Following on from my previous blog post on non-exercise movement, I decided to look at ways to add some movement into your life. Some are simple and easy to add into your routines, others are a little harder and will require more effort. They will all help you though. Movement is life, without it we do not function well. I hope you try some of these suggestions and get your body functioning well. If you have not read the previous post, please read it here. Continue reading to learn how you can add extra movement into your day.
A proper cross-crawling pattern is something babies usually develop around 6-8 months and it helps develop the connection between the left and right side of the body. Unfortunately it something that as we get older we hardly ever do. Maybe it is something we should consider adding to our daily routines? It is great for the brain/body and according some research it can even help your working memory. Continue reading to see what they found and how to do a proper cross-crawl pattern. (I couldn't help but add a photo of my daughter, Bailey, after she learnt to crawl).
School and University exams are fast approaching. This also means students will be spending long hours in front of computers and text books. This prolonged sedentary activity can have detrimental effects on your body and health. Of course, study is important, but you will want to minimize the negative effects it has on your body. I don’t want to discuss "how" to study as everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. This is more about your body and the environment you study in and trying not to damage yourself during the exam period. Continue reading to see my 8 tips on how to function well during your upcoming exams.
We are bombarded these days with information on how our sedentary lifestyles are bad for our health. We are told that we need to move regularly in order to break up the amount of time we spend sitting at our desk, in the car or on the couch. A recent study in American Journal of Preventative medicine has suggested that fidgeting could decrease the risk of mortality in those who sit all day. I am a fidgeter from way back so this comes as good news for me. Continue reading to see what they found.
Our tendency to sit a lot these days and our sedentary lifestyle often leads to numerous problems, in particular, postural abnormalities. One of the main outcomes of these postural changes that I see regularly in practice is called Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS).
Upper cross syndrome is characterized by tightness in the chest and the upper back/neck and weakness in the mid back and the front of the neck, hence the ‘cross’ part of the name. This syndrome can cause several different problems in the body and can lead you to be more prone to injuries. Continue reading to find out more about UCS and the simple test you can try at home to see if you have it.
Good bone growth is dependent on weight bearing activity. You may have heard that as you get older your bones can get weaker if you do not use them. You have probably heard of the term osteoporosis. One way of minimizing this is to do weight bearing activities. What do you think happens to our bones when we spend more and more time in sedentary activities, like watching TV, playing on computers and our mobile phones? This sedentary type behavior is especially prevalent in children these days. A study from Norway suggests that teenage boys who spend too much time in front of a TV or computer could develop weakened bones as they age. Continue reading to see what the study found. There was also an interesting twist to the results of the study.
Simply walking for half an hour a day, 6 days a week could reduce the risk of death in elderly men by a massive 40%, according to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Men who did regular exercise also lived for 5 years longer on average than sedentary men. The study was done in Oslo, Norway, and I think the results are fascinating. Who wouldn’t want to live an extra 5 years? Continue reading to see what they did.
We all know that exercise is good for your body and I have written several posts in the past on this topic. Some new research, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in March this year, involving identical twins suggests that it can have a big impact on your brain. The study showed that a twin who worked out regularly had significantly more gray matter in their brains than the twin that did not exercise as much. This increase was prevalent in the area of the brain involved in motor control. The exciting part about using identical twins in this type of research is that they have the same genetic makeup and usually have grown up in a similar environment. This means that the differences in the brains were more likely due to the exercise habits than other genetic factors. Continue reading to find out what they did.
There are 4 main causes of preventable ill-health: Smoking, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and excess alcohol. These could be easy to remedy, but what effect do they, and in particular exercise, really have? A new report from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has revealed the full extent exercise could have on preventing disease and treating many conditions. The report was based on analyzing over 200 separate pieces of research and took 2 years to complete. The report shows some pretty amazing findings. Although based in the UK, the results would be similar the world over. It is amazing what a bit of exercise can do to help prevent numerous health problems. I think you will be surprised by what they found. Continue reading to find out.
I started my last blog post with the line “movement is life”. I also talked about how a lack of mobility and activity can have negative effects on your health. Check out this research that shows how important walking can be. After looking at 9 studies and 34,485 seniors, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that gait speed (how fast you walk) was an effective predictor of life expectancy. Simply put, the faster you normally walk, the longer you live. Want to know more? Continue reading to see what they found.
Did you know that the position of your tongue can affect strength in the neck and the body? I have been doing some study and came across this idea, it intrigued me so I wanted to learn more about it. It is fascinating how the body works and how a simple thing, like where your tongue is in your mouth, can affect neck strength and even strength in the legs, yes the legs. Knowing the correct position of your tongue when doing certain exercises can make a big difference. It can even help with your breathing. Continue reading to find out what the ideal tongue position is and some simple experiments to try out.
Hypermobility is where your joints move more than ‘normal’ or have a bigger ‘range of motion’ than normal. People that are hypermobile can often get into postions that others find impossible. Think of a gymnast, generally speaking, they are hypermobile. Hypermobility is often hereditary and can occur in some joints and not others, but it is not necessarily a bad thing. You can be hypermbile and have no problems or it can cause you issues. There is a simple test you can do to see if you have hypermobile joints. It is called the Beighton Hypermobility Score. Continue reading to try the simple test and see what you score.
The arrival of the New Year inevitably brings about thoughts of New Year’s Resolutions. One of the main resolutions that you always hear about is starting an exercise program or hitting the gym to get into good shape or lose those holiday kilos that somehow managed to find their way onto your body. A lot of the time, these resolutions are short lived as the program you started is not sustainable, you suffer an injury or you lose interest. Here are my tips for helping get the best results and hopefully avoiding injuries.
Neck pain is a very common complaint that I see in practice. The causes of this discomfort can vary dramatically. Some new research suggests that poor breathing patterns may affect how the neck functions and therefore could be a contributing factor for neck pain.
Continue reading to find out what the research revealed and why your breathing technique can affect your neck function.
It is often said that muscle and strength decline as a function of aging alone. Put simply, this means that as you get older you are naturally going to lose strength and muscle mass and there is not much you can do about it.
A new study by Dr Vonda Wright and her colleagues that can be found at the The Physician and Sports medicine, may counteract this belief. They took detailed measurements of 40 masters athletes between the ages of 40 and 81, and found a surprising lack of age related muscle loss. They suggested that these declines that are usually seen, may signal the effect of chronic disuse rather than muscle aging. Continue reading to see a sample image of their results. It is very interesting.
A big emphasis of my work is stability, especially in people with lower back pain or a history of recurring lower back pain. The first step when someone comes to my chiropractic practice, is to assess the area, restore optimal
function and reduce the initial complaint through chiropractic care. Once things are functioning better, the emphasis moves onto why the problem was there in the first place and how we can stop it from coming back. This invariably will include some sort of stability exercises and stretches.
There are hundreds of different exercises and workouts out there and what is best for an individual will depend on numerous factors. A good question to ask is, what is the difference between an exercise done seated and standing? I came across some interesting research that I thought I should share.
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institute of Health suggests that medication is not the best option when dealing with neck pain.
In the study, they tracked 272 patients for 12 weeks. What they found was that those who used a chiropractor, or those that used exercise, were more than twice as likely to be pain free than those who took medication.
Some interesting new research has shown that you can actually “change” your brain through thought itself and that mental effort can actually result in physical changes to your mind and body.
When imagining an action, it requires the same motor and sensory programs in the brain that would be used if
you were actually doing it. New research has shown that those who mentally practiced playing the piano achieved the same accuracy level as those who physically did it.
On the same note, people who imagined doing strength-training exercises increased their muscle strength by 22%, compared to 30% among those who physically did the exercises. Taking this a bit further, the research showed that when you focus your mind on a specific muscle during a workout, you work that muscle 22% harder. So by focusing on what you are doing at the gym can enable you to get a better workout.
In fact, just believing that your daily activities are exercise has also been shown to improve physical fitness. Harvard researchers informed one group of hotel housekeepers that their daily work qualified as exercise, whereas a control group did not receive this information. Four weeks later, those who believed their work was a form of exercise had a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index, even though their behaviors hadn’t actually changed at all.
For those of you that have been to see me in my practice will know that I am a big believer in functional movement, movement patterns, flexibility etc. I am also interested in simple ways to test general movement,
flexibility, coordination and so on. I came across some interesting Brazilian research recently. They have
developed a simple screening test of musculoskeletal fitness, called the Sitting-Rising Test (SRT). This test, put simply, is your ability to sit and then rise off the ground. Their research indicates that this test may predict your longevity in the next 5-6 years.
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It's what you do everyday that impacts your health, not what you do sometimes.