Ways to Increase Endorphins

Don’t we all like to be happy all the time? During this time, I feel it would be a good opportunity to share some hope and bring some joy while we are locked in our own house! The main hormone that triggers happiness in our body is endorphin. So this week, let’s talk about a couple of natural (and legal) ways to release endorphins in our body.

 

  1. I’m pretty sure we’ve all hit a low point in our lives before, whether it’s a terrible break up, someone passing away or when you’ve lost all hope. During those times we may have stuffed ourselves with our favourite food. Eating is often a go to way for people to cheer up during these hard times. That is because eating your favour meal triggers your brain to release feel good hormones like endorphins! But don’t go overboard as we know there are bigger health complications due to obesity!
  2. This is one that I personally do whenever I’m not feeling at 100%. That is exercise. Exercise is a great way for you to forget about all your problems for a short period of time. That is because all forms of exercise triggers the body to release endorphin. This can be anything from cardio training, weight training, HIIT training or even sports. Perhaps it is a good time to release all the negative energy and use it as fuel to get fit and feel good at the same time.
  3. There is something special about Mother Nature. Nature literally mother’s us when we are down and helps us feel better. Going out doors is a great way to release endorphin. Especially, in a place which is nice and empty. Although it is difficult in this time right now, a simple method is to go out in your garden and enjoy the sunshine. That’ll have to do for the time being!
  4. LOL literally laugh out loud. Why do we laugh? Usually something happy or funny happens. When we laugh out loud, our brain releases so much endorphins that it can even increase our pain threshold. Use this opportunity to binge watch on a comedy like Friends or Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Those shows will crack you up.

 

I have just listed 4 ways to raise endorphin levels while we are all being quarantined. These are difficult times but if we all just stick together as a nation, we are bound to go through this tough patch! Hopefully, these 4 tips will help you cheer your day up and bring you hope!

 

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WELLNESS – TOP 5 TIPS ON RAISING HEALTHY CHILDREN

In the next five blogs, I will reveal the top 5 tips on raising the wellness of children!

But first, I want to address an important question.

When it comes to raising healthy children, how would a chiropractor and a medical professional proceed?

There are two significant differences that exist between the ‘chiropractic wellness’ approach and the ‘medical approach’ to health as each sets a different goal and a different course of action.

Firstly the medical profession views the human body as a conglomerate of chemical and mechanical functions so that when a health challenge arises, doctors look specifically at the problem area and take a “we’ve got to fix it” approach. This might be through eradicating germs that they credit with creating disease or through offering drugs or surgery. The focus is to reduce symptoms and to address health issues in a disease-oriented model.

Wellness chiropractors see the body as a whole, acknowledging that the body works together. So that when we compromise, or tax one area of our body, other areas can, in time, become vulnerable.

Most of us are aware that our nervous system controls and coordinates every function of the body. Still, we may not appreciate that there a significant number of stressors that accompany our modern lifestyle, which taxes our spine and nervous system. These lifestyle factors move a body out of balance and threaten our health. Chiropractors ask questions like, “How can we help the body recreate balance and good function?” and “What part of this person’s environment is taxing their health?” Chiropractors take a vitalistic view of the human body, respecting the body’s innate or inner intelligence and adjust the spine to stimulate the body’s natural ability to recreate balance, order, and healing.

While current health issues are addressed, wellness chiropractors are most excited about helping clients become proactive about all facets of their health.

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Stress Management – 3 Ways

Mindfulness and stress are on the tips of everyone’s tongue nowadays. Large corporations are investing millions on mindfulness rooms and practices for their employees to reap the benefits and increase productivity. Meditation and stress-reduction taught in school curriculums now, because they also know the effectiveness.

It seems the hustle and bustle of everyday life is getting to our heads. It’s not natural for our circuitry to be firing constantly for so long. So how can we help support this new way of life, or at least reduce the amount of stress that affects us?

Here are our 3 top tips:

  1. Exercise/Yoga: Studies have shown that regular exercise or yoga can decrease stress, pain, and even your risk of injury. Aiming to do either one of these 3-5 times a week is ideal and does wonders to support your mind by increasing blood flow to the brain and having your focus set on something other than a screen for at least half an hour.
  2. Diaphragmatic breathing (or belly breathing): this kind of breathing calms down the nervous system and reduces the noise that goes on by getting you to focus on your breathing. Studies have demonstrated breathing exercises can reduce fatigue and anxiety. To actually benefit from the practice, it must be performed 3-5 times a day for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Meditation: once thought of as a hippie ritual, mindfulness meditation is now common practice used to help people reduce stress, anxiety, chronic pain, headaches and depression. It’s widely accessible as there are many online guides as well as apps that can help guide you through a session and all you need is yourself and a peaceful environment.

Stress is just a part of life and how you choose to manage it is up to you. Keep these tips in mind to take care of your mental health and keep your mind sharp. If you have any questions or would like more tips on stress management, please consult with a health professional.

Chiropractor Auckland

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Glutes, The Secret to Better Buns

Glutes

Nowadays, people are sitting… a lot. And they’re sitting right on their prized possessions – one of the most important muscles groups in the body – the glutes.

Let’s get to know this area of our bodies a little better. The glute area comprises of 3 muscles: gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. Maximus extends (pulls) your thigh behind your, while medius and minimus pull your thigh out to the side (abduction).

These muscles tend to be weak and underworked. Long periods of sitting tend to cause these muscles to turn off and weaken, which leads to low back, hip and knee pain due to a lack of stabilization of the pelvis from these muscles

Strengthening your glutes come with many benefits. They help stabilize the hips and pelvis while walking, play a role in knee and ankle alignment down the lower chain of the leg as well as just look aesthetically pleasing to both sexes. You’ll even find that your athletic performance improves as your glutes play a huge role in power generation in your stride and jump as well as side-to-side (lateral) movement.

If we haven’t made it clear yet, strengthening your glutes is a great idea and you really have everything to gain by strengthening them. So How do you do that? Well the gluteus maximus is usually addressed adequately through running, squats, deadlifts and lunges. But the often-neglected glute medius and glute minimus usually don’t get in on much of the action. So here are 3 exercises to start firing those glutes nicely.

  1. Side-Lying Leg Lifts

Image result for side lying leg lifts

  1. Single Leg Bridges

Image result for single leg bridge

  1. Side-Lying Clamshell (incorporate resistance band to increase the effect on glutes)

Image result for side lying clamshell with band

If you incorporate these exercises into your workout and work up to 3 sets of 12-15 reps you’ll find that your hip stabilization will improve greatly and your buns will thank you! Remember to keep learning and stay consistent – the results will come.

Chiropractor Auckland

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5-Minute Stretch – Total Body Cool Down

We’ve been over a general warm up routine you can do before your training sessions in our blog a couple of weeks ago, so today we’ll be going over a quick and effective cool down routine that will help with muscle recovery and promote blood flow. This routine is essentially made up of stretches so don’t push your stretch too far passed the point of comfort. Also, avoid bounce into your stretches as it may lead to a pulled muscle and it doesn’t help in any way.

As always, make this your own by adding in anything you may know and taking out anything you’re not comfortable with or not feeling.

When performing this routine just focus on your breathing by taking full breaths and slowing it down.

Here we go:

Overhead Tricep Stretch (30 secs/side)

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and raise your elbow while reaching for your upper back with the same hand
  • Use your other hand to pull gently
  • Repeat on the other side

Image result for overhead tricep stretch

Wrist Stretch (30 secs/side)

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and reach out in front of you with one arm (palm facing down)
  • Point your fingers towards the floor by bending your wrist and use your opposite hand to pull gently
  • Then point your fingers up towards the ceiling and use your opposite hand to pull genlty
  • Repeat on the other side

Image result for wrist stretch

Cross Leg Stretch (30 secs/side)

  • Stand with one leg crossed over the other
  • Flex your torso forward and reach for the foot of the straight leg
  • Cross the other leg and repeat

Image result for crossleg stretch

Glute Stretch (30 secs/side)

  • Kneel and place your shin flat in front of you
  • Sink your hips and relax into the stretch
  • Repeat on the other side

Image result for pigeon stretch

Cobra (30 secs)

  • Lie face down and raise your torso up with your arms
  • Keep your thighs on the floor, core engaged and look up

Image result for cobra stretch

Prayer Stretch (30 secs)

  • Start by kneeling and sit back on your heels
  • Lower your torso toward the floor

Image result for prayer stretch

And it’s as easy as that! Don’t forget to breathe into every stretch and hydrate well after your training sessions to maximize recovery.

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Core: Superman (7/7)

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X2AWtCyJXk[/embedyt]

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Chiropractor Auckland

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Fun Vacation Workouts Without a Gym - [Where Can I FLY ?]

Meal Prep 101

Life happens. And one of the best ways to make it through successfully is to make sure you’re prepared.

Meal prepping saves you time, energy and serves as your friend on the days when you get home late and every fibre of your being is against you making food. In turn, you end up spending less on eating out and having more energy by eating home-cooked, delicious meals.

Whether you’re keto, paleo, low-carb, or standard NZ diet, this simple guide will serve you well to have a fridge full of healthy meals for the week.

 

Prep steps:

 

  1. PLAN: Meal prepping starts on the weekend. Look at the week ahead of you and figure out the busy days for which you’ll need meal-prepped meals. Even if you don’t want to meal prep for the entire week, make sure that you schedule some time the day before to prepare a meal.
  2. THINK: Open notes or find a pad and pen to write some healthy meal ideas. Nothing fancy, keep it simple. For example, you could have some one-pot recipes on hand that can make huge batches like chilli, grilled chicken, roast veggies, and stir fry.
  3. SHOP: From that simple menu, create an ingredient list and go out to buy your meal prep ingredients. If you don’t have the memory of an elephant, be sure to bring a note pad with you or have your list on your phone notes to tick off as you go.
  4. COOK: Schedule one or however many days out of the week to cook. This could be every Sunday that you plug your headphones in with a good podcast and go hard at your meal prep for an hour and a half. Be sure to cook all the things that take lots of time to cook like your chicken, veggies, and potatoes. Prepping in bulk is best because it saves you heaps of time. Slicing a few carrots is as fast as slicing one, so make sure to prep everything you can in that set time.
  5. STORE: Finally, store your meal-prepped food in containers and make them accessible in the fridge. Be sure to also put the appropriate items in the freezer if you know you won’t be eating it before it goes bad.

And most IMPORTANTLY, don’t forget to make meal prepping fun and a regularly weekly ritual of yours. Throw on some music, watch a show or just chat if it’s a team effort.

Apply these meal prep principles and your future self will thank you immensely.

This blog is sponsored by Priorityfitness.

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Cook,healthy,food,eat,vegetables - free image from needpix.com

Common Myth About Chiropractic

Once you start going to a chiropractor you can’t stop

If you are seeing a chiropractor or have mentioned you are considering it to a friend you may have heard this little lie “once you start going to a chiropractor you can’t stop”.

This myth may be because many people who start going to a chiropractor do in fact continue to go even after their initial care phase. This isn’t because they have to but because they choose to. The reality is that with any health choice it takes sustained effort to maintain results. Think about it, if you have a terrible diet of lots of takeaway food and soft drinks which has caused weight gain and you clean up your diet and lose the weight, do you think you will keep the weight off if you return to your old habits? Of course, this would be foolish to think!

The same is true with spinal health and strength; if you start utilising chiropractic, postural awareness and exercise to improve your strength and pain. Then going back to your old habits will most likely get you back to the same place that you started with.

For those who want a bit of research about this topic click the link below to s study performed in 2011 that demonstrated better pain and disability outcomes with ongoing “maintenance” care (fortnightly chiropractic adjustments) compared to those who only received an initial care phase of one month.

So the truth to the myth that “once you start chiropractic you can’t stop” is that once you start chiropractic you can CHOOSE to continue reaping the benefits of a stronger, more mobile and coordinated spine or you can CHOOSE not to. As with most things in life, the outcome is down to the choices you consistently make!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21245790

Chiropractor Auckland

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File:A chiropractor treating a patient. Wellcome L0034597.jpg - Wikimedia  Commons

 

Taking Control of Stress

Control? Why?

 

Work, kids, school, money, exercise, eating… What do these all have in common? Well, they can stress you out to the point of ripping your hair out OR inspire and motivate you to get out of bed and do what you do every single day. The KEY is to find your stress sweet spot and use it to fast track your goals, and potential.

Too much stress can get in the way of you and your goals… Maybe even lead to you crashing and burning. However, too little stress can slow down your progress because you’ll get bored. Let’s find out how to hit that optimal point of stress to keep you at the top of your game.

First, let’s go through the difference between a positive and negative stress response. Stressors aren’t necessarily good OR bad, it depends on your response. A positive response means you’re feeling energized, focused, pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone, balancing stress and rest, and learning and growing through the process. A negative response leads to you feeling weak, distracted, in need of rest, not challenging yourself, and can even lead to weight gain and metabolic, hormonal, and immunity disruptions.

 

How do I deal with this?

 

How? Well first you’ve got to recognize what factors are out of your control and more importantly, which factors are IN your control. Also, if you’re stress resistant by nature and have had lots of practice at handling stress growing up, your view on stress may be that it is a challenge to tackle. But if you’re stress prone and have had little practice dealing with stress, you may find yourself looking at stress as a problem to avoid. If you’re having a hard time changing your attitude and view on stress, look at building a strong support network and changing your environment to have more time outdoors in nature or with loved ones.

It’s important that you look at your current stress load and ask yourself “does it have to be that high or that low?” Think about your goals and how your actions align. Find out what’s worth taking out or adding in.

 

What does it feel like?

  • Too low: bored, unfocused, purposeless
  • Too high: anxious or obsessive, panicked, stuck
  • Just enough: energized, engaged, actively moving towards goals

 

A great way to address inspiration and energy is to learn how to set effective goals. We’ll be releasing a blog post diving into this topic further in the near future. But until then, go read up on the last blog titled “How NOT to set goals”. Do this too get started on the perspective you should be taking when approaching goals.

For rest and recovery, there are many things that you can do! A lot of it depends on personal preference, but here are 4 examples to get you started.

  1. Practice relaxing activities: Walking, massage, deep breathing, laughing, yoga, meditation, and even (especially) sex, which is not always relaxing.
  2. Get outside: take your walk outside for improved mood and lower stress hormones and heart rate. Getting moderate sun exposure is ideal and helps increase mood and vitamin D levels.
  3. Adjust your exercise routine: the most effective way to approach this is with a mix of strength training (weights), conditioning (cardio, intervals) and low-intensity recovery (walk)
  4. Practice self-compassion: ask for help when you need it. Get counseling if you’re feeling helpless, know your limits and unplug regularly.

If you follow and apply these recommendations you’ll be well on your way to taking control of your stress. Stay tuned for more valuable blog posts!

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File:Corporate Woman Being Stressed at Work.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Breathe Deep

In a given day how often do you breathe deeply? In a stressed out world you can unconsciously end up breathing short and shallow breaths, this can reduce oxygen intake and further drive the stress response.

Breathing is an interesting function of the body and arguably the only one that is both unconscious and consciously controlled. Think about it, until you start dreading this you were breathing without paying attention to it. It happens automatically. But you can also slow down or speed up your breathing pattern at your own will.

Rapid, shallow breathing is a natural response to a stressful situation. Deeper, slower breathing is a natural response when you are relaxed. Taking conscious control of your breathing during the day, especially when you are stressed, can help calm your nervous system so it can focus on healing, digesting and creativity.

Try this simple breathing exercise each day to calm you mind and body.

4-7-8 Breathing

This technique was developed by Dr Andrew Weil as a great technique to calm your body when lying in bed at night to assist you falling asleep or to calm your mind and body during the day.

  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth
  • Close your mouth and silently breathe in through the nose as you mentally count to 4
  • Hold the breath for a count of 7
  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth for a count of 8

Do this a total of four times and repeat twice daily to maximise the benefits of the technique. The ratio of the inhalation to exhalation is more important than the overall length of time. At first you may not be able to hold your breath very long so count faster but as your body becomes more efficient over time you will find that you can really slow the process down.

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