Tag Archives: Heat

Winter Workouts Can Boost Your Mood

Winter can put a chill on even the most enthusiastic exercise plans. But sticking to your exercise program throughout the cold months is beneficial for multiple reasons, experts say. Not only can physical activity lift your spirits during days of limited sunlight, it can help make sure you’re in good shape when the weather gets warmer.
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To exercise safely in more challenging conditions, you may need to make some adjustments to your routine. When exercising outdoors, it’s important to dress properly.

Wear layers that you can peel off as necessary. Ideally, the layer closest to your skin should be made of a breathable wicking material and not sweat-absorbing cotton. Then add a layer of fleece or cotton for warmth and, finally, a windbreaker or waterproof outer layer.

Make sure you’ve adequately insulated your extremities. Your face, fingers and toes are most likely to get frostbitten. Pain or tingling in your ears, fingers or toes is a sign that it’s time to come in from the cold. And don’t forget a hat — substantial body heat is lost through your head.

SourceUSA Today December 29, 2009

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Meditate Your Pain Away

Zen meditation – a centuries-old practice that helps people gain mental, physical and emotional balance – can keep pain at bay

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Universite de Montreal researchers.

According to a Psychosomatic Medicine study, Zen meditators have lower pain sensitivity both in and out of a meditative state compared to non-meditators. Along with Pierre Rainville, a professor and researcher at the Université de Montréal, Joshua A. Grant, a doctoral student in the Department of Physiology co-authored the paper.

The main aim of the study was to examine whether trained meditators perceived pain differently than non-meditators. “While previous studies have shown that teaching chronic pain patients to meditate is beneficial, very few studies have looked at pain processing in healthy, highly trained meditators. This study was a first step in determining how or why meditation might influence pain perception,” says Grant.

To reach the conclusion, the scientists recruited 13 Zen meditators with a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice to undergo a pain test and contrasted their reaction with 13 non-meditators. Subjects included 10 women and 16 men between the ages of 22 to 56.

The administered pain test was simple: A thermal heat source, a computer controlled heating plate, was pressed against the calves of subjects intermittently at varying temperatures. Heat levels began at 43 degrees Celsius and went to a maximum of 53 degrees Celsius depending on each participant’s sensitivity. While quite a few of the meditators tolerated the maximum temperature, all control subjects were well below 53 degrees Celsius.

Grant and Rainville noticed a marked difference in how their two test groups reacted to pain testing – Zen meditators had much lower pain sensitivity (even without meditating) compared to non-meditators. During the meditation-like conditions it appeared meditators further reduced their pain partly through slower breathing: 12 breaths per minute versus an average of 15 breaths for non-meditators.

“Slower breathing certainly coincided with reduced pain and may influence pain by keeping the body in a relaxed state. While previous studies have found that the emotional aspects of pain are influenced by meditation, we found that the sensation itself, as well as the emotional response, is different in meditators,” Grant said.

The ultimate result was that Zen meditators experienced an 18 per cent reduction in pain intensity.

Source:The Times Of India