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What to Make of Foam Rollers and Massage Guns?

Sean Gallagher was the first physical therapist listed as using a foam roller as a self-message tool back in 1987 [1]. A couple decades later, foam rollers became all the rage. Not only do you still see foam rollers in every gym, but they’ve evolved with various patterns and grids to target deeper muscles and tissues. Additionally, vibration foam rollers (VFRs) that combine the vibration technology with foam rollers have been created [2]. And recently, you see massage guns widely marketed which combine many of these aspects of self-message, deep tissue manipulation, and vibration or percussive technology. A commercial of pro golfer Colin Morikawa was released showing him using his massage gun as a warm-up, cool-down, and mid-round tool [3]. But how do these self-massage tools work? What benefits do they actually provide? If they are… Read More

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The Top Exercises for Optimal Core Strength

Strong abdominal muscles help stabilize the trunk and unload lumbar spine stress [1]. This not only helps prevent lower back pain which is the number one cause of disability for people under 45 [2] but it can help improve posture and physical performance [3]. But more importantly, strong abdominal muscles provide you those 6-pack abs. Who cares about back pain, posture, or performance because what really matters is what our stomach looks like in the mirror right? Well, if that’s the case you’ll have much better luck reducing your body fat percentage down to around 10% as a male and 16% as a female because abs are built through exercise but more importantly revealed through nutrition [4]. Either way, a strong core will help with all these goals. But what muscles are in the core? What exercises does the science show best target and activate… Read More

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How to Prevent Running Injuries and What I Did Wrong

Running is associated with high rates of injury, with injury causation often complex and multifactorial [1]. Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way this summer by running into shin splints, a groin strain, and a hamstring strain all within two weeks. Months of progress and running halted from my body breaking down. And more than anything, it was extremely frustrating that I couldn’t run anymore on these 90-degree beautiful days and equally frustrating that this could happen to me when I thought I’d been so methodical. Well, after reviewing my running logs, training routine, and all the scientific evidence surrounding running injury prevention, it appears that I was due for these injuries eventually. What did I do wrong? Although most people think stretching and appropriate footwear are the key to injury prevention [2], do they even… Read More

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My 4 Training Runs for Optimal Health

Growing up, I never enjoyed running unless it was 100m sprints. I would get cramps, my low back would ache, and it just wasn’t fun. So, unless I was at the track running 100m sprints or playing sports, then you wouldn’t find me running. That was up until a few years ago when I decided I wanted to beat my dad’s 5k record he set when he was my age. So, I started grinding out training runs and pounding the pavement. And what was interesting, is my preference for running changed just like taste buds changed from eating more plants. The more I ran, the more I started to enjoy it. Just like the more plants I ate, the more enjoyable they became too. And this has made me question whether we do things we enjoy, or do we enjoy the things we do? I know, a little bit of a paradigm shift there. But the more I’ve run the past couple of years, the more I enjoy… Read More

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The Corrective Posture Routine for Desk Workers

As work and entertainment increasingly become digital, we’re spending more time sitting than ever before. We’re sitting at work, sitting while in transit, and sitting when we’re home. We’re always sitting! And as our body spends more time in a single position, it’ll adapt to those demands. Just as hockey players’ hips tend to tilt forward and rotate out to meet the demands of skating and handling a puck on the ice, office workers tend to experience the same thing with their hips constantly being flexed while sitting and their shoulders/neck rounded while looking down at a laptop screen or phone. This repeated act often leads to tightening of certain muscles along with weakening of opposing muscles. This then not only makes it hard to maintain good posture in the first place, but can also lead to chronic pain, acute injury, and a lack… Read More

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A Morning Routine Must

Whether it’s a morning routine, bedtime routine, or meal prep routine, I think the routines we build play a significant role in our health and happiness. But I’ve recently discovered something that I now believe should be incorporated into everyone’s morning routine. Something that kickstarts our day into peak alertness, clarity, and energy. And something that will downregulate our body at nighttime for optimal sleep. And it’s not only free but accessible to everyone. Let me introduce you to… the morning walk. Now I know you were probably expecting something cool like a superfood energy supplement or a Bikram yoga power flow but let me explain why the morning walk is all that and more. All of us have a circadian rhythm which is like a 24-hour internal clock. And based upon the time of day, our circadian rhythm will regulate our… Read More

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Optimal Sauna Usage for Longevity

I always used to think that sauna users were just lazy gym goers who didn’t feel like lifting weights or crushing cardio. Instead, they’d rather sit down in a nice warm and cozy sauna, and pretend like they’re losing weight… which obviously would be gained back with the next bottle of water consumed. But, after spending a week going through much of the scientific literature and attending four sauna sessions, my perspective has done a 180. Can sauna usage be used for lifespan extension? Disease prevention? And improved immunity? And if so, what are the appropriate parameters for optimal sauna usage? Well, I got the answers. Let’s get into it! Many places that offer sauna sessions often promote a multitude of benefits ranging from detoxification, skin rejuvenation, and weight loss, all the way to improved cardiovascular function, improved… Read More

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What I Learned in the Emergency Room. Part 3.

We’ve made it to the final post in the series of what I learned in the emergency room. First, I discussed how nutritionally poor the food is in hospitals. Second, I talked about how misdiagnoses can happen and how you can prevent them. And third, today, I’m going to cover three more essential topics in health and wellness, and how they were affected by my emergency room visit: Sleep, Physical Activity, and Finances. Let’s get into it! Did you know that people who live next to airports have significantly lower quality sleep than those who don’t? This is because the noise at night from the planes overhead can disrupt sleep cycles even if they don’t wake us. Did you know that people who live in the city that keep their curtains open and let streetlight in their bedroom have lower quality sleep than those who don’t? This is because even dim light in our… Read More

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Are You Exercising Asymmetrically?

In my second year of college baseball, I suffered what ended up being a career ending injury. During an outdoor fall practice, I was making lengthy throws from the outfield to home plate. They were long throws that put a lot of stress on my arm. On top of that, it was about 40 degrees outside, and my body wasn’t fully loose. Then all of the sudden when making one of the throws, I felt a ligament in my elbow tear. One MRI later and it was confirmed I had torn the ulnar collateral ligament in my throwing elbow. It wasn’t painful and I knew it was mostly fixable through surgery and a year of rehabilitation, but it was surely disappointing and there was a long road ahead. I ended up getting the surgery shortly after where they took a ligament from my leg to replace the torn ligament in my elbow. Pretty weird, but also pretty cool. 😎 And then the long road to… Read More

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Your Workouts Need to be Multi-Planar

Whether it was fitness programs I was provided in high school and college sports, or fitness programs I created myself, they all had common movement patterns. They all contained squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead shoulder presses, bicep curls, sit-ups, and many other well-known movement patterns. And because these movement patterns were well-known, commonly taught, and frequently practiced exercises, I figured those were the main exercises if not the only exercises needed to get fit and healthy. But after years of focusing primarily on these exercises, I’ve still had a fair number of injuries, posture misalignments, muscle imbalances and back pain. How could it be that the consistent training routines I was provided and recommended through fitness professionals and coaches weren’t keeping me fit and healthy? How could it be that I was still injury prone… Read More

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