Effects of Alcohol on Sports Performance

Picture1Any­one who has an inter­est in play­ing sports or keep­ing fit should under­stand the effects alco­hol can have on their per­for­mance. Not hav­ing a bal­anced approach to alco­hol could be what gets in the way of you reap­ing the rewards from all the work you’ve put in.

The two main ways alco­hol affects the body dur­ing exer­cise are in dehy­dra­tion and energy;

Dehy­dra­tion leads to reduced per­for­mance.  Because alco­hol is a diuretic, which

means it makes your kid­neys pro­duce more urine, drink­ing too much of it can lead to dehy­dra­tion. Exer­cis­ing soon after drink­ing alco­hol can make dehy­dra­tion worse because you sweat as your body tem­per­a­ture rises. Com­bined, sweat­ing and the diuretic effect of exer­cise make dehy­dra­tion along with your body over­heat­ing much more likely. You need to be hydrated when you exer­cise to main­tain the flow of blood through your body, which is essen­tial for cir­cu­lat­ing oxy­gen and nutri­ents to your muscles.

Alco­hol inter­feres with the way your body pro­duces energy — When you’re metabolis­ing or break­ing down alco­hol the liver can’t pro­duce as much glu­cose, which means you have low lev­els of blood sugar. Exer­cise requires high lev­els of sugar (car­bo­hy­drates) to give you energy. If your liver isn’t pro­duc­ing enough glu­cose you will be slower, have less energy and won’t be able to exer­cise as intensely along with the added risk of adversely affect­ing your con­cen­tra­tion, coor­di­na­tion, reac­tion, dex­ter­ity etc.

Both of these effects hap­pen imme­di­ately which is why it is not advised to exer­cise or com­pete in sport soon after drink­ing alcohol.

Alcoholism/Alcohol abuse causes

  • Nerve dis­or­ders
  • Mus­cle cramps
  • Speeds up ageing
  • Osteo­poro­sis
  • Appetite loss
  • Depres­sion

 Binge drink­ing can lead to;

  • Atrial fib­ril­la­tion
  • Increases risk of blood clots
  • Increases risk of stroke

Physical Activity and Living With Cancer

MM PictureCan­cer Care West are delighted to announce that Marie will be giv­ing a pub­lic talk on Thurs­day April 16, at 7.30 pm in the Can­cer Sup­port cen­tre at 72 Sea­mus Quirke Road, West­side, Gal­way address­ing such top­ics as the impor­tance of phys­i­cal activ­ity, side effects of can­cer treat­ment, the impor­tance of resis­tance train­ing and the role of nutri­tion. Marie will also out­line the key com­po­nents of the Mur­phy (METs) pro­gramme, a spe­cialised fit­ness regime for peo­ple liv­ing with cancer.

This pub­lic talk is free of charge and will be par­tic­u­larly use­ful to can­cer patients who are adapt­ing to liv­ing with the ill­ness. Can­cer Care West Sup­port Cen­tre Please call 091 540040 for more details.

Marie Mur­phy is a Con­sul­tant Exer­cise & Nutri­tion Spe­cial­ist who designs fit­ness pro­grammes for gen­eral health, ath­lete train­ing, and the pre­ven­tion of disease.

Atwater’s Vision: A Healthy Balanced Nutrition

The first pub­lished dietary guide­lines were writ­ten in 1894 by W.O. Atwa­ter.  Atwa­ter ini­ti­ated the sci­en­tific basis for con­nect­ing food com­po­si­tion, dietary intake, and health, and empha­sized the impor­tance of vari­ety, pro­por­tion, and mod­er­a­tion in healthy eat­ing.  It is worth not­ing that at this time spe­cific vit­a­mins and min­er­als had not yet been discovered.

In 1902 Atwa­ter stated:

“Unless care is exer­cised in select­ing food, a diet may result which is one-sided or badly balanced-that is, one in which either pro­tein or fuel ingre­di­ents (car­bo­hy­drate and fat) are pro­vided in excess….The evils of overeat­ing may not be felt at once, but sooner or later they are sure to appear-perhaps in an exces­sive amount of fatty tis­sue, per­haps in gen­eral debil­ity, per­haps in actual disease.” 

By the 1950s, nutri­tional guide­lines moved to four food groups known as the “Basic Four” with the focus on get­ting suf­fi­cient nutri­ents.  This con­cept was widely used for the next two decades.  Dur­ing the 1990s, the Food Guide Pyra­mid was released.  The pyra­mid con­veyed key con­cepts regard­ing vari­ety, pro­por­tion­al­ity, and mod­er­a­tion; Atwater’s words repeated ten decades later.Nutrition Chart MMP

Lets get back to basics.  A diet that is high in veg­eta­bles, fruits, whole grains, beans, fish, and low in fat, high in fibre is can­cer protective.

Improving your Health and Fitness in 2015

If you have made a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion to improve your fit­ness; do more exer­cise, increase your strength, eat a health­ier diet, lose weight then fear not, help is at hand. The fol­low­ing tips will help you feel health­ier, fit­ter and more energised:IMAG1760

  • Get­ting your METs is Clare Holiday Pictures 220first and fore­most!  If time is lim­ited for exer­cis­ing make car­dio­vas­cu­lar exer­cise your first choice by using the largest mus­cle groups in a repet­i­tive move­ment (exam­ple; walk­ing, jog­ging, swim­ming etc.).
  • Set real­is­tic goals.  If you can­not see your­self hold­ing your exer­cise rou­tine for a period of 15 weeks then the task is too great.  The aver­age time a per­son holds an exer­cise pro­gramme is 6–8 weeks; this is too short for life chang­ing benefits.

  • Be con­sis­tent, take small steps. Increase time, dis­tance or rep­e­ti­tions of your work­outs every 3 weeks.  This allows the body time to adapt to the routine/stress level which makes advanc­ing to a higher level eas­ier and safer.

  • Stay hydrated, drink at least 1.5 litres of water daily. Keep in mind high water-volume foods also pro­vide your body with flu­ids. Fruits and veg­eta­bles are com­posed of 90 per­cent water.

  • Healthy SaladWhen it comes to eat­ing healthy, los­ing weight or main­tain­ing your cur­rent weight, you are more likely to be suc­cess­ful if you make small changes over time rather than chang­ing your entire diet all at once.


For a con­sul­ta­tion con­tact Marie at 085 196 5468 or email murphyprogramme@gmail.com to place your name on the wait­ing list for upcom­ing course.

Staying active over the holiday period

Whilst you may not be able to stick to your nor­mal exer­cise rou­tine over the hol­i­day period, you can still fit some exer­cise in. For exam­ple, if you nor­mally walk out­doors but find the weather too cold, try work­ing out indoors. Walk­ing up and down a flight stairs once is equal to one minute of weight bear­ing exercise. 

Merry ChristmasStair climb­ing is also excel­lent for increas­ing your bone strength (bone den­sity) in your hips; it works on the main mus­cles for walk­ing and is very good for your over­all health. While watch­ing your favourite TV pro­gramme or lis­ten­ing to your favourite radio pro­gramme march­ing on the spot or any form of danc­ing are addi­tional choices.

You may not have an hour to spare to com­plete your reg­u­lar work­out how­ever, short reg­u­lar bursts of activ­ity can help main­tain your fit­ness level and reduce the chance of an extended period of time going by with­out exer­cis­ing (it is always eas­ier to main­tain then to gain back).  5 min­utes walk­ing, jog­ging or march­ing on the spot on and off through­out the day all adds up and con­tributes to bet­ter health.

Lastly, it may be eas­ier to keep to an exer­cise rou­tine when you share it with some­one. Walk with a friend, walk your dog, jog along­side your child while they cycle their new bike from Santa. It’s all about stay­ing active, get­ting your METs and reap­ing the benefits.

Hope you find the above tips help­ful and I would like to wish you a very Merry Christ­mas and Health, Hap­pi­ness & Pros­per­ity for 2015

Christ­mas Gift Voucher can be used towards start­ing the New Year with a per­son­al­ized train­ing programme.

Post-Marathon Recovery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen ath­letes com­plete a marathon dis­tance usu­ally their thoughts are not focused on the impor­tance of recov­ery; mak­ing the right choices in post-training and nutri­tion.  Cross­ing the fin­ish­ing line par­tic­i­pants are mainly excited and relieved that they have finished.

Nutri­tion and exer­cise are thoughts many ath­letes focus on dur­ing their train­ing and give lit­tle thought to these key ele­ments once the goal has been accom­plished. Yet the only way to reap the ben­e­fits from our efforts of run­ning a marathon is to do the right things fol­low­ing the event.

Also, ath­letes who have not taken the proper steps seem to never want to run another marathon or worse yet never return to reg­u­lar exer­cise. To avoid this hap­pen­ing to you, here are some tips on how to gain strengths from your accom­plish­ments and enjoy many more marathons in the future.

Please see Post-Marathon Recov­ery and Nutri­tional Guidelines


Upper Extremity Rehabilitation Guidelines

The pri­mary treat­ments for breast can­cer (surgery, radi­a­tion, chemother­apy) con­tinue to lead to sig­nif­i­cant mor­bid­ity for many indi­vid­u­als diag­nosed with this dis­ease.  A num­ber of phys­i­cal impair­ments com­monly result from treat­ments designed to save or pro­long the lives of those affected.  These include impair­ments of upper extrem­ity range of motion and strength, upper extrem­ity and/or breast lym­phedema, pain, fatigue, loss of sen­sa­tion, and reduc­tion in lev­els of phys­i­cal activ­ity and health-related qual­ity of life.

Older woman holding weightsThe fol­low­ing 5 tips can help lower risk of impairments:

  1. Gen­tle range of motion exer­cises the first week after surgery.
  2. Active stretch­ing exer­cises 1 week after surgery, or when the drain has been removed.
  3. Active stretch­ing exer­cises con­tin­ued for 6–8 weeks or until full range of motion is achieved in the affected upper extremity.
  4. Pro­gres­sive resis­tance train­ing can begin with light weights (0.5-1kg) within 4–6 weeks after surgery.
  5. Post­op­er­a­tive assess­ments should occur reg­u­larly up to 1 year after surgery.

This infor­ma­tion is in line with the Insti­tute of Med­i­cine report ‘Clin­i­cal Prac­tice Guide­lines We Can Trust’.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion on how you can start a pro­gres­sive resis­tance train­ing pro­gramme early please email Marie at murphyprogramme@gmail.com

Know Your METs to Lower Breast Cancer Risk/Recurrence

Exer­cise reduces an individual’s risk of devel­op­ing breast can­cer. Fur­ther­more, in indi­vid­u­als who have already been diag­nosed with the dis­ease, exer­cise reduces the chance of a can­cer recur­rence as well as improves qual­ity of life.

Below is an easy expla­na­tion of the METs pro­gramme which I did for an ini­tia­tive called Choose­ToTri.  June O’Connell started Choose­ToTri  after hear­ing me speak at the Irish Can­cer Society’s Annual National Breast Can­cer Con­fer­ence (2010) when talk­ing about the rela­tion­ship between exer­cise and can­cer pre­ven­tion (METs).

In this video, I explain METs in a clear and easy to under­stand way.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion on METs please see:

Know Your METs for Pre­ven­tion — Recur­rence of Disease

Cal­cu­lat­ing your weekly METs km


Breast Cancer Awareness — 6 Weeks Beginners Course

Breast Can­cer Awareness

Research indi­cates that phys­i­cal activ­ity after a diag­no­sis of breast can­cer improves qual­ity of life, reduces fatigue, and assist with energy bal­ance. Both reduced phys­i­cal activ­ity and the side effects of treat­ment have been linked to weight gain after a breast can­cer IMAG0225diag­no­sis. Stud­ies have found that women who exer­cise mod­er­ately (the equiv­a­lent of walk­ing 3 to 4 hours per week at an aver­age pace (3–4 METs) after a diag­no­sis of breast can­cer have improved sur­vival rates com­pared with more seden­tary women.

6 weeks Begin­ners Course

I will be offer­ing a 6 weeks begin­ners course which will cover 3 the­ory work­shops & 3 prac­ti­cal train­ing work­shops to pro­vide par­tic­i­pants with the tools to improve flex­i­bil­ity, bal­ance, co-ordination, mobil­ity, strength, mus­cu­loskele­tal func­tion, bone den­sity and con­fi­dence, in addi­tion to hav­ing an impact on car­dio­vas­cu­lar fit­ness, weight man­age­ment and psy­choso­cial well-being.

To reg­is­ter for the pro­gramme par­tic­i­pants must be 3 months post-surgery with med­ical clear­ance.  Course fee €75.  To add your name to the ros­ter or for fur­ther details please email Marie at murphyprogramme@gmail.com  All par­tic­i­pants will be accepted on a ‘first-come, first served basis’ (Addi­tional courses will follow).

Balance in Our Everyday Lives

Home­osta­sis is an essen­tial part for our health.  But, in order to pro­mote a body in bal­ance our mind needs to con­tribute. Choices we make in regards to stress reduc­tion, healthy nutri­tion and reg­u­lar exer­cise helps keep an imbal­ance at bay.

IMAG0188Focus on what makes you feel calm and in con­trol. Man­ag­ing stress is about tak­ing charge of our thoughts, emo­tions, sched­ule, and the way we deal with prob­lems. This isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Iden­ti­fy­ing our true sources of stress, we have to look closely at our habits, atti­tude, and excuses.

A reg­u­lar diet rich in plant foods, fish, and lean pro­tein boosts over­all health and clearly helps pro­tect against heart dis­ease and dia­betes. How­ever when it comes to exer­cis­ing inad­e­quate nutri­ent intake deprives the body of the energy needed to per­form, the car­bo­hy­drates nec­es­sary for glyco­gen replace­ment, the pro­tein needed for tis­sue build­ing and repair, and the micronu­tri­ents nec­es­sary for nor­mal metab­o­lism and main­te­nance of body homeostasis.

EilishThe health ben­e­fits of reg­u­lar exer­cise and phys­i­cal activ­ity are hard to ignore and the ben­e­fits are ours for the tak­ing, regard­less of our age, sex or phys­i­cal abil­ity. Our body needs reg­u­lar exer­cise, the right food, lifestyle and men­tal atti­tude to achieve its true health potential.

Pic­ture of my sis­ter (sur­vivor) and two of her girls out on a walk yes­ter­day in California :)