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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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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Do I Need to Cleanse & Detox?

Posted on January 7, 2016. Filed under: cleanse, detox, Healing, Health, Pain, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , , , , |

~By Dr. Greg Steiner

Magnifying Glass - Healthy Living

Cleansing & detoxing seem to be all the rage these days.  There are 2, 5, 7, 10, or even 21 day cleansing programs available that promise to clean out all those harmful toxins that are currently ravaging your body and wreaking havoc on your immune system.  But if you think about it, our body is seemingly bombarded on a daily basis from toxins we get from water, household cleaners, air pollution, chemicals, food additives and the list goes on and on.  Some of these things become neurotoxins in our systems and impair proper nerve function, cause tremors, lack of sleep, inability to focus, unexplained weight gain, etc… Or they can become hormone disruptors, interfering with testosterone or estrogen.  What these neurotoxins & hormone disruptors do is block or disrupt normal metabolism.  They build up within your system and the effect can be cumulative.

What happens if you’re toxic?

The two organs most affected are usually the kidneys and the liver.  The liver is the metabolic power plant, but a lot of these toxins get stored in the fat as well.  When you go on a diet to lose weight and detox yourself, some of these toxins can still be released into your system and be metabolized or even re-metabolized in the body.  If they get into the liver, metabolic pathways may not function optimally.

These symptoms can be very broad and vague with headaches, muscle pain, body odors, or fatigue. Sometimes it’s hard to nail down exactly the issue, but you know you just don’t feel right.  In my own practice, I’ve seen many people vigorously & diligently clean up their diet, use a detox regimen along with drinking lots of water, allowed a little bit of time (patience being a key ingredient in this process), go through almost miraculous changes.  They feel a whole lot better and many have been able to minimize the medications they’re on and in some cases even come off of them.

How do I benefit from doing this?

Detoxification  is a lot about supporting organ function while minimizing exposure.  When you support the kidneys and liver and give them a rest from exposure to toxins or even regular food,  the theory is that your body will work to get rid of the garbage in your system and allow itself to recover and heal.  The real benefit is that while going through your “cleansing & detox” process, the herbs, clean “green” type drinks, and ample supply of water you drink help create the bridge over to living a better lifestyle afterwards.  Cravings for caffeine, sugar, and salty foods become greatly reduced, energy increases, and even your attitude towards exercise and staying healthy becomes predominately positive!

Be sure to do your “due diligence” in research when you start a cleanse/detox.  There is no magic drink or pill.  You’ve got to combine the program with the right type of nutrition for optimal success.

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Practice Deep Breathing Daily

Posted on December 10, 2015. Filed under: Breathing, Exercise, Pain, Posture, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Taking cleansing deep breaths can help your health!

A major cause of illness in the elderly are lung infections. This is partly due to limited or the inability for daily exercise.  When people don’t move around enough, lung fluid can become infected and settle in the bottom part of the lungs where it can’t get out. Taking deep healthy breaths and ideally moving around helps circulation,  one of the best natural defenses against lung infections.

Another reason for practicing consciously deep breathing is that taking shallow breaths means you have to work harder and take more breaths to oxygenate your blood properly.  When you have inferior breathing, it’s less efficient having to take more breaths to try to compensate. You can become more fatigued by not breathing deeply.

Chinese medicine, talks about “qi gong” which is a breathing, energy movement where one is inhaling the good energies and purging bad energies and using healthy visualizations as well.bigstock-Beautiful-young-woman-doing-yo-13202339

Yoga is an excellent practice which provides exercise and necessary stretching of the muscles but also takes breathing to an art form.  This is a wonderful form of exercise and deep breathing recommended for all ages.

 

 

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Staying Healthy & Fit During the Holidays

Posted on December 10, 2015. Filed under: Exercise, Health, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Fitness womanThis time of the season can be splendid or dreadful all depending on how we deal with it. A lot of it comes down to what a person does or doesn’t do.  One thing to keep up good health is to cut down on the sugar.  It only takes about 30 minutes after consuming sugar for the immune system to start to suffer.  With more sugar in their bodies, people can have an under functioning immune system which is one of several reasons people get sick often.  Through my clinical experience, I’ve also noticed that if people eat more sugar, they tend to hurt more, especially in their joints.  If they hurt more, they tend to exercise less.  It’s a downward spiral.

Another way to stay healthy is to actually go outside and get some fresh air.  During the cold season, we’re cooped up more often and outside much less.  If you spend a lot of time in a closed environment with a bunch of people with compromised immune systems, your exposure to illness will be greater (think schools, offices, department stores, etc.). Try to get outside and get in some sunshine as well.  Most people are deficient in vitamin d in the winter so supplementation is a good idea.  As a matter of fact, a good combination to battle the cold is to take in vitamin C and zinc.  Zinc is good to have a steady supplementation of during cold and flu season (which happens to correspond with the holiday season).  Vitamin d can help boost the immune system and can also help reduce joint pains as well.

And don’t let stress get the best of you either! Holiday shopping, parties, organizing and the like can stress people out and cause the hormone cortisol to increase which is implicated in weight gain.  Part of weight gain isn’t just about having more sugar or over indulgence, it also includes the stress hormone, cortisol.  It’s very important if you have some type of exercise program to keep it up. Don’t wait until New Year’s for the resolution.  It’s best to stay active with some type of steady exercise during the holidays.  It helps keep you fit and is a natural stress reducer.

 

 

 

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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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Using  “Micro” Goals for Success in Health & Wellness

Posted on February 6, 2015. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Chiropractic, cleanse, detox, Exercise, Healing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

make things happen~By  Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

How does one actually reach their ultimate goal, whether it be for weight loss, better health, or improved fitness level?  Saying, “I will lose 50 pounds” can be daunting in of itself and can set you up for disappointing results.  I’ve found that setting “micro” or mini goals can help you achieve better results and provide enough satisfaction to keep you motivated and moving forward.  These small goals can be measured in minutes, hours, or even day by day.  Setting a small goal say from breakfast to lunch time may only involve 4-5 hours, but it provides an attainable timeline that is reachable and can be reset until the next goal is achieved.  Little blocks of time can help provide emotional satisfaction in a meaningful way that can help you keep going throughout the day.

By looking at bite size chunks of time, you can talk yourself into success.  For example, when trying to eat healthy (no junk food, fried foods or sweets), instead of trying to get through the entire day without eating any of it, break down your day from breakfast to snack, snack to lunch, etc… set it up in a way that will provide you with some sense of accomplishment.  When you reach 2-3 of those “micro” goals, you’ll be more motivated to keep going.  The idea is to not feel desperate or deprived, but driven & excited about your albeit small successes.

This type of planning works well for people who plan to go through a cleanse or fasting program.  Most people can’t fast for 24 hours, they usually get through two meals and give up.  By breaking those 24 hours into smaller segments and reaching those small goals you’ve set, you emotionally feel success and your confidence is boosted.  The funny thing about cleansing is that once you’ve eliminated certain foods like sugars or salt for just a week or two, your taste buds change and your cravings for those items are significantly reduced.

Writing your successes down in a notebook or a journal can help keep you on track.  This written record provides an extra set of accountability.  No one wants to see failure written down.  Be sure to keep things positive!

These small, mini goals can be implemented into various aspects of your daily life – whether it be for diet, exercising, or even reducing stress.  By creating this structure and adhering to it over time, you become more disciplined and eventually can reach your goals by force of habit.  Good Luck & Great Success!

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How Acupuncture Can Help Weight Loss

Posted on September 16, 2014. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Exercise, Healing, Health, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , , , , |

~by Dr. Greg Steinerweightloss
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

How does it work?
Acupuncture can help weight loss in many ways. Success usually comes from a multi-faceted approach which involves measures designed to:

• Curb appetite
• Reduce cravings
• Boost metabolism
• Improve digestion
• Regulate obesity-related hormones
• Strengthen liver function for better digestion
• Reduce stress
It is the culmination of several techniques combined that produce the overall weight loss effect. There’s not one main acupuncture point that will do everything.

For example, many people eat because they are stressed. Oftentimes, it’s called “comfort eating” because they believe that certain types of foods will in fact make them feel better and eat them even when they aren’t really hungry. This is often a “psychological” response instead of “physical hunger”. There is a “need” to want to feel better or comforted. Acupuncture has been thought to help stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel good” hormones. This can create a calming, relaxing effect, which counteracts the need for excessive eating brought about by increased stress, frustration, or anxiety.

Stress is known to release the chemical cortisol. Cortisol is designed to help reduce inflammation, but if stress is too high and for a sustained period (like high pressure jobs, dealing with family issues, etc…), the body pumps out too much cortisol and imbalances occur. We see that tissues start to degrade faster; the immune system gets depressed, and combined with long term inflammation puts fat around the mid-section. That “spare-tire” develops. Too much stress alters brain chemistry and is strongly related to an imbalance in hormone function as well.
Cravings also make it difficult to lose weight. These come in many forms including sweet or salty, carbs and protein, or even specific cravings for a certain food. Often these cravings involve the ingestion of processed, de-natured food providing us with too many empty calories and an excess of carbohydrates. And because the body doesn’t get the right nutrients that it needs, the person can still be hungry after they eat.

Acupuncture can overcome these cravings by helping improve digestion. When digestion works more efficiently, the brain gets the message that the body has been fed, and with that message, reduces the cravings. The metabolic pathways work better and nutritional intake increases. There are a variety of acupuncture points that are very effective for overcoming cravings and even acupressure points that the individual can learn to do while at home, away from the clinic.

Hormonal balancing is also key to successful weight loss. Correctly balancing hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, the thyroid and insulin can improve the results significantly. If insulin is better balanced, the person is less likely to be reaching for unhealthy snacks during the day. When blood sugar fluctuations go up and down drastically throughout the day over a long period of time, insulin levels in the body can be severely affected. Studies have linked type 2 diabetes to this, which is largely preventable. We look at insulin as a fat storage hormone; too much of it makes the body gain weight.
How many visits will it take?
The length of treatment varies from one individual to another. Cravings control can actually come pretty quickly, ranging from the 1st visit to 2 weeks. Stress reduction is the next tier which usually occurs within 2-3 weeks. Hormone balancing is more complex and will take longer. One of the biggest advantages to using acupuncture is that there are no side effects or addiction and it’s a completely natural process.

Taking care of our body is like tuning our car. If you tune it up but don’t change the oil and run a bunch of garbage gas in there, you’ll have trouble. Look at the food we eat as the gas. Make it good.

The first step to weight loss is using acupuncture to help you to start feeling better. By combining proper exercise and eating healthy foods, you can create an upward spiral. Acupuncture can jumpstart the process and speed it along faster. Contact our office to set up your first visit and get started on your weight loss journey.

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Is Sitting at the Computer Wrecking Your Health?

Posted on August 26, 2014. Filed under: Chiropractic, Exercise, Fatigue, Health, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

sitting at desk~by Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

 

In today’s society, more and more job positions are computer centralized requiring extended amounts of time sitting at a desk.  And it’s not only on the job, but at home and practically everywhere we go. Whether for work or pleasure, we spend a lot of time on the computer (including tablets and smartphones) and in turn spend a lot of time sitting in a stationary position.  Sitting down all day long can be terrible for your health, as it increases the likelihood of heart disease, weight gain, back aches and pain – among other ills.  Think about how much we sit – we sit at the office, we sit in the car, we sit to eat and even to watch tv!

Twenty years ago, the chiropractic issues I treated resulted from overwork of the spinal discs, usually brought about from manual type labor.  Now these discs in the back are becoming underworked.  The discs in your back function like a sponge.  Their job is to create a cushion between your bones but they must be nourished.  They need to flex and bend.  If they become undernourished and underused, decay sets in faster and they become more narrow and brittle.  The end result leads to increased back & joint pain.

Another result of “over-sitting” at a desk all day is incredibly poor posture.  I see patients starting to have an exaggeration of the head tipped forward with shoulders rolled inward and rounded. This forward tipping creates huge tensions on the neck.  Muscles become very imbalanced & the ones in the back of the neck are under strain all the time because things are rolled forward.  This creates weakness on one part of the body and tightness on the other part.  In the short run, this creates muscle tension.  If not corrected, the ligaments that hold the bones together actually over-stretch and the bones actually start to change shape.  If the neck and head are tilted just an inch forward, it can increase the weight of the head on the neck by 10 pounds.  A decade later that inch may have become more like 3 inches, increasing the weight of the head on the neck by 30 pounds.  This forward head position has become one of the most common causes of neck, head and shoulder tension and pain.

How can we fix this?  Small changes practiced consistently over a long period of time can make a big difference.  Try some of these:

Take hourly breaks.  Every hour, get up from the desk and walk around or stretch.  Do this for at least 2-5 minutes.  Set your mobile device or computer to alert you as a reminder to just move.

Optimize your workstation.  Fix your chair so that your legs bend at a 90 degree angle.  Have support for your upper and lower back.   Make sure your computer screen isn’t too low so that you need to bend your head down to look at it.

Sit the right way.  Try to sit tall with your shoulders back and stomach muscles engaged.  Tilt your pelvis forward and arch your lower back.  Don’t slouch or lean forward.

Exercise while at the desk.  Raise your legs while seated on your chair to stretch out your hip flexors.  Raise your arms over your head and then stretch to the left or right.  You can even do isolated isometric glute squeezes.

If you can multi-task while performing your office duties, you can teach your body to multi-task as well.  You don’t need to sit still like a statue as you work.  Ever hear of “getting those juices flowing”?  Your body will thank you for it!

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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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