Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just Try Walking

While some fitness enthusiasts relentlessly seek out the latest, trendiest exercise crazes, many others are returning to good, old-fashioned walking to help them feel great and get into shape. Whether enjoying the wonder of nature, or simply the company of a friend, walking can be a healthy, invigorating experience. And thanks to its convenience and simplicity, walking just might be right for you, too.

Benefits of Walking
You don’t need to become a member of an expensive gym to go walking. And except for a good pair of walking shoes, it requires virtually no equipment.

A sedentary lifestyle has a debilitating influence on people’s health as they age, therefore exercise is imperative. Walking accomplishes all of the following and more:

- Improves cardiovascular endurance
- Tones muscles of the lower body
- Burns calories: about 80 if walking 2 miles per hour, and about 107 if walking 4.5 miles per hour
- Reduces risk of heart disease

Selecting Shoes
The first item of business when beginning your walking program is to select the right pair of shoes. Too many people choose fashion over function when purchasing running shoes, not realizing that poor-fitting shoes can do more than hurt their stride; they can also lead to pain throughout the body.

- Make sure the shoes you purchase fit properly. The balls of your feet should rest exactly at the point where the toe end of the shoe bends during walking.
- Select shoes with plenty of cushioning in the soles to absorb the impact.
- Shop for sneakers at the end of the day or after a workout when your feet are generally at their largest. Wear the type of socks you usually wear during exercise.
- When trying on shoes, be sure to wear them for at least 10 minutes at the store.

Once you have purchased a pair of shoes, don’t walk them into the ground. While estimates vary as to when is the best time to replace old shoes, most experts agree that between 300 and 500 miles is optimal.

Getting Started
Walking just 12 minutes every other day can offer important health benefits. But in order to increase your longevity, try to eventually work up to 30 minutes, five days per week. Experts generally agree that to be considered “active,” adults should try to take 10,000 steps each day. Wearing a pedometer is an easy way to track your progress.

The following tips can help you get started on your walking regimen:

-Move your arms freely, in coordination with the opposite leg.
- Don’t stoop your head or look down as you walk. This will challenge the normal forward curve of your neck, which, in turn, will cause you to carry your weight improperly.
- Don’t carry weights or dumbbells while walking. They’re better used as a separate part of your exercise regimen.
- Expect a little soreness in the thighs and calves for the first week or two. If you experience more than soreness, check with your doctor of chiropractic.
- Walk briskly, with “purpose.” Simply sauntering, while relaxing and enjoyable, is not an effective form of cardiovascular exercise.

Of course, be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Walking Surfaces
Some walking surfaces are better than others on your musculoskeletal system.

- Walking on a cushioned or rubberized track is ideal, because the cushioning of this type of track absorbs most of the impact of your walking. Many recreation centers offer this type of track free of charge.
- Grass is another good surface, but watch out for hidden dips or holes in the ground.
- Walking on a surface with no give, such as concrete or a mall floor, is not your best choice, because this type of surface will not absorb much of the impact your body will experience. If you do choose to walk on such a surface, be extra careful to select highly cushioned shoes.

Pain and Injury
While you may experience pain or injury in a particular area, such as a knee or a hip, the root of the problem may lie somewhere else. Injuries of this nature are not regional, or isolated, but systemic. A problem in the foot or ankle can create an imbalance in every step, leading to discomfort or injury that moves to the knees, hips, low back, or elsewhere. If you suffer from pain beyond typical muscle soreness, your doctor of chiropractic can diagnose and treat your pain or injury and get you back into the swing of your walking routine. Your doctor of chiropractic can also help customize a wellness program that is right for you and has the expertise to help keep you in the mainstream of life.

Patient information provided by the American Chiropractic Association.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lenape Valley High School Dinner and Tricky Tray

Lenape Valley Regional High School PTSA will be sponsoring a Dinner and Tricky Tray on Friday, May 7 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, 1000 International Drive North, International Trade Center, Mt. Olive. Hotel phone number is 973-448-1100. Doors open at 6:00 pm.

The "Cinco de Mayo" theme will definitely spice up the evening! Wear your best Mexican Riviera outfit for a special prize! Due to limited seating, you'll want to buy your tickets early! You can also reserve a table for ten. PTSA recommends that all parties submit payment as a group or the table will not be guaranteed. If you have a smaller group please indicate the names of the other parties in your group on the reservation form that can be found at the school's web address: www.lvhs.org.

Tricky Tray proceeds directly offset the cost of Project Graduation.

Optimal Family Chiropractic is providing a Wellness Basket for the Tricky Tray. We look forward to seeing the lucky winner!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Obesity Causes Knees to Suffer

Obesity leads to a wide range of health problems including osteoarthritis, which can play havoc with your joints, especially the hips and knees.

A Canadian study examined the relationship between obesity and hip- or knee-replacement surgery, noting that 81% of joint replacement patients were classified as overweight or obese. Luckily, most knee problems can be avoided:

Assume a Healthier Weight. Carrying around that extra fat puts needless wear and tear on your joints and spinal discs, impairing proper function.

Strengthen Leg Muscles. Something as simple and inexpensive as walking or climbing stairs can do wonders to strengthen your knees.

Wear Supportive Shoes. When properly fitted, shoe orthotics help support the arches of your feet, giving your entire body a more stable platform.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Can You Defy Gravity?

We see it all the time. A patient faces a health crisis and shows up in our office. We're always delighted to help, but often as soon as the client feels better, they discontinue their regular care.

That's how our society tends to view health care: people attend to health matters only after losing their health.

The entire process is similar to riding a roller coaster.

After getting strapped in and using lots of energy, the roller coaster is pulled up a steep incline. That's like the frequent visits a new patient experiences when beginning care. When you reach the top the views are great, but when the power pulling the coaster up is removed, there's only one way to go!

Like patients who feel better and then discontinue their care, they coast. Which is what a roller coaster is: a scary ride that while fast, is entirely based on coasting downhill. Gravity wins every time.

Much of the healing and retraining of muscles and ligaments necessary for more lasting spinal changes happen after the relief of obvious symptoms. That's why discontinuing care too soon invites a relapse. Coasting right back to the bottom is fun on a roller coaster, but not much fun when it applies to your health!

Are you coasting? If it's been awhile since your last chiropractic checkup, schedule one today!

Patient information provided by the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Resolution Check-In

Just a few months ago, many of us resolved to make changes in our lives. What happened?

Consider some of the traits of those who keep new, healthier habits:

They believe in their ability to change.
They know that keeping old habits and forming new ones are choices that they control.

They don't blame themselves or make excuses.
Instead of giving up after "falling off the wagon," they dust themselves off and recommit to their goal.

They concentrate on measurable results.
They track their progress.

They make change a long-term lifestyle decision.
Diets don't work. Abandoning unhealthy habits requires thinking long term.

If you've fallen out of the habit of regular, preventive chiropractic care, it's not too late to get back in the habit!

Patient information provided by the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors