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The act of stretching has not only become an art form but also has many philosophies and theories to go along with it. To make life easier, here are some simple guidelines to follow. These guidelines will greatly enhance your physical fitness.

The most common mistake made when stretching is not properly warming up! Many think that stretching is a warm up and it simply is not! Warming up refers to raising the core temperature of your body.

 

It is very important to perform a general warm-up before you stretch. It is not a good idea to stretch before your muscles are warm. Cold stretching (no warm-up), on the other hand, can greatly increase your risk of injury! Warming will do more than just loosen stiff muscles; when done properly, it can actually improve performance.

In general, the fewer muscles you try to stretch at once, the better. For example, if you want to stretch your hamstrings you are better off trying to stretch one hamstring instead of both hamstrings at the same time. When you isolate a muscle, you experience less resistance from other muscle groups. This is turn gives you greater control over the stretch and allows you to easily change its intensity.

One thing many people seem to disagree about is how long to hold a passive stretch. The truth is that no one really knows just how long is best. A good common ground seems to be about 20 seconds.

Another factor to achieve the ideal stretch is taking slow, relaxed breaths. Some experts recommend increasing the intensity of the stretch only when exhaling. Proper breathing helps to relax the body, increases blood flow throughout the body, and helps to remove lactic acid and other by-products of exercise.

Here are just some of the benefits of proper stretching:

  • enhanced physical fitness
  • enhanced ability to perform skilled movements
  • increased mental and physical relaxation
  • enhanced development of body awareness
  • reduced risk of injury
  • reduced muscular soreness
  • reduced muscular tension

Start stretching today and remember: Don’t Stretch til You Sweat!


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Dr. Bill Nolan from Cherry Street Chiropractic offers simple tips to avoid back injuries while show shoveling. “Snow shoveling can be stressful. Bending forward, lifting, and twisting, combined with the exposure to the cold, can cause muscle spasms, strains or tears. Your spine is in the most vulnerable position when you flex forward and rotate. This is why simple movements such as raking, vacuuming, and shoveling cause a lot of injuries.”

First, there is a right way and wrong way to shovel. Most people shovel the wrong way and put their spine at risk for injury. The most common method of shoveling is to load up the shovel, lift the load without using your legs, and heave the load over one of your shoulders. This method puts tremendous pressure on the lower back, increasing your risk of injury.

Dr. Bill suggests these tips when dealing with snow:

  • Warm-Up. Before you start any type of exercise you want to do a warm-up, shoveling is no different. A body that is stiff and tight is prime for an injury. A few minutes of walking, jumping jacks and stretching can do you a lot of good.
  • Stay warm. Once you start working outside you want to keep your muscles warm. The best way to do this is layer your clothing. If you get too hot you can always take a layer off. Your hands and feet are important areas to stay warm as well.
  • Proper shovel. The right shovel should be about chest high on you, this allows you to keep your back straight while shoveling. If you use a shovel that is too short you will be forced to lean forward more putting more stress on the lower back.
  • Proper posture. When you do shovel, use your legs and bend with your knees. Instead of throwing the snow use the shovel to push the snow straight ahead into the snow bank.
  • Take breaks. If you shovel for too long or too fast without taking a break your muscles are at higher risk for a strain. Think about lifting weights, you would never bench press for 30 minutes without a break. Use the same approach with shoveling. Take frequent breaks.
  • Stay hydrated. Keep your body hydrated while shoveling with plenty of water. Take the same approach to moving snow as you would with exercising at the gym.

Good luck with the snow! Stay safe and stay warm. If an injury does occur please do not hesitate to call us.


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Now that we have more access to the sun (only for a few brief months) how much Vitamin D do I need?”
This was asked by a patient of mine this week and it’s a great question! I will make this short, sweet and to the point. There are four required supplements for optimal health:

  1. Omega-3 Fish Oil
  2. Probiotic
  3. Vitamin D
  4. Whole Food (Multivitamin/Mineral) Supplement

If you look at the landscape of our food, we cannot get enough of these vital nutrients from our daily food intake.  We must supplement them. As far as Vitamin D is concerned, you need 1000 IU’s (international units) for every 40 lbs. of bodyweight. I recommend Vitamin D in the liquid form either in organic olive oil or organic coconut oil.

“What if I am in the sun or go to the beach?” Another great question. If you are able to get 30 minutes of un-blocked (no sun screen) to large parts of your body (back, chest, thighs) then you do not have to take your Vitamin D for that day. If you go to the beach and are under the umbrella or have a 30 block sunscreen on all day then you will still need to take your Vitamin D. Hope this helps…have a happy, healthy summer.


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Statins (Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, etc..) are widely accepted in the public and medical community to  “help” reduce your risk of heart disease, unfortunately it has never been proved in the medical literature. This one topic has many books and websites dedicated to it so I will not labor the point. If you are curious check out the longest running and perhaps most famous health study: The Framingham Study- it demonstrated that the intake of cholesterol in the diet had absolutely no correlation with heart disease!! NO CORRELATION!

If the last paragraph wasn’t bad enough…the makers of “cholesterol lower drugs” were very well aware of the fact that while lowering your cholesterol numbers the satins also stopped production of your CoEnzyme Q10. Why is this important you ask? CoQ10 is one of the most vital nutrients for our bodies and it responsible for energy production in the cell. In addition to energy production it also plays a major role as an anti-oxidant.

Lets put this all together…your doctor put you on a statin to reduce your risk of heart disease (please find out the truth) and the drug that he/she puts you on greatly reduces your energy production AND reduces your anti-oxidant fighting abilities! Bottom line: if you take a statin you must supplement with CoEnzyme Q10. We carry an excellent CoQ10 by Designs for Health.


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University research shows that 50% of people taking multivitamins are still nutritionally deficient! Vitamin and mineral deficiencies have been linked to the following:

  • Suppressed function of your immune system
  • Degenerative processes such as arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes

You may be contributing to a vitamin and mineral deficiency with your multivitamin as well as the food you currently eat. Anytime you consume something processed (any type of food that comes from a box, package, plastic, etc..-bread, bagel, rice, pasta, cereal) your body requires vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes to digest this type of food. Unfortunately, processed food is dead and has little to no vitamins, minerals or enzymes (VME’s). Even though the processed food does not contain VME’s your body still requires them in order to digest the food, so where does the body get the VME’s ? It robs them from your body!!! This means when you continually eat processed food your body runs on a vitamin and mineral deficiency. The food you are eating may be causing some of the diseases you are trying to avoid!

In order to reverse this situation stop eating processed foods and start eating more vegetables and fruit…both contain vitamins, minerals and enzymes, especially in the raw form. Also get a Micronutrient Test done. A Micronutrient Test is a simple blood test that tells you exactly what deficiencies you have…it may be the most important decision you make about your health. Call the office today to get one scheduled: 978-774-4468.


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If you are a Type 2 Diabetic and take the drug Metformin then you have a nutrient deficiency of the following nutrients: Vitamin B12, Folic Acid and CoEnzyme Q10. Some of the potential health problems that arise from these specific deficiencies are cardiovascular disease, weakened immune system, tiredness, weakness, etc..

 

The good news is that Type 2 Diabetes is 100% reversible and preventable. It does require that you exercise on a regular basis and reduce your processed carbohydrate consumption. When the body consumes carbohydrates it breaks down into glucose molecules, as far as the body is concerned there is no difference between a glass of orange juice, a candy bar and a slice of bread. Be aware as you start to make improvements to your diet. The last thing you want to do is to start your day with a bowl of oatmeal and a glass of orange juice-way too many processed carbohydrates for one meal especially for a Type 2 Diabetic. If you continue to eat this way you will be heading towards Type 1 soon enough. A better breakfast, for a Type 2 Diabetic, would be two eggs cooked in coconut oil and a cup of berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries). This will give much less of an insulin spike and provide more nutrients to your body.


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Last year I attended a conference entitled: Move Well- Innate Physical Fitness & Spinal Hygiene…there were so many good take aways. One concept that really stuck with me was the fact that our new “normal” is to be unhealthy and unfit whereas just a few decades ago it was the norm to be fit and healthy.

To get you started to move in the right direction here are 10 Activities to Avoid or Minimize:
1. Sitting
2. Standing with weight on one foot
3. Reading on your back with head in a flexed position
4. One sided sports (creates imbalances-always practice with both hands)
5. Carrying bags on one shoulder
6. Sleeping on your stomach
7. Cradling phone between shoulder and ear
8. Watching tv (no justification possible)
9. Repetitive activities with arms in front or overhead
10.Poor posture during any activity

Tomorrow we will discuss 10 Good Choices to Make…stay tuned.


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Just because its the most common does not mean it is the best….I am referring to SYMPTOMS! The majority of people judge their health by the way they feel. If we feel good we believe we are healthy and if we feel bad we believe we are sick. Although this may work in certain situations the majority of the time using symptoms as our barometer of health is not a good decision.

For example it takes 8 years for cancer to be detectable. Imagine if every cell that turned cancerous caused us pain or discomfort…we would stop the behaviors immediately to avoid the pain. Unfortunately none of the big killers (cancer, heart disease, etc..) work this way.

Imagine if each time we ate bad food that caused our arteries to clog we could feel the damage? When we burn ourselves on a hot stove we learn very quickly not to touch it, but we continue to smoke, eat bad food and not exercise because we cannot immediately feel the negative effects of our actions.

The same goes for our spine…when we feel pain in our lower back we think we are “in bad shape” but when the pain is gone we think we are “good to go”….it is time to reevaluate the way we use symptoms….if you are looking to find out if you are truly healthy or sick then you must invest in your health as you would your vehicle. Many patients will take better care of their vehicle than their own body…regular oil changes, car washes, tire rotations, etc… When was the last time you had your homocysteine levels checked or your c-reactive protein? Both of these are better markers of heart disease and inflammation than blood pressure and cholesterol. Take control of your health and stop using symptoms as your barometer of health.


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If you end up in the emergency room with a heart attack, make sure you insist on a 2 cc injection of magnesium sulfate.

In double-blind, placebo-controlled scientific study, they looked at 273 patients who were admitted to the hospital for a heart attack. The study published in one of the most prestigious medical journals revealed that after 4 weeks, the people who received the magnesium, only 7% died versus 19% who did not get the magnesium. That means magnesium cut the death rate a walloping 63%.

What was interesting is the fact that the study indicated that the people in the study were given far less than the 2 cc of magnesium recommended above. Furthermore, the injection of magnesium decreased arrhythmias by 55%. Remember having a heart arrhythmia is one issue doctors are seriously concerned about following a heart attack. In another study in the same medical journal approximately ten years later revealed that magnesium produced a 24% reduction in the number of deaths in one month after the heart attack.

Besides the proven benefits for victims of a heart attack, another study showed people who were given IV magnesium had a 76% reduction in death from a fatal blood clot.  And by the way this same study showed that aspirin made no difference.

It is in your best interest to insist that your doctor check your magnesium levels. However, don’t settle for the serum magnesium commonly ordered by most physicians. This test only evaluates the extracelluar magnesium which makes up only 1% of the magnesium in your body. You want your doctor to order the gold standard “intracellular magnesium test” which gives you the “real” picture of your level of magnesium in your body.

Your best protection is to keep your magnesium level high enough to possibly prevent having a heart attack in the first place. Considering that government studies show the average American diet only provides 40% of the magnesium that we need in a day, your best protection against a heart attack is to keep your magnesium level high enough. The best absorbed form of magnesium I’ve seen in 31 years is Magnesium Chloride Solution 200 mg/cc, and use half teaspoon once or twice a day.


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Do you suffer from shoulder, neck or head tension? If so, you may have Forward Head Posture. Forward Head Posture is one of the most common causes of neck and shoulder tension as well as certain types of headaches. Forward Head Posture can be identified when the ear is positioned forward from the shoulder, rather than sitting directly over it (see picture).

For every one inch your head moves forward from its proper position, the head gains approximately 10 pounds in weight.  This forces the muscles in your upper back and neck to work much harder to keep the head from dropping forward. Fatigue is one of the most common causes of poor posture. Tired muscles cannot support the spine as it was designed to do.

Forward Head Posture can be a result of poor habits such as “slouching” at the computer, sitting awkwardly on the couch, or poor sleeping posture. These habits can be worsened if the neck muscles have been strained and or sprained in the past.

Awareness of proper neck and shoulder posture is the first step toward correction. One simple exercise you can do, at home or work, to alleviate neck and shoulder tension is the “double chin” exercise.

Start by standing or sitting up straight. Look straight ahead and make sure your chin is level with the floor. Pull your head back as far you can, keeping the chin level, until the skin under your neck bunches and looks like a double chin. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Do 10 repetitions. This exercise should be done at least once per day.


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Cherry Street Health Group is centrally located in downtown Danvers. We welcome the chance to meet you and introduce you to our team and services.

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