Physical / Chemical / Emotional
A Finnish study of 3,403 subjects has found that those who exercised at least 2 to 3 times per week experienced significantly less depression, anger, cynical distrust and stress than those exercising less frequently or not at all.1
Am I ready for exercise?
You must ask yourself these important questions before you begin any exercise plan:
- Have you ever had any heart problems?
- Do you ever have chest pain?
- Do you ever feel faint or dizzy?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
- Are you carrying any injuries?
- Do you have arthritis or joint pain?
- Do you suffer from osteoporosis?
- Are you diabetic, asthmatic or epileptic?
- Are you extremely overweight?
- Have you been a heavy smoker?
- Are you unaccustomed to exercise?
- Are you pregnant?
- Are you on any medication?
- Are you feeling ill?
- Does your family have a history of early death by stroke or heart disease?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions it is wise to discuss these with your GP and chiropractor. Co-management in these instances is very important and seeking medical clearance before starting your exercise plan may be essential.
Some interesting and helpful physical tips
- 20min exercise every 2nd day (doubling your resting heart rate for 20 minutes every 2nd day has been shown medically to be the best form of exercise – this might include a brisk walk, cycling, or swimming).
- Those who have a sedentary occupation need to include stretches, regular stand up breaks and rotation of tasks as much as possible. This is because the disc that exists between each vertebra has a poor blood supply and relies on its nutrition through movement.
- Stretching / Strengthening will help in holding adjustments and overall flexibility and strength (for more details see the exercise page).
- Rolled Towel technique (resting a rolled towel under the curve of your neck for a few minutes a day) is not only relaxing but will help encourage and maintain your normal neck curve.
- Contoured Pillow (~8 hours a day of therapy that you may be missing out on).
- Massage may be of benefit for areas of muscular tightness.
Some tips on what to avoid physically
- Over exertion
- Repetitive strains and postures
- Poor lifting techniques
- Poor ergonomic desk set-ups
- Poor posture
Some interesting and helpful chemical tips
- Eat a well balanced diet with plentiful green leafy vegetables, fresh produce and minimal processed food.
- Drink ~2 litres of water / day (air conditioning in an office building on an average working day dehumidifies our bodies and we lose 1L of fluid).
Some tips on what to avoid chemically:
- Excess alcohol – although it has been shown that red wine in moderation is actually beneficial!
- Smoking – apart from the obvious cardiovascular problems with smoking, we now know that each cigarette decreases the blood supply to the discs in between each bone in the spinal column. This makes back pain a more common occurrence in smokers than non-smokers.
- A diet high in sugar – Western society has a sweet tooth! It is becoming apparent that our high sugar diets may be more responsible for heart disease and stroke than a diet high in cholesterol and fat! Remember carbohydrates are sugars, so excess bread and pasta for example contribute to a sugar rich diet. A programme on ABC's Catalyst by
- Excess preservatives – the average person eats their own body weight in preservatives and additives each year!
Minimise work and home stress. Emotional stress has led to the term, “You’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.” It is also seen that when someone is emotionally stressed they tend to do the wrong things chemically. That is, reaching for the chocolate, smoking and/or excess alcohol. A vicious cycle!
Preventing Spinal Degeneration
The majority of our spinal problems accumulate over years of mistreatment.
Whilst we have been conditioned to brush our teeth regularly for the prevention of tooth decay, no one ever taught us how to maintain a healthy, mobile spine. Consequently, many of us have repeatedly subjected our spine to damaging compression, twisting and bending forces. This can lead to a creeping degeneration which may only be halted or reversed by conscious daily attention to spinal care.
- Hassman et al (2000) Preventative Medicine 30: 17-25.