Posts by Dr. Greg Wells

Rio 2016: The Science of Michael Phelps

August, 10th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

Michael Phelps is obviously an incredible athlete, but the adaptations of his body may be even more amazing than his performance. His arm span is 2.03 metres wide, longer than average, giving him a greater distance per stroke. This means he has to take fewer strokes than his competitors, which increases his efficiency and saves energy during races. Height and arm length (unlike waist size) are characteristics that are largely determined by genes, but Michael’s commitment to training has had a powerful long-term effect on his body that is not genetic. Most swimmers at the international level will have a lung capacity that can be as much as two times the amount of a normal person’s lungs. No one has published lung-testing data from Michael Phelps yet, but I’d be willing to bet that his lung capacity is beyond limits even for swimmers. So is Michael a product of genetic talent or consistent training over an extended period of time?

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Rio 2016: The Science of Usain Bolt's Speed - Part 2

August, 10th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

Here is part 2 of my post on the Science of Usain Bolt!

With the Olympics in Rio underway I thought it would be cool to explore some of the physiology of the most legendary athletes. Usain Bolt certainly fits into this category. He’s aiming for 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive Olympics. Now, while you might normally think that his performance is powered by his muscles (and it is), there is one deeper level of physiology we can explore that will help you to appreciate how incredible his performances are. Let’s take a look at the what happens to the nervous system during the 100 m dash.

Let’s look at Usain Bolt’s world record 9.58-second 100-metre dash. Exploring “the start” is fascinating when we consider the lighting storm of electrical activity involved. There are  two critical stages of the run itself: the acceleration phase and the speed maintenance phase and that is what we will be exploring in this post.

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Rio 2016: The Science of Usain Bolt's Speed - Part 1

August, 8th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

With the Olympics in Rio underway I thought it would be cool to explore some of the physiology of the most legendary athletes. Usain Bolt certainly fits into this category. He’s aiming for 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive Olympics. Now, while you might normally think that his performance is powered by his muscles (and it is), there is one deeper level of physiology we can explore that will help you to appreciate how incredible his performances are. Let’s take a look at the what happens to the nervous system during the 100 m dash.

Let’s look at Usain Bolt’s world record 9.58-second 100-metre dash. Exploring “the start” is fascinating when we consider the lighting storm of electrical activity involved. There are three steps to the start: the “On Your Mark,” “Get Set” and “Go” steps. Let’s take a look at each of these steps.

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Toronto Star: Ice swimmers defy death for the thrill

August, 3rd 2016

Read article at Toronto Star.com

Ryan Stramrood’s “ice mile’” in sub-zero water off Antarctica set the standard for ice swimming.

As he swam against the current in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean among leopard seals and icebergs, Ryan Stramrood’s body went numb.

He looked down, pulling his arms one stroke at a time through the -1 C water, and he thought about how clear the ocean was that day.

“You don’t want to see very far down. It can be quite eerie,” he said.

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Redbull.com: The Learning Curve Episode 3

July, 25th 2016

On this week’s episode of The Learning Curve, we find Drew Bezanson putting in time at the Joyride 150 bike park warehouse, near Toronto, in Canada. With the mercy of a foam pit, Drew hucks his way to perfection as he prepares for competitive action.

Using the foam pit is key because of how fast I have to learn this stuff. If I was going to do it the old-fashioned way, on a regular jump, we probably wouldn’t be filming right now!

Drew Bezanson

The Learning Curve 3

 

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RedBull.com: The Learning Curve Episode 1

July, 13th 2016

Check out a new web series I’m helping with called The Learning Curve.

In episode one of The Learning Curve, we catch up with Drew Bezanson a few months after his release of Uncontainable.

Still riding the high from the success of the film and his own sense of accomplishment, Drew begins looking towards the next challenge – slopestyle mountain biking – and coming to terms with the uphill battle he’ll face if he wants to shred slopestyle with the best of them.

Here’s Episode 1 “Watch Drew Bezanson’s journey to Joyride begin”.

TheLearningCurveEp1

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Latest fundraising efforts for our research @SickKids

June, 29th 2016

Memorial hockey tournament raises $30,000 for Toronto SickKids in honour of 11-year-old Alex Shapiro, ‘the fighting eagle’.

The Fighting Eagle Memorial hockey tournament raised an estimated $30,000 for The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) over the June 25 and 26 weekend.

Since its inception three years ago, the organizing committee estimates the event has raised $100,000 for SickKids Foundation. The two-day tournament, which brings together players of all skill levels, is held in memory of Alex Shapiro, a son, brother, friend, and loyal teammate of the Toronto Eagle’s Hockey Association. His love of hockey persevered even after he was diagnosed with Undifferentiated Sarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, in the summer of 2012.

As a member of the Toronto Eagles’ Minor Peewee AA team, Alex caught the attention of The Sports Network (TSN) when he was supposed to get chemotherapy, but instead, when there wasn’t a hospital bed available, he went home, grabbed his hockey gear and joined his teammates on the ice to score the first goal of the year. It was on that day that he earned the nicknamed ‘The Fighting Eagle’ (watch the clip here: www.bit.ly/1IoP7L9).

Alex continued to play hockey throughout his treatments any chance he could. In April 2013, his cancer returned and he passed away just two weeks after he played his last hockey game at the age of 11.

Established not only to remember and honour Alex and his love of hockey, friendship and competition, the Fighting Eagle Memorial Tournament also raise funds to support research by Dr. Greg Wells, an Associate Scientist in the Physiology & Experimental Medicine at SickKids. Wells is currently focusing on the benefits of physical activity for cancer patients during and following cancer treatments.

Funds raised will help Wells hire and train researchers and other professionals, cover research operating costs, such as MRI time, exercise testing, and to purchase new research equipment.

To find out more about the tournament and how you can donate, visit www.fightingeagletournament.wordpress.com.

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Entrepreneur.com: The Power of 1 Percent Better

June, 24th 2016

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

One of the best approaches I have seen for achieving a dream is to focus on being 1 percent better.

I work with a lot of incredible athletes, but it isn’t always talent that drives achievement. What sets the best performing athletes apart is their dedication to training at a consistently high level. And among that group, there is a factor that sets even the elite athletes apart: lifestyle.

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Entrepreneur.com: The 3-Step Process for Countering Negativity

June, 8th 2016

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

Running your own business has its fair share of nerve-wracking moments. Some people feel the most anxious and uncertain before they take the entrepreneurial plunge. Do I have a chance of succeeding?

Others come across bumps in the road well after the business is established. Perhaps the market is changing or a fierce competitor arrives on the scene.

It is natural to feel worried or nervous at different times in the life of your business. But it’s another thing to make important decisions from a position of anxiety. The problem with negative emotions is that they’re so powerful, they can dominate our thinking and actions.

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Entrepreneur.com: 6 Happiness Tips to Boost Your Health and Performance

April, 14th 2016

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

As an entrepreneur you probably know that constant, high stress levels undermine your performance. When highly stressed, you don’t sleep as well, your concentration suffers, your patience bucket shrinks to the size of a teacup, and your ability to generate strategies and solutions plummets.

So one way to become a better business owner, leader and visionary is to be happier. Why? Because happiness has been shown to lower stress, increase well-being and boost daily energy. No surprise, perhaps, that feeling good creates a better work performance.

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Entrepreneur.com: 6 Ways to Curb Jet Lag and Travel Fatigue

January, 14th 2016

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

As an entrepreneur, you likely travel a lot, and you already know that jet lag (which science geeks call “flight dysrhythmia”) can cause all kinds of unpleasant symptoms: insomnia, loss of appetite, depressed mood, upset stomach, fatigue and mental fuzziness, to name a few.

And the farther you travel, the worse your jet lag will likely be. Why? Because crossing time zones throws your internal rhythms out of sync with your external environment. It’s like your body stays back in New York as you head off to your first meeting in London!

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Entrepreneur.com: 7 Mind-Body Fitness Strategies that Crush Stress

July, 18th 2015

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

If, in response to a life event, you’ve ever felt heat in the face, tightness in the chest, deep fatigue, an upset stomach or a craving for junk food, you know what stress feels like in your body. Chances are you’re well aware that stress can lead to elevated blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and weight gain.

But did you know that stress also contributes to mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression or an overall sense of defeatism? In order to stay mentally fit at work and at home, we need to protect ourselves against harm.

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Ride safely this summer! Bike helmet facts and tips.

July, 15th 2015

Hello everyone! It’s summer and that means getting out on your bike to get some exercise, see some sights and have fun. One of the reasons cycling is so much fun is that you can go much faster than you can when you walk or even run. And with some speed comes some risk. When you’re riding you can fall or even be hit by a car.

One of my good friends got hit by a car recently and here’s what his bike looked like after the fact:

Bob's Bike

You can see how much damage was done to the back wheel of the bike. Fortunately my friend and his wife, who were both hit in the same accident by the same far were both wearing helmets and escaped with minor scrapes and bruises. Ultimately the best way to prevent your head from looking like the back wheel of the bike above is to protect yourself by wearing your bike helmet.

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MindBodyGreen.com: Why Exercise Might Not Always Make You Healthier

June, 9th 2015

This article originally appeared at this link on MindBodyGreen.com.

If you exercise regularly, you probably already know the catalogue of benefits fitness brings to your life. Moving your body frequently lowers stress, improves mood and mental health, boosts problem-solving and memory, regulates sleep, and pretty much makes you a nicer person to be around.
In addition, if you’re a moderate exerciser, you may have noticed that you take fewer sick days than your coworkers. Or you might be the only one of your friends who doesn’t catch that cold going around. This isn’t just your imagination — numerous studies have demonstrated that regular exercise improves how well your immune system functions.

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Entrepreneur.com: 5 Habits of Top Athletes That Can Transfer to the Workplace

May, 21st 2015

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

An athlete steps up to the starting blocks in the Olympic stadium. He (or she) stands tall, takes a few deep breaths and shakes out his muscles. Thousands of people cheer while he is introduced, but his eyes never waver from the course he’s about to run. When the starting gun fires, he explodes into high-performance action.

How can we apply this scenario to a business situation? The same techniques athletes use to perform under pressure allow business leaders to excel in the professional sphere. Here are five top practices that will improve both your health and performance in the workplace.

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Entrepreneur.com: Best Health Practices to Improve Your Life - In and Out of the Office

May, 13th 2015

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

You know it. I know it. We all know research supports it: Healthy people think, adapt and perform better.

That goes for both in and out of the office.

Here, four key areas — eating smarter, moving more, sleeping soundly and thinking clearly — that, when improved upon, enable you to be able to perform at your best.

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Entrepreneur.com: Fuel Up: Eating for Optimal Brain Function

April, 22nd 2015

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

Being an entrepreneur often means being pushed to physical and mental limits daily. There are long hours; there’s a consistent need to perform at full capacity in presentations and meetings; and there’s the drive to stay sharp while determining the right strategic direction for the company.

When people get busy or stressed, often the first thing sacrificed is healthy eating — and that’s the opposite of what should happen.

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