Habits for Good Alignment

An aligned back and body brings many benefits!  Besides getting chiropractic care from Dr. Infantino, there are things you can be doing on your own to keep good alignment.  Posture is what you probably think of first, but there are other things you can be doing, too.  Check out the list of five tips below and start being conscious of them every day!

5 Tips To Help You Maintain Proper Alignment

by Dr. Peter J. Braglia  August 3, 2013 5:00 AM

Anyone who’s ever driven and maintained an automobile for an extended period of time has likely dealt with an alignment problem. The effects of a few simple fender-benders or a minor collision may create a misalignment that’s not immediately obvious. Our bodies are very much like automobiles, and we may not realize that our own alignment is off until an ankle sprain leads to knee trouble or the occasional ache develops into chronic pain — or worse yet, we need surgery or a hip replacement.

When we lose proper alignment, we see joints begin to break down or wear out. This is due to uneven weight distribution. As a chiropractor, I understand the human body is better able to deal with stressors when there is balance in the spine, allowing the nerve system to work free of any structural interference. The focus of chiropractic care is to keep the bones of the spine (vertebrae) in their proper relationships with each other, which enhances the function of the spine and nerve system in order to allow the body to fully express its maximum potential and work optimally.

When the vertebral joints lose proper positioning and alignment, it leads to abnormal motion and movement, which affects how the brain communicates with the body and alters the firing pattern in the central nervous system. We call this nerve interference. This altered communication can affect your entire body, even your immune system. By reducing this nerve interference, your body can assume its true, healthful vigor.

To maintain proper alignment, follow these tips:

1. Work on your posture.

Practice getting into a Neutral Spine Position. This is when the pelvis, rib cage and skull are aligned on top of each other, preventing overload at any one vertebrae in the spine. When you’re in this position, every movement from it activates the core muscles. When we’re in alignment, we exert the least amount of energy to initiate and maintain movement, we have more balance, and there’s less stress on the shoulder, hip, knee and spine joints.

2. Do exercise that promotes stabilization.
Stabilization consists of exercises that strengthen the core muscles of the back and abdomen so your spine can achieve neutral posture easier. These include (but are not limited to): squats, push-ups, planks, and lunges. Physical therapists can help with this, as they often include proprioceptive training, balance exercises and stabilization techniques in their treatment plans.

3. Practice yoga.
By balancing the muscles that flex and extend your hips, yoga promotes a healthy spine and efficient movement — and prevents back pain and injury. It can also increase strength in very specific muscle groups and work to strengthen major muscle groups that support the spine.

4. Maintain a healthy weight.
A healthy weight is essential for so many good things in life. When it comes to proper alignment, keeping your weight down can have benefits. If you are moderately overweight, there will be increased stress on joints and muscles that are already misaligned and dysfunctional. It’s important to note that although extra weight can make things worse, even if you lose weight, the problem will still be there if the alignment is not corrected. There may be less stress on the misaligned joints, which could help the symptom, but it does not take away the problem.
5. Consider chiropractic care.
The best first step to achieving proper posture is to address the very thing that is causing the problem in the first place: spinal alignment. A chiropractor will be able to diagnose and correct alignment issues in the spine and give you the starting point for achieving better posture.

These are only a few tips, as there are other treatments you can incorporate — such as Pilates and massage — that can also promote spinal alignment. Remember, in the early, easiest-to-correct stages, spinal misalignments often produce no noticeable symptoms. That’s why it’s essential to your overall health to have a wellness plan that can identify problem areas that can be addressed before they become headaches, back pain or more serious health issues.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Source: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10407/5-tips-to-help-you-maintain-proper-alignment.html

Changing Your Mindset

It can be challenging to get in the right mindset when making diet, exercise or lifestyle changes. Most of us have likely fallen victim to believing at least one of the 10 beliefs in the article below which has, in turn, prevented the full commitment to a change.  Read the list below and the suggestions for changing those beliefs to truly get yourself in the right mindset for making the lifestyle changes you want.

10 Beliefs That Keep You Stuck When You Want To Eat Healthier

By Anne Ricci

Maybe you’ll say these are excuses.

I prefer to call them beliefs. Because excuses can easily become more ingrained beliefs, and a belief can keep you stuck forever.

1. I don’t have time to eat healthy.

Even when you make the decision that eating healthy is your priority, you probably still have a job, kids, household work, social life, and 8 hours of sleep to squeeze into a 24-hour day.

However, the belief itself is what keeps you stuck, not the lack of time. When you switch your belief to “I can perfectly make at least a few hours time to shop for food and prep meals every week”, things can start changing for the better.

2. Nutrition is too complicated.

Lots of people make nutrition a lot more complicated than it really is. While I personally do need a degree and high-level nutrition knowledge to be able to serve my clients and help them solve their health and weight loss puzzle, you don’t.

Trust your common sense: it’s probably telling you to reduce sugar and coffee, drink more water, and eat more fresh produce. Here’s where to start: make your next drink or your next meal a healthier one.

3. Cooking is a chore.

Sure, if you believe that cooking is a chore, it can be hard to stick to a healthy eating lifestyle. Maybe we could turn this belief on its head and think differently.

Cooking healthy meals is an act of care and love; love of yourself and of the people you cook for. It’s a wonderful gift to you and your family. And when you decide that self-care and love are strong values in your life, you’ll start to enjoy cooking and you’ll probably also find more time for it (see #1).

4. I am addicted to sugar.

This belief can keep you stuck forever in unhealthy eating patterns. Many people who eat lots of foods high in sugar believe they are addicted to sugar and they can’t do anything about it. While sugar addiction has been shown by studies to be a reality, it has also been shown that we can train our brain to prefer healthy food.

Start to envision that this sugar addiction can be reversed, and start to add to your diet a fair amount of the vegetables you like, every single day. You will probably gradually become “addicted” to these servings of vegetables, and you’ll have a much easier time getting off sugary foods and drinks.

5. Eating healthy is too expensive.

This is an inherently subjective topic depending on revenue, country, city, and more. Now, if this is one of your beliefs, let’s consider this research from Harvard School of Public Health, which found “the healthiest diets cost about $1.50 more per day than the least healthy diets” (that’s $45 a month for one person).

If your own diet is not the least healthy at all and your aim is not to have the healthiest diet, either, that could mean a difference of much less than that. Maybe eating healthy is not that much more expensive for you, after all.

6. Eating healthy is too hard.

Once you’ve got the habit of eating healthy, it’s easy. What can be hard is to catch the habit, especially when you’ve been eating processed foods for a long time, or you’re used to hitting the drive-through after a long day of work.

To make eating healthy a habit, you need to get started, and to do so, you may need to first eliminate other beliefs that get in your way (#1 above for example).

7. No one supports me.

People around you may love their fast food meals or fizzy drinks, they may have no interest whatsoever in improving their health or their weight, and they may even sabotage you just because you’re triggering their own stuff. But all this is about them, not about you.

You can’t wait for others to be supportive and drive the change that you want to see in yourself. If you’d love some support, try to find a group, a friend, or someone who’s done it already. But don’t let this belief that no one supports you prevent you from eating healthier.

8. I can’t be consistent with a healthy diet.

You may have this belief if you think you won’t have the willpower to stick to a healthy eating plan and you also want to be perfect and eat healthy 100% of the time.

Here’s the truth: even with the strongest willpower in the world, you won’t eat healthy every single time, simply because life happens. But you can perfectly be consistent with a healthy eating plan once you give up the idea of being perfect.

9. I love my high-calorie comfort foods too much.

You may experience this as true; and that’s ok. You can perfectly like comfort foods. This doesn’t have to prevent you from getting started to eat healthier meals. Your attachment to these foods is often synonymous with a need for comfort in your life.

While you keep some of these foods on the menu and start eating healthier at the same time, ask yourself how you could get more of these feelings of comfort in your life. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that you don’t love those foods that much after all.

10. I don’t like to exercise.

Many people don’t eat a healthy diet just because they think this won’t help them if they don’t also go to the gym at the same time. And the fact they don’t like to exercise stops them in their tracks.

I’m here to tell you: even if you don’t like or you don’t have time to exercise, you can perfectly start adopting a healthier diet today.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-ricci/10-beliefs-that-keep-you-stuck-when-you-want-to-eat-healthier_b_10450432.html?utm_hp_ref=health-fitness&ir=Health+and+Fitness

Finding Time to Focus on Your Wellness

We are all busier than ever as a population from the time we wake up hustling to get to work or school followed by errands and activities while squeezing in time to see friends or family and back home after dark only to be ready for bed again.  Why is it that there never seem to be enough hours in a day to everything on our check lists?  Since that is the case, one item that often isn’t checked off is exercising.  If you are wanting to make more of an effort but your schedule hardly allows, use the pointers in the article below!

3 Ways To Shape Up (For People Who Don’t Have Time To Exercise)

By Jill Ginsberg

Lack of time is a common reason for not exercising. But logging too many hours at the office or having too many balls in the air doesn’t excuse you from taking care of yourself. (Though I guess juggling could count as exercise, right?)

If you’re starved for time try these simple tips to help shape-up:

1. Eat better

Contrary to popular opinion, about 80 percent of being in shape is about what you put in your body. Not about how you move your body. So if fitness isn’t your thing, focus on food instead. You’ll get more bang for your buck anyhow, plus eating is something you have to do no matter how busy you are.

Start by making small upgrades. There’s no need to totally overhaul your eating lifestyle or suddenly swear off anything that can’t be hunted or gathered. When you prepare your meals or eat out, focus on adding more whole foods into your diet, such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Be mindful of your portions, too. You don’t need to bust out a scale and start weighing your food like Jenny Craig installed a spy-cam in your kitchen. Just consume reasonable quantities and give your body ample time to recognize it’s full before going back for seconds. Or if it works better for you, eat several smaller meals throughout the day. And whatever you do, resist the urge to skip meals because you don’t have time. That won’t help you shape up at all.

2. Change your mindset

A lot of people associate fitness with a sweaty run or grunt-filled weight-lifting session. But anything that gets your heart rate going counts as exercise.

Stop thinking of it as exercise. Instead, think of it as movement and do some sort of physical activity every day. If the thought of the StairMaster or Elliptical Trainer makes you get all pukey, try something different. Better yet, aerobic activity can include things you are already planning on doing, such as mowing the lawn, getting walked by the dog, wrestling your kids or cleaning the house. The ultimate key to staying fit and healthy is to find movement that you enjoy, and then do it consistently.
Be sure to bring the fun, too! Incorporate movement that’s more recreational and makes you forget you’re working out—like dancing, geocaching with the kids, or playing a game of flag football. Other fun ideas that will make you forget you’re trying to be fit include biking, belly dancing, boxing, roller skating, ice skating, golfing, paddle boarding, rock climbing, snowboarding, surfing, swimming and beating the pants off of your partner in a Wii sports game.

3. Make time work for you

There’s a common misconception that you need to sweat buckets for at least 30 consecutive minutes to get any health benefit. But the truth is, as long as it adds up to half an hour or more of moderate activity a day, that’s what counts.

Chunk your time. If you don’t have a solid block of 30 minutes, try breaking your activity up into 10-minute chunks at different times during the day, such as morning, afternoon and evening.

Kill two birds. The next time you have a meeting, instead of heading to your favorite coffeeshop again, hit the local walking trail or go on a hike for a change of pace. Or try combining exercise with a sedentary activity so you can be more efficient. Hop on the treadmill while catching up on your favorite sitcom or while chatting up your old college bestie.

Keep it convenient. Going to the gym is great for some people. But unless you happen to have a gym at your office, getting there and back eats up precious time that could be used for other activities, and this often becomes an excuse not to exercise at all. Try using “at home” workout equipment like stairs, stationary equipment, a jump rope or a fitness video.

Work out in quick bursts. Interval training allows you to burn more calories in less time and improve your aerobic capacity. Just a couple of 30-minute sessions per week can supercharge your endurance and fitness. Or try a Tabata workout—each one is only 4 minutes, but it’s liable to feel a lot longer!

See, there’s really no excuse. If you know how to use your time wisely you can shape-up no matter how busy you are.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-ginsberg/3-ways-to-shape-up-for-people-who-dont-have-time-to-exercise_b_10611886.html?utm_hp_ref=health-fitness&ir=Health+and+Fitness

Do You Know This Information About Cholesterol?

Cholesterol has been the subject of debate in the past regarding how much should be in your diet, what it does to your body and more.  A lot of us know that cholesterol is found in many foods, but did you know that there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol?  Learn more about this and other worthwhile information in the article below so you can keep your health on track!

5 Things You Should Know About Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a buzzing topic,
thanks to a new report from top nutrition researchers who advise the
government about what and how Americans should be eating. If you’re
feeling a little perplexed by all this cholesterol talk, here’s a simple
breakdown of what you really need to know.

By: Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD | February 23, 2015

Cholesterol seems to be one of those words that’s in everyone’s vocabulary, but many of my clients
are incredibly confused about what cholesterol is, and how it affects
their health. It also happens to be buzzing in the media at the moment,
thanks to a new report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a group of top nutrition researchers who advise the government about what and how Americans should be eating.

If you’re feeling a little perplexed by all this cholesterol talk, here’s a simple breakdown of what you really need to know.

Cholesterol is only found in animal-based foods

There are two types: dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Dietary
cholesterol is the cholesterol found in foods, and only foods of animal
origin contain it, because animals’ bodies naturally produce this waxy,
fat-like substance. So when you eat an animal-based food (think eggs,
dairy, meat, seafood) you’re ingesting cholesterol that an animal’s body
produced. Plant-based foods do not contain any cholesterol, so if you
see a jar of nut butter marked “cholesterol free” know that they didn’t
remove the cholesterol — it just wasn’t there to begin with.

Cholesterol is essential for your health

Even if you ate zero animal foods, you’d still have cholesterol in your
body. That’s because your liver produces cholesterol and it’s needed for
several key functions, including the making of hormones, vitamin D, and
substances that help you digest food. While cholesterol is vital, it
isn’t considered to be an essential nutrient, meaning something you must
obtain from foods, like vitamin C or potassium. That’s because your
body produces all of the cholesterol it needs.

There are “good” and “bad” types of cholesterol in your blood

The two types of blood cholesterol you hear about most often are HDL
(the “good” kind; think happy cholesterol) and LDL (the “bad” kind;
think lousy cholesterol). HDL and LDL are actually carriers of cholesterol
called lipoproteins. HDL is good because it carries cholesterol away
from arteries and back to the liver, where it can be removed from your
body. LDL “the bad type” has the opposite effect. Too much LDL can lead to
a build-up, which clogs and narrows arteries, and creates inflammation.
This chain of events can lead to a sudden rupture, which sends a clot
into the bloodstream, causing a heart attack and/or stroke.

Dietary cholesterol may not impact blood cholesterol as much as previously thought

The old thinking was that consuming dietary cholesterol added to the
cholesterol that your body naturally produces, thus raising the amount
in your blood. This was perceived to be risky, because too much blood
cholesterol has been shown to up the risk of heart disease, the top
killer of both men and women. One often-cited statistic is that every 1%
increase in total blood cholesterol is tied to a 2% increase in the
risk of heart disease.

For many years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that
dietary cholesterol should be limited to no more than 300 mg per day.
To put that in perspective, one egg yolk contains about 185 mg, three
ounces of shrimp contains about 130 mg, two ounces of 85% lean ground
beef about 60 mg, and one tablespoon of butter about 30 mg. The brand
new report eliminated this cap, however, because the committee believes that the research shows no substantial relationship between the consumption of dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels. As such, they concluded, “Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

The new guidelines aren’t carte blanche to other kinds of animal fat

Nearly every media outlet covered the release of the report from the Dietary Guidelines committee, zeroing in on the omission of cholesterol limits — but
that doesn’t mean it’s now healthy to go out and down cheeseburgers and
pepperoni pizzas. The committee is still concerned about the
relationship between blood cholesterol and saturated fat from foods like cheese.

You may have heard about another recent report, which concluded that a
lower intake of saturated fat wasn’t linked to a lower risk of heart
disease. That’s true, but it’s not the whole story, because the risk
really lies in what you replace the saturated fat-laden foods with. When
people curb saturated fat, but eat more carbohydrates, they lower
protective levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, and drive up triglycerides
(a type of blood fat), a combo that may actually up the risk of heart
disease. But numerous studies have shown that replacing foods like
butter and cheese with plant-based fats like almond butter, avocado, and olive oil can help lower heart disease risk.

Bottom line: the number one message from the new Dietary Guidelines report is that we all need to be eating less sugar and processed foods, and more plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and lentils.
So if you have cholesterol from something like eggs, pair them with
other whole, nutrient-rich plant foods, like veggies and avocado,
combined with some fruit, black beans, sweet potato, or quinoa. That’s
good nutrition.