Category: Fitness

Mind-Body Medicine – Mind–Body Approaches

There are four main mind-body approaches in Western medicine: meditation and relaxation, guided imagery, clinical biofeedback and hypnosis. In addition, there are a number of other therapies recommended throughout the ailment section of this...

Sleep and sprint speed needed for optimal physical performance in field sports

For top athletes, getting enough sleep has long been considered the sort of bland good advice that is obvious but easy to ignore—like eating lots of vegetables. A pair of recent pilot studies by Charles Samuels, the medical director of the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary, confirms that poor sleep quality is prevalent even in Olympic-level athletes (in this case from the national bobsleigh and skeleton teams). But the problem is even worse for ordinary people: “It’s average athletes who are the most likely to curtail their sleep to train,” Samuels says. “They’re getting up at 4 a.m. to run for an hour so they can get to work by 7 a.m.”

What you should or should not before a competition

If you prepare for a game or race in the same way that you prepare for your usual workouts, you won’t be well-rested enough to maximize your performance.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t try new foods, sleep habits, or training techniques right before a competition. By fine-tuning these elements and developing a familiar routine, you can give yourself an edge over your competitors when it counts and elevate your game (not practice).

“Runner’s high” and other brain chemistry changes during workouts

If you’re looking for that extra edge that will allow you to lift one more rep or maintain your pace near the end of a tough workout, consider the latest research from psychologist Richard Stephens of Keele University in Britain. After hitting his thumb with a hammer, Stephens let loose with a string of expletives—a common enough occurrence, but one that left him wondering why humans have this nearly universal habit of “cathartic swearing.”

Relationship between alertness, brain and body performance

For decades, exercise physiology has struggled to pin down the limits of physical performance by studying the heart, lungs, and muscles of athletes. New experiments show that the brain plays a fundamental and often surprising role. And it also works the other way around: exercise shapes your brain, stimulates growth, and enhances memory and cognition—and some types of exercise are better than others.