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
FeaturedWheelhouse-207

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!

The Beauty of Vitamin C

April 7, 2015 1:55 pm
woman portrait  .abstract  watercolor .fashion background

I recently discovered Nip/Tuck on Netflix!

Aside from the very dramatic life stories of two plastic surgeons, I found myself fascinated by the insane amount of cosmetic surgery depicted in each episode. Women over 40 requesting facelifts for a more youthful appearance made sense: cosmetic plastic surgery can reduce signs of ageing and enhance beauty with a simple nip and tuck.

But why does our skin start to show signs of ageing to begin with?

Briefly explained:

Human skin anatomyCollagen is the main structural protein in mammals that makes up cartilage, ligaments, bone and skin. Collagen is the protein that gives skin its tensile strength or elasticity, and its degradation leads to wrinkles that accompany ageing.

One critical factor in the synthesis of collagen is vitamin C. Not only does vitamin C build collagen, it is also a potent antioxidant, protecting the skin from free radical damage. That makes this vitamin a vital molecule for skin health. Dietary and topical vitamin C have beneficial effects on skin cells which is normally found in high amounts in both the dermal and epidermal layers of the skin.

Ageing causes a decline in vitamin C content in both skin layers. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light from sunbathing, pollution, cigarette smoke and stress also lower vitamin C levels. Studies found higher intakes of vitamin C from the diet were associated with better skin appearance and notable decreases in skin wrinkling. Topical vitamin C has been shown to decrease wrinkling, decrease roughness of skin and increase production of collagen.

orangeSo what can we do to help maintain our skin health through collagen production? Indulge in vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, kiwi and citrus fruits. Supplement with high quality vitamin C capsules recommended by your naturopathic doctor and ask your dermatologist about a good source of topical vitamin C. Invest in facial rejuvenation acupuncture for a natural alternative “facelift.”

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

The Beauty of Vitamin C- image 4

Photo Credit: Kaleena Jay Photography

Author: Jilla Kahrobaei BSc ND

Jilla is a Naturopathic Doctor at the Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre. Her clinical focus is stress, fatigue and healthy aging.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Ike Hildebrand

April 2, 2015 2:00 pm
Grand Hall Photo

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.

Ike Hildebrand: Athlete, Lacrosse

Internationally successful in both Canada’s national winter sport (hockey) and national summer sport (lacrosse), Ike Hildebrand embodies exactly what it means to be an outstanding Canadian sportsman.

988.3.3Born in Winnipeg, Hildebrand rose to fame in the sporting world at the mere age of 15 when playing with the New Westminster Salmonbellies senior lacrosse team. With Hildebrand’s help, they won the Mann Cup and were recognized as the best team in Canada.

The following year he received the Mike Kelly Award, becoming the youngest athlete to ever be named the Mann Cup MVP. Hildebrand continued to excel throughout his 16-year lacrosse career, scoring more than 900 goals and adding more than 700 assists. He was honoured 13 times in total as an all-star for his commitment, respect and skill.

When not playing hard on the lacrosse field, Hildebrand was in skates shredding up the ice rink.

In the late 1940s, Hildebrand played junior hockey in Ontario with the Oshawa Generals. He was then drafted to Cleveland’s team in the American Hockey League and played with the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks in the mid-1950s — two of the NHL’s “original six.”

It was when Hildebrand returned to senior hockey with the Belleville McFarlands that he experienced his greatest moments as a player and coach.

Winning the Allen Cup in 1958 earned his team a spot at the 1959 World Hockey Championship in Czechoslovakia. During the games, Hildebrand both played for and coached the McFarlands. In fact, it was his game-winning goal in the 3-1 victory over the Soviet Union that won the championship for Canada.

Hildebrand shared his remarkable experience and knowledge with junior hockey teams, coaching them well into the 1960s.

He passed away in Alberta in 2006 at age 79.

For more information about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit its website.

Senators Must Remember Lehner is the Goaltender of the Future

April 1, 2015 11:59 am
Ottawa Senators v Los Angeles Kings

Photo courtesy Losangeles.cbslocal.com

Andrew Hammond’s stellar play between the pipes has injected life into the Ottawa Senators’ playoff hopes, but it’s important the organization remembers that Robin Lehner is their man moving forward.

Not Hammond, nor Craig Anderson. At the time of writing this article, “The Hamburglar” has a sterling .938 save percentage with two shutouts in 17 games. If he were a known commodity making his mark in his early twenties, he’d be lauded as the goaltender of the future without question. But Hammond isn’t that goaltender.

The Surrey, BC native is 27 years old and has had somewhat of an uneven tenure with the Binghamton Senators in the American Hockey League. In

Photo courtesy of Nbcsports.com

Photo courtesy of Nbcsports.com

his first pro season he registered a decent .910 save percentage with a single shutout. Before being called up this season, Hammond posted an underwhelming .898 save percentage in 25 games despite earning two shutouts.

Prior to that, Hammond plied his trade with Bowling Green State University over a span of four years—from 22 to 25 years old. His numbers followed a similar pattern in that he was a difficult goaltender to gauge. His save percentage, from his first to his last year, fluctuated from .880 to .915 to .903 to .917. And when he played for the Vernon Vipers in the British Columbia Hockey League for two years prior to that, he registered an .899 save percentage in his rookie campaign followed by a .912 sophomore campaign.

The intention here isn’t to lambaste Hammond for an inconsistent career. It goes without saying that most reasonable hockey minds are well aware of the uncertainty surrounding the Senators goaltender. The most intriguing part of this Cinderella story is how Ottawa will deal with the situation heading into next season. Do they start with Anderson and Lehner again or should they ship out the former for assets while he remains a valuable trading chip? And if that happens, are the Senators comfortable with Lehner and Hammond taking the reins between the pipes? If Lehner falters, is Hammond a reliable safety net over the course of an 82-game campaign?

These are questions the Senators will have to address in the off-season, but they are crucial ones that will likely impact the immediate success of their rebuild. Riding Hammond’s hot streak is a logical strategy given the Senators renewed playoff hopes, but it’s important they remember Lehner’s pedigree and young age moving forward.

Lehner is four years younger than Hammond at 23 and boasts an impressive stint with the Binghamton Senators. His worst campaign came in 2011-12 when he posted a .907 save percentage in 40 games. He followed that up with a .938 in 31 games, dominating the AHL and earning a spot with Ottawa in which he posted a .936 in 12 games. When he earned a full-time position with the team, he put up a respectable .913 in 36 games. This season, however, Lehner’s play has dipped to an underwhelming level. His .905 in 25 games is well below average for a goaltender in the NHL, but it’s no reason for the Senators to question his ability moving forward.

After all, Lehner’s career .914 save percentage in 86 NHL games is nothing to sneeze at, and considering his age he’s worth an extended look—he’s locked up for two more years after this season. Hammond, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent this summer but he won’t warrant serious dollars after a brief stint in the big league. Then there’s Anderson, who’s signed through the 2017-18 season and may generate considerable interest in the off-season.

No matter what Ottawa decides in regards to their goaltending carousel, it is imperative Lehner remains a top priority for the Senators to reap the potential long-term gains. Considering Hammond’s play of late, however, it is entirely logical to ride his hot streak and hopefully earn a spot in the playoffs. And if they make it, continue with Hammond and let the goaltender continue to make a name for himself. Pertaining to Lehner, both from his perspective and the team’s, it’s all about next season.

Why is My Stomach so Bloated and Painful?

March 31, 2015 11:31 am
Pregnant woman with strong pain of stomach and nausea

Bridgette, 35, is an architect, single mum and had a busy an active professional and personal life. 

Some two years ago she had caught MONO and had to receive a large dose of antibiotics, which had thankfully put her symptoms into remission. Two months later she noticed some unusual digestive Green Bacteria Colonysymptoms. She experienced abdominal pain and cramping, which was relieved by going to the bathroom. Her tummy was often bloated and swollen. Her bowel habits changed and would alternate between diarrhoea and constipation (several days without having a bowel motion), occasionally had an urgent need to go to the bathroom, and she sometimes had a feeling that she could not fully empty her bowels after going to the bathroom.

Being health conscious she quickly decided to visit her family physician who quickly diagnosed her with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The normal standard of care for IBS are four types of medication, which are only aimed at controlling symptoms, including:

  • An antispasmodic (which helps reduce abdominal pain and cramping)
  • A laxative (to help relieve constipation)
  • An antimotility medicine (to can help relieve diarrhoea)
  • A low-dose antidepressant (to help reduce stomach pain and cramping)

Like most people, Bridgette was extremely wary of taking any medication due to the potential side effects and not really addressing the underlying cause, which was the approach she was looking for.

Not happy, Bridgette asked to be sent to a Gastroenterologist, a doctor who specialises in digestive issues. Her doctor agreed and arranged an appointment for a week later.

At the appointment, the consultant went over her symptoms and agreed with her doctor’s diagnosis of IBS. He also listened to her concerns about taking medication and her need to find a more natural solution to which he said he was more inclined to with patients under his care.

He suggested Bridgette follow a low Fodmap diet.

FodMap (Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols) are carbohydrates that are found in certain foods. A low Fodmap diet has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms in 75 per cent of people with IBS (1).

FODMAPs in the diet are:

  • Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc.)
  • Lactose (dairy)
  • Fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin etc.)
  • Galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, soybeans, etc.)
  • Polyols (sweeteners containing isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc.)

Bridgette began the low Fodmap diet the next day, and within 2-3 days felt an 80 per cent improvement in her symptoms.

Following a low Fodmap diet will help relieve many of the symptoms of IBS, but like the medication, it does not address the cause.

So why do people become intolerant to Fodmaps?

Recent scientific research has identified a link between IBS and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) (2). Your friendly bacteria should predominantly be living in your large intestines, with SIBO; these bacteria migrate up into the small intestines. These bacteria feed on Fodmaps and when they do they produce different gases causing the bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, gas and abdominal pain. You can test for SIBO using a simple breath test and then treatment can be a combination of anti-microbial and diet.

Emotional factors have also been shown to contribute to the development of IBS and could induce a Fodmap intolerance for reasons not yet understood.

When dealing with any condition, including IBS, it is always important to look at diet and also lifestyle factors including stress management, exercise, and sleep. Correcting one without addresses the others often results in a poor outcome.

Finally

I hope you found these ideas useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with them.

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

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Victor Emery

March 26, 2015 2:30 pm
Victor Emery, Doug Anakin, John Emery,Peter Kirby - crop

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.

Victor Emery: Athlete, Bobsleigh

Bobsleigh was an unfamiliar sport to most Canadians until the mid-20th century. Training facilities were non-existent and travelling elsewhere to practice cost far too much. Victor Emery and his determined team forever changed the country’s stigma around bobsledding when they did the unexpected and won a Gold medal at the 1964 Olympic Winter Games.

Emery first became interested in the sport of bobsleigh when watching the 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Olympics. Within a year, Emery’s curiosity and big dreams had spread to his athletic brother John. Together they founded the Laurentian Bobsledding Association.

It was in 1959 when Emery entered his first world championship in Lake Placid, New York. He kept a positive attitude despite placing close to last and continued to compete each year until the team moved their way up to fourth place in 1962.

The Canadian Olympic Committee refused to acknowledge the sport of bobsleigh, making training difficult for Emery. Without a single course available in the country, the team was forced to practice dry starts in gymnasiums and occasionally runs in New York.

Despite the less-than-ideal training facilities, Victor and John Emery along with their teammates Douglas Anakin and Peter Kirby were tough competitors in the Innsbruck 1964 Olympic Winter Games. The underdogs won Canada’s only Gold medal that year. Emery’s perseverance made the nation’s first-ever showing in Olympic Bobsledding one that won’t ever be forgotten.

Emery challenged himself to compete again at the World Championship in St. Moritz the following year. He said, “You’re not real champions unless you can do it a second time.” The new team consisting of Vic Emery, Peter Kirby, Gerald Presley and Michael Young shocked the world by walking away with the top prize.

Although retiring from the sport a few years after his second victory, Emery’s devotion and willpower throughout the mid-20th century helped pave the way for a bobsledding program in Canada. He proved the country was indeed a worthy competitor in the international bobsledding scene.

For more information, visit www.sportshall.ca.

Conquer Cold Weather Gloom

10:00 am
Winter

We’ve made it through March, and with that, the official beginning of spring! But if I’ve learned anything about living in Ottawa, it’s that winter is not over until it’s over. A brutal downfall and freezing temps in the middle of spring? Not out of the question.

The endless days spent shovelling, shivering and piling on fleece layers just to take a step outside seem to drag on and on. It’s bound to drive anyone a little crazy.

But don’t let the winter blues get you down! Here are my top three tips to help you conquer cold-weather gloom:

The Sunshine Vitamin

During the dark winter months, most of us are seriously deprived of Vitamin D. Some experts suggest links between low Vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms due to lack of sun exposure. But sunshine isn’t the only way to up your intake, be sure to incorporate Vitamin D-rich foods into your diet, like salmon, eggs and mushrooms, or take a supplement.

Plan a Vacay

Sometimes having something to look forward to on the horizon is all you need to lift your spirits. Take your mind off of the current climate conditions and dive headfirst into planning a fun vacation with your friends or family! No need to blow your budget on an expensive getaway, consider taking a road trip, trying out Airbnb instead of paying for a hotel, staying at a friends cottage in the summer or searching online to find a great last minute deal. When you plan ahead, there are tons of ways to save on a vacation!

Bundle Up and Head Outside

As appealing as it is to stay holed up indoors, the only way to stay sane through an Ottawa winter is to find one thing about it that you enjoy (or at least don’t passionately hate). Whether it be skiing, sledding, skating or having a snowball fight in the yard, bundle up in your warmest gear and tackle a winter activity! That hot chocolate you’ll enjoy afterwards will taste so much better.

I hope these tips will help you to endure the last few weeks of winter weather!

Spring will be here before we know it! Followed by summer, then fall and then winter again…but don’t think about that.

How do you handle the winter blues? Let us know!

Self Renovation — Weight Loss Success Story

March 25, 2015 2:09 pm
Angie Prudhomme

Angie Prudhomme - beforeAngie Prudhomme loves food. Unfortunately, it is not the type of food that stabilizes your blood sugar levels and contributes to good heart health.

However, the 36-year-old also loves herself. Two years ago, Prudhomme looked in the mirror and decided it was time for a major lifestyle makeover. At 270 lbs., she knew she couldn’t wait much longer.

“One day, I was just sick of it. I was sick of not wearing what I wanted to wear. Sick of not dating who I wanted to date,” says Prudhomme. “One day I just went, ‘I’m done.’”

Now, Prudhomme is standing tall and full of confidence. She has lost over half of her starting weight: an amazing 140 lbs. “I was feeling way too big, sloppy, lazy and not worth it. Now I stand up for myself and feel rejuvenated.”

Prudhomme began her weight loss journey by tracking her food intake using the Weight Watchers phone application. She learned how she could continue to eat a lot over the course of a day and still lose weight. It was about choosing the right foods.

“I eat more now than I did before. But instead of a lot of starches, I eat a lot of protein,” says Prudhomme. “I was taught to still have grains, but to choose the healthy grains. I know I need oil, fats and water, so I have those too.”

The pounds came off quickly for Prudhomme after she changed her eating habits. “The second you see changes being made, it’s really easy to stick to it.”

Although she was proud of her progress, she knew she still had many challenges. She needed to get moving and get active to see results in her overall health.

Angie Prudhomme-after“I was carrying around another whole half of me. I had loose skin and it wasn’t changing the way I wanted it to. So one day I just walked into a gym and said, ‘Hi, what can you do for me?’ I signed up right then.” She now works with a trainer to keep her motivated.

“I’m naturally lazy. It’s hard. I have to convince myself to get up and do things. So to have someone that you have to see two or three times a week that says you look great and are getting stronger, it’s awesome.”

Not every step of the journey has been a piece of cake. Prudhomme says she has gone through rough patches with her friends and family because of her lifestyle change.

“I took control, my personality changed. I started standing up for myself more.”

Prudhomme met her current boyfriend about 40 lbs. ago and says he has helped keep her eyes on the prize. “It’s huge to have someone there for support, not just to tell you not to eat something, but to indulge in the good things with you as well.”

Prudhomme says she feels amazing every single day.

“I love food, but I like feeling healthy too. Knowing what to eat and learning everything I have so far has been really powerful.”

Prudhomme has advice for anyone looking to join her on her journey. “Just do it. Convince yourself that you have had enough. Try it for a month and if nothing happens, then fine. But if you are overweight, it is impossible that it won’t work. Once you start to see results, you won’t want to stop. Best of all, you will feel great.”

Prudhomme has no plans of turning back. Her new life is working for her. The best part about it? “I can still eat all of my favourite foods. I just enjoy the pizza, burgers and ice cream in moderation.”

angie prudhomme-makeover

In celebration of Saab Salon Spa’s 25th anniversary, the Aveda lifestyle salon and spa on Bank Street gave Angie the makeover of her dreams. Owners Frank and Nina Saab welcomed Angie with open arms and big ideas. First up, hair colour. Frank wanted to add some life into Angie’s already blonde hair. By adding highlights and touching up her roots, Angie’s entire complexion brightened up. She was given a quick blow-dry before being sent off to makeup.

Danielle was in charge of bringing some colour to Angie’s fair skin. She gave Angie a light smoky eye, added false lashes and used bright pinks to bring attention to her cheeks and lips. If you are looking for an instant pick-me-up, Danielle says to the three most important products to use are concealer, mascara and blush. Before the big reveal, Angie was sent back to hair where Frank added extensions and big, bouncy curls. Angie was smiling ear to ear as she left Saab Salon Spa and headed to the photoshoot. Thank you to everyone at Saab for a great time and a beautiful look. Angie says she could not have been a happier and the staff could not have been more generous and excited. Here’s to another 25 years.

PHOTOS OF ANGIE’S MAKEOVER BY: Paul Couvrette, Couvrette Studio 430 Gladstone Ave. couvrette-photography.on.ca
CLOTHING PROVIDED BY: BGGO BOUTIQUE, 751 Bank Street. bggo.ca
ACCESSORIES BY: Disegno Fine Jewellery, 100 Murray Street disegnojewellery.ca

Outdoor Running 101 for Beginners

March 24, 2015 2:07 pm
Running and jogging

Did you know that the average Canadian spends over 90 per cent of their time indoors? So, as we spring into spring, there is no better time to get outside to take in some much needed fresh air.

Ottawa has one of the most active running communities in all of Canada. If you are thinking of starting a running program or training for a certain race, spring is a great time to start. Before you embark on your running adventures, there are a few things you might want to know in order to stay safe and prevent injury along the way.

Happy runner tying her shoesGood Shoes: Research shows that shoes can alter the form of your running. If your shoes do not have enough support, the muscles and joints in your buttock, legs, and ankles may become over stressed. The same thing could happen if your shoes are too firm. In order to find a shoe that is right for you, try several pairs and make comfort your number one priority. Sales people at specialty running stores are very knowledgeable and can usually help you find what you are looking for. But at the end of your run, if your feet hurt, you are probably wearing the wrong shoes. Foot orthotics can also add support to your shoe, especially those with flat feet (over pronators).

Stay Well Hydrated: It is important to stay hydrated before, during and after your run. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, sore muscles and cramping. One hour before your run, try to drink 16 ounces of water. In order to prevent yourself from having to go to the washroom, do not drink too much more than this. During your run, drink when you are thirsty. Your body is smart and will cue you to drink when it needs to. After your run, drink at least another 20 ounces to replenish your cells and water lost through sweating. If you sweat a lot, drink more.

Plan Your Route: Know where and how far you intend to run. Pick the safest routes possible with lots of visibility. If you are running alone, let someone else know where you are going and the approximate time you will be home. Also, you should always be running against traffic so that drivers can see you at all times.

Get a Running Buddy: Having someone run beside you is beneficial for more than one reason. Not only will they help you stay motivated and encourage you to do your best, your running pal can help to keep you safe. There is safety in numbers.

Dress for the Weather: If you are unsure of what to wear, it is better to be too hot than too cold. If your muscles are cold and tense, your risk of injury will increase. The best thing to do is dress in layers. This way, as you heat up during the run, you can peel away your layers. Sports stores sell running gear made of fabrics designed to propel the elements. If the wind is strong, wear a light headband or hat to prevent damage.

Healthy lifestyle - woman and man runningWarm Up and Cool Down: This is crucial to prevent lactic acid build up, which can lead to a lot of muscle soreness. The warm-up helps to increase the blood flow throughout your body to make sure you are ready to run safely. A common mistake I see in my practice is when people hold a static stretch before starting an activity. This can lead to more damage than good. Instead, walk for 2-5 minutes, continued by a light jog, before starting your full on running pace. As a general rule, the faster the race or run is, the longer you should warm up. Once you are done your run, jog slowly for a few minutes, followed by a walk. After your run is the time to statically stretch your muscles. Each stretch should be held for approximately 30 seconds in order to get full benefits.

Running Technique: Try to relax throughout the run. You do not want to tire your muscles if you don’t need to. Try to loosen your shoulders and do not clench your fists. You want to maintain good posture throughout the run as well. Your shoulders should be back and your head should be directly over your shoulders. People who hold their head forward can end up with a sore neck and headaches. Bad posture throughout the day can lead to poor posture during your run. So pay attention to how your posture is on a daily basis.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Marlene Stewart Streit

March 19, 2015 10:00 am
Marlene Stewart Streit

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.

Marlene Stewart Streit: Athlete, Golf

Marlene Stewart Streit worked part-time as a caddy at her local golf course when she was 13 years old. It wasn’t long before she tested the game out for herself and fell in love with the sport. After lessons with professional player Gordon McInnis, Stewart Streit grew to become one of the finest golfers in the world.

Not only was she naturally talented, but also particularly determined and hard working. Her short stature said nothing about the giant skills she demonstrated on the green. With a forceful backswing and tendency to end games fast, this Canadian athlete was one competitors quickly learned to keep a close eye on.

Stewart Streit was only 17 when she won her first big victory—the 1951 Canadian Ladies’ Open Amateur Championship. From that moment on, Stewart Streit dominated the women’s amateur golf scene in Canada, winning 11 Ontario, 11 Canadian Open and nine Canadian Closed titles between 1951 and 1977.

At age 19, her powerful shots took the international golf scene by storm. She won the 1953 British Ladies Amateur Championship in Wales, shortly followed by the 1956 U.S. Women’s and 1963 Australian Ladies’ Amateur Championships. This collection of amateur championship titles was the first of its kind for any woman in the world to hold.

A force to be reckoned with, Stewart Streit continued to compete as a senior citizen. At the age of 69 in 2003, she became the oldest national champion to win the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship title.

In recognition of her success throughout the years, she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004. Stewart Streit was the first Canadian to be inducted.

Besides being a strong competitor, Stewart Streit has also deeply contributed to the community of Canadian golf. She strives to improve the opportunities youth have to the game, especially women. For example, in 1965, Streit won a high profile match in Oslo, Norway, collecting a prize of $7,000. She donated the money to what later became the Marlene Streit Awards Fund. Another $3,000 was won the following year, which was also added to the fund. This fund is still being used to pay travel costs for promising junior golfers.

“There’s a great deal of us that, who knows where we would’ve gotten if it weren’t for Marlene,” said Canadian touring pro Nancy Harvey. “Marlene believed in us and if Marlene believed in you, you were definitely going somewhere.”

Click here for more information about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Is Histamine Intolerance the Key to your Chronic Health Problems?

March 17, 2015 11:35 am
Headache pains

Trying to unravel some of my client’s health issues is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. Not that I am complaining—I love my job. When trying to unravel somebody’s health issue I am looking to identify certain trigger factors. You are probably all familiar with my old friend gluten. I have recently become better acquainted with a relatively new kid on the block—histamine.

Histamine is a chemical produced by the body, which is traditionally associated with allergic reactions. If you have ever been bitten by a mosquito, the red reaction you see under the skin is the result of histamine. Histamine, unlike gluten, is essential to body and has many other important functions, such as acting as a neurotransmitter. Histamine becomes a problem when there is too much of it in the body.

There are two main ways too much histamine in the body can occur. Firstly, there could be a problem of over production and secondly, the body may not be able to break it down properly. There are two potential reasons for over production:

1. Dysbiosis

There are two types of bacteria in the gut. One produces histamine and others break it down. So when there is an imbalance of bacteria in the body, known as dysbiosis, and there are more bacteria that produce histamine, this could lead to an overproduction.

2. Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Mast Cells produce histamine in the body. In some people mast cells become overactive and produce too much histamine. The reason for this is not clearly understood, but it is thought to do with a genetic defect.

There are three main reasons why your body may not be able to breakdown histamine properly:

Flu allergy. Sick girl sneezing in tissue. Health1. Poor Methylation

Histamine is broken down in the body by an enzyme known as N-Methyltransferase. To produce this enzyme a process in the body known as methylation must be working properly. A large number of people however have a genetic mutation, which hinders this process. They have poor methylation and will produce less enzyme to breakdown histamine.

2. Dysbiosis

Not enough histamine degrading bacteria.

3. Poor Diamine Oxidase Production

Histamine is also broken down in the body by Diamine Oxidase. Due to a genetic mutation some people may not be able to produce enough or any of this enzyme.

So, what are the common symptoms of histamine intolerance?

  • Itching of the skin, eyes, ears, and nose
  • Hives
  • Tissue swelling, especially facial and oral tissues
  • A feeling of throat constriction or tightness
  • Hypotension, like a drop in blood pressure, especially you get dizzy when you stand up quickly
  • Tachycardia, so rapid heartbeat, increased pulse rate
  • Palpitations
  • Symptoms that kind of resemble anxiety or panic attack
  • Chest pain
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Conjunctivitis, which is irritated, watery, reddened eyes
  • Some types of headache, like migraine can be related to histamine
  • Fatigue, confusion, irritability
  • Digestive upset, especially heartburn and reflux
  • And much more rarely, occasional loss of consciousness, blacking out just for a few seconds that’s unexplained by other causes

Recommended diet for histamine intolerance

To help reduce symptoms it is useful to remove foods that are naturally high in histamine. These include:

  • Seafood: shellfish or fin fish, fresh, frozen, smoked or canned
  • Eggs
  • Processed, cured, smoked and fermented meats such as lunch meat, bacon, sausage, salami, pepperoni
  • Leftover meat (After meat is cooked, the histamine levels increase due to microbial action as the meat sits)
  • All fermented milk products, including most cheeses
  • Yogurt, buttermilk, kefir
  • Citrus fruits – e.g. oranges, grapefruit, lemons, lime
  • Most berries
  • Dried fruit
  • Fermented foods: sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles, relishes, fermented soy products, etc.
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes- including ketchup, tomato sauces
  • Artificial food colors and preservatives
  • Spices: cinnamon, chilli powder, cloves, anise, nutmeg, curry powder, cayenne
  • Beverages: Tea (herbal or regular), alcohol
  • Chocolate, cocoa
  • Vinegar and foods containing vinegar such as pickles, relishes, ketchup, and prepared mustard

While removing these foods will help resolve symptoms, it also important to identify and treat the underlying causes as highlighted above. After treatment, it may be possible to reintroduce some of the foods.

Finally

I hope you found these ideas useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with them.

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

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Daniel Igali

March 12, 2015 12:55 pm
Daniel Igali

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.

Daniel Igali: Athlete, Wrestling

Much more than an Olympic champion, Daniel Igali is a true Canadian hero and inspiration.

Born in 1974, Igali grew up with 20 siblings in one of the poorest villages in Nigeria. Food had always been hard to come by for the large family. With so many mouths to feed, Igali literally had to wrestle his brothers and sisters to secure a share of the meals. This fight for survival slowly turned into a natural talent for the sport of wrestling. Igali entered his first national competition at the young age of 16 and won. He used the victory money towards one of his leading passions — school.

Igali’s determination and hard work in the ring quickly paid off. By 1994 he was the African National Champion and represented Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, B.C. Igali realized Canada could offer him the athletic training and education that was challenging to find in his home country. Making the difficult decision to leave his family, Igali claimed refugee status and remained in Canada becoming an official citizen in 1998.

He wasted no time to enroll in post-secondary education. Igali accepted an offer from Douglas College (later transferring to Simon Fraser University for a degree in Criminology) where he physically trained four hours a day, six days a week. Over the next three years, Igali won an amazing 116 consecutive games, placed fourth at the 1998 World Championships and second at the World Cup.

His breakthrough moment was at the 1999 World Championships in Ankara, Turkey where he became the first Canadian to win a Gold medal. A year later Igali won Gold for Canada at the Sydney Olympic Games, once again becoming the first Canadian to do so for wrestling. With pride, he wrapped himself in the Canadian flag and wept during the playing of the national anthem at the medal presentation. His choice to stay in Canada was the right one.

Shortly after the Olympics, he created the Daniel Igali Foundation which helps youth in developing countries similarly reach their educational and occupational goals. In 2006, the organization opened a school in the Nigerian village where Igali grew up. He hopes to build more with the foundation in the future.

Click here for more information about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

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