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Chiropractic & Exercise: Perfect Fibromyalgia Treatment

Chiropractic & Exercise: Perfect Fibromyalgia Treatment

Anyone with a chronic pain condition like fibromyalgia knows it can be difficult to adhere to a complex set of treatment instructions: physical therapy, medications, creams, journals, the list goes on. We get busy or forget and sometimes don’t comply completely with the treatment, but sooner or later the pain creeps back in.  It turns out that regular chiropractic visits can actually help fibromyalgia patients adhere to long-term physical-therapy programs, thereby ensuring that patients receive the full benefits of exercise.

In a 2009 study, 55 women with fibromyalgia ages 21-59 years old were divided into two groups: some completed resistance training and the others received chiropractic adjustments in addition to doing resistance training.  Both groups improved significantly with increased upper and lower body strength, decreased pain and tender points, and an improved ability to perform everyday tasks. But the patients who received chiropractic care were more likely to follow the exercise program consistently. They also had more significant improvements in functionality, balance, flexibility, and endurance.

This study confirmed the power of exercise and resistance training to ease the pain of fibromyalgia. At the same time, it demonstrates that combining chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy may enhance the benefits of both treatments.

Panton LB, Figueroa A, Kingsley JD, et al. “Effects of resistance training and chiropractic treatment in women with fibromyalgia.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 15.3 (2009): 321-328.

“Exercise” Versus “Lifestyle Activity”: How Active Are You—Really?

“Exercise” Versus “Lifestyle Activity”: How Active Are You—Really?

If you are like most people, working out just for the sake of working out does not really appeal (although there are many dedicated gym buffs who couldn’t live without their daily workouts!). We all know that it’s important to exercise regularly if we want to live a long and healthy life. However, if you find the idea of trotting along on a treadmill for 15 minutes and then spending half an hour of working out on Nautilus machines to be about as exciting as a trip to the dentist, then this article is for you!

Experts recommend that we get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week to stay in shape. But many people find taking this much exercise at once (or in three 50-minute stretches) too daunting. The good news is that a recent study conducted by researchers at Boston University that was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that bouts of exercise lasting less than 10 minutes a couple of times daily, such as the kind you get when cleaning the house, were sufficient to meet your weekly exercise needs.

Over 2,000 participants were included in the study, more than half of whom were overweight. Motion detectors were attached to each of the subjects for eight days, and an average of half the participants met their weekly exercise quota of 150 minutes. The average participant met his or her quota with exercise that lasted less than 10 minutes at a time. The types of exercise ranged from moderate (heavy cleaning, walking briskly and sports such as golf and badminton) to vigorous (running, hiking, shoveling and farm work).

As long as the participants met their 150-minute per week quota, no matter the length of their exercise, they had lower body mass index, smaller waists, lower triglycerides and better cholesterol levels than those who did not meet the quota. Assistant professor at Boston University’s School of Medicine, Nicole Glazer, says “But this study really speaks to the idea that some activity is better than nothing. Parking a little bit farther away, getting off the bus one stop early—all of these little things can add up and are related to a healthier profile.”

For years, researchers have studied the effects of exercise from practicing sports or visiting the gym. However, according to Glazer, “This idea of lifestyle activity is one that is under-measured in research studies.” Activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, using a push mower instead of a riding mower, etc. can add up to a significant amount of energy expenditure. Experts still stress that it’s important to also get in some traditional forms of exercise and not merely replace it with lifestyle activity. Still, any exercise is useful.

“The levels of sedentary behavior in this country are alarming. So the concern that someone’s going to stop exercising and instead just get off the bus a stop earlier, that’s not my concern,” Glazer says. “The real concern is, is this a stepping-stone? Is this the way we can get inactive people to do any sort of activity? People will come up with any excuse to not exercise. I don’t need to worry about my giving them one. They’ll be able to think of something.”

Remember Dr. Oblander’s adage: If you don’t use it, you will lose it! Make sure that you figure out a way to move and remain active…no matter what your age is or your athletic ability!

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Exercise Treats and Prevents Depression

Exercise Treats and Prevents Depression

We all know physical activity can do wonders for lifting the mood, but new research shows that regular exercise may actually prevent the onset of depression.

Although earlier research has demonstrated the positive effects of exercise on mental and physical health, there have been no major literature reviews analyzing the effects of exercise on the risk of depression.

Publishing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, PhD candidate George Mammen conducted the first longitudinal review of the effects of physical activity on mental health. The meta-analysis included 26 years of research including 30 peer-reviewed studies.

Even low levels of physical activity like walking or gardening for 30 minutes per day was enough to prevent depression, regardless of age. Although genetic predispositions can increase your risk of depression, the research shows that lifestyle habits can play a significant role in prevention.

“We need a prevention strategy now more than ever,” Mammen said. “Our health system is taxed. We need to shift focus and look for ways to fend off depression from the start.”

Of course, exercise has also been shown to prevent and reduce symptoms of chronic back pain, knee osteoarthritis, neck pain, migraine, and more.

“It’s definitely worth taking note that if you’re currently active, you should sustain it. If you’re not physically active, you should initiate the habit,” Mammen noted. “This review shows promising evidence that the impact of being active goes far beyond the physical.”

References

Moderate exercise not only treats, but prevents depression. Media Room. http://media.utoronto.ca/media-releases/moderate-exercise-not-only-treats-but-prevents-depression/

 George Mammen, Guy Faulkner. Physical Activity and the Prevention of Depression. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2013; 45 (5): 649 DOI:10.1016/j.amepre.2013.08.001

Shared from the following website: https://www.chironexus.net/2013/11/exercise-treats-prevents-depression/

Top 5 Workouts for Increasing Range of Motion in Your Back

Top 5 Workouts for Increasing Range of Motion in Your Back

man-jumping-on-balcony

Back pain can have a truly negative effect on your professional life as well as your lifestyle. It can be difficult to get out of bed and make the morning commute.  Then—depending on what you do for a living—pain and limited mobility can take a huge toll on your productivity while you’re at work. And when you return home, you may also find that you’re not able to do the active things you enjoy with your family and friends.  It’s no wonder that chronic back pain can lead to depression.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from back pain, the good news is that there are things that can be done about it. First of all, it’s essential that you get proper medical attention so that your condition can be diagnosed and an appropriate treatment plan can be put in place. Dr. Oblander and other chiropractic physicians are experts at diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems as well as problems with the nervous system. Depending on your specific situation, he or she may recommend a variety of in-office treatment options to help relieve pain and restore function.  Your doctor may also prescribe a series of at-home exercises or stretches designed to increase the range of motion in your back.

Range of motion is the movement of a joint from full flexion (flexed) to full extension. Certain back problems, ranging from spinal misalignment and muscle imbalances to sprains, strains and pinched nerves (just to name a few), can significantly limit how much you can move. Here are workouts that can help improve your back’s mobility. Remember—use these only after consulting with your chiropractor!

  • Aquatic exercise. Perfect as a low-impact exercise that’s gentle on your joints and muscles, swimming and other water exercises are a great way to ease your back into working out. It is especially beneficial when the water is warm—say, between 83 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have access to a heated pool, check out the gyms in your town. Many of the big-name gyms feature not only heated swimming pools, but also hot tubs and steam rooms, which can help relax your joints and muscles, giving them a much-needed break.
  • As simple as it sounds, walking is a great way to get simple, accessible exercise. It also strengthens your heart, lungs and overall endurance. Make sure you wear appropriate footwear and take it easy—there’s no need to start out walking miles a day unless you’re up to it. Again, ask your chiropractor for his or her advice.
  • Strength and resistance training. According to Harvard Medical School, not only is resistance training good for increasing range of motion, but it also strengthens your heart, lungs, and overall endurance.
  • Tai chi. An ancient form of Chinese exercise, tai chi is practiced through a series of slow moving poses that can be very effective at extending your range of motion. In addition to increasing flexibility, it is also purported to strengthen muscles, and develop balance and coordination.
  • Like tai chi, yoga is another very old form of exercise. Developed in India over a great many years, yoga eases stiffness in muscles and encourages greater range of motion. Just be careful not to overdo it—it could be detrimental to your condition.

If you need help with addressing your back pain, be sure to give our office a call at 406-652-3553 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Oblander!

 

Healthy Lifestyle Choices Are a Team Effort for Couples

Healthy Lifestyle Choices Are a Team Effort for Couples

couple-playing

These days, with divorce statistics skyrocketing, it’s easy to focus on the “for worse” part of the traditional marriage vow. But the simple fact remains that a good marriage—or a healthy long-term relationship of any kind—brings lots of benefits to both partners. So we thought it would be a good idea to remind our readers about the “for better” aspects of marriage—particularly as they related to health and well-being.

As sociologist Linda Waite puts it, “Marriage is sort of like a life preserver or a seat belt. We can put it in exactly the same category as eating a good diet, getting exercise, and not smoking.” Your relationship can provide an opportunity for partnership in more areas than sharing finances and raising children. You and your partner can work together to improve each other’s health and state of well-being. Here are a few tips from health experts to help you do this.

  • Exercise together. When couples meet, chances are each of them has his or her own regular exercise regimen. And chances are they involve different forms of exercise. Just as an example, she may prefer aerobics or running, while he prefers sports like golf and tennis. Well, here is an opportunity to “cross-pollinate” and for couples to try each other’s exercise regimens from time to time. Naturally, working out together also tends to keep both parties exercising regularly, because you’re doing it as a team, not on your own. If it’s looking a little chilly outside, you might be tempted to skip your evening run if it’s just you, but if you know that your partner is counting on going with you, you might just go anyway.
  • Learn from each other’s food preferences. Some studies have shown that in traditional marriages, men tend to eat better after marriage than before. This may be due to the fact that men typically haven’t been taught to cook in the home as young boys in the same way that girls traditionally have (though there are abundant signs that girls and young women now share men’s unfamiliarity with the kitchen). So eating—whether at home or at a restaurant—can become an exercise in learning from your partner’s tastes, and possibly expanding your own. Think you hate broccoli? Well, that was before you tasted your spouse’s recipe for it, right? Eat too many salty or sugary snacks while watching TV? That was before your partner shared their recipe for veggie snacks with the cucumber-coriander dip. As a general tip, health experts say you should look carefully at your partner’s food choices and follow the lead of the person with the healthier diet.
  • Lose weight together. Just as your relationship provides an opportunity to inspire each other when it comes to exercise, it can also be a godsend when one or both of you needs to drop a few pounds. Agree on your mutual weight loss goals, and then go shopping together, and stock your kitchen only with foods that support those goals. Whether you’re trying to cut down on sugar, fat, salt, or other foods that help to keep weight on, working together to stick to a healthier diet can be a lot easier than doing it on your own.
  • Don’t forget the V word. Vacations. Many men—and increasing numbers of women—find themselves in the work rut and fail to find time on the calendar for vacations. Then they wonder why they get sick or find themselves depressed. Planning a vacation together gives both parties the opportunity to figure out just which destinations and activities best suit their preferences and their health goals. Going on these vacations works magic; in one study of 12,000 men, those who took yearly vacations had a significantly lower risk of death than those who did not.
  • Learn things together. Many studies are proving the wisdom of “use it or lose it” with regard to brain health. And one of the proven ways of “using” your brain and thus keeping it free from cognitive degeneration and Alzheimer’s is to keep learning. Again, this is easier as a team than on one’s own. We all know how easy it is to veg out in front of a TV alone, but if you’ve signed up for a language course or have joined the same weekly book club as your partner, you’re more likely to actually keep learning.
  • Go to bed together. No, we don’t necessarily mean “go to bed and have sex” together, although that’s good for your mutual health, too. Instead, studies have shown that couples who have similar sleep schedules are healthier and have fewer incidences of common diseases. Chronic sleep deprivation is becoming a national public health issue, so if you can work out compatible sleep schedules with your partner, chances are it’ll make both of you healthier.
  • Laugh a lot. Let’s face it…how many of us laugh out loud when we’re alone? Do it too much, and people might even begin to think you’re weird. But if you’re like most people, one of the reasons you chose your partner is because he or she makes you laugh. There have been numerous studies that have shown that the more genuine laughs you have per day, the healthier your probably are. So keep amusing each other, and keep laughing at each other’s jokes. It might just provide the mechanism for laughing together for the next fifty or more years, and what’s not to like about that?
Most Effective “Low Impact” Cardio Exercises

Most Effective “Low Impact” Cardio Exercises

Why “low impact” cardio exercises? Imagine reaching your “golden years” with a buff beach body only to be told that you can’t jog or run anymore because your knee cartilage has been worn thin or you have damaged vertebrae. The last thing you want to do is ruin your body while trying to stay in shape. Here we present some good low impact cardio exercises that can help you maintain a healthy cardiovascular system without causing damage to your musculoskeletal system.

Walking—This simple exercise places far less stress on the knees than jogging, running or pounding the stairs. If this sounds too boring, try changing your route. Explore different streets or roads. Also, you might take this to the next level and include hiking on trails or through the woods. Be sure to follow experts’ recommendations about hiking dos and don’ts. Add extra energy to your routine by swinging or rotating your arms to the sides. Involving your upper body as you walk can get your heart beating more vigorously.

Speed Walking—It’s impossible to do speed walking without involving the upper body. This is low-impact movement on rocket thrusters. The most efficient position is to keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and be sure they remain close to your body. Be sure to stick to flat, smooth surfaces to reduce the chances of injury.

Cycling—For even less impact, take your bicycle out for a spin. If your bicycle is properly adjusted to your size, there should be no strain on your knees. You can cover far more territory, do more sightseeing and get lots of cardiovascular benefit.

Stairs—Walking up stairs is a powerful way to work your body. Don’t become impatient, though. You don’t want the walking to become jogging. That would turn your low impact routine into high impact. Make certain you softly plant each foot in turn on the next step and use the strength in your legs to push you upward.

Swimming—If you’re just starting an exercise program or returning after years of relative inactivity, swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise option. Taking to the pool can build up vast reservoirs of cardiovascular health because swimming can work the entire body, depending on the strokes you use.

Dancing—Take a dance class. Whether you’re into ballroom, tap, ballet or modern dance, you can get a low impact workout while having fun with others.

If you already suffer from thin cartilage, don’t let that stop you from exercising. One study did MRIs on 50–80 year olds, all healthy men. The results showed that more exercise led to thicker knee cartilage. The consensus was that exercise helped to repair cartilage deficiencies. Everything else being equal, the body is amazing in its ability to repair itself. And these low impact exercises can work wonders for your long-term cardiovascular health.

Remember that one of the best things you can do for your health is to also get adjusted regularly!

 

Falls Among Seniors: What You Should Know

Falls Among Seniors: What You Should Know

— seen against the afternoon sun

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults over the age of 65 has a fall in any given year. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for adults in this age range, as well as the most common cause of trauma-related hospital admissions. More than 1.6 million older adults go to the emergency room for fall-related injuries each year in the United States. Whether you are above the age of 65, or you care for someone who is, knowing how to prevent a fall could help you save a life.

There are several risk factors that you can address to help prevent a fall. The first factor is a lack of physical activity. As adults grow older it becomes difficult to exercise on a regular basis. This leads to a decrease in strength and a loss of bone flexibility and mass. All of these factors can make falls more likely and injuries more severe.

Fortunately, there are ways for older adults to stay active. Regular exercise is the best place to start. Fifteen minutes of an exercise designed to increase bone and muscle strength should be done every other day. This can be as simple as taking a walk or going for a swim a few times a week.

The risk of falls increases when seniors do not take adequate time to carry out daily activities. It is important to stay safe and to take your time when bending over and when lifting things. Be sure to recover your balance first before taking a step when getting out of bed or a chair.

Seniors on medications may find that their balance is impaired and their mental alertness is reduced. Some medications can cause a drop in blood pressure while you are standing up, throwing you off balance. Be sure to understand all of the side effects of your medications, and be clear with your doctor about any fears you have about your balance. He or she may be able to reduce your dosage to help keep the side effects under control.

Environmental hazards are one of the biggest risk factors for senior falls. These hazards can include items on the floor that are easy to trip on, loose rugs, unsteady furniture, and poor lighting.

To reduce the risk of environmental factors causing a fall, take time to walk through the house to locate any potential hazards. Rugs can be secured with nonskid tape and throw rugs can be removed altogether. Furniture should be kept in good repair and clutter should be kept to a minimum. Finally, consider having grab bars installed to help you get up and down securely.

Falls among seniors can be frightening, but there are steps that you can take to help prevent them. By being cautious and staying in good health, seniors can increase their chances of avoiding harmful falls.

Top 7 Exercises for More Core Muscle Strength

Top 7 Exercises for More Core Muscle Strength

Top 7 Exercises for More Core Muscle Strength
Top 7 Exercises for More Core Muscle Strength

Sitting for long periods of time has a detrimental effect on our “core” muscles. These are the muscles responsible for keeping us upright and allowing us to twist and bend without falling over. It is important to keep these muscles strengthened in order to avoid chronic low back pain and injuries that may result from lifting heavy objects. The stronger your core, the less prone you are to injury. The following seven core muscle exercises are particularly good for strengthening these muscles. Hold each pose (except for the bicycle ab crunch) for at least 10 seconds and repeat 5 to 10 times.

Superman – Lie face-down on the floor with your arms straight out in front of you and your knees together. Simultaneously lift your arms, upper chest and legs off the floor, balancing on your pelvis.

Bridge ­– Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, as close to your buttocks as possible, with your arms close to your sides. Contracting your abdominal muscles, raise your hips toward the ceiling until a straight line is formed between your knees and neck.

Modified V-sit – Start while seated on the floor with your knees bent in front of you and feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly on your hands and lift your feet off the floor so you are balanced on your buttocks (making a sort of square root symbol), then hold your arms straight out in front of you, on each side of your knees. Once you have gained some experience, you can work up to straightening your legs so you form a “V.”

Plank – Lie on your stomach with your elbows close to your sides and directly under the shoulders, with palms down and hands facing forward. Keeping your legs straight, lift your entire torso and hips off the floor, balancing on your toes and forearms. Your head should be parallel with your spine, looking at the floor.

Side plank – Start by lying on your side, resting on your forearm and on the outside of your foot, with one foot on the other. Placing your elbow directly beneath your shoulder, align your head with your spine while keeping your hips and knee in contact with the floor. Lift your hips and knees off the floor, keeping your upper arm flat against your side and balancing on your forearm and foot. For a greater challenge, raise up onto your hand and stretch your upper arm out, forming a leaning “T.”

Bird dog – On your hands and knees, place your hands directly below your shoulders, while aligning your head and neck with your back. Stretch your left arm out in front of you, parallel to the floor, while extending your right leg straight out behind you, being sure not to arch your lower back. Repeat with opposite arm and leg.

Bicycle ab crunch – Lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head. Curl your body forward, like performing a crunch, bringing your left knee towards your right elbow while extending your right leg out, lifted slightly off the floor. Keeping your shoulders off the floor, switch your crunch to right knee and left elbow, while extending the left leg. Keep alternating from left to right for about a minute.

 

Being a Great Fitness Buddy

Being a Great Fitness Buddy

Studies have shown that one of the best ways to stick to your fitness regime is to have a reliable fitness partner. Being a fitness buddy means that someone else is counting on you to make them accountable for their workout, keep them inspired and ensure that they are not alone in their quest for fitness. To be a great fitness buddy you just need to keep a few basic guidelines in mind:

You should both have similar goals ­– If you are training for a place on the Olympic team and your fitness buddy just wants the occasional weekend workout, neither of you is likely to meet your goal. This does not mean that you have to share the same goal, but they should be relatively comparable. That way, you can encourage your partner to meet their goal while not losing sight of your own.

Find someone at a similar fitness level – Your fitness partner does not want to feel like they are being left behind if you are at a much higher level than they are. Similarly, choosing someone at a higher level may make them feel like they have to hold back. Having the same starting point is more motivating for you both.

Be reliable – Always show up when you say you are going to. Your fitness buddy will be more motivated knowing that he or she can count on you to be there for a scheduled workout. You should ideally have similar schedules so that your partner does not have to work around your previous commitments.

Don’t hesitate to push your partner – It’s natural to want to do as little work as possible to reach our goals. But encouraging your fitness buddy to push themselves a little farther than they might on their own can help them to reach their goals a little faster. Never push them beyond what they can safely do, but there is no harm in encouraging your partner to push beyond what they perceive are their limits, and they will be pleasantly surprised at how much they can accomplish that they never thought they could.

Keep focused – Help your partner to keep focused on his or her workout by ensuring that your mind does not wander off or become distracted by the cute guy or girl walking by in the gym.

Provide useful criticism ­– Do not hesitate to correct your workout partner if you feel he or she is using bad form or doing something unsafe. Part of the responsibility of being a great fitness buddy is ensuring that your fitness partner does not become injured during their workout and that they perform to the best of their ability.

 

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Staying Healthy at the Office

Staying Healthy at the Office

Staying Healthy at the Office
Staying Healthy at the Office

When you work in an office job—even one that’s otherwise rewarding—it’s easy to feel trapped in a day-to-day pattern that doesn’t seem to leave much room for physical exercise or healthy eating. And this is true even though more and more Americans are becoming aware that sitting for long periods of time, often without a break, is hazardous to your health.

The simple truth is that they’re right to be concerned. One study conducted in 2010 indicated that “men who reported more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported fewer than 11 hours a week of sedentary activity.” And yet the nature of office work is essentially sedentary. So what can you do to change that fact and improve your health? This article lists a number of suggestions that may help.

  • Eat breakfast. Studies have shown that workers who eat breakfast have better concentration than those who only drink coffee in the mornings. In addition, those who eat breakfast tend to eat less during the day than those who do not, and thus more easily avoid gaining weight.
  • Bike or walk to work. If you live close to work, biking or walking can provide much of the exercise you need each week, and you can arrive at work feeling more energized after spending some time in the fresh air. If you take public transportation to work, consider getting off one or two stops earlier and walking the rest of the way.
  • Take frequent short breaks. Even if you take a longer break for lunch or to go to the gym, sitting for long, uninterrupted periods of time can still be hazardous. Studies have shown that taking micro-breaks (getting up from your desk and moving around every 15 minutes or so) can be more valuable than taking a longer break only once a day.
  • Use the stairs. Why ride in a stuffy metal box with 10 other people when you could get a little healthful exercise?
  • Drink lots of water. Experts recommend you drink 4 to 6 glasses a day to keep yourself hydrated and healthy. If you have to get up to refill your glass from the drinking fountain or the refrigerator, that’ll also provide an opportunity for another micro-break.
  • Don’t forget about fresh air. Offices can often be stuffy and under-ventilated.  If possible, open a window near your desk. If not, be sure to take occasional breaks outside the building, even if only for short periods of time.
  • Bring a healthy lunch and snacks from home. Rather than eating in the cafeteria, make a healthy lunch at home and sit outside when eating it. Instead of eating sugary snacks from vending machines, bring fruit and nuts and snack on them.
  • Think ergonomically. Adjust your chair to fit your body and sit with your feet flat on the floor. Position your computer monitor at eye level and your keyboard at elbow level, so that your wrists are straight when you type. Move your whole arm when you use the mouse, not just your wrist.
  • Stretch at your desk. You may not be able to jog or do push-ups at your desk, but you can certainly stretch and release tension from your arms, neck, shoulders, and fingers.
  • Exercise before you go home. After a long day at work, many people get home and just want to sit down on the couch and relax. If you are a member of a gym or jog regularly, doing this directly after work will improve the likelihood that you’ll actually exercise.