Blue Light: The Good & The Bad

Every sort of screen emits blue light and how many hours do we spend sitting in front of a screen every day? We are looking at screens every day whether it is watching shows, scrolling through social media, or doing office work. By the end of the day, we probably spend a good 12-15 hours on a screen. As a result, we will definitely be affected by blue light somehow. So today we’ll break down some of the effects of blue light.

 

Pros

  • Blue light helps regulate our circadian rhythm. Blue light can be found in the sun. Every day we are woken up by blue light. It is what triggers us to wake up. Without it, we will be in hibernation most of the time.
  • Blue light stimulates alertness, memory and cognitive function. This is because blue light increases the speed of neuron growth and strengthens neuron connection in the hippocampus. As a result, we become more focused and retain information a lot easier.
  • Apart from brain growth, blue light also stimulates eye and vision growth. Children at a young age needs to be exposed to a moderate amount of blue light in order to for their eyes to grow. The key work there was MODERATE. Too much blue light can also be bad but we’ll touch on that later. Some studies show that too little blue light can actually stunt growth and can cause near sightedness.

Cons

  • Blue light decreases sleep quality. While blue light keeps us up it decreases melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone created in the pineal gland that controls sleep cycles. Due to the shorter wave lengths from blue light, the body becomes more sensitive to it as a result, delta brainwaves which is induces sleep is also supressed.
  • Too much blue light can lead to eye strain. Human eyes are not very good at filtering out blue light due to the shorter wave length. Since the wave lengths are shorter, it scatters more than other colours making it harder to focus. At the same time it reduces contrast in other colours. As a result, our eyes need to work extra hard to filter out this out unnecessary colours thus leading to eye strains.
  • Finally, too much exposure of blue light may increase the likelihood of macular degeneration. Again due to the shorter wave length of blue light, it is easy for it to penetrate the retina (the inner lining at the back of the eye). This is where most of the light sensitive cells are located in the eye. Too much blue light can actually damage these cells. As these cells degenerate further, it can lead to permanent loss of vision.

 

Blue light is a natural source of light that can be found anywhere. This light is very important since it helps with waking us up, increasing brain function and growth. But due to technology and lifestyle we may be being overexposed. Too much of anything can be bad, with blue light it decreases sleep quality, lead to eye strains and may increase the likelihood of macular degeneration. There are a couple of ways to decrease the effects of blue light. One, spend less time in front of screen. Especially 30-60 minutes before you go to sleep so you can increase sleep quality. Second, wear glasses that filter out most of this light. This way your eyes will be less stressed. Remember blue light in moderation is good but too much of it can worsen your health.

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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

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How To Reduce/Avoid Jet Lag

When flying for long hours (even just 3 hours), we can start to experience certain symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, confusion or just feeling zombie-like.

What is it?

This is called jet lag. It’s what happens when the part of your brain called the hypothalamus (centre that controls sleep cycles, appetite and temperature) is conflicted with its “inner time” and your new “outer time”. Further symptoms may include insomnia, GI problems, joint and muscle pain and stiffness, and reduced fitness.

A New Zealand survey from 1994 of international flight attendants found that, despite being used to long air travel, 90% had fatigue over the first 5 days of arrival, 94% had lack of energy/motivation, 93% had broken sleep and 70% had ear, nose or throat issues.

Scientists have estimated that it takes 1 full day to recover for every hour of time difference. Which means that if you took a flight from New Zealand to Singapore, it would take about 4 days before you feel right.

The direction you travel can affect how intense the symptoms are since it’s easier for our bodies to delay our “inner time” than to speed it up. Travelling east is more difficult on the body compared to travelling west.

 

So how do you manage it?

 

  1. Plan it out

    -You should expect symptoms to take place after long-haul flights and so you should always plant accordingly. If you have a meeting on Thursday morning, consider arriving 1-2 days in advance instead of getting there Wednesday night and possibly having to struggle through it.

  2. Nutrition

    -There is a fasting protocol that can minimize jet lag symptoms. It’s called the Argonne fasting diet. However, it is a little intense, so below is a modified version that you can try if you’re interested.

    -On the day of travel, eat normal meals leading up to your flight, then fast immediately before and during your flight while hydrating by drinking plenty of water. Eat soon after landing as close to local meal time as possible. Time your fast 14-24 hours before your next planned meal in your new time zone. Then have your normal eating schedule based on local time.

  3.  Exercise

    -Most preferably outdoors since it affects your circadian rhythm and improves mood. Light is the most powerful signal for our internal biological clocks, so it can help reduce jet lag.

    -It’s helpful to train at the same time you’d train at home. So if you normally workout at 9 am at home and you travel to London, try your best to train at 9 am London time and do it outside. This helps your muscles and tissues adapt to the new time zone.

    -If you’re feeling exhausted then a high intensity cardio workout might not be in the cards… but a light bodyweight workout or some stretching is definitely helpful. Do what you can, at your usual time, and again, preferably OUTSIDE.

  4.  Supplements

    a)Melatonin is a hormone in your body that helps control its circadian rhythm, which plays a role in when we sleep and wake up. Melatonin is dependent on the amount of light you’re exposed to. When there’s light, melatonin release is stopped. When it’s dark, melatonin release is stimulated.
    -The time you take it is important. Do NOT take melatonin before leaving for a trip or it will make the jet lag worse. Wait until you land in the new time zone to supplement 1 hour before normal bedtime at your new location. Continue for 3 nights or until you’ve adjusted.

    b)Pycnogenol has been studied for its effect of reducing jet lag symptoms. It reduces cerebral and joint edema or swelling, which leads to less short-term memory problems, fatigue problems, and cardiac issues. It has also shown to decrease deep vein thrombosis and superficial vein thrombosis, which are both common side effects of long flights.
    -Take it for 3 times a day for up to 5 days (max 7 days) after landing.

Our human bodies haven’t fully adapted to travelling long distances by air… and they probably never will. So jet lag remains a part of life if you’re exposing yourself to this kind of travel. Fortunately, with proper planning and preparation, you can reduce its effects and even prevent it from happening!

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Jet Lag Exhaustion | julie corsi | Flickr

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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How NOT To Set Goals

We all have goals… Health goals. Financial goals. Personal Goals.

 

When you ask yourself “what exactly is my goal?” it seems easy to answer. Just name how much weight you want to lose, how much money you want to have or what kind of relationship you want to have with your spouse.

 

That’s how most people do it… But are they doing it right?

 

Not really… If it were that easy, we’d all be washing dollar bills over our chiselled abs while sunbathing on a picture-perfect date with our partner.

 

Proper goal setting requires a plan to get things done. It needs to be centred around ACTION as opposed to results. You can want and dream all you want, but until you DO something about it, it will just remain your want or dream.

 

Examples of “result-based goals”:

  • I want to lose 30 pounds
  • Deadlifting double my weight would be cool
  • I want more energy during the day to play with my kids

 

Now there’s nothing wrong with these types of goals. Wanting something is a starting point and it’s always helpful to start with the end in mind so that you know where you want to end up. But wanting is NOT enough.

 

Why?

 

Because, often times, we can’t control results. They’re affected by environmental factors (super busy at work, exam week, kids get sick) and physical factors (you travel a lot, you’re getting older, your injury or illness is holding you back).

 

You can’t control your body’s state, but you can control what you do with it.

 

That’s why “ACTION-based goal” are so crucial. They focus on what you do have control over.

 

Here’s an example: “I want to lose 30 pounds” (RESULTS), “I’m going to focus on eating slowly this week and note how I feel” (ACTION).

 

Now it’s not obvious how “slow eating” relates to losing the 30 pounds, but it helps you pay more attention to what you’re eating and over time will make it easier to make better food choices as well as feel more satisfied for longer. Once that becomes an established habit, you can move on to building other successful health habits like drinking more water, going for walks, working out 3 times a week, etc.

 

This way you also won’t be fixed on the result and attached to “failure”. If you struggle to start a habit, just make it easier for yourself – if you can’t eat slowly for every meal, schedule time during the day to eat one meal slowly having a nice chat with the family or friends.

 

See how that works? All you have to do is change the frame with which you look at your goals and all of a sudden what you have to do becomes clear and you’ll be on your way to establishing positive, sustainable habits for your success.

 

Happy goal-setting!

 

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Goal setting,goal,dart,target,success - free image from needpix.com

Consistency With Healthy Lifestyle Habits

If you’re like most people, at some point in life, you try to stick to habits and recommendations that you know would be good for you, but they just never happen. You tend to look down on yourself after and think of yourself as lazy. The truth is, if you’re not doing it, it probably just means that it’s not high enough on your priority list.

“Go to bed early? I’d rather scroll through Instagram for an hour and see what’s going on in the world”

“Go for a workout? I think I’ll postpone it and go home instead. I’m drained”

… Later on, you end up kicking yourself for it. And the cycle repeats itself.

“Why can’t I ever just stick to the $%@&!*# plan?” Well, for starters, probably because other plans don’t account for your life. They don’t offer sustainable, step-by-step that you can actually do in your real life… The kind of life actual human beings have.

So what can help you in your search for consistency? Support, care and accountability. There are 2 avenues you can take with this to ensure proper results.

 

I. Find accountability in a program that actually works.

 

The ideal program provides:

  • A focus on all the things that are right with you, and all the strengths and skills you already have
  • Results that lots of people have benefited from
  • Personalization to your lifestyle so that you can keep the consistency even when you’re busy
  • Solutions that you actually enjoy
  • Lasting results… for life.

But how do you know if a program will keep you accountable? Here are a few things to look for:

  • A plan that provides both structure and flexibility
  • Customizable based on your skill levels, goals and time available
  • Daily reminders to practice whichever lifestyle habit you’re working on
  • Measuring your progress at regular intervals

 

II. Find a person you can make yourself accountable to and really cares.

 

As people, finding social support, whether it be from your friend, your spouse, your dog, your chiropractor, whatever – is crucial.

Don’t try to do it all alone.

Independence is great, but for something worth doing, you need a team of like-minded people that you can count on. Find one or more people who can support you, guide you, help you and give you the occasional loving kick in the ass when you need it.

The important thing is to make yourself accountable to somebody and get the help you need. With so much going on in boxing ring life, it helps to have a solid team in your corner.

 

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File:Consistency (3962196642).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Bedtime Stretches Part 6: Rag doll stretch

BEDTIME STRETCHES: forward bend/rag doll (6/7)

A rag doll stretch will help to relax the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and hamstrings. I recommend it for everyone, but especially those who suffer from low back pain, since the stretch lengthens the hamstrings to relieve tension in the low back. It’s really important to keep a micro-bend in the knees to protect the hamstrings, and as always work within a pain-free range.

STEPS

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  • Place right hand on left elbow, left hand on right elbow.
  • Bend over from hips, letting arms and head hang down.
  • Hold this rag doll position for 8 to 10 breaths. Gently roll back up.

 

In addition to stretching the spine, ragdoll pose:

  • Relieves stress and calms the mind
  • Lengthens the spine
  • Helps to drain the sinuses
  • May ease lower back and neck pain
  • Improves digestion.

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Rag doll stretch

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[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VZPpRjJtKA[/embedyt]

 

my bedtime stretches | Pseph | Flickr

Pillar No. 4: Stress Less, Be Well

Introduction

“The best time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

I think we can all relate with this quote. You find yourself halfway through the week swamped with a long list of to-dos and no end in sight… Except for maybe a vacation here and there, but let’s be honest, most of us fill those vacations days with just as much stuff to do as when we’re not on vacation.

I’ll let you in on a little secret to “The Art of De-Stressing”: building daily recovery time. Now the key word here is “building” because you won’t be able to do it all at once to begin with… If you’ve always been on the go, it’ll actually be a bit of a challenge for you to stop for a bit. So start with a little bit of downtime and build from there until you find a way to fit all your other stuff around your daily rest time.

 

Tips to stress less

 

Why rest?

Now for the important question: why do we want to build in daily rest time? Well it has to do with our brain, because you see, our brain function can be broken down into two categories: sympathetic activity (“fight or flight” activity) and parasympathetic activity (“rest and digest” activity).

Most of us tend to be in too much of a sympathetic state, whether it be from our jobs, the kids, our relationships, the bills and any other stressor that takes us to that state. When our body’s are in this “fight or flight” state our adrenal glands produce high levels of circulating cortisol and adrenaline, which are good for short term bursts of energy when trying to get away from a threat like a lion chasing us. But when stress is chronically high it can interfere with certain body functions, such as our digestion, metabolism, immune function and reproduction. If this continues it can result in our hormones being thrown out of whack, reproductive dysfunction, muscle loss, fat gain and even chronic fatigue, which does not make for a happy you at all.

 

Now, what can we do to prevent this sympathetic overdrive from happening in the first place?

Keyword: balance. There’s no way you can reduce all the stressors in your life. In fact, you don’t really want to because a certain amount of stress is actually good for us. Instead, you want to focus on finding more activities that promote your parasympathetic state.

 

Luckily for you, there are all sorts of activities that can help with this:

  • Yoga and Pilates: certain types are known to be very parasympathetic.
  • Meditation: offers huge help with rest and recovery.
  • Spa: can help you achieve a deep parasympathetic state.
  • Jacuzzi/Sauna: much like the spa can help you deal with stress.

 

Even if those aren’t feasible options for you due to affordability or time, there are many activities that can be done at home:

  • Reading: find a quiet spot to read 30 minutes before bed.
  • Zoning out: drink warm tea and watching an episode of your favorite Netflix series is a great way to wind down.
  • Music: listening to relaxing music before bed.
  • Bath and Candles: light some candles while having an Epsom salt bath before bed.

Just remember that it doesn’t matter what activity you choose, as long as you achieve a nice parasympathetic state while doing it. Find the activities that can help you get 30 minutes of quiet, restful, worry-free parasympathetic activity every single day and it’ll do wonders for getting control of your stress.

 

Looking for a Chiropractor in Auckland?

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