In this episode we review the basics of how to do a proper push-up. We discuss the step-by-step approach to ensure great form (from your head to your toes), in order to optimize your performance and more importantly keep your joints healthy and happy!
How to do a Push Up Ep 1
Here is what are we looking for:
1) You want your feet to be a fist width apart, and toes FULLY extended.
2) Your glutes and abdominals should be active and engaged to stabilize your core and pelvis in neutral.
3) Your shoulder blades need to be mobile on your rib cage as you go through your movement
4) Elbows should track over and be in line with your wrists
5) Your neck should stay NEUTRAL!
At the end of the day, the top position of you push-up shouldn’t look to different from an AMAZING plank!
Featuring Mitch Starkman, Physiotherapist
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The Push-Up Series
The Push-Up Series is our attempt to tackle not just how to do this in proper form, but also the top 5 most common mistakes that we see and their fixes. We’ve created a template for each of the 5 mistakes and how you can tackle it all on your own. A push-up is an amazing full body exercise - working not the arms and chest, but also challenges your core and stability. The problem is that most people assume it is isolating just our chest muscles, when in fact it is doing anything BUT that! Keep your form strong and follow along to ensure you can truly push-up and Move Like You Mean It!
About The Movement Centre:
The Movement Centre strives to explore, assess, and correct human movement by providing customized self-administered treatments that anyone can use through the guidance of a movement physiotherapist. The aim is to help you overcome your limiting factors, whether that is pain, performance, or both. Ultimately, we want to help you achieve your goals.
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When in doubt, it is always a good idea to get assessed by your healthcare practitioner so you can truly Move Like You Mean It! This is not personalized medical advice.
Your brain is kind of a big deal.
As the control center of your body, it’s in charge of keeping your heart beating and lungs breathing and allowing you move, feel and think.
That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your brain in peak working condition.
The foods you eat play a role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration.
This article lists 11 foods that boost your brain.
1. Fatty Fish
When people talk about brain foods, fatty fish is often at the top of the list.
This type of fish includes salmon, trout and sardines, which are all rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids (1).
About 60% of your brain is made of fat, and half of that fat is the omega-3 kind (2).
Your brain uses omega-3s to build brain and nerve cells, and these fats are essential for learning and memory (2, 3).
Omega 3-s also have a couple additional benefits for your brain.
For one thing, they may slow age-related mental decline and help ward off Alzheimer’s disease (4, 5, 6, 7).
On the flip side, not getting enough omega-3s is linked to learning impairments, as well as depression (3, 8).
One study found that people who ate baked or broiled fish regularly had more gray matter in their brains. Gray matter contains most of the nerve cells that control decision making, memory and emotion (9).
Overall, fatty fish is an excellent choice for brain health.
Summary: Fatty fish is a rich source of omega-3s, a major building block of the brain. Omega-3s play a role in sharpening memory and improving mood, as well as protecting your brain against decline.
If coffee is the highlight of your morning, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s good for you.
Two main components in coffee — caffeine and antioxidants — help your brain.
The caffeine in coffee has a number of positive effects on the brain, including (9):
Increases alertness: Caffeine keeps your brain alert by blocking adenosine, a chemical messenger that makes you sleepy (10, 11, 12).
Improves mood: Caffeine may also boost some of your “feel-good” neurotransmitters, such as serotonin (13).
Sharpens concentration: One study found that when participants drank one large coffee in the morning or smaller amounts throughout the day, they were more effective at tasks that required concentration (14).
Drinking coffee over the long term is also linked to a reduced risk of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s (9).
This could at least be partly due to coffee’s high concentration of antioxidants (15).
Summary: Coffee can help boost alertness and mood. It may also offer some protection against Alzheimer’s, thanks to its caffeine and antioxidants.
This deep-yellow spice is a key ingredient in curry powder and has a number of benefits for the brain.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, meaning it can directly enter the brain and benefit the cells there (21).
It’s a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that has been linked to the following brain benefits:
May benefit memory: Curcumin may help improve memory in people with Alzheimer’s. It may also help clear the amyloid plaques that are a hallmark of this disease (21, 22).
Eases depression: It boosts serotonin and dopamine, which both improve mood. One study found curcumin improved depression symptoms just as much as an antidepressant over six weeks (23, 24).
Helps new brain cells grow: Curcumin boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a type of growth hormone that helps brain cells grow. It may help delay age-related mental decline, but more research is needed (25).
To reap the benefits of curcumin, try cooking with curry powder, adding turmeric to potato dishes to turn them golden or making turmeric tea.
Summary: Turmeric and its active compound curcumin have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, which help the brain. In research, it has reduced symptoms of depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Broccoli is packed with powerful plant compounds, including antioxidants (26).
It’s also very high in vitamin K, delivering more than 100% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) in a 1-cup (91-gram) serving (27).
This fat-soluble vitamin is essential for forming sphingolipids, a type of fat that’s densely packed into brain cells (28).
A few studies in older adults have linked a higher vitamin K intake to better memory (29, 30).
Beyond vitamin K, broccoli contains a number of compounds that give it anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which may help protect the brain against damage (31).
Summary: Broccoli contains a number of compounds that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, including vitamin K.
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain powerful antioxidants that protect the body and brain from free radical damage (31).
They’re also an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc and copper (32).
Each of these nutrients is important for brain health:
Zinc: This element is crucial for nerve signaling. Zinc deficiency has been linked to many neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, depression and Parkinson’s disease (33, 34, 35).
Magnesium: Magnesium is essential for learning and memory. Low magnesium levels are linked to many neurological diseases, including migraines, depression and epilepsy (36, 37).
Copper: Your brain uses copper to help control nerve signals. And when copper levels are out of whack, there’s a higher risk of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s (38, 39).
Iron: Iron deficiency is often characterized by brain fog and impaired brain function (40).
The research focuses mostly on these micronutrients, rather than pumpkin seeds themselves. However, since pumpkin seeds are high in these micronutrients, you can likely reap their benefits by adding pumpkin seeds to your diet.
Summary: Pumpkin seeds are rich in many micronutrients that are important for brain function, including copper, iron, magnesium and zinc.
7. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are packed with a few brain-boosting compounds, including flavonoids, caffeine and antioxidants.
Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant plant compound.
The flavonoids in chocolate gather in the areas of the brain that deal with learning and memory. Researchers say these compounds may enhance memory and also help slow down age-related mental decline (41, 42, 43, 44).
In fact, a number of studies back this up (45, 46, 47).
In one study including over 900 people, those who ate chocolate more frequently performed better in a series of mental tasks, including some involving memory, than those who rarely ate it (45).
Chocolate is also a legitimate mood booster, according to research.
One study found that participants who ate chocolate experienced increased positive feelings, compared to participants who ate crackers (48).
However, it’s still not clear whether that’s because of compounds in the chocolate, or simply because the yummy flavor makes people happy (48).
Summary: The flavonoids in chocolate may help protect the brain. Studies have suggested that eating chocolate could boost both memory and mood.
Research has shown that eating nuts can improve markers of heart health, and having a healthy heart is linked to having a healthy brain (49, 50).
A 2014 review showed that nuts can improve cognition and even help prevent neurodegenerative diseases (51).
Also, another large study found that women who ate nuts regularly over the course of several years had a sharper memory, compared to those who didn’t eat nuts (49).
Several nutrients in nuts, such as healthy fats, antioxidants and vitamin E, may explain their brain-health benefits (52, 53).
Vitamin E shields cell membranes from free radical damage, helping slow mental decline (54, 55, 56).
While all nuts are good for your brain, walnuts may have an extra edge, since they also deliver omega-3 fatty acids (57).
Summary: Nuts contain a host of brain-boosting nutrients, including vitamin E, healthy fats and plant compounds.
You can get all the vitamin C you need in a day by eating one medium orange (58).
Doing so is important for brain health, since vitamin C is a key factor in preventing mental decline (59).
Eating sufficient amounts of vitamin C-rich foods can protect against age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2014 review article (60).
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off the free radicals that can damage brain cells. Plus, vitamin C supports brain health as you age (61).
You can also get excellent amounts of vitamin C from bell peppers, guava, kiwi, tomatoes and strawberries (62).
Summary: Oranges and other foods that are high in vitamin C can help defend your brain against damage from free radicals.
Eggs are a good source of several nutrients tied to brain health, including vitamins B6 and B12, folate and choline (63).
Choline is an important micronutrient that your body uses to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory (64, 65).
Two studies found that higher intakes of choline were linked to better memory and mental function (66, 67).
Nevertheless, many people don’t get enough choline in their diet.
Eating eggs is an easy way to get choline, given that egg yolks are among the most concentrated sources of this nutrient.
Adequate intake of choline is 425 mg per day for most women and 550 mg per day for men, with just a single egg yolk containing 112 mg (64).
Furthermore, the B vitamins have several roles in brain health.
To start, they may help slow the progression of mental decline in the elderly (68).
Also, being deficient in two types of B vitamins — folate and B12 — has been linked to depression (69).
Folate deficiency is common in elderly people with dementia, and studies show that folic acid supplements can help minimize age-related mental decline (70, 71).
B12 is also involved in synthesizing brain chemicals and regulating sugar levels in the brain (69).
It’s worth noting that there’s very little direct research on the link between eating eggs and brain health. However, there is research to support the brain-boosting benefits of the nutrients found in eggs.
Summary: Eggs are a rich source of several B vitamins and choline, which are important for proper brain functioning and development, as well as regulating mood.
11. Green Tea
As is the case with coffee, the caffeine in green tea boosts brain function.
In fact, it has been found to improve alertness, performance, memory and focus (72).
But green tea also has other components that make it a brain-healthy beverage.
One of them is L-theanine, an amino acid that can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps reduce anxiety and makes you feel more relaxed (73, 74, 75).
L-theanine also increases the frequency of alpha waves in the brain, which helps you relax without making you feel tired (76).
One review found that the L-theanine in green tea can help you relax by counteracting the stimulating effects of caffeine (72).
It’s also rich in polyphenols and antioxidants that may protect the brain from mental decline and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s (77, 78).
Plus, green tea has been found to improve memory (79).
Summary: Green tea is an excellent beverage to support your brain. Its caffeine content boosts alertness, while its antioxidants protect the brain and L-theanine helps you relax.
The Bottom Line
Many foods can help keep your brain healthy.
Some foods, such as the fruits and vegetables in this list, as well as tea and coffee, have antioxidants that help protect your brain from damage.
Others, such as nuts and eggs, contain nutrients that support memory and brain development.
You can help support your brain health and boost your alertness, memory and mood by strategically including these foods in your diet.
It’s no coincidence that the rapid rise in obesity happened around the same time highly processed foods became more available.
Although highly processed foods are convenient, they are packed with calories, low in nutrients and increase your risk of many diseases.
On the other hand, real foods are very healthy and can help you lose weight.
What Are Real Foods?
Real foods are single-ingredient foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, lack chemical additives and are mostly unprocessed.
Here are just a few examples:
There are lots of real foods in every food group, so there’s a vast array of real foods you can incorporate into your diet.
Here are 11 reasons why real foods can help you lose weight.
1. Real Foods Are Nutritious
Whole, unprocessed plant and animal foods are packed with vitamins and minerals that are great for your health.
Conversely, processed foods are low in micronutrients and can increase your risk of health problems (1, 2).
Processed foods can slow down weight loss in several ways.
For instance, a diet of processed foods that doesn’t provide enough iron could affect your ability to exercise, since iron is required to move oxygen around your body. This would limit your ability to burn calories through exercise (3).
A diet low in nutrients may also prevent you from losing weight by making you feel less full after eating.
One study in 786 people compared participants’ feelings of fullness when they were on a low-micronutrient diet versus a high-micronutrient diet.
Nearly 80% of participants felt fuller after meals on the high-micronutrient diet, even though they were eating fewer calories than on the low-micronutrient diet (4).
When you’re trying to increase your intake of nutrients, eating real foods is the way to go. They contain a variety of nutrients difficult to find in a single supplement, including plant compounds, vitamins and minerals.
Nutrients in whole foods also tend to work better together and are more likely to survive digestion than supplements (5).
Summary: A diet rich in nutrients may help with fat loss by improving nutritional deficiencies and reducing hunger.
It helps increase your metabolism, reduce hunger and affects the production of hormones that help regulate weight (6, 7, 8).
Your food choices for protein are just as important as how much you eat. Real foods are a better source of protein since they aren’t heavily processed.
Food processing can make several essential amino acids harder to digest and less available to the body. These include lysine, tryptophan, methionine and cysteine.
This is because proteins easily react with sugars and fats involved in processing to form a complex combination (9).
Whole sources of protein are typically higher in protein and lower in calories, which makes them better for fat loss.
For instance, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of pork, a real food option, has 21 grams of protein and 145 calories (10).
Meanwhile, the same amount of bacon, a processed food, has 12 grams of protein and 458 calories (11).
Real food sources of protein include lean cuts of meat, eggs, legumes and nuts. You can find a great list of high-protein foods in this article.
Summary: Protein is the most important nutrient for fat loss. Real foods are better sources of protein since they are less processed and typically have more protein and less fat.
3. Real Foods Don’t Contain Refined Sugars
The natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables are not the same as refined sugars.
Fruits and vegetables contain natural sugars, but also provide other nutrients like fiber, vitamins and water, which are needed as part of a balanced diet.
Refined sugars, on the other hand, are often added to processed foods. The two most common types of added sugars are high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar.
Foods higher in refined sugars are often higher in calories and provide fewer health benefits. Ice cream, cakes, cookies and candy are just a few culprits.
Eating more of these foods is linked with obesity, so if weight loss is your goal, it’s best to limit them (12, 13).
Refined sugars also do little to keep you full. Studies show that a high intake of refined sugar can increase production of the hunger hormone ghrelin and dim the brain’s ability to make you feel full (13, 14).
Since real foods don’t contain any refined sugars, they are a much better choice for weight loss.
Summary: Real foods don’t contain added sugar and have other nutrients that are great for your health. Foods high in added sugar are typically higher in calories, aren’t as filling and increase your risk of obesity.
It mixes with water in the gut to form a thick gel, and may reduce your appetite by slowing the movement of food through the gut (15).
Another way soluble fiber may reduce appetite is by affecting the production of hormones involved in managing hunger.
Studies have found that soluble fiber may decrease the production of hormones that make you hungry (16, 17).
What’s more, it may also increase the production of hormones that keep you feeling full, including cholecystokinin, glucagon-like peptide-1 and peptide YY (18, 19).
Real foods typically have more soluble fiber than processed foods. Great sources of soluble fiber include beans, flaxseeds, sweet potatoes and oranges.
Ideally, aim to eat enough fiber daily from whole foods since they provide many other nutrients. However, people who struggle to eat enough fiber might also find a supplement useful.
Summary: Soluble fiber may help you lose weight by reducing your appetite. Great real food sources of soluble fiber include sweet potatoes, beans, fruits and vegetables.
5. Real Foods Contain Polyphenols
Plant foods contain polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that help protect against disease and may also help you lose weight (20, 21).
Polyphenols can be divided into four categories: phenolic acids, lignans, stilbenes and flavonoids.
One particular flavonoid that is linked with weight loss is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). It’s the ingredient in green tea that provides many of its proposed benefits.
For instance, EGCG may help extend the effects of hormones involved in fat burning, such as norepinephrine, by inhibiting their breakdown (22).
Many studies show that drinking green tea may help you burn more calories. Most people in these studies burn 3–4% more calories daily, so the average person who burns 2,000 calories per day could burn 60–80 extra calories (23, 24, 25).
Summary: Real foods are a great source of polyphenols, which are plant molecules with antioxidant properties. Some polyphenols may help with fat loss, such as epigallocatechin gallate in green tea.
6. Real Foods Don’t Contain Artificial Trans Fats
If there’s one thing nutrition scientists agree on, it’s that artificial trans fats are bad for your health and your waistline.
These fats are artificially made by pumping hydrogen molecules into vegetable oils, changing them from liquid to solid.
This treatment was designed to increase the shelf life of processed foods, like cookies, cakes and doughnuts (26).
Many studies have found that frequently eating artificial trans fats harms your health and your waistline (26, 27, 28).
For instance, one study found that monkeys who ate more artificial trans fat increased their weight by 7.2%, on average, compared to monkeys that ate a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil.
Interestingly, all the fat the monkeys gained went straight to their belly area, which increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other health conditions (28).
Fortunately, real foods don’t contain artificial trans fats.
Some sources like beef, veal and lamb do contain natural trans fats. Many studies have found that, unlike artificial trans fats, natural trans fats are harmless (29, 30).
Summary: Artificial trans fats increase fat gain and boost the risk of many harmful diseases. Real foods don’t contain artificial trans fats.
7. They’ll Help You Eat More Slowly
Taking time and eating slowly is a piece of weight loss advice that’s often overlooked.
However, eating slowly gives your brain more time to process your food intake and recognize when it’s full (31).
Real foods can help slow down your eating since they typically have a firmer, more fibrous texture that needs to be chewed more. This simple action can help you lose weight by making you feel full with a smaller amount of food.
For instance, a study in 30 men found those who chewed each bite 40 times ate about 12% less food than those who chewed 15 times.
The study also showed that participants who chewed each bite 40 times had less of the hunger hormone ghrelin in their blood after the meal, and more of the fullness hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 and cholecystokinin (32).
Summary: Real foods can help you eat slowly by making you chew more. This may reduce your appetite and leave you satisfied with less food.
8. Real Foods May Reduce Sugar Cravings
The biggest challenge with weight loss often isn’t the diet, but rather resisting cravings for sugary foods.
This is challenging, especially if you’re someone who eats a lot of sweets.
Fruits like berries and stone fruit can provide a healthier sweet fix, helping satisfy sweet cravings when you start reducing your sugar intake.
It’s also great to know your taste preferences don’t last forever and can change as you change your diet. Eating more real foods may help your taste buds adapt and your sugar cravings may decrease over time, or possibly disappear (33, 34).
Summary: Real foods provide a healthier sweet fix. Eating more real foods may help your taste buds adapt, reducing cravings over time.
9. You Can Eat More Food and Still Lose Weight
One big advantage of real foods is that they typically fill more of a plate than processed foods, while providing fewer calories.
This is because many real foods contain a good portion of air and water, which are calorie-free (35, 36).
For instance, 226 grams (half a pound) of cooked pumpkin contains about 45 calories and would take up a greater portion of your plate than a single slice of bread containing 66 calories (37, 38).
Foods with fewer calories and more volume can fill you up more than foods with more calories and less volume. They stretch the stomach, and the stomach’s stretch receptors signal the brain to stop eating.
The brain then responds by producing hormones that reduce your appetite and increase your feelings of fullness (39, 40).
Great food choices that are high in volume but low in calories include pumpkin, cucumbers, berries and air-popped popcorn.
Summary: Real foods typically have fewer calories per gram than processed foods. Great foods that are high in volume include pumpkin, cucumbers, berries and air-popped popcorn.
10. They’ll Reduce Your Consumption of Highly Processed Foods
Obesity is a huge health problem worldwide, with over 1.9 billion people over the age of 18 classified as either overweight or obese (41).
Interestingly, the rapid rise in obesity happened around the same time that highly processed foods became widely available.
An example of these changes can be seen in one study that observed the trends in highly processed food consumption and obesity in Sweden between 1960 and 2010.
The study found a 142% increase in the consumption of highly processed food, a 315% increase in soda consumption and a 367% increase in the consumption of highly processed snacks, such as chips and candy.
At the same time, obesity rates more than doubled, from 5% in 1980 to over 11% in 2010 (42).
Eating more real food reduces the intake of highly processed foods that provide few nutrients, are packed with empty calories and increase the risk of many health-related diseases (43).
Summary: Eating more real foods reduces the intake of processed foods, reducing your risk of obesity.
11. Real Foods Will Help You Make a Lifestyle Change
Following a crash diet may help you lose weight quickly, but keeping it off is the biggest challenge.
Most crash diets help you reach your goal by restricting food groups or drastically reducing calories.
Unfortunately, if their style of eating is something you can’t maintain long-term, then keeping weight off can be a struggle.
That’s where eating a diet rich in real foods can help you lose weight and maintain those benefits long-term. It shifts your focus to making food choices that are better for your waistline and your health.
Although this style of eating might mean weight loss takes longer to occur, you’re more likely to maintain what you lose because you’ve made a lifestyle change.
Summary: Shifting your focus to eating more real foods, rather than following a diet, may help you lose weight and keep it off long-term.
The Bottom Line
A diet rich in real foods is great for your health and can also help you lose weight.
Real foods are more nutritious, contain fewer calories and are more filling than most processed foods.
By simply replacing processed foods in your diet with more real foods, you can take a big step towards living a healthier lifestyle.
What’s more, developing a habit of eating real foods — rather than following a short-term diet — will make it easier for you to maintain long-term fat loss.