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Wing Chun News #008 The best time of year to train...
July 07, 2011

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WING CHUN LIFE NEWS #008
July 7, 2011

How the summer affects your
WingChun training and health

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Hi there fellow Wing Chun fanatic --

It’s Rob from WingChunLife.com, don’t you love this time of year!?

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is in full effect. The days are long, and if you live in a place like I do, the days and the nights are hot!

(If you live south of the equator, don’t worry! Read today’s edition of Wing Chun Life News and learn what you have to look forward to when the warm months arrive.)

Do You Train WingChun Differently with the Change of the Seasons?

During this time of year, I look forward to getting to WingChun class more than most other times. Especially, the evening classes.

There’s still plenty of day light when I drive to the night class, which makes my outlook and attitude more positive. If you’re the same way, there’s a scientific reason for this —

How More Daylight Light Gives You More Energy

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) daylight directly affects your bio-rhythms and your biological clock, also known as your ”Circadian rhythms”.

“Most circadian rhythms are controlled by the body's biological ‘clock’… called the ‘suprachiasmatic nucleus’ or SCN... a pair of pinhead-sized brain structures that together contain about 20,000 neurons. The SCN rests in a part of the brain called the ‘hypothalamus’, just above the point where the optic nerves cross. Light that reaches photoreceptors in the ‘retina’ (a tissue at the back of the eye) creates signals that travel along the optic nerve to the SCN.

Signals from the SCN travel to... the ‘pineal gland’, which responds to light-induced signals by switching off production of the hormone melatonin. The body's level of melatonin normally increases after darkness falls, making people feel drowsy. The SCN also governs functions that are synchronized with the sleep/wake cycle, including body temperature, hormone secretion, urine production, and changes in blood pressure.”

For most of us, that means longer, sunny days keeps us awake and makes us feel more vibrant.

What's also interesting, according to NIH, “…Many people with total blindness experience life-long sleeping problems because their retinas are unable to detect light. These people have a kind of permanent jet lag and periodic insomnia...” Get the daylight onto your retinas!

Kung Fu Movies Had it Right All Along…

In a number of Kung Fu Movies, the grandmasters use different attacks based on the time of day.

The ”movie-science-logic”: The time of day causes different weaknesses in your body and organs, so of course you want to attack those spots at the right times.

As I grew up, I stopped believing in movie-science-logic and movie magic. It’s fun and cool, but not true...

...But then, I found an article by doctors William C. Shiel and Melissa Conrad Stoppler, and they share the following list from studies by medical chronobiologists:

Allergic rhinitis: Hay fever symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and stuffy nose are typically worse in the early waking hours than later during the day.

Asthma: In most patients, symptoms are more than 100 times as likely to occur in the few hours before waking than later in the day.

Stable angina: Chest pain and electrocardiographic (ECG, EKG) abnormalities are most common during the first 4 to 6 hours after waking up in the morning.

Prinzmetal's angina: ECG abnormalities are most common during sleep; chest pain can occur even while at rest.

Heart attack: Heart attack most commonly occurs in the early waking hours.

Stroke: Strokes most commonly occur in the early waking hours.

Hypertension: The highest blood pressure readings typically occur from late morning to middle afternoon; lowest occur during early sleep.

Rheumatoid arthritis: Symptoms are most intense upon awakening.

Osteoarthritis: Symptoms worsen in the afternoon and evening.

Ulcer disease: The pain typically occurs after stomach emptying, following daytime meals, and in the very early morning, disrupting sleep.

Based on the above list, if you must attack your enemy, do it in the early morning while he’s having a heart and asthma attack.

Be Careful About NOT Getting ENOUGH Sunlight

If you’re reading this from the Southern Hemisphere, make sure to do what you can to get your daily dose of sunshine.

The “winter blues” aren’t just in your head. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a rare condition that occurs with an extreme lack of natural sunlight. The condition brings on very depressive behavior, lack of energy, fatigue, even weight gain.

The National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland says, Along with food, air, and water, sunlight is the most important survival factor in human life.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says your chances of getting cancer could increase by as much as 70% if you don't get enough direct sunlight.

BUT... if you want to be MORE AGGRESSIVE in WingChun, maybe you should get less light?

Well, this seems to be the case for a special little mouse.

In the ,Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Ohio State University found the hormone estrogen acts to increase aggression in the Oldfield Mouse (Peromyscus polionotus) during the short days of winter. When daylight increases in the summer they became less aggressive.

"We found that estrogen has totally opposite effects on behavior in these mice depending only on how much light they got each day," said Brian Trainor, co-author of the study and postdoctoral fellow in psychology and neuroscience at Ohio State University.

Take advantage of the sunny summer months to improve your health and WingChun training

It takes as little as 10 minutes of direct sunlight a day to get the benefits. You may need a little bit more if you have dark skin or a deep tan. However, make sure to avoid overexposure between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun is at its strongest, and most dangerous.

Sunlight triggers the body to produce the sunshine vitamin - Vitamin D

Vitmin D is essential to your fighting health. On its own, vitamin D helps strengthen your bones, heart, metabolism, and helps heal bones and cuts. All important functions in a WingChun battle.

It also helps regulate cell growth, immune function, aids the intestine to efficiently absorb calcium, and restores calcium levels in the body.

Why is calcium important?

Calcium: Good for WingChun, Chi Sao, Chi Gerk, and Breaking the Other Guy’s Bones

Calcium is an essential mineral for strong bones and teeth, which makes it easier to break the other guy’s bones. It also helps you keep your teeth when you get hit in the face!

What’s not commonly known, calcium is vital for normal blood clotting, muscle contraction, and proper nervous system functioning.

It’s hard to fight if your muscles don’t contract properly. If you get cut with a WingChun butterfly sword, you better hope your blood clots well and stops the bleeding. And if your nervous system is a mess, forget about improving your chi sao and chi gerk touch sensitivity!

Calcium is vital to WingChun training and health. It depends on vitamin D to work optimally... and it all starts with the sun.

The bottom line?

It’s always a great time to train WingChun, no matter the season or weather outdoors.

However, the season affects the amount of daylight available, which affects your circadian rhythms, your mental outlook, and how your body metabolizes vitamin D and calcium.

Listen to your body, respect it, and make necessary adjustments to keep it functioning at its best.

“Don’t fight force, with force”. Go with the flow of nature, it’ll only make you stronger.

Rob@WingChunLife

P.S. Here are more sunlight benefits as stated in natural-health-restored.com.

  • A definite plus of sunshine is that it gives you a healthy looking complexion. It will make your skin smooth with an irresistible healthy glow.
  • If you get regular exposure to sunlight, it will help protect your skin in the long run. That is because your body will build up a natural resistance to the harmful effects of ultraviolet light.
  • If you allow your skin to get moderately tanned, it will be more resistant to infections and sunburns than if your skin is not tanned.
  • The ultraviolet rays in sunshine act as a natural antiseptic. These rays can kill viruses, bacteria, molds, yeasts, fungi, and mites in air, water, and on different surfaces including your skin.
  • Getting some sun tends to help clear up different skin diseases such as acne, boils, athletes foot, diaper rash, psoriasis, and eczema.
  • Another of the main benefits of sunlight is that it stimulates your appetite and improves your digestion, elimination, and metabolism.
  • Getting your daily dose of sunshine will enhance your immune system. It increases the number of white blood cells in your blood. It also helps them to be better fighters in their mission to destroy germs.
  • Sunshine encourages healthy circulation. It also stimulates the production of more red blood cells which increases the amount of oxygen in your blood.
  • Sunlight is one of the most effective healing agents that exists.
  • Feeling down? One of the major benefits of sunlight is that it will soothe your nerves and boost your mood leaving you with a renewed sense of well-being. Sunlight increases the production of endorphins and serotonin in your brain which will definitely leave you feeling much better.
  • Getting enough sunlight during the day can help you sleep better at night. If you are exposed to natural light during the day, it will increase your melatonin output at night. Melatonin is a natural hormone made by our bodies. It enhances sleep and slows down the aging process.
  • Sunlight helps to balance out your hormones. It may even help to relieve certain symptoms of PMS.
  • Sunlight improves the function of your liver and helps it to break down toxins and wastes that could lead to cancer and other diseases.
  • If you've got swollen, arthritic joints, sunlight may help lower your pain levels.
  • Sunlight is an effective treatment for jaundice.
  • According to some studies on the benefits of sunlight, exposure to the sun may decrease your risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancers.

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