If you’re like myself and my family, we are living moment to moment during this COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important that we stay well physically, psychologically and emotionally as we adhere to the social distancing.
Here are some simple strategies:
TALK TO YOUR LOVED ONES: The research illustrates that positive relationships are associated with much better outcomes.
UNPLUG: All of this constant news and media coverage around the COVID-19 pandemic can create anxiety and fear. Do your best to limit the time you watch the news on TV, social media and radio.
PRIORITIZE SLEEP: Try and set up your routine each night that can help get your mind in gear for a restful night.
SWEAT IT OUT: If have not already, try an at home workout such as resistance training with your body weight, cardiovascular exercise, and/or calming stretches. A favorite program we use at home is the whole beachbody workout series and for jumping/bouncing, check out cellercise.com. Walking outside is always a great way to get your exercise in too!
REMEMBER TO HAVE YOUR MINDFUL MOMENTS: It’s important to set some time aside each day to simply focus on your breathing (at least 5 minutes) I’ve been enjoying a great Free 21 day Meditation Series from Oprah and Deepak Chopra (they’ve gone complimentary to help us all out during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis).
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Your health is important to us and we are committed to doing our part to help flatten the curve by social distancing and we hope our patients will be doing the same.
We will be sharing home care tips, as well as highlighting some of the amazing resources our community is putting out there during this time of physical distancing and self-isolation.
We will be monitoring all updates by our governing bodies, public health and government in regards to when we fully resume all of our services and will be keeping everyone in the loop on our social media.
How can we protect ourselves from getting colds and flu naturally?
The key is boosting your immune system. Consider adding a few key nutrients to your diet daily.
Vitamin C: This vitamin is an antioxidant which helps the body increase production of white blood cells. Found in red peppers, citrus (grapefruit, lemons, limes and clementine’s), kiwi, spinach and broccoli.
Beta Carotene: Is an antioxidant which increases the infection fighting abilities of the immune system. Found in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, squash, red & yellow peppers, peas, broccoli, romaine, apricots, and cantaloupe.
Vitamin D3: Boosts the body’s natural defense against disease, lowering your risk of infection.
Zinc: Helps control inflammation and boosts immune response. Found in dairy, greens, whole grains, beans, meats and seafood.
Probiotics: Their function is to control inflammation blocking the harmful bacteria maintaining a healthy gut barrier. Found these foods: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, and pickles.
Anti-Inflammatories: Sources include omega-3 fish oil supplements, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon.
Also wash your hands often, hydrate, move or exercise daily, rest and ample sleep at night.
I think we can all agree that there is nothing better than waking up after a restful night sleep feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to tackle what life throws our way. Good quality sleep puts our bodies into the parasympathetic state – more commonly known as the “rest and digest” nervous system. It is not surprising that during this state our body and mind rest, digest and revitalize to help support healthy brain function.
The World Health Organization and the National Sleep Foundation both recommend seven to nine hours of sleep a night for the average adult. However, 50-70 million adults in the United States are failing to obtain those precious and recommended hours of sleep. In today’s world, it is so easy to access information through social media, podcasts, and magazines.
Why are so many of us depriving ourselves of sleep on purpose? Both the journal Sleep Health (the journal of the National Sleep Foundation) and the book Why We Sleep by Dr. Matthew Walker are a few of the accessible resources that should be recognized for those who want to dive into the topic of sleep a little further. While “hustle” is an integral part of building any successful business, hustling smart and efficiently is key. Getting the right amount of sleep for your own recharge needs to be a part of this plan.
Dr. Michael Breus, a leading sleep expert determined that there are four primary chronotypes of sleep patterns. Which one are you? The Lion (15% of the population) The Lion is the chronotype that gets all of the attention. These are the folks that wake at 4-5am, hit the gym, and have an abundance of energy early in the day, being most productive during the morning. The Lions will set meetings first thing. However, there is a down side: They don’t tend to be the life of the party. The cost of waking so early, is a very early shut down in the evening. So schmoozing, networking, family activities and/or recreation tend to take a hit.
The Wolf (15% of the population) The Wolf tends to be a late sleeper, not truly feeling comfortable until about 10am, with their highest productivity during mid-afternoon, hence when they like to meet. Around dinner time, early evening, they’ll be in a lull, but coming to full attention after 8pm, and often not feeling ready for bed until 12-2 a.m. Wolves tend to be judged negatively, often being called lazy. Wolves forcing themselves to wake consistently early will often encounter health issues later in life, as we discuss below.
The Bear (50-55% of the population) The bear wakes with the sun, and starts winding down at dusk. This is the majority of the population.
The Dolphin (15% of the population) These are your insomniacs. Wide awake at night, and fatigued during the There is not one stage of sleep that is more important than the other – it is the cyclical process of all stages that is important. These folks have the most difficulty functioning in society and frequently require medical intervention to get by. WHY DO WE NEED TO SLEEP? If it wasn’t as important as eating well, reproducing or being safe from our predators, then why, since the beginning of time have humans been risking all of these vital parts of life to sleep?
From an evolutionary standpoint, it does not make any sense to lie motionless and be vulnerable to our prey; however, since the birth of our species, we have been sleeping for at least 2/3rd of our day. While we are dreaming our brain and bodies are going through a series of cyclical patterns to revitalize key components to help us thrive in our conscious state. There is not one stage of sleep that is more important than the other; it is the cyclical process of all stages that is important. Each one of these stages plays its own role to be sure to keep our minds sharp, to translate short term learnings into concrete knowledge, to rest our sympathetic state so that we can go about our day feely less grumpy or “on edge” and to enhance our immune systems so we can fight off infection and illness.
The different stages of sleep are classified as: 1.Light NREM (non-rapid eye movement sleep) 2.Deep NREM 3. REM sleep. HOW DOES SLEEP ACTUALLY BENEFIT US? A study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests that while we are in REM (rapid-eye-movement sleep), our brain cells shrink by 60% to allow for the waste system in our brains to clear our metabolic by-product and rehydrate cerebral spinal fluid throughout the brain. It helps to form connections between recently learned information. Sleep allows us to remember and it also has the ability to help us to forget things we may not want to dwell on. This is great news for chiropractors who treat individuals who suffer from chronic pain conditions or those who are receiving treatment following a traumatic event.
There have been multiple studies that have been done recently looking at the effects of sleep and psychiatric conditions and many of these studies show clinically significant benefits. If you were to indulge in this topic of sleep deprivation leading to poor mood it makes sense. If we do not sleep well, we are more irritable and when we are more irritable it may be harder for us to create relationships or be happy throughout the day, which can lead to depression. EFFECTS OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION We have all experienced sleep deprivation. Ever wonder why you get those hunger cravings following a short sleep or the feeling of satiation is just not there? It is due to the fact that when we are not sleeping enough, the hormone that suppresses our hunger is tainted. This can lead to a downward spiral for someone’s health if this is an everyday occurrence.
Another downfall of sleep deprivation is the effect on our mood, or our lack of motivation to do anything physical. When your slumber was not as restorative as it could have been often time we wake up feeling grumpy, irritated and tired, which makes it extremely difficult to motivate yourself – we do not have the energy to be physically active in these states of deprivation. When we sleep less, we move less – and when we move less this increases our risk for developing cardiovascular conditions. The National Institute of Health recommends twelve tips for healthy sleeping patterns: • Stick to a sleep schedule • Exercise is great but not too late • Avoid caffeine and nicotine • Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed • Avoid large meals and beverages late at night • Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep • Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. • Relax before bed • Take a hot bath before bed • Have a good sleeping environment • Have the right sunlight exposure • Don’t lie in bed awake • Try to align with your chronotype if possible.
As many of you know from experience, a chiropractor plays the role of both an educator and motivator in the lives of our patients and in our community. If the goal is to optimize wellness and performance in the lives of our patients then we are doing them a disservice if the topic of sleep is left unaddressed. Similar to how physical activity and nutrition play a huge role in our patient’s health and recovery, so to does sleep quality. This is one of the easiest ways we can have an impact on our patient’s lives. Sleep is one of the cheapest, most enjoyable forms of healthcare out there.
You put in the hours, pumping iron, logging miles, sweating buckets, overhauling your diet, and (most important) staying consistent.
And the results speak for themselves — every time you look in the mirror, a leaner, more athletic person stares back at you. You’ve even bought yourself a new wardrobe. So now what?
Some people will keep going, perhaps taking up triathlons, joining a hoops league, or training for the CrossFit Games.
But others will want to take their foot off the gas and appreciate what they’ve accomplished.
The key is not to leave it off for too long — two weeks of inactivity are all it takes to notice significant declines in strength and cardiovascular fitness, according to a study in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Indeed, the body is incredibly efficient at adapting to whatever demands (or lack thereof) are placed on it.
So now that you’ve crossed the finish line, how can you keep from backpedaling and losing what you’ve built? Just follow these simple steps.
1. Cut Back Gradually
Smart training plans (like those available on Beachbody On Demand) can allow you to work out 5 or 6 days a week with no ill effects (read: overtraining).
But once you reach your strength and endurance goals, you can reduce your workout frequency without losing your hard-earned gains, according to a study at the University of Alabama.
The researchers found that adults aged 20 to 35 who worked out just one day a week not only saw no loss of muscle but actually continued to gain it (albeit at a greatly reduced rate).
Our recommendation: Start by reducing your workout frequency by a third, then a half, and so on until you find the minimal effective dose that’s right for you.
2. Keep It Intense
Even a single set of a strength-training exercise can produce hypertrophy (i.e., muscle growth), according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
So if your goal is to hold on to what you have, one or two sets per move per workout should do the trick.
The key is to keep them challenging; you should always feel like you stopped two reps short of failure.
Take a similar approach with cardio: In a study in the journal Physiological Reports, a team of British researchers found that a single, intense, 20-minute interval workout every five days allowed participants to maintain levels of cardiovascular fitness built through much higher frequency training programs.
3. Dial In Your Diet
Here’s the one category where you might have to be more diligent than you were before you reached your goal.
As you cut back on your workouts, you’re going to start burning fewer calories. To avoid the fate of the ex-athlete who balloons 50 pounds when he hangs up his cleats, tighten up your diet as you reduce your training time.
“On the days you don’t work out, cut 300 to 500 calories from your diet,” says Dr. Jade Teta, founder of The Metabolic Effect, a fitness and nutrition coaching service focused on maximizing results with minimal effort. “Ideally, those calories should come from starchy carbs and sources of empty calories [i.e., junk food] rather than from protein or veggies,” says Teta.
4. Stay Flexible
These general guidelines are just that: general guidelines. Though lower frequency, more intense workouts seem to work for most people looking to maintain their fitness gains, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution.
“It’s going to be different for everyone,” says Teta.
So be a detective: Monitor your strength, weight, definition, and overall sense of well-being as you tweak your exercise and eating habits, and be ready to adjust everything up or down accordingly.
The rising rates of Type 2 diabetes also mean increased potential for developing serious health complications ranging from heart disease and stroke to vision loss and premature death. Exercise could be the antidote.
Several studies have found exercise can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes; some research has shown a 58% risk reduction among high-risk populations. While much of the research has looked at the impact of moderate-to high-intensity cardiovascular exercise, a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings examined the potential impact of strength training on Type 2 diabetes risk. The data showed building muscle strength was associated with a 32% lowered risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
“Our study showed that very high levels of resistance training may not be necessary to obtain considerable health benefits on preventing Type 2 diabetes,” Wang says. “Small and simple resistance exercises like squats and planks can benefit your health even if you don’t lose any weight.”
Think twice before abandoning the treadmill or elliptical trainer for the weight room, advises Eric Shiroma, ScD, staff scientist at the National Institute on Aging.
As part of a 2018 study, Shiroma and his colleagues followed more than 35,000 healthy women for 14 years and found women who incorporated strength training into their workouts experienced a 30% lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes but women who also participated in cardiovascular activities experienced additional risk reduction.
“When comparing the same amount of time in all cardio, strength [training] or a combination, the combination had the most Type 2 diabetes risk reduction,” Shiroma explains.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Researchers are still unclear about which type of exercise could have the biggest impact on reducing your risk. Wang suggests erring on the side of caution and following a workout regimen that blends both pumping iron and heart-pumping cardio, explaining, “Both strength training and cardiovascular aerobic training are important for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.”
The biggest takeaway, according to Shiroma, is any amount of exercise is beneficial for reducing Type 2 diabetes risk so do pushups or take a walk around the block as long as you get moving.
Before you crawl into bed tonight, turn out the lights and power down your devices. Exposure to artificial light — from sources such as overhead lights, smartphones and televisions — was associated with higher rates of obesity, according to new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The study included almost 44,000 women between the ages of 35–74 over a six-year period and found women who were exposed to artificial light while sleeping had a 17% higher risk of gaining approximately 11 pounds compared to those who slept in the dark; their rates of obesity were 33% higher. Women who fell asleep with a television or light on were also more apt to gain weight and become overweight or obese over time.
LIGHT AND CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
“Humans are genetically adapted to be active during daylight and sleep in darkness at night,” explains lead author Dr. Yong-Moon (“Mark”) Park, MD, postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health. “Exposure to light at night while sleeping could alter the body’s 24-hour body clock leading to changes in hormones and other biological processes that regulate sleep, appetite and weight gain.”
While the study focused on exposure to artificial light in the bedroom but Park notes that light coming from outside the room — from other rooms or street lights, for example — was also associated with a slightly increased risk of weight gain. The study did not explore whether overall exposure to artificial light, including daytime exposures, had an impact on weight.
Several studies have linked sleep issues, including insomnia, sleep duration and sleep disruptions, to higher rates of obesity. Research published in the journal Sleep Medicine found the incidence of obesity was higher among those who slept fewer than six hours or more than nine hours per night; chronic insomnia was also associated with higher BMI, according to one study.
The link between sleep and obesity is one reason to make improving sleep a priority, says Lu Qi, MD, PhD, director of the Tulane University Obesity Research Center. But sleep is just one of the known risk factors for obesity. Lifestyle factors such as an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, stress and smoking are also linked to an increased likelihood of being overweight or obese.
“Even if you improve your sleep habits, you still need to pay attention to other risk factors,” says Qi. “We also need to be cautious in interpreting these results; artificial light might be a factor but it could be correlated to other habits that were not part of this study.”
Park agrees, adding, “While our study provides stronger evidence than other previous studies it is still not conclusive. Even so, it seems reasonable to advise people not to sleep with lights on. Turning off the lights at bedtime may be a simple thing we can do to reduce the chances of gaining weight.”
Whether you’ve gone for a long endurance walk or thrown in some intervals, it’s important to take time to let your body cool down before you head back inside. This allows you to slowly lower your heart rate and get rid of any lactic acid that could potentially cause soreness and a heavy feeling in your legs. A 10-minute walking cool down or completing a few yoga poses are great options post-workout.
One of the most important but often overlooked aspects of recovery is hydration. Even during low-to-moderate intensity workouts, the body loses fluid through sweat that needs to be replaced. If you don’t, recovery takes longer and your performance for your next workout will be negatively affected. In the hour that follows your walking workout, drink plenty of water. If you’re doing long distance training for a walking marathon or have completed a particularly intense workout in hot weather, an electrolyte replacement drink might also be needed. If you’re unsure exactly how much fluid you’ve lost during exercise, weighing yourself before and after workouts is one way you can gauge how much fluid you need to drink to rehydrate properly. You can also track your hydration with an app like MyFitnessPal.
Stretching as soon as your workout is finished and while your muscles are still warm can help reduce muscle soreness and improve your flexibility — both of which can help you improve your overall fitness and decrease your chances of injury. If you don’t have a ton of time to go through a series of stretches, concentrate on your weak spots. For example, if hamstring tightness is normally an issue, put most of your attention there. When you have the time, try this seated routine that targets many of the common sore spots for walkers.
REDUCE MUSCLE SORENESS
While nutrition and stretching are big pieces to this puzzle, there are other things you can do to help prevent soreness so you can feel better and work out more frequently:
Massage: This helps improve circulation and relax aching muscles.
How long should a workout last? It seems like a question that should have a straightforward answer, but the truth is, there isn’t one. You could spend as little as four minutes on a workout: “There is no minimum,” says Marie Urban, regional group training coordinator for Life Time. “You can get a great workout no matter how much time you have.” Or, you could grind away for hours.
How long you spend working up a sweat is entirely dependent on your goals, personal preferences and the time you have available.
How long you spend working up a sweat is entirely dependent on your goals, personal preferences and the time you have available. Even if you take your goals into consideration, it can be tricky to determine a set workout length, as there are benefits to exercising for any length of time.
SHORT DURATION, HIGH INTENSITY
For example, if you’re trying to build aerobic and anaerobic fitness, you can accomplish that in only four short-but-intense minutes of work. How? Through a popular form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) known as Tabata training.
Tabata training involves performing a cardio-focused exercise (e.g., sprints or burpees) as many times as you can for 20 seconds before stopping for a 10-second rest, and repeating for a total of eight rounds.
Even traditional strength training offers benefits in the briefest of sessions. A recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise reveals young men who lifted weights for only 13 minutes per session three days per week made similar strength gains in eight weeks as men who spent 68 minutes in the gym three days per week. The only catch: Subjects performed all sets to failure, or the point at which they couldn’t do another rep with good form. So, there was no slacking here.
It’s worth noting this study included only 34 subjects, and the men had previous experience with strength training; whether the results would apply to new lifters, women or older adults remains to be seen.
In addition, the shorter training sessions weren’t as effective for increasing muscle size (also known as hypertrophy) as the longer sessions. As researchers note, higher training volumes are key for achieving muscle hypertrophy, and higher training volumes require a greater time commitment.
Still, the group that did 13-minute sessions gained some muscle, suggesting you may be able to get away with a quick workout from time to time. However, you would have to continue adding sets, reps and/or exercises if you wanted to continue seeing progress. According to the findings of a 2017 meta-analysis, adding one set each week was associated with an increase in the percentage of muscle gain by 0.37%. As you continue adding sets, reps and/or exercises, your training sessions inevitably take longer to complete.
If you’re training for a specific event (e.g., marathon, bodybuilding competition), your training sessions will likely vary in length as you near your event date, and may include sessions that err on the longer side (60 minutes or more). In these instances, it’s a good idea to work with a fitness professional and/or follow a quality training program, as opposed to trying to come up with your own workouts.
Urban recommends squeezing activity into your day wherever you can: Park far away from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do pushups while you microwave food and crank out some situps during commercial breaks. “Having an active lifestyle is more important than working out for an hour every day,” she says.