Cool Down: Why or Why Not

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the importance of warming up and how it was crucial before we jump into our workout. So today we are going to skip the workout and head straight into the cool down and why it’s important to do a cool down after. Some of you may think cool downs are a waste of time and it is extremely boring. I was on that boat myself not too long ago until I decided to give it a go and see what the difference was. So let’s go through a couple of important reasons why you should always cool down after a big workout.

 

  1. It can lead to a reduction of lactic acid build up. After a big workout, our muscles secrete a large amount of lactic acid. It is this lactic acid that causes our muscles to be sore. So to prevent muscle soreness it is best to reduce the amount of lactic acid continually building up. Research has shown that doing a warm down such as a slow paced walk or a gentle stretch is the most effective way or reducing lactic acid. So if you don’t like sore muscles the next day, do a warm down!
  2. A warm down prevents venous pooling of the blood in our extremities. This pooling of blood in the extremities may lead to dizziness and fainting. This is because when we are exercising our sympathetic nervous system comes into play. When we are in this state, our blood pressure and heart beat rises. When we stop moving, our body switches over to the parasympathetic state. In this state our blood pressure drops. Because of the sudden drop of blood pressure, the blood will have gathered into your extremity and not enough blood would’ve been pumped into your brain. Due to the lack of oxygen in the brain, it can cause dizziness and fainting.
  3. It’s a great time for reflection. After every sports game or workout, it is a good time to reflect on how well you did and what you can improve on. Of course, you always deserve a pat on the back as well after working out. Cooling down is a great way to calm your mind while still being engaged at your previous task.

 

Cooling down is just as important as warming up. It allows us to decrease the likelihood of muscle soreness, prevents dizziness and fainting and allows us a good time to reflect. There are also many great reasons why cooling down is a must after every workout! So remember to spend 5 minutes to either go for a small walk, a stretch or something with low impact after your next work out!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Fit For Life

Static vs Dynamic Stretching

There two different forms of stretching; Static Stretching vs Dynamic Stretching. Both of them have their benefits but which one is for you? Check out the advice from Dr Samineh Baktash at Revolution Chiropractic in Auckland.

Static vs Dynamic Stretching – What’s the difference?

 

Dynamic stretches involve motion. These are active movements where joints and muscles go through a full range of motion. Whilst static stretching involve no motion. This is when a joint is at the end of it’s range of motion, and held there for a certain period. Both forms of stretching are beneficial to you and depend on the goals or needs of the body.

Benefits of dynamic stretching:

  • Performance temperature – Dynamic stretching work the muscles up to their functioning temperature gradually. Muscles in the body require a certain temperature in the body to function at optimal state. To illustrate, take a like a glass, if it’s suddenly filled with boiling water the glass will crack and shatter, however if it’s warmed up gradually, it does not break. This example correlates well with the human body. If the muscles are suddenly worked without warming up, they are more likely to suffer from injuries. It is important to raise the muscles to working temperature through dynamic stretching.
  • Sports Preparation – Dynamic stretching prepares the muscles and joints by going through movements that will be required. This equates to the body being engaged and ready for sports-specific response. Research has shown that combining dynamic stretching and plyometric training during warm-ups increases performance. This was noticeably seen in the vertical jump height in basketball players.
  • Improves flexibility – Varying flexibility is needed for specific sports. This is very important for athletes as the range of motion around the joint will increase gradually over time. For example, sprinters will increase the length of each stride gradually, which will allow them to travel for a greater distance for every cycle of their legs. This is important for development in becoming a more successful athlete.

Benefits of Static Stretching

  • Reducing stiffness – This is great for the body, especially which can be very tight after being idle for long periods, an intense workout, or sports game. During any intense sports or workout sessions, micro-tears are formed in the muscle. When recovering from these micro tears, the body lays down new muscle fibre which will result in growth. However, not all the new muscles are healthy new muscles, some are of the new tissue laid down is scar tissue. It is this scar tissue that causes muscle stiffness. Static stretching can mobilise the restriction caused by scar tissue and lengthen tight muscles. This is critical to improving the range of motion and performance.
  • Increasing blood circulation –  Blood flow is important for healing, the higher the blood circulation, the faster the body heals as the muscles can receive more oxygen and nutrients. It also helps the body recover faster by removing waste products in the muscles. These waste products are often inflammatory residue left in the body after an intense workout.
  • Mindfulness – Static stretching is excellent for calming the mind. This can lead to less stress in both mind and body. This is because when you are stretching, your nervous system triggers the release of a hormone known as ‘endorphin’ and slows down the production of stress-inducing hormones. Endorphins help relieve the body from stress and pain.

static vs dynamic stretchingConclusion

So there you have it! Static Stretching vs Dynamic Stretching. Which type of stretching is more suitable for you? Dynamic or static stretching? In summary, dynamic
stretching helps increase body temperature gradually, prepares the body for specific movements
and improves flexibility. Static stretching has many advantages for the body too; reducing stiffness, improving blood circulation and calming the mind, to name just a few. As a professional NZ Chiropractor and health care advocate, I would say a combination of both is important if you are constantly working out, or a high-performance athlete. However, if your excercise is light, static stretching would be enough. I hope this brings clarity as to which type of stretch you should do. Both are amazing and both should be included in your routine.

When to see a chiropractor?

It is often worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your Chiroprator before beginning any stretching routine, especially if you have strained muscles or existing injuries.  A good Chiropractor is uniquely qualified to assess which form of stretching should be used and when. It is our job to both prevent injury to the muscles as well improve range of motion.  When combined with a regular routine of care, stretching can be one of the body’s best defenses to maintaining proper function.

If you are searching to optimise your bodies health and functionality, consider chiropractic care to get and keep you in the best possible shape.

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland

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

You can also book online here

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Ready to workout? Think again…

 

Warming up before a workout is even more important than you think!

 

How many times have we just jumped into exercising without warming up properly? How many times have we got injured? Well, the two things mentioned above, warming up and getting hurt, go hand in hand. Warming up is extremely important due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, it can help loosen up our joints, muscles, and ligaments. Secondly, it can raise the body temperature and increase blood flow to muscles. Finally, it can help improve our performance in whatever form of exercise.

Warming up is extremely important for the body to prevent injury. Having a good warm-up can help loosen the joints, muscles, and ligaments in our body and stimulate our nervous system. Before we start exercising, our body is stiff, and we cannot move as smoothly as we would like. This puts us in a state which is more fragile. As we warm up, our joints, muscles and ligaments begin to have more laxity gradually. This is because warming up can stimulate the body to create more synovial fluids around the joint, which means we will not be suddenly overstressing any part of the body.

Additionally, it will also increase the speed that nerve impulses travel, leading to improved balance, motor control, coordination, and proprioception. All those components are crucial for doing any sports as it helps with performance and avoiding injuries. As a result, warming up can decrease the likelihood of overstressing your body and minimize any falls or accidents.

 

Functions of Temperature 

 

Warming up our bodies before we exercise can also raise the core body temperature and increase blood flow to muscles. When the body transitions from everyday life to high-intensity physical workout, a host of biological changes happens to our body. That’s why it’s good to ease into it. During our warm-up, breathing and heart rate gradually rise, leading to an increase of energy increase. Due to the increase in energy exertion, the body gradually warms up. Additionally, with heart rate rising, the muscles will be supplied with more oxygen. This results in a higher metabolism as the body will need more energy to function at its capacity. Having a warmer body temperature for our muscles can lead to increase elasticity in the muscles again, this can result in decreasing the chances of any injuries

.

Effects on workout

 

Finally, warming up can increase our performance. This is due to two reasons; the alterations in the body and the change in mentality. As mentioned in the paragraph above, a good warm-up can increase our metabolism, helping reach one’s performance potential. A thorough warm-up can change our mindset and mentally prepare for the upcoming task. With most sports and workout, it requires high levels of alertness and concentration. This adjustment in mindset can enhance the concentration on technique. With better technique again, it can lead to a decrease in injury. Andrea Pirlo, a famous footballer once said, “We play football with the head. Your feet are just tools.” This quote cannot more relatable with any sports or workout. The first change that occurs should be in your mind before you start performing. This is where an excellent warm-up comes into play.

Warming up is often overlooked by many amateurs or people who have just started to exercise. It can be argued it may be one of the most important aspects of the workout. Warming up properly can help loosen the muscles, ligament, and joints in the body, and it can help raise our core body temperature. Both of these can diminish the chances of injury. Most importantly, though, it can help mentally prepare us for the workout, exercise, and game that’s coming up. So before jumping straight into it next time, arrive 15 minutes earlier to prepare and get a good quality warm-up.

 

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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Pull Your Head In: Posture Exercises

Today we’re going to give you some exercises you can do in your gym routine for good posture.

Commands like “stand up straight!” and “don’t slouch” were commonplace for our grandparents. When training to be a seamstress my great grandmother would have to sit as straight as a ruler or else be whipped by it. Such a method may not be approved today, which is probably a good thing however the importance of posture is as important now as ever.

Hyperkyphosis, the technical word for what we might call forward head posture, rounded shoulders or “hunchback”, has actually been shown to be linked with shortened life expectancy in elderly (Kado et al, 2004). If you are not currently elderly and you are reading this then chances are that one day you will be, and guess what, the habits you build around posture now will get harder to break as you get older. This is a good thing thought because if you instil good habits then those too will be harder to break as you age!

Being aware of your posture at work, home, when driving, sitting at the table for dinner and on the couch is important. But so is building the strength and muscles required to hold you in good posture.

Pretty much every activity we do in a day, except doing up your bra for you ladies, is done with our arms in front of us. This means our brains are very connected to the muscles on the front of our upper body, the pecs, biceps and muscles at the front of the shoulder. The muscles on our upper back like the posterior deltoids, rhomboids, lats and traps are often over stretched and under developed, almost forgotten by the brain. The issue is that these back muscles are vital to hold you in good posture.

So what must we do about it?

Don’t make the mistake of working the mirror muscles (biceps and pecs) more than the upper back. Aim to do twice the amount of reps for your upper back compared to the front of your body in a given training week. This means putting more pulling movements versus pushing movements in your routine such as:

  • Pull ups/chin ups
  • Cable rows
  • Cable/lat pull downs
  • Dumbbell rows
  • Barbell rows
  • Face pulls
  • Band pull aparts
  • Reverse flies

You can do these exercises during warm ups for the main lift of the day. You can also do them as extra work after your main lift. If I am going to superset a pulling exercise with a main lift like a bench press or overhead press I will do an easier/lighter variation like lat pull downs or face pulls so as not to use up too much effort that would cause too much fatigue. More intensive pulling exercises like pull ups, barbell and dumbbell rows can be done on their own.  However you choose to put them into your routine make sure you are doing them correctly! The focus should be on initiating the movement with your back by pull the shoulder blades together and don’t let your arms and biceps do most of the work.

Here’s to building a strong healthy posture.

Kado, D. M., Huang, M. H., Karlamangla, A. S., Barrett‐Connor, E., & Greendale, G. A. (2004). Hyperkyphotic posture predicts mortality in older community‐dwelling men and women: a prospective study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society52(10), 1662-1667.

Chiropractor Auckland

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Netflixing Without Back Pain – Stretch

You know it happens. You go on to Netflix and promise yourself that you’ll only watch one episode and get off your butt… One episode turns into two… two turns into three… and before you know it you’re binging. 

Or maybe you’ve got a date arranged around an intense TV marathon that’s going to be epic. 

Before you decide to set out on a TV show marathon whether it be alone or with your partner, consider taking the right steps to take care of your spine and avoid any pain or injury that may come your way. 

Steps to Stretch:

  1. Plank beforehand:
    Before committing to your hours of absorbed fun, plank. The plank position helps engage your core muscles and take on the stresses of sitting for long hours. Nothing fancy here, go as long as you can and challenge yourself a bit! 
  2. Sit properly:
    Slouching can add additional stress on your back. Reset your posture periodically by backing your butt right back to where the backrest meets the cushion.
  3. Do NOT kick your feet up:
    Kicking your feet just adds more stress to your lower back and encourages slouching. It’s okay to do temporarily but not for an entire episode.
  4. Stretch it out:
    Try out a stretch break every hour. Here are the steps to what’s called the “figure four stretch”.
                 i) Slide to the edge of your seat
    ii)
    Cross one leg over the other into a figure 4
                 iii) Sit up tall and feel the stretch in your glutes
    iv)
    Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side
  5. Break? Get up and move:
    Whether you’re going for a bathroom break, refilling your wine or getting some more snacks, every step counts. Periodically, getting up and walking or stretching is an excellent solution to avoiding any back pain and should always be encouraged. 

 Try these out and impress your date with these helpful tips to take care of your bodies. 

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Should I Warm Up Before & Cool Down After Exercising?

Throughout any intense exercise session, the body is handling stress and has a risk of injury. This can be minimised by warming up and cooling down before and after your workout.

Before getting into your sport or strength training session, you want to get a warm up. This is going to prepare your body for exercise and increase your heart rate and breathing. Ideally, your warm up routine will consist of two-parts: a general warm up and specific warm up.

The general warm up

consists of jogging, biking, rowing or any other cardio exercise followed by dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is not your typical “touch your toes” stretching. It consists of movements that take your joints through their ranges of motion to warm up and stretch the muscles. For example, you can perform leg swings, shoulder circles and bodyweight lunges. The bodyweight lunges serve as a nice stretch for your hip flexors while also adding a little resistance exercise for your quads and glutes to warm them up.

The specific warm up

consists of specific exercises that closely resemble movements that you’ll be performing in your actual sport or training. For example, jumping exercises before getting onto the basketball court or some lightly weighted squats before your leg session in the gym.

The warm up is essential for your performance as it increases blood flow and oxygen to muscles, increases neural impulses to wake up your muscles and, most importantly, decreases the stiffness of connective tissues (ligaments and tendons) to avoid any muscle tears. Studies have shown that a structured warm-up can reduce your chance of injury by more than 50% and that’s on top of helping you perform better!

The cool down

is also important as it helps flush out any lactate (waste), prevent dizziness from blood pooling. It also decreases muscle soreness after your session. It consists of gradually decreasing your heart rate and stretching out your muscles. This also has two parts: general cool down and static stretching/foam rolling.

The general cool down

is similar to the general warm up since you can use jogging, biking or any activity at a progressively decreased intensity. Your aim should not be to sweat and go fast at this point, you just want to go through the motions and let your body slow down to a relaxing stop.

Following your general cool down you can get into some static stretching, which is the basic stretching where you hold stretches for around 15-30 seconds. You can also choose to use foam rollers or massage balls after your exercise to restore length in the connective tissues. The stretching and foam rolling helps reduce muscle soreness, increase muscle flexibility and stimulate circulation to flush out the lactate.

Be sure to hydrate well and eat a healthy meal after your workout to keep your body fuelled and recovering well!

Stay tuned next week for when we’ll take you through our ideal general warm-up and cool-down routine to cover all your bases!

Chiropractor Auckland

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File:Man Doing Warm Up Exercise Cartoon.svg - Wikimedia Commons

 

Cervicogenic Headaches, How To Fix Them

What is it?

 

Cervicogenic headaches are headaches that originate from the upper neck (upper cervical spine). The pain is felt at the head, however, the dysfunction and cause of the pain is in the neck. Typically, these headaches come from dysfunction of the upper three vertebrae of your spine, which is referred to as the upper cervical spine.

Specific movements and positions can cause irritation or compression of the structures and nerves, which leads to cervicogenic headaches. This is due to the nerves of the upper cervical spine merging with the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for sensation of the head and face.

 

Cervicogenic, how does it happen?

 

These types of headaches can be caused by a variety of activities that put too much stress in the upper neck. The cause can be traumatic, such as whiplash (see previous blog post) from a car accident, or more commonly a gradual build-up of stress with poor posture over time(from being in front of your computer or while studying).

 

What are the signs and symptoms?

 

  • Headache that feels like a constant dull ache on one or both sides of the head and face
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Pain comes on during or after specific head movement

 

How long does it last for?

 

Typically, with appropriate treatment from a health care professional, ushc as a physiotherapist or  structural chiropractor, cervicogenic headache cases will resolve within 1-2 weeks. However, more complex cases may take weeks to months for complete resolution of symptoms.

The outcome and resolution depends on the severity of the dysfunction, your ability to get appropriate treatment and modify/avoid activities that aggravate it.

 

How do you treat it?

 

Seeing as posture is the most significant contributing factor to cervicogenic headaches, you should aim to improve posture with exercise and treatment. An individualized exercise and treatment plan will be most effective when treating cervicogenic headaches. A qualified structural chiropractor can assess your specific posture and condition to develop a personalized treatment and exercise plan best suited for you.

In our office, the structural chiropractors take an individualized approach utilizing a variety of techniques, including one that focuses on the specific problem area in the upper cervical spine.

Here are 3 exercises that may help with cervicogenic headaches. DO NOT perform these if they produce pain or unusual sensations (consult with a health care professional).

 

Chin tucks

 

  • Keeping a neutral spine and using your index finger as a guide on your chin, tuck your chin towards your chest (like you’re trying to make a double chin)
  • Hold for 5 minutes
  • Repeat this 10 times, 3 times a day

 

Scapular retraction

 

  • With your hands at your sides and your palms facing forward, bring your shoulder blades down and pinch them together
  • Hold for 10 seconds
  • Repeat this 5 times, 3 times a day

 

Neck flexor strengthening

 

  • Lie face up on the edge of your bed with your head hanging off the edge
  • Flex your head forward until it’s in neutral position and hold for 5 seconds
  • Return to starting position
  • Repeat this 8 times, 3 times a day

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Clinical Support Tool For Management Of Headache Following Concussion/mTBI

How To Flight Proof Your Body

Going on a long flight? Bus ride? Car ride? You may have experienced the unpleasant experience of being crammed in a seat for hours. You get agitated, your muscles begin to ache, and there’s nowhere to hide from the pain.

We came up with these tips to reduce the physical stress on your body that comes with travel. This applies to all situations where you find yourself stuck sitting in one place for hours.

  1. Pump your ankles.

    • Sitting for long periods means that the muscles that are used to pump blood and fluid up your legs aren’t active. This leads to swelling and blood pooling over time. While the swelling isn’t dangerous, blood clots can form a deep vein thrombosis, which can be a dangerous and life threatening condition. So be sure to keep your ankles moving!
    • Fully extend your legs out in front of you (if you have the leg room, if not, extend out as much as you can) and move your ankles side to side as well as up and down. This can help with ankle stiffness, swelling and pain.
  2. Keep hydrated.

    • Especially if you’re in an airplane, the cabins have very low humidity and can lead to accelerated dehydration.
    • Drink plenty of water the day before your flight as well as during your flight.
    • Avoid drinks that tend to dehydrate, such as caffeinated and alcoholic drinks, before and during your flight.
  3. Move as much as you can!

    • It’s a bad idea to be sitting for long periods of time in any context. On top of that, you’ll end up in uncomfortable sleeping positions if you decide to doze off.
    • This can lead to pain and dysfunction in your hips, back, shoulder and neck, so it’s a good idea to address this by getting up and walking around every 30 minutes if you can.
  4. Stuck sitting? Try some Pandiculation.

  • Pandiculation is basically stationary stretching. You’ve already done it naturally upon waking up when yawning and stretching your body.
  • It can be done to every part of your body.
    • Reach your hands upward to the sky.
    • Extend and stretch your legs.
    • Move your neck in every motion. Look side to side, up and down. Bring your ears towards your shoulders side to side.
    • Expand your chest while bringing your shoulders back.
    • Move your body in all directions where you feel restrictions.
  • Do these movements slowly and feel where your tension lies and focus on stretching out those areas. Just be careful not to bump your neighbour.

Movement is medicine, so just remember to do what you can with what you’re given. Happy and healthy travels!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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The Daily Happy Feet Routine

Your feet are the 2 things that take you everywhere throughout your day. Imagine if they were in pain all the time and you couldn’t use them… Ask anyone who’s had plantar fasciitis or any other foot injury – it’s no walk in the park (pun intended).

Whether you’re an avid runner, working on your feet all day or even if you just enjoy the occasional stroll in the park, tension can build up in your feet that may lead to pain, discomfort or even injury. This is especially apparent in people today since more and more people are being put into shoes at a young age and the musculature in the foot begins to waste away since they’re not being used. This leaves the foot susceptible to injury

Getting in the habit of mobilizing your feet for less than 10 minutes a day can help prevent the pinch points in your feet from developing into problems. All you need is a ball and some space to stretch. The ball should ideally be hard like a lacrosse ball or yoga ball, but a tennis ball will do the trick too.

Ready? 3 simple steps.

  1. Start in a kneeling position and stretch the tops and bottoms of your feet.
    Focus on your breathing and go deeper in the stretch on your exhale.
    Do about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each stretch.
  2. Lift your big toe while keeping your little toes on the ground.
    Then reverse and lift all your little toes while keeping your big toe on the ground.
    If you have trouble doing this then you know you’ve got some tight feet. Try mobilizing your toes by separating them with your fingers but putting your fingers in between your toes. Spend about 30 seconds to a minute on each foot.  Watch this video.
  3. Take your ball and start rolling it under the bottom of your foot.
    Start with the ball at your heel and work your way through the arch to the toes.
    Spend extra time on the spots that feel more tense and alternate the pressure and speed. Spend about 1-2 minutes on each foot. Watch this video.

By doing this simple routine every day or as often as you can, you can help prevent overuse injuries in your feet to make them mobile and happy.

Chiropractor Auckland

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