OK, doc. If you could only do two exercises... what would they be and why?
Why thank you, mystery man talking to me via italics, I'll tell you!
Requirements For Exercises to Be Awesome - Says Me
#1 They have to be easy to do. Not easy as in "oh, busting out 30 mindless minutes on this eliptical is easy"-easy, but easy as in simple. You shouldn't need a gym membership or fancy shoes to do them.
#2 They should be innate to our species. In other words, it should me a type of movement that the human body seems designed to do. Sorry, cirque du soleil, you didn't make the cut.
#3 They should provide a heavy bang for your time's buck. I love, love, love exercises that don't take a lot of time. Why? Because... well, human beings are probably more deficient in high intensity, short duration exercises than any other flavor. (See my elliptical comment above, how many people do you see running sprints as fast as they can?) AND, we don't have a lot of spare time (usually).
My Top Two
#1 The squat. One of the easiest, move essential human movements out there.
The squat is an exercise that easily fits all three, and that I believe that if done more often would alleviate the many problems humanity gets when sitting too long. Nice butt muscle tone, strong lower back coordination, balance, core tone, and it's the perfect position for taking a deuce and having a baby. When squatting everything naturally "lines up" with no tail bones in the way to obstruct stuff from coming out. Plus, you need absolutely no tools to perform this, just your two legs and maybe a door handle to balance on when you begin squats.
#2 The push-up. Wherein the squat works the lower backside of the butt and the front side of your legs, the push-up works out the opposite muscles on the top side. The push-up is an amazing simple move that requires many coordinated muscles to pull off. Want to get abs? Do push-ups. Want to help your shoulder stability? Do push-ups. Want big ol' arms? Do push-ups. See my point?
These exercises are simple, and it is their simplicity that seems to make them unappealing. Like the warrior in the Old Testament who approached the prophet seeking an answer and being told to merely wash in the river — we want complex. We want a complicated bench press machine with 3 different kinds of pulleys, resistances, and padding. We want a challenging answer. Well, these two exercises can be challenging, but they are not complex. Plus, they cross over into many other activities of daily living. The push-up, of course, crossing over into all pushing activities (Which are a lot! How many pulling movements are you doing a day? Not many at all. How many movements with your hands in front of your body? Driving. Typing. Writing. Almost all of them.). The squat translates into so many other human functions I can't even name all of them, but jumping, knee stability, ankle and foot strength to name a few.
So try incorporating 20 quick air squats (you don't have to have a barbell over your shoulders to make it a work-out!) during your lunch break and notice the difference. Or hold a squat in the down position while brushing your teeth. Congratulations, you just activated a ton of muscles, made your body and mind happy, and helped to sculpt a sexy tush. Your spandex will thank you.
Those of you living in Farmington, NM may have read the headline in The Daily Times this morning. I was driving by sometime that morning and saw at least half a dozen cop cars blocking off all entrances. Hmm, that's interesting. I bet something's wrong with the gas pumps, and they're afraid it'll blow up, I thought, and sped past.
It turns out a masked man wanted drugs from the pharmacy and threatened them that there was a bomb outside that was going to be detonated if his demands weren't met. He didn't even want cash. Just give me the drugs! Thankfully it was a bluff and no one got hurt.
The thought occurred to me that this situation (which I don't fully understand, and with which I mean no disrespect to those that may be involved) can teach us something about our nation's health culture.
This type of situation has happened often across the US of A. I wonder how many times this has happened in a Natural Grocer's or a Vitamin Shoppe? Can you imagine? A man walks in with a mask past the cash registers, and demands all the shop's omega-3 fatty acids... or he's gonna blow the place!
And yet alternative medicine practitioners who focus on nutritional therapy (on supplements and eating right, etc.) are poo poo'ed by the medical community ("Hippy!" "Quack!"). But maybe — just maybe — we'd have less people trying to blow up grocery stores for med's if we had more people taking nutritional supplements to keep their need of med's down in the first place.
My friend wrote me this:
"What do you think about adjusting new babies or toddlers? Good idea??"
I know it seems counter-intuitive that a baby may need to see a chiropractor. Do babies have neck pain? Do babies have lower-back pain from working for years on the construction site or in a lousy office chair? Do babies have mountains of stress on their shoulder? Then why are they seeing the chiropractor?
The truth of the matter is, newborns — especially at birth — experience more trauma than we may think. The condition torticollis is sometimes evidence of that, as well as a host of other problems that are sometimes collectively referred to as "birth trauma". Babies' heads are sometimes yanked and pulled on in damaging ways during the birth process (as sadly pictured above) that may need expert help to alleviate.
After child birth, do childhood injuries stop? I ask most parents, when your child was learning to walk or crawl, did he ever fall? Well, of course he did. Did he ever have a really good face plant? Oh man, just the other day... What's funny is that if some of the falls that we witness in toddlers happened to us, we'd be out for days. Yes, children are softer, more mushy, and are generally better at healing than our old, worn-down, frumpy selves, but children still should have their spine checked for dysfunction from time to time — especially when their bone structure is still growing. And children still suffer injuries, just like we do (if not more!).
Another reason children + chiropractic may not add up in your head is that you believe that chiropractic in children is the same chiropractic you receive as an adult. Well there is some truth to this — we use similar diagnostics and therapeutic principles — the administration of an adjustment to a 2 week old is completely different than an adjustment for a 40 year old. There's no way we're Chuck Norris-ing a 2 week old. The adjustment will be much gentler, and require much less force; it may even be administered with an instrument instead of big, sausage fingers; there is no cavitation (popping) of the joint in a 2 week old, there's just not a lot of fluid in the joint to make the sound. Although the end goal is the same, how we get there are two different animals in pediatrics versus adults.
So the resounding answer is: yes, kids need to be adjusted. Every child is different, and children generally respond to therapy faster than adults, but as a rule of thumb I check my daughter after a big fall; when there are not big falls, I check her once a month to make sure I don't miss anything. For other parents out there, I would recommend taking your child to a chiropractor for routine check-ups just as often as you do for dental check-ups. At least, bare minimum, one time per year. Correct problems before they become pathology.
Pregnant Mother’s Deficient In This Nutrient May Be Setting Up Their Kids For Speech Problems Later On
In a study that's being published this month (LINK) in the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, researchers looked at vitamin D levels in pregnant mothers' blood, and then followed up with these children at 2, 5, 8, 10, 14, 17 years of age! Isn't that an amazing chunk of data to look at? It took about 18 years to get all this information.
What did they glean? Here's the results:
χ2 analyses revealed no significant associations between maternal 25(OH)-vitamin D serum quartiles and offspring behavioral/emotional problems at any age. In contrast, there were significant linear trends between quartiles of maternal vitamin D levels and language impairment at 5 and 10 years of age. Multivariate regression analyses, incorporating a range of confounding variables, found that the risk of women with vitamin D insufficiency (≤46 nmol/L) during pregnancy having a child with clinically significant language difficulties was increased close to twofold compared with women with vitamin D levels >70 nmol/L.
What does that mean? Basically that those mothers deficient in vitamin D, emotional and behavioral problems seemed unchanged (yay!). BUT, and that's a capital letters "but", they showed significant correlation between deficiency and language abilities. (What I didn't understand is how they drew the line between language and "behavioral/emotional" issues. Aren't they in the same group? Oh well.)
Summary: There is some scary research that shows a correlation — mind you, correlation does not give us the cause of something, it only points us in a direction — between language difficulty and this vitamin.
Vitamin D is a biggie. Vitamin D is one of the very few vitamins that has stood up against scientific skepticism time and time again. They can call vitamin takers uneducated hippies, except for when it comes to vitamin D. This one they can't write off to placebo.
But why the deficiency in vitamin D? is the question you should be asking. My answer is thus: no sun time. Culturally, humans have had a mixed relationship with the sun, but deep down inside we've always known it was important, shoot, most gods were sun gods of some kind (I think it's no mistake that even in Judeo-Christian scripture god is called "the son"). Back in the day, if you were tan that meant you had to do manual labor, e.g. you were poor; therefore, people didn't want to be tan to avoid the social stigma. Then, the 70s reunited us with Mother Earth, and everyone was living in tents. A short while later everyone got cancer, and we thought it could be from newly discovered holes in the o-zone, and sun-block pushers everywhere united in an international battle against UV rays. Years later, when sunblock usage went up and cancer levels continued to rise despite as well (not to mention a host of bone-weakening conditions and bacterial conditions that are fended off with sun), we returned to loving the sun. Here comes vitamin D, basically the molecule our body must have to have proper immune function, that just so happens to be turned on naturally when come in contact with it. But by now, everyone is living in under roofs and so unaccustomed to sun that Ray-Bans are worn even on the cloudiest of days. What a mess.
So what this means for you and I, who — and our children! — most likely, are deficient in vitamin D (because the only sun we get is going from the front door, to the car door, to the office door, and back again) is that we need a little extra help. Go get some vitamin D3, it may be the difference between your body getting a butt-kicking from the seasonal viruses to a mere bruise.
P.S. Here's the vitamin D I push in my office. Fancy stuff, no? Only the best.
Are you familiar with Alzheimer's disease? Statistically, you should be; sadly, it's becoming more and more common. Recent research was done on what is called the Alzheimer's Questionnaire (AQ). Many elderly patients were put through the questionnaire, and then followed up on later to see what they answered to which questions, and which questions in this questionnaire where the best at determining who would develop Alzheimer's later on in life.
Pretty scary, no?
Here were the results, as noted by the medscape article:
Results showed that "yes" answers to the following AQ questions were significant indicators of aMCI:
• Does the patient repeat questions/statements in the same day? (OR, 13.20; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.02 - 57.66; P = .001)
• Does the patient have trouble remembering the date, year, and time? (OR, 17.97; 95% CI, 2.63 - 122.77; P = .003)
• Does the patient have difficulty managing finances? (OR, 11.60; 95% CI, 2.10 - 63.99; P = .005)
• Does the patient have a decreased sense of direction? (OR, 5.84; 95% CI, 1.09 - 31.30; P = .04)
Do you have problems balancing the check-book? Do you frequently forget where your car is? These could be warning signs! Take care of your brain and it will take care of you.
This scared me because I have issues with some of the above... I think?
It depends on what's going on with you individually.
But the short answer is "no." You do not.
Why wouldn't someone want their neck adjusted? Media is pretty good at scaring us. We see action heroes effortlessly snap the necks of bad-guys right and left, and a chiropractic adjustment can look like someone is doing the same thing. In all truth, the two may appear the same, but are world's apart.
Firstly, your neck is actually very, very strong. It usually takes a lot of force to damage it (contrary to action movie portrayals).
But there have been documented cases of chiropractic induced strokes. This is sad and a travesty to those who this happens to. But, what isn't mentioned is the rate of occurence has been estimated to be 1 in one million on the high end, to 1 in 40,000 on the low end.
No two chiropractic adjustments are the same. Maybe you've noticed this as you've been to more than one chiropractor. You found one adjusted one way, and one adjusted another, and you probably stayed with the one you enjoyed the most. A good adjustment, although is may appear easy, is an art. I kid you not, it takes years to develop the sensory and muscle coordination to deliver an extremely quick, low amplitude adjustment that cavitates a precise joint.
There are other ways to mobilize a joint without the high velocity, low-amplitude maneuver chiropractic is famous for. There are also instruments designed to move joints that can be used as well. To be perfectly honest, this HVLA adjustment has a unique physiological response that is not replicated by slower treatments, but there are still ways around it if a patient so desires.
Patient comfort is extremely important, and a thorough exam should always precede any course of treatment to rule out risks.
It should also be noted that for some, I would even say most, a proper adjustment, when medically necessary, can be the difference between night and day for a suffering patient. Especially longstanding tension-type headaches, neck and lower back pain. Honestly, I have no way to explain this, but I've had people tell me they can see and even smell better after a much needed adjustment.
So if you're concerned, no worries. There's more than one way to skin a cat (That's a horrible analogy, I'm sorry.), and your doc will take care of you.
Last night at our No B.S. Weight-Loss Seminar I hammered home the point that there's a difference between being low weight, or skinny, and being healthy. In our present culture, these two are confused. Look at celebrities, especially females, wasting away and being touted as beautiful. Now, I'm not saying someone is pretty our not, but making the point that we need a new standard: healthy. Healthy is better than skinny. And what's funny, is that "skinny," or lean, usually follows when you're healthy.
Driving to work I saw a man in his mid fifties struggling to put gas in his car, limping heavily and using a cane. His struggle broke my heart a bit, preventable suffering usually does. It's impossible to know what led this particular gentlemen to his current state, whether it was a traumatic accident he had no control of, or a slow degenerative process that he had much more control of, or, most likely, a combination of the two.
If more people knew what they could and should do to not end up like the gentleman I observed while driving to work, I think people would act differently.
Chiropractors are the dentists of the spine. Dentists do frequent check-ups and minor tune-ups, and are true "preventative" medical practitioners. They try to fight the cause of the problem, not control the symptoms.
Dentists get the mouth, chiropractors get the neck down. Chiropractors frequently check and tune-up the joints and muscles to prevent "cavities" of the spine (arthritis, disc bulge, and many other preventable spinal dysfunctions). They fight the common -- not normal! -- degeneration of the spine. In tough times, remember that old saying about an ounce of prevention. It's also good to note that you can function without teeth. Shoot! You get two sets of teeth, and even then, if all else fails and you have a blackened crater mouth, you can get dentures without batting an eye-lash. You only get one spine.