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3 Things that Affect Vital Aging

Maintaining vitality while aging is more possible than people think!

Vital aging is focused on health and wellness and making certain lifestyle choices that will benefit you long-term. We have rounded up 3 of the best and most basic steps you can take to maintain longevity and vitality in your aging.

1) Combat Inflammation

At the root of many chronic health conditions and illness, even age-related ones is inflammation. Your diet is one of the best starting points to quell inflammation:

  • Consume a diet rich in fresh vegetables (particularly leafy greens), fish, and nuts
  • Steer clear of refined sugars, processed foods, and saturated fats
  • Incorporate turmeric as one of it contains, curcumin, a strong anti-inflammatory
  • Load up antioxidant-rich foods (veggies, fruits, fish, nuts, seeds) to protect your body from free-radical damage maintain cell and tissues health
  • Look into taking a fish oil supplement to control inflammation and heart health

2) Prioritize Regular Exercise

It’s amazing how regular and consistent exercise can add years to your life! From an overall standpoint, exercise assists in weight management, bone strength and muscle health.

  • Exercises helps with brain health, slowing down cognitive impairment
  • A recent Harvard study found that exercise can be nearly effective as prescriptions when it comes to protecting oneself against conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
  • University College London researchers revealed that physically active older adults faced a lower risk of developing chronic conditions like arthritis

3) Maintain a Positive Mindset

A negative outlook can have a hugely negative impact on your health. As studies continue to point out, there is a strong correlation between negative mindsets and poor health. One of the best ways to preserve your heart health is through a lighthearted and cheerful disposition!

  • Research reveals that those who regularly experience pessimism, worry, anxiety, anger, or hopelessness increase disease risk, notably heart disease, coronary artery disease and cardiac events such as heart attacks
  • These consistent negative emotions have been linked to health concerns like complications from surgery and slower recovery from bypass surgery

References

Aberdour, S. (2012, October). 5 Tips for Healthy Aging. Retrieved from: http://www.alive.com/articles/view/23651/5_tips_for_healthy_aging

Gupta, S. (2014, April 28). The Best Anti-Aging Medicine? Exercise. Retreived from: http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/best-anti-aging-medicine-exercise/

Mercola, J. (2013, July 25). Positive Outlook Linked to Reduction in Cardiac Events Such as Heart Attacks. Retrieved from: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/25/positive-outlook.aspx

 

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3 Natural Supplements to Promote Optimal Digestion

Our digestive system is absolutely integral to the overall state of our health. Poor digestion is one of the main offenders of a dysfunctional immune system and weakened health. Below, we have outlined 4 key areas to help get your digestive system thriving.

1) Probiotics
The gut is swimming with about 100 trillion bacteria or flora, often considered “good” or “bad.” These bacteria and their compounds can impact one’s health either positively or negatively. Too much “bad” flora will produce unhealthy metabolites, thereby causing gas, discomfort, bloating and inflammation.

Probiotics are species of health-promoting bacteria that we require for proper digestion of food, and immune defense against illness promoting bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Probiotics, which are also known as “intestinal microflora,” are “good bacteria” that live in our gastro-intestinal (GI) tract.

The problem is since we now consume one-millionth of the healthy probiotic bacteria that we did before pesticides, herbicides, and industrial farming, our bodies generally don`t have adequate levels of probiotics. Furthermore, much of our healthy bacteria are destroyed by eating sugars, grains, and by consuming alcohol, antibiotics, and other prescription drugs.

The only way to consume adequate amounts of probiotic healthy bacteria is through daily supplementation.

Proven health benefits of probiotics include:
• Reduction of bloating and constipation
• Improved immunity & prevent illness
• Fighting colds and flu
• Lowering cholesterol
• Preventing diarrhea, gas, and cramping caused by antibiotics

2) Digestive Enzyme and Prebiotic Supplementation
Clinical research has revealed that many individuals produce insufficient amounts of digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes help to completely break down protein, carbohydrates, fat, and other nutrients to their most basic form.

Negative impacts of Digestive Enzyme Insufficiency:
• Results in bloating, indigestion, other digestive issues as well as inflammatory conditions
• Upsets irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, lactose intolerances, and food allergy sensitivities
• Partially digested food entering the bloodstream can trigger immune inflammatory reactions, thereby exacerbating conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne, and arthritis

A high potency, full spectrum digestive enzyme (from non-animal sources) is recommended to those prone to any of the above conditions or symptoms to support optimal digestive function and reduce partially digested food from entering the bloodstream and large bowel.

3) Omega- 3 Essential Fatty Acids

Ranked among the most important essential nutrients out there today, Omega 3 Fatty Acids are fats that are found naturally in the oils of marine and plant life.

Healthy fats help you feel full, help burn fat, improve immune function, reduce inflammation and help with infant brain development.

For digestion, Omega 3 EFAs provides the lubrication to keep food moving smoothly and efficiently through the intestines, thereby promoting regular, healthy bowel movements. They also nourish the cells in the intestinal lining, helping to strengthen the intestinal lining and prevent harmful toxins from entering the bloodstream. Through the production anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, EFAs also help in reducing inflammation, one of the root causes of irritable bowel conditions.

Our bodies do not naturally produce EFAs, so we must rely on our diet and supplementation for adequate intake.

References

Watson, B. (2008, November 1). Omega Oils: Good Fats for Healthy Digestive Function. Retrieved from: http://blog.brendawatson.com/supplements/omega-3-fish-oil/omega-oils-good-fats-for-healthy-digestive-function/

Do You Have a Stinking Gut? (And Why you Should Want One). Retrieved from: http://wellnessmama.com/2303/stinking-gut/


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4 Exercise to Develop Core Stability

What is the Core?

The “core” consists of a group of muscles including ab­dominal, hip and back muscles that stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder. The core provides a solid foundation for movement in the extremities. Core conditioning exercise programs need to target all these muscle groups to be ef­fective. The muscles of the core make it possible to stand upright and move on two feet. These muscles help control movements, transfer energy, shift body weight and move in any direction. A strong core distributes the stresses of weight-bearing and protects the back.

Why is Core Stability Important?

A strong, stable core plays an important role in injury prevention. Research shows that weak, unbalanced core muscles may predispose an individual to injury and are linked to low back pain. Stronger, balanced core muscles help maintain appropriate posture and reduce strain on the spine. Training the muscles of the core also corrects postural imbalances that can lead to injuries.

 4 Exercises To Develop CORE STABILITY(see attached file for RELATED IMAGES)

Building a strong core means doing exercises regularly that target the abdominal, hip and back muscles.

Arm/Leg Raise

Starting position: Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms raised straight up in front of you. Maintain an abdominal brace (by tighten­ing your stomach and buttock muscles).

The move: Lift one knee up toward 90 degrees and extend the opposite arm over your head to the floor. Hold for 2-3 seconds. Return to the starting position and switch sides.

Repetitions: Repeat 6-8 times. Gradually work up to 3 sets. Rest for 30-60 seconds between sets.

 

Arm Extension

Starting position: Kneel down onto your hands and knees. Keep your spine in a neutral position and main­tain an abdominal brace (by tightening stomach and buttock muscles).

The move: Extend one arm out in front as much as you can – even a little way makes a difference. The goal is to make your arm parallel with the floor. Be sure to keep the rest of your body stable. Hold for 2-3 seconds. Return to starting position and switch sides.

Repetitions: Repeat 6-8 times. Gradually work up to 3 sets. Rest for 30-60 seconds between sets.

 

Leg Extension

Starting position: Kneel down onto your hands and knees. Keep your spine in a neutral position and main­tain an abdominal brace (by tightening stomach and buttock muscles).

The move: Extend one leg behind as much as you can – even a little way makes a difference. Be sure to keep your upper body stable. Hold for 2-3 seconds. Return to starting position and switch sides.

Repetitions: Repeat 6-8 times. Gradually work up to 3 sets. Rest for 30-60 seconds between sets.

 

Cross Crawl

Starting position: Kneel down onto your hands and knees. Keeping your spine in a neutral position, tighten stomach and buttock muscles to create an abdominal brace.

The move: Slowly extend one leg behind you; at the same time extend the opposite arm out in front until parallel with floor. Be sure to keep your torso square and stable. Hold for 2-3 seconds. Return to starting position and switch sides.

Repetitions: Repeat 6-8 times. Gradually work up to 3 sets. Rest for 30-60 seconds between sets.

 

*If you feel pain or discomfort while performing any of these exercises, or within 72 hours of exercising, please cease performing these exercises and consult your doctor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The 4 Pillars of Stress Management

Stress is inevitable in our daily lives, so investing in your mental health has to be a priority. Stress becomes detrimental when it starts to seriously impact your overall physical and mental well-being.

Learning to make stress work for you instead of against you does takes time, but fortunately can be done. In taking small manageable steps to a stress management lifestyle, you and your family can work to being psychologically and physically fit.

Diet: Focus on quality nutrition that builds up your stress resistance
• Provide your body with real energy from nutrient-dense foods that are plentiful in proteins, vitamins, minerals and essential fats
• Try to eliminate caffeine, sugar, white flours, refined grains, processed foods, and alcohol as much as possible from your diet as these foods stimulate stress levels
• Take time to eat your foods slowly and consciously as the digestive system shuts down during times of stress

Exercise: Regular exercise will allow your body to become more equipped at handling stress overtime
• Try to allow yourself at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise every day
• Exercise promotes good circulation and detoxification by supplying oxygen to tight muscles and devitalized organs
• Exercise relieves stress by using up your excess cortisol (your stress hormone)
• Since exercise is a positive form of stress of the body, when you exercise regularly, the body becomes adept at handling stress (both mental and physical)

Relaxing: Make down-time mandatory for you during the week so you can re-energize completely
• Consciously relax your muscles individually from head to toe, twice a day
• Take therapeutic baths, adding in a handful of natural relaxing agents: lavender, chamomile, valerian, hops or burdock
• You can also add essential oils of lemon, peppermint, rosemary or lavender to your baths
• Make an effort to find laughter during the day and do small things to increase your enjoyment

Natural Remedies: Resupply your body with essential minerals and nutrients that decline when your stress levels rise
• Replenish your B vitamins with a vitamin B complex as your body uses up this vitamin when under stress
• Vitamin C supports proper adrenal function and can help with stress
• Consider a magnesium supplement, as magnesium is lost during stressful times and helps to improve sleep quality
• Explore adaptogenic herbs like rhodiola, ashwaganda, Siberian ginseng, and relora for they help with increasing your body’s tolerance to stress

References:

Goodness Me! Natural Food Market. Natural Approaches to Stress Management [brochure]. Hamilton, ON: Goodness Me Natural Food Market.


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Pack it Light: Backpack Tips

It only makes sense that we delve into the backpack safety essentials with the school season upon us. Whether it’s your child that wears a backpack every day or you carry one frequently, these best backpack practices are universal.

Poor backpack design, weight distribution and carrying does not only yield short-term discomfort, but can also lead to long-term pains and spinal health issues. These pressures can compromise the natural alignment of your spine, placing stress on the back, neck, shoulders, muscles and other areas.
Don’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders! Drastically reduce backpack discomfort as well reduce injury and chronic conditions with these tips:

The Right Bag
Certain features or ergonomic designs of a backpack could make all the difference for your spine:
• Above all, chose a backpack that is in proportion with your body
• Look for padding on the back and shoulder straps
• Adjustable waist and chest straps are ideal in that they redistribute some weight onto the pelvis, easing the strain on back and shoulders
• Opt for a bag featuring multiple front and side pockets to balance out the load; this easier accessibility will aid in minimizing unnecessary strained movements like twisting, reaching and digging
• A bag made out of lightweight material like vinyl or canvas will decrease its overall weight

Pack it Light
When it comes to your backpack, you should not be carrying more than 15% of your body weight. Kids should not be carrying more than 10% of their body weight. Pack smart:
• Try to distribute packing across many different compartments of the backpack
• Be cognizant of unnecessary items from your bag and make a rule of ONLY carrying essentials
• Opt for a smaller, compact water bottle that you refill throughout the day instead of a large one
• Go for mini travel-sized pieces like personal care items (hairbrushes, creams) and pencil cases
• Figure out an efficient system for binders or notebooks, such as depositing them into a main binder at home so you have a lighter load on the go
• Organize your backpack on a weekly basis to avoid items piling up and being forgotten
• Pack heavier items towards the back of the bag so they are closest to your body

Wear it Right
Carrying yourself well also applies to backpack wearing! Ease the wear and tear on your spine with specific carrying techniques:
• Walk with a straight posture and avoid hunching/leaning forward as much as possible
• Always wear both shoulder straps of the bag; never tote a backpack around on just one shoulder as this yields strained balance and posture
• Carry the heaviest items closest to your body to prevent stress on the spine
• If the bag features a waist or chest belt, try to use these this for extra support
• Adjust the straps so that the backpack fits securely and comfortably against you

References:

Ontario Chiropractic Association. Pack it Light. Wear it Right [Fact sheet]. Toronto, ON: Ontario Chiropractic Association.

Ontario Chiropractic Association. Pack it Light. Wear it Right on the go [Brochure]. Toronto, ON: Ontario Chiropractic Association.

 


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How Sitting is the New Smoking

“The human body wasn’t meant to sit for 8 hours a day.” You’ve likely heard that before and there is a lot of truth to that. While the body can maintain a seated position, our anatomy was not intended to properly support this prolonged position.

Sedentary behavior, particularly associated with sitting, has quickly become one of the largest public health issues of the 21st century due large in part to growing technology use in the workplace and home life. Generally speaking, prolonged sitting is linked to physical inactivity which imposes numerous health risks and adverse effects.

The Consequences of Prolonged Sitting

Prolonged sitting prompts physical inactivity which can lead to an unhealthy cycle of physical deconditioning to injury/disease and finally to a diminished desire for any physical activity.

Prolonged sitting affects every major system in the body:
• Increases heart rate, reduces your cardiac output and your capacity to exercise
• Decreases bone density, promotes tendon stiffness and increases risk of tendon injuries
• Can lead to muscle fatigue as well as loss of muscle strength and mass
• Increases blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin resistance and decreases oxygen uptake
• Can lead to many chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease
• Can have a negative emotional impact, lowering self-esteem and body satisfaction

Upper Crossed Syndrome

Prolonged sitting also yields many postural issues, with the most common one being Upper Crossed Syndrome. Upper Crossed Syndrome is an imbalance of tight, overactive muscles with weak, inhibited muscles. It is characterized mainly by rounded shoulders and a forward head posture. If neglected overtime, Upper Crossed Syndrome results in unnecessary stress on the spine, nervous system and muscular system.

Ergonomics and Modern Devices

The daily and more frequent use of technological devices such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones also bears many postural strains to health. Some of the conditions associated with poor posture/ergonomics include:
• Headaches
• Chronic neck and low back pain
• Upper Crossed Syndrome
• Weakening of core strength
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Sciatica
• Tennis Elbow

Tips for Managing Prolonged Sitting and Ergonomics
MOVE: It’s a must! At work, set a reminder to get up and take an “active break” every 30-60 mins. Get away from your work area and walk around, whether stepping out for a drink, the bathroom or a small stroll.
Chiropractic Care: Regular chiropractic visits will ensure that poor postural habits are being properly eliminated and prevented. Gentle adjustments will remove interferences to your spine and nervous system brought on by postural stress.
Ergonomic Improvements: Ensure that your “work stations” at both home and the office are ergonomically sound and invest in high, quality ergonomic pieces
Limit sitting: If possible, try to limit sitting to 3 hours a day when you’re off work
Physical Activity: While understandably not always possible, try to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise every day
Desktop Computers: Position your body in a “neutral spine” position – wrists straight, elbows and hips at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor/or platform. Ensure your eyes are level with the top third of the screen, at about 18-24 inches away.
Laptops: Try to utilize your laptop more like a desktop with a seated or standing posture, rather than lying down. When using for long periods of time, go for accessories like a riser or plug-in keyboard to minimize stress to neck and back.
Smartphones & Tablets: Try to keep your texts brief and take advantage of auto-correction/word prediction features. While texting, maintain an upright posture to avoid constantly bending your neck down. Use a neutral grip when holding your device.

References:

Wellness Media. [pamphlet]. Dangers of Sitting: Avoiding a Modern Day Hazard. Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia: Wellness Media Resources.

Wellness Media. [pamphlet]. Modern Day Ergonomics: Preserving Your Body While Using Modern Devices. Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia: Wellness Media Resources.


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Wellness Chiropractic: The Importance of Maintenance

“Along with regular adjusting, I faithfully do the exercises recommended to me and was amazed how quickly found relief not only from the pain, but a marked essence of wellbeing, strength and flexibility. Emotional and physical stress was released as well.”

Loretta C., Evolve Patient. Read her full experience with wellness chiropractic here

An increasing number of people who want to be and do their best are visiting chiropractors on a regular basis. Wellness chiropractic care takes a proactive not reactive approaching to aging and longevity. True health is based on how well our bodies work, not how we feel.

Don’t Wait for Symptoms

These days, many health problems are the result of lifestyle choices that don’t always have obvious symptoms until the effects are well advanced.

Waiting for the first symptom or until you are in pain is not part of living a true wellness lifestyle. Our society has defined being sick as having obvious symptoms. The truth of the matter is that we can still be unwell or experience impairments without experiencing obvious symptoms.

Here is the thing: spinal dysfunction can still occur silently before back pain ensues. Your body’s response to dysfunction is to avoid the pain by altering its mechanics. The longer dysfunction goes uncorrected, the more difficult it can be to recover or reverse.

Maintaining Your Health

Although everyone wants to feel good, your care should not be based on whether you have pain or other symptoms. As previously stated, spinal dysfunction can occur without obvious symptoms and may be silently affecting your nervous system.

Wellness chiropractic care is important because the integrity of our nervous system informs our entire body functioning. Chiropractic care ensures that every organ and tissue has an uninterrupted nerve supply. It just makes sense to detect small problems before they become serious concerns. Removing interferences from the nervous system activates your body’s self-healing and self-regulating abilities. A nervous system free of impairments can make a huge difference in the function of every system in your body.

Routine wellness checkups should be combined with other wellness endeavors such as nutrition, exercise, and emotional balance in order to achieve optimal health. Your chiropractor can provide insight and counsel on what particular wellness strategies are working for you currently.

True health is optimum physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. Drinking more water, eating nutritious foods, regular exercise and virtually every other healthy habit produces even bigger dividends when you have a properly working nervous system.

References

Wellness Media. [pamphlet] What is Chiropractic: Discover a True Healing Profession. Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia: Wellness Media Resources.