Tag Archives: exercise

16Oct/13

Move over Mindset | Guest Blog from Gary Stebbing – Performance & Conditioning Coach

 

Thanks to Gary Stebbing, Performance and Conditioning Coach, for this guest blog.

Exercise is almost uniformly recommended as fundamental to good health, so why do so many people live basically sedentary lives?

Why is behaviour change still such a puzzling conundrum within health and medicine?

As a practical coach one has to adapt and refine these questions to something more relevant….

How can one get better as a behaviour change agent; and more specifically how can one assist in creating a movement habit for clients or patients…..?

But is trying to change behaviour the wrong approach? Should we shift our personal mindset towards a focus on changing beliefs rather than behaviours……?

In their fascinating book Switch, authors Chip and Dan Heath use a very intriguing analogy to explore change:

Imagine a small rider sitting on top of a very large elephant walking through the jungle. The jungle is the environment that we live and function in – a very powerful influence on our lives. The elephant is our beliefs and attitudes – very powerful in driving our daily behaviours and actions. What happens in daily interactions is that we often try and intervene at the level of the rider. You can shout as loud as you like at the rider, what chance do you think the rider has of getting the elephant to change direction if it doesn’t want to?

Perhaps strategies to influence the elephant might have more success…..

Stanford psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck has used another approach to studying mindsets and their impact. Her work explores what she has defined has the ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindsets.

Those with a fixed mindset tend to like to appear smart to others and adopt more of a ‘this is the way it is’ type of attitude. Her work suggests amongst many things that they avoid risk of failure, lack resilience when things get tough and may feel threatened if others achieve success around them.

In contrast those with a growth mindset tend to be happy to try new things, be more robust when things aren’t going well and inspired by success around them.

If you follow this thinking into the path of exercise, what might be the differing outcomes for the fixed vs. growth minded individual.

Exercise is often tough at the beginning, negative feelings due to poor fitness levels, difficulty in grasping how to do new movements, watching others around you who seem to be more competent and finding it easy……it is easy to see how a fixed mindset might see exercise as not for them, while a growth mindset experiences the same things yet relishes the challenge!

Everyone loves working with growth mindset individuals….

So the true coaching challenge is to find the strategies to keep the fixed mindset in the game long enough to help them adapt the way they view and experience exercise and movement.

Perhaps the target is to help all individuals build something you might call the “movement mindset”.

For further information you can contact Gary on 07949 472142 or email: enquirie[email protected]

30Sep/13

‘Gentle’ exercise is good for the brain | #performance #health

We know only too well how important it is to be physically active. This may mean formal exercise or sports, but equally we can be on the move and using our bodies when undertaking day-to-day tasks.

Researchers have previously found that exercise affects the brain in positive ways, including enhancing learning and memory. How to go about exercising is yet to be defined, the reality being that it is likely to be influenced by our genetic make-up, i.e. ‘personal training programmes’. It has been thought that the benefits come from vigorous exercise, however this may not only be the case.

A recent study by Michelle McDonnell and her team has found that gentle exercise affects the brain in very good ways. Low to moderate physical activity for 30 minutes stimulated neuroplastic activity. This is the basis for how we learn.

This is also excellent news for chronic pain sufferers who are trying to become more active. It shows that we can use low intensity exercise to affect the brain positively. Many people in pain describe a loss of energy, resources, focus, concentration, memory and resilience. To improve this situation, exercise is needed yet often feared. By creating a baseline and reducing the threat of being active by developing understanding of pain, you can gradually build tolerance and confidence as well as improve brain function. This usually takes the focus away from the pain as you are able to engage in more meaningful activities.

For those seeking to improve their performance at work there are a number of strategies that can be used. Developing improved focus and attention using mindfulness training, taking refreshers and renewal breaks to sustain energy levels, cultivating skills of resilience and clear thinking to deal with situations and regular exercise to sharpen the brain and maintain physical fitness.

For details on programmes that incorporate these techniques for chronic pain, injury and developing performance, contact us on 07932 689081.

See the article below:

A single bout of aerobic exercise promotes motor cortical neuroplasticity.

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2013 May;114(9):1174-82. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01378.2012. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

McDonnell MN, Buckley JD, Opie GM, Ridding MC, Semmler JG.

Source

International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. [email protected]

Abstract

Regular physical activity is associated with enhanced plasticity in the motor cortex, but the effect of a single session of aerobic exercise on neuroplasticity is unknown. The aim of this study was to compare corticospinal excitability and plasticity in the upper limb cortical representation following a single session of lower limb cycling at either low or moderate intensity, or a control condition. We recruited 25 healthy adults to take part in three experimental sessions. Cortical excitability was examined using transcranial magnetic stimulation to elicit motor-evoked potentials in the right first dorsal interosseus muscle. Levels of serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor and cortisol were assessed throughout the experiments. Following baseline testing, participants cycled on a stationary bike at a workload equivalent to 57% (low intensity, 30 min) or 77% age-predicted maximal heart rate (moderate intensity, 15 min), or a seated control condition. Neuroplasticity within the primary motor cortex was then examined using a continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) paradigm. We found that exercise did not alter cortical excitability. Following cTBS, there was a transient inhibition of first dorsal interosseus motor-evoked potentials during control and low-intensity conditions, but this was only significantly different following the low-intensity state. Moderate-intensity exercise alone increased serum cortisol levels, but brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels did not increase across any condition. In summary, low-intensity cycling promoted the neuroplastic response to cTBS within the motor cortex of healthy adults. These findings suggest that light exercise has the potential to enhance the effectiveness of motor learning or recovery following brain damage.

30Sep/12

Why does my knee hurt when I run?

The success of the London 2012 Olympics has had a huge impact upon society including the greater participation in sporting activities. This is a truly vital legacy and we must seek to pervade this healthy mindset to all corners of the country and across all the age ranges to optimise the benefits.

Those seeking immediate gratification will have pulled out the old trainers, dusted off the bike in the shed or grabbed the shorts (or briefs) and visited the local pool – see Get Active London. This is indeed a welcome shift towards more active lifestyles at a time when we have increasing understanding of the benefits of regular exercise for both body and brain.

Turning our attention to a consequence of either taking up running for the first time or re-starting having had a break, inspired by the mighty achievements of our athletes, there can be a few aches and pains in the knees. Sometimes the onset will be quick and at other times gradual. I will look briefly at why this can happen, remembering that when you increase your level of exercising it is usually quite normal for there to be some pain afterward. If you are unsure it is advisable that you seek the opinion of your local health professional as soon as possible so that the correct treatment and management is started.

Training methods

A sudden change in the demands upon our joints, particularly the knees in running due to the impact, can trigger local sensitivity in the joint and surrounding tissues. We should think carefully about the baseline, or start point from where the programme can be progressed. Too much too soon will hurt and especially if there is not adequate time between exercising bouts for a good level of recovery in the early stages. It may not be the first time out but the second or third that the pain begins.

The shoes that are used are vital. You do not have to spend a small fortune on the latest running kit but it is sensible to have a good trainer that is suitable for your foot type and provides the right kind of support. If you have pulled out an old, smelly pair of runners from under the stairs, you may have problems. Make a visit to a good quality running shop, for example Run & Become.

Where you decide to go running will determine the loading upon the joints. Start easily and gradually build up the time and speed, thinking about where you are training. Up and down hills and uneven grouns will pose more of a challenge of course.

Old injuries

If you have had a problem with your knees before, re-starting running could re-ignite the pain. It is not totally out of the question to take up running again, but you should ensure that the motor control, movement and proprioception is adequate and then gradually build the intensity. It will be best to seek advice in this case as there maybe some essential rehabilitation training that is required before starting the running programme.

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There will be many people enthusiastically exercising as a result of the Olympics and this is to be commended. It is important to really consider how to start training, the baseline and progressions and using the right equipment.

If you have any questions please contact us here or call 07518 445493