Let’s talk about your posture and pain, chiropractic helping headaches, being healthy and fit as a senior citizen, and eating your water.
POSTURE AND YOUR PAIN
Make a fist and hold it for 60 seconds or until you finish reading this article. Your posture, and the positions you hold your head, back and pelvis all determine how tight or relaxed your muscles will be during the day. Muscles are meant to move, but in today’s sedentary society you sit for way too long; eating, driving, working and relaxing all include sitting. Now add an uneven variable like driving with one arm, using a mouse at the computer all day, lifting and carrying things with only one arm, or leaning forward in a slouched position for hours at a time. These “actions” tighten muscles and lead to tension and spasms. This is known as postural overload.
This daily and chronic postural overload is not good for your circulation or your flexibility, which can lead to adaptive shortening. Keeping your muscles locked in a stationary position is like keeping your hand clenched in a fist all day. (has your hand started to ache yet?) In order to keep your blood flowing you have to move your muscles, and in order to keep a flexible and relaxed body you have to sit in a neutral and relaxed position.
Lately I have been treating a number of people with chronic shoulder blade pain, which they describe as a knot or knife sticking in to them underneath the shoulder blade. Sometimes it hurts when they move and others say it only hurts at rest, but either way, it’s annoying. Why is this and what can be done about it? In most cases the cause is lack of movement over a number of hours per day, per week, per month, so the best thing to do is start moving your shoulders and back regularly throughout the day with simple stretches and taking a break every 30 to 60 minutes from what you are doing.
The easiest stretches to do to relieve stress and tension from your muscles are:
Backbends – stand up, clasp your hands together and raise them above your head, reaching up and slightly back, feeling a stretch in your shoulders and low back. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat throughout the day.
Shoulder rolls – roll your shoulders by lifting them up, back, down and forward in a circle 5 to 10 times, then reverse and do it the opposite way. Do this anytime, anywhere.
Windmills – standing up, lift your arms out to your sides and then slowly rotate left and right about 10 times. This will stretch your back and boost your circulation.
You may unclench your fist now. Does it feel tight and stiff? Possibly colder? This is what you do every day when you remain in a fixed position for hours at a time.
A Spine Journal study found that in patients suffering from cervicogenic headache, spinal manipulation cuts the number of symptomatic days in half:
256 adults with chronic cervicogenic headache (CGH) were randomized to four dose levels of chiropractic SMT: 0, 6, 12, or 18 sessions. Participants were treated three times per week for 6 weeks and received a focused light-massage control at sessions when SMT was not assigned. A linear dose-response was observed for all follow-ups, a reduction of approximately 1 CGH day/month for each additional 6 SMT visits. Cervicogenic headache days/month were reduced from about 16 to 8 for the highest and most effective dose of 18 SMT visits. Cervicogenic headache intensity showed no important improvement nor differed by dose.
Incidentally, SMT proved to be more effective than massage for CGH.
Reclaim your Golden Years with a Fit mind and body
By Jason Lewis. Visit him at: http://strongwell.org/
Exercise is an important part of everyone’s overall health and well-being, but it’s especially critical for people over the age of 65. Exercise plays a pivotal role in seniors’ physical and mental health from managing blood pressure to staving off depression. In fact, seniors who practice moderate exercise for as little as 30 minutes a day will see a decrease in the impact of illness, chronic disease and mental health issues.
A regular workout routine enhances mobility and balance, improves mood and reduces disease and illnesses. It has even been shown to help postpone the onset of dementia— giving seniors the ability to live independently for much longer. Are you over the age of 65 and looking to take back control of your physical and mental health? These four tips on exercise will help you get fit and stay fit.
Walking is the easiest and most effective way for seniors to stay in shape. Walking has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health, one of the biggest physical health risks for seniors. Best of all, walking can be a social activity—either walking while talking on the phone or out in a park with a friend. Senior isolation is a sad reality for many people, and can lead to depression and even premature death. Walking with others is a powerful tool for protecting physical and mental health.
Many seniors think they can’t do yoga because they believe it’s for people who can stand on their heads or curl up like a pretzel, but in reality, if you can breathe, you can practice yoga. Seniors with arthritis or pain in their hips or knees could try Yin yoga, which helps stretch and strengthen connective tissues and joints. Seniors looking to improve posture and balance should check out an Iyengar yoga class, and for those looking for a calm and meditative way to end the day, a gentle Hatha class will unwind both mind and body.
For many of us, exercise works best when we have someone holding us accountable. If you have some major lifestyle changes to make, working with a personal trainer who specializes in senior health can be the extra push you need. A personal trainer will assess your current physical fitness level and create a plan that helps you achieve your goals. As you start to see improvements, you’ll feel a surge in confidence, self-esteem and happiness. That’s one of the reasons why doctors link exercise to boosted mental health — seeing a reduction in depression and anxiety, and improvement in memory.
Swimming is a great low-impact exercise for seniors who are battling joint and muscle pain. You can also do a lot more in a pool than just swimming. Jogging in a swimming pool is an ideal exercise for a senior dealing with knee pain. Water aerobics can help seniors burn calories with cardio, while also protecting their hips, knees and ankles from the stress and strain of high impact exercises. For example, doing jumping jacks is a lot safer on the lower body in the water than on the ground. Plus, the natural resistance of the water increases the strength-training element.
Our western culture promotes a sedentary lifestyle. We work all day at desks, only to come home to our comfy couches and TVs. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in moderation, too much sitting definitely is. You deserve to enjoy your golden years, and exercise can help. Not only will you be physically able to do the things you want, you’ll be mentally stronger, as well.
NUTRITION – Eat your water
In a recent article in BottomLine Health by Dana G. Cohen, M.D., an authority on integrative medicine, addressed the issue of getting enough water in your system every day. The water in foods is more hydrating than liquid water and contains electrolytes, which help with bodily functions. She suggests that in addition to your daily glasses of water that you do four things; 1) drink 1 or 2 veggie-based smoothies a day. This will help increase hydration and improve your energy. You may use basically any combination of vegetables with a little fruit for flavor. 2) Eat hydrating vegetables such as cucumbers, romaine lettuce, celery, radish, zucchini and fruit such as watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, kiwi, apples and pears. Every day include some of these fruits and vegetables. 3) Use natural salt. Processed salt has been stripped of any beneficial minerals, but sea salt, Celtic and Himalayan salt also have iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium, along with sodium. These minerals help improve hydration. (She also suggests avoiding processed foods because of their high levels of unhealthy salt). 4) Move moisture with movement. Whenever you move, the pulsing of the muscles moves the water in your body through the fascia (connective tissue). Even the smallest movements like tapping your foot or moving your head helps propel the water droplets in the fascia into your cells. Following these 4 suggestions will make a huge contribution to your health and well-being.
THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH
Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow; don’t walk behind me, I may not lead; walk beside me, and just be my friend. – Albert Camus
Every experience in life, everything with which we have come in contact in life, is a chisel which has been cutting away at our life statue, molding, modifying, shaping it. We are part of all we have met. Everything we have seen, heard, felt, or thought has had its hand in molding us, shaping us. – Orison Swett Marden
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. – Isaac Newton
I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit. – John F. Kennedy
Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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