Stress and Chiropractic

We live in such a fast paced society today that being stressed just seems normal. We are always busy and have so much input coming at us from everywhere. Stress isn’t inherently a bad thing. There are times where stress is important, such as if you have a deadline coming up for work, as stress increases our productivity levels. Stress is needed in situations where there is a threat or danger present, as it allows us to respond fast and appropriately.

Stress is also what allows us to feel excited when we do things such as ride a rollercoaster, or go on a first date. But while stress is important in some situations, long term, constant stress can be detrimental to both our physical and mental health. This is because our bodies are only designed for quick bursts, “acute”, not long term ‘chronic’ stress. While there are not always things we can do about what is causing our troubles, such as a stressful job, there are things we can do to manage our stress to make sure it doesn’t start taking a toll on our mind and body.

 

How can stress affect us?

 

Chronic stress has numerous effects on our mind and body. It can have negative effects on nearly every system in our body. Some of the effects it can have include1:

  • Problems with our mental health, such as irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and depression
  • Behavioural problems such as over or under eating, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal
  • Increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of having a stroke or hearth attack
  • Tensions headaches, tense muscles, and back pain
  • Issues with the digestive system such as acid reflux, diarrhoea, constipation, stomached, nausea, and vomiting
  • Extra blood sugar is released to help give the body extra energy, long term this can lead to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Weaken the immune system and slow down healing times

How can chiropractic help manage stress?

 

As chronic stress is such a common thing in today’s society, and quite regularly hard to avoid, people will be looking for ways to manage their stress and deal with any issues their stress may be causing. While it is impossible to completely remove stress from our lives, chiropractic care is a safe, healthy, and natural way to manage, and reduces its effects on the body, to help prevent long term damage:

 

Causes.

 

  • Sleep – good quality sleep is such an important factor in dealing with chronic stress, as it lets our brain slow down and our body relax and heal. Insomnia is also one of the issues that can come around because of chronic stress. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown both to help with insomnia, and with improving quality of sleep. The better sleep we can get the better we can prevent and deal with stress2.
  • Muscle tension – when we are stressed, our muscles start to tense up in response. This creates a negative cycle, as when our muscle stay tense they start causing pain, which can end up causing more stress. Chiropractic care returns the normal motion to the spinal joints, which allows all the muscles in these areas to relax. This can help reduce pain levels, and reduces overall stress3.
  • Blood pressure – studies have been done that show that blood pressure is reduced following chiropractic treatment. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels4. Decrease blood pressure and more relaxed musculature helps the body feel more calm and allows the brain to switch of the flight or flight response that is constantly on during chronic stress4, 5.

 

Causes cont.

 

  • Immune system – chronic stress weakens the immune system and slows down healing time. Because chiropractic removes interference from the nervous system it allows the brain and body to communicate better. When the brain is receiving more accurate information, it can send out the messages that can improve healing and boost immune system function6.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors – by reducing stress levels with chiropractic care, this removes some of the temptation of dealing with stress in unhealthy ways, such as overeating or turning to alcohol or drugs. Chiropractic is a natural way of dealing with it that is safe and has little side effects.

 

 

References:

 

  1. Pietrangelo, A., & Watson, S. (2017, June 5). The effects of stress on your body. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1
  2. Kingston, J., Raggio, C., Spencer, K., Stalaker, K., & Tuchin, P. J. (2010). A review of the literature on chiropractic and insomnia. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 9(3), 121-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2010.03.003
  3. Resources to Recover. (2019, March 12). Benefits of chiropractic care for anxiety and depression. Resources To Recover. https://www.rtor.org/2019/02/21/mental-health-and-chiropractic-care/
  4. Palmer College of Chiropractic. (2015, September 24). How can chiropractic care help alleviate stres? Palmer College of Chiropractic Blogs. https://blogs.palmer.edu/askpalmer/2015/09/24/how-to-alleviate-stress-with-chiropractic-exercises/
  5. Yates, R. G., Lamping, D. L., Abram, N. L., & Wright, C. (1988). Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 11(6), 484-488.
  6. Slosberg, M. (2011, May 6). Immune responses to spinal manipulation. The Chiropractic Resource Organisation. https://chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Immune_Responses_to_Spinal_Manipulation.shtml

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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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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.

 

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Kids Balance Exercises: Snow Angel

Kids Balance Exercises: Snow Angel

This activity will help your child to forge stronger sensory and movement connections to their limbs. Chiropractic care for your kids can greatly benefit their physical and mental development including improving their balance. Kids Chiropractic care is gentle, precise, and effective. Here’s a tip on how you can help your kids improve their balance with Snow Angel.

STEPS for Snow Angel:

1. Have your child lie on the ground face up with arms by their side and legs together.
2. Have them close your eyes.
3. As the parent you will tap an arm or a leg to indicate for your child to move it outwards then bring it back into their body.
4. You can tap an arm, or a leg, or both at the same time. And voila, snow angel.

 

LEVEL 2: Instead of tapping the limb you will tell them “left arm” or “right leg”.

 

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

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Kids Balance Exercises: Tap and Hop

Introduction

Chiropractic care for your kids can greatly benefit their physical and mental development including improving their balance. Kids Chiropractic care is gentle, precise, and effective. Here’s a tip on how you can help your kids improve their balance with tap and hop.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw4rezd3Gw0[/embedyt]

 

Kids Balance Exercises: Tap & Hop

This week’s activities focus on sharpening up your child’s body and brain connection. For this purpose, we will use the movement and stimulating the joints. Helping your child develop better balance and become more aware of their body position in space can improve their capacity to learn!

STEPS for Tap and Hop:

1. Firmly tap your knees three times.
2. Then tap your elbows three times.
3. Then tap your shoulders three times.
4. Crouch down and hop as high as you can.

GOAL: do this 5 times.

 

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Health Advice – How To Live Longer

It seems like every few years we have to unlearn some health advice that experts have come up with.

“Fats are bad… No, they’re good!”

“Carbs are the enemy! No wait, sugars! What’s the difference again?”

You’d think that after all these years of experimentation, documentation and research that they would have the answer by now. Well they have… But it’s no surprise fountain of youth or berry found in some remote location. In fact, the answer is no surprise at all. It’s really quite simple and attainable by the vast majority of people (even those that can’t afford organic bananas).

  1. Sleep well

Ever since we were young we’ve known that sleep is an important part of being healthy and energized throughout the day, but chances are that you’re overestimating the amount of sleep you get! Sleep affects pretty much everything, from your mental state to your digestion, so if you’re doing everything right but still not seeing results, take a closer look at your sleep habits!

  1. Eat better

Ever hear the saying “You are what you eat”? Well there’s some truth to that since the foods you eat literally make up your body. When you’re missing important nutrients, your body is more likely to get damaged or fall ill. Which is why it’s important to ensure that you’re in the habit of getting an adequate amount of carbohydrates (vegetables, rice, quinoa, fruits), protein (tofu, legumes and so on) and healthy fats (nuts and seeds). Bacon, sausages and deli meats are not a part of this list as they are not healthy in any amount and regarded as a Class A carcinogen (cancerous) which is the same level as smoking cigarettes.

  1. Move more

Exercise signals the body to use nutrients and balance blood sugars, build and repair bone and muscle tissue, and circulate blood, nutrients and oxygen throughout your entire body, including your brain! It’s one of the most incredible things you can do for your health. Its not optimal to sit around and watch Netflix all day (although there’s nothing wrong with the occasional binge), we were designed to move. So start moving! Whether it be a leisurely walk around the block or an intense Crossfit session, you’ve got to make it a lifestyle. If you’re looking for a community focused gym that you can get all your needs (cardio, strength, boxing, weights, body weight, running, rowing etc) that’s not full of posers then you should try https://www.priorityfitness.co.nz/.

  1. Stress less

Everyone has their own unique way of getting in the zone and escaping from the world for a little bit. Whether it be painting, meditation, having a coffee with friends or cuddling on the couch with your hubby, always make time for yourself to take it slow and really enjoy life as it comes. It’s easy to get caught in the riptide of the fast paced lifestyle and forget about the little things like personal time and health. So always schedule some YOU time and never forget one of the most powerful medicines of them all – laughter.

These 4 pillars have stuck as health advice clichés for as long as anyone can remember… but they remain so for a reason. Lifestyle habits have a powerful impact on quality of life. Granted, there are many things that we don’t have control over, but we DO have control over our habits. Going over how to make these habits stick will take a whole other article, but you can get started by ditching the mindset of being perfect and starting when you’re “ready”, and instead become PROACTIVE by starting now (no matter how small the step). We’ll visit each of these pillars in future blog posts to make sure you’re on the right track!

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Happy people live longer | When Bobby McFerrin sang his most… | Flickr

 

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.

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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.

 

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5-Minute Total Body Warm Up

Warm up Wisely

It can be really tempting to skip your warm up and get right into an intense strength training session to maximize the time in your day. Not only will this decrease your performance in the session, it will also increase the likelihood of injury, which is never fun.

Today we’re going to take you through a catch-all warm that will ensure that all your joints are ready for motion and your blood is pumping. Feel free to mix and match these with other warm up routines to tailor it to your specific training needs.

Be sure to move within a comfortable range of motion and don’t push yourself too far too quickly. Keep breathing throughout and make sure you’re keeping proper form with control and you’re not flailing your limbs out uncontrollably or your may injure yourself.

We’ve combined movements in some of these to maximize the variety of movement your get in shorter time. We’ve presented the movements to time, but feel free to do them to a specific amount of reps or whatever gets your muscles warm and your heart pumping.

Here it is:

Jumping Jacks (1 min)

  • Start by standing with feet together and arms at your sides.
  • Jump while spreading your legs to shoulder width apart and raising your arms over head.
  • Jump back to starting position and repeat.

Related image

Squat & Twist (30 secs)

  • Squat down and use your left arm to hold your left foot while keeping your elbow on the inside of your leg.
  • Twist your torso and other arm towards the ceiling.
  • Twist back to the starting position and squat up.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Image result for squat and twist

Side Lunge with Frontal Raise (30 secs)

  • Spread your legs a little wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Squat down with your left leg while raising both arms out in front of you.
  • Stand up to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Image result for side lunge with frontal raise

Forward Leg Swings (30 secs each side)

  • Hold on to something to the side and start with both feet under your hips
  • Swing the outside leg forward and backward while gradually increasing the range and height of your swing
  • Repeat on the other side

Related image

More exercises

Lateral Leg Swings (30 secs each side)

  • Hold on to something in front of you and start with both feet under your hips
  • Shift your weight to your right leg and swing your left across your body and out to the side (left)
  • Repeat on the other side

Image result for leg swing

Skipping Shoulder Circles (30 secs forward/30 secs backward)

  • Skip forward or in place and make circles with your arms going forward
  • Repeat with your arms going backwards

Related image

Walk Out with Shoulder Taps  (30 secs)

  • Start standing with feet shoulder width apart, touch your toes and walk your hands out to a plank position
  • Tap your right shoulder with your left hand while keeping your core braced and torso stationary
  • Walk your hands back to your feet, stand up and repeat

Image result for plank shoulder taps

***Give this routine a try and feel free to mix and match with movements to make it your own!

 

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When Did You Last Brush Your Teeth

When did you last brush your teeth? I would be surprised if it was more than 24 hours ago. And why did you brush them? Because they were sore or you had cavities? Probably not. You probably did it because you know it’s good to keep your teeth clean if you want to still have them in your mouth as the decades roll on. It is easier and less painful to maintain the health of your teeth than it is to let problems build up.

The same goes for your spine, but when did you last do something for it? You can start to take care of your spine in a few ways. The spine needs strength, mobility and a good postural position.

Strength

Performing movements like the superman exercise and planks are simple and can be done at home without equipment. When done right and within a well-planned training program barbell squats and deadlifts are possibly the most effective spinal, and full-body, strengthening movements you can do but obviously require more equipment or a gym membership and personal trainer.

Mobility

The cat/camel exercise is a great spinal mobility exercise you should do daily at home.

Posture

Imagine you have a string attached to the top of your head like a marionette puppet and it’s pulling you upward. Reach your head as high as you can and elongate your spine while keeping the shoulder blades tucked down and back.

Chiropractic adjustments can assist you in all 3 areas by promoting a more mobile and stronger spine. Many of our clients report a feeling of ease in posture, like a weight has lifted off their spine. Areas of the spine that don’t move well due to years of poor posture or various injuries are prone to develop weakness. The less a joint moves, the weaker and lazier the muscles become. Chiropractic focuses on improving the motion of the bones in the spine so that the muscles and ligaments can strengthen and the nerve system can function optimally.

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African kid brushing teeth | Free SVG