The Art of Relaxation

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I first encountered the paradox of relaxation in years of martial arts training:

The more relaxed you are, the faster you will be

If I come to a kung-fu class tensed, I would inevitably get my ass kicked @#$$!

However, if I am relaxed, I am able to have a higher reaction time, discern attacks and be able counter-attack with speed.

This is counter-intuitive. Instinctively, our muscles and body tense when face to danger. Why should we learn to be relaxed instead?

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Good Stress and Bad Stress, Part II

The previous post laid out the history of stress, explained how stress imposes a reaction, and the difference between good stress and bad stress.

In all activities, there is always a ceiling. It can be genetical and limit maximum strength, speed, coordination in physical performance. It can be environmental or geographical. Where we live and study determines for example the quality and scope of work. It can be a time ceiling, giving us limited time to accomplish required tasks.

This maximum can be attainable after a long and hard journey and is illustrated by the red line in the graph below.

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Good stress and Bad stress, Part I

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History of Stress

The term stress was borrowed from physics by the first stress researcher Hans Selye.  In physics, stress describes the force that produces strain on a physical body (i.e.: bending a piece of metal until it snaps occurs because of the force, or stress, exerted on it).

Hans Selye noticed that all his patients, regardless of disease, all looked under duress. He decided to name “stress”.

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Managing Your Physical Condition with Heart Rate Variability

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In a previous post, resting heart rate was shown to reflect physical and mental condition. A low resting heart rate correlates with good health compared to a high resting heart rate.

It becomes complex when you consider age. Older people have lower resting heart rate. And individuals with the same age, nutrition and overall fitness level can have vastly different heart rates. For instance, my maximum heart rate when running is around 172bpm while a friend has 200bpm, with the same heart rate sensor. It does not mean however that I am more or less fit than others.

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Accepting Imperfection

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One of my training goal is to be able to run 5 km in less than 20 minutes before the end of 2016.

I like a lot the idea of this goal. During the day, I would already imagine my legs powering me forward, the wind flowing, and the constant battle against the watch. I was already eager on sharing my success everywhere.

Recently, it started snowing. Sidewalks become a sliding game, shoes become soggy and fingers are frozen. And what was once beautiful green trails become cold, dark and snow paths like above. Result: I loose half of my speed!

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Tiger Balm To the Rescue !

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Even though healthcare is free in Canada, I haven’t taken any antibiotics or any over the counter medicine in the past ten years. No aspirin, Tylenol, Vicks, Advil. Nada.

It’s not because I reject the healthcare system. If I get bitten by a dog or a snake, I will gladly get my anti rabies or anti venomous shot. If I get pneumonia, I won’t say no to a dose of antibiotics, to the contrary. In fact, if you get sick, I highly recommend you to consult your doctor and follow their prescription.

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