It is Thanksgiving weekend coming up. This is a time we often talk about gratitude, and it is a good time to do so! The government gives us a day off work, and we have an opportunity to enjoy the spectacular autumn weather. Why am I talking about this as a chiropractor? Look at the posture of the grateful person in this picture! What a wonderful treatment for text neck! Even if we don't get fantastic fall weather on the weekend (I think there may be some rain in the forecast), we will enjoy the long weekend if we have a gratitude focus. For Jane and I, our kids are coming home from University, and we will be together with extended family. All good things! As I have said in previous articles, gratitude and health are closely connected.
Studies show a great benefit to one's health by having a gratitude focus. A 2003 study by Emmons and McCullough found that participants keeping a gratitude journal had 16% less physical symptoms, 19% spent more time exercising, 8% enjoyed more sleep and 25% experienced increased sleep quality. Seligman (et al) found in 2005 that expressing gratitude reduced depressive symptoms by 35%.
A study was done in 2016 by Pratnik Kini (et al). A group of subjects were to write regular letters of gratitude compared to a control group that did not. The "study found that a simple gratitude writing intervention was associated with significantly greater and lasting neural sensitivity to gratitude – subjects who participated in gratitude letter writing showed both behavioral increases in gratitude and significantly greater neural modulation by gratitude in the medial prefrontal cortex three months later." This was visible during functional MRI scans! As an aging population, we are all looking for more neural plasticity these days!
The study mentions "behavioural increases in gratitude." I have noticed that when gratitude is connected to service, the benefits of gratitude are magnified. When we are outward focused instead of self focused, we will be healthier. According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, "Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health." A study by Brown (et al) in 2005 showed that those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not. Volunteer activities can strengthen the social ties that protect individuals from isolation during difficult times, while the experience of helping others leads to a sense of greater self-worth and trust. A study in 2002 showed individuals suffering from chronic pain experienced declines in their pain intensity and decreased levels of disability and depression when they began to serve as peer volunteers for others also suffering from chronic pain. (Arnstein et al., 2002).
When we have a gratitude focus, we see a health benefit. When that gratitude focus leads us to serve others, I believe that benefit increases. When we volunteer, we can give our time, our energy and our money. When this is done from a place of gratitude, we enjoy the experience more and our health reflects this.
There are a multitude of areas in which we can serve. It is helpful to choose an area that we personally enjoy and have something to offer. I like kids and have some experience with them. I volunteer my time teaching 40 preteens in a class on Sundays at church- organizing monthly activities for them and taking them to a summer camp in Maine. My own kids haven't been preteens for 10 years, but I still work with this age group. They keep me on my toes, and that keeps me young!
Jane and I joined the RIDE for Refuge this past weekend- getting exercise and raising funds and awareness for HOPE Worldwide of Canada, an organization that offers programs for the homeless and disadvantaged in the city.
I share these two examples of volunteerism, not to "blow my own horn", but to illustrate that gratitude can lead to action. I am grateful for the mentors I had in my life growing up, and my gratitude leads me to want to provide that for others. I am grateful for the home I have and the freedoms I enjoy, and this leads me to want to support others who do not have as many opportunities.
This weekend, as we celebrate thanksgiving, I encourage you to take some time to exercise your "gratitude muscles". Make a list of the things for which you are grateful. Share your gratitude list with others. If you want to see even greater gains from practicing gratitude, plan some ways you can volunteer or serve in response to that gratitude. Help at a soup kitchen or the Food Bank. Rake the leaves for an elderly neighbor. (I was going to make a joke that I'd better not see you raking my leaves in response to this article, I'm only 55 years old! On the other hand, far be it from me to stop you from getting some exercise and fresh air- just make sure you stretch first!) When someone makes you a wonderful meal, you can tell them "thank you". But when you do the dishes for them, or even just take time to write a card, you are really expressing your gratitude with action. We have been given a lot in our society, but we can "pay it forward" and give to others as we've been given to.
I watched a movie this summer where the main character shares the 6 rules of wisdom that he learned from his father. The fifth rule was to "lean into it". He tells his nephew that the outcome doesn't matter, what matters is that you are there for it, whatever it is- good or bad. I liked that. I used it this summer at Preteen Camp, as we experienced one day of rain and we were running the programs as usual. Jane and I were stationed on Kayaks, standing in the water and loading kids into boats. Some of the kids were worrying about getting wet, and I shared this pearl of wisdom with them, encouraging them to embrace getting wet- they were going to get wet anyway and this was a good day to do it! The lake felt warmer than it had all week and the kids had a blast with swimming, water guns and kayaking.
Sometimes we need to be encouraged to "lean into it", when a trial or challenge comes our way. We are in September now and a lot of people are bemoaning the end of summer and the approaching autumn. We can spend our energy in anguish for the lost summer days, or we can embrace the coming fall- planning activities that take advantage of the cooler weather and enjoy the changing leaves.
As I started to write this, I looked up the phrase, and it turns out that "lean into it" refers specifically to riding a motorcycle. I have never ridden one myself, but apparently when approaching a curve, the rider must lean into the curve to maintain their course without tipping over. The full expression is when life throws you a curve, lean into it. The urban dictionary now describes "Lean Into It" as an expression to indicate doing something to an extreme- to do it "big".
When we focus on the negative and don't embrace the challenge, we can miss out. This summer I finally got to create our lavender garden along our retaining wall. I scheduled for a load of gravel and top soil to be dumped on our side street on Tuesday morning at 9 am. I borrowed a wheel barrow from a kind neighbour, and was ready to work. To my surprise, at 7 am that same day, the city finally chose to tear up the entire sidewalk in front of our house. This was the sidewalk along which my wheelbarrow was to bring my new dirt and gravel! I had been waiting for 3 years for that sidewalk to be replaced, but couldn't believe it would be the exact day I was creating my garden. I was tempted to focus on the challenge this created for me but remembered my phrase "lean into it". My legs got a little more exercise pushing the wheel barrow over the grass and bump to our driveway and my arms got an extra work out shoveling it up and over the retaining wall. Not only that, but when I was finished, the city worker allowed me to put my extra gravel and dirt in the hole left by the unfinished sidewalk. I have no idea how I would have cleaned up and gotten rid of my extra without that construction close by. Had I "gone negative" and focused on the inconvenience I would not have noticed or appreciated the benefits.
Focusing on the negative aspects of a challenge can take a terrible toll on our health and wellness. When we "lean into it", whether it is a work project, health crisis or family stress, we can experience the challenge fully and be resourceful as we go through the trial. We can minimize the impact that the stress takes on our own body if we are present and positive. Doing SRI on our own can help us to recognize where we are storing tension and release stress held in our body. Regular Network Care allows our nervous system to be resilient and to manage and dissipate stress and trauma- be it physical, mental or emotional.
Curves will come along the road of our lives. Let's prepare ourselves- optimize our resources with SRI and Network Care, meet the curve with a positive attitude and lean into it!
The first day of spring has arrived, and the weather alternates between cold blusters of winter remnants and the tantalizing teasings of spring- with the hopefulness of warmth and new life to come. It's time for SPRING CLEANING! This is when we go through the closets to get rid of junk, and wash the winter grime off the windows to let in sunlight and fresh air. Soon it will be time to get outside and rake the thatch from the lawn, clean the dead leaves from the garden and prepare the yard for a season of growth. Just as we need to get rid of the debris from our gardens to make them thrive, the same is true for our bodies. Spring is a great time to do it!
Why cleanse? Our bodies are bombarded by toxins. They are in our food, the air we breathe, everywhere in our environment! Toxins take a terrible toll on our health. The liver is a major organ that is responsible for getting rid of the toxins from the body. Unfortunately it cannot properly do its' job for a number of reasons:
1. Stress: When an individual is under stress, their body automatically diverts resources from normal digestion to focus on dealing with the stress. This is called "Fight or Flight". It can happen with a physical stress - like being chased by a wild animal, but it can also happen with a mental stress- like a deadline at work. The body cannot tell the difference between the two types of stressors! When stress physiology takes over, a number of normal bodily functions don't proceed as they should. One of these is the digestion of food and the normal elimination of toxins from the body.
2. Toxins: The liver also will not perform well if it is inundated by too many toxins. Have you looked at a list of chemicals in the ingredient labels of the foods we consume? In order to maximize shelf life and keep foods from spoiling in our urban environment, producers add large quantities of preservatives. Also, in order to get an abundant and healthy looking crop, farmers use vast amounts of chemicals to protect from bugs and fertilize the depleted soil. These pesticides end up in food we eat, and they are toxic to us!!!
3. Weak Nutrition: Finally, the liver will not function well if it is not receiving sufficient nutrition from the diet to have the necessary enzymes needed in processing the toxins. The soil with which we now farm is nutritionally deficient. Farmers specialize in crops and do not "rotate crops" or risk losing income by leaving fields fallow to replenish the soil's micro nutrients. Specific fertilizers are used to supplement the soil and force optimal growing for the specific crop farmed, but these fertilizers do not provide the person consuming that produce with the same spectrum of nutrients that humans require. A carrot grown today is not the same carrot that grew 100 years ago!
Do you want your toxins stored or eliminated?
If we cannot properly eliminate toxins from the body, guess where we store them? In FAT!!! We innately protect ourselves from the effects of toxins on our body by storing them, wrapping them in fat to reduce the negative impact on our body. This is a safety feature built in to our body. This visceral fat is stored around the organs, so it may not be too obvious, or it may be very obvious- that paunch that you've been working so hard to reduce!
The amazing thing is that all the sit-ups in the world will not reduce that belly fat! Our body is protecting the toxins that are stored there. Without proper nutritional support, our body does not want to release those toxins back into the blood stream. It is important that we allow the body an opportunity to cleanse or detoxify, while still providing the appropriate nutrition for the liver to function optimally during this process.
Specific cleansing with intermittent fasting will do even more than help us eliminate stored toxins from our bodies! It will improve our insulin sensitivity. Glucose will be absorbed more easily by the cells to be used as energy, allowing an individual better control of their blood sugar levels and reducing those sluggish/sleepy periods in the afternoon.
Join us for a workshop on April 19 as we discuss SPRING CLEANSING. Learn about how easy it can be to do your own cellular cleansing, what to expect from your body, and how to make it work for you. This is not a bowel cleanse I'm talking about- where you develop your own special relationship with your toilet! ;) We will talk about things you can do at home to minimize your toxin exposure- when is it worth the extra money to buy organic and when can you save and not buy organic? It's spring time- learn how easy it is to detox, you've got nothing to lose- except maybe some belly fat!
...yet here I am, recommending this product!
I have been a chiropractor for 28 years. In this time, I cannot tell you how many companies have approached me and tried to get me to sell their product. Let's just say, a lot! Vitamins, supplements, the list is endless. Other then selling a few pillows to facilitate some patients getting proper back support, I have had ZERO interest in aligning myself with a product.
Eight years ago, a colleague of mine retired from Chiropractic in order to market and sell a Nutritional System, because he was so excited about the product. I was happy for him, but did not try the product at all. I was just not interested.
Then Facebook came along, and a different colleague posted a "before and after" picture of himself, and I found myself intrigued. I have always been on the thin side. Over the years, I have tried numerous different exercise programs to put on mass, without seeing any significant or lasting change. Once I passed 50, I found that I was able to gain some weight, but it was all conveniently located around my belly! Not the look I was going for! In January 2016, when I saw the changes in my friend, I immediately set up lunch to ask him how he did it. He told me about a program called Isagenix- the same one I heard about 8 years before and dismissed!
I decided to try the product. I was still skeptical, but understanding how the system worked, that I was supporting my body with excellent nutrition while allowing it to shed the toxins stored in my belly fat- that made sense to me. I wanted to gain weight and lose weight, and the many "Before and After" pictures of satisfied clients motivated me to give it a try.
I was happy with the product from the beginning. The shakes were delicious, and allowed me to increase my protein intake significantly without spending all my time preparing food. The work out products also really made a difference. I started yet another weight lifting program and did not suffer the myriad of injuries that have accompanied all my previous efforts with weight lifting.
I liked it, but I still wasn't convinced I wanted to market the program myself. Over the past year I tried different alternatives- cheaper protein powders sold at Costco or health food stores. Amazingly, I could really feel the difference. When I "slacked off" and stopped supplementing my nutrition, I would find myself dragging with low energy through the afternoon. I had always thought that I ate pretty well- I work out of my home so I hardly ever eat out. (and my wife is an excellent cook!) Unfortunately, many of the foods we eat have been genetically modified and grown in nutritionally depleted soils, so it is nearly impossible to get optimal nutrition without supplementation.
A few months ago I was wearing a T-shirt at church, having just taught the preteen class. One of the guys that has known me for years stopped me and asked if I have been working out! Let me just say, he is now one of my new favourite people. I have gone years working out and not having a soul notice or comment on it, but he brought it up without prompting.
As Jane and I were deciding to get more involved with Isagenix this year, we decided to do a 30 day cleanse diet and do a little more investigation. We did this in the 4 week period leading up to Christmas- finishing on December 23 after a number of "pre Christmas" parties. In that 4 weeks, I lost 8 pounds, which included four inches of belly fat at my waist! Jane lost 11 pounds. This happened to be the month that our treadmill was broken, which was our main source of cardio fitness!
I have taken this past year to research and try many Isagenix products. I have become convinced that my own personal health and wellness are well worth the investment and plan to continue using Isogenix. I can be slightly tempted to regret that I didn't look into Isagenix 8 years ago, as I could have enjoyed the benefits for all these years. However, I recognize that it was not the time for me and I'm just happy to have found it now. I am not going to retire from chiropractic, but I am very confident to recommend Isagenix to members of my practice, friends and family. If you would like to know more about this nutritional system and how it can benefit you, please message me or join us for an information session on Tuesday, February 21 at 7 pm.
Don't miss out!
Foods that increase your healing potential
As part of my preparation for our talk on MAXIMIZING YOUR BODY'S HEALING DEFENSES, I turned to Dr. Google to research foods that increase our immune function. Of course there are varying views, but it is generally agreed that the foods listed below can help you fight the good fight. Of course, eating these foods is no substitute for the things discussed in our previous article. All the oranges in the world won't help you if you aren't getting adequate sleep...
Citrus fruits: These are rich in Vitamin C, which tops the chart as a necessary ingredient to keep your immune system running at 100 percent. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections. Because your body doesn't produce or store it, daily intake of vitamin C is essential for continued health.
Red Bell Peppers: ??!? Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers have twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits, as well as being a rich source of beta carotene.(see Sweet Potatoes below).
Yogurt with probiotic: (live and active cultures) A Swedish study found that a group taking probiotics had 33% less sick days than a control group.
Garlic: The active ingredient is allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; the garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold! Other studies suggest that those consuming more than six cloves a week have a 30% lower rate of colorectal cancer and a 50% lower rate of stomach cancer. Optimal intake according to one source– 2 raw cloves a day!
Oats & Barley: These contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities more potent than Echinacea. Oats or barley should be one of the grains consumed in your daily diet.
Mushrooms: "Studies show that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive. This is a good thing when you have an infection," says Douglas Schar, Director of the Institute of Herbal Medicine in Washington, DC. Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms appear to pack the biggest immunity punch- experts recommend at least ¼ ounce to 1 ounce a few times a day for maximum immune benefits.
Broccoli: is supercharged with an arsenal of vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as numerous antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table. The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all!
Sweet potatoes: To stay strong and healthy, your skin (part of your immune defense) needs vitamin A. "Vitamin A plays a major role in the production of connective tissue, a key component of skin," explains David Katz, MD, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. Foods containing beta-carotene (like sweet potatoes), will metabolize into vitamin A. Other foods rich in beta-carotene: carrots, squash, canned pumpkin, and cantaloupe.
Almonds: When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, especially almonds, are packed with it. A half-cup serving, (about 46 whole, shelled almonds), provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount.
Sunflower seeds: are full of nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. They're also incredibly high in vitamin E, with 82 % of the daily recommended amount in just a 1/4-cup serving. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and is important in regulating and maintaining immune system function.
Beef: Zinc deficiency is a common nutritional shortfall among North American adults, especially in vegetarians and those who've cut back on beef. Zinc is an immunity-bolstering mineral and even mild zinc deficiency can increase your risk of infection. If you're not a beef person, you will find zinc in oysters, fortified cereals, pork, poultry, yogurt, or milk.
Tea: Black Tea People who drank 5 cups a day of black tea for 2 weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than others who drank a placebo hot drink, in a Harvard study. The amino acid that's responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea—decaf versions have it, too. The optimal dose is several cups daily! Apparently, you can get up to five times more antioxidants from your tea bags by bobbing them up and down while you brew.
Green Tea: As well as L-theanine, green tea also contains epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, another powerful antioxidant. The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG while Green tea is steamed and not fermented, preserving the EGCG. So green tea is even better than black tea, though both are good for you.
And finally, are you ready for this? Mother wasn't wrong...
Chicken soup! University of Nebraska researchers tested 13 brands of chicken soup and found that all but one (chicken-flavored Ramen noodles) blocked the migration of inflammatory white cells. This was an important finding because cold symptoms are a response to these cells accumulation in the bronchial tubes. The amino acid cysteine, released from chicken during cooking, chemically resembles the bronchitis drug Acetylcysteine. This may explain the results. The soup's salty broth keeps mucus thin the same way cough medicines do. Added spices, such as garlic and onions, can increase soup's immune- boosting power. Also, poultry is high in vitamin B-6. (100 g of turkey or chicken contains 40- 50% of your daily recommended amount of B-6). Vitamin B-6 is involved in many of the chemical reactions that happen within the body and in the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. Stock or bone broth, which is produced by boiling chicken bones, contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity.
These foods will do amazing things to boost your immune system. However, as I said at the workshop, if you put jet fuel into an old broken down car, it isn't going to turn that vehicle into a racing car! We need to optimize our body's own healing potential by fine tuning our nervous systems- as well as supporting it with proper nutrition. Make sure you stay regular with chiropractic care during Colds and Flu season!
Kenneth Hansraj, Chief of Spinal Surgery in New York, has published research to the National Library of Medicine regarding "Text Neck". He describes an epidemic resulting from the dangerous effects of the chronic use of smart phones and electronics, as they lead to poor posture, wear and tear on the spine, degeneration and surgery. The danger lies in the fact that we are oblivious to the stress we are placing upon our bodies, and we can be wholly unconscious of the damage we are causing until we develop symptoms such as headaches, neck & back pain, arm tingling & numbness, carpel tunnel and tennis elbow. Once symptoms have developed, it is much more difficult to correct the damage!
The human head weighs 10 to 12 pounds, but as it angles forward the weight on the cervical spine is increased dramatically. At only 15 degrees, the weight is doubled, at 30 degrees it is 40 pounds, and at 60 degrees (an angle many use to read from their smart phone or tablet) it is 60 pounds!!! One writer I read on the subject pointed out that this is the weight of a typical 6 year old child. How many of us would choose to read our text while a 6 year old is sitting on our head??? And yet this is what many of us do!
Even as I write this article, I have my cell phone on my desk. When I hear the familiar buzz, my temptation is to pick up the phone and look down at it! I find that if I don't intentionally position the phone in a manner that is not straining my neck (lifting it up to eye level), BEFORE I open the screen, then I will be too caught up in reading the new text to correct it after. Here is a suggestion. For a short time, put an elastic band around your phone. When you see the elastic, it will remind you to lift the phone to eye level. Yes, your arms will get tired and you won't be able to read for too long, but that is the secret- you shouldn't read for too long! Prop your arms on the side of your chair/desk to take some of the strain off them.
Get checked regularly with network spinal analysis to see if you have created some issues with your forward head carriage, and resolve them before they become symptomatic. Make sure that those you care about- particularly children and teens with their developing spines- are checked regularly by a chiropractor and monitored with their use of electronics. Join us for our next posture workshop and learn some exercises you can do at home to fight the effects of text neck.
There have been a number of studies recently that highlight the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle upon one's health. Sitting is described as the new smoking. The harm associated with prolonged sitting is so significant that it has been compared to the impact of man's most well known carcinogen, smoking. It seems smoking has become the new standard of risk- another recent study suggested that consumption of smoked meat is also the new smoking. I am not going to address the impact of bacon in this short article, but I would like to discuss the tremendous harm related to the amount of time spent sitting by the average person today. Most people don't realize just how many hours they spend sitting in their regular day. With time at work, driving, watching television and spending time on a home computer - the hours add up, and so does the impact to our posture and our health.
In his book, "Stand Taller, Live Longer", Dr. Steven Weiniger describes what he calls "sitting disease". Our postural muscles have gotten weaker as we spend vast amounts of time in chairs. A study, outlined in the Annals of Internal Medicine in January 2016, demonstrates that those who sit 8-12 hours a day have a 91% higher incidence of type 2 diabetes! You see, prolonged sitting leads to compression of our internal organs which can then lead to problems such as heart disease, and ultimately to higher mortality rates.
In a number of studies, greater sedentary time was found to be associated with increased risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, cancer incidence and type II diabetes. One particular study found that those who spent less than eight hours sitting time per day had a 14 percent lower risk of potentially preventable hospitalization.
What can we do to fight the deleterious effects of sitting on our health? There are a number of solutions to address the health challenges of our deteriorating posture, but they require active work on our part. In studies, sedentary time was associated with a 30 percent lower relative risk for all-cause mortality among those with higher levels of physical activity compared with those with lower levels of physical activity. This means that the negative outcomes associated with sedentary time generally decreased in magnitude among persons who participated in higher physical activity compared to lower levels. So we must be active to reduce impact of sitting on our health.
If you are not actively working to improve your posture, it is deteriorating! Your posture will affect your health, your alertness and productivity, and your appearance! Stay tuned for upcoming articles on "Creating Your Own Standing Work Station" and "Text Neck Syndrome Prevention", and sign up NOW for our free Posture Workshop on June 1 and learn about how you CAN improve your posture, at any age, and enjoy tremendous health benefits as a result!
We are a fast paced culture that likes instant relief. To get that instant relief, we will sometimes over-ride the systems of our body that get in the way. I have made the statement a number of times over the years, "we do not get headaches because we have a deficiency of Tylenol in our body." This comes across as a revolutionary thought to some people I know! We are so accustomed to instant fixes that we can't imagine letting a headache slow us down, much less taking the time to look for the cause of the headache!
Many times we can think our lives would be better if we didn't experience any pain. But pain is NOT the bad guy. It is a symptom that there is something wrong, telling us to stop what we are doing and pay attention. We don't get headaches because we need Tylenol and we don't get back aches because we need Muscle Relaxants. If we don't learn the lesson that pain is bringing us, then we are doomed to keep revisiting the same patterns and challenges- having the pain return in an attempt to get our attention.
When we decide we don't like the pain and cover it up, masking the symptom with medications, it is just like ignoring that annoying flashing light on our dashboard that is telling us that we are running low on gas or that our engine is overheating. We don't need to ignore the dashboard, we need to listen to the warnings and get to a mechanic!
The media is full of commercials that tell us we can take a medication and return to the normal activities of our life. Is this really the best thing for us? Let me ask you, is it good for us to keep driving when our car is overheating, or do you think that those ignored signals can lead to a blown engine that will involve a more lengthy and costly repair?
If this has been your habit- to reach for some pills when a symptom comes up, I would encourage you to get a check up to see if the root cause can be addressed. If you know someone that carries Tylenol in their purse, encourage them to get checked too! There is a slogan: "Friends don't let friends..." It has been used for serious situations like "Friends don't let friends drive drunk" and funnier ones like "Friends don't let friends skip leg day" when referring to exercising. (Have you seen the pictures of muscled body builders with skinny tooth pick legs?) I would suggest that
Friends don't let friends take drugs that reduce their health and wellness!
If you have a friend that carries Advil in their purse, encourage them to get a check up at our office. Send them this article or tell them about our "Tell a friend" promotion this month. They'll thank you for it!
I have to commend Dentists! They have done a wonderful job at educating the public on the need for preventative maintenance with regards to our teeth. Most people would not think of going to bed without some regiment of brushing and flossing. We have regular check-ups with our dentist to see if there are any cavities creeping in. Many people go through an extensive process to have their children's teeth straightened with braces if their alignment is not good. We expend considerable time, energy and money on maintaining our teeth.
Ironically, our teeth are the only part of our body that we can replace with relative ease. I'm not suggesting that dentures are a breeze, or that we should ignore preventative measures with regards to our mouth. However, I would suggest we spend as much time, energy and yes, money, on maintaining the rest of our body.
There is an old expression- "you've got to use it or lose it." This is particularly true of our bodies. The sedentary lifestyle of our culture is one of the most significant factors in the decline of our health. We sit a lot. We are less active. We need to put some solid effort in to the maintenance of these machines that we call our bodies.
Strengthening our core muscles will reduce strain on our joints and prevent subsequent wear and tear. Regular cardiovascular exercise will maintain the function of the heart and lungs. Stretching overly tight muscles will improve flexibility and allow the inevitable postural stress we face to be properly distributed and diminish its negative effects.
Just as we brush and floss, we should be stretching, strengthening and doing cardio in our everyday lives. As we have regular dental check-ups, we should have regular physical tune-ups at the chiropractor, to make sure we catch small problems before they become big problems. If things are badly out of line, we may need a period where we spend some time and energy on improving alignment, much like we apply braces to poorly aligned teeth so that they will wear well and not cause future problems.
We have recently started a new year. Some of us made resolutions to get in "better" shape. How is it going? Whether you made a resolution or not, it is never too late to plan to improve your health. Use it or lose it! Schedule a check-up at our office. Find out what exercises would most benefit your body. Join us for our workshop, All About Exercise, and find out tips to prevent injury and maximize your health potential. Tuesday, January 26 @ 7 pm. Sign up now!!!
As has been said before, if you wear your body out, where are you going to live?
You may also develop your 'self healing through self connection' by doing Somato Respiratory Integration at home. See the website to sign up for the upcoming workshop on February 2.
If you want to know more about Network Care, check out our website www.WellnessFamilyCare.com. Set up an appointment at our office to have your spine checked!
Start with 1 cup of planning and preparation
Mix in a dash of spontaneity
Add 2 scoops of service & outward focus
Season with a sprinkling of gratitude
Blend in 4 tablespoons of regular exercise
Garnish with liberal amounts of rest and relaxation
The holidays can be a season that makes us rejuvenated and refreshed. It can also be a season that leaves us frazzled and exhausted- feeling like we need a holiday to recover from our holiday! Here is a recipe to help you make your holidays a time to enjoy, that your health and wellness will not get neglected but will improve from your time of celebration!
1 cup of planning and preparation. Santa makes a list and checks it twice. If you want your holiday to go well, you should too! Making a plan can save extra trips to the mall and reduce unnecessary stress which takes a toll on our mental health and holiday cheer! It can also help the family members to get on the same page, so there are not mis-matched expectations of how the holidays will go- with one family member planning joint shopping sprees and the visiting of relatives while another family member is expecting time on the couch to watch sports or Christmas movies. It really helps to plan ahead- to think through what times in the holiday one's "health routine" might suffer. There may be parties that will lead to over-eating or excess drinking. There may be times staying with relatives that will involve sleeping on couches or uncomfortable guest beds. Routine will be interrupted, and this can play havoc with habits from exercise to remembering to floss our teeth! If we think through how things will go, while we are not "in the moment", we can have a greater influence on the outcome. There is nothing wrong with deciding to eat some extra Christmas goodies or enjoy a cup of holiday cheer, but planning how much to imbibe before the event can help you stay safe and healthier. If you have a "buddy" with whom you can share your plan, it makes it even easier to follow as you hold one another accountable! If you are going to visit relatives over-night, bringing your own pillow (if possible) can help you enjoy a better sleep. Use that packing list to make sure your vitamin pills and tooth brush joins you on your trip.
a dash of spontaneity. As said previously, there is nothing wrong with going outside your usual routine if that is something that you would like to do! If your life is usually quite scheduled, allowing yourself some down time when you can do whatever the mood strikes you can be quite rejuvenating. There can be a temptation to pack the holidays with events and gatherings. If this will leave you exhausted so that you look forward to returning to work in the New Year, you might want to re-think the planning and allow for some free time!
several measures of service and outward focus. The holidays are a tremendous time to be outward focused- whether it is volunteering for an organized charity or inviting an elderly neighbour over for some holiday cheer. Unfortunately, because it is a busy time of year, the opportunities to be outward focused can get squeezed out. This goes back to the planning and preparation section- think about what you would like your holiday to be like! We all know that we are happier when we are not "selfishly inward focused". We are healthier then too! According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, "Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health." A study by Brown (et al) in 2005 showed that those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not. Volunteer activities can strengthen the social ties that protect individuals from isolation during difficult times, while the experience of helping others leads to a sense of greater self-worth and trust. A study in 2002 showed individuals suffering from chronic pain experienced declines in their pain intensity and decreased levels of disability and depression when they began to serve as peer volunteers for others also suffering from chronic pain. (Arnstein et al., 2002). This past weekend was busy for our family. I organized a Nativity play at our church- rehearsing a children's choir and outfitting 30 kids in costumes. Sunday morning was successful, fun and tiring! Sunday afternoon I had been scheduled to lead a Christmas Carol sing-a-long at a Seniors Home as that was the only time that would work, and I wondered if I would have the stamina? I was pleased to find that the visit with the residents energized me, and I felt more refreshed by serving them than by the Sunday afternoon nap I had envisioned after the play.
a sprinkling of gratitude. If you look back at our blog post from Thanksgiving, you will see an outline of the health benefits of gratitude. The holiday season is a time where we receive gifts, and advertisers work very hard to tell us all the many things that we need and how our lives are not complete because of what we lack. Taking stock of our blessings can help us fight the temptation to buy more, or to focus on what we don't have and wallow in discontent.
4 tablespoons of regular exercise. It doesn't look like we will be shovelling any snow over the holidays, so we will have to find another way to work off those Christmas cookies! While it is okay to break routine a little, it is important for our health and energy levels to still be active. If we are doing regular stretching, (which we should!), the lack of routine in the holidays can make us forget. Also, it may be a good time to start thinking about the New Year and planning an exercise routine we would like to do in January. Sign up for our "All About Fitness" workshop next month!
liberal amounts of rest and relaxation. We are in a fast paced society. It is important to enjoy some down-time over the holidays and recharge our batteries. If we already have sleep issues, we may not want to oversleep in the mornings, as that can make night-times harder to get to sleep. Instead, if this is an issue, get up at your usual time in the morning but allow for some afternoon naps (of a controlled length) and get some exercise after the nap. Plan to get an appointment at our office over the holidays, as it will help to release patterns of stress when we are out of the routine, and you will get a better overall rest.
However you choose to spend your time, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday!