New Year, Real Expectations!

As this year departs, and a new one touches down yet again, your social network feeds must be absolutely swamped with all sorts of generally cheesy ‘New Year, New Me’ captions and sound bites. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of optimism and renewed sense of positivity at all.

Yet, people often have unrealistic expectations. We all know that one person who goes through a pack and a half of Marlboro Reds and says he or she is ‘Gonna quit!’, or how about your couch potato mate whose swears he’s going to  “run the Shanghai Marathon” in 2018. Lucy could actually quit her chain-smoking and take up Bikram Yoga, and old Lee might just about finish the Shanghai marathon quicker than Mo Farah, but as we all know, the key to meeting your expectations is first and foremost to set realistic ones.

Here are a few REALISTIC health and well-being solutions as an alternative to last year’s great, yet ultimately failed expectations!Read More

  • Carpe Weekly!

Take it one week at a time. It’s much easier to plan to go running three times this week than vow to run three times a week indefinitely. If you make your fitness goals week by week, rather than for long into the distant future, you’ll have more success, and that in itself is motivating.

Tips: Go for a medium-intensity 3k run, and then reward yourself with a nice, cold pint after. Build your distances up fortnightly by a kilometer each time, and see where that takes you!


It’s all well and good putting yourself through a tough workout, but if you’re many others, you probably neglect this aspect of your fitness regime, even though stretching has major benefits. Stretching is the unsung hero of exercise that keeps your muscles flexible, free from injury and feeling fresh for your next planned workout.

Tips: When it comes to post-workout stretching, there are a 3 golden rules

  1. Instead of trying to stretch your whole body after every time you exercise, focus on a key area of the body each time.
  2. Always stretch your muscles after you have warmed up your body first, and perform each stretch gently, without bouncing or pulling.
  3. Breathe deeply throughout and pay attention to the sensations you feel in your body as you stretch.
  • H20

Whether you’re a serious athlete or simply exercise for recreation or even perhaps an ordinary human being in general, it is vital to stay hydrated. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level. You may feel tired, have muscle cramps, dizziness, or other serious symptoms. This year, easy as it sounds, drink more water!

Tips: So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  1. About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  2. About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

  • Plan to Sleep

We plan when we wake up in the morning, important meetings and even what we want to have for dinner, and yet most of us rarely think of falling asleep as actively doing something, so we don’t plan for it. Dr Holly Phillips, author of the Exhaustion Breakthrough says that “when you put sleep in your calendar, it becomes a priority, the same way your gym time and work meetings are priorities.”

Tip:  Set a reminder to go off a half hour before you plan to hit the sack.

  • Green is the Colour!

“Finish your vegetables!” often screeched not spoken, has been heard by generations of children, since mankind first established its huge nutritional role in maintaining health and wellbeing. 2018 is the time to actually take it seriously.

Tip: “Instead of making an ‘I want to lose weight’ pledge, try “I’m going to put more fruits and vegetables on my plate, so the resolution is a positive action that you can perform over and over.” says Joy Bauer, a New York City-based nutritionist.

We hope these tips will get you prepped and primed for 2018. Wishing you a happy new year, with realistic expectations, which will hopefully not just be met, but surpassed by this time next year!


Plane Pains — Spine and Leg Preventative Care for Airline Travel

With the upcoming holidays, many people will be taking long flights.  While air travel is safe, fast, and convenient, it can be stressful, both mentally and physically.  Flights are usually full, seats are smaller, and leg room is more restricted.   So to minimize discomfort and the possibility of illness and injury, we suggest the following strategies.


Try to keep your luggage and carry-on small and light.  Not only will you get through the airport quicker, you’ll be less likely to injury yourself by lifting heavy bags.

Pre-hydrate. The air in the cabin isn’t humidified very much, which can contribute to chapped lips, dry nasal passages, skin that feels papery, and an increased likelihood of blood clots.  Start drinking water at the gate.

Stretch to fight off aches and pains.  Perform these quick stretches for 30 seconds while waiting at the gate:

  • Standing calf stretch;
  • Heel to buttocks hip flexor stretch;
  • Fingers to toes hamstring stretch;
  • Seated twist back rotator stretch;

Take some deep breaths.  When you find out your flight is delayed – or worse -, it is easy to become stressed which can have a detrimental effect on your immune system and health.  Remind yourself to breathe deeply during stressful situations  – it will help calm your mind, lower your stress level,  and often help prevent a bad situation from getting worse.


On long flights we tend to remain seated for extended periods of time which can cause muscle stiffness and pain, and in susceptible individuals, prolonged periods of immobility can slow down blood flow in the leg veins.  This can lead to ankle swelling and, in predisposed individuals, increase the risk of blood clots to form inside the veins, known as Traveler’s Thrombosis.

Traveler’s Thrombosis manifests as pain and/or swelling in the legs during travel or even several days or weeks afterwards.  It can be a serious and, on occasion, a life-threatening situation if a clot breaks off and travels to the lungs causing what is called a pulmonary embolism.

  • Wear loose clothing (conversely, avoid tight, restrictive garments);
  • Place nothing under the seat in front of you, for more leg space;
  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water while minimizing alcohol, sugary and caffeinated beverages;
  • Try to stand as often as possible. Reach for the ceiling, for a good stretch. Continue your pre-flight stretches;
  • Stretch, and periodically exercise your feet and ankles while seated;
  • The muscle pump: squeeze your toes, then pump your ankles, squeeze your calves, tighten your quads, flex your butt in the seat; follow this sequencing to help return blood back to your heart;
  • Tummy tucks: sit up straight and engage your abdominals by sucking in your belly button;
  • Sit with a pillow or rolled up sweater behind your back for extra support;
  • March in your seat: hold a neutral posture with your abdominals engaged and march your legs.

Follow these easy steps and you’ll arrive health and happy. We at IWS wish you safe holiday travels!

Knee Pain Relief without Surgery

Do you have knee pain?  There are some facts you need to know.

  • Knee pain is a common problem with many causes ranging from acute injuries to complications of medical conditions.
  • Knee pain can be located in a specific area of the knee or be diffuse throughout the knee.
  • Knee pain is often accompanied by physical restriction.
  • A thorough physical examination will usually establish the diagnosis of knee pain.
  • The treatment of knee pain depends on the underlying cause.
  • Most knee pain can be treated without surgery.  A sports or pain medicine doctor can offer you cutting edge treatments to help you avoid surgery.

What kind of treatments are used for knee pain?

About 80 percent of all knee problems can be treated without surgery. There are many types of conservative treatments for knee pain. Sometimes the wide variety of choices can be more confusing than helpful. Your sports and pain medicine doctor will work with you to help determine which ones are most likely to be beneficial for your condition.

  • Rest, ice, compressive wraps and elevation are usually recommended for acute knee pain.  Avoiding or reducing aggravating activities and losing weight are good strategies for chronic pain.
  • Medications. These can range from over-the-counter supplements, muscle rubs and pain relievers to prescription anti-inflammatory pills and creams and other categories of medication.
  • Exercises. Strengthening of muscles around the knee is important but treatment also involves correcting muscle imbalances, weakness, or alignment problems of the lower back, pelvis, hip, or lower extremities.  Strengthening hip and abdominal muscles could correct abnormal alignment of the low back, hip, and pelvis and relieve knee strain. Appropriate flexibility exercises may also be used. Your sports medicine doctor may show you how to do these exercises or direct you to a physiotherapist.
  • Orthotics may be helpful for those who pronate excessively (or have flat feet), as this condition is thought to increase the risk for some knee problems. A good pair of well-cushioned walking shoes can help some conditions.
  • Bracing and taping can be effective in reducing pain severity, but do not cure the problem
  • Acupuncture can provide relief for arthritic knees, but again, does not cure the problem.
  • Injections. Patients today have more choices then ever when it comes to different injection techniques for the knee. The well-known steroid or “cortisone” injection directly into the knee is helpful for acute inflammation and is effective for relieving pain quickly. Lubricant (or hyaluronate) injections are intended to replace the joint fluid of arthritic knees. These injections don’t work as quickly as steroid injections at reducing pain, but they can provide longer lasting relief and are generally considered healthier for arthritic joints. Orthobiologics is an exciting new area that is rapidly becoming a good choice for certain knee conditions. This is a medical treatment that uses your own blood and cells for injection therapies. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is an orthobiologic treatment that can be done in the office and has been found to be as effective as hyaluronate injections.