3 Reasons to Track Your Fitness

Today there are so many fitness trackers available for you to choose from various bands, watches and apps. All these gadgets are equipped with accelerometers and sensors to track you all day (and night) long. But do they really work or are they just a gimmick? Here are 3 reasons why if used correctly they can help you become fitter and healthier.

1. You can see your fitness goals: It’s one thing to have a sense of how healthy you are, but it’s another thing to see the numbers. Many fitness trackers can record your steps, calories burned, and sleep, so if you’re not meeting your goals in one or more of those categories, you’ll be able to see it in no time. Fitness trackers force you to be aware of your fitness shortcomings so you can modify habits as necessary.

2. You can track your progress: Investing in a fitness tracker forces you to think about what you’d like to get out of your workout routine. Many trackers allow you to add goals — like steps per day or calories burned — so you can keep tabs on whether or not you are progressing. It’s nice to have numbers backing up just how much more fit and active you’ve been feeling and to use as a basis for future goals.

3. You can push yourself safely: Listening to your body is the best way to know your limits, but having extra help doesn’t hurt. Many fitness trackers compile the data they collect from your daily habits to show you trends over time. That means that if you find that you’re being too sedentary on your non-workout days or that you aren’t burning as many calories as you thought in yoga class, you’ll be armed with the information you need to modify your workout routine or your daily activity habits.
Source: Instagram User supertall007

Here’s few of the best on the market

Fitbit Surge ($153+)455645-fitbit-surge

The Fitbit Surge is a sophisticated touch-screen wristwatch. It not only tracks your steps and sleep, but also alerts you to incoming phone calls and text messages, keeps tabs on your heart rate with a built-in optical heart rate monitor, uses GPS to track outdoor activity, and has much more functionality especially for runners.

PROS

Continuous heart rate monitoring. Built-in GPS. Comfortable, secure fit. Tracks new activities like hiking, yoga, and weight-lifting workouts. Excellent app and easy syncing. Supports incoming texts and call notifications. Accurate.

CONS

Limited push notifications. Moderately large. Not waterproof for swimming. Below average battery life with GPS enabled. Charger not interchangeable with other Fitbits.

BOTTOM LINE

With continuous heart rate monitoring, GPS, and broad appeal, the Fitbit Surge is the best all-day fitness tracker to date.

 

Garmin Forerunner 735XT ($307+)505861-garmin-forerunner-735xt

The Garmin Forerunner series blends the best fitness trackers with all the features you expect from running watches. Additionally it offers a 24/7 activity and sleep tracker with continuous heart rate monitoring, GPS, push notifications, and special features for triathletes. It’s not cheap but it manages to be both lightweight and excellent battery life. If you’re a hardcore martial artist who love to compete in triathlons this is the one for you.

PROS

Excellent for triathletes. GPS. Optical heart rate monitor. Tracks steps, sleep, heart rate, and an array of activities. Supports push notifications. Waterproof. Lightweight. Top-notch battery life.

CONS

Expensive. Not comfortable to wear while sleeping. More sporty than elegant.

BOTTOM LINE

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT fitness tracker gives pertinent information to triathletes about their sports, including advice you don’t often see, like recovery time. It’s comprehensive and easy to use but will set you back a pretty penny.

 

xiaomi-mi-band-1411724768-y3l7-column-width-inline-1421248072-Zgnt-column-width-inlineXiaomi Mi Band Pulse ($19+)

Best for those on a budget and now available outside of China, the Mi Band Pulse is cheap and cheerful, yet somehow manages to pack heart rate monitoring onto the wrist for an astonishing price. Xiaomi has shifted over a million of its bands in China alone, possibly making this the ultimate fitness tracker. On a down side the main body of the tracker does of a tendency to fall out if you are too rough with it. So don’t keep it on when doing pad work. Another down side is that it will does have a tendency to over estimate your steps in most cases.

Feature check: HR tracking, steps, sleep, smart alarms, incoming call alerts.

PROS
Ridiculously cheap, Easy to wear, easy to use, HRM works for resting rates, Works with Google Fit/Apple Health

CONS

Can overestimate steps, Heart rate goes haywire during exercise, Basic app, Sleep tracking is hit and miss

 

Moov Now ($45+)moov-now-1438020833-ll2s-column-width-inline-1438619840-t0qI-column-width-inline

Is one of the best for getting fit. Geared towards helping you be better at the sports you love, rather than reporting how you did. It’s an easy and compelling sell, and for our money, is what wearable tech should be about. Some of the misgivings remain: the need to carry your smartphone being the biggest downside to the device.

Feature check: Steps, sleep, advanced sports coaching, run/bike tracking.

PROS

Coaches and track, Displays progress, Great for all abilities, 6 months battery life

CONS

Need to take your phone running, Coach’s voice is robotic and annoying, Daily activity         tracking is basic, Strap comes undone now and then.

 

Charity Miles ($4.99+)467513-charitymiles

Earn money for charities every time you run, walk, or bicycle by using the free Charity Miles app. Corporate sponsors (whose information you’ll see as a backdrop image in the app) agree to donate a few cents for every mile you complete. Browse the app’s list of charities, find the one that you support, and then hit the road. When a lot of people use Charity Miles, those little bits of money add up.

Using this app you can rack up some serious miles. With this app you can get fit while donating to some excellent charities. The new UI is very clean and visually appealing. Both the GPS and indoor tracking are for the most part reliable. On the downside view the history can be annoying. The activity log looks nice and is easy to navigate but needs to also have the ability to see the length of time each run was.

 

FitStarr ($7.99 per month or $39.99 per year)467529-358828-fitstar

FitStar creates custom workouts for you based on your fitness level. You start by doing a few workouts with the app and you give it feedback as you go about which exercises were too tough, too easy, or just right. The app uses that information to create a routine that challenges you in all the right ways. FitStar was purchased by Fitbit in 2015 and now works with some Fitbit devices. The in-app coach is former NFL player Tony Gonzalez, a beefy workout buddy who is nothing but a bundle of positive, cheery feedback, and absolutely no excuses.

It is customize to you and after each workout you should feel like you’ve accomplished something. The great thing is it sync with your Fitbit (Fitbit actually recommend this app). You get free sessions but for premium its a steal instead of going to the gym and probably having to pay twice as much. With this app and eating right you will lose weight in no time.

If you make a purchase use our links and help support the www.StudyMartialArts.Org project.

 

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Qigong for Health and Longevity

Qigong is an essential component of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a powerful system of healing. It is the art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movements, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate the life energy (qi). Qigong practice leads to better health and vitality and a tranquil state of mind. Qigong can also be called nei gong (inner work) and dao yin (guiding energy). The documented history of this health and longevity art qigong goes back approximately 2,500 years. However Chinese archaeologists and historians have found references to qigong-like techniques at least five thousand years old.

Qigong is an essential component of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a powerful system of healing.

medical

Because qigong includes both dynamic and gentle techniques that can be practiced from standing, seated, and supine postures, it is suitable for both the young and the old. Practices can be tailored to individual needs making it an ideal aid to recovery from illness or injury. Qigong is a form of complementary medicine working well with other forms of therapy but should not substitute for necessary treatment by a physician.

The two major areas of qigong for health and healing are Healing qigong or Yi Going and external qi healing or Wai Qi Zhi Liao

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Qigong for health and healing involves two major areas of application:

  1. Healing Qigong (Yi Gong). Healing Qigong (sometimes translated “Medical Qigong”) is the preventive and self-healing aspect of Chinese medicine. We are all exposed to stress. Qigong teaches us how to control our reactions to stress so that life events do not cause such symptoms as high blood pressure, frustration, or anxiety. Healthy people practice qigong to become super-healthy. Healers use qigong to prevent “healer burn-out” and to maintain a positive presence.
  2. External Qi Healing (Wai Qi Zhi Liao). Qigong includes a sophisticated system of health assessment and non-contact treatment called External Qi Healing (EQH). The healer learns to tap into a well of healing energy in nature and “funnel” it through his or her body. Unlike some purely intuitive systems, EQH includes exercises that increase sensitivity to energy fields and efficacy of treatment. The more you practice External Qi Healing exercises and meditations, the more effective your healing treatment. External Qi Healing techniques may be used as a stand alone form of wellness treatment or may be combined with qigong massage, acupuncture, Therapeutic Touch, osteopathy, or any other form of body-work. Because treatment is generally performed at a distance from the body, EQH does not violate psychotherapists’ professional ethics (which do not allow touching the patient) and is thus an ideal adjunct to body-centered psychotherapy.

Active Healing Qigong Exercises

In order to get the maximum health benefits from qigong self practice, moving or active qigong is believed to be more important than sitting or still meditation. This is because moving exercises increase qi circulation in specific organs and so restore their normal functions. Active Qigong is for maintaining health and longevity and curing illnesses caused by qi imbalances. To learn more about mediation and qigong residentially retreats. 

medqigongconference

If you’re mostly interested in qigong for health and longevity, then qigong exercises derived from the Bone/ Marrow Washing Classics are typical qigong sets famous for being able to bestow strong and healthy bodies on dedicated practitioners. Qigong exercises derived from the Muscle/ Tendon Changing Classics (Yi Jin Jing) however, are said not only good for health but also have the added benefit of being able to increase the power of martial arts techniques.

It is said Da Mo imparted these works to the Shaolin priests because he believed they where not strong enough for the rigorous demands of training for enlightenment.

f64383e28e3b936924b074560f268ed8Both these books are often attributed to Da Mo the famous Indian Buddhist priest who brought Zen or Chan Buddhism to China, however it is more likely they were written and re-written by a number of different scholars and schools of thought before and after the fabled Da Mo. Nevertheless if we follow the traditional Shaolin view it is said Da Mo imparted these works to the Shaolin priests because he believed they where not strong enough for the rigorous demands of training for enlightenment. 

In truth a combination of exercises derived from the brain washing and tendon changing classic are likely to be the most beneficial depending on your purpose and existing age and health. The main four main health qigong exercises recognised and promoted by the Chinese Health Qigong Association are as follows.  

  • Muscle-Tendon Change Classic (Yì Jīn Jīng 易筋经).
  • Five Animals (Wu Qin Xi 五禽戲).
  • Six Healing Sounds (Liu Zi Jue 六字訣).
  • Eight Pieces of Brocade (Ba Duan Jin 八段錦).

In 2010, the Chinese Health Qigong Association officially recognized five additional health qigong forms:

  • Tai Chi Yang Sheng Zhang (太极养生杖): a tai chi form from the stick tradition.
  • Shi Er Duan Jin (十二段锦): seated exercises to strengthen the neck, shoulders, waist, and legs.
  • Daoyin Yang Sheng Gong Shi Er Fa (导引养生功十二法): 12 routines from Daoyin tradition of guiding and pulling qi.
  • Mawangdui Daoyin (马王堆导引术): guiding qi along the meridians with synchronous movement and awareness.
  • Da Wu (大舞): choreographed exercises to lubricate joints and guide qi.

Below is an official video from the Chinese Health Qigong Association providing an introduction to Qigong as a health exercise.

 

Learn more about mediation and qigong retreats for health and longevity.

The Path of Mindfulness

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The oldest evidence for walking on two legs comes from one of the earliest humans known, Sahelanthropus. Walking upright may have helped this species survive in the diverse habitats near where it lived—including forests and grasslands. Today the habitat of the modern humans are urban areas and walking no-longer is matter of life and death but quality of life.

As a low impact exercise over 10,000 steps are recommend each day so its not an exercise that will help you loose pounds like running will. However, the benefits of walking can not simply be measured in weight loss or even fitness gains. Walking is much more than that. Walking is about the maintenance of overall physical and mental health. A evolutionary leap that is one of the most natural parts of our lives.

As a child our first steps are greeted with joy and as an adult our last with sadness. Walking is central to our being whether as a means of movement, a health exercise, a de-stresser, a way to clear your mind, think or connect to your own body or nature. As a result it’s a natural choice for an active meditative exercise that everyone can do.

Here’s a simple set of instructions for one form of walking meditation that focuses on connecting you to your own body and your surroundings.

1. Be aware of your posture, reduce your speed, relax and regulate your breathing with long slow deep breaths .

2. Using your five senses, listen to your surroundings and take a moment to become aware of them. Turn your attention to smells and touch, smile and explore your surroundings with wonder.

3. Become aware of your body, its movements its sway and connect to the sensation of walking. Observe how your body feels during the process of walking and enjoy these sensations for short periods of relaxed mindfulness.

So if you’re in Beijing here are my top three parks in Beijing for mindful walking:

1. The Temple of Heaven

2. Beihai Park

3. The Temple of Earth

Check out this app that is designed to help you integrate mindfulness into your daily routines. https://itunes.apple.com/hk/app/gps-for-the-soul/id586099254?mt=8 or alternatively. Leave your phone behind and get rid of all technological attachments for a mindful walk.

Check out www.StudyMartialArts.Org for martial arts adventure travel and training options in Beijing and World Wide.

A Lesson on Breathing

From Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

by Shunryu Suzuki

A path between a bamboo forrest.
A path between a bamboo forrest.

When we inhale, the air comes into the inner world.  When we exhale, the air goes out to the outer world.  The inner world is limitless, and the outer world is also limitless.  We say “inner world” or “outer world,” but actually there is just one whole world.  In this limitless world, our throat is like a swinging door.  The air comes in and goes out like a swinging door.  The air comes in and goes out like someone passing through a swinging door.  If you think, “I breathe,” the “I” is extra.  There is no you to say “I.”  What we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale.  It just moves; that is all.  When your mind is pure and calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing:  no “I,” no world, no mind nor body; just a swinging door….

Tozan, a famous Zen master, said,

“The blue mountain is the father of the white cloud.  The white cloud is the son of the blue mountain.  All day long they depend on each other, without being dependent on each other.  The white cloud is always the white cloud.  The blue mountain is always the blue mountain.”

This is a pure, clear interpretation of life.  There may be many things like the white cloud and blue mountain:  man and woman, teacher and disciple.  They depend on each other.  But the white cloud should not be bothered by the blue mountain.  The blue mountain should not be bothered by the white cloud.  They are quite independent, but yet dependent.  This is how we live….

When we become truly ourselves, we just become a swinging door, and we are purely independent of, and at the same time, dependent upon everything.  Without air, we cannot breathe.  Each of us is in the midst of myriads of worlds.  We are in the center of the world always, moment after moment.  So we are completely dependent and independent.  If you have this kind of experience, this kind of existence, you have absolute independence; you will not be bothered by anything.

BOOK LINK – http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Mind-Beginners-Informal-Meditation/dp/0834800799

www.StudyMartialArts.Org

The Way Of Nature in Beijing

Capture

Bringing the way of nature into polluted Beijing from the inside out.

Living in Beijing, China’s capital has lots of benefits. In China’s annual 2012 expat survey, Beijing was voted in the top 3 of China’s most attractive cities for expats to live in.
Beijing’s Parks and open spaces are beautiful and full of life no matter what time of day you might visit them. Literally any open space buzzes with life. The old talk, play, stretch, sway, practice qigong or dance while the young chillout, cuddle or keep fit.

For foodies Beijing has an abundance of cheap and delicious eateries. There are traditional and exotic offerings available that are either local or from further afield. All of which can be easily obtained and many of which can be obtained without even leaving the house. Thanks to the numerous delivery services like Jinshisong, sherpa and many more. Yet, of course, food and parks aren’t the only thing on offer: Beijing also has a rich history and culture, as well as a maze of hutongs and hidden gems, all there for you to explore should you wish to leave your house. For many Beijing’s cultural scene is a legitimate draw and, for many, has more substance than Shanghai.

Beijing is a City of parks, restaurants, historic sites and culture, knitted together by an ever expanding subway system that allows its 20 million plus residents easy access around the city for as little as 2 rmb.

Beijing it seems has everything and in abundance. However, this abundance does not come without a cost. Air pollution, traffic and overcrowding are the biggest challenges that the city faces.

However, whether you’re a Chinese citizen or expat the truth is that we can do very little about these three things individually, without sweeping local and national policy changes and the time for them to take place. At present, too many of us continue to enjoy the convenience of cars, whether it’s our own or a cab, and quite frankly, even the most unsociable of us enjoy congregating from time to time. So what can we do individually to improve our environment?
Consider for a second the saying ‘charity starts at home’. Now why not replace the word ‘charity’ with this phrase; ‘Environmental change’. Maybe for the Beijinger, ‘Environmental change can and should start at home also’, rather than wait for local and national policy changes. Its up to us individually to be more proactive, by having more awareness and connection to our surroundings. We can do this very simply and cheaply by improving our own personal environments.  You can create your own personal oasis of peace and quiet away from the air pollution, traffic and overcrowding by introducing the following key elements (because no matter how peaceful, softly lit or less crowded your home is, it is unlikely that it will be untainted by Beijing’s air pollution).

The surprising and unhealthy truth is that almost all of the contaminants present in outdoor pollution can be found in indoor pollution! These pollutants include PAHs, solvents, organics, heavy metals, particulates, benzene, carcinogens and fecal material. As a result classrooms, offices and homes are introducing more and more air purifiers. But does the introduction of another impersonal home or workplace utility make any real difference without a very personal and natural mental shift? Does the introduction of yet another machine send the right message to students, workers or homeowners? What other measure can we take to protect our little oasis’s and improve our personal environments? Well the answer might just be in creating an oasis.

Below you will find my answer for the practical Beijinger who wants to avoid Beijing’s air pollution, traffic and overcrowding. Here is my list of air cleaning plants that you can order from taobao to create your own oasis without even leaving your home:

Bamboo Palm

 Bamboo Palm: Also known as the reed palm, this small palm thrives in shady indoor spaces and often produces flowers and small berries. It tops the list of plants best for filtering out both benzene and trichloroethylene. They’re also a good choice for placing around furniture that could be off-gassing formaldehyde. ://s.taobao.com/search?initiative_id=staobaoz_20130414&q=%D7%D8%D6%F1%C5%E8%D4%D4

Snake Plant

Snake plant: (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’) Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. Put one in your bathroom — it’ll thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions while helping filter out air pollutants. http://s.taobao.com/search?%20initiative_id=staobaoz_20130414&q=%BB%A2%CE%B2%C0%BC%C5%E8%D4%D4&cat=0

Areca Palm

Areca Palm: The top air purifying plant as ranked by NASA’s study is the Areca palm tree. The palm has been dubbed as one of the most efficient humidifiers and can be counted on to keep your home or office moist during dry times and continuously remove chemical toxins from the air. During winter time, it can literally replace the use of electric humidifiers altogether! http://s.taobao.com/search?initiative_id=staobaoz_20130414&q=%C9%A2%CE%B2%BF%FB%C5%E8%D4%D4&cat=0

Spider Plant

Spider Plant: A beautiful houseplant with long grassy leaves, the spider plant also grows rapidly. This elegant plant is great at removing poisonous gases as well as other impurities like formaldehyde and xylene. For better effect, it should be kept in the kitchen or near the fireplace, as these are the places where carbon monoxide accumulates a lot.

http://s.taobao.com/search?initiative_id=staobaoz_20130414&q=%B5%F5%C0%BC%C5%E8%D4%D4&cat=0

Peace Lily

Peace Lily: One of the best plants you can get that reduces harmful indoor toxins that may cause cancer is the Peace Lily. An easy-to-care-for houseplant, the peace lily is a great pollution fighter and air-purifier. It helps in removing benzene and formaldehyde present in the house. http://s.taobao.com/search?spm=a230r.1.4.1.VT1G0W&q=%C2%ED%CC%E3%C1%AB%C5%E8%D4%D4&rsclick=1

Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy: This bright, flowering plant is effective at removing trichloroethylene, which you may bring home with your dry cleaning. It’s also good for filtering out the benzene that comes with inks. A great place to have this little plant is either in your laundry room or bedroom provided it can get plenty of light there.  

http://s.taobao.com/search?initiative_id=staobaoz_20130414&q=%B7%C7%D6%DE%BE%D5%B3%FB%BE%D5%C5%E8%D4%D4&cat=0

Marginata

Marginata (Dracaena marginata): This plant is stunningly beautiful with glossy thin leaves with red edges. It is a famously slow-growing flowering houseplant with very few growing requirements. It also not only removes formaldehyde and benzene from the air, but is also capable of filtering out other toxins present. However, proper care should be taken while placing the plant inside, as it is poisonous to dogs.

http://s.taobao.com/search?initiative_id=staobaoz_20130526&jc=1&q=Marginata+%28Dracaena+marginata%29&stats_click=search_radio_all%3A1

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera: We all know that aloe vera is present in many skin care products. Not only does it help with skin burns but also with filtering various gas emissions from dangerously toxic materials. Claimed to possess tons of medicinal properties, this incredible succulent can also be grown as an ornamental plant and can easily be picked up anywhere there are plants being sold.

http://s.taobao.com/search?initiative_id=staobaoz_20130526&jc=1&q=%C2%AB%DC%F6%D6%B2%CE%EF&stats_click=search_radio_all%3A1

Chrysantheium morifolium

Chrysantheium morifolium:  The colorful flowers of these plants can do a lot more than brighten a home office or living room; the blooms which come in a mixture of different shades and colors also help filter out benzene, which is commonly found in glue, paint, plastics and detergent. This plant loves bright light, and to encourage buds to open, you’ll need to find a spot near an open window with direct sunlight.

STEPS TO EFFICIENT RUNNING

Man Jogging on Open Road

  • Run tall. Gravity and weak core muscles cause many runners to “fold” in the middle when their feet land. This sitting-down movement wastes energy. Imagine that wires are attached to your shoulders, pulling you up slightly. Thrust your hips forward a bit and think “stability” when your foot hits. It’s easier to run tall if you’ve worked your core properly.
  • Relax. Tension in your arms, shoulders, neck, and face reduces efficiency. Arms and fingers should be loose. Unclench your hands and let your jaw jiggle.
  • Breathe right. Your breathing should be rhythmic and deep, and you should feel your diaphragm, not your chest, doing the work. Exhale with controlled force. When you pick up the pace, don’t let your breathing get shallow.
  • Land on the midfoot. A heel-first landing is a brake. It means you’re extending your leg out too far in front of your center of gravity, so it takes more energy to move forward. And it’s shaky, so your muscles are working on stabilization instead of forward motion. Shorten your stride. It’ll feel odd at first, like shuffling, but once you get used to it, focus on thrusting backward with force.
  • Run softly. The louder your footfalls, the less efficiently you’re running. Try running more quietly; you’ll be unconsciously switching to a midfoot strike and a shorter, quicker stride.
  • Swing symmetrically. Check your form on a treadmill in front of a mirror. If one arm is bent more than the other or swings more, you have a musculo-skeletal imbalance that can slow you down. Target the weaker side with strength and flexibility exercises.

WARNINGS

  • Always stretch after you run. It may not seem like you need to stretch after, but it helps you get ridimages of lactic acid, which is what makes your muscles ache! In addition, stretching your muscles will allow them to become stronger/faster. Also, by stretching after your run, you need not worry that you are stretching cold muscles. Pre-run stretching, while not inherently unsafe, is more likely to cause injury if not preceded by a warm-up.
  • Don’t feel pressured to continue faster than you’re able. Repeat weeks and move ahead only when you feel you’re ready.
  • Don’t skip the warm-up, and be sure to walk for a bit when you’ve finished, to allow your body time to cool down gradually.
  • Always consume adequate amounts of fluids before, after, and during (if runs last more than 45 minutes or so) your runs, especially in the heat. If you feel at all thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Running truly requires the least equipment and planning of all exercise. Grab your shoes, a couple of running buddies, and head outside. You’ll be looking and feeling better in no time.

http://ririanproject.com/2007/10/22/10-benefits-of-running-and-how-to-do-it/

Summer Supplements

With Beijing’s hottest summer months, July and August upon us I thought I’d devote this blog entry to getting the most out of training during the summer.

Two things I’ll focus on that will help you to reach optimum performance during this time are the following.

  • Magnesium
  • Digestive Enzymes

These supplements are great for those spending long hours out in the sun training and who wish to improve their performance as well as aid their digestion. The perfect combination for kungfu students that will be susceptible to tummy bugs and long rigours training schedules.

So here’s why:

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is important for maintaining and improving sports performance, as magnesium plays a pivotal role in energy production and the maintenance of health. This mineral is often poorly supplied by diet. And you will especially find this when your diet is mostly made up of cabbage, conge, rice, tofu and a few other vegetables which make up the average kung fu school meal here in China.

There are a selection of these products that you can choose from. – Other ways you can get magnesium into the body include effervescent tablets. There are plenty of products on the market to choose from.

Modern research actually suggests that even small shortfalls in magnesium intake can seriously impair athletic performance. This mineral should become your new friend as a supplement or by naturally adding magnesium rich foods to your diet.

So why is magnesium important?

Magnesium is important because it is required for the activation of crucial enzymes known as ATPases, which are required for the generation of ATP, the body’s ‘energy currency’ used for all muscular contraction. It reduces heart rate, ventilation rate, oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide production. Where there is a magnesium shortfall the efficiency of muscle relaxation is reduced, which accounts for an important fraction of total energy needs during exercise. Additionally, magnesium reduces the accumulation of fatiguing lactic acid during intense exercise. Don’t take my word for it click the link to find out more. http://wwww.pponline.co.uk/encyc/using-magnesium-to-improve-your-exercise-performance-39415

2. Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes help with: Allergies by minimizing the absorption of allergy-triggering, incompletely digested “foreign proteins” (antigens) in foods that cause allergies. Back Pain, as the enzymes chymotrypsin and trypsin have been found to successfully treat the sciatica (leg pain) that occurs in some patients with back pain. Digestion and flatulence, as they add to your body’s natural digestive enzymes reserves. This little benefit maybe much needed for students practicing qigong. The combination qigong and poorly digested food leads to the release of more than a little how shall we say bad qi into the training environment. Other benefits of these enzymes include gallbladder health, as one of the enzymes in digestive enzyme supplements (named lipase) facilitates the digestion of dietary fats in the gallbladder so take a little strain of this organ. Rosacea patients have been found to have lower than normal levels of pancreatic lipase (an enzyme involved in the digestion of fat). Therefore, insufficient lipase production could be responsible, at least partly, for the symptoms of rosacea.  If this is the case, supplemental lipases may be useful for rosacea patients while sciatica may also be alleviated as a combination of the enzymes chymotrypsin and trypsin have been found to successfully treat the sciatica (leg pain) that occurs in some patients with back pain. 

Look into which product best suits you. I’ve not looked into every product but whatever supplement go for trusted and quality brands.

Finally, and maybe more relevantly to most sports injuries can be helped by taking this supplement as certain digestive enzymes (either alone or in combination) have been demonstrated in several clinical trials to accelerate the healing of sports injuries that involve soft tissue damage (sprains and strains), leading them to heal up to twice as fast as normal. This is a great benefit for those with knocks and niggling injuries. This benefit has been studied in injuries from karate, ice hockey, soccer, football, boxing, judo, running and more. The most noticeable effects of enzyme therapy include reduced pain, blood clotting, swelling, heat, edema and inflammation.  These effects occur via improved blood circulation, accelerated tissue repair, delivery of nutrients to damaged areas, removal of debris from the injured area and direct anti-inflammatory effects.

For the month of June to July I studied at Master Chen Fusheng’s Traditional Martial Arts School on the outskirts of Beijng. Here’s a link www.Bajizhandao.com. The usual training day began at 5am with standing meditation followed by drills and basics. After breakfast forms and applications. Then lunch and conditioning, qigong and applications. After dinner we then practice forms, do various workouts for strength, power and conditioning, finishing the evening training with more standing meditation. During this time I took magnesium and enzyme supplements and felt the benefits in my training for doing so.

I’ve No I Deer About These Supplements? Can you help?

deer_1Recently, I received an email about Deer Antler Velvet. Intrigued I decided to find out a little more.

Deer antler velvet has been used here in China for at least 2000 years and is a mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine. It is second only to ginseng in importance to TCM and herbal specialists.  Said to be effective anti-inflammatory, anticancer, immune stimulant, and progrowth agent. It contains calcium, magnesium, zinc and a full spectrum of amino acids and anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Significantly, it is a natural source of glucosamine, chondroitin collagen as well as male and female hormones, including Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) – a hormone that’s produced in the liver as a response to growth hormone (HGH) stimulation. For these reasons this age old remedy is being increasingly used as a performance enhancer.

Traditional Chinese medicine has used Deer antler velvet to  as a treatment for infertility, joint inflammation, hypertension to improve mental alertness and memory, boost immune system function, speed wound healing and recovery, slow aging, balance iron levels, improve libido in both sexes, and restore joint health.

In what might be the most important study done in the United States to date, a group of scientists took 32 male weight lifters and gave half of them New Zealand Deer Antler Velvet and half of them a placebo for 10 weeks. While the placebo group didn’t show any difference in bench or squat tests, those given deer antler velvet saw an increase of 4 percent on the bench press and 10.1 percent on the squat test as compared to the placebo group. The scientists also reported that there was a “significant improvement in aerobic capacity” with the group that was taking deer antler velvet. – (CNBC Report)

Deer antler velvet usually comes as a power, extract or as a spray. I normally only get access to it in its raw state as antler shavings in TCM stores. I know that’s not the same thing. 

What this post is all about is finding out the positives & negatives are about using this as a supplement in what form and also how you use it.

If you’ve had any experience using deer antler please comment and share your experience.

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For information on Martial Arts in China and Thailand. http://www.StudyMartialArts.Org

The Power of the Conscious Breath

yoga-breathing

Later today I’m heading over to the Zajia Lab at the rear of Beijing’s landmark Bell Tower for a breathing workshop. Yes, indeed a breathing workshop and, in Beijing of all places! I am going there to learn how to breath.

Breathing as know is essential for human life, without oxygen we die, therefore it stands to reason that if we can do this better our body functions and internal workings will be better and therefore our health will be better. Breathing habits and posture are considered to be essential components of health. The breath alone is one of the most important tools at an athlete’s disposal. How an athlete breaths is directly associated with performance. It seems obvious but it is often overlooked.

For the martial artists the breath is also important. It is used to focus and deliver power or alternatively protect the body, while for others it has become a spiritual practice and one that is practiced by Buddhist monks, Taoist monks and holy men the world over, allowing the creation of space, mental peace and balance. The cultivation of spirit.

The fact is that the conscious practice of breathing is capable of producing dramatic and life changing results, its free, limitless and can be practiced anywhere and at any time. My personal experience of the power of breathing has been through my own practice of standing and moving neigong’s and meditations.  Since arriving in China to study traditional combat Martial Arts this aspect of breathing and meditation training continues to grow in importance for me personally. This is due more to the amazing all-round benefits I receive from this practice in terms of health, stress management, balance, building qi even to the ability of visualizing and manifesting the results I desire than changing importance’s as I get older. But more on that later.

So today I’m heading off to a breathing workshop with an open mind and a desire to take whatever techniques I learn at this workshop and add it to my already growing knowledge of neigong.

So if you read this I hope it inspires you to take a little time out of your day to simply take a few long slow deep conscious breaths. When doing this keep an up right relaxed posture and focus on your internal universe. Listen to the breath moving while you practicing an inner smile.

If you would like to learn more about the power of breathing or future breathing workshops or practices feel free to post below or PM me directly at StudyMartialArts@gmail.com or visit www.StudyMartialArts.Org