Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: John Hiller

June 4, 2015 12:03 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.

John Hiller: Athlete, BaseballAttachment-1

After a single strike on his physical health, Hiller was nearly forced out of professional baseball for good. His sense of determination and admirable work ethic makes this athlete’s story of reintroduction one of the greatest sport recovery stories of all time.

Hiller was born on April 8, 1943, in Toronto, Ontario. He grew up in Scarborough playing hockey as a goaltender. Initially, he took up baseball with the Kiwanis Club in the summer to fill time between hockey seasons.

A left-handed pitcher, Hiller graduated from Toronto’s East York Minor Baseball Association in 1962 and was immediately signed with the Detroit Tigers. After a few seasons he had become one of the best relievers in the game. In 1968, he set a modern major-league record by striking out the first six batters in a game against the Cleveland Indians. The same year, he was also part of the Tigers’ World Series-winning team. As a 27-year-old, Hiller’s baseball future looked bright.

On January 11, 1971, Hiller’s career was unexpectedly put on hold when he suffered a serious heart attack. Although forced to sit the season out, it didn’t take long for the idea of returning to creep in. He was determined to play baseball again and didn’t waste any time during his recovery year to begin practicing.

Hiller attended spring training with the Tigers in 1971, as the batting-practice pitcher. It wasn’t until July when he was given the opportunity to resume his professional career.

His remarkable comeback was a success. Hiller’s returning season was the best of his career with a 1.44 ERA and a league-leading 65 appearances. With a lot of hard work and dedication, he was also able to set a major league record for 38 saves—an achievement that stood for a decade.

Hiller retired from professional baseball in 1980. Overall, he had an astounding 2.83 ERA and pitched in 545 games, a record for the Tigers. He also left the game with 125 saves, which, at the time, was the fourth-highest total in American League history. It also stood as a team record until 1993.

At age 72, he continues to be in good health and is committed to supporting various heart related charities.

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

High Heel Hazards

June 2, 2015 2:14 pm
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With wedding and summer party season around the corner, many have the desire to throw on a pair of glamorous high heels. Although fashionable, wearing high-heel shoes can leave you with undesirable short and long-term effects. Stylish stilettos can lead to problems such as foot, knee, hip and back pain.

When your heel is elevated in a shoe, your toes push forward and are squished into a narrow toe box. This can leave you with blisters, ingrown toe nails and can lead to bunions or even nerve damage at the ball of your foot (in an area we call the metetarsals).

ottawalifeheel1 (1)Wearing heels will also put you at an increased risk of spraining your ankle. These shoes will force you to support more of your bodyweight on a narrow heel, which is higher from the ground than other types of shoes, which leaves your ankle stability weakened. So, if you were to ever role an ankle, damage could be more severe since you have farther to fall.

Chronic high heel wear can cause more permanent damage to areas other than the feet. For example, shortening of the tendon on the back of your heel (the Achilles tendon) can occur from chronically contracting the calf muscles. This can also lead to further problems such as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis can cause intense pain on the bottom of your feet.

If you have low back pain and wear high heels, your shoes may be to blame. When the front of your foot slides forward in a heeled shoe, you are forced to redistribute the rest of your weight by leaning backwards to maintain an upright position. This can cause you to overarch your low back. Overtime, this increased “lumbar lordosis” can put a lot of strain on muscles, joints, ligaments and nerves in the low back and legs.

Is there a solution?

If you insist on wearing heels, here are a few tips to help find the best compromise:

  1. When shopping for heels, you want to find one with the most arch support. Do not choose a heel higher than two inches. The lower you go, the more natural your foot position will be.
  2. Choose a chunky heel over the stiletto type. Although you will still be dumping weight into the ball of your foot, the wider heel will increase your base of support.ottawalifehighheel2
  3. Choose a shoe with few straps. The more straps you have, the higher the chance of getting blister irritation.
  4. Shop in the evening for heels. Over the course of the day, our feet accumulate fluid. Shopping later in the day will allow you to chose heels that accommodate for this.

Try these tips from Ottawa Holistic Wellness. Keep your feet happy and treat them with love and care!

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Bobbie Rosenfeld

May 28, 2015 12:52 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.

Bobbie Rosenfeld: Athlete, Track Events

Rosenfeld, Bobbie B 1955 (BW)Recognized as Canada’s Female Athlete of the First Half-Century (1900-1950), there wasn’t any sport Bobbie Rosenfeld couldn’t conquer. She ran fast, jumped high, hit baseballs, shot basketballs, threw javelins and passed pucks, at a time when sports were deemed “unladylike.” Her victories and sportsmanship helped prove the abilities of girl competitors and paved the way for future female athletes.

Fanny Rosenfeld, or better known by her nickname “Bobbie” for her “bobbed” haircut, was born in Russia in 1903. She immigrated to Canada as an infant and was raised in Barrie, Ontario. Her family moved to Toronto in 1923 where Rosenfeld worked at a chocolate factory and excelled in local sporting teams during her spare time.

She entered international athletics in 1928 at the Amsterdam Olympics, when women were first allowed to compete in the games. Rosenfeld was part of the small Canadian women’s track team which won a Gold medal for the 400-metre relay, Silver for the 100-metre and came in fifth place in the 800-metre. She scored more points for her country than any other male or female athlete at the games.

Rosenfeld’s flourishing career came to a sudden halt in 1933. Struck with severe arthritis, she was bedridden for months and afterwards had to rely on crutches. Although physically she was unable to participate in athletics, her strong spirit could not keep her out of the game entirely. She coached the Canadian women’s track and field team at the British Commonwealth Games in London, England in 1934 and became a sports writer for Toronto’s Globe and Mail in 1937. Her column was called Feminine Sports Reel which covered women’s sports for 18 years.

Canada lost one of its most celebrated female athletes on November 13, 1969 when Rosenfeld died in Toronto at age 64.

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

The Gluten Free Diet: Why it Might Not be Helping You

May 26, 2015 2:34 pm
Gluten free diet Why it might not be working Image 1

I have lost count of the number of clients at Ottawa Holistic Wellness that I have advised to go on a gluten free diet because I determined it would help their symptoms.

For the vast majority, it was a positive experience. Their long-term chronic symptoms disappeared. For the minority, the effort was not rewarded even though they had been 100 per cent gluten free.

Gluten free diet Why it might not be working Image 3For a number of years this had been a puzzle to me, until I was listening to a podcast in my car on the way to work. The podcast was an interview with Dr. Tom O’Bryan, an internationally renowned expert on coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity. He talked about a brand new set of blood tests now available which look at gluten sensitivity. The test that interested me the most was for Gluten Cross Reactivity (GCR).

To understand what GCR is, you have to understand how the body normally reacts to gluten

When your body gets sensitive to gluten, it produces antibodies, which are like little Arnold Terminators zapping invading gluten proteins in your blood. Unfortunately sometimes Arnold gets confused between the gluten proteins and similar proteins in your body and starts zapping all of them.

GCR occurs when Arnold starts thinking the proteins from other foods are gluten proteins. The body produces more gluten antibodies to zap those other proteins, but which will also continue to attack your body. So you may as well be eating gluten and it is no wonder your symptoms don’t change.

Gluten free diet Why it might not be working Image 2The GCR test, available through Cyrex Labs in the U.S., tests the most common foods that cross-react to wheat gluten.

This include: cows milk, casein, whey protein, soya, milk chocolate, instant coffee, yeast, oats, sesame, buckwheat, hemp seed, millet, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, tapioca, teff, corn and rice.

As I mentioned, these are only the most common and many foods have not been researched as yet. However, if you have had no change in your symptoms on a traditional gluten free diet and you eat some of the above, it would be worth getting tested or to try avoiding them all and seeing if there is any benefit.

Finally

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

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

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Mark Tewksbury

May 21, 2015 12:01 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.

 Mark Tewksbury: Athlete, Swimming

A true Canadian icon, Mark Tewksbury is recognized not only for his unnamed-5astounding international swimming achievements but also for his valuable work as a humanitarian.

Although Tewksbury was born in Calgary, he spent his earliest years in Dallas, Texas. Taking a dip in the pool was his favourite way of escaping the southern heat as a five-year-old. Upon moving back to Alberta with his family, Tewksbury began to swim regularly at the Cascade Swimming Club and later with the University of Calgary Swim Club, where he developed world-class techniques.

Years of training paid off when Tewksbury competed with Canada’s relay team in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and won a Silver medal. Four years later in Barcelona, Tewksbury won another medal in the relay event—this time Bronze, along with Gold in the 100-metre backstroke. The 1992 Olympics were his last before retiring from professional swimming. In total he won 21 national championships (11 individual and 10 relay) and was named Canada’s Male Swimmer of the Year four times.

unnamed-4While sporting victories contributed to his early success, Tewksbury has been truly defined by his life after competing. He officially came out as gay in 1998 and has since become a prominent advocate for gay rights nationally and internationally. Among many of his efforts, Tewksbury stood up for human rights at the 1st World Outgames in Montreal in 2006, he has addressed the United Nations on the decriminalization of homosexuality and has mentored other young gay athletes.

The charismatic Olympian has devoted decades of his life to motivational speaking in schools, companies and organizations around the world. His contributions to public education on issues concerning sexual identification were honoured earlier this year by the University of Toronto when he was presented with the Bonham Centre Award.

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

Respecting Hormonal Balance

May 20, 2015 10:05 am
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Hormone balance. It seems like a simple concept, but we need to respect that these tiny chemical messengers are anything but simple. Our body has dozens of hormones, all of which play a very important part of our normal daily functioning. They engage in complex interactions with each other to moderate a response within the body. If one hormone isn’t up to the task, the downstream effect can alter your health is many different ways—too many to count.

Female hormones include the class of steroid hormones which are made by the body from cholesterol. This includes estrogens, androgens, progesterone and cortisol. These hormones have far reaching effects in women: they influence thoughts, moods, reproductive health, fertility, skin health, transition times such as puberty, PMS, menopause and regulate the stress response.

How can we attempt to know how or what to balance?

Proper testing and assessment takes the guess work out of hormone balance. Following our symptoms is the first step, but knowing and checking your levels is the second step in addressing the often confusing symptoms.

What can I do at home to get started?

Here are a few things you can start today. Your body needs appropriate fats to create and respecting_hormonal_balance_image2maintain healthy hormone production. Eating plenty of olive oil (un-heated!), coconut oil, avocado, flax seeds, fish and fish oils does just that. Adequate sleep is a key player as well. Respect those hormones and get eight hours of restful sleep—your body will thank you for it. Limit your caffeine intake, it’s almost as bad as not getting enough sleep! Keep your hormones in check by switching some cups of java to the more balancing green tea. You can get extra antioxidants and a mild caffeine boost as well. And lastly, while attempting to balance hormones, participate in light to moderate exercise like yoga, walking or swimming—if you exercise too intensely your hormones risk going into over-drive.

These are daily tips to respect your hormones and get them working for you, not against you. Even if they may seem simple, these nutritional and lifestyle changes allow you to find hormonal balance to make sure you are thriving everyday!

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

respecting_hormonal_balance_image3Dr. Josée Boyer, ND 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.

 

The Competitive Mind: Your Brain On Poker

May 15, 2015 3:56 pm
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Ever wonder how your brain works when you’re playing a competitive game? In 2014, Bwin asked that question and began researching your brain on poker, analyzing the different levels of brain activity between a beginner and an expert poker player.

How did it work?

Researchers observed 6 players (2 beginners, 2 amateurs and 2 experts) playing a 40-minute game of Texas Hold’em. Half the players (one from each level of experience) played for money and the other half played for free, with the exception of the expert who played for small stakes.

A brain map was then created for ‘beginner’, ‘amateur’ and ‘expert’ to show how brain activity changed under certain circumstances.

What did they find?

The results, interpreted by sports psychologist James Hazlett, varied depending on the stage of the game.

your brain on poker

After evaluating the brain activity of the beginner, amateur and expert players during various stages of the game, the research showed that expert players had more consistent engagement and excitement. Experts also used less mental effort and were quicker to make decisions.

On the other hand, less experienced players moved much slower and were more likely to get frustrated during the game. The experts would play multiple tables – making them more engaged and less frustrated over time.

3 Important Takeaways

1. Emotion is key.Beautiful young girl meditating in autumn park

The research revealed that there is a significant relationship between our emotional responses and our participation in competitive sports. Other research on this topic supports the idea that our emotions affect the quality of performance.

By studying poker players, the study observed that an expert is much less emotionally involved than a beginner or amateur. Even when the expert playing for money became frustrated, he continued to play well. This was not the case for the emotional beginner who was playing for cash.

2. Experts are more engaged.

The more experienced players in the study demonstrated more consistent levels of engagement overall.

In a competitive environment like a poker game, the increase of adrenaline can compromise your level of engagement. This kind of stress can make it harder to stay calm and think logically during a game. Dr. Kristin Race explains that when our mind wanders away from the present, it can develop a stress response, making it harder to focus on the here and now.

While the expert in the study demonstrated consistent focus, the less experienced player was driven by emotion.

3. Be patient.

Player Gary Pro Golfer

Professional golfer Gary Player

Professional golfer Gary Player once said, “Patience, practiced correctly, is a powerful mental tool that unlocks so many other positives and that will also give you the kind of perspective others may lack under pressure.”

This applies to poker as well. Patience and self-control are necessary traits in competitive play.

During the study, both the beginner and amateur felt frustrated when waiting for other players to take their turn. Expert players did not demonstrate the same reaction. They were calm and focused on planning their next move.

 

The three conclusions drawn from this study extend far beyond poker. Keep these observations in mind for any competitive game.

View the data here.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Peter Reid

May 14, 2015 1:34 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.

Peter Reid: Athlete, Triathlon

Canadian Ironman Peter Reid is a triathlete without weakness. He is PReid510px (1)-2recognized in the sporting world for not only his time spent on the podium, but also his tireless work ethic and exceptional toughness.

Reid was born in Montreal in 1969. As an amateur to triathlons, he could barely swim the length of a 25-metre pool. After intense training, Reid was prepared for his first competition in 1989.

Only five years into his career Reid participated in the Ironman World Championships—a challenge requiring 3.9 kilometres of swimming, 180 kilometres of cycling and 42.2 kilometres of running. Although Reid did not finish his first two attempts, he came back stronger than ever in 1998, capturing the gold medal in Kona, Hawaii. He renewed the World Championship title again in 2000 and 2003.

On top of these victories, the elite triathlete placed Silver and Bronze in seven other Ironman competitions between 1999-2000. Very few triathletes measure up to these astounding achievements.

Simon Whitfield, Olympic triathlon Gold medalist, said of Reid, “His was the epitome of work ethic for our sport. He simply got the work done … in rain, shine, hail and snow. He was early mornings and early to bed. I saw his attention to detail, making sure everything he did was done with a sense of precision. He was leading edge when it came to his bike, his nutrition and his strength program.”

Reid retired from triathlon in 2006 to pursue his dream of becoming a commercial pilot. He now lives in Vancouver with his partner Malaika Ulmi and their son, flying small seaplanes for a living. Reid continues to enjoy mountain biking and trail running as a hobby.

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

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Ted Lindsay

May 7, 2015 2:53 pm
Lindsay, Ted 2002 (C)

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.

Ted Lindsay: Athlete, Ice Hockey

The nickname “Terrible Ted” doesn’t do Ted Lindsay justice. Although he was a rough and often mean sportsman, spending more time than anybody else in the penalty box, Lindsay is one of Canada’s finest hockey stars. On the ice, he was a skilled left winger and goal scorer. Outside of the arena, he worked to protect NHL athletes’ rights and make the lives of others better.

Lindsay was born in 1925 in Renfrew, Ontario. He became a professional hockey player in 1944 when drafted by the Detroit Red Wings. Before long, Lindsay was playing alongside Gordie Howe and Sid Abel. Together, the trio formed the Production Line—the highest scoring, most exciting line of the post-war NHL and reason why the Red Wings won four Stanley Cups in six years.

In total, Lindsay played 1,068 NHL games, had 851 points and a staggering 1,808 penalty minutes. On top of that, he also competed in 11 consecutive All-Star Games between 1947-57 and was the first player during an All-Star Game to score a hat trick.

Lindsay’s toughest competitors were not in skates—they were the men who controlled the NHL. During the mid-1950s, he secretly met with Toronto defenceman Jim Thomson and tried to organize players into a union. Once his authorities found out, Lindsay was traded to Chicago as a sort of punishment, where he played for three years before retiring. He was called back for a final season with Detroit, but left for good in 1965.

Not long after, NHL players hired a lawyer and formed the union Lindsay had envisioned, changing the league forever. This victory wouldn’t have happened without Lindsay’s initial efforts.

Among his considerable amount of charitable work, this year marks the 15th anniversary of his personal organization. The Ted Lindsay Foundation works to fund autism research and spread awareness.

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

Using Mental Rehearsal to Bring Your Sports Game to the Next Level

May 5, 2015 12:08 pm
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Every athlete, from the beginner to the professional, can benefit from using mental rehearsal to improve their game. This holds true for athletes and competitors in every sport arena including the weekend warriors or duffers, to the skilled martial artist, dancer, bowler, dart player, hockey and / or soccer player. Although, this article deals with sports, these core skills are generalizable to other areas of life (studies, difficult conversations, work or hobbies).

Using mental rehearsal Image 1The benefits of mental rehearsal include: enhancing learning and skills improvement, improving practice and game time performance, strengthening the mind-body connection, boosting confidence and controlling emotional responses. Research has shown that mental rehearsal can actually increase muscle growth required for a sport. Given the list of benefits, it is obvious that mental rehearsal can give an athlete a competitive edge. While there are several theories on why this works, one general idea is that as we rehearse the activity, we create the neural pathways and networks in the same way as if we had actually practiced physically. Unfortunately, many people do not know how to do practice this technique to maximize their performance results.

You can rehearse simple or complex skills, scenarios you are familiar with, new scenarios, as well as the emotional state you wish to achieve. Here are the keys for how to practice mental rehearsal effectively.

The first key is to make the image as real and precise as possible. Imagine exactly how you would stand, where would your opponent be, the time of day, and so on. The more details you add, the more real you can make the image.

In a similar vein, the second key is to use all of your senses in your mental imagery. Imagine the smells, sounds, sights, feelings, taste, if applicable, and proprioception (the sense of how your limbs are oriented in space).

While the third key is interrelated to the first two keys, it is so essential that it needs to be listed separately. It is to practice how you want to feel. During the rehearsal, you should imagine being completely focused on the task, filtering out all distractions and “being in the zone”. You want to engrain sensations of confidence, self-control and composure under pressure. Practicing these feelings will allow you to get into this mind space more easily during the sporting event.

The next key is to imagine things happening in real time. If you are learning a new skill you can slow it down to look at the details and then speed up the image to real-time. You need to incorporate into your practice rehearsal of the skills at the speed you will perform them on the field or in the ring.

The penultimate key is to imagine doing the activity from a variety of perspectives. To do this you should feel the activity as if you were living it from the first-person perspective and then imagine watching a video of you doing it from a third-person perspective. Some people also report success when they imagine the experience from their teammates or opponents perspective.

The final key is to plan time to mentally rehearse these keys at a time and in a place where you will not be disturbed. Just as you devote time to the physical aspects of the game, take time for the mental aspects of the game. Recommendations vary about the amount of time that you should practice these exercises and the circumstances vary for each person. My recommendation is to mentally rehearse 4-10 minutes every day supported by longer sessions 2-3 times a week.

If you have problems seeing images (visualizing), do not worry; just “imagining” the sport and the skill sets that you want to practice works as well. If you find it difficult to do mental rehearsal on your own, you can seek out MP3s or watch videos of professionals performing your sport, then close your eyes and imagine doing it yourself exactly the same way. You may choose to see a performance coach, hypnotist or other trained professional as they can offer a different point of view, specific feedback and skills to work on and guide you further through these exercises.

So go ahead, take time to practice mental rehearsal and give yourself the competitive edge.

By Derrick Barnes

Using mental rehearsal Image 3Derrick Barnes, RSW Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, uses the latest techniques and evidence-based research to help you focus on reaching your goals. His approach combines coaching techniques, solution-focused brief hypnotherapy and mindfulness. Even though Derrick focuses on future successes and not past challenges, he will, upon request, offer various other services such as past life regression or energy work. You can find Derrick at Ottawa Holistic Wellness.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Ian Millar

April 30, 2015 3:00 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.

Ian Millar: Athlete, Equestrian

Ian Millar set the bar for Canadian equestrians—and then jumped over it.

Ian Millar

Photo courtesy of Gordon Milne

Millar is popularly known for his exceptional Olympic record. Competing in more Olympic Games than any Canadian in any sport, he set a World Record at the London 2012 Olympic Games when making his 10th Olympic appearance.

The dedicated athlete has also earned nine medals, including two Gold medals, between nine Pan American Games—more than any other show jumper! Millar is an accomplished 10-time Canadian Champion. In 1989, he became the first rider to win back-to-back World Cup Finals.

Millar has not let anything interfere with his professional career or love for the equestrian sport. He set a record for the oldest show jumper to stand on an Olympic podium at the 2012 Beijing Olympic Games when he won a Silver medal for Canada. Millar was 61 years old.

“I know what the median age is here, and I’m certain I’m on the other side of that, but I’m still very comfortable riding at the top level,” Millar says on his website. “I just love to do it. I cannot imagine a life without horses.”

This famous victory, marking the nation’s first win for team show jumping in 40 years, came at a time of great hardship for Millar. He had lost his wife and business partner of 39 years to cancer only months before. Persevering through his sorrow, Millar was able to dedicate the medal to her memory.

Today, Millar makes his home just outside of Ottawa at Millar Brooke Farm, a state-of-the-art training facility in Perth, Ontario. There he lives alongside his children Jonathon and Amy, who have both been Canadian Show Jumping Team members. Together, the Millar’s share their riding expertise with learning equestrians.

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

Do We Really Need to Stretch?

April 28, 2015 2:08 pm
Group of People doing Stretching Exercises

We are all guilty of skipping our stretches now and then. But how important are they anyway?

Stretching not only improves flexibility, it can be a tool to help keep your muscles healthy. When we stretch, we move our joints in full ranges of motion, which helps loosen up the muscle itself as well as other connective tissues.

Fitness, sport, friendship and lifestyle conceptStretching can increase blood flow to our muscles, which ultimately provides nutrients and aids in muscle repair. It keeps our tendons and ligaments lubricated so that you can do things more efficiently and expend less energy overall.

Muscles shorten over time, and if left unattended to, this can lead to dysfunction and pain. For example, if you wear high heels all the time, your calves could be in a constant state of contraction. This is what we call “tightness.” Another example of this is people who sit at a desk most of the day. These people can develop chronically tight hip flexors due to their hips being in a flexed position all day.

We need to be flexible in order to perform everyday, but there are other benefits of stretching.

Increased Circulation: stretching can give your muscles and joints fresh oxygenated blood (which has tissue healing properties and other nutrients our body needs). Increased circulation can help break up the “knots” we often refer to.

Balance: A flexible joint requires less energy to move (more energy efficient).

Reduce risk of injury: The risk of injury can be reduced through stretching by increasing blood flow to your joints and tissues. This will also help muscles recover after an intense workout.

Stress reduction: Stretching can increase mental calmness by stimulating your body’s relaxation response. It can activate the part of our nervous system responsible for tranquility. You can get great health benefits by holding a stretch coupled with deep breathing, this allows for full oxygen exchange. Remember not to hold your breath when doing a stretch.woman practicing yoga in park

Reduced risks of back and neck pain: Stretching keeps muscles attached to the back and neck in a relaxed state so they perform at their maximum capacity. Furthermore, if we can increase oxygenated blood to our neck by stretching, it may help reduce headaches.

Better Posture: Having loose muscles will help keep you upright and maintain the body’s natural curvature. Chronically tight muscles can lead to poor posture.

So, how long should you hold a stretch for? The optimal time to hold a stretch is 30 seconds (National Academy of Sports Medicine). Anything less than 20 seconds will not lengthen muscle fibers or increase blood flow to the surrounding tissues. Although 30 seconds is optimal, you should not hold a static stretch before a workout. When we hold a stretch, our brain gives our muscles a signal to relax making them less able to spring into a workout. Holding stretches post-workout is the best idea for optimal muscle health.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: George Chuvalo

April 23, 2015 1:47 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 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.

George Chuvalo: Athlete, Boxing

The greatest Canadian heavyweight athlete of all-time, George Chuvalo is recognized not only for his tough fights within the ring, but also for showing strength against devastating family battles.

unnamed (1)Chuvalo was born in Toronto in 1937. While attending high school he became one of the best known amateur boxers in the city and was named the national amateur heavyweight champion at the mere age of 19.

During his 21-year career, Chuvalo fought professionally a total of 97 times. He was never once knocked off his feet, even when matched against some of the best boxers in the world like Muhammad Ali, Floyd Patterson and George Foreman. For this he was ranked fourth on ESPN’s Best Chins in Boxing History. Chuvalo is also a five-time Canadian heavyweight champion and two-time world heavyweight title challenger. He was ranked in the world’s top 10 heavyweight athletes longer than anyone else in the world.

Just as he refused to fall down in a fight, Chuvalo remained standing after experiencing harsh personal devastations. In just over a decade, he lost his wife and one son to suicide and two sons to drug overdose. Chuvalo found inspiration in these tragic losses, and now talks to young people in schools about the dangers of drugs. Chuvalo’s Fight Against Drugs speaking tours stop at elementary and high schools across Canada.

In recognition of his fighting spirit and dedication to preventing the abuse of drugs, he was presented with an Honourary WBC Heavyweight Championship belt in 2006.

Chuvalo currently lives in Toronto with his second wife and son Mitch, who is a successful teacher and coach working at the University of Toronto.

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

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Bev Boys

April 16, 2015 2:24 pm
Bev Boys

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 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.

Bev Boys: Athlete, Diving

Bev Boys has not stayed out of the pool long since first diving into the competitive sport about 50 years ago.

Growing up on a farm in Pickering, Ontario, Boys’ love for water began with a backyard pool her father dug by hand. As she became a better swimmer, Boys started diving lessons in Toronto a few times a week. Her love and skill for the sport only grew from there.

Over the course of her ten-year career, Boys dominated the 1-metre, 3-metre and 10-metre diving heights. She won 34 national diving championships, as well as titles at international meets in the United States, Great Britain, Russia and East Germany. Boys also won three Pan-Am Games medals and seven Commonwealth Games medals—three of which were Gold. On top of these victories, she competed in the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games, making the finals each time.

While Boys has been recognized internationally for her diving skill, she is also widely known for her coaching expertise and exceptional ability to teach others.

Not ready to leave the sport completely when retiring in 1977, she founded White Rock Divers in British Columbia. It is a diving club running various types of programs for all ages and skill levels. Today, Boys continues to spend a considerable amount of time training developing divers—where she says her true passion lies.

Boys has also provided her prowess as a judge at national and international competitions, including four Olympic Games, most recently in Beijing.

For more information, visit sportshall.ca.

Bring on the Needles for Stress Management

April 14, 2015 3:02 pm
Relax Concept

When it comes to finding the balance between work, home, family and personal obligations, feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious is unfortunately common. So much to do, so little time!

While some stress is a normal part of a life, in excess it can impair productivity and, more importantly, affect our physical and emotional well-being. Working overtime, pressure to perform, trying to impress everyone, proving you are super-mom or super-dad or keeping a perfect tidy and clean home can be exhausting. Managing stress is important to maintain a positive attitude and ensure you are successful, creative, productive and happy!

Not sure if you are stressed?

Signs and symptoms are far reaching and include feelings of anxiety, irritability, loss of interest in work, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, headaches, muscle tension, insomnia and digestive problems—just to name a few! We all express stress in different ways, so any combination of symptoms is possible.

AcupunctureBring on the needles!

There is a growing interest in acupuncture to regulate the body’s stress response. Acupuncture points are chosen for your individual presentation of stress and accompanying health concerns. When needled, your body releases natural pain-killing chemicals in the brain and reduces stress hormones circulating in your body. By spending 20 to 30 minutes receiving a treatment in a relaxing setting, decreased heart rate, blood pressure and muscle relaxation are positive side effects. A few studies have shown acupuncture treatments are comparable to typical cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) treatments in anxiety and just as effective as counseling for moderate depression. Starting regular acupuncture treatments can certainly be a great addition to your stress-busting and mood-boosting regime.

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

needles_manage_stress_image3Written 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 and depression which can cause fatigue, digestive complaints, a weak immune system and pain.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Marnie McBean

April 9, 2015 2:00 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 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.

Marnie McBean: Athlete, Rowing

Rowing champion Marnie McBean is Canada’s most successful Olympic Summer Games athlete with 12 World and Olympic medals to her name. The enormous wake of her success continues to be felt by the country today through her mentorship and activism in the larger community.

Marnie McBean croppedMcBean first began rowing at 18-years-old when she signed up for a Learn-to-Row program at the Argonaut Rowing Club in Toronto. She was inspired to take on the sport after seeing rowing in a television commercial for Coffee Crisp.

Her most successful national team partner was Kathleen Heddle. Together they dominated the world rowing scene in the 1990’s, becoming the first Canadians to win three Olympic Summer Games Gold medals. Two of these were won at the 1992 Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain and the other was at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to her Olympic victories, McBean holds three World Cup, eight U.S. and three Canadian titles.

Although McBean was forced to withdraw from the 2000 Summer Olympic Games due to a back injury, she continued to stay involved in the sphere of professional sports. Between 2006 and 2014, she mentored Canadian Olympic Teams and supported the athletes as a specialist in athlete preparation.

Today McBean works as a speaker, mentor and author, drawing on her lifetime of personal excellence to help others achieve their goals. She also graciously gives her time to be an ambassador for causes including Right to Play, Fast and Female and Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl initiative.

For more information on Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, click here.

Wheelhouse Cycle: A Fresh Twist on Fitness

April 8, 2015 2:08 pm
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Half-workout, half-dance party, Wheelhouse Cycle is bringing something fresh to Ottawa’s fitness scene.

The brand new cycling studio, located on Wellington Street West in the heart of Westboro, offers an upbeat cycling workout that can’t be found elsewhere in the city.

Passionate about making fitness fun, co-owners Nadine Hogan and Heather Andrews saw an opportunity to fill a niche in Ottawa’s fitness community and joined forces to bring it to fruition.

“We wanted to bring a workout that we had found and loved in other cities to Ottawa. We had both been to spin studios in other cities and wondered why we couldn’t have a workout that we loved and desired in our own neighbourhood,” they explain.

Hogan, a yoga teacher based in Ottawa, and Andrews, who had been teaching cycling in Calgary, combined their skill sets to create Wheelhouse Cycle from the ground up. Their shared desire to offer a high-energy, cardio workout that builds strong muscles and minds shaped their vision for Wheelhouse Cycle.

“We wanted to make a difference in the community by adding something we felt was missing. Something that others would love as much as we did,” they say.

“Our desire was to build a place where people can come together to sweat out whatever ails them. A place to take time for themselves to get stronger mentally and physically.”

And sweat, you will.

With the encouragement and direction of an energetic instructor, a 50-minute class at Wheelhouse Cycle will push you to blast your heart rate and work your whole body. Expect your legs and arms to burn as you spin with speed and blast through hill intervals. The signature upbeat music and dimmed lights create an atmosphere that feels anything like a traditional gym.

“Wheelhouse Cycle offers high-energy interval training, it’s an intense cardio session where you are constantly encouraged to give yourself the exact workout you need. 50 minutes out of your day for a full body workout—32 bikes, 2 disco balls and hand weights; we turn the lights down and the music up,” they explain.

The best part? Anyone, regardless of fitness level, can get a great workout at Wheelhouse. Beginners to fitness shouldn’t shy away; the go-at-your-own-pace classes are inherently customizable to your fitness level.

“You don’t have to be in perfect shape to get on our bikes, you just have to be open. Each rider controls their workout by controlling their tension on the bike. We encourage, push and support each other as we get the dial further each time; small changes on that dial equal big changes both physically and mentally,

“We don’t tell you how far you can go, we just ask you to try and get there.”

The studio provides everything you need to get a great spin, and the team of friendly instructors is happy to help get you settled and answer any questions before, during or after class. The user-friendly online booking system makes signing up for a class a breeze. All you need to do is show up ready to sweat!

Wheelhouse Cycle is just what Ottawa’s booming fitness community needs. Sleek, modern and trendy, Wheelhouse Cycle is making Westboro even more wonderful.

For your next great workout, head to Wheelhouse Cycle!

For more information and to book your seat, visit wheelhousecycle.ca. Connect with Wheelhouse Cycle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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