Archive for November, 2015

Fitness starting with your Feet

November 29, 2015

Our feet and ankles are very important, considering we couldn’t stand, walk, run, or roundhouse kick someone in the face without them. Unfortunately, our lower limbs tend to be neglected unless something goes wrong.

Strong and flexible feet, ankles, and calves provide our base for stable movement, and are essential for performing our daily activities without pain or strain. In this article, I will give you a brief introduction to the the basic anatomy and movements in the ankle and foot (just enough for a good familiarity, but not enough for you to perform surgery…). Then, I’ll discuss the primary importance of working on this area, and finally, how to incorporate exercises for these areas into your training routine.

Your lower leg is made up of the bigger tibia on the inside and the smaller fibula on the outside, then connects lower down to the talus and the calcaneus (heel), then to the five small bones of the instep and the metatarsals and phalanges (your toes).

Lots of different sized ligaments connect the bones together for stability, along with various muscles from the big calf to the small muscles that move your toes.

Foot Anatomy

The ankle and foot is made to move in a great variety of angles to provide stability and dexterity, carrying us over all types of terrain from soft sand to rocky ground. Your ankle is not like a hinge on a door, and your foot isn’t just one big lump you slide your socks onto.

All the large and small joints in this area work together to provide this nimbleness, but only if we keep them moving like they are supposed to!

Your Lower Legs Work Hard for You – Here’s What They Do

Jump RopeOur calves (the bigger gastrocnemius and smaller, deeper soleus muscles) point the foot down, giving us the power to rise up on our toes and assist with running and jumping. But even with the foot flat on the ground, our calves provide stability in squatting, lunging, and other big movements.

On the front and sides of the shin are the anterior tibialis, posterior tibialis, and peronei muscles, which provide stability like stirrups and slings, and also the fine motor control that keeps us balanced and steady.

Down into the foot are many small muscles that control our arches and toes. These foot intrinsic muscles are the most at risk for atrophy from disuse when we don’t actively get out of our shoes and move our feet as we’re meant to do.

What Can Go Wrong in the Foot and Ankle

With all this considered, it’s easy to see the complexity of large and small muscles and joints working together to keep us upright and walking, as well as running, jumping, and balancing.

The coordination and differentiation of all these possible movements is key to foot and ankle control, and to moving freely and gracefully through your feet.

It’s also likely why we hear so many complaints about stiff ankles and feet.

If the smaller muscles are too weak to support your foot and ankle, your body reacts by increasing the tension where it can, in the bigger muscles. The tightness in the calf and ankle is then a protective mechanism that stretching may help a bit, but improved control and strength in the foot would solve.

Another common issue people experience is collapse arches in the feet. This is caused by poor mobility in the midfoot, along with weak posterior tibialis and intrinsic muscles. With improved mobility and strength in these areas, the arches should correct themselves over time.

Below we’ll discuss a variety of exercises with an emphasis on coordination and dexterity to wake up dormant muscles and restore proper mobility and control over this important area.

8 Exercises for Building Strength and Motor Control in the Feet and Ankles

The exercises we show here have an emphasis on active movement in various angles and ranges of motion.

A lot of people don’t fully explore the movement our feet and ankles are capable of, and this results in stiffness and weakness. The first step is knowing that it is actually possible to move this way, and the next and best step is to practice!

 

Below, we’ll look at each of these exercises in detail so you can understand the mechanics and benefits of each exercise, as well as programming recommendations.

1. Foot Circles with Toes Flexed (Curled)

Foot 1This movement concentrates on the small muscles in the arch of the foot. These foot intrinsicssupport the foot, and control over them means improved control and dexterity, which is so important in graceful and athletic movement.

It’s a simple movement – it’s just making a circle! – but the addition of flexing your toes makes this surprisingly difficult and can lead to muscle cramping in the beginning. Start off by not flexing your toes strongly and do the circles slowly.

Do 10-15 reps in each direction for 2-3 sets.

2. Toe and Ankle Movement Coordination

Foot 2Here is another simple movement that works on coordinating the use of the muscles of the lower leg and foot. Simply lift your foot up and down through your full range of motion and add the toe movements with it as well.

The coordination is toe extension (lifting toes upward) as you lift your foot upward, and toe flexion (curling in) as you point your foot down. And the other variation is then flexing your toes down as you lift your foot upward, and extending your toes as you point your foot down.

Do 10 repetitions of both variations for 2 sets.

3. Diagonal Patterns

Foot 3These are combined motion patterns of either your foot lifting up and rolling inward and then pointing down and outward; or your foot lifting up and rolling outward and then pointing down and inward. You are essentially tracing an X with your foot as you work on the coordination of ankle and foot motions.

This can be another surprisingly difficult exercise and is extremely useful for learning how your ankle can move.

Do 10-20 reps for 2-3 sets.

4. Rolling up Onto the Toes

Foot 4This is the first exercise where we are putting weight onto our feet.

The goal here is to combine a loaded active stretch to the ankle and foot together. It’s a dynamic move, so don’t hold too long in any position, instead go slowly through the full range and back again to encourage active movement through all the positions.

Do 5-8 reps for 3 sets.

5. Squats with Ankle Rotation

Foot 5In this exercise, don’t worry if you can’t drop down into the full deep squat position. The purpose of this exercise is to practice rolling on the inside and outside of your feet while weightbearing in a “compromising” position.

If you were to run and unexpectedly roll onto the side of your foot, you’d likely get a nasty ankle sprain. The exercise shown here is a progressive way to practice these common stresses to your feet and ankles. You can control the pressure and stress of the movement and use it to strengthen these positions to make it less likely to be severely injured when it unexpectedly happens.

Do 5-8 reps for 3 sets.

6. Ankle Rolling Side-to-Side

Ankle RollingHere we move to standing and up on the ball of the foot as we practice rolling our ankle from side to side.

Again, it’s better to do this while we are controlling the forces so we can strengthen them, rather than having it happen randomly and possibly causing injury.

Do 5-8 reps for 3 sets.

7. Weightbearing Ankle Circles on the Heel/Ball of Foot

Foot 7Continuing in standing, we’ll now practice ankle circles while placing as much weight as we are comfortable with on either our heels or on the ball of the foot.

There are different forces and strains involved in the two variations, so it’s good to familiarize yourself with both.

Do 10 reps in each direction for 2 sets.

8. Calf Raises

Calf RaisesAnother classic exercise, this is the most direct way of strengthening the calf muscles in their full range of motion from a full stretch to a full contraction. You can adjust your intensity by how much you hold on with your hands and by eventually adding weight to your body through a backpack or holding dumbbells.

If this is too much for you, then work both feet at the same time or start on a flat floor versus a step to reduce the range of motion until you get stronger and can handle strengthening from the full stretch.

Do 8-12 reps for 3 sets.

Fundamental Calf Stretches for Flexible Lower Legs

Calf StretchA very common complaint we hear from people is their lack of ankle flexibility.

Many bodyweight exercise moves, especially as you move into intermediate and advanced work, such as the pistol squat and various locomotive patterns, require good ankle flexibility.

The calf muscles are a very dense muscle group because we use them constantly – even just in standing and walking. And the ankle joints,  because of the lack of variety of motion throughout the day, tend to be stiff and immobile. This can require aggressive stretching, in terms of load, not intensity, to achieve improvements in range of motion.

A classic and effective exercise is using a step or sturdy block for your foot so you can drop your heel down to stretch.

It’s simple, not fancy, but works extremely well if you are consistent and approach it the right way. I recommend doing this in shoes, in this way you can place the middle of your foot on the edge of the step comfortably for the stretch. This is protective of your foot arch and allows you to put more weight into the stretch.

 

The variations are with your knee locked out straight and with your knee bent. The straight leg version emphasizes more of a gastrocnemius stretch, and the bent knee version gives the calf muscles a bit of slack and thus puts more of a stretch in the ankle joint.

The calf responds well to long holds of stretching, so 1 to 2 minutes for 3 sets should be a minimum goal. Stretch before active movement such as the strength and motor control exercises above so that your body learns to adjust and retain the new range of motion from the stretching.

Self-Massage Techniques for Healthy Feet, Ankles, and Calves

Self MassageA bit of self massage work is very useful in the lower leg and foot to loosen some tension prior to stretching and exercise.

The massage itself doesn’t make you more flexible, but it does temporarily help you feel less tight and gives you a window of opportunity to stretch further with less discomfort.

Just make sure not to overdo it, the trick is to apply just enough pressure to ease tension, not push as hard as you can to force it to happen!

 

Starting at the foot, work along the sole along the contours of the bones and feel the small muscles in you feet, keep the pressure light at first then gradually increase the pressure. If you are doing it correctly you’ll notice an easing off of tension in the muscles. You can then add more pressure and continue if you feel you need it, or move on to the next area.

Move on to the sides of your shin, into the calf and the front of your shin. The calf can be especially sore to massage deeply, so be aware of this and go gradually until you get accustomed to the pressure.

You can also use a ball to change the pressure and get into the muscles from a different angle.

Along with being mindful of gradually increasing pressure, you should limit your time on self massage to no more than 5 minutes. Too much of a good thing is still too much. And it is much more valuable to spend the majority of your time on active exercise.

Keep Your Feet Healthy for a Lifetime

Our ankles and feet are too often under-exercised and taken for granted considering how much we rely on them everyday. It’s no surprise that this neglect of their full range of motion and total potential for coordinated movement can lead to stiffness and weakness, and perhaps even pain.

This article focused on simple, yet effective exercises that not only lessen the chances of potential injury, but may also reverse some damage that has already been done (barring any true injuries in need of surgery or more intensive therapy).

Spend 5-10 minutes on these exercises every day, and you’re likely to feel your feet getting stronger, more flexible, and more able to handle variations in movement.

 

Article Sourced from: https://gmb.io/feet/

 

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Italian Chicken & Beef Sauté

November 26, 2015

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Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Exercise as a Tonic

November 24, 2015

exercise tonic

Like a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, a dose of exercise is the best tonic for mental (and physical) wellness.

Lets put aside the obvious medical conditions that we already know are benefitted by exercise and look at another condition –  menopause.

Menopause  is a very challenging time for women with a lot of hormonal, physical and mental changes occurring at once without warning and often leaving the woman with no idea when they will end.  Trying to ‘stay sane’ during this period of a woman’s life is how some women describe their battle with a body that is not doing what it has done all their lives. Menopause brings with it a body that is laying down fat in different areas; a body that the woman doesn’t often recognise as the one she’s ‘grown up’ with.   The benefits of exercise on our mental state during this time, can have an overriding effect on the physical symptoms that may present.

Exercise, relaxation and breathing exercises assist in helping the menopausal woman feel that she is taking back some control of the unpredictability of her menopausal symptoms.  The relaxation and the breathing give her strategies to deal with the mood swings and hot flushes. The exercise (and also dietary guidance) assists with the changes in her body weight and body fat placement and the stretching helps relieve discomfort in joints and muscles that often feel stiffer through this stage of life.

Never underestimate the benefit of a walk in the park or on the beach or just around the block, a good stretching session,  and/or an upside down yoga class.  Be proactive and make exercise your tonic to wellness.

At Coffs Coast Health Club we can really help you achieve the benefits I’ve described in this article. Give Glen or Jacqui a call on 66586222 for a free chat and let’s see how we can help you.

5 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR BRAIN FIT

November 22, 2015

exercise braing

Complete health is more than attending to our diet and getting physically fit – it’s about being brain fit as well. Because when we feel happy, focused and confident, everything functions better. Brain fitnessis about having a fit and healthy brain that allows us to perform at our very best, in all circumstances.

Life is getting busier, faster and more complex. Staying at the top of our game requires a high level of mental agility, flexibility and innovative thinking. The problem is, up until now we haven’t given our brains much attention. However, the new brain science has shown how taking care of our brain and using it in the way it’s designed for boosts mental performance.

Brain fitness (like physical fitness) takes some time and effort to achieve – after all, we are working with our neurobiology. Following a brain fitness program reveals the benefits of a sharper, more resilient mind very quickly. The good thing about our brain is the more we use it, the better it gets.

There are five things that you can put in place immediately to start to lift your own level of brain fitness.

1. Refuel smart

Topping up our cognitive energy means not skipping meals and including fresh, unprocessed food at every meal. The diet most extensively studied for better brain health is the Mediterranean style diet. Think leafy green vegetables, three portions a week of oily, cold-water carnivorous fish, other lean proteins, deeply pigmented fruits and berries, some seeds and nuts, whole grains, olive oil and a little bit of top quality dark chocolate (70% minimum cocoa solids). Who said healthy food has to be boring?

2. Sleep right

Cognitive fatigue is a menace. We can’t concentrate, we make more mistakes and we get cranky. Long days, heavy workloads, working late or starting extra early all add to our cognitive load. We fall into bed longing for sleep, which then eludes us as our brain decides it’s party-time and keeps us thinking all night long.

Maintaining good sleep habits with 7-8 hours of good quality, uninterrupted sleep is essential for neuronal health, emotional regulation, the formation of long-term memory and getting the gist what we have learned. Plus it helps for better recall of information at a later date. Putting in place a regular bedtime routine and keeping to it is a great start.

3. Give your brain a break

Taking work breaks during our day isn’t being lazy; it’s about working with our brain the way it was designed. We have peaks and troughs of energy cycling through 90-minute periods during our day. Taking a 20-minute break between each of these allows us to get more done, at a higher level, in less time and with energy left to spare. Take a look at your daily schedule and see when you can next give your brain the break it deserves.

4. Book a room to think

Foggy thinking from having too much on our mind reduces our ability to focus, solve problems, make good decisions or think creatively. Scheduling some thinking space every day is the perfect way to pause, hone attention and gain clarity of thought. Whether it is a daily mindfulness or other meditation practice, listening to some beautiful music or connecting with some green space, 20 minutes is all it takes to set you up for a great day of thinking.

Where is your favourite thinking space?

5. Move it

It’s hard to imagine getting fit without some form of physical exercise being involved. 30 minutes daily of aerobic exercise gives the brain its best workout and primes us for optimum performance.

Exercise boosts attention, cognition and the production of neurochemicals including BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). Not only does BDNF support neuronal health and function, it promotes neurogenesis – the production, survival and maturation of new neurons. Plus, exercise helps to lift our mood, which opens up our mind to new ways of doing things, to learn more effectively and keep us mentally well.

Being brain fit isn’t just nice to have – it’s an essential for better brain health, better thinking and greater happiness.

Article sourced from: http://www.medibank.com.au/bemagazine/post/wellbeing/5-ways-to-keep-your-brain-fit/

Tips to beat the Christmas bulge

November 15, 2015

bulgdeWeight gain over the holiday period  Most Australians can relate to increasing the link on their belt buckle when the New Year rolls around. On average Australians gain 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period. One to two kilograms might not sound like much but researchers have identified that weight gained over the holiday period is rarely lost1.

An American study conducted in 2006 identified that the weight gained during holiday seasons usually occurs around the trunk. Weight gain in this area is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease2.

Why not make this year the year that you don’t have to ask for a larger belt in your Christmas stocking? Try the tips below to help you avoid gaining weight over the holiday season.

Tips to avoid weight gain over the holiday season

  • Avoid going hungry to parties. Eat something light before the party to reduce your chances of snacking on high calorie party food. Some healthy snacks include a 200g tub of reduced fat yoghurt, a bowl of cereal or a cheese and tomato sandwich.
  • Don’t try to lose weight over the Christmas season. Instead, aim to maintain your current weight.
  • Watch your portion sizes. If your will power is weak and you know you will want to finish everything in front of you, use an entrée plate instead of a dinner plate. That way you are sure to eat less.
  • Fill up with foods from the foundation layers of the Healthy Eating Pyramid. These foods include vegetables, legumes, fruit and grains foods.

Party Food to Enjoy or Limit
Foods to Enjoy 

  • Vegetable sticks, pretzels, rice crackers
  • Hummus, beetroot, tzatziki, avocado dip
  • Sushi
  • Sandwiches, quiches
  • Fruit salad with yoghurt

Foods to Limit

  • Creamy dips
  • Pies, sausage rolls, spinach triangles
  • Chips, corn chips
  • Lollies, candy canes, chocolates
  • Cakes and slices with cream

Alcohol
Drinking alcohol (1 or 2 standard drinks a day) may add to the enjoyment of your festive events, but over-consuming alcohol can lead to weight gain.

According to the Department of Health and Ageing3:

For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks in any day reduces your risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury over a lifetime.

Drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion. 

If you choose to drink:

  • Watch your serving size. Restaurants often serve wine in glasses that are three times the standard serve.
  • Be careful with top-ups. Topping up your glass can lead to you losing count of the amount you have been drinking. Finish one glass before accepting a top-up.
  • Alternate your drinks. Alternate one alcoholic drink with one non-alcoholic drink such as water.

Exercise
Try some of the following ideas to help you stay fit over the holidays:

  • Ask for a gym membership as a Christmas present. That way you can stay fit all year round.
  • Set yourself an exercise challenge for the New Year. Fun runs are great events to get involved in. Your local council website should provide details of sporting events held annually in your area.
  • Play with your children. They enjoy when you watch their games, but they LOVE when you play with them. Try outdoor cricket, throwing a Frisbee, bike riding or swimming.
  • If you’re on a vacation, walking is the best way to become familiar with your holiday location. It’s amazing what you can discover when you are on foot.
  • Use the facilities at camping grounds, motels or resorts. For example, hiring a tennis court is an inexpensive way to stay entertained for hours.References 
  1. Foodsense. Consumer Reports on Health: Dodge holiday weight gain without missing the merriment. Dec 2002
  2. Hull H et al. The effect of the holiday season on body weight and composition in college students. Nutr Metab. 2006;3(44)
  3. Alcohol.gov.au [Internet]. Department of Health and Ageing [updated 2011 May; cited 2011 Oct] Available from www.alcohol.gov.au
    Article sourced here: http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/tips-beat-christmas-bulge

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Raspberry Butter Sauce with Crispy Salmon & Salad

November 11, 2015

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Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Exercise, are you Ready?

November 10, 2015

Do you relish your daily exercise regime or are you in bewilderment when you see those enthusiastic walkers striding past your house at the same time every morning while you add an extra teaspoon of coffee to your mug?

You stir your potent brew while wondering why it seems so easy for other people to stick with an exercise regime while you struggle with it. Scientists are always interested in figuring out what makes some of us make exercise a daily ritual while others only find time a few times a year.

Are you mentally ready for exercise or commitment phobic?   Your body might be ready but your mind is having second thoughts. Starting an exercise program might bring on feelings of dread, confusion, memories of pain, frustration or even disappointment. It does take mental preparation to commit to health. Getting help with an exercise program and participating in things that you enjoy will make it much easier.

‘Lifestyle change’ is a common phrase in the health industry today. You often hear that people need to make ‘lifestyle changes’ to achieve their goals and reduce the possibility of succumbing to life threatening diseases. Did you know though that making lifestyle changes should be a slow and gradual change? Don’t make all of your changes at once. The human mind can only deal with a couple of changes at a time so for instance don’t wake up and decide to stop drinking, give up smoking, cut out all sugar, eat more veges and go to the gym everyday starting now! Choose a couple of those lifestyle changes and allow yourself to get use to them over a 4-5 week period then make a couple more. This will be less shocking, more agreeable and more sustainable to your mind and body.

I bet the health of your loved ones is a priority in your life but what about your own health? Give Glen or Jacqui a call at Coffs Coast Health Club if you are ready to get started on 66586222.

What is a Healthy Sex drive?

November 8, 2015

gettyimages-88680713-couple-in-bed-letizia-mccall-openerToo high, too low, or juuust right? If your sex drive isn’t alive and kickin’, should you be concerned? Libido, a.k.a. sex drive, varies from person to person and between partners. While stereotypes definitely exist (think teenagers with raging hormones), sex drive is highly personal. In addition, depending on age, stress level, relationship status, etc., a person’s desire for sex can fluctuate. So how do you know if your libido is normal or out-of-whack? And if something is wrong, what can be done about it?

All About That Baseline

Sex therapist and New York Times bestselling author Ian Kerner, PhD, says that “normal is such an elastic word… it depends on what your baseline libido is.” He notes that while it might be normal for one person to desire sex once a day, it’s also completely normal for an asexual individual to have zero libido.

A significant deviation from the baseline is what’s ultimately a cause for concern. According to Kerner, a change in libido is only a problem when it’s a problem for you or for your partner. Sex and relationship expert Emily Morse notes that it’s not uncommon for couples to have mismatched libidos. There’s really no “normal” amount one should desire sex (or actually do the deed). Your libido is unique, as is everyone else’s. But if you feel it swinging up or down the scale, some factors could be at play.

Low Libido

If abnormally low libido is causing concern, it’s time to identify some potential causes. But keep in mind that different factors may affect different people (you guessed it…) differently.

Underlying Conditions

Underlying medical and psychological issues can depress libido to the point of non-existence. Medical conditions such as cancer or other chronic illnesses, for example, can understandably sap a person’s desire for sex. Psychological problems can also contribute to a diminished sex drive. Depression is a common cause of sexual dysfunction, and the treatment of depression doesn’t help matters . Research shows that certain antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs) tend to lower sexual arousal more than others . And given that some drugs have more possible side effects than actual effects, it’s not surprising that certain other meds can do so as well. For example, some women may experience decreased libido while on hormonal birth control, but reports aren’t consistent .

Other psychological troubles such as stress can put a damper on things . Ava Cadell, MD, author and founder of Loveology University, notes that common psychological issues of people who complain of low libido include depression, stress, post-baby blues, performance anxiety after not having sex for a long time, and poor self-image.

Hormones

We blame hormones for everything from chocolate cravings to crazy mood swings. (And we’re pretty sure we can blame them for this pizza’s existence too.) In women, low androgen levels have been linked to low sex drive, but it’s not clear which one is the cause and which one is the effect . Some research suggests that certain hormones, such as testosterone, may also play a role in lowering or modifying sexual desire, but they are not the determining factor . Even if a woman’s hormones are all within normal ranges, she can still experience low libido. For men, it’s a bit more clear cut: if a man has low testosterone, his libido will likely suffer .

Relationship Issues

Comedian Louis C.K. said about his troubled marriage that men worry marriage equals sex with just one woman for the rest of life. “Where are you getting that twisted fantasy? You’re not gonna have sex with one woman. You’re gonna have sex with zero women.” Point being, if your relationship is rocky, your libido (or your partner’s) could also take a hit.

A whole range of relationship difficulties can contribute to low libido, according to Cadell. While pretty much anything that negatively affects a couple has the potential to limit lust, poor communication, anger, hurt feelings, or even boredom are common culprits. Kerner notes that poor libido is especially prevalent among couples recovering from infidelity—if the trust isn’t there, neither is the desire.

Other Life Factors

Already plotting tomorrow’s nap? Being overworked, short on time, fatigued, or all of the above tend to bump sex down on the list of priorities. New parents (yes, we’re calling a baby a “life factor”) may be especially susceptible. Who wants to have sex when running on three hours of sleep and dirty diaper fumes?

High Libido

When it comes to sex, do you feel like a little kid at a birthday-cake free-for-all? That’s OK. Having an unusually high libido isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it can become an issue—known as hypersexuality, compulsive sexual behavior, or sexual addiction—if it leads to problems with a person’s sex life and life outside of sex. As with low libido, there are a number of things that can skyrocket your sex drive to an unhealthy place.

Underlying Conditions

No, that honeymoon phase of a new relationship when you’re suspending work/life/laundry to get naked with your significant other isn’t a “psychological condition,” (as much as your neglected friends may argue). But there are serious mental disorders that can lead to a person making sex into priority number one. According to Kerner, sex can be a form of self-medication for some individuals suffering from anxiety. Low self-esteem, unresolved shame, and other entrenched feelings can increase sex drive as well.

An abnormally high desire for sex may also be considered a psychological condition in and of itself. Experts have come up with a set of diagnostic criteria for “hypersexual disorder,” although it’s not yet an official psychological diagnosis . A person with the disorder has excessive, intense thoughts and/or behaviors surrounding sex that lead to personal distress or intrusion on other areas of life. Fantasizing about your cute co-worker is pretty normal (and even healthy), but skipping out on work to watch someone shake that a** on the Internet may signal something’s not quite right.

Drug Use

Certain drugs can send libido sky-high. Unsurprisingly, most of them are stimulants such as cocaine, ecstasy, crystal meth, and caffeine . One class of drugs, known as substituted cathinones, stimulates the central nervous system and may give users a boost in energy, feelings of interpersonal connectedness, and sex drive . Wellbutrin, a substituted cathinone also known as bupropion, is prescribed by some doctors for weight loss—and increased libido is a side effect

How to Level Out Your Libido

Ask Questions

First, ask yourself if your libido is noticeably different from your baseline, and try to identify possible causes. Is it negatively affecting your happiness, relationship, or life? Second, if you’re in a relationship, figure out how your partner feels about your sex drive. Are the two of you completely out of sync or do things match up pretty well? If you and your partner feel a-OK about how much sex you want, chances are your libido is just fine. Just keep calm and carry on get it on.

DIY

Low libido got you down and you want to take matters into your own hands? Kerner suggests a number of things to help light your fire. First, give yourself and your partner a little extra lovin’. Masturbation and fantasizing are a great place to start, as is focusing on your partner’s pleasure during sex. But libido isn’t only built in the bedroom. Exercise, in addition to relieving stress and improving self confidence, can encourage feeling frisky. Another option is to go out with your partner and try something fun and spontaneous. And although this sounds pretty much the opposite of “fun and spontaneous,” scheduling sex with a partner can get you in a sex-oriented mindset and take away performance anxiety.

High libido, notes Kerner, doesn’t usually prompt too many complaints unless it causes a mismatch with a partner or if it’s part of a sexual compulsion or addiction. Talking with a romantic partner may be a good place to start if it’s the former, but seeing a professional is a must for the latter.

See a Pro

If there’s a psychological or medical condition, deep-seated relationship issues, or other factors that might be taking a toll on your libido, fixing the underlying problem is the way to go. While you might be able to resolve some relationship stuff and external issues on your own, talking to a professional can help enormously in addressing the thornier causes of low or high libido. Depending on the nature of the issue, try talking to a physician, psychiatrist, or sex therapist. If you feel that hormones may be contributing to a wonky sex drive, try talking to your general practitioner or OB/GYN.

Concerned about the side effects of medications? A GP or pharmacist might be good people to touch base with. For sexual compulsivity or sexual addiction, enlist the help of a specialist. A psychiatrist will be able to offer guidance and help you to formulate a treatment plan. Group therapy or 12-step programs offer other means of support. For relationship woes, consult a therapist who specializes in couples and/or sex therapy. Bottom line: Don’t lose heart; there’s a fleet of specialist that can help.

The Takeaway

Throw away all of your ideas of “normal”—sex drive is highly personal! Libido only becomes a problem when it’s causing you distress, affecting your day-to-day life, or hurting your relationship with a partner. If any of these apply, it’s worth figuring out why and possibly seeking help from a professional.

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Chopped Bok Choy & Steak Salad with Olive Dressing

November 5, 2015

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Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion

November 3, 2015

How hard do you exercise? One way to gauge how hard you exercise is to use the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion. The Borg Scale takes into account your fitness level: It matches how hard you feel you are working with numbers from 6 to 20; thus, it is a “relative” scale. The scale starts with “no feeling of exertion,” which rates a 6, and ends with “very, very hard,” which rates a 20. Dr. Gunnar Borg, who created the scale, set it to run from 6 to 20 as a simple way to estimate heart rate—multiplying the Borg score by 10 gives an approximate heart rate for a particular level of activity.

As an example, just say you were walking through the shops or other activities that require some effort but not enough to speed up your breathing.  This would rate on the scale as feeling fairly light and have an effort level of 11-12

So now let’s look at brisk walking or other activities that require moderate effort and that speed up your heart rate and breathing but don’t make you out of breath.  This would rate on the scale as feeling somewhat hard and have an effort level of 13-14.

Cycling, swimming, or other activities that take vigorous effort and get the heart pounding and make breathing very fast, would rate on the scale as feeling hard and have an effort level of 15-16.

If loosing body fat is your goal, in a 30minute workout you would need to have at least 3 spikes at effort level 15-16 which you would try to sustain for a 30-60seconds each.  Most of your workout though, would be at 13-14 with a 3-5 minute warm up and cool down at level 11-12.

Understanding how to achieve your goals often takes some coaching and advice from someone like me. This can save weeks, months and sometimes years of frustration. If you’d like to have a free advice session with me or one of the other Personal Trainers at Coffs Coast Health Club give Glen or Jacqui a call on 66586222.