All Posts tagged Physical exercise

Bike Fit 101

Bike Fit 101
Bike Fit Tips for Healthy Cycling
Bicycle-related pain and injuries are commonly associated with poor bike fit. If you have pain related specifically to cycling, you might have a bike fit problem.
Bike Fit Basics
•Keep a controlled but relaxed grip of the handlebars.
•Change your hand position on the handlebars frequently for upper body comfort.
•When pedaling, your knee should be slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
•Avoid rocking your hips while pedaling.
Problems and Possible Solutions
Problem: Anterior (Front) Knee Pain
Possible causes are having a saddle that is too low, pedaling at a low cadence (speed), using your quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals, and muscle imbalance in your legs (strong quadriceps and weak hamstrings).
Problem: Neck Pain
Possible causes include poor handlebar or saddle position. A poorly placed handlebar might be too low, at too great a reach, or at too short a reach. A saddle with excessive downward tilt can be a source of neck pain.
Problem: Lower Back Pain
Possible causes include inflexible hamstrings, low cadence, using your quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, poor back strength, and too-long or too-low handlebars.
Problem: Hamstring Tendinitis
Possible causes are inflexible hamstrings, high saddle, misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals, and poor hamstring strength.
Problem: Hand Numbness or Pain
Possible causes are short-reach handlebars, poorly placed brake levers, and a downward tilt of the saddle.
Problem: Foot Numbness or Pain
Possible causes are using quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, low cadence, faulty foot mechanics, and misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals.
Problem: Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
Possible causes are too-high saddle, leg length difference, and misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals.
Source: moveforwardpt.com
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Exercise and the Brain: A winning team

Exercise and the Brain: A winning team

“The best way to improve mental performance, is to improve physical performance” – Tim Ferriss¹

So, how does exercise improve learning and memory?Learning requires repeated connection and communication between neurons in a process known as long term potentiation¹.

“Long term potentiation: The strengthening of brain cells’ capacity to send signals across a synapse for the purpose of learning and memory.“ – John Ratey M.D., from ‘Spark’.²

The more repeated this firing across a synapse, the stronger the connection becomes.

“Neurons that fire together, wire together.” – Dr. Daniel Siegel.³

With the example of learning a new language, nerve cells that are recruited in learning a new word will fire a glutamate signal across the synapse.²Without practice, the original synaptic connection will diminish, and the signal will weaken.²The end result, is you’ll forget. On the other hand, regular practice and firing of this new neural connection will strengthen the synapse. The synapse will actually grow in size, and this will improve the ability of the synapse to fire in the future.² And guess what? You’ll remember!

What parts of the brain are involved in memory? One area of the brain that we often read about in terms of memory is the hippocampus.The process of learning, however, involves many more areas of the brain working together.² When the brain receives an incoming stimulus, there is an emotional intensity assigned to it (limbic region), and it is considered amongst past experiences, as well as the social and environmental context, before being formed as a new memory in the hippocampus.The pre-frontal cortex is the decision maker of the brain . It sequences this information, and is able to make a rational decision or judgement about any particular scenario before it settles as a formed memory in the hippocampus.

Coming back to the hippocampus, research has shown that it is particularly vulnerable to degenerative disease.⁴Studies have shown that the hippocampus can literally shrink in size, during the course of degeneration such as dementia.²

The positive, though, is that research has also shown that cardiovacular exercise, as well as routine cognitive challenges (e.g., problem solving, learning a new language) can increase the size of the hippocampus.²

This is another example of neuroplasticity.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is crucial for the health of our nervous systems, and it massively increases during cardiovascular exercise.²BDNF is thought to play a really important role in learning, and has been found in lab studies to be present in the hippocampus.²Researchers have found that if BDNF is added to neurons in a petri dish, the neurons sprouted new branches (dendrites), which could be thought of like fertiliser for long term potentiation (learning).²BDNF also helps with synaptic connections, binding to receptors at the synapse and strengthening the neural signal.²

So how much, and what kind of exercise is effective?Unfortunately it still isn’t exactly known what is an ideal type and duration of exercise for improved learning and memory.²

Going by the recommendations of the World Health Organisation⁵, these are guidelines for general health:

Children aged 5-17 years

1.At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity each day.
2.Any extra exercise will provide additional benefits.
3.Should be mostly aerobic exercise. Vigorous-intensity activities should be included, for safe and appropriate muscle strengthening, at least 3 times per week.

Adults aged 18-64 years:

1.At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise activity, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity in one week. (Or a comination of moderate and vigorous intensity activity).
2.Aerobic activity should be at least 10 minutes in duration.
3.For additional health benefits, adults should aim for double the above mentioned recommendation (300 minutes moderate intensity, or 150 minutes of vigorous activity, or combination, per week).
4.Muscle strengthening involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.

Adults aged 65 years and above:

1.At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week (or equivalent combination).
2.Aerobic activity should be at least 10 minutes in duration.
3.For additional health benefits, adults should aim for double the above mentioned recommendation (300 minutes moderate intensity, or 150 minutes of vigorous activity, or combination, per week).
4.Balance and falls prevention for older adults with poor mobility, 3 or more days per week.
5.Muscle strengthening involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.
6.When older adults cannot do the recommended amounts of physical activity due to health conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.

For anyone being treated for any medical condition, discuss these with your medical practitioner before starting a new exercise program.

For more detailed recommendations, please see the World Health Organisation’s website.

Dr Ratey suggests combining the benefits of cardiovascular exercise (e.g., 60-70% of maximum heart rate) with skill-based, non-aerobic exercise. This will depend on what each person enjoys, and will be able to be consistent with.²

Examples would be tennis, basketball, surfing, or any other activity that challenges both strength, balance, fine motor control, and cardiovascular endurance. This will help challenge and develop different areas of the brain, such as the cerebellum and basal ganglia.

Summary

•Exercise can play an important role in counteracting the neurotoxic effects of prolonged stress.

•Cardiovascular exercise encourages an increase in neurotransmitters, proteins, and hormones that help with neurogenesis and nervous system health.

•Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to considerably improve cognition and long term memory, by strengthening synaptic connections and encouraging neurogenesis (nerve cell growth).

•A combination of strengthening, fine motor skills, and cardiovascular activity seems to be a good way of challenging and developing different areas of the brain.

 

This thoughtful information is brought to you by the excellent website below, please check it out.

http://physiodevelopment.com/cardiovascular-exercise-improving-learning-and-memory/#more-2612

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