Aging

Stopping Neck & Shoulder Pain

Posted on April 6, 2017. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Healing, Health, inflammation, injury, rebuild, Neck Pain, Pain, Posture | Tags: , , , , |

dr greg neck exercises cut out

Dr. Greg shows some simple neck exercises

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic

Neck and shoulder pain come in many shapes and forms.  There’s the sharp & stabbing type, sometimes coming from an arthritic joint or perhaps from something as simple as bending it in the wrong direction.  Sometimes it feels like it’s a grinding sort of pain and other times it feels heavy and stiff.  Whether the neck pain is a muscular or pinched nerve type, it usually doesn’t originate just in the neck but the uppermost part of the back, where a lot of muscles are activated and connect.  In order to be thorough and correct the problem, all these areas need to be addressed and assessed.

Oftentimes, headaches are caused by neck & shoulder issues.  If the muscles in the front of the neck are spasming, it can create a headache on the side of the head.  Tight trapezius and shoulder girdle areas can refer pain up the back of the head, and at the base of the skull, the deeper layer or muscles, when contracted or spasming can irritate blood vessels or nerves and produce “migraine” symptoms.

The feeling of an electrical shock or jolt running down the arm may indicate a nerve compression of some sort while a tightness or achy pain could result from a muscle strain from training at the gym.

The type of pain itself can often help identify the problem and therapies to be used for pain relief.  Ice packs are great to help reduce sharp pain while a stiff pain can be helped with ice and then heat.  The most effective therapy I have found is a combination of both chiropractic and acupuncture.  The chiropractic adjustment can help relieve muscle tension and restore some motion on just the first visit.  Subsequent visits keep increasing that range of motion, resulting in pain relief and longer term can restore proper alignment.  Add in the use of electrical stimulation and infrared heat and spasms and tightness can be also be reduced.  Acupuncture can also give a pretty satisfying analgesic effect by helping reduce muscle tension and inflammation.

One thing that can help reduce and prevent neck & shoulder pain is to focus on mobility and correct posture.  Gentle stretching and proper movement can keep the areas flexible and lubricated.  If you sit at the computer all day with your head leaning forward and hardly move, the strained position will eventually destroy the curve of the neck.  Inflammation also occurs, and nothing seems to fit in the right place.  The ligaments are no longer in the correct position and the front muscles start to shrink (because they are always contracted) while the back of the neck muscles are over stretched and weakened.  A great deal of this can be remedied by taking breaks to gently stretch the neck & shoulders, having the computer monitor & chair at the right height, as well as sitting tall and upright with the head in alignment with the shoulders.  The earlier you catch & remedy the problem, the faster you’ll see relief and following these simple suggestions can help deter that pain from the start.

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Physical Training & Avoiding Injuries

Posted on March 21, 2017. Filed under: Acupuncturist, Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Healing, injury, rebuild, Pain, Posture, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

monica back exercise

Monica Steiner at work in the gym

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

“I keep getting hurt – how can I train to gain without getting injured anymore?” This and similar questions are only slightly less common than “What did I do to myself?”

Let’s face it, little is more frustrating than being knocked off the training track once again. Finding a sticking point or plateau is bad enough, but what I might call “break down points” is probably even worse. The difference is critical – a plateau is that inability to surpass a certain desired goal in size, strength or muscularity. A breaking point is one of those times when “Oops, it happened again,” such as when training weights approach a certain level at which a back, shoulder or perhaps knee always seems to give way.

The essential bottom-line point is that if you are injured over and over again, your training will suffer. If your training suffers, it is not possible to reach your peak cardiovascular fitness. So, what are we to do?  Whatever the most motivating end goals, the underlying requirement is training consistency. A week here or a month there is of no value, other than in giving one a sense that “efforts are being made, I’m trying…” Largely futile and possibly dangerous – it used to be called “the weekend warrior” syndrome, which helps fill the waiting rooms of Monday morning chiropractic clinics as these individuals exert beyond what is their safe capacity.

The next essential step is to do the exercises correctly. One of my physician mentors used to have a saying – “If it’s not right, it’s all wrong!” He didn’t pick up this phrase from school however, but from an elite military unit of which he was once a part. He himself was a super-fit, super motivated highly intelligent man with very big uppers arms and a fighting spirit to match. His relevant point in his saying however, was that in times of high stress, structures and procedures had to be tip-top, or something would break.

In weight training, this refers to cheating on form while the body is under the greatest load, usually when performing the hard reps late in a set, or when using very low reps and very heavy weights. It’s then that the weak links give way, and injury occurs.

Sorry, but no one training method or scheme produces the perfect size, fitness, strength while taking no effort, being fun to do all the time and perfectly safe.  But, the real baseline is consistency and ability to replicate useful workouts time and time again while simultaneously performing them correctly without error.  The principle behind training without getting hurt is to stress the muscles without damaging the supporting structures such as ligaments and joint capsules in order to grow and maximize them without causing them injury.  If you are not sure if you’re doing something correctly, find an expert who can help and get that extra insight.

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Repairing Your Body After Injury

Posted on July 14, 2016. Filed under: Aging, Exercise, Healing, Health, injury, rebuild, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Heat map Acupuncture doll

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

In its simplest terms, aging could be described as the body’s failure to repair. We grow, we mature, we reach various physical and mental peaks, and then…..we age.  When we are young our hormones, e.g. testosterone and growth hormone – are at high levels and command our bodies to grow and repair; our circulatory system is efficient as it transports those hormones and necessary nutrients towards muscles and organs; we have more enzymes that we know what to do with that make the chemical process necessary for growth and repair work at super speed. Though other factors are involved, hormones, transportation, enzymes and nutrients form the basis for growth, and its first cousin – repair.

Have you noted when an athlete of say, 20 years of age sustains an injury he or she seems able to be back on the field in just a few weeks? If an athlete of age 30 sustains an identical injury, it’s often much longer before return to play. At age 40, who knows?  The younger athlete’s speed of recovery demonstrates all those factors in play, working fast and in a coordinated way.

Of course with every injury comes scar tissue. If you tear a hamstring, it will eventually heal, but somewhere within the muscle will likely be a cluster of tough, stringy tissue that while strong, is nowhere near as elastic as the original muscle, nor does it have the same circulation properties which means the scar won’t receive or use nutrients as effectively as original tissue. One thing that I’d say every aging fitness person or athlete knows very, very well is what a painful body feels like. All the accumulated injuries of younger years are still present in scar tissue, and as the body loses efficiency and elasticity, the aging athlete feels them all the more. That’s why putting a strong emphasis on ‘repair’ is crucial to prolonging your active life and living a vigorous lifestyle.

While a team doctor for Master’s weightlifters in Scotland, I would often converse with coaches and lifters who had travelled to Eastern Europe and Russia to train, learn and exchange ideas. Though many bits and pieces of knowledge were exchanged during these travels, two factors truly stuck out. First, the emphasis on conditioning no matter what the sport practiced; and second, how much effort they would put into restoration.  One way of summing up the ‘conditioning’ emphasis was to say ‘an athlete is as good as his legs,’ meaning that legs take real effort to condition, and if the legs are strong and have stamina the whole person probably does too.

Repair then, is replacing what has been lost, mending what has been torn, restoring arrangements in what has been disrupted and so on. To live is to be injured, but through nutrition, good body mechanics, enzymatic replacement, and the right type of conditioning your body has the ability to restore itself.

 

 

 

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Getting Tired Too Fast? The Key is Building Endurance

Posted on May 5, 2016. Filed under: Aging, Exercise, Health, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

drgregportrait1test2.pngBy Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Endurance, also known as stamina, comes in several flavors. We have general stamina – the ability to perform ever so well the necessities and luxuries of our daily lives, without undo fatigue or effort. (Life should NOT feel like an uphill-both-ways struggle! No, not even when we are ‘older’!) More specifically, we have cardiovascular stamina in which our heart, lungs and blood vessels work in coordinated harmony to let us safely exert ourselves in accordance with the needs of the situation we find ourselves in. We also have local muscular endurance, in which specific muscles happily find themselves able to repeat a needed motion again and again and again. We also have an ‘isometric’ stamina which enables us to remain in a position for as long as is needed.

When you read about aging as related to endurance, you read conflicting statements, e.g. “I get tired faster now that I’m older;” vs. “Endurance is the old man’s game.” What are we to make of this apparent contradiction?  Several things act to explain this. First, we have to look quite honestly about how the person of high stamina has lived his or her life compared to the person of low stamina. Is their weight still good? Has their diet been healthy? Has their stress level increased or decreased? Have they exercised diligently and appropriately? Genetics always, always play a role, but no matter what genetic cards we have been dealt, the answer to good aging is always the same: play the hand as best you can, wisely and diligently maximize your genetic strengths and arrange your lifestyle to counteract your weaknesses.

In an athletic sense it often comes to pacing. For example, young people run faster than older people and their ability to recover after exertion is often quicker as well. So, if an older person tries to do repeat sprints with little recovery, he or she might be very disappointed if they try to compete with a younger person. However, some older athletes become very good at getting into a pace and keeping that pace up for a very long time. The legendary Tarahumara people of the Copper Canyon area of Mexico are renowned for the endurance running of their older members, with distances reported to be 100 miles or more, and sometimes kicking a round wooden ball. Of course, they have a lifetime of training and cultural expectations that such apparent feats of stamina are definitely in the realm of possibility.

Many factors can contribute to increasing your stamina.  Basic cardio, high repetition weight training, hydration, and even deep breathing which boosts oxygen intake can all help.  But there is no substitute for having a good proper diet.  It’s better for everything including stamina.  Include protein, healthy fats, low glycemic index foods including vegetables (think veggies that don’t convert to sugar readily) and reduce carbohydrates unless you are doing strenuous activity for at least 30 minutes.  If you feed the “machine” right, it will help you reap the benefits of better strength, vitality and health overall.

 

 

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Why Strength is Important, Especially as We Age

Posted on May 5, 2016. Filed under: Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Health | Tags: , , , , , |

g&m1

Dr. Greg & Monica Steiner

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

What is the purpose of strength, anyway? Well, at the most fundamental level it’s to enable us to move our bodies though, over, under and around any pathway we find ourselves travelling on, or to surmount any obstacle that impedes our travel. Second, strength enables us to physically manipulate and transport our tools, equipment, and all resources we need for both ourselves and our ‘important people’ to live and thrive. And if these demands of life are satisfied, we are free to develop the strength necessary for sports, athletics and recreation, all of which enhance our lives. Remember, our bodies are essentially anti-gravity machines designed for motion! The greater the strength in our body, the better we defy gravity and the less it impedes us.  Climbing the stairs or carrying bags of groceries become easier just by virtue of being stronger.

Many of us have heard that we lose muscle-tone as we age.  There may be a slight decline, but not so much because of the aging, but because we quit the movement.  Strength decline is mostly from misuse.  Lifestyle changes, stress and poor diet combined with a more sedentary lifestyle can drop testosterone levels and decrease our muscle mass.  Pain also limits us but if we can train intelligently (what is best for your body at the time) we can minimize this decline and even reverse it.

This brings up the question as to whether you actually need to lift heavy weights. Well, the answer depends on several things: your actual needs; your desire and motivation; and your actual physical ability to handle heavy loads.  If your ‘need’ is just to be fit for daily life in the city, you probably don’t need to lift heavy weights. If you have a physical job or hobby or are engaged in sports you may need a heavier program. If lifting heavy actually is a motivation and challenge to you, there is value in pursuing it because to engage in a positive challenge gives life that much more meaning. However, the final arbiter is whether your joints and muscle attachments actually thrive under the load; if you are constantly injured you would do well to rethink your goals and program, or risk accumulated injuries to point you can barely lift at all.  Consider exercises that use your bodyweight for resistance.  This is easier on the joints and tendons.  This includes exercises such as Yoga, Pilates, exercise bands or even dance.

Lastly, for the ladies, be rest assured that lifting weights is not going to give you a massive bulky she-hulk stature!  Most women don’t possess enough natural testosterone to build that much size nor do they eat the large amount of protein necessary to gain such mass.  As a matter of fact, most of the toned and lean women we see actually lift weights in order to produce their shapely curves.

 

 

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Slowing the Aging Process

Posted on November 20, 2015. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Health, Hormone, Joints, Pain, Posture, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

~ by Dr. Greg Steinerbigstock-Mature-couple-having-fun-in-co-13905050

Growing old is inevitable, but getting old shouldn’t be used as an excuse.  For those who say, “I can’t do this because I’m getting older”, that’s an insufficient answer.  You don’t have to fear aging and let it prohibit you from the things you want to do.  There are a number of things that can be done to slow the process or at the least, allow you to age well.

Many processes going on in the body effect how we age.  Circulation is one of them.  It’s similar to having narrow roads, with fewer trucks on the road making deliveries.  Circulation is our transport system for our bodie’s resources, namely oxygen and nutrition.  As we age, we have a less efficient delivery system.  Also influenced by age is mobility and elasticity.  The gradual need for reading glasses demonstrates a decrease in elasticity in eyes.  It’s kind of ironic how we age that certain things get saggy while other things stiffen up.  Hormones can also get out of whack.  Testosterone & estrogen usually become unbalanced and growth hormone, responsible for repair also decreases.  Imbalanced thyroid levels and insulin can lead us to  suffer from fatigue and other issues.  And let’s not forget about inflammation.  There is inflammation that comes from a recent injury (like breaking a toe), but there’s also inflammation from an injury from 10 years ago.  Some of this stems from scar tissue forming, which over the years becomes less elastic and reduced circulation in that area.  Natural anti-inflammatories in the body work at a slower rate so we feel pain in that particular spot.

But know this, all of those things, at least by some degree are correctable.  Stretching for elasticity and mobility is helpful, but won’t necessarily solve everything.  Due to the computer generation, people these days can barely turn their neck left or right.  It’s double the problem from what I was seeing 20 years ago.  If the neck isn’t kept flexible, it can promote shoulder pain and headaches as well.

Chiropractic can be very helpful in restoring and maintaining mobility and flexibility.  Some people stretch and stretch yet still can’t touch their toes.  Usually this indicates a ligament issue.  Their bones and spine aren’t flexing.  One of the secrets to having a bouncy, happy walk isn’t about being flexible, it’s about having your bones & ligaments moving properly.  If everything is aligned and moving correctly, and the structure is perfectly aligned, the individual has a light, bouncy walk with or without flexibility.

Diet and exercise can help circulation.  Acupuncture and herbs are also useful in promoting circulation as well as helping reduce inflammation.  If you improve the circulation, you’ve got a better supply system which can transport out the waste products.  The healthy diet can then provide the right nutrition to be transported in.  Blood tests can determine how well hormones are balanced.

Everything is tied into one another.  Just like a plate of spaghetti, if one noodle falls off, it usually takes several with it.  Just be sure to treat all the issues together as a whole rather than trying to look at each “noodle” independently.

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Increasing Your Longevity – Are You Moving in the Right Direction?

Posted on June 18, 2014. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Aging, Exercise, Fatigue, Healing, Health, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Will you live a long & healthy life?

Will you live a long & healthy life?

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Living a long life sounds like a great thing, right? Fortunately, our society has made leaps and bounds in finding ways to preserve the lifespan (medical procedures, devices, medications, etc…) but what is truly important is the quality of the life you have left.  In this case, quality can lead to quantity (translated: living better=longer # years alive).  There are many ways to deal with the aging process, and following a pro-active approach to optimal health and fitness can be your means to extended longevity.

The “Quality” of food you eat can make a big difference in your health.  Much of our food today has been grown with a considerable amount of pesticides and chemicals.  Opting for organic whenever possible can increase the quality of the food you consume.

The “Quantity” of food you eat can also determine how overweight you may be.  I firmly believe that if the diet is right, our appetites should be as well.  If diet is correct and we are sedentary and not expending much energy, then our appetite should be less.  We should require a lower quantity of sustenance than if we were exercising regularly.

The “Composition” of our food, or the type of food we eat, also affects health.  I personally follow a lowered carb approach.  Choosing the right type of carb is important.  I prefer broccoli and spinach along with a lot of vegetable carbs, but not much corn or potatoes (too starchy).  If a person follows a solid diet with protein like chicken & fish, they can get full and be satiated for a while but if they stuff themselves with bread or potato chips until they’re half sick, 30 minutes later they’ll want to eat again when their blood sugar spikes.

The “Structure” of our bodies, how we’re put together, our skeletal structure, muscles and joints can define how we move and the quality of our bones & cartilage as we age.  It can also determine how comfortable you are when you try to become more fit.  If you hurt too much, you’re not going to want to exercise too much, and if you can’t exercise enough, you won’t be able to take care of yourself the way you should.

All in all, the older individuals who look good, live good.  If you decide you want to increase your longevity, some of the aforementioned suggestions can help.  Consider undergoing a thorough chiropractic examination by a qualified professional to determine how fit you currently are and to make sure to catch any potential structural problems before they develop or to correct issues you may already have. Also, modifying your nutrition and eating habits can result in more youthful skin, increased vitality, and subsequent weight loss.  And lastly, I’ve found that acupuncture is a great therapy to tie everything together increasing energy and overall balance.

 

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5 Gifts to Give Yourself

Posted on November 30, 2012. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Aging, Exercise, Healing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

5 Gifts to Give Yourself

Aging may be inevitable, but your later years can be vibrant and healthy if attention is given to supporting your physical, mental and emotional well-being.  These gifts to yourself are just a few of the ways that you can bring balance into your life.  You don’t need to try doing all of them at once.  Focus on one or two of them at a time.

Give Yourself the Gift of Practicing Gratitude
Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress according to Dr. Robert A. Emmons, an author of several books on the subject of the psychology of gratitude.  Dr. Emmons says that the disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions.  Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life, but they have a healthy attitude
towards them. Choose friends who are joyous people.  See these people frequently and you will find your spirits rise.  The older you get, the more important it is to make it a priority to spend time with people who give you joy.  If you have people in your life who are constantly unhappy, limit the amount of time you spend with them.  Try it, and you may find that your outlook changes as well.
Give Yourself the Gift of Exercise
People who exercise more are less likely to be stressed and more likely to be satisfied with life, according to Danish researchers.  Compared with sedentary people, joggers are 70 percent less likely to have high stress levels and life dissatisfaction.  Remember the saying, ” if you don’t use it you’ll lose it”?   Exercise keeps our bodies and minds in good shape . Couch potatoes who start moderate exercise (the equivalent of 15 to 30 minutes a day) experience the greatest happiness lift.  If jogging is not the best exercise for you, go for a long walk or try a traditional exercise like Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Qi Gong and Tai Chi are non-impact exercises that focus on repetitive movements with attention to breathing. Tai Chi and Qi Gong use gentle movements and low physical impact, which are ideal for aging bodies. The benefits of these exercises include a slower heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and drops in adrenaline and cortisol levels . Making these exercises a regular practice can lead to better health and vitality.  The Mayo Clinic reported results from two studies on these ancient practices that concluded they can also alleviate chronic pain.
Give Yourself the Gift of Good Sleep Regularly
Your body repairs itself best at night so allow plenty of time for it to do so.  Good sleep patterns follow nature. Morning is bright and the most Yang time of day, indicating activity.  Night is the dark period, a time to slow down and enter the Yin phase of the day.  Poor sleep has been linked to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and obesity.  Research has shown that getting at least eight hours of sleep is needed for good heart health.  Acupuncture has been proven successful in treating a wide array of sleep problems by focusing on the root of any disharmony in the body.  It gives those who take advantage of it a better night’s sleep and an overall improvement in physical and mental health.
Give Yourself the Gift of Reduced Stress
Stress is a normal part of life, but if left unmanaged, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pains or an irregular heartbeat. Humans were designed to handle short periods of intensely high stress followed by periods of relaxation.  We were not designed to live with a constant low level stress that keeps us feeling overwhelmed. If you feel you have been under too many pressures for too long, stress reduction acupuncture can help you enjoy a more peaceful life. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and mental health.   In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a whole gamut of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home.
Give Yourself the Gift of Action
Address Health Concerns Quickly: Don’t Wait!  Many diseases can be cured easily if they are caught early, but people often put off seeking treatment.  Don’t ignore important signals that something is wrong with your body. We all get warnings about our health and well-being, but these warnings are like traffic lights.  They tell us what we ought to do, but they cannot make us do it.

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Enzymes – A Catalyst for Good Health

Posted on August 31, 2012. Filed under: Aging, Healing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Enzymes are energy-rich protein molecules that are essential for life.  They catalyze and regulate chemical reactions and are an essential part of every activity in the body.  Their process speeds up rates of reaction for a specific chemical reaction in a cell.  With an enzyme, reactions work faster in the body than they would without.  For example, a digestive enzyme helps break down the food we eat, releasing nutrients for energy production, cell growth and repair.  Due to existing factors such as genetics, stressful lifestyle, environment and diet, we are all at risk for compromised digestion.  This is why many people may benefit from the support of a digestive supplement.

Enzymes are used for numerous therapies including promoting detoxification, improving overall digestion, increasing immune system health, and helping repair tissues and ligaments.

Why do we need Enzymes?

Except in cases of genetic deficiencies, most organisms (including humans) have the ability to synthesize and secrete the enzymes that are needed for metabolism.  However, under certain conditions, that synthesis or activity may be impaired.  These conditions are often the result of poor diet, poor lifestyle (smoking, alcohol, etc…), exposure to environmental pollutants and/or aging.

When we eat a meal, the requirement for digestive enzymes becomes a high priority.  Our body’s enzyme-making machinery must work over-time and still can’t usually meet the body’s demands and enzyme requirements.  Since digestion takes precedence over nearly everything else, many bodily functions that require metabolic enzymes are often short-changed during these times.  The result is a lower disease fighting capability and a general weakening of the body’s ability to mend itself.

Enzymes contribute to the delivery of vitamins and minerals throughout our system.  If this process is not functioning at maximum capacity, then foods are poorly digested.  Protein putrifies, fats turn rancid, and carbohydrates ferment in the body.  These undigested food particles may serve as nutrients to the various intestinal microorganisms resulting in the generation of microbial metabolites which are toxic and can leak back into the bloodstream, undermining health and creating further toxicity.  Without the support of an effective enzyme reserve, we begin to lose energy, lose our ability to fight disease, and lose our body’s ability to remedy its own naturally occurring malfunctions.  This loss may lead to disease and may eventually lead to death.

This concept supports the case for safe, supplemental enzymes.  If the body can get the necessary extra digestive enzymes it needs to complete the digestive process, then a metabolic enzyme shortage will not occur.  Without overstressing the body’s enzyme-making potential, our body will be in  a much more favorable position to fight biologic and genetic malfunctions and diseases as they occur.

Excerpts taken from Transformation Enzymes, which produces a superior product line with documented successes & results

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Longevity in Today’s World

Posted on July 6, 2012. Filed under: Aging | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

How to live longer has long been a consuming thought in the minds of many.  How do people really live to be 100?  This topic has been widely researched and National Geographic journalist Dan Buettner wrote about “The Blue Zones”, narrating a lot of wonderful personal stories from some of the oldest people in the world, where they live, and what they did that they felt helped them live a long life.  Though not every region was the same (some were strikingly different), there are quite a few similarities as listed below:

1. Be active & exercise.

  • The longest living people engage in regular, low-intensity physical activity, often as part of a daily work routine.
  • Low intensity exercise is easiest on the joints.

2. Stop eating before you are full.

  • Eat until you’re about 80% satisfied.
  • Part of the benefit of this  comes from the inevitable weight loss (none of the long living people in The Blue Zones were ever obese).
  • Serve food on smaller plates (people who get larger portions eat more than those who get smaller ones).
  • Eat more slowly.
  • Have your biggest meal of the day early (breakfast or lunch). Dinner in all the Blue Zones was the smallest meal of the day.

3. Avoid meat and processed foods.

  • Most of the oldest living people ate meat, just very rarely–maybe once or twice a month, or only on special occasions.
  • Scientists have analyzed diets and found that those who restrict meat are associated with living longer.
  • Instead of meat, fill up on  fruits and vegetables.
  • Get protein from eating  beans, tofu, and nuts. Nuts are “perhaps the most impressive of all  longevity foods.” People that eat nuts 5 times per week had half the heart disease of those who never eat nuts. In fact, the FDA now allows the claim that “eating 1.5 oz per day of most nuts….. may reduce the risk of heart disease.”  Try the “raw”, not roasted kinds.

4. Drink red wine in moderation.

  • The secret to drinking red wine is moderation and consistency.
  • Red wine contains “artery-scrubbing polyphenols” that may help fight arteriosclerosis.
  • Have only 1-2 glasses per day.

5. Have a strong sense of purpose.

  • A strong sense of purpose in the elderly may act as a buffer against stress and help reduce their chances of suffering from many diseases (Alzhimer’s, arthritis, stroke).
  • An 11-year study found that people between the age of 65 and 92 who expressed a clear goal in life  lived longer and were sharper than those who did not.

6. Take time to relieve stress.

  • The oldest people in the world live a lifestyle where they often take breaks–naps, tea with  friends, heading out of the house, gathering for meals with much socializing, honoring the Sabbath. The result is a greater sense of well-being.
  • Americans employed full time  work an average of 43 hours a week and take the shortest paid vacations in  the industrialized world. When they do take time off, 20% stay in touch with the office.  Few cultural institutions exist to encourage us to slow  down, unwind, and de-stress.
  • Try minimizing electronic entertainment in your home (TV, internet, etc.) Most of it feeds mind chatter and works counter to the notion of slowing down.

7. Participate in a spiritual community.

  • All of the oldest living people in the Blue Zones were religious.
  • A study of over 3600 people  found that those who attend religious services at least once a month  reduced their risk of death by one third.
  • As a group, attendees of  religious services had a longer life expectancy, with an impact about as great as that of moderate physical activity.

8. Make family a priority.

  • Take care of your children well while they’re young so that they’ll be more inclined to take care of  you when you’re older.
  • Elders who lived with their families have much sharper mental and social skills.

9. Surround yourself with people that share these values.

  • Higher social connectedness leads to greater longevity.
  • Spend time with your social  support network on a regular basis.
Learn more about this read by going to www.bluezones.com
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