Moving Kids Towards Better Health

Bottom Line:

Life is motion. Moving every day is crucially important to your overall health and wellness. Everything from
cardiovascular disease to depression has been tied to a lack of physical activity. And this isn’t something that only
adults need to be aware of. Getting enough physical activity as a child is an important step in reducing the risk of
chronic disease in adulthood.

Why it Matters:

If your child is tied to the latest video game or app, you know it can be challenging to encourage exercise and
physical activity. However, carving out enough time to move is not only essential for your physical health, but also
your brain. Being sedentary during childhood slows down your brain’s ability to learn “movement skills.” You can think
of these skills in terms of agility and hand/eye coordination.
– Over 65% of kids aren’t getting enough daily physical activity.
– Lack of activity has been linked to everything from cardiovascular disease to depression.
– An astonishing 99% of kids don’t have age-appropriate movement skill proficiency.
Next Steps:
Establishing consistent habits of physical activity and movement as a child is an essential first step towards enabling
a lifetime of good health. Movement starts with your nervous system and spine. Our practice is focused on helping
you and your family stay active and live a happier, healthier life.

Science Source:

Youth-Physical Activity Towards Health: evidence and background to the development of the Y-PATH physical
activity intervention for adolescents. BMC Public Health 2014

Foam Rolling: It Hurts So Good

 

Bottom Line:
Foam rolling has exploded in popularity over the past few years. No longer used only by athletes and trainers, foam
rolling (or myofascial release) is now used by people at all levels of fitness. The goal of foam rolling is to improve
muscle function, performance, and range of motion. When a tight muscle or trigger point is released, you’re better
able to move freely, move with less pain, and improve your overall performance.

Why it Matters:
Activity, age, and injuries can all cause your muscles to lose flexibility over time, which in turn creates adhesions and
pain. Foam rolling allows you to place deep compression on these areas, reducing pain and adhesions while creating
improved range of motion. Researchers have discovered that foam rolling during your warm-up can improve flexibility
more than static and dynamic stretching.
– Foam rolling is designed to release tight muscles and trigger points.
– Researchers are seeing increased flexibility and reduced pain in study participants after foam rolling.
– Proper movement patterns are thought to improve performance and reduce injury.

Next Steps:
Using a foam roller on tight muscles and trigger points has been shown improve flexibility and help maintain proper
movement patterns. If you have questions on whether foam rolling is right for you, just ask! We believe this type of at home care is a great way to support the adjustments you receive in our office.

Science Source:
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-ups on Muscular Flexibility
and Strength in Young Adults. Journal of Sports Rehabilitation 2017
Differences in pressure pain threshold among men and women after foam rolling. Journal of Bodywork and
Movement Therapies 2017

Dynamic Stretching: A New Way to Feel Better

 

Bottom Line:

You’ve probably been told many times that you should stretch before and after a workout. Most people never do because static stretching is boring and takes so much extra time at the gym. However, there is a way to combine stretching with your workout. It’s called dynamic stretching, and not only is it more fun, but researchers have discovered it’s more effective at reducing injuries and increasing range of motion than static stretching alone.

 

Why it Matters:

Dynamic stretching doesn’t involve holding a specific position unlike static stretching. It’s about moving your body through ranges of motion that help you prepare for your workout. Dynamic stretching works by increasing your body temperature, blood flow, and circulation. This provides your muscles with more available oxygen and can help enhance your performance. A good warm-up that includes dynamic stretching has been shown to improve both power and agility.

  • Dynamic stretching is movement-based and can improve blood flow and circulation.
  • Researchers have discovered increased power and agility after dynamic stretching.
  • A proper warm-up, including dynamic stretching, can reduce your risk of injury.

 

Next Steps:

Incorporating dynamic stretching into the beginning and end of your workout is a great way to improve your range of motion and reduce your risk of injuries. If you have questions about incorporating dynamic stretching into your workout, just ask! We love to see our patients enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle.

 

Science Source:

A Systematic Literature Review of the Relationship Between Stretching and Athletic Injury Prevention. Orthopedic Nursing 2014

Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 2016

Dynamic vs Static-Stretching Warm Up: The Effect on Power and Agility Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2006

 

 

New Year, Same Me (with improvements!)

Now that all of the hype of the holiday is over, what is this New Year actually going to bring? Consistent, maintained health? Pain-free living? Healing nourishment? More mental clarity?

If you are leaning towards a crash diet, juice cleanse, or an 7 day/week boot camp,  think more about being present and realistic with your current self. The first and most important step is simply making your health the top priority. It might look different for every person, but something we can all take steps towards. We all have made excuses for ourselves. We all stand in our own way sometimes. But we can learn to make health our priority by removing the obstacles. Before creating a list of all of the things you are going to “start doing”, think about a few things you could “stop doing”. By creating that space in your life, you can better implement your new goals.

I’ll go first: In 2019, I am going to stop associating my feelings of having “earned” or “not earned” a meal. I am going to stop using words like cheat, deserve, and good/bad to describe my relationship with food. I am going to stop justifying unhealthy, unsatisfying food experiences with the idea of treating myself. Instead, I will be mindful of my body; what it craves and how to best nourish it.

Here are some other examples: You could create space in your life by deciding to stop saying yes to everything. Take time for yourself; don’t say yes to every social engagement. Be mindful of your health goals and limitations; don’t say yes to every treat or item offered to you. Instead of watching three hours of Netflix every night, cut yourself off at one hour and find other things to do with your time, like reading that book you started 6 months ago, meal-prepping dinner for the week, stretching out, or decluttering a stressful space. Set your screen time settings to limit time on certain apps. If you do want to involve others in your journey, share your resolutions on social media or share during face-to-face time with friends and family. You will encourage others and feel more motivated yourself.

Now it’s your turn! What are you going to stop doing so that you can start incorporating new things?

Immunity & Inflammation

IMMUNITY & INFLAMMATION

‘Tis the season of sickness! Let’s talk about boosting our immunity and reducing our inflammation. We all know the tried-and-true sayings. “Eat your fruits and vegetables.” “Exercise regularly.” “Drink 8 glasses of water.” “Get lots of sleep.” “Don’t eat processed food.” While those are all very key elements to improving your immune system and inflammatory symptoms, and they will be expanded on, I do want to talk about more non-traditional tips as well.

 

Supplements:

Taking a vitamin C supplement (up to 1,500 mg daily) can absolutely help to ward off illness, but consider taking a probiotic supplement as well. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two of the most important families of bacteria that populate our gut from birth, and they have been shown to positively affect our immune health. Look for one that has at least 30 to 50 billion colonies and at least eight strains of bacteria. Double this dose if you’re coming down with a cold or have to take antibiotics. Another top supplement for immune function is zinc, which acts as an antioxidant by fighting off free radicals. It’s also a very common deficiency worldwide. Take 15 to 30 mg a day. Lastly, the famous vitamin D. Yes, you get small doses of this vitamin from sunlight and from certain foods, but for most adults (especially in the wintertime), we need to supplement to reap the immune benefits. You can take up to 2,000 IU daily.

Foods:

While it is certainly important to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables during this time of year, there are specific ones that are extremely helpful for boosting your immune system. Fermented foods should be at the top of your grocery list, especially if you don’t want to spend money on pricey probiotics. Kombucha, sauerkraut or kimchi, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, or anything pickled will give you plenty of gut-healthy bacteria. Some of the most powerful immune-boosting, antiviral, and anti-cancer substances are found in mushrooms, like shiitake, maitake, and reishi. Other antibacterial foods include garlic, ginger and turmeric. Another way to improve immunity is to decrease inflammation in the body. Many of the antibacterial foods are actually anti-inflammatory as well. Ginger, garlic, turmeric, nuts (especially almonds and walnuts), berries, pineapple and fatty fish (Omega-3) are all excellent foods to reduce inflammation.

Other Factors:

These may seem obvious, but it never hurts to reiterate. Getting enough sunshine is an important part of immunity as natural sunlight is the best source of natural vitamin D. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep on a regular basis and avoid all-nighters. If you travel through time zones frequently, use small amounts of melatonin (2 to 3 mg) to reset your circadian rhythm. Beyond the obvious cardiovascular, mood, and weight management benefits of regular exercise, moderate physical activity can improve our antibody response to infections. It’s important not to overtrain, however, as chronic strenuous exercise without recovery days has been associated with an increased susceptibility to infections, as well as frequency of injury. Managing stress is very important, as chronic stress actually suppresses our immune response by releasing the hormone cortisol. Cortisol itself interferes with the ability of specific white blood cells called T-cells to proliferate and get signals from the body.

Keep the turkey, pitch the rest!

Leftovers can be a daunting topic. When I was younger I felt like I needed to eat all of my leftovers in order to not be wasteful. That didn’t change until someone told me this: Those leftovers may actually be just as wasteful in your body as they are in the trash. You might want it, but you don’t need those extra helpings of rich, holiday food. It’s holiday food because it’s meant to be enjoyed on the holiday, as a special occasion. Your body is craving nutrients right now more than ever.

Keep the turkey. Throw away the potatoes, throw away the stuffing, throw away the congealed casseroles. Instead, load up on greens, protein, and healthy fat. Here’s a great place to start. Bone broth is a key player in healing many different parts of your body.

Joints: Bone broth is first a foremost known for it’s high gelatin and collagen content. As we age, cartilage diminishes as it gets attacked by antibodies (age-related degradation of joint cartilage). As bone broth simmers, collagen from the animal parts leaches into the broth and becomes ready to absorb and help restore cartilage. Gelatin also provides us with building blocks that are needed to form and maintain strong bones, helping take pressure off of aging joints and supporting healthy bone mineral density.

Gut: Studies also show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities (such as to wheat or dairy), helping with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut, and supporting healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract.

Skin: Collagen helps form elastin and other compounds within skin that are responsible for maintaining skin’s youthful tone, texture and appearance. This collagen, exactly what is found in bone broth, has been accredited with helping reduce the visible signs of wrinkles, decreasing puffiness and fighting various other signs of aging such as skin moisture and evaporation.

Immunity: Bone broth is one of the most beneficial foods to consume to restore gut health and therefore support immune system function and healthy inflammation response. Collagen/gelatin and the amino acids proline, glutamine and arginine help seal openings in the gut lining made by a “Leaky Gut”and support gut integrity. Traditionally-made bone broths are believed to support healthy inflammatory response and normal immune system function. Bone broth can even promote healthy sleep, boost energy during the day and support a healthy mood.

Get Moving!

A guide to a healthy, happy, holiday season: Part 4

The holidays are a whirlwind of busyness. It’s already a challenge to make time for exercise, and then add in family, food/alcohol, shopping, and travel? It’s nearly impossible, unless we make time for it when we would otherwise be on the couch, watching TV, or on our phones. It’s all about making movement a priority. 

Here’s my challenge for you: After every main meal, get outside and walk briskly for 15-20 minutes. Walking after eating has proven to be an incredible way to improve blood flow, bowel motility and heartburn, blood sugar levels, metabolism, quality of sleep, and not to mention the cold provides a positive external stressor, ultimately strengthening the function of the body.

Need more motivation? Make this a family event! Getting everyone out of the house for a quick walk will not only make them less likely to fall into the classic “food coma”, but it will also allow for more quality time with the ones you love, without having to talk over a TV or a texting teenager. Bring the dog or a football, find a nearby trail, bring a thermos of hot cider. In short: make it fun, not a chore!

***Looking for more of a challenge? Every time you see a bench or a squirrel or whatever item you choose, do 10 air squats (just like the chair squats in our previous post). 

Focus on Fat

A guide to a healthy, happy, holiday season: Part 3

With the tendency to overindulge this season, something to keep those cravings at bay is an increase of protein and fat. First of all, fat is not a bad word! With the low-fat diet trends fading away, people are beginning to see that an increase of fats in your diet will not lead to weight gain. Now, this is not referring to fats from vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn oil, and soybean oil or processed food products, fried foods, and sugary baked goods made with vegetable oils.

Instead, increasing Omega-3 fats such as nuts and seeds (walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds), fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and sardines), avocado, grass-fed beef, and plant-based oils (flaxseed oil and olive oil) will actually reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Omega-3 fats have been found to reduce inflammation in the body and lower blood pressure.

You may have heard of the term “fat for fuel”. It’s a process the body utilizes when the diet isn’t overloaded with an excess of sugar and grains. To optimize your mitochondrial function through diet, you need to eat so that your body is able to burn fat as its primary fuel rather than sugars. Ketogenic diets are very effective for this, as is fasting. When you give your body less carbs and sugars, it will seek out that energy from fats. When your body is able to burn fat for fuel, your liver creates ketones that burn fat more efficiently than carbs.

To increase fat consumption, try incorporating “fat bombs” into your diet. Instead of taking a cheat day and ruining your low-carb goals, opt for a fat bomb instead. Fat bombs are the ultimate, guilt-free, energy boosting, and healthy keto snack. They are the perfect way to curb your cravings and satisfy your hunger. They’re quick, easy and perfect for on-the-go. Check these out!

Quick tips to stay full:  Incorporate protein and fat into every meal. Who says you can’t have turkey for breakfast? Have some hard/soft-boiled eggs prepped in the fridge for those “hangry” moments when you need a fast source of protein. Put avocado on everything. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and before every meal.

Holiday Carb Substitutions

A guide to a healthy, happy, holiday season: Part 2

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for most. Friendsgivings, work potlucks, ugly Christmas sweater parties, and all of the other events leading up to the big days celebrated with beloved family and friends. As we’re preparing for all of the fun-filled activities, it’s easy to sabotage our health goals by indulging in all of the intriguing goodies the season has to offer. Not only can this add on a couple of unwanted pounds by the time the new year rings in, but it can also bring our energy levels and motivation down. It’s true, we’re going to face some delicious temptations in the upcoming weeks. Let’s prepare our bodies in a few simple ways. We can start by reducing carbohydrate intake and incorporating more protein and healthy fats (check out our next blog article for the protein and healthy fats tips!).

Rather than doing too much too fast, let’s start with taking something out. Cutting carbs is one of the most popular and effective ways we have found to transform our bodies. I know it seems impossible but I promise, it’s easier than it sounds. I don’t want to talk about starting a whole new diet during the holiday season (that would be madness). However, there are small adjustments we can make to our eating habits which will allow us to maintain our weight and keep our energy levels at bay.

Bread, pasta, sugary drinks (soda, fruit juice, cappuccinos, etc.), and sweet snacks such as candy and cookies are all examples of carbs we should avoid. Try some of these substitutions for some of your favorite snacks or meals. Maybe you could even try making this low carb recipe for one of your holiday parties!

  • Instead of bread for hamburgers and subs, try a lettuce wrap or make a bowl
  • Instead of pasta with your tomato sauce, try spaghetti squash or zoodles
  • Instead of soda pop, try club soda with a lime/lemon or flavored sparkling water
  • Instead of a cappuccino, try a coffee with a splash of coconut milk and cinnamon
  • Instead of instant rice with your stir fry, try a bag of frozen cauliflower rice
  • Instead of candy/cookies, try a piece of dark chocolate or dried fruit

 

Setting Yourself Up For Success: A guide to a healthy, happy, holiday season

We all know the realities of January 2nd. Everyone makes a mad dash to the gym or jumps into the latest fad diet in an attempt to reverse the month(s) of indulgence. Here’s the thing: you can still enjoy the holidays without losing sight of your goals. Set yourself up for success this year and make this holiday season your healthiest yet!  With a few simple steps you can come through the next few weeks not only looking your best, but also with more energy and vitality. It all starts with movement and nutrition. November is the new January, so let’s get started!

Do you have a cubicle or office? Do you sit at your desk for long periods of time? Do you find yourself reaching for coffee or sugar at various times during the day? Include these three activities for 10 minutes during a busy work day or when you wake up in the morning and see results. You may not see a change right away in the mirror or on the scale – but you will notice those “non-scale victories”: more energy, less 3 PM slumps, more mobility and strength, and even less cravings!

The goal is to do these three, big-muscle, calorie burning movements 3-5 days per week. You will not only burn calories while performing the movements, but also after. The so-called “afterburn effect” is more officially known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or simply, EPOC. Essentially, the more intense the exercise, the more oxygen your body consumes afterward.

 

  • The Chair Squat

Stand in front of a chair or bench. Push hips back as if you are going to sit down on the chair while keeping head and chest position straight up. Tap butt on chair and stand back up,pushing through your heels and driving the top of your head to the ceiling, then squeezing glutes at the top. Repeat 10 times for 3 rounds.

  • The Push-up

Start in neutral high plank position, with arms straight, hands under shoulders, and a straight line from the back of your head to your heels. Keep elbows tight to sides of body as you lower yourself down and push yourself back up to high plank position. Keep core locked and glutes contracted. Keep neck relaxed and head position neutral, no drooping the belly! Repeat 10 times for 3 rounds. ***Modification: Raise your hands to a bench or wall and complete reps as normal. 

  • The Plank

Lie face down with your forearms straight out on the floor and your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Rise up on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor — your body should hover a few inches off the floor in a straight line from shoulders to feet. Lock your core  and tighten your buttocks. Look at the floor to keep your head in neutral position and breathe normally. Hold for 30 seconds, lower yourself to the floor and rest. Complete 3 rounds. ***Modification: Drop knees to floor and complete plank as normal.