Exercise

Build Strong Abs and Reduce Back Pain at the Same Time

Posted on June 12, 2018. Filed under: Exercise, Health, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , |

medicine ball absIn today’s busy lifestyle, people strive to be as efficient, effective and productive as possible. So on the premise of  “killing two birds with one stone”, there are ways to build a strong lean set of abs and reduce back pain in one fell swoop.

Diet plays a strong role in not only creating a lean abdomen but also reducing inflammation that can be related to joint and back pain. By keeping inflammatory foods at a minimum, you’ll likely see great results.  Sugar is one of the biggest culprits, it turns into fat in your body and suppresses the immune system. Ridding starches like breads and pasta can help not only your mid-section cosmetically, but keep an over abundance of carbohydrates from turning into sugar.  The foods we eat can also cause bloating, especially around the midsection. For some, salt and dairy products cause water-retention. Great foods to take away the bloat but are also anti-inflammatory include foods that contain a lot of soluble fiber and help with constipation as well.  These include cucumbers, bananas, avocados, papaya, asparagus and kiwis.

The next way to build better abs and reduce back pain is to focus on certain exercises which build muscle and a stronger core.  Strong abdominal muscles not only look great but can actually prevent back pain by making you less prone to back injury and helping with better spinal alignment.  Back pain can be caused by weak abdominals and unbalanced muscles. The abs are the front anchor to our spine, and if weak, the other muscles that also support your spine, work harder to compensate.  In building strong abs, you’ll want to make sure that all the abdominal muscles including internal and external obliques and transverse abdominal are equally exercised.

One of my favorite overall abdominal exercises are the hanging leg or knee raise done in an upright position.  This dynamic exercise concentrates movement on the lower core which provides more benefit than holding a plank which is a static exercise. Performing exercises that allow you to curl your abs where you actively contract the muscle are great to do.  There are a multitude of exercises you can choose from but anything that causes pain or discomfort should be avoided. Another favorite exercise that not only strengthens the abs, low back, glutes, thighs, and overall core are squats. They work so many muscles at the same time providing more bang for the buck.  The best ab exercises will help support and give strength to the lower spine and abdomen and also work the deep and intermediate abs at the same time.

And let us not forget that one of the most simple and easy ways to make abs look great and help with back pain is good posture!  If we imagine a plumb line going straight up and down, we define good posture as having the ear, shoulder, hip, and ankles all in alignment with that imaginary line.  When we stand correctly, we see a multitude of benefits – we feel stronger, more confident, better balanced and we look taller, thinner and feel better!

 

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Why Women Need Testosterone Too

Posted on May 16, 2018. Filed under: Aging, Exercise, Healing, Health, Hormone, Testosterone | Tags: , , , , , |

Monica side with weights

Monica Steiner

By Dr. Greg Steiner

Most people have been under the impression that testosterone is for males only.  Not so!  This hormone is found in both sexes but in smaller concentrations in females.  Testosterone not only helps with keeping muscle mass (no more saggy arm skin) but it can help substantially with energy and overall well-being.  There are many things which affect testosterone levels with increasing age as a main factor.  Most recently, we’re seeing lowered levels appearing in younger ages and in both men & women so often it’s almost an epidemic.

Symptoms of low testosterone in women include:
Weight gain
Hair loss or thinning
Depressive mood
Irritability
Low libido/sex drive
Decreased energy & fatigue
Inability to build or maintain muscle mass

How Do I Know If My Testosterone is Low?
Questions to ask include, “Are you in your 40’s or 50’s? Have you had menopause? “or “Have you noticed a difference in your mood or how you feel?”  Because we have many different hormones, the issue at task is discovering just which ones are actually causing the problem.  Menopause symptoms as well as hypothyroid and low testosterone symptoms can be very similar and often overlap.  The best thing to start off with is a blood test to determine what may be off.  But don’t just go on labs alone because what some labs may consider to be a “normal” range may not be the optimal best range.  For example, if a patient has a testosterone level of 22 which one lab says falls within their “normal” range of 15-75.  This falls within the low range of normal but the patient could dramatically benefit from testosterone supplementation.  (There have been marked improvements in symptoms from shooting towards the upper 50% of “normal range”).

How to Naturally Increase Testosterone
Hormone replacement has been come well known in recent years but there are some things one can do to help increase those levels through nutrition, exercise and stress management.  Vitamin and herbal supplementation suggestions include plenty of omega oils, maca root, nettle root extract, and dim- (a broccoli extract which helps stop testosterone from being converted into estrogen) are good choices.  Because of deprived soils producing inferior foods with lowered nutrition on the market, a case for supplementation can be made.  A diet with lowered starches and carbohydrates and increased vegetables, good fats and proteins help as well.  Exercise is good for everyone but type of exercise can influence testosterone levels.  Those who are endurance athletes (runners, cyclists) whose bodies tend to be lighter and leaner  tend to have slightly lower levels than power athletes (weightlifters) or those who engage in strength building because growing muscle mass builds testosterone.  For stress management, having good, deep, and restorative sleep will make a huge difference.  Testosterone is produced when the body reaches a restorative state.  For example, with 5 stages of sleep, you’ll need to reach stage 3 or 4 at least in order to start that process.  Proper, uninterrupted sleep (where you dream) is necessary for recovery and sufficient testosterone production.

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Consider Cross Training to Prevent Injuries

Posted on May 16, 2018. Filed under: Exercise, Healing, Health, injury, rebuild, Weightloss | Tags: , , , |

bigstock-beautiful-woman-at-the-gym-doi-13618106by Dr. Greg Steiner

Many of us find a particular sport and fall in love with it, so much in fact, that there doesn’t seem to be a need or desire to do anything else than that particular sport.  Our thoughts may be, “If I focus solely on that sport and direct all my attention towards it, I can become better at it!”  While in theory, that’s the right attitude and perseverance will surely help reach one’s ultimate goal, this thought process can actually limit our experience and long term end result.   This limitation is defined by experiencing pain from overuse of certain joints or injuries that occur.  Fortunately, injuries aren’t inevitable.  As a matter of fact, most overuse injuries can actually be prevented and a great deal of these injuries are actually re-injuries. (Re-injuries can come from inadequate recovery where the body isn’t fully healed yet). This is where cross training fits in.  It’s keeping a well roundedness to your exercise program that strengthens and works a variety of muscles instead of the just the ones benefitting from one particular sport only.

While the major benefit of cross training is injury prevention by far, it’s not the only one.  It can also help with rehabilitation too.  When an injury occurs, no athlete wants to stop working out altogether and lose any progress they’ve made so cross training and exercising different body parts can still keep up fitness and activity levels.  Here, some muscles can rest, while others recover.  You can still train somewhat even while injured.

Improved fitness and strength can also be achieved by cross training.  Because certain sports focus on a specific combination of muscles, some muscles see over use while others are neglected.  Effective cross-training will enable the use of these other muscles and strengthen them.  Think about someone who is a runner, there’s fantastic cardiovascular exercise though a lot of hard impact on the joints, but when combined with yoga, allows a stronger and more stable core to be developed and promotes suppleness, fluidity and flexibility.

Improved motivation and excitement by changing up things helps keep one from becoming bored.  Trying out a new sport brings in a nice challenge while keeping fitness fresh and differentiated.  This keeps us from being stuck in a rut or in a plateau and can help us constantly evolve and grow athletically. You can also be flexible with your training needs (if you can’t run outside due to weather, you can lift weights at the gym).

Cross training and incorporating different activities into your main sport can not only help make you a better athlete overall, but enhance focus, keep you enthusiastic about exercise, and help keep you from injuries,  Like the old saying, never keep your eggs in one basket (one sport) but diversify your interests in staying healthy and fit as well!

 

 

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Pre & Post Surgery Prep for a Quicker Recovery

Posted on March 20, 2018. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Chiropractic, Exercise, Healing, Health, Pain, surgery | Tags: , , , , , , |

monica back exercise~By Dr. Gregory Steiner, DC, MPhil

After over 25 years as a Natural Health Practitioner, I’ve come across a multitude of patients who used Chiropractic and Acupuncture therapies to either forgo their surgery or to prepare for an upcoming procedure.  I’ve also utilized these therapies on myself pre and post for knee surgery due to years and years of martial arts, over exercising, improper techniques, poor diet and ignorance in my youth. Surgery was performed to re-implant my own cartilage back into my kneecaps. I created a protocol for the first surgery and then tweaked it two years later for the second surgery.  The results of preparation pre and post were incredible and I’ve been able to share this protocol with my patients for their own rehabilitation success.

First and foremost is the concentration on nutrition. My patients and myself included, have used proteolytic enzyme supplements to prepare the body and help reduce inflammation.  These enzymes are designed to speed up the chemical reactions in your body and speed up your own repair process.  You should also focus on a more anti-inflammatory diet and consume foods like green leafy vegetables, walnuts, avocados, and herbs like garlic and ginger, and especially turmeric.  Stay away from sugars, white flours, and fast foods while also reducing dairy products pre and post-surgery.  I also liked to sip on branch chain amino acids pre and post.

Prehab also includes exercise.  Whether it be plyometrics or weight lifting, the goal is to activate the nervous system and get it charged up.  Anesthesia from surgery affects this, they create “nerve blocks” and it can take a while before they start firing up again.  It’s not just about lifting a bunch of heavy weights but using them in a controlled manner to activate the nerves as well and fire them up.

Acupuncture combined with electrical stimulation can also help.  I’ve used general points to boost energy and decrease stress and specific master points to help reduce inflammation and increase circulation to affected areas. Chiropractic is very good especially if the upcoming surgery is joint related.  The goal here is to get the joint in the best alignment as possible prior to procedure.

Getting the mind and body ready for surgery and preparing yourself  “pre-hab” and “rehab” can result in quicker and less painful recovery helping get you back to doing what you love to do in the shortest time possible.

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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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How to Naturally Boost Your Testosterone

Posted on December 29, 2016. Filed under: Exercise, Health, Hormone, Testosterone, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , , |

Dr. Greg & Monica bodybuilding

Dr. Greg & wife, Monica

~by Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic

Over the years, testosterone levels have diminished a great deal in men and women both.  Average numbers for young men used to range in the 800’s. In the 1940’s,  an average, 40-45 year old male’s numbers had decreased down to the 700’s and by early 2000’s,  it had dipped into the 500’s. In my clinic today, we are seeing numbers for the majority of males in the 100’s-300’s.  Clearly there is a generalized decrease.  So why is it?

Years ago, in past generations, work would be done by 5:30pm, the male would come home and eat, and usually would rest and just relax after a hard day of work. This included sleeping in on the weekends and taking it easy.  Food was less processed.  Fast forward to today and it’s usually go-go-go 24/7 for both men and women.  There are no breaks, there’s high stress levels and poor quality nutrition. Many people suffer from the following…

Symptoms of low testosterone include:
Fatigue
Depression
Irritability & mood swings
Inability to build and maintain muscle mass
Weight gain
Hair loss
Breast enlargement (in men)
Hot flashes and night sweats
Low sex drive
What does Testosterone do for us?

Having optimal levels of testosterone can help you:
Lose weight
Build muscle mass
Boost your sex drive
Increase bone density
Improve memory and cognitive function
Decrease hot flashes & night sweats

Fortunately, there are ways to naturally increase those testosterone levels…

1. Take Control of Your Stress. Several hormones work against testosterone, one being cortisol. If you’re under constant stress, your body will churn out a steady stream of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually blocks the effects of testosterone so your body will be less able to create testosterone. So, controlling your stress is important for keeping up your testosterone.

2. Get Enough Rest.  If a person has unrelenting stress and cannot sleep, then it’s hard for the body to shut down externally to turn on internally to produce testosterone.  A lack of sleep affects a variety of hormones and chemicals in your body and rest is needed to restore them.  Make sleep a priority, aim for 7 to 8 hours a night.

3. Get to a Healthy Weight.   Overweight or obese men often have low testosterone levels.  Losing the extra weight can help bring testosterone back up.  For underweight men, getting weight up to a healthy level can also have a positive effect on the hormone. Studies are now showing that the more fat you carry, the lower your testosterone levels will be.

4. Reduce Sugar. Testosterone levels decrease after you eat sugar, which is likely because the sugar leads to a high insulin level, another factor leading to low testosterone.  Eat foods that increase testosterone production. These include:
Tomatoes
Red peppers
Cruciferous vegetables
Alfalfa sprouts
Apples and pineapples.
Olives & olive oil
Coconut oil
Grass fed butter
Raw nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pecans
Eggs
Avocados
Grass fed meats

5. Increase Omega Oils.  Most people lack a sufficient quantity of Omega oils which are the backbones of hormones.  Whether it is from a supplement or increased intake of food sources like fish, walnuts, chia, flax or hemp seeds, a person needs good fats to make a good hormone.

6. Reduce Carbohydrate Intake.  Immediately following any high-carbohydrate meal there is a temporary drop in testosterone levels. If you are eating 3-4+ carb dominant meals per day, this will lead to lower testosterone levels overall. Try to limit your consumption of starchy or simple carbohydrates to the 2-3 hour window after your training session for the day. This will ensure that your body is adept at handling the insulin spike a little better, and will also limit your consumption of carbs.  Try starting your day with a high protein/medium fat/low carbohydrate meal like eggs or turkey bacon, along with some green vegetables and avocado/nuts. Most people who switch from a high carb breakfast, to a high protein/moderate fat breakfast report increases in energy, satiety (feeling full), and almost always end up leaner from that one change.

7. Change up your Exercise.  Testosterone adapts to your body’s needs. If you spend most of your time lying on the couch, your brain gets the message that you don’t need as much to bolster your muscles and bones.  When you’re physically active, your brain sends out the signal for more of the hormone but know that longer workouts are not necessarily better. Exercise type and duration can influence your testosterone levels.  If you regularly engage in long, drawn-out workouts with lengthy rest periods or excessive endurance exercise, then your testosterone levels may actually see a reduction.  Workouts lasting longer than about an hour may begin to spike cortisol levels and subsequently decrease testosterone. Additionally, research has shown that a quicker rest period between sets (1 minute vs 3 minutes) triggered higher acute hormonal responses following a bout of resistance training. So, keep your rest periods short and engage in vigorous exercise like weight training incorporating big compound lifts like squats, dead lifts, bench presses and lunges or running hills in order for you to maximize your testosterone response.  Workouts should be between 15-45 minutes up to an hour but no longer, even with rest breaks included. While cardio is important and  it’s good for the circulation, it’s not the most effective way to produce testosterone.  You want to focus more toward the amount of exertion, not just how long you can keep endurance up.

Adding in supplements like zinc, vitamin d, and b-complex have also shown to help testosterone.  Even body building experts (like my wife) believe that eating at certain times during the day and frequent meals with controlled portions also help.  I recommend get your blood levels tested first to find out where you fall on the scale and devising a plan from there.

 

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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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