Sunday, July 28, 2013

How to Select a Running Shoe

Selection of a running shoe is a serious business.

If someone suggests you purchase a particular shoe and after wearing it for a few weeks you come down with some sort of injury you've never had before, the cost to your training program and the cost of a therapeutic program could be enormous.

In my experience you have to take pot luck when buying your shoes, but it shouldn't be like that.   

The sports footwear manufacturers and sales-people do a dreadful job in helping people select the right shoe for their particular foot strike, bio-mechanics and injury history. Most of the sales people are just uni students earning pocket money. They have absolutely no training in what really is complicated business.

They don't have a clue about which shoe has the special support one might need.

For all I know Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis (of which over the last couple of years I've been the victim) are caused by the wrong shoes.

Does any one out there have a list of shoes likely to cause these injuries?

Does any one have a list of shoes likely to help restore poor function to good?

The other thing that really irritates me is that you finally get a pair of shoes that work well and you go back to get another pair and they've discontinued the line. This once happened to me with a pair of Saucony shoes which were just right. Six months later I went back for another pair and, 'Nope, they're discontinued.' I’ve been suffering ever since.

So, to cut a long story short, it would be good for foot experts and shoe manufacturers to make up a list that says;

     '... if you have this sort of foot and gait, if you have this sort of injury … you need this shoe.' 

If someone can direct me to such a list I'll be eternally grateful.

The other thing is I suspect most sports shoes are pretty much the same, coming out of the same factory somewhere in Asia with just different branding.

And worse, they cost a couple of dollars to make and sell for over $200. Does it every strike you that you're being ripped off when a pair of shoes made out of moulded rubber and canvas costs twice as much as a good pair of leather dress shoes?

Does it ever give you the pip to know that some elite athlete has his or her hand in your pocket every time you buy a pair of shoes? What is the value should we place on the endorsement of people like Michael Jordan and Venus Williams?

Don't get me started!

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and if you'd like to see my best shot at solving this problem go to:

John Miller

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Complete Fitness Program

Partrick on a LinkedIn forum wrote:

'Cardio is steady state for prolonged periods of time, which plenty of research shows little benefit and possible negative health risk in the long run.'

Obviously he hasn't heard of Ron Clarke or Robert De Castella?

How do you think these people trained. I can tell you one thing, they didn't become world record holders by doing a few interval sprints. It took years of steady running.

Then he went on to write about: '...possible negative health risk.'

I would have thought that the risks associated with regular aerobic fitness activity greatly outweigh the risks associated with not doing any at all. In fact I'm not aware of any risks - apart from overuse injuries from running, which you can avoid by doing other things

At the moment there's a lot of 'smart Alec' research going on about short, sharp interval training. These people are completely out of touch with the real world of aerobic fitness as depicted by both regular, run-of-the-mill joggers and elite athletes.

In the 1950's and 60's there were fierce debates in elite athlete circles as to the benefit of sustained running and interval training. In the end it came down to a mix of both.

A lot of these researchers either have short memories or are just too young to know what's gone on in the past. A lot of them exist in a laboratory wearing a white coat.

The people I see who are into their 40's and beyond in good shape are people who've been jogging regularly for years. Some of them are people who've been working out in the gym on the treadmill, the bike, the stepper or the climber for years. Some of them ride a bike outside or swim. The results speak for themselves despite what recent research may show.

The formula is:

*  20 minutes is good

*  30 minutes is better

*  40 minutes is best.

*  4 times a week is good

*  5 times is better

*  six times is best

For a 40 year old

*  heart rate of 120 is good

*  130 is better

*  140 is best

Do that year in and year out and you'll maintain a good enough level of aerobic fitness. it's the foundation of metabolic health. It's simple. It's cheap. It's uncomplicated.

On top of that you need a decent three times a week strength training program and a flexibility training program.

The three main factors of fitness are

-  aerobic fitness
-  strength
-  flexibility.

Fitness practitioners are short changing people if they don't encourage them to do all three on a regular and systematic basis.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic 'syndrome' is not a disease.

The word 'syndrome' is medical speak for 'We don't know the cause.'

If you're in the fitness business you'll know the cause. It's just that you're too far down the medical feeding chain for anyone to take any notice of you!

Better to use the term 'metabolic dysfunction' to describe what the medical industry calls 'metabolic syndrome'.

All the symptoms of metabolic dysfunction - elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, obesity, depression (yep, depression is positively correlated with metabolic dysfunction), lack of energy, headaches, cardiac insufficiency are related to body systems that have become dysfunctional due principally to a poor diet and lack of aerobic fitness.

And if it's personally generated I wouldn't classify it as a disease. And being personally-generated there's a good chance that it can be personally-ungenerated (though not in all cases.)

Despite whet the medical industry thinks, heart disease isn't a disease; type 2 diabetes isn't a disease, just symptoms of personally-generated dysfunctions. Because they're classified as diseases by the medical industry, the medical industry has levered its way into the front line of treatment. And what misguided treatment it frequently is, when drugs to mask the symptoms are the first prescriptions of choice, rather than the last.

It's time the has fitness industry elbowed the medical industry out of the way for the treatment and prevention of the personally-generated, body system dysfunctions.

You'll know the personally generated dysfunctions from the usual junk medical treatments:

- a heart attack is not caused by a lack of bypass surgery
- headaches are not caused by a lack of Panadol
- high blood pressure is not caused by a lack of Avapro
- high cholesterol is not caused by a lack of Lipitor
- depression is not caused by a lack of Zolof
- type 2 diabetes is not caused by a lack of Gliclazide
- reflux is not caused by a lack of Tims
- a crook guts is not caused by a lack of Prilosec
- lower back pain is not caused by a lack of Oxycodine
- bad breath is not caused by a lack of Spearmint
- piles are not caused by a lack of Anudol.

So, nope, metabolic 'syndrome' definitely not a disease.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and if you're in the fitness game, elbow your way into the front line of primary health care for the treatment of the personally-generated metabolic, musculo-skeletal and psychological dysfunctions.

The New Health Policy

As I see it, there are (at least) seven great challenges for the Australian Government in the health and medical field.

1.    How to rein back the protection of the medical industry for the treatment of personally-generated dysfunctions that people are quite capable of fixing themselves. The general practice system is not doing a good job at managing poor health. It's a cumbersome, bloated, wasteful and expensive system that needs drastic surgery. It's been corrupted by Big Pharma - where drugs have become the prescription of preference over all other treatments.

2.    How to restructure the Medicare system to give people great encouragement to improve their health and fitness - and lower public medical costs.

3.    How to stop people going to doctors for things that doctors can't fix. We can no longer expect the public to pay for treatments that mask symptoms without restoring poor function to good. For instance

    -    elevated blood pressure is not caused by a lack of Avapro
    -    elevated cholesterol levels are not caused by a lack of Lipitor
    -    high blood glucose are not caused by a lack of Gliclazide
    -    headaches are not caused by a lack of Panadol
    -    reflux is not caused by a lack of Mylantin
    -    insomnia is not caused by a lack of Stilnox
    -    piles are not caused by a lack of Anusol
    -    a crook back is not caused by a lack of Celebrex or Oxycodone.

    The list goes on and on.

4.    How to reduce the impact of privately generated body system dysfunctions on the costs of publicly funded medical treatments.

5.    How to encourage people to keep themselves fitter and healthier.

6.    How to advance the fitness industry into the front line of primary health care for those body system dysfunctions that are caused by a lack of aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. I believe that beefing up the fitness industry will give a coalition government the biggest bang for its health buck.

7.    How to stop the purveyors of junk food and junk drink from running amok. Reducing the amount of added sugar in junk food and drink by half a percent each year until it is below 5% is a must.

I believe the Government has the capacity to develop a new approach to dealing with these problems with both carrot and stick solutions. The savings would be enormous.

The first step is to split the Department of Health into two:

-    Department of Medical Services

-    Department of Health, Fitness and Wellbeing

... so as to give greater emphasis to improving health, fitness and wellbeing - rather than sending ambulances around to the bottom of the cliff.

At the present time the focus is 99% on the medical side of the equation. This focus is causing our governments to go broke and not improving health, fitness and wellbeing.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned.

John Miller

Best Way to Improve Your Posture

If everyone did a few strength and flexibility exercises every day, doctors, physiotherapists and chiropractors would be sitting around twiddling their thumbs. How simple is that? 

No rubbing, crunching, heating, vibrating, strapping, doping or surgery; just you spending a bit of time every day loosening tight muscles and strengthening weak muscles.

The gold standard? Yoga.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned.

John Miller

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Curbing the Epidemic of Obesity

For the main part obesity is a private health matter, not a public health manner, like the provision of fresh water, deep drainage, immunization, antibiotics ...

But, having said that, it behoves governments to protect the gullible, the vulnerable and the naïve from a junk food industry that's running amok - by restricting added sugar, restricting advertising and demanding junk food purveyors distribute their products in plain paper packaging.

People seem to be poorly educated about which foods fatten them up and which foods trim them down.

However, I doubt that any amount of education will ever compete with the addictive power of fat and sugar.

Plus when you can gain 2,000 Calories from bread, butter, peanut butter and honey from around $5,  what hope is there of poor people eating well?

In the meantime stay tuned highly tuned and eat from the top of the Hourglass.

Cause of Postural Dysfunction

1.  Because weak and tight muscles allow bones to move out of alignment.

2.  Because of hand and foot dominance that repeatedly twists our body in the one direction every time we hit, throw, kick ....

3.  Because of the way we sit down (in the 'slump dog' position) for hours, weeks, months, years and decades.

As muscles attached to the pelvis become shorter the pelvis moves out of alignment. Then the bones above it move out of alignment. You think you've got a lower back problem when actually you've got a muscles-attached-to-the-pelvis problem.

You rush off to people who want to X-ray the spot where it hurts and then crunch, rub, heat, vibrate and palpate your lower back, instead of YOU, lying on the floor while you watch TV, doing the exercises that gradually loosen off the tight muscles.

4.  Because we don't have a regular and systematic strength and flexibility training program.

If everyone did yoga a few times a week (and had a strength training program at the gym)  doctors, radiologists, physiotherapists and chiropractors would be sitting around twiddling their thumbs and playing golf most afternoons.

Now read on:

In the mean time stay tuned, highly tuned and strengthen weak muscles and loosen off tight muscles.

John Miller

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Workplace Health, Fitness and Wellbeing

The burning question is, 'How can you change health-promoting behaviours at work?

I would have thought that stimulation of the hip pocket nerve would provide the best bang for the corporate health, fitness and wellbeing buck.

Education doesn't work. As Calvin Coolidge said, 'The world is full of educated derelicts.'

'Help reduce our workers compensation premiums and I'll give you a share of the savings.' The corollary is that 'If you're not willing to improve your health and fitness you can pay your own workers compensation premiums.'

I see organisations that pay $2,000 per employee for workers compensation insurance when it should be $400. It's unsustainable. These are people who sit in cages six foot square all day. How can you injure yourself sitting in a cage?

Free universal medical cover is also unsustainable in a society where people personally-generate a body full of dysfunctions and want the public health system to pay the medical bills. It's baloney.

Here's where I'm at:

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and remember, it's a big ask expecting to stay healthy without keeping yourself fit.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How to Fix Neck Pain

OH&S manager, Kevin sent me a message:

'Two people I know at work have two disc bulges in their necks with some arthritis. Both have been going to physios for a long time without much relief. One has been advised to have cortisone injections. Do you have any specific advice for this problem?'

I wrote back:

Yep, sure do.

Attached is the book of exercises they need to do to square off their pelvis.

I'll send a copy of the neck pain ebook in the next email.

The reason they're not getting better is because the physio doesn't know where to look for the cause of the pain. Clue? It's not at the site of the pain. Most physios just want to rub, crunch, heat and vibrate the spot where it hurts.

Problem is, a neck pain is not caused by a lack of rubbing, crunching, heating and vibrating.

It's a fitness problem - generated by a lack of strength and flexibility - not a medical, pharmaceutical or physio problem.

The bones in the neck have been drawn our of alignment by muscles. Ligaments, tendons and muscles have been stretched beyond their pain threshold. Bones have moved out of alignment causing discs to herniate.

You can't subcontract out a strength and flexibility training program to a physio - or anyone else.

Kevin, time I came back to give a day's worth of Musculo-skeletal Health clinics.

Here's the download link to the work book for the day. It's quite a large file so give it time to download.

Take the two people through the risk assessment and report back.

In the meantime stay tuned highly tuned and click on the link to find out what you can do to relieve neck pain and other musculo-skeletal pain

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Make Your Trip Healthy as You Travel

Guest post from Cole Millen

Those that love to travel always understand that they need to eat healthy before they leave for their vacation.  They want to make sure they look good when they are out and about, and they will be able to stay healthy if they follow some of these simple and often overlooked tips. 

On The Road

When people vacation, they can end up stopping at fast food places in order to get something to eat.  This can give them a lot of calories, and they will gain weight.  They should buy healthy snacks, like salads, sandwiches and pastas at a grocery store and bring them in their cooler.  They can stop at a rest area and eat their meal.  This will help them to stay healthy during the trip that they have been looking forward to for a long time.  Getting nutritious drinks from the store will also help to keep them trim versus getting soft drinks along the way.  Soft drinks are filled with sugar, and they can have a disastrous affect on a person’s weight.  It is best to avoid them and get nutritious drinks for the trip and during meals. 

At the Hotel

Prior to booking your hotel, understanding the offerings and amenities can be pivotal in a healthy vacation. For this reason it is extremely important to plan ahead and pick out the right hotel / area. I have found online reviews from other travelers with similar interests to be extremely helpful. In a recent trip of mine,  I found a great site that listed reviews Las Vegas hotels regarding their amenities and services which allowed me to know exactly what I needed to stay healthy while away. Staying at hotel offers people the ability to utilize the amenities.  Many hotels have swimming pools, fitness clubs and saunas to help those that are health conscious continue to be when they are traveling.  They should take advantage of these whenever they can.  When they stay in hotels they might also want to skip the mini bar.  The mini bars are usually stocked with caloric beverages, which will also make them add on pounds when they are traveling.  They can take advantage of the coffees and teas that are available.

Out to Eat

When people are on vacation, they should make sure that they watch what they eat at restaurants.  Most of them have a healthy options part of the menu, and they should stick to those foods.  They should avoid fried and buttered meals.  Another way that they can watch their weight while traveling is to share meals because this is an excellent way to make sure they get the nutrients they need without the calories they dread. 

With all these helpful tips they will be able to survive the vacation without gaining weight.  After all, they worked so hard to look great for their trip, so they want to still remain healthy and trim when they return.  These tips will allow them to accomplish the fun that they desire while remaining healthy as they travel for their vacations.
Now swing over to Cole's blog. It's full of good health articles
In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and eat from the top of the hourglass.
John Miller

Monday, July 1, 2013

Keep Yourself Fit and Healthy

Poor health is threatening to bankrupt countries who pick up the tab for every privately-generated body system dysfunction.

So what's going to happen when Governments finally decide to call a halt.

Here's one suggestion:

Dear Citizen,

The public health system was founded on the provision of clean water and deep drainage to most houses. Then came vaccination and our community had the foundations of healthy living. 

The public health system wasn't designed for and can no longer cope with providing free treatment for privately-generated body system dysfunctions. From now on we're sending out accounts, deducting insurance premiums from your tax, or claiming on your estate. We advise you to keep yourself fit and healthy to the best of your ability.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and keep yourself fit and healthy to the best of your ability.

John Miller