The New York Times Health section often carries interesting and somewhat controversial articles, like this week’s article about orthotics. Orthotics are very common, but are they helping? The tone of the article is that they do not, although the specifics are that they do but they’re not sure why.
Take a read, but remember that often articles of this nature do gloss over some important facts while over-emphasizing less important ones to prove a point:
If you only want to skim, skip ahead to page 2 where they discuss the orthotic study they did with 240 Canadian soldiers (yes, we have more than 240 soldiers).
It would have been great if they had included a third group in the study that did single-leg barefoot strength training to try to improve their foot and ankle strength.
We’re now into the top five of my blog-series: My Favourite Training Tools (For my American readers, please excuse the ‘u’ in favourite. It’s a Canadian thing). There are probably thousands of tools out there for fitness. Some are ridiculous fly-by-night items (I can’t help but think of the Saturday Night Live commercial spoof of the Shaker Weight) while some have stood the test of time for hundreds of years (kettlebells). In each entry in this blog series, I’ll talk about one of my 10 favourite tools.
Today’s entry features the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). This makes my list even though it does nothing to get you strong. That’s because it is an assessment tool. I love this tool because it helps me to see where people have problems with the fundamental way that they move, and then that helps me to create a great training program for them that will not only get them “faster, higher, stronger”, but will also help fix movement dysfunction that they have developed in life. Continue reading My Favourite Training Tools: #4 – the FMS
I wrote an article about staying active during winter in Canada for the Health Check blog. Although this year, it may be applicable in a lot of places that we do not normally think of as wintery!
You can read it here: http://www.healthcheck.org/content/staying-active-cold-dark-canadian-winter
“Why are there no bicep curls?”. This is a question I often hear, probably because I don’t have any of my clients doing bicep curls. Shouldn’t we be working on arms? My answer is that they are doing functional training, and for most people, bicep curls are not functional. If you are a Bavarian waitress, then yes. And if I had one as a client, I would include bicep curls in their program, particularly in the month leading up to Oktoberfest.
Continue reading Functional Training and Bicep Curls
I suspect for some people, this article could be more aptly named “Ski Trip Survival”. Ski and snowboarding require a lot from your body. It is true that you have help getting up the hill, but that doesn’t mean gravity is doing all of the work for you, no matter what your non-skier friends might say. In fact gravity is the reason you need to be strong and fit to ski: You are battling against it! Unless you want to achieve terminal velocity that is. Racers may like that, but just about everyone else tends to prefer staying within highway speed limits. And of course the racers need even more from their legs and core to control that ridiculous speed!
Continue reading 6 Tips for a Great Ski (or Snowboard) Trip
I had an article published in Ski Pro Magazine this fall, Reducing the Risk of Low Back Pain. For those of you who are skiers but not instructors in Canada, here is the link to the online version of the magazine:
Reducing the Risk of Low Back Pain.
The article is on pages 30 and 31, or you can get to it by typing “low back’ into the search field.
This article was written after I had the pleasure of attending a two-day seminar with Dr. Shirley Sahrmann, author of Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes. Throughout the course, and then on the eight hour drive home, I had a lot of opportunity to really think about what I learned and its relevance. This article presents a combination of what I learned from Dr. Sahrmann, as well as some of the thoughts it provoked.
I don’t care how much you don’t move
This was a statement she made repeatedly throughout the course, and reflects the premise that it is usually the place that moves too much that is the problem. This is in keeping with her belief of exercise instead of manual therapy as the best approach for addressing movement disorders, because manual therapy typically addresses shortness.
Continue reading Lessons of the Hip & Spine from Dr. Shirley Sahrmann
This is another follow-up to my previous two posts about sodium and the Health Check label.
The first was about high sodium content of Heinz soups, and the second addressed sodium levels in products with the Health Check logo.
In short, I was driven to correspond with both Heinz and the Heart & Stroke Foundation (who run the Health Check program) after being shocked at the high sodium content of Smart Ones soup. This lead me to identify reporting irregularities in nutrition information posted online. I have received correspondence from both parties that do address this issue. I’ve included copies of both letters below. And for those who are in a hurry, here’s the tweet-sized version:
Continue reading The last words on Sodium, Soup and Health Check
Last week I posted about an email “conversation” with Heinz Canada about the high sodium content of their soups, which lead me to the discovery that they were making incorrect health claims on their website. They state that their tomato juice “is endorsed by the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Health Check™ logo”, but upon further inspection, it has too much sodium to meet the requirements of the Health Check program. I emailed both the Heart and Stroke Foundation (they run the Health Check program) and Heinz about this finding, and I heard back from the Heart and Stroke Foundation within a couple of days. I have yet to hear back from Heinz. Here is the H&S Foundation reply:
Continue reading More on Sodium in Soup and Health Check (TM)
I sent the following letter to Heinz Canada after almost buying a can of their soup, but then putting it back because of the alarming sodium levels. Their answer follows…
My email to Heinz:
“Can you please tell me why your soups have so much sodium? I almost bought your Southwestern vegetable soup today but then I saw the label and put it back. 820mg of sodium in a 60 cal serving? Wow! Im not sure Ive ever seen another food that is so sodium dense. Seriously! So 3% of daily calories has 34% of daily sodium?
Continue reading A clear answer from Heinz about sodium in their soup