Clapham Osteopathy and Functional Movement

A Quick Guide To Fasting

fastingMore and more studies are proving the myriad of health benefits that fasting can provide. And these days, with the growing popularity of intermittant fasting, the 5:2 diet and compressed eating windows, many people are reaping these rewards. If you’re at all interested in fasting (and you should be!) here is a great little one page intro guide from the folks at www.gutgeek.com.

Read the article, ‘A Quick Guide To Fasting’

How to Make Diseases Disappear

Can you actually make a disease disappear? Dr. Rangan Chatterjee thinks you can, and describes how in this TEDx Talk. Often referred to as the doctor of the future, Rangan is changing the way that we look at illness and how medicine will be practiced in years to come. He highlighted his methods in the BBC TV show, Doctor In The House, gaining him much acclaim from patients, his contemporaries, and the media.

We’re big fans of Chatterjee’s approach, and highly recommend his book, The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life.

 

Sleep vs. Exercise?

man sleepingIn this article, a reader poses the question to the experts: “Is it better for my overall health to get eight hours of sleep per night during the week but not have time to exercise, or to get six and a half to seven hours of sleep per night and fit in a morning workout?”

The bottom line is, if you sacrifice sleep to train, you’ll miss out on all the helpful recovery elements provided by sleep. In the words of the great Gray Cook: “Don’t rob health to pay fitness.”

Check out the article, Sleep vs. Exercise?

Release Your Inner Beast with Animal Flow

Sue animal flow

Recently, we spent a weekend in New York at the Animal Flow level 1 course. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Animal Flow is a fitness programme that combines quadrupedal and ground-based movement with elements from various bodyweight-training disciplines to create a fun, challenging workout emphasizing multi-planar, fluid movement. The primary movement patterns are based on animal movement, but in the programme, we recognised elements of parkour, yoga, breakdancing, and gymnastics.

We have decided to incorporate elements of Animal Flow into our training at Backs Etc. because we realise the value of a system requiring no equipment that can increase and/or improve:

  • Mobility
  • Flexibility
  • Stability
  • Power
  • Endurance
  • Skills
  • Neuromuscular development

In addition, Animal Flow can be fun. How many other workouts have you slinking along the floor like a hunting beast, scuttling like a crab, and bounding about like an ape? This aspect of the programme is an important part of our philosophy that we should all be incorporating more fun into our lives, especially in physical endeavours.

So how is Animal Flow beneficial to us?

It utilises closed-chain exercises

Most bodyweight training exercises, such as those in Animal Flow,  are closed-chain, which means that limbs connect to the ground or another immovable object in a constant fixed position, and resistance is created by pushing against it, moving the body rather than the object. For instance, a bicep curl or leg extension is open-chain, whereas a push-up or squat is closed-chain. Most fitness experts agree that closed-chain exercises are preferable because:

  1. Closed-chain exercises better mimic activities of daily living, which means they improve your “functional” fitness. They’re great for athletes, too, since sports require multiple joint and muscle movements to happen at once. Very few movements in real life or in athletics isolate joints and muscles like open-chain exercises do.
  2. Closed-chain exercises work many muscle groups at once. That’s great for the reasons above, but also because you can get more benefit in less time.
  3. Closed-chain exercises are safer for your joints—especially the knee joint, which is very vulnerable to stress and injury. The force involved in closed chain exercises like lunges and squats is compressive, meaning it actually stabilizes the joint and helps strengthen it. In contrast, open chain exercises, like knee extensions or hamstring curls produce shear force, which stresses the knee joint (and the ACL) and is more likely to result in injury.

It focuses on multi-planar movement

The benefits of multi-planar training are closely related to those described with closed-chain exercises. The goal of multi-planar training is to utilise the entire body to move and/or stabilise instead of working an isolated muscle. Most day-to-day activities and resistance training programmes are sagittal plane-dominant. The sagittal plane refers to front-to-back movement when looking at someone from the side. So, for instance, walking and bench pressing are taking place in the sagittal plane, and many exercise programmes over-emphasise these types of movement. Frontal plane exercises are those that go side-to-side. An example of this is a side lunge. Finally, there is the transverse plane, which involves rotational movements.

The beauty of Animal Flow is that, when putting together a flow of various patterns, you are training in all three planes of movement. By involving all of the major muscle groups, this provides a balanced training approach that helps increase overall function and decreases the risk of injury.  Most injuries occur in the frontal and rotational planes, so working these is essential to reduce risk.

It utilises slings and chains

You may think, “Whoa, this sounds a bit S&M!”, but slings are the kinetic chains that connect contralateral arms and legs on walking and running. The majority of the Animal Flow travelling forms fully activate these slings and chains, providing excellent benefits for improving the way we walk, run and move. When we load the slings with our body weight, and put them into motion, we further enhance the neural sequencing and conditioning of all the muscles.

It features quadrupedal movements

Crawling patterns are an important part of neural development stages. After all, babies need to learn to crawl before they can walk. We’ve always practised crawling patterns ourselves and trained clients to do so, but Animal Flow takes these movements to the next level. For example, the ‘Beast Crawl’ correlates to our normal walking and running gait patterns, using the same neural sequences, so an ability to crawl fluidly with control will translate into better walking and running form, thereby improving performance and reducing the risk for injury.

 

If you’re interested in exploring how Animal Flow techniques can help with your general fitness, athletic performance or rehab, drop us a line. We’re excited to have incorporated this methodology into our own workouts, and we’d love to share this knowledge with you!

Jack Sue animal flow

Why the pursuit of pleasure is making us sad

This is a fascinating interview with Dr. Robert Lustig on the difference between happiness and pleasure, and how the two are driven by different chemicals – Dopamine and Seratonin. In a nutshell, Dopamine governs pleasure, while serotonin governs happiness – and the two do not overlap, says Lustig. Pleasure is short-lived, visceral, can be had alone and can be brought about by substances or behaviours. Happiness is long-lived, ethereal, usually social and cannot be had from substances or behaviours.

Check out the full article, Why the pursuit of pleasure is making us sad.

Choose Love this Christmas

At this time of year when we are busy buying gifts for people that already have so much, why not buy something for someone who is in real need?

Choose Love is the world’s first store that sells real products for refugees. Every single purchase you make goes towards a similar item for a refugee, delivered via one of the 80+ projects Help Refugees work with across the world.

Visit Choose Love and help those who really need it this Christmas.

The Latest Science on What Meditation Can and Can’t Do

meditationHere is an interesting article on what meditation can and can’t do. It is becoming very popular for good reason. We try to meditate for 10-30 minutes every day, but it is not a universal panacea. Recently we have been using the Insight Timer App, which has loads of guided meditations of varying lengths and subjects for those of you who need a bit of help to get started.

 

Read the full article, From States to Traits: the Latest Science on What Meditation Can and Can’t Do

Why Saunas Can Build Muscle, Boost Endurance, and Increase Strength

Here at Backs Etc., we’re obsessed with saunas. But not just for the calming benefits a nice sauna session gives us. There are also a number of ways in which regular sauna sessions can help us physically, as well as mentally. These include boosting strength and endurance and even building muscle.

 

Read the full article, Why Saunas Can Build Muscle, Boost Endurance, and Increase Strength

Doctors Tell Us How Hiking Can Change Our Brains

HikingWe at Backs Etc. love hiking! We find getting out in nature and getting from place to place under our own natural power immensely satisfying and cathartic. And now it seems that more and more doctors are actually writing ‘nature prescriptions’ or recommending ‘ecotherapy’ to reduce anxiety, improve stress levels, and to curb depression. Looks like it’s good for body, mind and soul, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and hit the trails!

 

Read the Full article, ‘Doctors Tell Us How Hiking Can Change Our Brains’