Dr. Kyle: Why You Should Use The Sauna

Everyone enjoys a day at the spa for some much-needed relaxation, but did you know that time spent in the sauna may actually increase muscle gains?

Originating in Finland, this traditional passive heat therapy is becoming increasing popular world-wide. Saunas are often used for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain as well as headaches. Recent evidence has suggested benefits for high-blood pressure, neurocognitive diseases and pulmonary conditions.

Emerging studies have found a protective effect for cardiovascular disease with regular sauna use for both men and women. It turns out, the more you use the sauna the better. More time spent sweating it out, the more health benefits!

Need any more reasons to hop in the sauna?

Sauna use has also been associated with increased net protein synthesis. This is why amenities such as saunas and steam rooms have become more common place in gym and fitness facilities. After your workout may be the best time to jump in the sauna and here’s why:

1. Intense short-term heat exposure stimulates the production of heat shock proteins that reduce muscle degeneration cause by oxidative stress.
2. Produce Growth hormone for increased lean muscle mass.
3. Increased NO (nitric oxide) availability to promote blood flow and circulation.
4. Decrease inflammatory pathway activity and free radical production.
5. Improve insulin sensitivity, allowing your body to utilize glucose more efficiently.
6. Enhance the production of BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor) which synthesizes new brain cells.

Essentially, saunas stimulate the bodies autonomic nervous system in order to maintain a constant core body temperature in extreme heat. Short durations of heat stress induces adaptive mechanisms similar to exercise and have profound physiological effects.

It has also been found to help with anxiety, depression and improve parasympathetic function! Who doesn’t want a little extra mental clarity in their life.

For any questions or comments please email me at drkyle@forwardhealth.ca and be sure to follow my Instagram and Facebook page @drkylearam.

References:

Hussain, J., & Cohen, M. (2018). Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 1857413. doi:10.1155/2018/1857413

Laukkanen, T., Kunutsor, S. K., Khan, H., Willeit, P., Zaccardi, F., & Laukkanen, J. A. (2018). Sauna bathing is associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality and improves risk prediction in men and women: a prospective cohort study. BMC medicine, 16(1), 219. doi:10.1186/s12916-018-1198-0

Dr. Kyle: 4 easy steps to get rid of brain fog

For those of you who have ever experienced periods of brain fog, these tips are for you!

Common symptoms of brain fog include lack of focus, clarity, memory, and attention. Patients will often report feelings of anxiety or even confusion. For those of you who are high achievers, these daily lapses in judgment can put a halt on productivity. It’s time to reclaim your brain and boost your mental capacity!

There are a few key lifestyle hacks that will bring back your sharp mind and rid you of brain fog for good:

1. Reduce inflammation in your diet

• Remove food sensitivities (gluten, wheat, lectins, etc)
• Less carbs and plenty of healthy fats (grass-fed butter, coconut oil, animal fats)
• Fasting – upregulate brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) to help grow new brain cells!

2. Increase physical activity

• Lowers risk of developing depression and anxiety.
• Release BDNF and “feel good” neurotransmitters.
• Decrease pain perception and inflammation.
• Increase cerebral blood flow and improves cardiovascular health.
• Try high intensity interval training, sprint training and fast paced sports.

3. Sleep more

• Avoid blue light from computer/phone screens 2 hours before bed.
• Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep for optimal brain recovery.
• Try to sleep on your back, avoid sleeping on your stomach with head kinked to the side.
• Practice proper sleep hygiene: make sure room is pitch black, bed is comfortable, room at appropriate temperature, and noise reduced.

4. Mental detox

• Meditate every morning for 10 minutes (with diaphragmatic breathing).
• Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption.
• Practice mindfulness, gratitude, affirmation and self-compassion.
• Challenge your mind with puzzles, strategy games and creative projects.
• Take care of your mental health
• READ

For more health and nutrition tips follow me @drkylearam on Instagram and facebook!

Tips for Snow Shovelling

 

Don’t Let the Snow Get You Down

Winter weather can pack a punch and, with the season’s heavy snowfalls, injuries often result. Improper snow shovelling is often to blame.

But shovelling out after a storm doesn’t have to leave you stiff and sore. With a little know-how, you can clear your driveway without the all-too-common back, neck and shoulder pain cramping your style. Here’s how:

Before You Start:

  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in the winter months as it is in the summer.
  • Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as you get warm.
  • Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
  • Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body. An ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue. Also, if you spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant, the snow will slide off more easily.
  • Before beginning any snow removal, warm up for five to 10 minutes to get your joints moving and increase blood circulation. A brisk walk will do it.

All Set to Go

PUSH, DON’T THROW.

Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.

BEND YOUR KNEES.

Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.

WATCH FOR ICE.

Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and subsequent freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls. Throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing.
Once you’ve mastered safe snow shovelling techniques, you’ll be free to have fun and stay fit all winter.

 

Call and book an initial assessment with Dr. Kyle Aram today!