Curtis Lu is a Homegrown Taekwondo Champion

August 6, 2015 2:02 pm
Curtis Lu

In just two months, Ottawa’s Sabum Curtis Lu has won four gold medals for taekwondo in local and international tournaments.

The 19-year-old’s first two golds came on June 13, during the Gen. Choi Legacy World Cup. That tournament, held at Algonquin College here in Ottawa, honours one of taekwondo’s founders, Korean major-general Choi Hong-Hi, who passed away in 2002. The event drew in more than 300 competitors from around Canada, the United States and Pakistan.

Lu won in sparring and patterns, which requires athletes to cycle through precise movements to show their strength and discipline.

Ott Do

Ottawa’s taekwondo team at the USTF tournament near Boston.

Lu’s next win came just last month on July 25, during the USTF International open taekwondo championship held west of Boston, Massachusetts. Facing opponents from more than five countries, Lu walked away with two more gold medals, again for sparring and pattern black belt division.

The larger Canadian team, all of whom were from Ottawa, also brought home another gold and a bronze medal from the competition.

Raised by two taekwondo masters, Lu was training before he started elementary school.

“I was technically three when I started, but I’ve been around it since I was born,” he says.

Lu currently holds a third degree black-belt. Although black is the highest belt colour one can achieve, it has different ranks, each harder to achieve than the last. Lu’s two sisters are second degree black belts, his mother is an eighth, and his father, taekwondo legend Phap Lu, is a ninth degree black belt.

“It’s a family affair,” Lu laughs, adding that only a handful of people in the world have a ninth degree like his father. “I’d say around 10 or so. It’s a lifelong journey.”

Curtis Lu’s father was a member of General Choi Hong-hi’s inner circle, and he helped the founder spread his new martial art across the world. Now, Phap Lu owns multiple Lu’s Taekwondo training gyms here in Ottawa.

Aside from training and winning taekwondo tournaments, Curtis Lu also studies Marketing at the University of Ottawa. He plans to follow in his parents’ footsteps by continuing his training and eventually running the gyms.

“The big plan is to take over my dad’s school,” he says.

Lu has his eye on an upcoming September tournament in New York City, but it may interfere with his school schedule. Regardless, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for what this promising local athlete will win next.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Rick Hansen

12:00 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Rick Hansen, Athlete, Wheelchair Athletics

Rick Hansen’s response to tragedy makes him an inspiration to all Rick HansenCanadians.

Hansen grew up in Williams Lake, British Columbia. He was a natural athlete and passionate about all kinds of sports, especially volleyball and basketball.

In June 1973, Hansen and his friend Don Alder were returning home after a week-long fishing trip. Riding in the back of a pick-up truck, the two were thrown out of the vehicle when it went off the road. Although the crash left Don relatively unharmed, the incident forever changed Hansen’s life. He sustained a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the waist down, preventing him from ever walking again.

Hansen was not prepared to let his new physical restrictions limit what future possibilities stood before him.

Three years after the accident, Hansen enrolled at the University of British Columbia and was the first person with a physical disability to graduate with a degree in Physical Education. During his time there, he played for the Vancouver Cable Cars, a wheelchair basketball team, and led them to win six national championships between 1976 and 1982.

Hansen turned his focus to track between 1979 and 1984, winning 19 international wheelchair marathons, including the 1984 World Wheelchair Championships. He also won nine gold medals and set nine records at the 1982 Pan-American Wheelchair Games along with gold, silver and bronze medals at the 1980 and 1984 Paralympic Summer Games.

Hansen has participated in several championships from wheelchair basketball to tennis, but he is perhaps best known for his commitment to make a difference for those living with spinal cord injuries.

The Man in Motion tour began on March 21, 1985. After two years and one day, Hansen had wheeled an amazing 40,072km through 34 countries on four continents. His efforts raised a total of $26.1 million for spinal cord research, rehabilitation and wheelchair sport.

Hansen’s momentum didn’t fade after the tour’s end.

In 1988, he created The Rick Hansen Foundation. It is a charitable organization that has raised more than $245 million for a variety of programs and initiatives aimed at creating an inclusive community for people living with disabilities. He is also committed to mentoring young people about social responsibility and supporting environmental conservation and sustainability.

Hansen is a courageous Canadian whose accomplishments go far beyond athletics.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

NHL Developments: A Quick Recap of Pre-Season News

August 5, 2015 10:01 am

Photo courtesy of Falling Heavens.

As you know, the 2015-16 season gets under way on October 7th, which is just two months away. There has been a lot developing in pre-season, including some controversy for the league as a whole.

The NHL is placed under legal scrutiny

Concussion and head trauma in sport has been brought the fore of public conversation when it comes to contact sport. When a sport is as physically demanding as hockey, you automatically expect the necessary safeguards that protect the players’ health and safety to be in place.


Photo courtesy of Kaz Andrew.

However, in recent months, a battle has raged between the NHL and players who have suffered from head trauma. Previously injured players are suing the league for not doing more to protect their health, even though the league has shown to be aware of the effects of head trauma on long-term cognitive performance.

The Ottawa Senators were dealt several blows last season as both goaltender Robin Lehner and forward Clarke MacArthur were diagnosed with concussions. Both players suffered their injuries against the Carolina Hurricanes in mid-February and likely played a part in the overhaul that is currently ongoing.

In a landmark ruling, the court has ruled that the NHL must hand over its data in relation to players suffering concussions and related head injuries in order for a judge to decide if the league has failed to sufficiently protect its players.

Movers, shakers and performers

There’s been a lot of talk about certain players needing to prove their worth in the NHL, from rookies to unsettled vets. There has also been a lot of rapid movement in the free agency, with more than 150 players signing to new teams in just five days.

All of this makes for a turbulent start to the season, as teams adjust to their new players and configurations. This is part of the reason why Bet365 has fluctuating NHL odds for games at the start of the season. With all of these changes occurring, it’s quite difficult to call.

Make sure you stay up to date with all the latest NHL news – a lot can change before the start of the season.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Curt Harnett

July 30, 2015 2:05 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Curtis 1Curt Harnett, Athlete, Cycling Track

Peddling to the medals, Curt Harnett is one of Canada’s leading racing cyclists.

Curt Harnett found a love for cycling when he first started riding a bike, without training wheels, at five-years-old. It was his high school football coach who introduced him to the competitive sport as a way to stay in shape during the hockey off-season. Eventually, a contender for a spot in the OHL, Harnett decisively left his skates for a bicycle in 1982.

He has represented Canada four times at the Olympic Games, bringing home three medals. In 1984, he won silver in the 1,000m time trial, along with a bronze in the 1992 and 1996 match sprint. He has also won more than 30 national titles including two match sprint silver medals from the 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games. As well, he won a gold 1,000m time trial medal and bronze match sprint medal at the 1987 Pan American Games.

On top of these achievements, Harnett was the first man to break the 10-second barrier for 200m. He set the record of 9.865 seconds in 1995 in Bogota, Colombia, averaging at a speed of nearly 73 km/h, he held the astounding record for 11 years.

Although Harnett retired in 1996, he has remained an involved member of the Canadian cycling community. He was a colour commentator at the Olympics in Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and London (2012), and has been involved with numerous charities across Canada including the Special Olympics and Right to Play. Harnett has also given back through his involvement with the Board of Directors for the Canadian Cycling Association, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the City of Toronto’s bid for the 2008 Olympic Games. Most recently, he was the Chef de Mission for Canada at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Barnett also manages to find time for touring as a motivational speaker. He draws on his own experiences in the sport to encourage young Canadians to aim high and reach their dreams.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

Why is Everyone so Happy, and I’m Not?

July 29, 2015 3:00 pm

If you are reading this, there is a good chance you, or someone you know isn’t very happy. There are plenty of things you want to do with your life but the unhappiness, low motivation and lack of energy is too difficult to overcome. Not to mention the amount of stigma regarding depression and mental health which is a realistic barrier to reaching out for help from a friend, loved one and most importantly a doctor that can diagnose and find appropriate treatment.

According to CAMH (Canadian Association for Mental Health), 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental health or addiction problem and is the leading cause of disability in Canada. It is thought that roughly 8% of the population will experience a major depressive episode at some point in their lives. And this number doesn’t account for the people who may have dysthymia, chronic low mood that often goes undiagnosed. So when we contemplate, why is everyone so happy, and I’m not? Chances are you are not alone, as the spectrum of mental illness affects more people than you think.

How can you start feeling happier?
Whether you are taking medication, or seeking a natural solution to boost mood, there are things you can do today to help you lift depression. While every case is different and unique, there are universal basics that I recommend for everyone. Once you get started on the basics, you can consult a naturopathic doctor for more targeted treatments with natural supplements, botanicals or acupuncture to support a healthy mood.

Mood Basics #1: Drink water and eat “happy mood food”.
Your body and brain need to receive the appropriate fuel to function optimally. Drink 1-2 litres of water and eat whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, and fresh fish. I like to call these ‘happy mood foods’ since they fuel the brain and have mood-enhancing actions. There are plenty more to choose from, but start here and you’ll be on your way.

Mood Basics #2: Take a fish oil supplement and vitamin D
There is abundant research showing that a daily fish oil supplement containing appropriate levels of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) can improve and maintain a positive mood. If you are vegan, consider flax oil (while not as potent, it is better than not using a healthy oil at all). Taking a daily active vitamin D3 supplement is another good addition. It acts like a hormone in your body that research has shown can boost mood.

Mood Basics #3: Step away from the TV and get moving and interacting every day.
I recognize that this step might be a challenge. Motivation is often difficult with depression and low mood. But moving your body is a potent antidepressant and can include walking, tai chi, swimming or yoga. Get up and do something physical for 30 minutes. As well, people who are happier tend to spend less time in front of the TV and more time connecting with others – visit a family member, have coffee with a friend, take your dog to the social dog park or attend church. Human connection is powerful and healing.

I hope that these few mood basics can get you on your way to feeling better. There is hope in lifting depression and being happier, because you deserve to feel like your best self.

theyarehappy_imnot_image2Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


By Dr. Josée Boyer, ND

Josée is a Naturopathic Doctor at Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre. Her clinical focus the study of interactions between the psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. She focuses on anxiety, stress, insomnia, hormone health and depression which can cause fatigue, digestive complaints, a weak immune system and pain.

An Unwelcome Guest Returns to Formula One

July 27, 2015 2:01 pm
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Jules Bianchi in his Marussia formula F1 car.

This month, after a 21-year hiatus, an unwelcome guest returned to Formula One racing.

Crash 1

Jules Bianchi’s crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

At the rain-soaked 2014 Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, October 5, Marussia F1 driver, 25-year-old Jules Bianchi, a native of Nice, France, lost control of his car and slammed into the back of an industrial mobile crane that was removing the crashed Sauber car that German driver Adrian Sutil had walked away from on the previous lap. Bianchi’s Marussia rounded Dunlop curve and hit the back of the crane at close to 100 miles per hour, generating enough impact force to temporarily make the crane leap into the air and off the edge of the soggy track. Bianchi suffered a severe traumatic brain injury known as diffuse axonal injury which had left him in a coma since the October 5 crash. On July 17 of this year, some nine months later, Bianchi succumbed to his injuries.

Bianchi’s death marks the first death in Formula One since the infamous 1994 season, a season that was particularly dangerous due to mandated changes in the Formula One rules which eliminated the use of drivers’ aids such as ABS (anti-locking brakes), adaptive suspensions and traction control, to name but a few, in an effort to increase competition amongst drivers. The intent was to emphasize driver skills and eliminate what was widely perceived as an unhealthy reliance on technical aids that were supposedly making the cars easier to drive and therefore limiting competition among the drivers themselves. When it came to technology, the less is more approach to racing in the 1994 season would prove fatal, claiming the lives of two drivers: Austrian rookie Roland Ratzenberger and three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna, both of whom were killed in high speed crashes that occurred only one day apart at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy. Ratzenberger’s crash took place on qualifying day, Saturday, April 30, whereas Senna’s occurred the following day during the Grand Prix itself.

Crash 3

Roland Ratzenberger’s 1994 fatal crash.

Unlike Bianchi’s collision, both of the fatal crashes in 1994 occurred in dry conditions. During qualifying for what would have been his second ever Grand Prix race, the damaged front wing on Ratzenberger’s Simtek car broke off, leaving the car uncontrollable due to a lack of sufficient downforce and causing it to careen into a wall at a blistering 196 miles per hour. The very next day, Senna climbed into his Williams car for the last time. Tucked into the cockpit of Senna’s car was an Austrian flag that he planned on waving during his victory lap as a sportsmanly form of honoring the recently departed Ratzenberger. That opportunity never came.

On the seventh lap of the San Marino Grand Prix, Senna slammed into a wall at approximately 135 miles per hour and fell victim to a fatal combination of circumstance. The sheer force of the impact itself had thrust one of the Williams’ front wheels into the cockpit, violently forcing Senna’s head back into the headrest and fracturing his skull, and the front suspension had broken apart on the crash sending shrapnel through the visor of his helmet. By the time he was extracted from the mangled car, Senna had lost all brain activity. By that evening he was dead.

In the immediate aftermath of the deadly 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, rigorous new safety requirements were introduced. The back to basics approach of the 1994 season (concerning technology and, more specifically, drivers’ aids) was quickly jettisoned. Subsequent seasons would once again embrace technology in the name of both safety and speed. Consequently, in the two decades since 1994, Formula One racing has become a substantially safer and faster sport. But, as Jules Bianchi’s recent accident in Japan reminds us, no matter how technologically advanced the cars may now be and no matter how skilled the athletes who drive them may be, risk cannot be eliminated completely. With this in mind, death, the unwelcome guest, returns to Formula One racing. Perhaps the iconic lost-generation writer F. Scott Fitzgerald was right when he ended The Great Gatsby by stating that, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Brian Orser

July 23, 2015 1:50 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Brian Orser, Athlete, Figure Skating

Pure talent and determination combined with a sense of musicality and creativity, _DSC8542 Brian OrserBrian Orser had the whole package as an international competitive figure skater.

Born in 1961 and raised in Penetanguishine, Ontario, Orser began skating when he was six years old. In 1977, he won the novice skating Champions of Canada and two years later took first prize at the Junior Canadian Championships. As well that year, he became the first Junior and second person ever to land the triple axel in competition. Nicknamed “Mr. Triple Axel,” he was also the first skater to land it in the Olympics. He won a Silver medal for Canada at the Olympic Winter Game in 1984 and four years later, won another Silver at the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary.

On top of these achievements, Orser was eight-time Canadian National Champion from 1981 to 1988. He also won the World Championships in 1987, where he became the first competitor to land two triple axels in the free skate and three in the same competition.

In 1986, Orser achieved one of his greatest honours — being inducted as a member of the Order of Canada. It recognized not only his skill as an athlete, but also his contribution as an unofficial ambassador of Canada. On top of this distinction, in 1990 he won a Primetime Emmy for his televised performance of Carmen on Ice.

After dedicating a career and lifestyle to professional figure skating, Brian Orser continues to show his passion for the artistic sport by generously sharing his knowledge with the next generations of skaters.

In 2006, he decided to retire from competing and fully devote himself to coaching. He has led both Kim Yuna (2010) and Yuzuru Hanyu (2014) to Olympic Gold along with Javier Fernández to the 2015 World title. He has also been the head skating instructor at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club since 2005. Orser continues today to coach a variety of skaters from international medalists to up-and-coming youngsters.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Jacques Villeneuve

July 16, 2015 12:00 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Jacques V.Jacques Villeneuve, Athlete, Auto Racing

After loosing his father tragically in a racing accident during the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix, Jacques Villeneuve was determined to follow his dad’s footsteps with a professional career in motorsport. Remaining courageous yet cautious, Villeneuve is an inspiration for others to stop at nothing.

Villeneuve was born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, to aspiring Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve. His uncle, Jacques Sr., was also a racing driver.

At the age of 15, Villeneuve enrolled in the Jim Russell Racing Driver’s School in Quebec – the same school his father had attended and where the young Canadian began to learn his craft under the direction of his uncle.

His racing career started at the age of 17. From 1989 to 1991 he drove on the Italian Formula Three (F3) racing circuit and then moved to racing F3 cars in Japan the following season. Overseas, he won three races and finished second in overall points standing. The next year brought him more victories on the Formula Atlantic racing circuit in North America. He placed first in five races and was recognized as Rookie of the Year.

Perhaps Villeneuve is most remembered for being the Indy 500 Winner in 1995, the Indy Car World Series Champion that same year and the Formula One World Champion in 1997.

After 11 years on the F1 circuit and before retiring in 2006, Villeneuve had won 11 races, recorded 23 podiums and claimed 13 pole positions. Having been born just 50 kilometres from the track, the racer refused to let anything stand in the way of his adventurous spirit. He remained determined to chase his dream and quench his thirst for adrenaline.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

Burn Baby Burn at The Dailey Method

July 13, 2015 2:00 pm
The Dailey Method Shoot-TDM Headshots 2015-0085

New to Ottawa this year, The Dailey Method is a full body workout that will work all of your major muscles (and all of the other muscles that you never knew existed) in less than sixty minutes.

The two classes offered, Dailey Basics and Dailey Barre are designed to help you lengthen and strengthen your entire body through specific (and exhaustive) movements. The classes are structured around a signature blend of pilates-style moves, signature barre work and alignment exercises that will leave you feeling as though you’ve had a very successful workout.

The Dailey Method Shoot-TDM Headshots 2015-0082I had no idea as to what to expect for my first class at the Glebe based studio, but after co-owner and instructor Sarah Thompson said she would be changing up the music to include only show tunes, I knew that I had joined a fun environment. At the beginning of every class, you select a mat, an exercise ball and hand weights that you’ll refer to throughout the workout. I decided to start with the two-pound weights, whereas other women chose to use a combination of lighter and heavier weights for the varying postures. After a set of warm ups, the class kicks off with muscle strengthening, controlled core conditioning and a focus on neutral spine positions that encourage proper body alignment.

I found that my first class flew by and I was surprised by how some of the moves were straightforward while others were a bit tricky to master. Thankfully, the class instructors offer hands on instruction, so even if you’ve never taken a barre class or tired pilates before attending, they are quick to notice if you need guidance to achieve the proper pose to get the burn you’re after. As you can imagine, I was a bit stiff the following day but I found that staggering a few classes throughout the week made it easier to catch on to the movements and easier on the recovery.

My favourite part of the classes were the sections that were devoted to ab work (although you’ll notice that you’re always engaging your core) and the movements that engage your glutes. You’ll work your abs to exhaustion with the C-curve crunches and the barre workout places a particular importance on sculpting the perfect derriere.The Dailey Method Shoot-TDM Headshots 2015-0038

Good news for the moms out there! You’ll be thrilled to note that they offer child minding services for the morning classes throughout the week for only five-dollars. The studio is located directly adjacent to the child centre, so if you’re a new mom and wanting to check-in mid class you can easily take a look around the corner. The classes are also doable if you’re pregnant. Women in all stages of their pregnancy were in attendance of most of my classes and with a few variations on the poses, they were able to take part in most of the movements.

If you’re finding that you’re hitting a plateau in your workout or simply looking to switch things up, I found The Dailey Method to be the boost that I needed to get on track.

Class fees vary from $21 for a drop-in class, $79 for first time subscribers or $149 per month.

The barre class was originally founded in 2000 by Jill Dailey McIntosh in San Franciso and has expanded to Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Canada and Paris, France.

Alex’s Tip: Don’t forget your socks! You’ll need a pair of ‘yoga’ socks with traction bumps on the bottom so you can hold the stretches for a longer period of time without slipping or sliding. I picked up the bright multi-colour pair at the studio!The Dailey Method Shoot-TDM Headshots 2015-0090

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Carling Bassett-Seguso

July 9, 2015 12:12 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Carlin Basset-SegusoCarling Bassett-Seguso, Athlete, Tennis

Carling Bassett-Seguso became Queen of the Court as a young woman. Her victorious career is a story of inspiration for teenage athletes to overcome any limitations.

Born in Toronto in 1967, Bassett-Seguso began playing tennis at the age of 11. After she showed clear promise as a member of the 1959 Canadian Davis Cup team, Bassett-Seguso’s father did whatever he could to help his daughter follow her passion. He enrolled her into the famous Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where she quickly developed the skills that made her a tough competitor in tournaments across North America.

At the age of 13, Bassett-Seguso won the Canadian indoor title as well as the Canadian Junior Championship. She turned professional two years later, becoming the youngest participant at Wimbledon. In 1982, at age 16, she earned the spot as Canada’s top tennis player and held the position until 1986. As a 17-year-old Bassett-Seguso became the first Canadian to have broken into the Top 10 in singles on the professional tour, reaching No. 8 in 1985. Adding to these early-life achievements, she also managed a successful second career as a fashion model for the Ford Modeling Agency.

Bassett-Seguso was named the Women’s Tennis Association’s Most Impressive Newcomer in 1983 and Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1983 and 1985. During her career, she won a total of two top-level singles titles and two doubles titles. In 1998 she was inducted to the Tennis Hall of Fame and in 2001 she was the first female tennis player to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

The spirited athlete retired in 1991, a few years after beginning a family with the American tennis player Robert Seguso. She continues to stay active in the world of tennis as a commentator and coach encouraging young players to persevere.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

To Roll or Not to Roll? How Foam Rolling Can Help You

July 7, 2015 10:27 am

People have heard foam rolling is great for our bodies, but many are confused as to what it actually does. Foam rolling is a type of self-myofacial release, having similar effects on our bodies as a professional manual therapist. It can be a helpful tool for increasing flexibility, joint mobility, injury prevention and rehabilitation and can also decrease recovery time between workouts.

If you decide to use a foam roller, you will probably find a trigger point in the muscles you are focusing on. A trigger point is what most think of as a “knot.” The knots most often occur in overworked muscles but can be caused by many other factors, such as diet or co-morbidities. Each muscle is composed of several parallel muscle fibers, which are then covered in a sheath-like material called myofacia. A trigger point occurs from adhesions in this network and can result in pain and decreased muscle function. By applying pressure to your muscles with the roller, you can loosen up a trigger point, which allows oxygenated blood into the muscle, which can ultimately keep it healthy and loose.

A foam roller looks similar to a thick pool noodle and can be found for roughly $15-$20 at most sport, fitness and department stores. Many runners and athletes even use a regular kitchen rolling pin and similar effects are seen.foamroll3[1]

Foam rolling can allow you to see immediate results through increased range of motion and muscle loosening. It should be done before a workout to get your blood flowing and should also be done after a workout as a way to flush out pooled blood in exchange for fresh oxygenated blood.

Rolling is easy and can be done on large and small muscles groups. You should roll slowly in the direction of the muscle fibers. For example, to loosen up the calf muscle (which is tight on most people), start by sitting on the ground with your legs in front of you. Place one leg on the foam roller and the other leg on top of that leg. Then roll slowly for about 25 seconds towards the direction of your knee. Once you get to your knee, start all over again at the bottom of the calf. If you find any tight spots along the way, hold in that spot for a few extra seconds. With this technique, you can effectively roll out your legs, glutes, shins and even arms.

If you are very tight, you may find rolling to be uncomfortable. Discomfort is normal; however it is important to note you should never feel pain. If you are having pain, try easing up on the amount of pressure you are applying. Also, remember rolling is not a replacement for regular stretching, warming-up or cooling down, but is a great tool for maximizing your workouts and overall recovery.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Norman Baker

July 2, 2015 12:00 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canadas Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life. 

Norman Baker: Athlete, Basketball

Norman BakerNorman “The Swede” Baker was named Canada’s top basketball player of the first half of the 20th century—and for good reason. Throughout his entire life, even during times of war, he remained dedicated to the sport.

Born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1923, Baker began playing basketball for the Nanaimo Mosquitoes at age 10. Six years later, Baker was picked up by the Victoria Dominoes, making him the youngest member to play for a Canadian Championship team. He went on to win two more national titles with the Dominoes.

In late 1942, Baker enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. While serving he was a member of the national champion team, the Pat Bay Gremlins. In one game against the Windsor Patricks, he scored 38 points which was a record at the time.

After leaving the RCAF, Baker was able to begin his professional career in basketball, playing for the Chicago Stags and the Vancouver Hornets. While a Hornet, he was the lead scorer in the league with an outstanding 1,962 points in 70 games.

During the basketball off-season, Baker played lacrosse with the New Westminster Adanacs. He was part of the effort that won the team the Mann Cup national championship in October 1947.

For two years in the 1950s, Baker was part of the New York Celtics, Stars of America and Boston Whirlwinds. With them he played against the Harlem Globetrotters while travelling throughout Europe and Africa. Founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, Abe Saperstein, described as “one of the greatest natural basketball players I have ever seen.”

After his professional sporting career ended, Baker worked as a police officer. In his spare time he continued to show love for his sports by coaching lacrosse and basketball. Baker died as a respectable Canadian athlete at age 66 in Victoria.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

Plantar Fasciitis or Joggers Heel: An Early Sign of Diabetes?

June 30, 2015 12:30 pm
Plantar Fasciitis or joggers heel an early sign of diabetes Image 1

Lets talk about Jeff, 45. He lives in Kanata with his wife Jill and his two daughters. He does little exercise in the winter, but enjoys jogging from April to September. He has put on a few pounds over the winter, which he blames to his lack of exercise and sweet tooth. After a few weeks into starting up running this spring, he stepped out of bed one morning and experienced a sharp stabbing pain in the bottom of his right foot close to his heel. Over the next few days he also noticed the pain would come on after long periods of sitting and standing. He was still able to run, although the first kilometre was painful. Concerned he might have to stop running, Jeff went to see his physiotherapist, who diagnosed him with Plantar Fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis, or joggers heel, is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.Plantar Fasciitis or joggers heel an early sign of diabetes

The causes of plantar fasciitis are not entirely clear. Risk factors include overuse, such as from long periods of standing, an increase in exercise and obesity.

Many treatments have been proposed for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. The effectiveness of most of these treatments has not been adequately investigated and consequently, there is little evidence to support recommendations for such treatments.

Furthermore, about 90 per cent of plantar fasciitis cases are self-limiting and will improve within six months with conservative treatment, and within a year regardless of treatment.

When considering the potential root cause of musculoskeletal problems that appear to come and go with or with out some sort of physical therapy intervention, it is often useful to consider the general health of the person.

Recent research has shown plantar fasciitis is increased in the early stages of type 2 Diabetes, suggesting the condition might be an indication of an underlying blood sugar problem. Common symptoms of early diabetes, or pre-diabetes, include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Increased Thirst
  • Stubborn wounds or infections
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden, weight gain or loss
  • Darkened areas of skin

If, like Jeff, you suffer from plantar fasciitis and exhibit some of the above symptoms, a good next step is to ask your doctor to check your blood sugar levels. If results show that you are pre-diabetic, then the condition can be easily controlled through diet and lifestyle changes, with the help of a naturopathic doctor or functional medicine practitioner. Ignoring any potential early warning signs, which may include plantar fasciitis could lead to full blown type 2 Diabetes, which is much harder to rebound from.


I hope you found this information from Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with it.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Canada World Cup a Success? Looks That Way

June 26, 2015 10:03 am

On June 6, the world’s top rated soccer players arrived in Canada to compete in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.  After three weeks of competitive matchups, the stakes are set for the quarter-final round of the tournament, where the last eight will compete to become the top four.

Among the quarter-finalists are the Canadians, who are the hosts of this year’s tournament. Backed by a swelling sense of national pride and sold out venues for each of their games in the competition, the Canadian women are three wins away from winning their first World Cup trophy.unnamed-2

The successful run of the Canadian team has helped deliver on expectations when the Canadian Soccer Association won the right to host the 2015 tournament. Canada invested millions of dollars renovating stadiums and preparing accommodations in the six cities where the World Cup plays—Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.

However, the CSA anticipates a significant return on those investments. Over 1.5 million tickets were sold before the first game of the event, and as many as 1,200 jobs were created leading up to the World Cup. Volunteers across the country are logging thousands of hours to help ensure the tournament runs smoothly and financial experts anticipate a healthy economic impact for each of the six host cities when all is said and done.

Team captain Christine Sinclair, midfielder Ashley Lawrence and striker Josée Bélanger helped Canada advance to this stage of the tournament. Their next opponent is the English team, who fell to Canada 1-0 in a friendly game at the end of May when midfielder Sophie Schmidt connected for the game winning goal.

Vancouver will host the World Cup Final on July 5, and organizers anticipate a sold out event for the championship game. If Canada qualifies for the championship round, not only does the team have a realistic chance to win the World Cup trophy; victory can be claimed on home turf.

Go Canada!

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Charmaine Hooper

June 25, 2015 12:18 pm

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canadas Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Charmaine Hooper: Athlete, Soccer

Known as one of the most exceptional soccer players to come out of Canada, Charmaine Hooper is an inspiration to a whole new generation of players. Her athletic journey is one of risk, persistence and ceaseless passion.

Hooper was born in Guyana in 1968. She began playing soccer as an 8-year-old when her diplomat father was posted in Zambia. After playing soccer exclusively with boys for years, she was quick to join an all-girl team when her family moved to Ottawa.

Hooper made the earliest women’s national soccer team in Canada in 1986 and was the first player to be capped 100 times. Over the course of her 20-year career, which ended in 2006, Hooper represented Canada 129 times and scored 71 goals. Both of these were national records at the time.

Three of her appearances were at FIFA Women’s World Cups. The most recent was in 2003 when she helped lead Canada to its best finish ever in the international tournament. She scored the only goal in the team’s 1-0 win over China, qualifying them for the semi-finals.

Besides winning Canada’s Female Player of the Year in 1994, 1995 and 2002, Hooper was named honorary ambassador to the first-ever FIFA Under-19 World Cup, held in Canada in 2002.

At club level, Hooper played professionally in the United States, Norway, Italy and Japan.

Hooper now lives in Waco, Texas, where her husband, Chuck Codd, is an assistant coach for the Baylor women’s soccer team. She continues to stay involved with the sport by coaching her 9-year-old daughter Charlie. Hooper also gives her time to the FIFA Task Force.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

Living With Anxiety

June 23, 2015 1:55 pm

Anxiety: that feeling of worry, nervousness and apprehension that grabs a hold of you, shakes you up and stops you in your tracks.

Anxiety is overwhelming and pervasive, leaving you frazzled, constantly over-thinking and unfocused. For some, it becomes difficult to have a normal functioning day. Anxiety can also cause sleep problems, digestive issues and much more. If you recognize some of these symptoms, you’re not alone. I see many people suffering from generalized anxiety daily.

living_with_anxiety_image2Your mind is, at times, the biggest culprit for those anxious feelings. The truth is we don’t typically become anxious overnight. Patterns and habits can gradually increase anxiety over time, but simply willing anxiety to go away isn’t always easy. It takes time, treatment strategies and understanding triggers to slowly process and reduce anxiety.

Also, understanding your brain chemistry is very important in treating mood issues. The main chemical messenger that keeps you calm and relaxed is GABA. Naturally, low or deficient levels of GABA are associated with higher incidence of anxiety. It is the primary chemical messenger considered to be “inhibitory,” meaning it reduces and counterbalances feelings of anxiety and excitation.

How can you support your body and brain to curb anxiety?

First of all, there are many ways to help improve the amount of GABA present in your system, including supplementation of herbs like Valerian, Kava and Passionflower. They can be given in the gentle form of tea or possibly in stronger herbal extracts. Guidance from an herbalist or naturopathic doctor can help you choose an effective treatment for you.

In your diet, removal of caffeine can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep. Also, eating regular meals and having a normal blood sugar balance can help stave away the typical “fight or flight” stress response. Having low blood sugar levels can often mimic or trigger anxiety.

Finally, exercise (appropriate for age and general health) can be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy in the management of generalized anxiety disorder. I hear a lot of people telling me they clear their head and remove “extra energy” from their system with a good run or a workout. These are just a few options that you can start today to help curb anxiety and feel a bit more like yourself!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Kaleena Jay Photography

Author: Dr. Josée Boyer, ND

Josée is a Naturopathic Doctor at Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre. Her clinical focus the study of interactions between the psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. She focuses on anxiety, stress, insomnia, hormone health and depression which can cause fatigue, digestive complaints, a weak immune system and pain.

Nine Steps to a Healthier You!

June 19, 2015 10:06 am
Outdoor Portrait Of Indian Man

Martine, 44, works for Statistics Canada. She is married with two children, Samantha, 13, and Gordon, 11. Both play high-level soccer, which means that both she and her husband Graham are kept extremely busy ferrying them both to practice sessions and games. This combined with a demanding job and shouldering much of the homework, as her husband works late, means Martine has little time for exercise, socializing or pursuing her hobby of painting.

Her full life has also meant that her diet has suffered since she has little time in the mornings except to grab her cup of coffee from Tim Hortons and a bagel. Lunches are often a quick sandwich and while suppers often consist of some form of processed protein and frozen vegetables. By the time supper is finished and cleared away, Martine is usually exhausted and usually collapses in front of the TV with a glass of wine, which can often turn into 2 or 3. She manages to get to bed by about 11:30 most nights but usually takes about an hour before she goes to sleep. She sleeps well but getting up for a workday has become increasingly hard as she does not feel rested.

Her energy picks up after her coffee but after lunch she is usually tired. Over the last year she has put on nearly 20 lbs, has started to suffer from seasonal allergies and has been catching colds on a regular basis.

On a recent visit to her doctor, Martine was horrified to find out that she had high blood pressure and cholesterol; her fasting blood sugar indicated that she was pre diabetic, and she had blood markers for autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s).

Like thousands in Canada today, the demands of career and family life have meant that Martine has taken her good health for granted and she has now become part of the alarmingly growing statistics of sick Canadians:

Until she started having children, Martine had always been extremely fit and full of energy and life. With this disturbing news she looked and felt 54, not 44, and was determined to get back her health but how?

To understand how Martine can take back her health, we need to understand the fundamental reason why her health is failing—mismatch!

Our bodies have not adapted to the diet and lifestyle we have in the modern world today. When animals are taken out of their natural habitat and caged in a zoo, they become less healthy and they have a shorter life span. Zoologists have recognized this for sometime and as such have tried to recreate the animals diet and environment as much as possible. Our bodies are still much adapted to the diet and environment we lived in as hunter-gatherers and like animals that have been caged in a zoo, our bodies are caged by our modern diet and lifestyle.

To help Martine get back her health, like in the zoos, she needs to recreate, as much as possible, that ancient diet and lifestyle.

Here is a brief outline of the 9 steps Martine needs to take in order to get back her healthier self:

  • Just eat real food—if it comes in a packet or a tin, don’t eat it!
  • Avoid toxic foods including flour, industrial seed oils and sugar.
  • Think about the quality of the food and drink you consume.
  • Get better sleep.
  • Manage your stress.
  • Get moving!
  • Start enjoying yourself more!
  • Get back into nature.
  • Spend more time with the people you like and love!

If you can relate to Martine and some or all of her health issues then start to think about the above steps and about how you can begin to integrate them into your life.

Finally, I hope you found this information useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with them.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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