sticking with my low calorie beer.

The Benefits of Exercising NOW, before Winter begins

"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." - Benjamin Franklin.

Every winter I create a weightlifting exercise program for me to do indoors during the winter months. This year I have decided to start early. What is nice is that even though I started on Wednesday, I am already seeing results by Monday.

I make this exercise program for me to do every Winter because I know I won't be outside as much exercising during the Winter. Thus I have to compensate for my lack of outdoor exercise by doing more indoor exercises.

When choosing which exercises to do weightlifting makes good logical sense because it requires less space to do properly when compared to jogging, running, swimming, tennis, golf, archery, boxing, etc. In some cases even less equipment, because I don't have an indoor pool handy. :p

So what exercises do I do?

#1. Chinups using a chinup bar installed in a doorway near the washroom. This guarantees I am building biceps in a hurry.

#2. Dumbbell exercises designed to target the shoulders, triceps, and pectorals.

#3. Old School Exercises like Sit-Ups and Push-Ups. The sit-ups target the abdominal muscles and the push-ups target pectorals, various back muscles, triceps and shoulders.

#4. Jumping Jacks - I love jumping jacks while listening to music. This is a quick indoor cardio that burns a lot of calories in a relatively short time. The more you do the more you burn. It also builds strong calves and ankles.

#5. Squats with Light Weights - This is for targeting my thighs and calves. Stronger leg muscles builds better balance and makes you faster when you need to run in a hurry.

The other thing I want to get back to is the concept that there are benefits to be reaped NOW by getting into exercising right away instead of postponing it for later. As a personal trainer Winter is the slow time of the year for me, which means I would normally be exercising less. But because I like to maintain my physique and improve upon it I complement my workout in the Winter with the weightlifting and old school exercises. Last year I didn't start my weightlifting routine until December - when there was already snow on the ground. Partially because I moved in November last year and was still sorting through boxes.

But this year I am all settled in and I felt a sense of urgency to get back into it early this year so I started my new weightlifting regimen on Wednesday October 1st. I didn't set out to pick that day, it just happened to be that day. So I did weightlifting on Wednesday, Thursday, took a break on Friday and Saturday to let my muscles relax, then again on Sunday, and now it is Monday... and I am seeing some fast results.

I am not just talking extra muscles either although I am definitely feeling more buff. I am sleeping better too. I am going to bed earlier, getting up at 6:15 before my alarm goes off at 7 AM, I feel well rested and alert, my appetite is up, and I am feeling super positive about myself.

And according to my bathroom scale I have put on 4 lbs very recently - which will be mostly muscle and increased bone density. (For record keeping I have gone from 190 to 194.)

I should point out that normally people don't put on a lot of muscle in a hurry unless they have the right combination of metabolic rate, exercise, protein/nutrient intake, etc. If you are interested in this topic of how fast muscles can grow I suggest reading the following two articles:

How Fast can you Grow Muscle

Two Alternative Models for Predicting Muscle Growth

If you read the 2nd article I have posted my own model for predicting muscle growth which takes in factors like Height, Shoulder Width, Metabolic Rate, Dietary Sufficiency, Gender, Exercise Rate, and Training Category - which makes it the most comprehensive method of predicting muscle growth.

There is also the Muscle Memory factor - which is difficult to calculate. Basically what that is is when a weightlifter gets sick for a long period of time they lose a bunch of muscle mass, but when they get back into weightlifting again - even after years - they are faster at putting on the muscle because the old muscles retain the memory. This is likely the biggest factor for me right now, allowing me to build up muscle a lot faster than I normally would.

My goal this Winter is to put on at least 20 lbs of muscle and weigh 210 lbs by mid-March.

And if sleeping better and feeling healthier is a side benefit, so be it. Those are benefits I like having.

Note - This Winter I also going to be doing Archery Biathlon (combo of cross country skiing and archery) once there is snow on the ground, which combines a high intensity cardio exercise with a resistance training exercise.

New Archery Biathlon Logo

Oral Health connected to Overall Health

Now here is some interesting myth busting - your oral health is actually connected to your overall health, including your mental health.

Many people think that oral health is independent from the rest of their body - believing that they can have bad teeth and dental problems and that it is somehow separate from other parts of your body.

So let us start with some facts / interesting tidbits which will make you realize just how connected they are.

#1. One of the first side effects smokers get when they first start smoking is a yellowing of their teeth. If they brush regularly this won't be that visible, but over time this starts to wear down on their teeth as the chemicals released during the process of smoking wear down the enamel on their teeth - and enamel erosion leads to teeth loss. So if you can imagine dying of cancer, imagine being toothless and also dying of cancer.

#2. Bacteria in your mouth is normal. The problem however is that when you get too much bacteria in your mouth they start to produce acid which causes problems for your teeth - and when swallowed the acid harms your neck, stomach and lungs as the acid and bacteria spreads. People with poor dental hygiene are more prone to getting sick because bacteria spreads more easily through their system. They are also more prone to getting heartburn due to acid reflux.

#3. Various medications — such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers and diuretics — can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.

#4. Oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease — plays a role in some diseases. In addition, certain diseases, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and others, can lower the body's resistance to infection, making oral health problems that much more problematic.

#5. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, especially your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach themselves to damaged areas in your heart.

#6. Cardiovascular disease. Heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke are sometimes linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.

#7. Periodontitis has been linked to premature births and low birth weight of babies, decreasing their chances of survival.

#8. Diabetes reduces the body's resistance to infection — putting your gums at risk. Gum disease is more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Likewise, people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels.

#9. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS and similar diseases.

#10. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — is linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.

#11. Tooth loss before age 35 is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and a risk factor for other mental health problems.

#12. Sjogren's syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth, which in turn leads to higher levels of bacteria and too much acid wear on your teeth.

A couple weeks ago I went to a new dentist near Rosedale - Archer Dental near the corner of Sherbourne and Bloor - and I was amazed at the form they had me fill out during my first visit. It covered a long list of medications for heart disease, diabetes and many other health issues that at the time I thought was unrelated to oral health care.

But evidently I was wrong. After all I am not a dentist. So I had to do quite a bit of research in preparing this post so I could learn why that form was so comprehensive with respect to other health conditions.

Now I feel so much more educated on this topic and decided to share some of my myth busting info with others.

So what can you do to improve your dental health / overall health? Luckily I have made a list.

12 things can you do to improve your overall health AND your dental health

#1. Brush 2 to 3 times daily.

#2. Floss daily.

#3. Eat healthier meals that .

#4. Eat healthier snacks in-between meals.

#5. Rinse out your mouth regularly with anti-bacterial mouthwash.

#6. Chew sugar-free gum (removes bacteria from your mouth).

#7. If you are a smoker, stop smoking.

#8. Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.

#9. Schedule dental checkups regularly.

#10. Find a dentist you actually LIKE (this improves your odds of going there). eg. I really liked Archer Dental (and not just because it has archer in the name) because they spent the time explaining things to me and made me feel really comfortable about what they doing with my teeth. I am actually looking forward to my next visit.

#11. Contact your dentist immediately if you have an oral health emergency. Don't delay and wait for it to get worse.

#12. If you don't have dental insurance from your workplace, look into getting dental insurance. (eg. Manulife Financial offers Coverme "Flexcare" health/dental insurance. This is not a promotion, I am just quoting the first company that came up when I Googled 'dental insurance toronto'.) Or failing that set aside money every year just for your dental needs, which is what I do. The latter requires more fiscal discipline.

Tennis - and why I suck at it

I suck at tennis.

However I should note that I only tried tennis once back in university because a friend asked me to help him train - and he had years of experience whereas I had never even held a tennis racquet before.

And he thoroughly defeated me, as to be expected when someone experienced and skilled faces someone who is totally inexperienced and has no tennis skills yet to speak of. Plus he had one heck of a back-swing.

Thus my "suckiness at tennis" is really because I knew nothing about it, had zero experience and after that incident in university I never pursued tennis.

Had I actually pursued it however I could have gotten much better. No one near professional I would wager. But at least I would no longer suck at it.

And that really is the essence of dedication. In order to excel at a sport you really need to dedicate yourself to it.

Take archery for example. Ignoring a hiatus during university I have been doing archery for approx. 25 years. That is some serious dedication on my part. And to put my archery skill in perspective earlier today I shot a nice cluster of arrows at 50 yards (150 feet) using a 45 lb traditional recurve bow. That feat  requires some serious strength, dedication and patience. Lots and lots of practice, weight lifting and even yoga went into training to be able to do archery feats of skill and strength.

So my message for people out there exercising / seeking to try a new sport: Don't give up on the first day like I did with tennis. I acknowledge I suck at tennis and I know why I suck at tennis. But maybe someday I will get into it. There is a tennis court 3 minutes from my home so I could easily get back into it.

Or I could get back into baseball or hockey. There is also a baseball diamond and a hockey rink nearby too. Lots of options.

12 Things People do on their Lunch Hour - and how it benefits you health wise

People do lots of things during their lunch hours. But what they do during those 60 minutes can have lasting effects on your health.

#1. Leave the Office / Avoid their Desk.

= Less stress = Less over-eating due to stress and better quality sleep due to lack of stress.

#2. Eat Healthy.

= Healthier bones, muscles, organs. Lots of benefits.

#3. Workout / Exercise.

= Burns fat, builds muscle and reduces stress, causes healthier sleep patterns.

#4. Have a Nap.

= Better quality sleep, reduced stress. Naps also make you more productive and energetic.

#5. Run Errands.

= Light exercise and you feel better about yourself having accomplished lots of things today.

#6. Read.

#7. Unplug their Devices.

#8. Network with Colleagues.

#9. Enjoy time with Friends.

6, 7, 8, 9 = Less stress = Less over-eating due to stress and better quality sleep due to lack of stress.

#10. Plan their Afternoon, Evening, Weekend.

= A well planned out schedule with time for exercise, time for play, time to accomplish things, and time to relax.

#11. Working during your lunch hour...

= More stress will cause you to overeat and effect your sleep patterns. Your lunch hour is meant to be a break for a reason, so you can eat, relax and recuperate. If you just keep working during your lunch hour you are just hurting yourself over the long term.

#12. Smoke

= Lung cancer and a host of other physical problems. Seriously, do you really want to have your happiness to be based on a nicotine addiction? Do yourself a favour, throw away the tobacco and never touch the stuff again. If you tell yourself you're not allowed to even touch tobacco products and your willpower is strong enough, you can quit cold turkey.
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