Healthy Lifestyle Tips
At Bawcom Chiropractic Clinic we believe a truly successful treatment extends beyond the office visit. Pain and discomfort are the body’s ways of telling us something is wrong. If we don’t address the source of what is wrong, it is likely the pain will return.
We prefer a holistic approach that extends beyond the office visit. This includes ways you can help improve your overall body alignment and comfort so that you are an active participant in your overall health and often may not require return visits.
Living a healthy lifestyle is not about denying yourself things – food and fun, for example. It is about choices, and understanding how the choices you make impact your overall health. The tips below are designed to help you maximize your comfort and have a healthy lifestyle.
Stretching | Eating Habits | Exercise
Living a healthy lifestyle is easier than you think. With minor changes to diet, basic exercise and stretching you can have a surprising impact on your overall health and well being.
Be sure to read more about our healthy lifestyle tips and ask us about easy things you can do to support your chiropractic care in order to feel great!
Mobility and pain-free muscle movement are critical factors in how you live your life. When you suffer from pain and discomfort, it can hinder your daily activities. Stretching can facilitate mobility, improve muscle mechanics, and allow you greater opportunities every day.
We recommend the book Stretching For Fitness, Health & Performance written by Dr. Christopher A. Oswald and Dr. Stanley N. Bacso. Stan was my roommate in college and is one of my best friends – he is also a leading authority on stretching. The following are “Six Rules to Stretching” from my friend’s book.
1. Warm Up.
Before you stretch, your muscles should be warm. An efficient warm-up can include marching, walking in place while swinging your arms, taking a warm shower, or mimicking the sport you are about to do (e.g., for squash: swing the racquet, twist the torso, and lunge). The warm-up increases muscle temperature, which increases blood flow to the tissues. Muscle fibers can then respond more quickly and efficiently to the stretch.
2. Be Gentle.
Do not force a muscle to stretch. All you should feel is a gentle pull in the muscle. It should take approximately 6-10 seconds for the internal muscle-protective mechanism to adapt to the new position. Then the nervous system will then allow the muscle fibers to relax and change their length. In the next 20-24 seconds, you should notice a gradual decrease in the pulling sensation. At the end of 30 seconds, you should feel almost no pulling sensation. If you still feel something, you are stretching too far, which can result in a sore and stiff muscle. Simply ease back to the point or position where you feel virtually nothing in order to allow the muscle to adapt to its new length. The “no pain, no gain” theory does not apply to stretching.
3. Hold for 30 Seconds.
Current research shows that a stretch must be held for at least 30 seconds. If you cannot hold the stretch comfortably for this long, then ease back. Anything less than 30 seconds will not give the nerves enough time to adapt to the new length and alter the muscle tone. Only one repetition per muscle is required when done daily. However, if you notice that a muscle on one side is tighter than the same muscle on the other side, you may want to stretch it two to four times to fully relax it. Ultimately, you want symmetry.
Deep, rhythmic, abdominal breathing helps to improve circulation to muscle tissues. This enhances nutrient flow (especially calcium and magnesium) to muscle fibers. Breathing is meditative and helps your body relax. Holding your breath will make the stretch ineffective.
5. Do Not Bounce.
Bouncing, or ballistic stretching, stresses the joints, ligaments and muscles. It also triggers the protective stretch mechanism within the muscle to reflexively contract. As a result, the muscles cannot relax or stretch. Always stretch slowly and gently.
6. Stretch Both Sides.
Always stretch the right and left sides (or the front and back) of an area to maintain balance and symmetry. This will enhance flexibility and performance while reducing the risk of injury. Pay attention to your muscles. If the muscle you stretch responds quickly, you can assume it is healthy and does not require much work. If it is stiff and does not move easily, you may need to repeat the stretch until it relaxes. Learn to “listen” to the muscle’s response to the stretch so that you will learn more about your inherent blueprint.