What is Self-Myofacial Release (SMR)

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Why is SMR So Important?

SMR is important for helping you remain flexible and injury free.  Utilizing a foam roll for self-myofascial release techniques can improve body composition, flexibility, function, performance, and reduce injuries. Use your own body weight to roll on the round foam roll, massaging away knots/adhesions that occur from exercise and activities of daily living (ADL).

SMR massage is an interactive soft tissue release technique. Once you find a tender spot, you’ll want to remain on the spot for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute (or as long as you can take it).  Some spots may be very tender. Those are the spots that need the most work.  Be sure to keep your belly button pulled in back towards your spine and breathe naturally.

The main purpose for use includes:

  •  Joint stiffness
  •  Muscle tightness
  •  Identified tenderness (indicating poor circulation)

You can also use this technique for a warm-up before exercise and a cool-down after exercise, first thing in the morning as well as prior to going to bed.

Other tools you may use include tennis balls, softballs, golf balls, frozen water bottle, thumb pressure, Theracane or pressure knobs.

Do not perform under the following conditions:

  •  Feelings of nausea
  •  Dizziness
  •  Pain (more than tenderness)
  •  Acute rheumatoid arthritis
  •  Painful varicose veins
  • If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia

When choosing a foam roll, make sure the foam roll is hard and dense. If the foam is too soft, less than adequate tissue massage is applied. On the other hand, if the foam is too hard, bruising and more advanced soft-tissue trauma may occur.  In the video below (Exercise of The Week), I discuss a couple of different types of foam rolls and demonstrate some of the positions for SMR.

Worst Nutrition Advice

By now, you all know how I feel about diets.  They just flat out don’t work.  The only way to lose and maintain a healthy weight is to make the necessary lifestyle changes.  The worst advice we have heard over and over again is to eliminate a macronutrient (aka food group).

Let’s see….  There is the high-protein diet that either eliminates carbohydrates altogether or limits the amount of carbohydrates we consume each day.  These choices may allow us to lose weight, but most of it will be water loss and it’s rare that someone will continue this way of eating for any length of time.  More often than not, those people regain the weight and then some.

Our bodies use carbohydrates for fuel.  Did you know that your brain runs strictly on carbohydrates for fuel and is unable to convert protein for fuel.  This is why you will experience “brain fog” when limiting or eliminating carbohydrates from your diet.  That being said, I do believe that you need to pay close attention to the type of carbohydrates you consume (low-glycemic vs high-glycemic).  You also need to keep in mind that if you consume more carbohydrates than your body needs for fuel, it will be converted to and stored as fat.

Other diets have restricted fat intake and promoted eating more carbohydrates.  The low-fat fad led to higher average weight-gain than ever before, and our bodies require dietary fat for proper function.  As with carbohydrates, these fats should come in a healthy form.  Not all fats are created equal.  Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are the ones you want to focus on.  These come in the form of nuts, avocado, fish, olives, and olive oil to name a few.

Have you heard of the cookie diet?  How about the diet where all you eat is fruit?  You can definitely lose weight on these types of diets, but how long can you sustain them? Think about what your body is lacking in nutrients when you are only consuming one type of food.

I think the old food pyramid was definitely in the top 3 all time worst advice we have ever been given when it comes to nutrition.  The food pyramid was very confusing, and the majority of people did not know what a portion size is/was. There are more modern food pyramids that make a little more sense, but still do not really help one determine portion size.

 We now have “My Plate” that does a much better job of depicting what our plate should look like at meal time.  If you check out the website (choosemyplate.gov), there is a wealth of information that will help you understand the balance of nutrition.  As for portion size, I recommend the following to make it simple and portable:

  • Grains = the size of your fist

  • Protein = the size of the palm of your hand

  • Vegetables = the size of both of your fists

  • Good Fats = the size of your thumb from base to tip (limit saturated fats as much as possible

 

Can you think of other diet fads that sounded “too good to be true?”

Fitness in 2114

What Will Fitness Look Like 100 Years From Now?

Do you ever wonder what fitness will look like 100 years from now?  With all this modern technology, and future developments, do you believe they will finally find a way for us to magically get fit?

I remember growing up, I always wanted to be like Samantha Stevens of Bewitched.  I wanted to be able to twitch my nose and have the perfect body.  I wanted to be like all those people who could eat anything they wanted, and stay thin. Yeah, I know how ridiculous that sounds, but I bet you used to have similar fantasies.

What if 100 years from now, we have gone back to an earlier lifestyle?  One where you get all the exercise one needs just by performing activities of daily living (ADL).  Can you imagine growing your own organic food, sowing it, cultivating it, reaping it ?  Wouldn’t it be great to know that you are eating highly nutritious foods that you grew yourself and that your physical activities throughout the day made it such that gyms are completely non-existent in 2114?

My dream is to be living that lifestyle now.  I’m an early riser these days.  I can definitely see myself getting up early, having a healthy breakfast, and working on my ranch the better part of the day.  Not only would I be growing my own food, I would have that animal rescue I’ve always dreamed of.  At the end of the day, a good soak in a hot tub followed by a therapeutic massage.  Yep!  I could definitely live that way.

How do you see fitness 100 years from now?

I could spend the rest of my life in a place like this

I could spend the rest of my life in a place like this

Vegetables? Yuck!

Colorful Variety of Vegetables

Colorful Variety of Vegetables

 

 

You want me to eat vegetables?? 5 or more servings per day? YUCK! No way! Well, at least that’s what I used to say.  Then I discovered there are so many better ways of having vegetables than the way my mom cooked them all those years I was growing up.  Or should I say, “over-cooking” them.  I have discovered that I absolutely LOVE roasted vegetables.  Not only are they simple to make, but roasting them brings out the flavor in them, retains more of the nutrient value, and they have a texture that I like.  I prefer mine a little on the crunchy side.  All you need to do is brush them with a little olive oil, sprinkle them with a seasoning of your choice, and roast them at 450 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes depending upon the density of your vegetables.

Another way that I really enjoy vegetables is grilled.  I just break out my George Foreman Grill, season as above, and within a few, short minutes, I have delicious vegetables.

Easy to make, delicious, and healthy for you.

Grilled Vegetables

One thing I have not tried yet is a vegetable smoothie/juicing.  This is another great way to get your daily allotment of veggies, but I prefer chewing my food.  Although I am known to have the occasional shake.

How do you get your daily allotment of veggies?

Arsenic in Our Food? YIKES!

Ok, so that’s really nothing new.  Scientists have been reporting about arsenic in some of our food sources and water for some time now.  However, I was just reading an article on Science Daily about just how bad this is.  Our tap water is a major source of arsenic, I have heard in the past that we should no longer consume brown rice if it comes from the U.S. because it contains high levels of arsenic, and it appears that brussel sprouts and dark meat fish are also culprits.  Guess I’m safe there since I don’t like brussel sprouts or dark meat fish.

Looks like toenail clippings can be tested to determine how much arsenic one is consuming.  Those who drink more alcohol and eat brussel sprouts have a higher level of arsenic in their clippings.

brussel sprouts contain arsenic

Nutritious or Poison?

“Researchers also found increased toenail arsenic in people who eat dark meat fish, which include tuna steaks, mackerel, salmon, sardines, bluefish and swordfish. Fish generally contain a form of arsenic that is thought to safely pass through the human body without being metabolized, but dark meat fish also contain arsenic compounds that can be metabolized.” (Science Daily, 2013)

Sure makes one understand why the U.S. is so riddled with all kinds of diseases eh?  So what do we do?  Do we stop eating and drinking the sources?  Sounds like a reasonable thing to do since the worst offenders are limited.  Or, do we test our soil, grow our own, brew our own beer…..?  What would your recommendation be to avoid consuming too much arsenic?  How much is too much?

Reference:

Dartmouth College (2013, November 20). Study shows diet alone can be significant source of arsenic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131120133937.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fliving_well+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Living+Well+News%29