Wednesday, June 19, 2013

10 Minutes Of Stretching Can Make All The Difference

Should I stretch before or after I exercise? Should I even bother to stretch at all? These are the questions that every busy adult asks whenever he or she is planning to begin an exercise program. The correct answer to the first question is "do whatever is right for you." Some people need to lengthen their major muscle groups, such as the quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), and calves, before they run, walk, swim, and/or lift weights for exercise. For others, it's best to stretch at the end of a workout, re-lengthening the major muscle groups so they'll be ready to help you move through the rest of your day.

The answer to the second question is "yes, stretching is important for everybody and is often the missing link in trying to understand why you injured yourself when you were exercising." Stretching helps you either warm up or cool down, whichever is needed for you to get the most out of your exercise. Not stretching in the way that you need puts you on the fast track to sustaining an exercise-related injury. As always, prevention is the best policy.

A dynamic warm-up is a fun and entertaining supplement or replacement, at times, to stretching if you're a stretch-first person. In a dynamic warm-up, you take important joints such as your hips, shoulders, and lower back through complete ranges of motion, using large muscle groups for support. Dynamic warm-up activities are similar to core strengthening exercises and have unique names such as scorpion, hip crossover, drop lunge, and quad circles. You can mix-and-match a variety of dynamic warm-up activities on different workout days, creating ongoing interest that helps you maintain your exercise routine.

A dynamic cool-down can serve as a similar supplement or replacement to stretching, at times, if you're a stretch-after person. If you've been walking or running, rather than simply completing your walk or run, spend an additional few minutes walking or running with shorter strides and/or at a slower pace. Walking backward at a slow pace is another method for achieving a dynamic cool-down. If you've been lifting weights, a series of deep-knee lunges will stretch your lower back and hips. A yoga-style downward dog will lengthen your spine, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Moving your arms through big circles, both clockwise and counterclockwise, will open up your shoulder girdles and lengthen the muscles of your rotator cuffs.
Regardless of the method you choose, stretching is an important part of your regular exercise activities. The extra few minutes spent either warming up or cooling down will help you maintain your exercise program achieve long-term health and well-being.

For more information on Dr. Peloquin and how his team at Hands of Gold Chiropractic can help you, please research his abilities by clicking the link to his website at Bay Ridge Chiropractor or liking his facebook page @ HANDS-OF-GOLD-CHIROPRACTIC ON FACEBOOK

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Whats The Problem With Stress?

We live in stressful times. The economy is tough, global conflicts rage, severe weather events are affecting people in every corner of the globe, and our numerous technological devices don't seem to be making things any easier. Of course, this is nothing new. Every generation thinks theirs is the best of times and the worst of times. But the result is that people everywhere have high levels of stress.
Sometimes stress is a good thing. Mechanical stress, such as exercise, causes your muscles and bones to become stronger and your nerve system to become smarter. Taking on a new assignment at work or taking a challenging class in school may be stressful, but the effort involved in achieving a successful result will cause you to grow and develop in ways that you might not have imagined. After all, the great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously said "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

But chronic, ongoing physical and mental stress, the kind that affects us every day, is not good for us. Chronic stress causes real psychological and physical problems. People undergoing chronic stress may develop anxiety, which if not managed effectively may lead to depression. Chronic stress may lead to a variety of disorders and diseases, including arthritis, inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease, gastrointestinal problems such as peptic ulcer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even heart attacks and stroke.  As we are all subject to numerous stresses every day, both personal and work-related, it's very important for us to develop strategies that will be successful in helping us manage ongoing stresses.

The most important method for managing stress is to attempt to focus your point-of-view, your frame of reference, on the present moment. Our minds are constantly in motion, constantly at work creating new thoughts and new scenarios regarding some potentially stressful situation, or rehashing old conversations, old conflicts, and old problems. The result is that we're almost never at peace. When we try to sit down and relax for a bit, it's never too long before our minds start bringing up the exact things we'd like to be able to forget or ignore, at least for a little while. Most of us can't flip a metaphorical switch and shut off our incessant stream of mostly negative self-talk. But we can learn to remind ourselves to return to the present, to come back to this moment, the one that's happening now.

The best way to do this is to ask yourself, "is this [what I'm thinking about] happening right now?" If you can see that what's happening now is that you're sitting in a chair reading the newspaper, you have a good chance of being able to let go of what your mind is talking to you about. Say to yourself, "I'm right here, right now, and none of that other stuff is actually happening right now." This will help you create some distance from your self-talk, and the self-talk may even recede into the background for a while. The feeling of calm you might then experience is one you can build on. The more you practice returning to the moment, the more power you gain in being able to manage the stress in your life.
For more information on Dr. Peloquin and how he can help alleviate your stress, please visit his website at or visit his Facebook page for new health related topics and cool promotions - Hands of Gold on Facebook.