When you walk, you step, putting one foot in front of the other. Most Americans take between 5,000 and 7,000 steps a day. If you want to step your way to better health, though, you should try and go above that average. Try increasing your count to a goal of 10,000 or more steps daily.
As a culture, we sit… a lot. Yet our bodies should be moving more– we need to get our blood circulating better and we need to get our heart rate up now and then. It’s good to walk. Taking more and more steps helps a person’s overall health.
What are some easy ways to step more?
Do you have a dog or know someone who does? Walking a dog is a great way to get more steps in on a daily basis– dogs love to be walked and they’ll keep you moving!
When you visit a store or mall, don’t park so close. Instead, park “far out” in the parking lot so you’ll have a longer walk just to get in the building and back to your vehicle. Also, in buildings, take the stairs rather than escalators or elevators.
If you spend a lot of time sitting all day for work, take several quick breaks where you get up from your desk and walk around. Or even better– buy and use a “treadmill desk.” Yes, they really do exist!
After meals, take walks. If you have to get somewhere, take the long way rather than shortcuts. If you ride on a bus or train, get off a stop or two early in order to have a longer walk to the car or home.
Play with your kids or other people’s kids– they’ll get you moving more than you’d do so on your own. Instead of going out to dinner with friends, where you’ll sit and eat, go for “walking dates” where you get together to walk around a pond, on a municipal path, or at the beach.
Finally, buy and use a device that tells you how many steps you’re getting everyday. That way you can accurately measure your progress. The more steps you take, the healthier you’ll be!
Have you heard of “Out of Sight, Out of Mind,” an approach to eating healthy? It’s basically about your food environment. If you don’t have junk food readily available at all times– if it’s not “in sight/in your mind,” then you’re less likely to eat it, right? So, for instance, if you clear your cupboards of cookies, potato chips and other foods that help put on pounds, you’ll be better off… when you open the cupboard, isn’t it so easy to grab the cookie jar and eat a whole bunch, quickly? But if it’s no longer there, you’re going to have to choose something else– something that’s better for you.
Imagine if you worked in a store that sold candy. All day long you had chocolate bars and gummy bears and such in front of you. On your break, you could use your discount to get some good deals on sugary snacks. Since they’re right there in front of you, and easily accessible, don’t you think you’d take advantage? And your weight would go up, up, up!
Researchers at Cornell University did a study that found the environment in which you eat can determine how much you weigh. One of the interesting findings was this: people who left fruit on their countertops weighed on average 13 pounds less than those who didn’t. Those with junk food on their countertops weighed… more.
Long story short, if you don’t have junk in the house, you’re less likely to eat junk daily. If you have fruits and veggies in the house, you’re likely to fill up on those instead of M&Ms and cake.
Meanwhile, if you want to eat healthier in general, take note of your portions. Perhaps try using smaller plates. When you go out to eat, get broccoli instead of fries. Use less ketchup on your burger and fries. Order water instead of pop. And if you don’t want to overindulge on certain foods and drinks, don’t go where they are– simple as that!
Next time someone suggests you all “go out for ice cream” and you’re trying to watch your weight, politely turn them down. And if they insist you go, look for alternatives/options with less calories, such as lemon ice, sorbet or yogurt.
Most computer users experience pain in their necks. There’s even a term for this: “tech neck.” It’s the act of stressing muscles while using computers, as well as phones and tablets. People put their necks into odd and/or fixed positions for long periods of time, resulting in painful necks, shoulders, etc. They can feel stiff and sore, and this is a problem that’s getting worse as more and more people utilize computers and such.
Just how long does the average person spend on a computer or device? Americans spend about six hours a day with digital media, which includes about three and a half hours on mobile devices. Holding the neck still for long periods of time isn’t good. It creates headaches, neck spasms and irritated shoulder joints.
If you don’t want to let computer use be a pain in the neck, what should you do?
It’s best to sit with your chair reclining about 30 degrees with a good lumbar support. The less slouching you do, the better. Even though you think you should always sit up straight, leaning back a little lets your body’s weight go into the chair instead of straight down the spine. With less force on the spine, you’ll hurt less.
Also, you should get up and move your body frequently– don’t just sit in the same position for hours at a desk. Get up and walk around every 20 minutes. This gets your blood circulating and you’re able to move your neck into a different position. If you can work standing up, do so– that’ll help, too.
Do you exercise regularly? If not, you should because aerobic activity can really help keep your neck, back and overall body healthier. It’s a good idea to exercise for about 30 minutes three or four times per week. Aerobic exercise sends oxygenated blood to tired muscles, “washing away” chemicals that cause inflammation and pain.
Finally, consider seeing a chiropractor for help with relieving your pain in the neck. If and when you experience pain in the neck from computer use, it’s a smart idea to make an appointment with Lakewoods Chiropractic; call 651-464-0800 to do so.
What are 10 reasons not to miss your chiropractic appointment?
10- If you’re going to a chiropractor, you’re proactively prevention-oriented. In other words, regular chiropractic appointments help keep you feeling better and healthier, avoiding illness and disease. If you want to prevent problems from starting and/or compounding, then you don’t want to miss a chiropractic appointment.
9- Chiropractic care is tailored to the individual. Your chiropractor is approaching you with care that’s specifically for you and your needs. Rather than just give you a general pill and hope you feel better, a chiropractor looks for problem areas on your body where he or she can use their hands to gently coax the body back into alignment and good working order. Chiropractors take into account your age, pre-existing health conditions, etc. They take both a holistic and specific approach to each person.
8- With chiropractic, it’s not “us vs. them.” It’s a partnership between the chiropractor and their patient. A chiropractor can’t help you progress toward your goal if you don’t show up for your appointment.
7- One adjustment probably won’t fix everything. Chiropractic care is cumulative and it takes time to work… each appointment builds on previous appointments as the chiropractor works toward the goal of getting you feeling better overall. Missing an appointment slows down progress.
6- If you want to improve your immune function– and most people do– then it’s important to not miss chiropractic appointments. Each time you’re adjusted, the chiropractor is helping boost white blood cells that help make for a healthy immune system.
5- People often feel better after their appointment. A chiropractor can calm people down, allaying their fears and stress.
4- By strengthening the body’s musculoskeletal system, regular appointments help boost athletic performance.
3- When a chiropractor works on the cervical spine, he or she makes adjustments that help stimulate cognitive function.
2- Want to ward off work-related injuries? Visiting the chiropractor helps.
1- A chiropractor sees a lot of patients. If you miss your appointment, you’re taking time away from another person who could be benefiting from having an appointment that day.
Kids see a trampoline and they’re drawn to it– they want to jump! But parents often worry about their kids playing around on a trampoline, and that worry is somewhat justified. Did you know the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages the use of trampolines at home? There’s a strong risk of injuries associated with trampoline jumping, including sprains, fractures, and serious neck and head injuries. Even letting kids play on public trampolines at trampoline parks can be a cause for concern.
Okay, so maybe it’s best to make your kids avoid trampolines all together, but how realistic is that? Kids will whine and whine until you give in! That said, there are some things you can do to help keep them safe during play. For instance, if you have or use a home trampoline, use a safety net and pads. The net surrounds the trampoline. The pads cover the frame, springs and surrounding landing surfaces. Of course, once you’ve got all that safety equipment in place, it’s important to check on it every now and then looking for tears, detachments and/or deterioration.
Another good idea is to place the trampoline at ground level rather than high off the ground. Can you imagine how it would feel for a kid to fall five or six feet to the ground if they accidentally fell/stepped off a trampoline that’s high in the air? Also, keep the trampoline away from trees, power lines, rocks, and any other hazards.
Should kids under 6 be on the trampoline? No. Should there be more than one kid on the trampoline at a time? Ideally, no. Once you’ve got a bunch of kids all together on the trampoline you increase their risk of injuries from bumping into each other. Also, risky moves such as somersaults and flips should be discouraged.
Finally, kids shouldn’t be left unsupervised on a trampoline. There should always be a responsible adult in view, paying attention to their play. If and when the trampoline shouldn’t be used, an adult should remove the ladder to it so kids won’t have access.
If and when someone gets injured on a trampoline, it’s a smart idea to make an appointment with Lakewoods Chiropractic; call 651-464-0800 to do so.
At a certain age– say about 50– most women stop producing eggs. Their body’s production of estrogen drops. They enter a phase of their life called menopause, signaled by 12 months since last menstruation. Common symptoms include hot flashes and vaginal dryness, as well as sleep disturbances, irritability, anxiety and/or depression.
What are some natural approaches to dealing with menopause such that it’s “easier?”
Consider Asian women who eat mostly plant-based diets. In studies, Asian women reported fewer hot flashes (10-22%) than American women (75%). Could food play a role? Certainly. American women should cut down on meat and fat when they’re approaching menopause and try switching to a rice-based, plant-based diet, which could conceivably lessen their experience with hot flashes. Historically, women who ate mostly vegetables and avoided dairy and fat reported few, if any, hot flashes– interesting, right?
Now if you’re not inclined to give up hamburgers, how can you deal with hot flashes? It turns out that regular aerobic exercise helps. This is the time in your life to take vigorous walks daily or do some water aerobics in the local pool.
What about vaginal dryness? During menopause, dryness, irritation and bacterial infections can occur. You might want to use plant-based creams to maintain a moist vaginal lining. Ordinary lubricants and moisturizers work, too.
What about the mental shift occurring during menopause? A woman might not be in her “right mind” during the process, complete with feelings of nervousness, depression, and/or even memory lapses. This is part of the process– and temporary. It can help to talk about these feelings with a trusted confidante.
Sunlight is important to women going through menopause. When sunlight touches the skin it gets the body to naturally produce vitamin D. This, in turn, helps the digestive tract absorb calcium from foods.
Meanwhile, menopausal women should get their spine and nervous system checked by a chiropractor. Adjustments can help balance the nerves, leading to better sleep and clearer thoughts. Since everything is connected, a chiropractor’s work on the upper neck and mid-to-lower back areas can positively affect other parts of the body such as the reproductive organ tissues and pelvic pain! A chiropractor removes nerve interference, allowing the body to naturally heal itself. And adjustments help lower elevated levels of the stress hormone Cortisol, balancing hormones without the dangerous effects of medications like HRT.
To take a natural approach to menopause, please call Lakewoods Chiropractic to make an appointment at 651-464-0800.
An extremity is a limb or appendage of the body, and with regards to chiropractic adjustments, we’re primarily talking about the hands and the feet.
While most people think of chiropractors dealing with bad backs, the truth is that chiropractors can and do work on many regions of the body to promote optimal function, including the extremities.
Most times, people who play sports on a regular basis need adjustments on certain joints and areas. For instance, tennis players often visit chiropractors to deal with pain in their hands and fingers. Sports that use the hands and feet in an intense and repetitive way put great strains on the joints in the extremities.
Arthritis, especially in older people, often manifests in the extremities.
Chiropractors use manual adjustments on the joints of the extremities to decrease inflammation and ultimately increase the range of motion. Feet, ankles, hands and wrists can all be “worked on” by a chiropractor in order to stimulate blood flow, reduce wear and tear, and, overall, help relieve pain and make them feel much better.
In the body, everything is connected. So, if one part of the body isn’t functioning properly, other parts have to compensate. If you’ve got pain in one ankle, you’ll end up shifting your weight when you walk and then putting more and more pressure on the other ankle. This is do-able for the short-term, but it’s not a long-term solution to the problem. A chiropractor seeks to fix your problem area such that your body can be in proper alignment and good working order. When everything is in its right place, then the body doesn’t have to overcompensate, which leads to misalignments.
If you experience cold extremities, that’s usually the result of poor circulation. High blood pressure, obesity, arterial blockage, poor heart function and stress can all lead to the constriction of blood vessels, which, in turn, means poor circulation. Chiropractic manipulation and other natural approaches, including massage and acupressure, have helped many patients relieve stress and, ultimately, improved circulation in/to their hands and feet.
Do you suffer from cold feet or cold hands? Do you have pain in your wrists and/or ankles? How do your fingers feel? Is one of them numb? These are things you should discuss with your chiropractor. Please call Lakewoods Chiropractic to make an appointment at 651-464-0800.
Father’s Day is June 16. It’s a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society.
If you’re a dad or you know someone who is a dad, you know that dads take on a lot of stress and responsibilities for their families. They worry about things like paying the bills, cutting the grass, taking out the garbage, and, of course, raising decent, healthy, happy kids.
One of the main reasons a dad sees a chiropractor is because his lower back hurts. And this is usually because he’s been picking up his kid or kids and putting them over his head, twirling them around like a human amusement park ride, and/or wrestling on the floor with all sorts of twists and contortions.
How can dads play with their kids in a way that doesn’t bother their joints, muscles, and backs? Well, think of the body like a cold rubber band. If it’s frozen, it snaps. But if it’s warm, it works well. The same is true for a dad bod… So before you pick up a crying baby or your heavy 8-year-old, do some squats or walk up and down the stairs. This will get your blood flowing, and help your body get ready and warmed up to handle dealing with little ones.
What about slouching? Most dads do this, and it’s not helpful. Poor posture often means a visit to the chiropractor. That said, dads should make an effort to slouch less in life. Office jobs mean sitting in one position for hours, right? Dads should get up from their desks and walk around every 20-30 minutes, moving their bodies. This can prevent pain! At a desk, take a deep breath and push your shoulders down and your chest out.
Dads deal with a lot of things. Therefore, they should prepare their body for a variable load. Doing different kinds of exercises with weights helps dads prepare for dealing with 2-year-olds and kids in general. Do planks, deadlifts, lunges and work your core to strengthen it.
Finally, know your limits. While most dads try to impress everyone around them, sometimes there are activities just not worth doing because they will result in pain. If you want to prevent pain, avoid doing things that cause it.
One of the main reasons people visit chiropractors is because they want to feel better. Whether they have pain in their neck, shoulders, back or elsewhere, the hope is that a chiropractor can help relieve that pain through manual adjustments. It’s a natural way to deal with problems in the body.
A person’s health is, of course, physical, but also mental. Your body and mind are connected. Therefore, in order to improve your overall health, you should strive to develop a wellness attitude.
What is wellness? It’s the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal. What is attitude? It’s a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something. It’s typically reflected in a person’s behavior.
There are certain things you can do to develop a wellness attitude.
First, consider the 80/20 approach to life. Most people, when they want to be healthier, decide to eat nothing but healthy foods and exercise like there’s no tomorrow. But that’s too intense! Instead, consider taking the 80/20 approach, whereas you make healthy food/drink choices 80 percent of the time for 5 or 6 days a week and “do what you want” the other 20 percent of the week. This way, you’re still able to enjoy the things you like, such as beer and pizza. You’re not totally denying yourself. But, because you’ve got a goal in mind to eat “better” 80 percent of your week, you’re going to improve your overall health. Eating healthy means choosing foods that aren’t high in calories. It means choosing higher-protein snacks. It means avoiding sugary processed foods. So, for 6 days a week, eat things like carrots, peppers, yogurt, nuts, and turkey. Then on day 7, allow yourself some leeway, and eat cookies, pastries, etc.
Next, set small, achievable goals. Rather than saying, “I need to lose 20 pounds this month!” you should say, “I’m going to work to lose 3 pounds this month.” That’s more realistic.
In order to develop a wellness attitude, start thinking about your time and decide to manage it more efficiently. What are you doing with your time to feel better about you and your life? Make a list of priorities and then assign weights to them– what’s high priority? What’s low? For instance, “going to the gym to swim at their pool” could be high-priority such that, in your mind, you’ve got it down on the calendar for Tuesdays and Thursdays at Noon. That’s do-able. What’s low priority? Maybe “going to the bar to drink with friends.”
Take some time to think about how you spend your time and what you do with your mind and body… if you smoke, do whatever it takes to quit. If you don’t exercise, now’s the time to get some accountability and actually exercise– having a friend or a coach who you “check in with” or who “directs” you can help with this.
Finally, to develop a wellness attitude, commit to “me time” where you clean yourself well (washing your hands, your hair, etc.), sleep/rest, stretch, dance, read the Bible or an inspirational book, pray, meditate, etc. Oh, and see your chiropractor regularly, so that your body is in alignment and can function optimally.
Chiropractic doctors check for a misalignment of the bones in a person’s spine. A misalignment puts pressure on the nerves that control everything in your body, resulting in pain. Chiropractors use hands-on manipulation to naturally correct misalignments such that patients don’t have to resort to using pills for pain relief.
Do chiropractic adjustments help improve a person’s well-being? Definitely. Chiropractors physically manipulate bodies to promote musculoskeletal alignment. When “everything is in its rightful and proper place,” then a patient’s mobility, ability and strength improves. Having a properly aligned spinal cord improves a person’s immune system function, too.
Most people who visit doctors have in their minds what they want doctors to hear, but most doctors don’t do that great a job at listening to their patients. They like treating symptoms rather than conditions. A chiropractor, though, is oftentimes a better listener– someone who is willing to truly listen to what a patient describes and then work with them to improve their overall condition. In a way, you could describe chiropractic care as “getting to the root of the problem,” rather than a medical doctor’s gruff way of “prescribing a pill for the symptom.” If that’s not enough to cause someone to take a second and think, “This is a better approach to my health and well-being,” then what is?
Pills and surgeries often bring with them more problems… harsh side effects, long term negative changes in the body, and/or a diminished quality of life after “care.” A chiropractor, however, helps patients achieve their wellness goals naturally, without the risk of long-term side effects, toxins and chemicals.
If you’re someone who has constant back pain, life can be difficult. The same goes for chronic neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, etc. Pain messes with a person’s well-being. Chiropractors are in the business of relieving people’s pain. When this occurs, patients feel like they have a new lease on life. “It doesn’t hurt like it used to,” they’ll say with a smile. “And now I can do what I want to do, again. Yes!”
If you’re looking to improve both your mental and emotional well-being, you need to reduce or eliminate the problems your body is currently experiencing– problems that are hampering your lifestyle! Therefore, make an appointment with Dr. Jason Gerard at Lakewoods Chiropractic today by calling 651-464-0800. Let the healing begin!