The Importance of Exercise: Flexibility

There are 4 types of fitness; strength, endurance, balance and flexibility. Previously we have discussed the first three. Our final type of exercise and fitness is flexibility. Flexibility is the range of motion of your joints or the ability of your joints to move freely. Additionally, it could also mean the mobility of muscles that’s able to move freely around your joints. Flexibility is often under looked just like balance, so today we are going to bring more awareness to that aspect of fitness.

Benefits of flexibility

There are many benefits of having good flexibility; decreasing the likelihood of injuries, greater strength and improve physical performance are just a few. If we think of our muscles like a rubber band, it would be easier to understand how having good flexibility can help us in the aspects mentioned above. Firstly, by increasing your flexibility you are less likely to get injure because there is more ‘give’ in the muscles. Just like a rubber band, it’s hard to break in its normal state and only breaks if it’s overstretched. If our muscles can be more flexible, it can stretch more resulting in a decreased likelihood of strains and sprains.

Secondly, having more flexibility can increase strength. In order to maximise your strength, you’ll need to maximise range of motion which can be achieved by having greater flexibility. Finally, improving flexibility can also improve our physical performance. This is because as we become more flexible, we are able to store more kinetic energy. Just like a rubber band, if it’s stretched to its maximum and released, it’ll fly further with more force. The muscles in our body are just like rubber bands. If it can be stretched further and then contract, it’ll produce more force and explosive power. As a result, it’ll help with physical performance especially for athletes.

How to become more flexible

So the main way improve flexibility is through stretching. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to increase flexibility. The best way is to consistently stretch different parts of your body every day. For example, one day you can stretch just your upper body muscles, on the second focus on your back muscles and on the third focus on your lower body etc. If you stretch consistently, the results will come and gradually more flexibility will be gained. Fortunately, we don’t need to spend too long every day working on our flexibility, 2-4 minutes of daily stretching in total will be enough.

Flexibility is one out of the 4 types of fitness. There are many benefits by becoming more flexible, decreasing likelihood of injuries, increasing strength and improving physical strength are only some mentioned. To become more flexible, you must work on it every day for 2-4 minutes. So it is possible to become bendy without dedicating hours to it. But remember to work on flexibility on different parts of the body! This concludes our ‘Importance of Exercise’ series of post. Keep working on all 4 types of fitness and your body will become stronger and healthier!

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How To Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscle

You may have heard about pelvic floor muscles in the context of pregnancy so you might assume that they’re only of interest to pregnant individuals. Although pregnant women benefit immensely from pelvic floor strengthening they’re a concern for everyone. Why? Because everyone has pelvic floor muscles!

Pelvic floor muscles are layers of muscles that stretch from your tailbone to your pubic bone. When you lose normal control of these muscles it’s known as pelvic floor dysfunction. This can result in incontinence (lack of urination control) and pelvic pain.

Here are a couple of anatomy diagrams for you visualize these hidden muscles:

    1. Female Pelvic Floor Muscles

    2. Male Pelvic Floor Muscles

You may be wondering what the big deal is. These are not like your triceps muscles that you can flash and impress others with… no. They’re more functional than that. The reason you want to get into the habit of strengthening these mystery muscles is because as you age the likelihood that you experience incontinence whether it be from a coughing or exercising increases.

For pregnant women in particular, the risk of getting pelvic pain, which is common during pregnancy, decreases when strengthening your pelvic floor muscles regularly.  It also helps support your body with the increasing weight of the baby.

So how do you work them out? Well we’ve got 2 exercises for you that vary from normal to advanced.

Important note: do NOT hold your breath during these exercises. Breathe nice and slowly.

KEGEL (normal):

  1. Tighten the muscles you’d use to stop urinating midstream.
  2. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Relax the muscles.
  4. Repeat 15 times.

SUPER KEGEL (advanced):

  1. Stretch your spine to the ceiling.
  2. Squeeze the muscles that you’d use to stop a bowel movement.
  3. Inhale and maintain the squeezing of those muscles.
  4. Exhale and maintain the squeezing.
  5. Squeeze the muscles you’d use to stop urinating midstream. Your entire pelvic floor should be contracting now. BREATHE.
  6. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  7. Relax the muscles.
  8. Repeat 10 times.

It’s recommended that you perform this 2-3 times a day.

What’s really handy about these exercises is that you can perform these exercises anywhere as it’s all happening internally. So next time you’re bored or stuck in traffic, work your pelvic floor muscles and future you will thank you!

 

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Healing the Adrenal Glands Naturally

Introduction

Before we dig deep into how you can heal your adrenal glands naturally, let’s quickly go through what can cause adrenal fatigue in the first place.

 

Causes of Adrenal Fatigue

  • Stressful experiences like death of loved one, divorce or surgery
  • Exposure to environmental toxins and pollution
  • Prolonged stress due to financial hardship, bad relationships or work environment, and other conditions that entail feelings of helplessness
  • Negative thinking and emotional trauma
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor diet (including crash diets and inconsistent nutrition) and lack of exercise
  • Pain
  • Food sensitivities
  • Surgery
  • Reliance on stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

 

 

Natural ways to heal adrenal glands

1. Follow the adrenal diet.
what to add and what to avoid in adrenal diet

– Caffeine: This can interfere with your sleep cycle and make it hard for your adrenals to recover. If you must drink coffee or a caffeinated beverage, then have a limited amount in the morning before noon. I would highly recommend lowering your caffeine intake to 1 per week overtime if you need to. Try to drink herbal or green tea instead.

– Sugar and sweeteners: Includes avoiding high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners as well. Avoid sugary foods, cereals, candy, sweets, etc. Be aware that sugar is an additive in many breads, condiments and dressings. Try to avoid as much extra sugar as possible. Seek the benefits of stevia as an alternative, and always moderate your use of sweeteners of any kind.

– Processed and microwaved foods: First of all, the microwave has its own dangers, but additionally, most microwaveable, ultra-processed foods have many preservatives and fillers that are hard to digest and wear out your body’s energy and digestion cycle. Try to buy food on the outer walls of your grocery store and prepare your own food whenever possible.

– Processed meats and dairy: An overload of protein can stress your hormones more than you might think, and the added hormones and lacking nutrition in conventional, processed meats (particularly red meats like beef and steak) can throw your system out-of-whack in quick succession. We usually consume way too much animal products in our diet these days which are all the cause of the most deadliest diseases known to human such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Eat these protein-heavy meats only in moderation.

– Hydrogenated oils: Vegetable oils like soybean, canola and corn oil are highly inflammatory and can lead to adrenal inflammation. Try to only use good fats such as coconut oil, olive oil.

 

2. Add nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest and have healing qualities.

Some of the top superfoods for adrenal health include:

  • Coconut
  • Olives
  • Avocado and other healthy fats
  • Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
  • Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
  • Seeds, such as pumpkin, chia and flax
  • Kelp and seaweed
  • Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
  • Fermented foods rich in probiotics
  • Chaga and cordyceps medicinal mushrooms
  • Fruits
  • Whole grain gluten-free carbs.

A strict no-carb diet can stress the body, even more, worsening adrenal burnout. Of course, I’m not saying please go and eat cookies and cakes, but rather quinoa, lentils, and buckwheat.

 

3. Herbs and Supplements.
Herbs and supplements
– Adaptogenic herbs ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Schisandra, and holy basil: Research indicates that adaptogen herbs may help to lower cortisol levels and mediate stress responses within the body. By using these herbs in food preparation, you can alleviate some of the strain on your adrenal glands

– Licorice root: This spice is available in extract form and helps to increase the DHEA in your body. Licorice root is associated with some side effects and may sometimes be avoided by taking DGL licorice. Pregnant women and those with heart, liver or kidney problems should avoid licorice root. Don’t take it for more than four weeks at a time.

– Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA): There are a large number of benefits of increasing your omega 3 fatty acids intake through natural sources such as chia seeds, flaxeeds/linseeds and hemp seeds. Several of these include counteracting a number of adrenal fatigue-related symptoms and complications, such as diabetes, mental dysfunction, arthritis, immune system function, skin issues, weight gain and anxiety/depression.

– Magnesium: For some time, magnesium has been understood as one of the necessary nutrients for fighting adrenal insufficiency, While the mechanisms of this aren’t fully understood, you may benefit from supplementing with magnesium if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue.

 

4. Vitamins and oils

– B-Complex vitamins: Research has found that vitamin B12 deficiency may be associated with stress on the adrenal cortex in some animals. Vitamin B5 is another commonly deficient vitamin in people with adrenal stress. It may serve you well to take a high-quality B-complex vitamin supplement.

– Vitamin C: Known as a “stress-busting” nutrient, vitamin C has been found to minimize the effects of stress on people as well as reduce the time necessary to bounce back from stressful events.

– Vitamin D: In addition to maintaining homeostasis between magnesium and phosphorus in the body and supporting strong bones, Vitamin D has also more recently been seen to have impact on other conditions, including adrenal dysfunction and disease.

– Selenium: At least one animal study has found that selenium deficiency can negatively impact adrenal function.

– Lavender oil: Human and animal studies show that lavender essential oil has a calming effect that can reduce stress. Research also suggests that it may lower high cortisol levels when inhaled.

– Rosemary oil: Rosemary essential oil (along with lavender) can help to decrease cortisol concentrations and reduce oxidative stress on cells.

 

5. Other things you must pay attention to for healthy adrenal glands:

What else to pay attention to

– Go to bed early.
Getting to bed before 10-11pm is a must in any stage of adrenal fatigue. Many people get a second cortisol surge after 11pm, which further disrupts sleep patterns.

– Focus on hydration.
Dehydration is also a hallmark of adrenal fatigue. You can take a multi trace mineral supplement so more water is absorbed into your cells. You can also add fresh lemon juice or Himalayan sea salt to your water instead.

– Build rest into the day.
Practise Iyengar Yoga at least 2 x week and take two 20-minute rest breaks a day (time outs alone to breathe and restore).

– Change your perspective.
Is your definition of success killing you? In many cases, what you perceive as success is driving you into adrenal overload. Try to internalize the idea that “it” doesn’t have to be perfect to be great.

In some cases hormone therapy can be helpful, and if someone has an autoimmune disease called Addison’s, it can be necessary. But for most people who live their way into stage 1, 2 or 3 adrenal fatigue, it’s just a matter of living their way right back out of it and into balance with their bodies.

 

***Adrenal Support Tea link***
Rest and Relax Tea

 

***Adrenal Support Tea Recipe***

Cacao Orange Rejuvenator
Ingredients
1/2 tsp ginseng root
1 tsp roasted chicory root
1/2 tsp orange peel
1/2 tsp licorice root
1 pinch per cup cacao powder
1 drop per cup orange essential oil

This will serve 2–3 cups of rich and rejuvenating tea.
1. Put the ginseng in a pan with a lid. Add 7 ounces cold water and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes. Add the roasted chicory root, orange peel, and licorice root to the pan along with 14 ounces freshly boiled filtered water. Leave to steep for 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the cups by adding cacao powder to each one.
2. Once the tea has steeped, strain and pour it onto the cacao powder in the cups. Whisk and finish each with a drop of orange essential oil. (If you’re short on time, you can skip simmering the ginseng or leave it out.)

 

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Always Tired and Stressed Out?

Introduction

Are you always tired and stressed out? Are your hormones out of whack? Have you ever thought about what could be causing all this or do you just get on with your life thinking that this is normal or part of aging?

It could be because your adrenal glands are not functioning properly. Our adrenal glands are small glands found on top of each kidney, they are vital for us to function properly. Their primary function is to reduce stress in our bodies by releasing hormones such as adrenaline and androgen which are our sex hormones. However, the two most important hormones it secretes are aldosterone and cortisol. While aldosterone helps control blood pressure by managing minerals in your body such as potassium and sodium, cortisol helps regulate stress levels.

So what happens when your adrenal glands malfunction? As a result, they can either produce too much of one hormone or too little.

 

Addison’s disease (lower levels of hormones)

Addison’s disease is caused by the insufficient production of such hormones, mainly cortisol and aldosterone. Also known as adrenal insufficiency it can be life-threatening if we don’t treat it. Some of these symptoms may occur over a couple of months as it develops slowly. In addition, they include extreme fatigue, weight loss, nausea, irritability, body hair loss, and even depression.

Symptoms of Addison's disease

 

Cushing’s syndrome (higher levels of hormones)

On the other spectrum if you are overproducing hormones you might have what we call Cushing’s syndrome and Conn’s syndrome. Cushing’s syndrome is a result of overexposure to high levels of cortisol over an extended period of time. As a result, Cushing’s syndrome can be identified by a fatty hump in between the shoulders, a rounded face, and pink and purple stretch marks. People who suffer from this disease often show signs of severe fatigue, muscle weakness, cognitive difficulty, and a decrease in bone density.

 

Symptoms of Cushing's syndrome

 

Conn’s syndrome (higher levels of hormones)

Conn’s syndrome is the overproduction of aldosterone which causes you to lose too much potassium and hold excess sodium. The increase in sodium holds onto water within our body ultimately increasing the blood pressure. Usually, the only symptom associated with Conn’s syndrome is high blood pressure. However, the increase in blood pressure may cause headaches, blurred vision, and dizziness.

 

Conclusion

So as you can see our adrenal gland function is very important for our overall health and a malfunction in these small organs may result in life-threatening conditions. In our next blog, I will discuss how you can help improve the function of your adrenal glands naturally and effectively.

 

 

 

Looking for a Chiropractor in Auckland?

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Sports Chiropractor Auckland

To Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION at Revolution Chiropractic E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718.  

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