On November 15th, the Canadian Olympic Committee hosted an event at the Berkley Church Theatre in Toronto to celebrate the achievements of the Olympic Athletes and the corporate sponsors who supported them. I performed in a Flash Mob, choreographed by Janet L. Castillo. The choreography changed tempo often and portrayed the highs and lows of the athletes during their training and Olympic victory. This night was also special because I was 4 months pregnant and embraced the opportunity to perform.

It was a great experience to be a part of this night. Below is the video shot and edited by my husband, Ryan Buan. He did an excellent job capturing the performance despite the challenges of the venue and the nature of the performance.

Check it out and feel the Olympic spirit!

The season of spring not only wakes up hibernating animals from their slumber, but hibernating athletes as well.  The rise in temperature brings out more people being physically active outdoors.  This is a wonderful thing, but please take this word of advice:  Although your mind may feel that your body is as fit as it was in its “Heyday”, it may not be.  If you haven’t been consistent with your training, the reality is that your muscles atrophy (shrink) and your flexibility reduces.  The same thing applies to your cardio. Your heart is a muscle and if you don’t do endurance training regularly, your ability to exercise for longer periods of time will reduce.

In a nutshell, take the following steps so that your Spring enthusiasm doesn’t lead you to injury:

  1. Be realistic with your goals. If you ran 10K regularly in November, you may not be able to do that today.  Find a training book that will give you a program to gradually increase your mileage safely.
  2. Mind your posture. Your back, abdominals and gluts stabilize your spine and pelvis and maintain proper alignment in any activity.  If these muscles are not well conditioned, you can develop injuries such as low back pain, I-T band syndrome, etc.
  3. Cross Train. Your body adapts to the stimuli that you give it.  If you sit most of the year, your body has adapted to this and will not be able to handle a new burst of activity.   Engage in full body resistance training, dance, pilates/yoga and cardio to give yourself a strong and leaner body.
  4. Get new shoes. Those kicks from the ’80s are not going to cut it.  Find a good shoe that provides cushioning and support and that is SPORT SPECIFIC to your activity.
  5. Enjoy! Don’t be too hard on yourself if your body doesn’t seem to be as strong as it was before.  Realize that the body adapts and will improve with consistent training.  Enjoy the wind and sun on your face as you play outdoors!  Re-awaken your senses.

Historically, the Philippines was ravaged by many years of colonialism from Spain and Japan. Despite this, Filipinos are master survivors whose culture has family at its nucleus.  I am a first generation Canadian Filipino brought up to value family, yet I didn’t realize how true to nature family is to Filipinos until I visited the Philippines for the first time in 31 years.

Filipino folk dancing in Bohol, Philippines

In Makati, there are so many shopping malls it makes Toronto look barren.  Moreover, they are FULL of people….eating.   I was shocked to see how many eateries there were and all of them were full of customers.  Initially my thoughts were, “Gosh, Filipinos are gaining weight here. They are so indulgent.” (Side note: I had a preconceived notion that all Filipinos were skinny and ate lots of vegetables and fruits as in the days of my parents).  But if one takes a closer look, one will notice that every restaurant is full of families.  Food is one ingredient that brings family together.

Now what happens when you don’t have food?  The Philippines has a distinct separation between the poor and the rich.  Shanty towns line any available pocket in the city. These people don’t go to the malls. They don’t have plumbing. They don’t have jobs.  Food is scarce and not readily available. So how do they survive? Once again, family. They beg as a family and they suffer as a family. Yet even though they don’t have much, they are content.  Their family bond is what helps them to get through the day and counters the negative effects of poverty like exploitation, sickness and lack of education.

It also shocked me that both male and female employees in Customs at the airport would forget about their stern faces and “coo” at my 23 month old daughter.  Even in restaurants male and female servers would love to talk to my daughter as if I was at a family reunion!

Filipinos prove that rich or poor, happiness is achieved by nurturing relationships. In a world of materialism, wealth is misconceived as the accumulation of things.  However, true wealth is the balance of material goods, family, spirituality and personal fulfillment.  Wealth equals Health.    A positive environment filled with a positive support system make life’s struggles short-lived so that life can go on. Evaluate your relationships and relate them to your wealth quotient. Make the adjustments necessary to bring your life into balance and happiness will come to you.

Dr. Blessyl Buan, DC1167998_healthy_lifestyle

Do the following sound familiar?
“I haven’t worked out in month. I’m just too busy.”
“I haven’t eaten a vegetable or fruit in a long time. I just need carbs and coffee to get me through”
“What’s a massage therapist?”
“The last time I got a chiropractic adjustment was 10 years ago…”

These are all very common excuses for not taking care of yourself.  Life is busy, but if you change your perspective on the value of your body and health, you will find that your schedule opens up.

Here are some tips:

  1. Think of yourself as an elite athlete or “A-list”er. Get professional help on your side. Your personal trainer, chiropractor, massage therapist, dentist, esthetician, nutritionist and more are a team to keep you  at your best.
  2. Write it in your calendar: commiting a lifestyle change to pen, or even your twitter/facebook status gets you to follow through with your plans.
  3. What’s your dollar value?: If you can spend money on your car, clothing or other material things easily, ask yourself how much YOU are worth in $$$. Compare that dollar value to those purchases and it will be an eye opener!

 

Ask Dr. Blessyl

ITB SYNDROME

 

Do you ever get a dull pain on the outside of your knee after running for approximately two kilometers? Chances are you may have I-T Band Syndrome. 

 

The Iliotibial band is a connective tissue that attaches from your illiac crest to your knee.  When this band becomes tight it tugs on the knee causing pain. 

 it-band

Causes:

The cause of IT-Band syndrome is multifactorial.  Here are some of the potential causative factors:

  • A sudden increase in running distance
  • Running with old running shoes or shoes without the proper support
  • Starting hill training
  • Feet that over-pronate (roll-in) or over supinate (roll out)
  • Weak core musculature most especially gluteus medius
  • Treatment:
  • Ice the area that feels painful.
  • Stretch the IT-Band after your run or workout
  • Strengthen your core musculature
  • If the pain is too intense while running. Remove running from your training schedule until you heal.
  • See your health care provider to treat your symptoms. 

 

This quote was brought to my attention by my friend Abigail Villamin 

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
                                                         —St. Francis of Assisi —