Saturday, September 27, 2014

Eat Less Processed Red Meat To Live Longer

Picture I took at our local NTUC
Wanna live a couple of years longer? Than you need to stop eating processed meat as it decreases your lifespan by about 2 years.

Processed red meat includes sausages (or your favourite hot dog), luncheon meat (a popular local favourite), cold cuts, ham and liver pate to name a few.

How do I know this? Well I didn't make this up, I read a paper in which 75,000 people were studied from 1998 to 2012. They were asked about the frequency and types of red meat in the diet. Researchers measured total red meat consumption (fresh pork, beef and veal) and processed red meat consumption listed above as a subset.

More than 22 % of the participants died during the study period. Those who didn't eat much meat products (less than 100 grams or about 3.5 ounces per day) had similar survival rates as vegetarians. Those who ate more than 100 grams per day had a lower life expectancy as the quantity of red meat grew larger.

Those eating processed red meat had the highest mortality rates. The researchers concluded that eating non processed red meat alone was not associated with shorter survival rates though.


Bellavia A, Larsson SC et al (2014). Differences In Survival Associated With Processed And With NonProcesssed Red Meat Consumption. Am J C Nutrition. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.086249.

Picture from Flickr 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Can Running Help Stop You From Eating Junk Food?

My personal favorite
Any of you having a craving for junk food? I do, all the time. In fact as I'm writing this, I am having a huge craving for potato chips.

How do I not succumb to this urge? Well, it seems that people whose brains have a strong dorsal-lateral prefontal cortex (DLPFC) section may have greater self control when it comes to eating behaviour.

What the heck is that?

Well, the DLPFC is near the front portion of your head in case you were wondering. Researchers zapped that area (with a coil placed near the subjects scalps near the hairline) to temporarily decrease brain activity in the DLPFC of the subjects in their study.

Guess what? When the participants were zapped in that area, they had more food cravings and also ate more junk food compared to subsequent tests when they received a sham zap.

With that zap, the participants were almost totally interested in high calorie snacks (Pringles potato chips and milk chocolate in the study).

In fact they mostly ignored the more healthy food options that were also available.

The researchers suggest that improving your DLPFC function can improve dietary self control, prevent obesity and may even help manage Type II diabetes.

How to you make your DLPFC function better? Studies have shown that running and other aerobic exercises are known to enhance DLPFC function. Getting adequate sleep and avoiding alcohol have also been shown to help.

Hmmm, this is strange. When I used to train a lot previously, I would often eat all potato chips, chocolate, drink lots of Coke etc. I thought all that training was supposed to help strengthen my DLPFC??

Now that I'm not racing and training much I would not dare to eat as much for fear of putting on too much weight. I guess after my accident, I've changed my eating habits as well.


Lowe CJ, Hall PA et al (2014). The Effects Of Continous Theta Burst Stimulation To The Left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex On Executive Function, Food Cravings And Snack Consumption. Psych Med. Sep 76(7): 503-511. DOI: 1097/PSY.0000000000000090.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Introduction To Kinesio Taping 130914

Due to many requests by some of our readers and patients, Sports Solutions hosted the Introduction to Kinesio Taping today at our clinic. Some couldn't come though, they went to watch our National Netball team in action as the girls were playing the semi finals against rivals Malaysia today.

Today's  session was taught differently compared to previous introduction courses. Specific regions of the body were addressed with specific techniques taught, a fair bit being KT 2 concepts.

Here are some pictures from this afternoon.

All ready to begin
getting ready to choke Priscilla
Jolyn taking over teaching duties
Helping Jolyn out
All the participants left very happy with specific techniques they can use from the course. Email us at if you're keen to learn more.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

An Amazing Photo

Picture by Arnold Gold of the New Haven Register
Near the 10 km mark, a spectator at the New Haven 20 km road race was so inspired by what she saw as the lead men ran by that she joined lead pack of eight runners, probably surprising them more than a little.

The spectator ran along in her flip flops, perhaps trying to feel how the race pace of 5:00 a mile felt like and to see how long she could hang with the boys.

Hopefully she got inspired enough to start running regularly.

How about you?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

More On Morning Run Or Sleeping In?

Picture by S Veerasathankul from Flickr
I last wrote the earlier post way back in 2009. That was based purely on my own opinion. Back when I was still training seriously, I used to get up at 4.20 am,  leave my house at 4.40 am, ride to the pool as swim training starts at 5.30 am. Yes you read correctly, we jump in at 5.30 am sharp.

Best thing about those early morning training sessions? Most triathlon (or running races for that matter) start at 7 am or slightly later so I'm used to getting my body race ready for the early start times since I get up much earlier for my training sessions.

But I just read an article (by staff in charge of recovery at the Australian Institute Sport) where researchers showed how morning workouts affect your sleep.

Sleep monitors were worn by the elite swimmers at the AIS on their wrists during a 14-day training period. The swimmers had 6 am workouts scheduled on 12 out of the 14 days with 2 rest days.

Here's what the data showed.

The white bars are the athletes' overnight sleep, black bars are their training sessions (usually twice daily) while the grey bars depict their afternoon naps. What caught my attention was that the swimmers got less sleep when they had early workouts. According to their sleep monitors, the athletes slept  only 5.4 hours before training days compared to 7.1 hours before rest days. They also took longer to sleep and spent more time lying awake in bed probably due to the fact that they were making an effort to sleep earlier before training days.

This is despite the fact that these are full time athletes who have no particular need to train at 6 am. I've stayed at the AIS in Canberra before, that's how the swimmers, rowers and triathletes among other athletes living there train.  Partly as a legacy from previous times when athletes were not training full time.

Moving the workouts an hour or two later would help these athletes get more sleep and help them perform and recover better too. For those of us juggling a full time job, family and training, you probably need to be training first thing in the morning as other things occupy your attention during the day.

What strikes me in the chart above is that the athletes going to bed later before rest days and thus making it harder to fall asleep earlier on the other nights (in order to wake up for your training). Try to get to bed at a consistent time (even on nights when you don't have an early training session next morning) so that your body gets into a routine where the early wake up is not a rude shock.

Get to bed at 10 pm every night? I can hear the protests already. Is that trade off worth it? You have to decide for yourself.


Sargent C, Halson S et al (2014). Sleep Or Swim? Early-morning Training Severely Restricts The Amount Of Sleep Obtained By Elite Swimmers. Eur J Sport Sci. 14 Suppl 1:S310-315. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2012.696711.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Being Lonely May Make You Drink More Sugary Drinks

The picture of the book on top (The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe)  has got nothing to do with this post. I just thought it was a good picture to post.

Back to the post.

If you're feeling lonely watch out. According to a group of Norwegian researchers, being lonely may cause you to consume more sugary beverages. And too much sugar in your diet causes diabetes.

The researchers studied more than 90,000 pregnant women on their consumption of sugary drinks (cola, other soda and juices) and their relative feelings of loneliness and relationship satisfaction.

Other factors researched is inclusive of their marital status, other social ties apart from their romantic partner and feelings of group cohesiveness at work.

Subjects who were lonely consumed more sugar in the form of cola, other soda and juices. Those who had high levels of satisfaction in their relationships did not consume as much sugar.

This increase in sugary drinks were significant even after accounting for factors such as weight related self-image, body mass index, depression, physical activity, education level, age and income.

 This same link did not exist between loneliness and drinking artificially sweetened beverages, suggesting that it's the sugar not the sweet taste that people with relatively poorer social connections seek.

The researchers suggested improving the quality of your relationships if you find yourself drinking more sugary drinks than you like.

I'll go running if I'm lonely, hence the picture on top.


Henriksen RE et al (2014). Loneliness, Social Integration And Consumption Of Sugar-containing Beverages: Testing The Social Baseline Theory. PLoS One 9(8): e104421. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104421.

This should be the picture on top.

Picture by justingreen19 from Flickr

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Big Benefits From Minimal Running

Picture by J White - Fishery Bay, South Australia from Flickr
I wrote briefly last week that moderate exercise boosts immunity and makes you less likely to fall sick. So just how much (or should I say how little) do you need to run before you reap the benefits of running?

Well, you'll be pleasantly surprised to know that running just 5-10 minutes a day at really slow speeds is sufficient to reduce your risk of dying from all causes and cardiovascular disease.

That means you'll just have to run 4-5 miles (or 6-8 km) a week  at 11:00 to 12:00 minutes per mile (or 2:45 to 3:00 min of one round around your local 400m track) to reap significant benefits. In fact, runners who run less than an hour a week gain the same benefits as those who run more than 3 hours a week.

Runners were found to have reduced risks of up to 30 % for all-cause mortality and 45 % for cardiovascular mortality. A group of "persistent runners" who kept running for 6 years enjoyed greater than the above mentioned benefits. Women  appear to get substantially more benefit than men.

The above mentioned results were based on a study of 55, 000 adults (average age 44). They were followed up for an average of 15 years. Key comparisons were runners versus non runners, different speeds of running, weekly mileage and running frequencies.

This study is receiving wide coverage and being hailed as a landmark study on the benefits of running.

This study should motivate all healthy but sedentary individuals to start and continue running.


Lee D, Pate RR et al (2014). Leisure-time Running Reduces All-cause And Cardiovascular Mortality Risk.
J Am Colleage Cardiol. 64(5): 472-481. doi:10.10106/j.jacc.2014.04.058.