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Articles tagged with: exercise

Running for Your Body and Your Mind

Running for Your Body and Your Mind
Published Tuesday, 29 August 2017

There’s plenty of research and evidence that demonstrates the physical benefits of running. This exercise helps people stay fit, lose weight, and reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer. A common myth states that running can hurt the knees, but even science has shown that the opposite is true! Running actually strengthens the bones and joints. A recent study out of B.Y.U. demonstrated that in participants with healthy knees, “a single half-hour of running changes the interior of the knee, reducing inflammation and lessening levels of a marker of arthritis”.

More Than Just a Runner’s High

While the physical benefits of this common exercise are clear, many don’t realize what great effects running can have on your mind. Any long-time runner will testify to experiencing a “runner’s high”, where the body receives a rush of hormones called endocannabinoids which make you feel good after a run. But there’s more that running can do for your mental health than this short-term high.

  • A 2012 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health showed that teenagers who ran for 30 minutes once a week for three weeks reported better sleep quality, mood, and concentration during the day.
  • More recently, neuroscience researchers have discovered new neurons are produced daily in animals’ brains, and that vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running, helped to double the amount of new neurons produced in the brains of mice.
  • These new brain cells appear primarily in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is responsible for rational thinking and emotions. This reaction may explain why many people feel that running helps them to clear their heads, relieve stress and anxiety, and make important life decisions.
  • While these findings suggest that running could help increase new neuron production the people’s brains, the scientists also note the importance of keeping those brain cells alive through concentrated mental activity, such as meditation.
  • A study conducted by Rutgers University showed that mental and physical training, or MAP Training, which combines 30 minutes of meditation and 30 minutes of running or other aerobic exercise, helped to decrease self-reported depressive symptoms in groups with major depressive disorder.

Letting Your Mind Run Free…or Not!

Many think of running as a good way to daydream or lose yourself in your own thoughts. In Haruki Murakami’s memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, writes, “I just run. I run in void. Or maybe I should put it the other way: I run in order to acquire a void.”

However, the time you spend running can also become a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. Mindful running can help you perform better by transforming negative, self-doubting thoughts into ones of positive determination. Also, by being mindful of your body after a run, noticing what aches and pains you have or knowing if you need to hydrate more, you’ll be able to recover faster from the exercise. There are some simple steps you can take to practice mindfulness during your run, including syncing up your stride and your breath, but if you need a little help, there are some mindfulness apps to get you started!

But whether you’re letting your thoughts wander into the void or counting breaths and steps, running is a great workout for your body and your mind. Put on those dusty sneakers today and move toward an overall healthier you!

[VIDEO] What Interferes with Nerve Impulses

Dr. Levine presents different factors that interrupt normal nerve function

What Interferes with Nerve Impulses
Published Thursday, 29 June 2017

Video Transcript - What Interferes with Nerve Impulses

Nerve impulses, life energy is affected by stress. Stress is huge. We think of stress generally in something that's bothering us or that we're thinking about. Stress comes in three forms. It's physical, it's chemical, it's emotional. Many of us have all three forms in play. Those three forms of stress will breakdown the nervous system. Increases the adrenal function. Increases blood pressure. Increases cortisol into the system, and that will break down neural function and your immune system. It's important that we identify the stresses.

Here in the office, not only are we dealing with the effects of stress which might be neck pain, back pain, headaches, but we're also identifying the causes of that stress. Maybe it's poor diet. Maybe it's lack of exercises which is probably number one. Maybe it's an old injury or fall that wasn't treated properly. Family stress especially around the holidays. Financial stress.

Either you live within your means or you don't. There's many people, regardless of their income, that have a great deal of stress and has no bearing on the dollar amount. It's how they manage it. Emotional, physical, chemical stresses. That's why our job is to get to the cause of the problem. Not just functionally, but on an emotional level, physical and chemical level.

There is good stress. Stress forces us to wake up every day and make a difference in society. The time I spent working with Seton Hall University and their basketball team, there was stress every time there was a tournament game. It was stress before each game. When that bell rang at the end and the two hands were over, the stress was over until we prepared for the next game. In sports, there's stress. In life, there's stress, but that forces us to produce and it forces us to rise to the occasion. Sometimes, we need to get uncomfortable in ourselves to grow to the next level.

Arthritis a Growing Pain for US Adults

CDC recommends physical activity and self-management education interventions

Arthritis a Growing Pain for US Adults
Published Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Arthritis is a painful and sometimes debilitating condition caused by inflammation of the joints. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over 54 million adults are suffering from doctor-diagnosed arthritis in the United States.  Almost half of those diagnosed also described some sort of activity limitations attributed to arthritis pain, a 20 percent increase from 2002.

CDC Report Highlights:

  • Approximately 50 percent of adults with heart disease and diabetes and 30 percent of adults with obesity were also diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis pain can cause even more complications for patients dealing with such preexisting conditions.
  • Medical expenses, including hip and knee joint replacements, stemming from arthritis pain cost the nation about $81 billion annually.
  • Adults diagnosed with arthritis are often prescribed opioids to help deal with the pain; however, the CDC recommends physical activity which can help reduce pain and improve physical function by almost 40 percent.
  • The CDC also endorses self-management education interventions, which are programs aimed to improve patients’ confidence and teach them skills to manage their condition. These courses have been shown to reduce pain, fatigue, and depression by 10 to 20 percent, but only 11 percent of adults diagnosed with arthritis have ever reported taking them.
  • People were more likely to attend a self-management education program when their healthcare provider recommended one.

Arthritis seems to be a growing and expensive problem in the United States, one that is causing many adults to have trouble completing simple, everyday tasks. Due to the scarcity of patients participating in self-management education interventions or treatment plans which prioritize physical activity over opioids, the CDC report also calls for further research to encourage these types of strategies.

In a teleconference with reporters, the acting director of the CDC, Anne Schuchat, M.D., “called on healthcare providers to do more to encourage patients to slowly increase their physical activity – such as with a short walk or a lap in the pool – and to strive for a healthy weight to reduce pressure on joints.”

You can read the CDC’s full report here

Head Injuries and Sports

Soccer players may be "heading" for concussions

Soccer Heading for Concussion
Published Wednesday, 01 March 2017

One of the most popular sports in the world, soccer is often considered a rite of passage for today’s youth. It is also a sport known for a high rate of concussions in it players, according to a study published in 2007 by the Journal of Athletic Training. In 2013, researchers conducted the Einstein Soccer Study, tracking soccer players in order to determine if “heading” the ball intentionally contributed to concussion symptoms to the same degree as accidental impacts, such as player-to-player or goal post collisions.

  • During the study, 222 amateur adult soccer players (79% male) completed questionnaires over a two-week period. The questionnaires asked them about their practice and game schedules, any intentional or unintentional head impacts that may have occurred during those practices or games, and any concussion symptoms (headache pain, dizziness, confusion) they may have experienced.
  • Researchers found that players who intentionally headed the ball the most were three times more likely to experience concussion symptoms.
  • However, players who suffered two or more unintentional head collisions were six times more likely to report concussion symptoms as those who only suffered a single impact. This suggests that unintentional head collisions are more risky than intentional ones.
  • In an interview with Reuters Health, the lead author of the study, Dr. Michael Lipton stated that this study only shows the short-term effects of heading, and more research is needed to address the long-term consequences.
  • The study followed amateur adult athletes in the northeast United States, so it is still unknown if the results can be applied to teenagers and children as well.

The report, published on February 1, 2017 in Neurology, demonstrates that concussion symptoms do arise from intentional heading, though more severe symptoms of concussion did mainly occur due to accidental collisions with other players or goal posts. While this may cause concern in parents over their children heading the ball in youth leagues, Lipton stressed there is a need for more research to track the long-term brain changes associated with heading.

Speaking to the New York Times, Lipton said, “We don’t know how much is too much. It would be great to say ‘no heading,’ but we don’t have enough information to say that. Public health interventions have to be based on evidence.”

Read more about the Einstein Soccer Study here.

Yoga Alone Is Not Enough For Back Pain Relief

Discover the link between Yoga and the best methods to relieve back pain

Published Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Yoga For Back PainThe annoying back pain that keeps rearing its ugly head might have you reaching for the Tylenol or aspirin, or might leave you entertaining thoughts of more radical treatment methods like surgery or injections. Before you let your achy back call all the shots, consider these other approaches to pain relief FIRST. Because the pain you are experiencing is probably more within your control than you may believe.

Why Should You Look for Alternative Treatment Methods for Back Pain?

Given that back pain affects most Americans to some extent, leading to multiple medical visits, it is often overtreated. As a matter of fact, it seems that many American adults get addicted to one or more types of painkillers while trying anything that might reduce their discomfort. Moreover, those who are desperately seeking the best remedy for their lower back pain may also be exposed to a series of side-effects linked to their treatment plan, including the dissatisfying results of ineffective procedures, such as surgery or steroid injections, or stomach ulcers and bleeding caused by common anti-inflammatory medications.

What Works Best When It Comes To Alleviating Back Pain?

If you are a fervent supporter of the Movement Is Medicine system, then you are probably wondering if practicing yoga is enough to help you overcome persistent back pain. In some cases, you may need more than a few yoga lessons to reach your goal; it all depends on what’s causing the pain that is disrupting your balance and daily activities. For example, if your body is misaligned as a result of an injury, yoga may not manage to provide the most effective solution to your problem.

On the other hand, regardless of its underlying causes, back pain can be alleviated through a combination of natural remedies, including quality chiropractic care, stretching via the Egoscue Method, strength training, osteopathic manipulation, better stress management tactics, meditation, massage, and acupuncture. To begin with, you may want to schedule your first appointment with a chiropractor who could help you treat musculoskeletal pain through a series of gentle spinal adjustments. Stretching (especially Egoscue) contributes to a correct skeletal alignment and reestablishes your lost muscular balance, offering you a longer-lasting pain relief. Strength training leads to stronger core muscles, which play an important part in preventing injuries and reducing pain.

Believe it or not, even less conventional options, such as meditation, acupuncture, and massage, can lead to major signs of improvement, as long as they are associated with other key elements, such as chiropractic sessions and a moderate workout. For instance, meditation may act as a potent pain reliever, allowing people to decrease the intensity of their discomfort and gain more control over their mind and body. Through a relaxing massage session, you could release endorphins, stimulating your body to relax and relieve pain. At the end of the day, it is your duty to test all the pain-banishing factors listed above and recreate the combination that works best for your body. 

What are the Back Pain Benefits of Yoga?

A regular Yoga practice ensures better stress management and allows you to achieve a longer-lasting balance between body, mind, and spirit. Yoga enables you to achieve a state of serenity, banish daily problems and concerns, and focus on movements that put your muscles to work in ways that benefit your back. Finding significant pain relief is a complex process that usually involves a trial and error system; however, each yoga session will give you the chance to stay active, boost core muscle strength and increase your flexibility. Quite often, patients that practice yoga at least once a week feel better than the ones who receive physical therapy and medication to improve their physical condition and win the battle with chronic back pain. There are several specific poses that you should master to reduce the discomfort that you’re experiencing, including Bird Dog, Boat, Cow Face Pose and Forearm Plank. All poses will tone several parts of your body, promoting mobility, improving your mood and stimulating you to stay active. For instance, the Cow Face Pose can stretch out your buttocks, hips, upper back and shoulders, letting you work on different key areas to strengthen your body and develop stronger pain coping capabilities. 

Quite often, patients who practice yoga at least once a week feel better than those who utilize physical therapy and medication alone to relieve chronic back pain. A couple of Yoga poses to consider for stretching tight muscles and ligaments as well as for building balanced muscle strength, include: 

  • Bird Dog Pose- starting on your hands and knees (on all fours) extend one arm out straight in front of you, and the opposite leg out straight behind you. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Boat Pose- balancing on your behind, create a 45-degree angle between your upper body and lower body and hold. At first, you may not be able to straighten your legs, and that is ok. 
  • Cow Face Pose- Sitting with legs crossed, one over the other, and arms linked behind the back. 
  • Forearm Plank- In a plank position on the floor, with your arms bent so your weight is resting on your forearms and your toes. 

All poses will tone several parts of your body, promoting mobility, improving your mood and stimulating you to stay active. Yoga, meditation, and regular chiropractic adjustments are a powerful combination for not only reducing the debilitating effects of chronic pain in the back but also for promoting flexibility and strength. This approach goes beyond just eliminating pain, to promoting an overall state of health and wellbeing. 

Good News for Desk-Bound Employees!

Studies reveal the magic exercise number to counter-balance sedentary jobs.

Sitting at Your Desk All Day of Work
Published Monday, 22 August 2016
Researchers of a sedentary lifestyle study have good news for office workers who find themselves trapped behind a desk every day from 9 to 5. The negative health effects created by long hours of sitting down can be reduced by daily exercise.
 
The study looked at data from 16 previous studies, mainly involving people ages 45 and above from the United States, Australia, and Western Europe. They found during their follow-up period of two to 18 years that those who sat for eight hours a day with little exercise had a 9.9 percent change of mortality, while those who sat for less than four hours per day with one hour of exercise had a 6.8 percent chance of mortality.
 
The study goes on to recommend that those who sit daily for an average of eight hours should try to exercise one hour per day, while those who sit 6 or less should aim for half an hour of exercise. Right now, most health experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise every day. Adding another 30 minutes may seem daunting, but you can squeeze it in without interrupting your schedule.
 
We know it's not always easy to get up and move during the work day, especially when deadlines loom, but being mindful of movement can really help. When getting up to use the bathroom or get a drink, be sure to take the longest office route possible. Also, getting a quick walk around during lunch time can help stretch muscles and give your mind a break.When not at the office, try to insert exercise into your daily life. Start mornings with a walk around the neighborhood and maybe try a visit to the park before dinner, too.
 
Choosing to consistently add activity throughout the day will get you up to one hour of exercise before you know it. For more information on daily exercises, contact our chiropractors.

Multiple Sclerosis Symptom Relief

Thinking beyond just medication for MS symptom management

Multiple Sclerosis Symptom Relief
Published Monday, 25 July 2016

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an auto-immune disease where the immune system eats away at the protective covering of the nerves, called the myelin. Without a protective covering, communication between the brain and the body is disrupted, and this leads to a whole host of symptoms. 

Yoga or water exercise can dramatically reduce common MS symptoms, such as fatigue, depression, and paresthesia (pins and needles tingling), a new study of women with MS found.

Those who did these forms of exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week had a 35-fold lower risk of developing moderate-to-severe depression, as well as less fatigue and paresthesia, than those who did no exercise.

Serge Brand, PhD, professor of affective, stress and sleep disorders, University of Basel, Switzerland.

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