Tag: injury/ailment

Bodyweight Exercises and Injury Prevention

Despite our recent spate of posts extolling the many and varied benefits of heavy resistance training, I’ve actually been moving away from the weight room for a couple reasons. Foremost is my desire to stay active and as injury-free as possible. While I still wholeheartedly endorse and believe in lifting hard and lifting heavy, at my age I’m starting to realize that the potential for injury – at least for me, personally – is too great to risk spending three days lifting heavy things on a weekly basis. At this point in my life, my motivation is simply different. I’m not really interested in pushing myself to the limit, let alone past the limit (realistically, those days are behind me); I’m instead focusing on maintaining my current performance. It’s almost a Buddhist thing where I’m content with my strength and my body (and have been for a long time now), rather than dissatisfied and constantly striving for more. I also Grok (or “own”) the notion that my diet dictates 80% of my body composition, so I really don’t have to work so hard to maintain muscle mass, strength, power, body fat etc. I’ve touched on this in the past, but a recent email from reader Griffin made me realize a substantial post was in order.

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The Dirty on Dirty Cow Poop: E. Coli

E. coli, that plucky little strain of intestinal bacteria, has popped up in the news again. You’re probably pretty familiar with its recent appearances (Taco Bell, packaged spinach, alfalfa sprouts, and most famously ground beef – all pretty Primal foods, except for, well, one of ‘em). You may even be alarmed at its apparent ubiquity in our food supply. This time, though, you have no reason to fear it – it was traced back to a Danville, VA Nestle plant pumping out infected cookie dough – unless you’re having one of those hazy 80/20 days where it’s more like 20/80 and you wake up covered in wrappers with that weird chemical film in your mouth that can only come from processed junk. If that’s the case, you might want to exercise caution.

So what is E. coli, exactly?

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H1ow N1ot to Get Swine Flu

Swine flu. Even the hype surrounding it is pandemic. It’s made headlines in every major newspaper and magazine. The CDC has a new press release every half hour. TV talking heads and radio pundits furrow their brows and express extreme consternation as they tell us to start “bracing for the worst.” President Obama has asked for another billion-and–a-half dollars (that we don’t have) to fend off this impending menace. Frightened school boards are halting classes everywhere until they are given a better action plan. Cruises are cancelled, trips are postponed, pigs are slaughtered, nations are blamed. It’s crazy.

I’m sorry. At this point, I’m not buying it.

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Natural Headache Remedies

Months ago, we discussed natural alternatives to OTC pain relievers. Now, before you assume I’m some hippie snake oil peddler, mine is not a blanket, ideological opposition to pharmaceuticals; rather, it’s just that if there are more natural, cheaper, less intrusive ways to relieve pain, why not try them first?

But that last post was just about general pain relief. What about headaches? Nearly everyone gets them on occasion, and they’re seemingly common enough to warrant entire advertising campaigns revolving around their treatment. One of the natural pain relievers we previously noted was willow bark, which is chemically similar to aspirin. That’s an option for headaches. Magnesium, we said, is used to alleviate migraines, which are an especially painful form of headaches. Those are two common treatments, but surely there are other substances, methods, or solutions out there.

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How to Relieve Sore Muscles

Dear Mark,

Been eating primal for a few months now, loving it, but I just started doing some workouts and the soreness that comes a day or two later is just killing me. Does it get better? Maybe I?m doing them wrong?

Thanks,
Jill

Thanks, Jill, for the question. It?s a subject that, had you not mentioned it, might never have popped up. What you?re describing is delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it?s completely normal ? especially for people just getting started exercising. The symptoms include muscle tenderness, soreness, weakness, and even swelling. As you?ve noticed, DOMS usually manifests a day or two after a particularly strenuous workout. It afflicts millions of people, from weekend warriors to hard-core athletes. Some dread it; others relish the feeling for days as proof that they?re making progress. But despite its ubiquity, science still hasn?t been able to nail down the precise cause of DOMS.

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Exercising Through Injury

Luckily, when we get injured, we can have surgery and then simply recline on the couch and catch up on old episodes of “The Wire” in between visits to the physical therapist. And for us Primal Blueprinters, staying off our feet doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll gain weight. Our body composition is, after all, mostly determined by diet, so sticking to healthy fats and protein (with copious amounts of vegetables) while watching the carbs will keep us trim. Grok didn’t have it so easy. If Grok broke a leg or dislocated a shoulder, he wasn’t bouncing back after a quick visit to the local shaman. He became a detriment to his clan, unable to hunt, forage, or fight. Without the type of medical knowledge we’re lucky to have today, what would be a relatively simple injury for us could end up being a life ending calamity for Grok, especially if necessity demanded he fight through the pain and risk further damage.

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Once, Twice, Three Times… Less Likely to Get a Cold

In the past, we’ve highlighted the importance of sleep in our lives as evidence mounts. A healthy amount of the stuff can help with memory, and a study showing that those who toss and turn to the tune of five or fewer hours of sleep per night have a higher incidence of “silent” heart disease suggests its importance in cardiovascular health. But it’s not like we needed science to tell us that getting plenty of sleep was good for us; the sluggish thoughts, rotten moods, and general uselessness we experience on inadequate sleep is our body’s way of telling us to sleep more and sleep better.

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Shouting Groceries

A particularly difficult workout session the other day, along with the holiday fast approaching (not a holiday fast, mind you – really, who would fast on a holiday?), prompted this post.

As is typical of many mornings for me, the other day I bagged breakfast and just had a big cup of really strong coffee with a splash of heavy cream and nothing else. Figured I’d eat later at a business lunch. I had a full schedule and not a lot of time, so I decided to do a quick set of modified burpees, where instead of simply jumping, landing, and doing a pushup, I would toss a pull-up into the mix. Nothing but a rotation of squats, pushups, and pull-ups –  and lots of them. I did this for twelve minutes straight with intermittent breaks, which got progressively more frequent as time went on (admittedly). It’s an ass-kicker if you are ever pressed for time. By the end, I was feeling all the typical effects I’ve come to expect from my occasional hard workouts: throbbing legs on the verge of giving out; arms that don’t seem to work anymore; sweat pooled around my feet; and a pretty high heart rate. But I was also incredibly nauseated, which is unusual for me – almost to the point of vomiting. I didn’t feel like moving for about five minutes, and I quite frankly wasn’t myself for the next hour. If it hadn’t been an early morning workout on an empty stomach, I probably would have emptied its contents. This got me to thinking – is too much intensity (to the point of nausea and vomit) a bad thing? Or is the nausea that comes with a particularly intense workout telling us that maybe we’re doing it right?

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Dear Mark: Flu Shots

Dear Mark,

I’m sure you know it’s gearing up toward flu season again, and the folks at work have started pushing for flu vaccination sign-ups.  I’m always a bit wary of Big Pharm and the “common knowledge” of what’s good for us (more so than ever since I first started reading MDA), so you’ll understand my hesitance in claiming my free shot. What’s your take on this issue?  Is it worth getting stuck, or am I better off left to my own healthy devices?

Thanks to Sarah for the timely question. You’re right that the ads and advice are everywhere this time of year. Some people rush to get their shots as soon as they’re released in early fall. Others swear them off. And then, I think, there’s a large group in the middle who waffle back and forth about the need for them.

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New Findings: The Link Between Cancer and Exercise

Lance Armstrong has always been seen as the exception, rather than the rule. Conventional wisdom told us that he succeeded in spite of his cancer; that exercise is the realm of the healthy, rather than the ill. And it is that popular image of the bedridden, languishing cancer patient so prevalent in movies, media and culture that informed our reaction to Armstrong’s resurgence. How the hell was a guy with debilitating cancer able to repeatedly succeed on the world’s stage – in one of its most grueling athletic feats? Well, a recent spate of research (probably, in some small way, influenced or inspired by his Tour wins) into the relationship between cancer and exercise suggests that Lance Armstrong’s recovery may have actually been aided by his training regimen.

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