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The Effects of Caffeine on Running Performance: A Comedic Guide

Caffeine and running, two words that seem to go together like peas and carrots, like Batman and Robin, like…well, you get the picture. It’s no secret that caffeine is a staple pre-workout drink for many runners, but do you really know what it’s doing to your body and performance?

Let’s dive in and find out!

First things first, let’s talk about what caffeine actually is.

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that works by blocking the action of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel tired (oooppss, don't nose bleed yet). Basically in layman's term, when you drink that cup of coffee before your run, you’re essentially telling your brain to keep awake, alert, and focused.

And who wouldn’t want that when they’re about to lace up their running shoes?

Now, onto the juicy part – how does caffeine affect your running performance? Well, studies have shown that caffeine can improve endurance, reduce perceived exertion, and even help you run faster.

That’s right, you can run faster just by drinking coffee! Now, who said caffeine was just a morning pick-me-up?

Flash's Coffee from CC Jitters

But wait, there’s more!

Caffeine has also been shown to improve focus and reaction time, which can come in handy when you’re dodging squirrels, dodging other runners, or just trying to avoid tripping on the pavement. And let’s not forget, caffeine can also reduce pain and muscle soreness post-run, which is great news for those who like to push themselves to the limit.

Now, before you go chugging down a whole pot of coffee, let’s talk about the right amount of caffeine to take.

Most studies have shown that a dose of 3-6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight can be beneficial for running performance. For a 150-pound person (68.181818... kg), that’s roughly 200-400 milligrams of caffeine, which is the equivalent of 2-4 cups of coffee.

The Punisher's Coffee

It’s important to note that too much caffeine can also have negative effects, so it’s best to stick to the recommended dose. Excessive caffeine can lead to jitters, anxiety, and dehydration, all of which can negatively impact your run.

And who wants to feel like a nervous, jittery mess while they’re trying to break their personal best?

Now, let’s talk about timing. When is the best time to consume caffeine before a run?

Well, experts recommend drinking caffeine 30-60 minutes before your run to allow it to take effect. And, as with anything in life, timing is key. If you drink it too early, you might end up feeling jittery and anxious, and if you drink it too late, you might not feel the benefits. It’s like trying to catch a runaway train – you’ve got to time it just right!


Lastly, the different sources of caffeine.

While coffee is the most popular form of caffeine for runners, it’s not the only option. Caffeine can also be found in energy drinks, gels, and even chewable tablets. So, whether you prefer your caffeine in liquid or solid form, there’s an option out there for you.

As for me who is not really a coffee drinker, I'll stick to chocolate bars and drinks. I especially love  the dark ones, those darker than my skin.

The amount of caffeine in chocolate varies depending on the type and serving size, but on average, a 1-ounce serving of dark chocolate (70-85% cacao) contains approximately 12 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, a 1-ounce serving of brewed coffee contains approximately 30-50 milligrams of caffeine.


So there you have it, folks! Who said science couldn’t be fun? Grab your running shoes and a cup of coffee, and get ready to hit the pavement with a caffeine boost!

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Thirsty? A Runner's Guide to Staying Hydrated in a Natural Way

Running is hard work, there's no denying that. But one of the most important things you need to do to ensure your body can handle it is to stay hydrated. And while you may be tempted to reach for a sports drink filled with artificial ingredients, there are plenty of natural alternatives that can do the trick.


First things first, let's talk about water. I know, I know, it's not the most exciting beverage out there, but it's essential for runners. Water is the best way to stay hydrated and it's also the best way to flush out all the toxins and waste products that your body produces during a run.

But if plain old water is too boring for you, try adding some flavor with a slice of lemon, lime, or cucumber.

Livin La Vida Coco

Next up, we have coconut water. This tropical drink is packed with electrolytes and potassium, making it a great choice for runners. Plus, it's a natural way to hydrate and it's also a great source of antioxidants.

But be warned, not all coconut water is created equal. Go for the kind that's organic and has no added sugar.


Another great natural hydration alternative is herbal teas. Not only do they provide hydration, but they also offer a variety of health benefits depending on the herbs used.

For example, chamomile tea is known for its calming properties, making it a great choice before bed. And peppermint tea can help soothe an upset stomach.


And let's not forget about fruits. Fruits are not only a great source of hydration, but they also provide essential vitamins and minerals. Think watermelon, strawberries, oranges, and pineapples.

These juicy fruits are not only delicious but also packed with water, making them a great choice for runners.

But what about during a run, specially trail runs where the logistics of bringing hydration to the mountain is not so feasible? It's not always easy to carry a water bottle or stop for a drink.

That's where nature comes in. Runners have been using natural sources of hydration for centuries, like streams, rivers, and even natural springs. Just make sure to check the water source before drinking to ensure it's safe and clean.


In conclusion, when it comes to staying hydrated, there are plenty of natural alternatives to sports drinks. Whether it's water with a slice of lemon, coconut water, herbal teas, fruits, or even natural water sources, there's a way to stay hydrated that will work for you.

So next time you lace up your sneakers, don't forget to bring a water bottle or find a natural source of hydration on your route.


A word of advice, if you're really out of option, no, urine is not a viable way to hydrate. But you may try to be adventurous yourself. Just don't blame me if it doesn't work out.

USANA's Electrolyte Replacement Drink
Optimize your daily routine with this tasty watermelon-flavored drink mix formulated with minerals. Calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium form electrolytes to support your body’s ability to stay hydrated.

Just mix with water and enjoy this refreshing drink before or after physical activity—or even on your rest day—to support your body during activity.

Health Benefits:
  • Helps replenish electrolytes lost in sweat
  • Maintains normal hydration by supporting water balance in the body
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Fat-tastic: The Good, The Bad, and The Advantages of Fat for Runners

Ladies and gentlemen, runners of all shapes and sizes, gather 'round because we're about to talk about the F word - Fat. Yes, that macronutrient that sends shivers down the spines of many runners and is often avoided like the plague. But before you start panicking and cutting out all sources of fat from your diet, let's talk about the good, the bad, and the advantages of this misunderstood macronutrient.


First things first, let's clarify that not all fats are created equal. There are the good fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can actually be beneficial for runners. These types of fats can help improve heart health, lower cholesterol levels, and provide energy during endurance exercise.

On the other hand, there are the bad fats - saturated and trans fats - which should be avoided as much as possible. These types of fats can increase your risk of heart disease and should be limited in your diet.

Also, be mindful of the sources of fats you are consuming and make sure you're getting more of the good fats (such as whole and minimally processed foods, lean proteins) and less of the bad ones. Consuming healthy fats can give you a sense of satisfaction and fullness that can keep you from overeating and you'll be on your way to a healthy and balanced diet.

But the real advantage of fat for runners is its role in providing energy. Carbohydrates are often the go-to fuel for runners, but fat can also provide a steady source of energy. In fact, when you're running for an extended period of time, your body will begin to burn both carbohydrates and fat for energy.

When you first start running, your body will primarily rely on carbohydrates for energy. But as you continue to run, your body will begin to tap into its fat stores for energy. This is why it's important to have a balance of carbohydrates and fat in your diet.

Fat is a slow-burning fuel. This is why consuming healthy fats before and during your run can be beneficial.

Another advantage of fat as an energy source is that it's stored in your body in large quantities. This means that your body will never run out of fat stores during a run, unlike carbohydrates, which can be depleted quickly. So, even when you've exhausted your carbohydrate stores, your body will still have a steady supply of energy from fat.

And let's not forget about the "runner's high" that can come from consuming healthy fats. Sure, you may not feel as euphoric as you would from a carb-heavy meal, but healthy fats can give you a sense of satisfaction and fullness that can keep you from overeating.


In conclusion, fat is an essential macronutrient that runners should not avoid, but rather consume in moderate amounts.

So, runners, go ahead and enjoy a handful of nuts, a spoonful of avocado, and a drizzle of olive oil on your salad, but don't go overboard. And most importantly, don't forget to laugh and enjoy your running journey!

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Carbo-loading 101: A Beginner's Guide to Running on Pasta Power

Are you tired of feeling like a limp noodle on your runs? Well, my carb-loving friend, you're in luck! Carbohydrates are essential for us runners and can make all the difference in your performance.

But before we dive into the nitty-gritty of carbs, let's first address the elephant in the room. No, carbs are not the enemy! Despite what some fad diets may lead you to believe, carbs are actually your BFF (best fuel friend).


So, what exactly are carbohydrates and why do runners need them? Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients (along with protein and fat) that provide energy to our bodies. When we eat carbs, they are broken down into glucose, which is then used as fuel for our muscles during exercise. And let's be real, running is hard work, so our muscles need all the fuel they can get!

But it's not just about fueling our muscles during a run, carbs also play a crucial role in recovery. After a hard workout, our muscles are depleted of glycogen (the stored form of glucose). Consuming carbs post-run helps replenish those glycogen stores, allowing our muscles to recover and repair. And trust me, you'll want those muscles in tip-top shape for your next run.


Now, I know what you may be thinking, "But wait, if I eat carbs, won't I gain weight?" Not necessarily. It's all about balance and portion control. Rather than cutting out carbs completely, focus on incorporating complex carbs, like whole grains, fruits, and root crops such as sweet potato into your diet. And, as with any type of food, it's important to be mindful of portion sizes.


So, the next time you're tempted to ditch the carbs, remember that they are essential for fueling and recovering from your runs. Embrace the carb love and your running performance will thank you! And who knows, you might even have a little more spring in your step.

Happy running (and carb-loading)!

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The Secret Weapon for Runners to Boost Performance and Recovery

As a runner, you're likely aware of the importance of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your diet. However, many runners overlook the importance of micronutrients.


Micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals, play a crucial role in maintaining optimal health and performance. In this article, we'll explore the importance of micronutrients for runners and how to ensure you're getting enough of them in your diet.

First, let's define what we mean by micronutrients. Micronutrients are essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need in small amounts to function properly.

Unlike macronutrients, which provide energy and are needed in large quantities, micronutrients are needed in much smaller quantities. Examples of micronutrients include vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, and zinc.



So, why are micronutrients so important for runners? Here are a few key ways that micronutrients support running performance and recovery:

  • Vitamin C: This powerful antioxidant helps to reduce inflammation and muscle damage caused by intense exercise. It also helps to boost collagen production, which is essential for maintaining healthy joints and tendons.
  • Vitamin D: Often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D helps to regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the body, which are essential for healthy bone density. This is especially important for runners, as the repetitive stress of running can put a lot of pressure on the bones.
  • Iron: Iron is essential for carrying oxygen to the muscles, which is crucial for energy production and endurance. Iron deficiency, known as anemia, can lead to fatigue, weakness, and decreased performance.
  • Calcium: In addition to supporting bone health, calcium is also important for muscle function. It helps to regulate muscle contractions and is essential for maintaining healthy nerve function.
  • Zinc: Zinc is important for the immune system and helps to promote wound healing and repair. It also plays a role in protein synthesis, which is important for muscle growth and recovery.

Now that we've covered why micronutrients are important for runners, let's talk about how to ensure you're getting enough of them in your diet. Here are a few tips:

Eat a varied diet: The best way to ensure you're getting enough micronutrients is to eat a varied diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals and should make up a significant portion of your diet.

Consider supplementation: While a healthy diet should provide all the micronutrients you need, some runners may benefit from additional supplementation. For example, runners who are training for a marathon or other endurance event may benefit from iron supplementation to prevent anemia.

However, always consult with your doctor or a dietitian before starting any supplement regimen.

Be mindful of food preparation: Some cooking methods, such as boiling or frying, can cause micronutrients to be lost from foods. Try to eat more raw fruits and vegetables and cook them with methods that preserve the micronutrients like steaming, grilling, or sautéing.

In conclusion, micronutrients play a vital role in maintaining optimal health and performance for runners.

By understanding the importance of these essential vitamins and minerals and taking steps to ensure you're getting enough of them in your diet, you can support your training and recovery and reach your running goals.

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Fuel Your Runs: The Importance of Protein for Athletes on the Go

Most runners that you see, specially here in the Philippines have slim body and from the almost zero (0) body fat, their body is also obviously has lesser muscle mass compared to other type of athletes.

Our genes plays an important role in this outcome of our muscle and built but it doesn't mean that our body also requires lesser protein, or that we don't need it at all.

Running is a great way to stay in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, in order to truly optimize your performance and recovery, it's important to pay attention to your protein intake.


Protein is one of the three (3) macronutrients that our body needs in large quantities, along with carbohydrates and fats. It is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues.

When we run, we put a lot of stress on our muscles. This causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibers, which need to be repaired in order to get stronger. Protein is essential for this repair process, as it provides the necessary amino acids for the body to rebuild and strengthen the damaged tissue.

But it's not just about recovery and muscle repair, protein also helps in maintaining a healthy weight and preventing muscle loss, which can occur as we age.

Additionally, protein helps to regulate blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling full and satisfied, which can help to prevent overeating and weight gain.


Adequate protein intake can also help to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, as well as improve overall recovery time. This is especially important for runners, who may be doing high-intensity training on a regular basis.

When adequate protein is not consumed, muscle repair and growth may be impaired, leading to reduced athletic performance and increased risk of injury.

The recommended daily protein intake for athletes is generally higher than for sedentary individuals. This is because athletes have an increased need for protein to support muscle repair and growth.

For runners, the recommended daily intake of protein is between 0.5 and 0.75 grams per pound of body weight. This can be easily achieved by eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of protein-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and plant-based sources like beans, lentils, and quinoa.


Sources of Protein

Protein can be obtained from a variety of natural sources, including meats, dairy products, fish, eggs, and legumes. For vegetarian and vegan athletes, plant-based sources of protein such as beans, lentils, and nuts are good options.

In addition, protein supplements are available in the form of powders, bars, and drinks, and can be a convenient way for athletes to meet their protein needs.

It is important for athletes to choose high-quality protein sources that provide all of the essential amino acids.


Strategies for Meeting Protein Needs

To meet protein needs, athletes should focus on consuming a balanced and varied diet that includes a variety of protein sources.

Meal planning and nutrient timing can also be important strategies. Athletes should aim to consume protein throughout the day, rather than all at once, as this can help to optimize muscle repair and growth.

Additionally, combining different proteins in one meal can improve the quality of the protein that is consumed.

Lastly, proper hydration is important for athletes, since proper hydration can ensure that the protein is effectively utilized for muscle repair and growth.


Conclusion

In conclusion, adequate protein intake is crucial for runners to optimize their performance and recovery, maintain a healthy weight, and prevent muscle loss. Make sure you're getting enough protein in your diet and you'll be on your way to reaching your running goals.

Proper hydration is also important to ensure that the protein is effectively utilized for muscle repair and growth.

By following these guidelines, athletes can optimize their athletic performance, reduce their risk of injury, and support their overall health and well-being.

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This low-glycemic formula, rich in dietary fiber and protein, can give you all the nutrients you need to have a satisfying meal on the go. Available in delicious chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla flavors, achieving your healthy goals is right at your fingertips.

Health Benefits
  • Contains 15 g of protein and 8 g of fiber
  • Low glycemic
  • Gluten free
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Fueling for Success: The Importance of Nutrition for Athletes

It's been a while since I've posted an article content here in my blog due to the many changes in my priorities and my day-to-day life.

But I'm still keeping this blog alive despite also the changes in the way people consume content (which are now mostly viewers instead of readers).

From this moment until perhaps the next time that I get another writer's block, I'll be posting articles related to health and nutrition, specifically for active lifestyle or athletes - which are also applicable even to not so active people but who just want to stay healthy.


For this first write-up, let's begin with the importance of nutrition.

As a dedicated athlete, you know the importance of training and pushing yourself to be your best. But have you ever stopped to consider the role that nutrition plays in your athletic performance?

Proper nutrition is crucial for supporting your training, optimizing your performance, and maintaining good health.

In this article, we'll delve into the key nutritional considerations for athletes, including energy needs, protein intake, carbohydrate intake, micronutrient intake, and hydration.

I'll also provide tips for meeting these nutritional needs and offer practical advice for athletes looking to fuel their bodies for success.

So, let's get started!

Athletic performance is influenced by many factors, and nutrition is one of the most important. By following a well-rounded diet that meets your energy and nutrient needs, you can give yourself the best chance to succeed.

As an athlete, the food you eat can have a big impact on your performance. By understanding the role that nutrition plays in athletic success, you can make sure you're fueling your body in the best way possible.

Different nutrients play specific roles in supporting athletic performance. Carbohydrates are the body's main source of fuel for physical activity, so it is important for athletes to consume enough carbohydrates to support their training and competition.

The recommended carbohydrate intake for athletes is 6-10 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. 


Protein is also important for athletes, as it is necessary for the repair and rebuilding of tissues damaged during physical activity. It is also involved in the synthesis of enzymes, hormones, and other molecules involved in the body's metabolism.

The recommended protein intake for athletes is 1.2-2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.

In addition to carbohydrates and protein, it is also important for athletes to consume adequate amounts of micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are essential for optimal health and performance.

Athletes may need to consume more of certain micronutrients to support their increased energy needs and to replace those lost through sweat during exercise.

While meeting these specific nutrient needs is important, it is also crucial for athletes to pay attention to their overall diet and to consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods. A registered dietitian or sports nutritionist can help athletes develop a nutrition plan that meets their individual needs.

Proper hydration is also important for athletes. It is recommended that athletes drink enough fluid to replace the fluids lost through sweat during exercise. This will help to maintain performance and prevent heat illness.

Working with a registered dietitian or sports nutritionist can help athletes develop a personalized nutrition plan that meets their individual needs.

As an athlete, it's important to make sure you're getting the right nutrients to support your training and performance.

USANA's Active Nutrition


While a well-rounded diet is essential, sometimes it can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need from food alone. That's considering a high-quality nutrition supplement as part of your training regimen is also recommended.

In summary, proper nutrition is essential for athletes to support their training, optimize their performance, and maintain good health. By paying attention to their energy needs, protein intake, carbohydrate intake, micronutrient intake, and hydration, athletes can fuel their bodies for success.

So, don't wait any longer, Take the first step to improve your performance and reach your goals today.


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How mRNA Vaccines Work to Prevent COVID-19 (and Possibly Beat Cancer)

by: Dr. Gabe Mirkin, M.D.


Messenger RNA May Help to Beat Cancer

The two currently-approved COVID-19 vaccines use a technique called messenger RNA (mRNA) that could lead to cures for cancer and many other diseases.

In 2005, Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that mRNA could be injected to increase a person’s ability to kill germs, but the human immune system would destroy the injected mRNA before it could have any effect on the body. Then they found that they could get the mRNA into cells by encasing it in small bubbles of fat called lipid nanoparticles (LNP).

However, the mRNA researchers did not make any further notable advances against diseases until a major breakthrough occurred in January 2020, when Chinese scientists worked out the structure of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and identified the spike protein that lets the virus get into cells.

This breakthrough made it possible to create vaccines with mRNA that would copy the spike protein.

How mRNA Vaccines Work to Prevent COVID-19


• Unlike previous vaccines, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines do not contain any live or dead viruses, or even parts of a virus. Instead, they both contain mRNA that is made in the laboratory.

• The mRNA that you receive in the vaccine enters some of your cells where the cells’ machinery uses that RNA to make copies of the spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19.

• The mRNA itself is destroyed within a few hours after it enters your body.

• The spike protein of the coronavirus that you made is a foreign protein, so your immune system recognizes that it is different from you. From then on, if the coronavirus enters your body, your immune system attacks and destroys the spike protein of the coronavirus.

• The spike protein is the key that lets the virus get into your cells. If your immune system destroys the spike protein, the virus cannot get into your cells and it disintegrates very quickly.

• Normally, injecting mRNA would be worthless because the body would destroy it. In the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the mRNA is coated with lipid nanoparticles (LNP) that protect the mRNA so it can do its job of making copies of the spike protein.

How mRNA May Be Used to Combat Cancer


The mechanism that is working to immunize people against COVID-19 may also be useful in finding cures for many types of cancer. Cancer cells are different from normal cells. Normal cells go through a certain limited number of doublings and then die. This is called apoptosis. Thus skin cells live 28 days and die, red blood cells live 120 days and then die, and the cells on the inside of your lips live 24 to 48 hours and die, and so forth.

Cancer means that your cells forget that they are supposed to have only a limited lifespan. For example, breast cancer is not fatal as long as it stays in your breast, but when breast cancer cells become so numerous that they spread to your lungs, brain or liver, they can destroy these organ's cells and you die from lung, brain or liver failure. Everybody makes millions of cancer cells every day, but your immune system recognizes that cancer cells are different from normal cells, and seeks out and destroys the cancer cells.

Your immune system destroys cancer cells using a mechanism that is similar to the way that it seeks out and destroys invading germs. Various germs continuously try to invade your body, but your immune system recognizes germs by their surface proteins that are different from your own surface proteins. So when a germ tries to enter your cells, your immune cells and cytokine proteins work to attack and kill the invading germs.

In a like manner, your immune system recognizes that cancer cells are not normal and attacks cancer cells in the same way that it tries to kill germs. If your immune system loses its ability to tell that a cancer cell is different from a normal cell, the cancer cells can multiply, spread through your body and kill you. For many years, scientists have been trying to make copies of cancer cells that can be transmitted with mRNA to restore your immune system's ability to attack and kill those cancer cells. This research is now being accelerated by the recent successes in development of vaccines to combat COVID-19.

Current Research Using mRNA


The research on mRNA over the last 15 years that led to the development of vaccines to treat COVID-19 is also being applied to experimental treatments for many types of cancers.

• Moderna has more than two dozen projects going (some in partnership with Merck and AstraZeneca) to treat cancer, influenza, HIV and heart disease.

• Moderna and Merck are testing an mRNA cancer vaccine in combination with the immunotherapy drug, Keytruda, for colorectal and head and neck cancers.

• BioNTech has several projects to treat cancers, tuberculosis, and influenza. BioNTech recently showed that mRNA may work to combat multiple sclerosis in mice; it has already been shown to cure brain infections in mice (Science, Jan 8, 2021:371(6525):145-153).

• CureVac is studying a cancer treatment using mRNA, AstraZeneca is testing a mRNA treatment for heart failure, and Translate Bio is studying use of mRNA for cystic fibrosis.

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To a New Journey, Come Follow Me

This quote is what started my Entrepreneurial spirit with an aim to just learn from things that are entirely different from what I have studied and accustomed to doing.


From a side gig in race event organizing, to paper investments, real estate, restaurant venture, foodcart franchise, and product distribution.

It's been 6-years and I tell you the journey isn't as sweet and financially fruitful as I've expected. Most have failed and are really physically and mentally taxing. It's been 6-years yet I am still learning the ropes from all of these choices.

The difference it has made? It's priceless!

Right now, I am working with people with higher goals, people with bigger mindset, business people with positive outlook and who inspires me to become the best that I can be. You see, not all businessmen are what you have known for from hearsays (greedy and all).

These are the people who believes in moral obligation to succeed to be able to help and also impart their success around them. From them I am learning a lot of great things aside from the usual business, to give more attention to things I have control of, give value to what's more valuable, be one of those 3-percent who continuously grow and be productive beyond my senior years.

I am just beginning to see a pinlight of hope from the past failures, but I know now that we have an exciting life and there's a better life ahead for everyone. So come follow my journey, or you may also come along with me in this wonderful expedition of finding the key to financial and time freedom.

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Walking Can Help Ease a Stiff Lower Back

Is a stiff lower back causing you pain?
by: Karl Scott

A recent study reviewed over 20,000 people suffering from back pain. The results concluded that getting regular exercise could reduce and even eliminate the need for pain medication and other remedies. But the type of exercise you need doesn’t have to be strenuous. Experts agree that when it comes to treating stiff lower back pain, walking is one of the best medicine.


Walking to Ease Back Pain

This simple form of exercise can greatly reduce back pain in most cases. But the benefits don’t end with pain management. Regular exercise is crucial to maintaining good health into old age. Making it routine can give you a boost in energy, increase mobility, and even improve mental health. In this post, we’ll examine the different ways walking can regularly improve the sometimes painful symptoms associated with a stiff lower back.

Strengthening Stiff Lower Back Muscles

Walking is a low-impact aerobic exercise that provides numerous benefits. People don’t get as much exercise as they used to. And in today’s modern era, some people have become prone to sedentary lifestyles. Sitting for extended periods of time can have huge negative impacts on the health of your spine, particularly the lower back. Higher pressures are placed on the lower spine while sitting, which can be a contributing factor to back pain.

To help alleviate this, it’s important to get up and moving. Especially if exercise isn’t a part of your daily routine (for whatever reason). Walking helps to increase the stability of the spine by strengthening muscles in the legs, abdomen, and hips. As these muscles gain mass with use, the spine is kept in a more upright position with greater support.

Additionally, walking regularly also increases blood circulation to the soft tissues of the spinal column. By promoting healthy blood flow to this area, the overall well-being of the lower back muscles is further improved.

Walking Releases Natural Pain Killers

Pain management through the use of medication can be a dangerous and slippery slope if one isn’t careful. Pain medications are commonly prescribed for chronic back pain, but sometimes their continued use can lead to a plethora of problems associated with addiction. Regular dosages of pain medication can actually increase a person’s pain threshold. Although not every case is the same, talk with your doctor about the possibility of cutting back or stopping pain medications in favor of other natural remedies such as getting regular exercise.

In fact, aerobic exercise actually produces its own type of pain management. As muscles are used they develop small tears, preceding new growth. To fend off the pain associated with strenuous exercise, the body produces hormones called endorphins. Endorphins block the pain receptors in your brain, much like how an opioid pain medication binds to your brain’s pain receptors. But with regular exercise, these pain receptors are less active. With time and if made routine, walking can help reduce or even stop pain medication dependency.

Endorphins also provide a boost to your mood and exercise and can be used to treat a variety of mental health disorders.

Improve Flexibility and Posture

In addition to improved strength in the legs and torso, walking also helps to increase flexibility and improve posture. As you become more comfortable with your new routine, and as you begin noticing its benefits, you might notice a greater range of motion. But this can’t be attributed to walking alone. Your exercise walking routine should also incorporate regular active stretching before and static stretching after.

Stretching before a workout helps loosen up your muscles and prevents sprains and tears. Doing so after a workout helps your muscles “cool down.” When regular exercise walking is combined with routine stretching, your range of motion is increased. With time you will become less susceptible to injury. Furthermore, as your muscles gain strength, your posture will improve as your muscles pull your spine and hips into proper alignment.

Walking Helps Control Weight

Weight doesn’t come off like it used to, and gaining more becomes more dangerous with age. Having a high body mass index also means that more strain is placed on your already stiff lower back. A regular exercise walking routine will help to manage any weight gains, and could even help you shed a few extra pounds. Perhaps your stiff lower back has been a contributing factor to unhealthy weight gain. Walking will help boost your metabolism and should also be paired with a healthy diet.

Walking Tips

Now that we’ve covered why you should begin an exercise walking routine to combat a stiff lower back, let’s look at how you should proceed.

Stretching Prior to Walking

Like with any exercise routine, stretching to warm-up before heading out for your walk is important and helps prevent injury. Before taking your first step, begin your exercise walking routine by performing some simple and gentle stretches. Doing so will help prepare your muscles, ligaments, and joints for the increased strain and range of motion.

After stretching up, set forth! But be sure to take it easy for the first five minutes to allow your muscles a chance to warm up. Your stretching routine should focus on the calves, hamstrings (back legs), and quadriceps (front thigh). However, don’t forget to include your hips, back, neck, and arms. Stretching should also be done after returning from your walk.

Know Your Limitations

A stiff lower back shouldn’t prevent you from taking a stroll through the park. But depending on the amount of lower back pain you experience, your walking routine shouldn’t cause more acute pain. Work with your doctor to discuss what your limitations are and how to improve them. If you experience high levels of pain, you may want to seek alternative treatments (which will be discussed below).

Avoid any challenging terrain that may pose risk to injuries, such as uneven pavement or dirt trails. Furthermore, don’t over exert yourself in the name of good health. Pushing yourself is all well and good, but remember, you’re walking to prevent injury and not create any new injuries.

No Pain, No Gain

Now that you have your limitations in mind, don’t let them discourage you from pushing yourself past the wall. Your stiff lower back may twinge a bit for the first few weeks, but this is normal. Your body is getting accustomed to movement again and should be treated with respect as to avoid injury. But you should also actively try to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

As previously mentioned, aerobic exercise produces hormones called endorphins, which block pain receptors. You may experience pain initially, but if you’re able, keep walking. It seems counter-intuitive, but your body will adjust to the new activity. Begin your walking routine slowly and intentionally. As you gain more confidence in your pain threshold, work your way up to a faster pace or a longer distance.

Walking Alternatives

Sometimes the pain is just too much for walking to be a feasible form of treatment. If this is the case, consider an alternative which has less impact on your back. Consider starting your routine by using a treadmill. Treadmills are great ways to ensure a proper pace while maintaining footing on a flat and obstacle-free surface. But if mobility is too much of an issue, or if your pain levels are too high, consider water therapy exercises.

Water therapy exercises include water jogging and other aerobic activities. These exercises are terrific ways to help strengthen lower back muscles in an extremely low-impact environment. If you’re back pain is too much for walking to be an option, consult with your doctor to discuss what other alternatives might be available to you.

Proper Footwear

Your feet directly impact your spine and lower back. As such, you should adorn them with the proper equipment. A decent pair of walking shoes is a worthwhile investment when it comes to improving your stiff lower back. Take your time to shop around for the right pair, and don’t be surprised at how much you spend. Despite the cost, a good pair of shoes is crucial to getting the most from your exercise workout routine.

Walking shoes give your feet basic support and protection. But they also help redistribute weight properly. As you take a stride, weight is shifted from different areas of your foot and sends the pressure upwards through the leg and into the back. Finding the right pair for you could help alleviate any unnecessary pain.

Walking Techniques

Walking comes naturally, but with back pain, it should be done so mindfully. Always begin at a slow pace and work your way up from there. Try starting out by walking for five minutes and work your way up from there. Keep your pace brisk and steady, but take care to not over-exert yourself. Also, be mindful of your posture. Keep your head up and centered on the horizon in front of you. Additionally, be sure to rely on your abdominal muscles for extra back support.

Lastly, ensure your strides are neither too long or too short. Making exercise walking into a routine can have profound positive health benefits for lower back pain. By walking for 30 minutes three to seven days a week, your back will become stronger and you will experience less pain. As it becomes regular, you’ll not only be in less pain, but you’ll be in better shape and a better mood!

Author the Author

Karl Scott writes fun and informational health articles for TechieFriday. His main expertise is nutrition, fitness, and massage. He believes that Information should be free and if something can benefit the public it needs to be shared.



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