No one wants to get old. We are all getting older, every year is another year after all, but what can we do to stay well as we age? There have been a number of active ageing health articles in the media recently. We are all ageing, every single day, year after year (for many years to come hopefully!). But what does active ageing mean? And more importantly, when do you need to start taking action?
As it suggests, active ageing simply means being able to stay active and continue to do the things we want to as we age. Our ability to stay active really depends on our ability to move freely, which basically breaks down to maintaining strength and flexibility.
According to the Merck Manual, your muscle mass and strength begins to decrease from when you are around 30 years old. However, the good news is that you will only lose 10-15% of your muscle mass in your lifetime through the effects of normal ageing. One of the best ways to retain your remaining 85-90% muscle mass is through regular strength training. Body-weight exercises, like push ups, weights or using resistance bands are all excellent ways to build and maintain your strength.
More severe losses in muscle mass are usually from disease and leading a sedentary lifestyle. If you unfortunately fall ill or are injured and have to endure strict bed rest, it has been suggested that for every day you spend in bed, you may need to exercise for up to 2 weeks to regain the muscle mass that you lost.
The old adage of ‘use it or lose it’ really applies here (or more to the point ‘move it or lose it!’) Every little bit counts. Do some gardening, go for a walk or a round of golf, do a weights workout or take a yoga class, go for a swim down the beach or a bike ride. Enjoy as many different activities as you like! The more variety of movement you have, the better.
Ideally, we also want to do exercise that covers 3 main aspects. Cardio (getting out of breath), strength, and flexibility (stretching).
So when is the best time to start? Right now! It is never too early (or too late) to start exercising. Don’t be afraid to work out a bit, it will help you to stay healthy, look after your body and move with ease as you age. Feel free to speak with us if you need any help with these areas in your life.
How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?
Everybody knows that drinking water is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. However, a study at the University of Sydney found that a whopping 82% of Australians failed to meet their recommended water intake!
Do you want to know why drinking water is important? Well, water is essential for pretty much everything that happens in your body, including blood circulation, metabolism, cognitive function, regulation of body temperature and waste removal. And because 50-80% of your body weight is water, it’s critical to maintaining good health that we keep topping up and stay well hydrated.
So, how much water should you be drinking? Let’s keep it simple. According to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) the recommended intake for Australians and New Zealanders’ is 2.6L for adult males, 2.1L for adult females and 1.0–1.9 L for children and adolescents. Depending on the glass, 2 litres of water is around 8 glasses per day.
That’s probably a lot more than what most people are actually drinking, so if you’re not sure just keep a track through the day. If you are not getting the recommended intake then try and get another couple of glasses in.
Also, your recommended daily intake of water can vary according to your age, the amount you exercise, as well as with pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Bonus tip for all those students who are starting back at school or university!
A 2017 study at East London and Westminster Universities, found that students who drank just 300mls of water in class boosted attention by up to 25%! So, if you’re finding it hard to focus, experiencing fatigue, sleep issues or headaches; grab a good size bottle of water and clear out that brain fog!
So remember to stay well hydrated and drink plenty of clean, fresh water ever day. If you’re unsure of how much you should be drinking, just ask us on your next visit!
Back To School Tips
So, back to school for another year!! You may never have considered it, but there can be a considerable amount of spinal load involved with our littlies trekking off to school. Coolum Family Chiropractic is encouraging our young Aussies to adopt the following practical and useful health habits all year round to minimise the risk of spinal stress.
This is the big one! Or hopefully not, small bags are better 😉
Before kids even step through the school gates, they are already putting their spines to use by carrying large, often heavy backpacks. With so much that goes into a child’s backpack, it’s important that they are packed correctly, including:
- Only packing essentials to lessen the load, perhaps use school lockers if available.
- Packing the heaviest items closest to the spine and make sure all zippers are done up all the way.
- Securing the sternum and waist straps (they’re there for a reason).
- Always wearing both straps. Tell the kids it’s not cool to ‘one-strap it’ anymore.
- Reducing the time spent wearing the backpack to no more than 30 minutes at any one time.
See the backpack that has our tick of approval, the Spartan Chiropak II
Kids spend a large chunk of their day sitting down at desks, so it’s important that they maintain good posture by sitting with their shoulders back and relaxed, with their chair tucked in and both feet firmly on the floor.
Screens, computers and smart devices are commonly used in classrooms for learning purposes these days. It is important to monitor the recreational screen time and try and reduce this to two hours a day,1 or at least maintain a balance between screen activities and non-screen related activities.
Maintaining a nutritious diet is important at any age, but especially for growing and developing children. Eating a balanced, healthy diet is essential to keeping kids alert in the classroom and active in the playground.
Participating in physical activity in school, at home or part of a weekend sporting club is key for a child’s health and wellbeing. As a guide, kids should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity everyday.1
Look after your kids spinal health by applying these simple and effective tips. Hope they all have a great school year!
Chiros Do Not Treat Back Pain!
Did you know that Chiropractic is not a treatment for back pain? Even though it is one of the main reasons people visit a chiropractor, we are not actually ‘treating’ your back pain.
Instead, chiropractic care focuses on correcting your body’s alignment to improve function and help the body to heal itself. We do this by adjusting your body’s structural framework (skeleton), and in particular your spine.
Of course, chiropractic is very effective at helping back pain. That’s because, by correcting alignment and restoring movement, we help your body to function better. And if your body works better, you have to feel better!
Quite simply, instead of focusing on the symptoms (pain) we find and correct the cause. If you correct the cause of the problem, the pain will go away by itself as your body returns to normal function and heals itself.
No medications, no surgery, just completely natural healing. That’s Chiropractic! ❤️❤️
How Fast Do You Walk?
Did you know that recent studies have shown a link between how fast you walk, and your state of health. Basically if you are a fast walker you are going to live longer.
Research conducted over a 50 year period shows that our gait (walking) is not just a means of getting around, but can also be an integrative measure of our health. They found that people who walk slower had physical and biological indicators of accelerated aging, including compromised brain integrity (eg, reduced brain volume and cortical thickness).
In general, the slower walkers tended to show signs of “accelerated ageing” with their lungs, teeth and immune systems in worse shape than those who walked faster. Not only were slower walkers’ bodies ageing more quickly – their faces looked older and they had smaller brains.
It has been suggested that the average person walks at 80 paces per minute. Those who walk at 100 paces per minute or higher are expected to live longer!! .
We think that’s a good enough reason to pick up the pace!
ps. Michelle and I were discussing this when we were walking our dog down the beach this morning. So we decided to count our paces for one minute. 125!! ?
Is Laughter Really The Best Medicine?
No. A healthy lifestyle is! But laughter certainly can help to improve our health. Check out some of these benefits of having a good chuckle.
Laughter makes you feel better.
When you laugh, your body increases its oxygen intake and releases endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. By laughing, you can release endorphins, which can help ease chronic pain and make you feel good all over. Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. So smile, laugh, and live longer!
Laughter increases your immunity.
Negative stress can cause your body to release chemicals that weaken your immune system, making you more likely to contract a disease. Laughter, though, reduces negative stress and, in turn, prevents those chemicals from being released. Laughter also promotes the release of T-cells, which are specialised immune system cells that fight off sickness. Next flu season, you may want to consider laughing as much as you can!
Laughter promotes heart health.
People who lower their blood pressure, even those who start at normal levels, will reduce their risk of stroke and heart attack. So grab the Sunday paper, flip to the funny pages, and enjoy your laughter medicine.
Laughter helps you stress less.
By reducing the level of stress hormones, you’re simultaneously cutting the anxiety and stress that impacts your body. Additionally, the reduction of stress hormones may also result in higher immune system performance. Just think: Laughing along as a co-worker tells a funny joke can relieve some of the day’s stress and help you reap the health benefits of laughter.
Laughter increases connection with others.
If two people are laughing together, they will feel more emotionally connected. This makes laughter a great tool if you are going on a date or trying to make friends with a coworker. If you can get them laughing and laugh yourself as well, the two of you will both feel more connected to one another, and you will both leave the experience feeling more positive about the other person.
Laughter burns calories.
While you may not want to skip your workout routine in favour of watching stand up comedy, it’s still true that laughter does burn calories and can promote weight loss.
According to a study by the International Journal of Obesity, laughing for 15 minutes can burn 10-40 calories by raising your heart rate.
Laughter boosts mood and confidence.
The ability to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake is a truly valuable trait. Laughing at yourself allows you to build confidence and keeps minor setbacks from dragging you down. If you can laugh something off rather than letting it fester in your mind, you can move on much quicker and avoid letting a small problem become a major one.
8. Laughing Works Out Your Abs
Want to get six-pack abs? Laugh more often. Laughter causes the muscles in your stomach to contract in a similar way to doing crunches or situps. This is why you may feel your stomach hurting after a long period of heavy laughter.
What Does It Mean To Be Healthy?
According to Dorland’s Medical Dictionary: Health is a state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being; and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.
And Webster’s Dictionary defines health as being a condition of wholeness in which all organs are functioning 100%, all of the time.
So health is not merely feeling okay, but it’s actually when your body is functioning at its absolute best.
Then where does health come from?
Proper nutrition, regular exercise, adequate rest and a positive mental attitude are all vital for maintaining health, but health is defined as being about function. So what actually controls the function of your body?
According to Gray’s Anatomy: “It is the purpose of the brain and nerve system to control and coordinate the function of all the tissues, organs and systems of the body.”
Your nervous system is so important that it is the first thing formed in the developing embryo, and the central nervous system is protected and completely encased in bone (yep, that’s your skull and SPINE!).
Interference to your nervous system may adversely affect the function of your body, leading to a decrease in health (which may eventually manifest as symptoms such as back pain, headaches or just about any ailment really).
If you have any interference to your nervous system, your body can not function at 100%. So it is important that we look after our posture and spinal health as it may have an impact on the nervous system and possibly our whole health.
The Importance of Balance Exercises
Balance training is something that most of us don’t consider to be an important part of our exercise routine. However along with strength, endurance and flexibility, balance exercises should be included. And for good reason: Balance is control.
Think of toddlers learning to walk and the process they go through trying to gain the balance to be able to move freely. Once they learn to balance their body, they have control over their movements. The importance of balance doesn’t really change as we get older. Better body balance makes it easier to move and helps prevent injury. But it really is a “use it or lose it” kind of thing, which means it’s important to practice balance at all ages.
It’s important to note that you don’t need to do all your exercises every day, but variety does help keep the body fit and healthy, and makes exercise interesting. You can do a variety of exercises to keep the body fit and healthy and to keep your physical activity routine exciting. Many different types of exercises can improve strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance. For example, practising yoga can improve your balance, strength, and flexibility. A lot of lower-body strength-training exercises also will improve your balance.
If you feel you that you have a severe balance problem then you should speak with us before trying any of these exercises.
How much do I need?
Balance exercises can be done every day, or as many days as you like and as often as you like. You can’t overdose on them, so do them as often as you like! Preferably, older adults at risk of falls should do balance training 3 or more days a week and do standardised exercises from a program demonstrated to reduce falls. It’s not known whether different combinations of type, amount, or frequency of activity can reduce falls to a greater degree.
Tai chi exercises also may help prevent falls. Balance, strength and flexibility exercises can be combined.
Try these balance exercises:
- See how long you can stand on one foot, or try holding for 10 seconds on each side.
- Walk heel to toe for 20 steps. Steady yourself with a wall if you need a little extra support.
- Walk normally in as straight a line as you can.
- If you find standing on one foot very challenging at first, try this progression to improve your balance:
- Hold on to a wall or sturdy chair with both hands to support yourself.
- Next, hold on with only one hand.
- Then support yourself with only one finger.
- When you are steady on your feet, try balancing with no support at all.
- Once you can stand on one foot easily for 30 seconds, you can try it on a folded up towel. This makes it more unstable underfoot, and will help to increase your balance and stability. If you are really keen, close your eyes!
Try to incorporate a few of these exercises into your routine. Also, try to find different ways to add them to your everyday activities. For example, brush your teeth while standing on one foot!
How Does Your Spine Go Out Of Alignment?
By far the most common question we get asked here at Coolum Family Chiropractic is ‘How does my spine go out of alignment?’
Of course the answer is never a simple one, and there are many different reasons and causes of spinal misalignment. Obviously if you suffer a major trauma, such as a sports injury or a car accident, chances are the forces sustained by your body will have put you out of alignment. Unfortunately, these misalignments are often overlooked as there can be other more pressing injuries to be attended to at the time. Whiplash is an example of such an injury, and it can be weeks or even months before spinal misalignments are recognised.
But the most common way that your body will lose its correct alignment is due to an accumulation of stress and strain on the spine over a period of time. A lifetime of minor injuries, twists and turns, postural stress etc. will, over time, cause misalignment of your spine. Birth trauma, falls, heavy school bags, sports injuries, poor posture in front of screens, heavy lifting, text neck, too much sitting, etc. The list goes on, and it all adds up to an ever increasing amount of load and stress on our spines.
Luckily our bodies are very good at compensating for such problems, and most of the time we don’t even know that our spines are not aligned correctly. The problem is that eventually, our bodies can no longer compensate for this accumulation of spinal misalignments and we can start to experience back or neck pain.
The heart attack analogy.
A good analogy for accumulating spinal stress leading to acute back pain is when people suffer a heart attack.
Often the first (and sadly the last) sign of heart disease is a heart attack. Now we all know that you don’t develop heart disease over night to the point where you have a heart attack. It takes many years of bad lifestyle choices (poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, etc.) that slowly accumulates to the point where the arteries are about to become blocked, leading to a heart attack. A lot of the time the poor victim had no idea what was coming, and perhaps felt relatively fine right up until the inevitable.
It is a similar scenario for deteriorating spinal health. Often the first sign that people have of a bad back, is the onset of back pain. And usually there is no known cause for the onset, or it might have been something innocuous like reaching to pick up a pen or a cup of coffee, or even just getting out of the car. It is often something that we do every day that is the final straw that puts our back ‘out’. Obviously however, it wasn’t the pen or the fact that the car suddenly got harder to get out of.
What happens is that your back literally got to breaking point. That slow accumulation of stress and strain that has been weakening your spine for years, got to the point where your body can no longer compensate for it and something had to give. Your back has suddenly ‘gone out’! This is when you might experience back pain for no known reason, it just starts to suddenly hurt. This is the same analogy as the heart attack victim who felt okay. Often there was no obvious sign that your back is in trouble beforehand. It’s that slow accumulation of stress and strain causing your spine to slowly get more and more out of it’s correct alignment, that led to a back problem that was bad enough to just suddenly go out.
If you want to get your spine checked, give us a call now.
Improve Your Posture
The internet and all the mod cons have really changed the way we go about our daily lives. Everything can be done at the touch of a button. From shopping to changing channels on your wide screen TV, we can do almost everything without even leaving the couch. Unfortunately there is a downside to this convenience. By decreasing the amount we move each day, we have increased the severity of poor posture and in turn, its negative effects on our health and wellbeing. The daily activities that we now consider normal, like sitting at a desk, driving instead of walking, and even playing video games, have an accumulative effect and lead to poor posture over time.
What is poor posture?
Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting or lying down. When you have poor posture it can increase pressure on your spine and contribute to tension, soreness, headaches, back pain and fatigue.
Australian adults, on average, spend an estimated five hours per day sitting, with a quarter of the population sitting for more than eight hours per day, including the 67% that play video games recreationally. Also, the time we spend sitting and hunching over a desk or on the couch can add pressure to the spine.
Get a Ready for Life Posture
A healthy posture is all about healthy movement, by both your spine and your body. It does take discipline to correct poor posture, but there’s no doubt the benefits are well worth the effort. Chiropractic care is well known to help improve posture, and our chiropractors can show you specific exercises that will help to improve your posture and maintain a healthy spine.
At Coolum Family Chiropractic, we also recommend the Straighten Up app, developed by the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA). It is designed to help everyday Australians maintain and improve their spinal health. You can use the app to set reminders and receive notifications about sitting right, stretching, improving posture and even staying hydrated.
Download the FREE app and get your posture Ready for Life today!