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“ Regular, good-quality sleep is essential for your body’s physical repair process, but also for your mental health and agility,” says Dr Guy Meadows, sleep and sports scientist, and cross-channel swimmer.

Scientists divide sleep into five stages: “The deep sleep of stages three and four is when your body releases human growth hormone (HGH) to repair muscles and bones,” says Meadows. “Stage five is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. It’s when you dream, when you lay down memories and boost cognitive performance, enhancing skills and techniques you’ve learned during training.”

Research from Trent University in Ontario, Canada, showed complex learning tasks such as getting the hang of a new song on Guitar Hero become easier if you sleep well – so the same goes for learning swim technique or mastering fast transitions.

Good sleep, good performance.

The boffins who make it their business to find out what boosts athletic performance have revealed that good quantities of sleep increase sprint time, energy levels and shooting accuracy in basketball players; and improve athletic vigour and alertness for footballers.

A study using Stanford University men’s and women’s swimming teams also revealed that athletes who extended their sleep to 10 hours per day for six to seven weeks swam a 15m sprint 0.51 seconds faster, reacted 0.15 seconds quicker off the blocks, improved turn time by 0.10 seconds and increased kick strokes by five kicks, as well as setting personal bests.

Bad sleep ? You guessed it…

Just as filling up your Z-tank helps you reach optimum performance levels, skimping on sleep can put unwanted obstacles in the path to your next personal best. “There are basic things your body needs to function properly – temperature regulation, energy recovery, and heart function are all affected by sleep as well as things like concentration and focus.”

Studies have shown various detrimental effects of chronic sleep deprivation – from reducing the performance of the heart, to increasing blood pressure, anxiety and depression, and interference with blood sugar metabolism. “Lack of sleep over several weeks results in persistent fatigue and ultimately overtraining syndrome,” says endurance coach and sports scientist Scott Murray.

Read all here : Bike Radar

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Will Smith’s Top 10 Rules For Success

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How to Develop Your Balance Skills.

Cycling requires good balance. This is a skill that can be developed like any other, but it requires suitable training along with good reaction time, coordination, agility, power, and speed. Developing your balance will enable you to handle the bike more effectively and respond to changing environments, such as different or uneven ground surfaces, and changes in direction, such as during cornering. Balance can also help you when cycling slowly as you go up hills or enter traffic.

While you can develop balance and its associated skills by going out on your bike, in order to progress these skills you need to get out of your comfort zone. This is not always safe to do when out on the road, and weather may also preclude this training. Thankfully, you can develop these skills very easily in the gym environment.

Any slightly unstable, yet safe surface could be used. Since the exercises need to be relevant to cycling, the movements will emulate the body motion that occurs when on the bike.

Exercise #1: Just Balance.
The first exercise uses a simple balance board. Stand with your feet equally spaced from the center of the board. Just balance, keeping the board level.

Progressions:

  • Stand in a split stance and keep the board level.
  • Balance while holding a weighted bar (similar to holding handlebars), ViPR, or something similar.
  • Add squats into the exercise to flex your knees.

Exercise #2: Rock Back and Forth.
The second exercise takes the first exercise and adds movements similar to those you do when cycling. Standing with a split stance, one foot in front of the other, and with knees slightly flexed, rock the board backward and forward. Keep control of it and do not let it tip side to side.

Performing this exercise slowly and while remaining in control will result in better benefits than trying to cheat and do it quickly. This exercise can be progressed by choosing a larger and higher balance board or by holding an object in a handlebar position.

Another further progression is to perform squats so the knees flex while tilting the board to resemble pedaling or cycling over uneven ground like mountain biking.

Exercise #3: Tilt Side to Side.
For this third exercise, you stay on the balance board, but you stand in a symmetrical stance. Tilt the board side to side so that one foot is higher than the other, similar to the stance you would take when cornering.

This may be progressed by holding a weighted bar to resemble handlebars, selecting a more unstable surface, or performing squat actions as you move the board from side to side.

Exercise #4: Lunge.
The fourth exercise uses the balance board or unstable surface on the leading foot of a lunge. This simulates the downward stroke of the leading foot when pedaling. As before, this can be progressed by adding greater instability and holding a bar to represent handlebars.

Start these exercises with only a small level of instability initially. Then gradually increase the level of challenge as you become more confident and acquire a greater level of control. Beware of people and objects around you so no injury should occur if you fall.

Source : breakingmuscle.com.

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Happy Ramadhan 1437H 2016

Image Belongs To : Famz DA

Ramadan also known as Ramdhan – a month of obligatory daily fasting in Islam is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar. Daily fasts begin at dawn and end with sunset. Special nightly prayers called, Taraweeh prayers are held. The entire Quran is recited in these prayers in Mosques all around the world. This month provides an opportunity for Muslims to get closer to God. This is a month when a Muslim should try to :

  • Speak no evil
  • Hear no evil
  • Do no evil
  • Look to Allah with fear and hope
  • See not what displeases Allah

” O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become God-fearing.” (The Quran, 2:183).

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said : Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven (Bukhari, Muslim).

Ramadan ends with a day long celebration known as Eidul-Fitr. Eidul-Fitr begins with a special morning prayer in grand Mosques and open grounds of towns and cities of the world. the prayer is attended by men, women and children with their new or best clothes.

A special charity, known as Zakatul-Fitr is given out prior to the prayer. The rest of the day is spent in visiting relatives and friends, giving gifts to children and eating.

What Do People Do ?

Muslims worldwide fast (or sawm) during the hours of daylight in Ramadan. They do not eat, drink, smoke or engage in sexual intercourse during the fast. They also focus on reading the Koran (Qu’ran), donating to charities (zakaat). Some people try to recite the entire Koran by the end of Ramadan.

Communal prayers and meals are held at mosques or in private homes in many Islamic communities in the evenings of Ramadan. The prayers and meals are usually well-attended. Some people spend the entire night praying or reading Islamic texts at a mosque, particularly on Laylat-al-Qadr, which is in the last third of Ramadan. Many people of Islamic faith give money for various charitable causes, such as providing food and new clothes for those in need.

The Sun rises and sets at different times around the world so many people use applications, including time calculators, electronic reminders and printed calendars, to remind them of when the Ramadan fast starts (when the Sun rises) and pauses (when the sun sets) in their time zone.

Source : Time & Date.Com.

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X-Men : Apocalypse 2016 Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse is a solidly entertaining film that doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of Captain America: Civil War. Some parts are excellent, truly magnificent to see, while others fall prey to convention and formula. Director Bryan Singer and three-time X-Men screenwriter Simon Kinberg do a fantastic job weaving together all of the films into a cohesive storyline. There’s a mountain of history on screen for these characters. Even though we’re introduced to the core X-Men as teenagers, they are supremely familiar to us. Everyone has a favorite walking in, but just as he did in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Quicksilver (Evan Peters) runs away with this film. That’s it for spoilers.

The story picks up ten years later in 1983. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has become an icon to disaffected mutants. She crusades to save her kind from the worst exploitation, while Charles Xavier’s (James McAvoy) school for mutants has flourished. The detente is shattered when the first mutant, En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), awakens after thousands of years. His disgust for man’s arrogance leads to one conclusion. Humanity must be cleansed. Leaving a world of only the strongest mutant survivors. His plan requires four agents of destruction, the mythical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. As Armageddon becomes a stark reality, Xavier’s students are the only mutants powerful enough to face the threat.

Simon Kinberg’s script draws heavily from the previous films. We’re taken to familiar settings and discover them anew with the characters. As a fan boy with a stickler for continuity, this was great to see. But there is a point in the film where things get a bit too familiar. Much like the Bond franchise, convention creeps in and takes the sheen off the gloss. Elements that we’ve seen before resurface in similar ways. Deadpool hilariously joked about this, particularly in regard to the school and the costumes.

The teenage versions of Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), and Storm (Alexandra Shipp) play well enough to their characters known dynamics. It’s the adults (McAvoy, Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto) that really do the emotional heavy lifting. Since their introduction in X-Men: First Class, they have elevated the dramatic tension and established a palpable significance to their plight. The audience feels Magneto’s pain, as well as the brotherly bond with Xavier. It’s stirring stuff, bringing back the story when it becomes muddled by formula.

The biggest disappointment is Oscar Isaac’s portrayal of Apocalypse. Isaac is such a gifted actor. This interpretation must have been scripted and coached by Bryan Singer. I expected a vibrant, villainous megalomaniac. Apocalypse is exactly the opposite. He’s immensely powerful, but wields it in a mundane way. His powers are effects driven and decidedly staid. In fact, Isaac looks physically weighed down by his mountain of prosthetics and make-up. His slow demeanor and muted responses must have been exacerbated by it.

The special effects in the film swing from melt your eyeballs awesome to surprisingly mediocre. The Quicksilver scenes, especially the climactic one, are stupefying to see. It’s the cutting edge of visual effects. So you’re blown out of your chair one minute, then kind of yawning for the big showdown. It’s always a mistake to have the best part of the film in the middle. Everything after that is downhill by default. Note to Fox and Marvel, we need a Quicksilver standalone film. Evan Peters, much like Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, has that perfect mix of smarmy and badass.

A huge positive for X-Men: Apocalypse is that it isn’t a gigantic set-up for other stories. It stands alone without too direct a nod to future films. Yes, there is a well placed cameo, but it does not overtake the plot. I loved Days of Future Past and would rank that film just a hair better than this one. First Class is still the best of the new X-Men, but they’re all pretty damn good.

(more…)

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