Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why Running At Night Seems Harder

Picture from Flickr by
As I was recuperating from my bike accident last year, I did some runs at night after my son had gone to bed after spending most of the day with him. After not exercising for a long time, most of the runs felt "hard" even though I was just running 2-3 km for starters. Yes, that was how I started, real slow and very very short runs.

After reading about optic flow, I guess I can say this is partly why running in the dark feels harder (other than me being terribly unfit after my fall). Optic flow is your visual sensation of moving through an environment. While running in the dark, you only see objects near to you. This is "fast" optic flow, in which scenery seems to be speeding by you quicker than normal.

As shown by researchers, optic flow can also affect estimation of distance ran. During a 5 km run with conditions of fast optic flow, the runners thought they'd ran 5 km when they had only covered 4.6 km. The take home message here is that in normal conditions (or slow optic flow), you will be able to run further for similar feelings of fatigue compared with night running (or fast optic flow).

Previous similar studies done on cyclists had similar results.

Remember this next time you're out riding or running when night falls. Something to remember especially if you're running the upcoming Sundown marathon which one of our staff did previously. 

Parry, D and Micklewright, D (2014). Optic Flow Influences Perceived Exertion And Distance Estimation But Not Running Pace. Med and Sci in Sports Ex. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000257.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Massage Does Not Flush Lactic Acid From Your Muscles

Picture from our Sports Massage course in July 2013
Finally, a published paper that suggests massage does help reduce inflammation in your fatigued muscles.

Hey, didn't the title say something else? Please read on to find out how massage reduces inflammation.

Many massage therapists, physiotherapists etc will say that massage can relieve your pain, DOMs (delayed onset of muscle soreness), promotes circulation, flushes your lactic acid/ toxins from your body, relieves your joint strain etc. However, published evidence does not totally support their claims fully.

Well, Sefton and colleagues (2012) can finally set the record straight. Massage cannot push toxins from muscles to your bloodstream. It also cannot flush lactic acid from your muscles. So do not believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

What massage can do is it can soften your fascia (which is found all over your body covering your muscles beneath your skin) and make your tight muscles relax. It can also remove adhesions between fascia and muscle (which can restrict your movement).

Crane's study also found 30 % more of a gene that helps muscle cells build mitochondria (mitochondria turns a cell's food into energy and facilitate its repair).

Well, great news for runners, athletes etc who rely on limber joints and muscles for pain free movement to ensure you perform optimally.

This also mean that regular massage can let runners, athletes etc tolerate more and harder training since it can hasten recovery and allow them to ability to train hard again two days later.

Other research suggests that besides reducing inflammation, massage also improves immune function. This suggests it may also help chronic diseases.

For more on Sports Massage please also see this and this.

Calling all runners, athletes, patients with chronic pain, call our clinics to book your Sports Massage appointment.


Crane JD et al (2012). Massage Therapy Attenuates Inflammatory Signaling After Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage. Sci Transl Med 4, 119ra13. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002882.

Rapaport MH, Schettler P et al (2012). A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of
Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals. J Altern Complement Med. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 March 01.

*Many thanks to Lim Ting Jun for the articles.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Treating A Muscle Tear

Here's more proof that Kinesio tapes if used correctly helps with a muscle tear. Have a look at my patient's hamstring injury from the pictures below.

This is the picture he sent me before he came to see me in the clinic.

Check out the muscle tear
After treating his back as well as his hamstring, I put some of the original Kinesio Tex tapes and here's another picture 3 days later.
How's that for improvement 3 days later
Well, I rest my case, for those of you with muscle tears, make sure the person treating you is using the original Kinesio Tex tapes, because the copy cat/ imitation tapes simply cannot compete.

Also have a look on how to treat your hamstring injuries.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What?! No Refunds .....

Picture from Flickr
Came across this article a few days ago when  Rapid Running Events, an US based events company was taken to court by the Indiana Attorney General for not returning $95,400 in entry fees collected for 5 races after the races were cancelled.

In one of the races to be held in New York on 30/6/12, more than 940 registered participants paid $65,000 to race but Rapid Running Events did not get approval to run the race (due to lack of organization and police officers schedules) and the the race was cancelled. They informed the runners 9 days before the event by email and did not offer refunds.

What came to mind when I read this was when the Adidas King Of the Road race was cancelled last year on 11/8/13 due to "unforeseen circumstances".

What was different though was that race was called off that morning itself due to a thunderstorm and the organizers made the decision so as not to compromise participants safety. You can read the Today article here.

Most events have clause written in their rules and regulations. With so many running races and sporting events now in Singapore now, hopefully we do not have event organizers who are just out to make money.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Why My Wife Insists On Raw Organic Cocoa Powder

Most mornings I heat some water, heap some oatmeal into the warm water and add a banana or whatever fruit I find in our fridge and my breakfast is ready. (Sometimes I cheat a little by adding honey or my son's Kellogg's Nutri Grain or as he says his Ironman food to satisfy my sweet tooth).

Recently my wife has been making breakfast for me too. Yes, oatmeal done her way. After eating it, I asked her why hers tastes so much nicer even after I tried to copy her way of making it. She said hers is made with love!! Gotta love my wife.

Oatmeal done my wife's way
Check out her ingredients
One for her, one for me

Now I know why my wife always insists on using raw organic unsweetened cocoa powder in the organic oatmeal she prepares for me for breakfast. Recent published evidence shows that dark chocolate is good for the heart  as certain bacteria in our stomach reacts with cocoa into anti-inflammatory compounds beneficial for the heart.

The raw organic cocoa powder she uses
Well, I definitely prefer her oatmeal than the green juice she makes for me.

*Please see this for more on why dark chocolate is good for the heart.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kinesio Taping For His Shirt? Or For Her Quads?

Taping for his shirt? or her quads?
Our first Introduction to Kinesio Taping course was held at our clinic at Holland Village earlier today. Those of you who signed up but could not make it today well, you've missed quite a bit.

Please come for our next course then. Email for more details.

Yes quads.
Here are some more pictures from the course.

*Thanks to Boon for taking the photos.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

3 Pairs of Nikes

I wrote earlier that in in my younger school boy running days I was good enough to get shoes from Nike (they were then brought in to Singapore by sole agent Robertson Wilson).

3 pairs of Nike Free's
Imagine my delight when  I received not one but three pairs of Nike Free's from Nike today. Yes, I received a pair each of the Nike Free 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0.

Here's another look
I've worn the original Nike Free when it was released in 2004. I received a pair then from Nike and was also interviewed by the Straits Times regarding my views on the shoe. I've still got that article by the Straits Times. I liked that pair of Nike Free's, I used it quite a bit  so I could do a proper review for the shoe. Even though I was with Adidas then, because of my job as a Sports Physiotherapist at the Singapore Sports Council, Adidas was not upset with me when I wore other brands' shoes when I had to review shoes. Believe me, I've tried many many brands of running shoes.

When I was still racing triathlons, Adidas took care of my gear from over 10 years. But way before that, Nike gave me all my racing shoes. Guess I've come full circle then.

Well, now that I'm retired from racing, I'm open to all running shoes. Will write a review once I get some decent runs in them. Stay tuned.

* Many thanks to Andrew Kwong from Nike for my shoes (and to Andrea Goh for bringing them to me today).