Gearing Up for Outdoor Sports? Keep Your Kids Healthy and Fit with Chiropractic.

With spring just around the corner, now is the time to prepare your children for their spring sports activities.  Here’s a great article by the American Chiropractic Association with great tips on how to prepare, prevent and protect your kids during outdoor sport season.

Chiropractors Offer Tips to Keep
Your Young Athlete Healthy and Fit

by The American Chiropractic Association

In today’s age of health and fitness, more and more kids are involved in sporting activities. Although being part of a football, soccer or Little League team is an important rite of passage for many kids, parents and their children could be overlooking the importance of proper nutrition and body conditioning needed for preventing injuries on and off the playing field.

“The majority, if not all, sports are good, provided that the child prepares appropriately,” says Dr. Carl Heigl, president of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries and Physical Fitness. “Without proper preparation, playing any sport can turn into a bad experience. There are structural and physical developmental issues that need to be taken into consideration before children undertake certain sports.”

Highly competitive sports such as football, gymnastics and wrestling follow rigorous training schedules that can be potentially dangerous to an adolescent or teenager.

The best advice for parents who have young athletes in the family is to help them prepare their bodies and to learn to protect themselves from sports-related injuries before they happen.

“Proper warm up, stretching and weight-lifting exercises are essential for kids involved in sports, but many kids learn improper stretching or weight-lifting techniques, making them more susceptible to injury,” says Dr. Steve Horwitz, an ACA member from Silver Spring, Maryland, and former member of the U.S. Summer Olympics medical team. “Parents need to work with their kids and make sure they receive the proper sports training.”

“Young athletes should begin with a slow jog to warm up the legs and arms and stretch all the major muscle groups,” says Dr. Horwitz. “Kids involved in football, baseball, gymnastics and swimming should develop a routine that includes strengthening exercises for the abdomen, the low-back muscles, arms and shoulders.”

Proper nutrition and hydration are also extremely vital. “A student athlete may need to drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water for proper absorption. Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day. Also, eating a healthy meal before and after practice or a game allows for proper replenishment and refuels the body,” adds Dr. Horwitz.

Young athletes today often think they are invincible. The following tips can help ensure your child does not miss a step when it comes to proper fitness, stretching, training and rest that the body needs to engage in sporting activities.

Encourage your child to:

  • Wear the proper equipment. Certain contact sports, such as football and hockey, can be dangerous if the equipment is not properly fitted. Make sure all equipment, including helmets, pads, and shoes, fit your child or adolescent. Talk to your child’s coach or trainer if the equipment is damaged.
  • Eat healthy meals. Make sure your young athlete is eating a well-balanced diet and does not skip meals.
  • Avoid high-fat foods, such as candy bars and fast food.  At home, provide fruit rather than cookies, and vegetables rather than potato chips.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Certain sports, such as gymnastics, wrestling and figure skating, require your young athlete to follow strict dietary rules. Be sure your child does not feel pressured into being too thin and that he/she understands proper nutrition and caloric intake is needed for optimal performance and endurance.
  • Drink water. Hydration is a key element to optimal fitness. Teenage athletes should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Younger athletes should drink five to eight 8-ounce glasses of water.
  • Drink milk. Make sure your child has enough calcium included in his/her diet. ACA recommends 1 percent or skim milk for children over 2 years old rather than whole milk because of its high fat content. The calcium in milk is essential for healthy bones and reduces the risk of joint-and muscle- related injuries.  Avoid sugar-loaded, caffeinated and carbonated drinks. Sports drinks are a good source of replenishment for those kids engaged in long-duration sports, such as track and field.
  • Follow a warm-up routine. Be sure your child or his/her coach includes a warm-up and stretching session before every practice, game or meet. A slow jog, jumping rope and/or lifting small weights reduces the risk of torn or ripped muscles. Flexibility becomes a preventive key when pushing to score that extra goal or make that critical play.
  • Take vitamins daily. A multi-vitamin and Vitamin C are good choices for the young athlete. Vitamin B and amino acids may help reduce the pain from contact sports. Thiamine can help promote healing. Also consider Vitamin A to strengthen scar tissue.
  • Avoid trendy supplements. Kids under the age of 18 should avoid the use of performance-enhanced supplements, such as creatine. Instead, they should ask their coach or trainer to include weekly weight-training and body-conditioning sessions in their workout.
  • Get plenty of rest. Eight hours of sleep is ideal for the young athlete. Lack of sleep and rest can catch up with the athlete and decrease performance.
  • Sluggishness, irritability and loss of interest could indicate that your child is fatigued.

Chiropractic Care Can Help…
Doctors of chiropractic are trained and licensed to treat the entire neuromusculoskeletal system and can provide advice on sports training, nutrition and injury prevention to young athletes.

2010 Health Goals? It’s not too late to start…

Our tag line at Community Chiropractic is “A Place to Grow a Better You.”  All year long we help people to achieve their health goals. Your health affects everything you do and everyone you know. Your current health, energy level, flexibility and adaptability will influence your ability to achieve your goals.  It can help or hinder your progress.  Whether or not you have stuck with your resolutions, we want you to make 2010 a healthy and happy year for you and your family. Here are some websites to be your virtual support in your quest for a better you.  .

If your goal is to get in shape : Trendy Traineo , which  has been earning raves, provides all kinds of tools to help you track your eating and workout habits.  If you want something simpler, the no-frills Calorie-Count offers many of the same tools and nutritional information, as well as a community of like-minded people to share experiences and answer questions.

Drink less alcohol: The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, is practical in its approach to getting people to drink less. Its online publication “How to Cut Down on Your Drinking” includes a step-by-step plan as well as sample worksheets to help you meet your goal. And if you falter and need a jolt, its calculators showing the caloric and monetary hit of your alcohol habit should do it.

Quit smoking:   Having trouble kicking the cigarette habit? You just need some inspiration. That’s where Mary and Bob come in. They are longtime smokers who quit with the help of resources offered by the American Legacy Foundation, the anti-smoking group formed as part of a court settlement with cigarette makers. Although their names are fake, Mary and Bob are real people who kicked their addiction in 28 days, including a week’s preparation.

Reduce stress: Stressed out? The award-winning website of the Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, Minn., can help. Its Stress Center is filled with articles and tools on how to cope with all kinds of stress, whether it’s from family relationships, work or diet. If you need regular reminders by e-mail, sign up for Pick Me Up Books’ free Daily Stress Tip.

Another great website with tips on health and wellness is Community Chiropractic’s!   Pay us a visit!

Kung Flu Fighting

The recent tremors of panic regarding H1N1 flu and its potentially dangerous vaccine have provoked many interesting conversations in my family, office and Facebook community.  I believe that the hype about the flu is a symptom of a much larger issue.  It seems strange that we are not talking about ALL the people who are NOT “catching” swine flu or the numbers of people who are developing natural immunity to it.  What causes one person to GET a disease  while their neighbor or loved ones do not?  Different life choices strengthen or weaken our bodies, making us more or less susceptible to different diseases.

Speaking about being healthy and strong to people in my practice, I realize that we are all in different levels of overall health and immune response. So many of us are just beginning our journey towards wellness…we are the white belters in the martial arts world of kicking flu’s bottom! We are the type of people who get very scared when people talk about the flu because we feel like we get EVERYTHING that comes around and it takes us three times as long to recover. We are novice students in the Kung Fu Class of Wellness. We have more studying to do about what creates more health and vitality in life. We must spend more time with the Masters of these healing arts and learn their secret moves in order to earn our next levels of wellbeing.

We have not always been encouraged to listen to our bodies and try to help them. Rather, we have often been taught to be afraid of their signs and signals, to try to squelch the crying voices of various needs for rest, quiet, ease in our bodies, sleep or good food. Think of a person in your life whom you adore. If you were to demand every day that they just do what you WILL them to do regardless of their needs and shush them every time they try to speak, the relationship would eventually suffer.

For many of us,  our own bodies suffer when we do not shush our needs for rest and quiet with caffeine, sugar, computer, television and deadlines.  In order to help our health and wellbeing to grow, we need to tend to our inner garden.  Is the soil rich?  Can health and wellbeing grow abundantly and with ease?  Are there weeds we need to pull, like unhealthy food, constant stress, staying disconnected from our Inner Healer?  Study your unique garden. How is the soil? How is the irrigation? Is there enough light?  Most people can grow decent gardens with very little experience or finessing.  With just a little bit of attention, nature thrives.  With just a little bit of attention, you can help your health and immune system response to grow.  As you finesse the garden of your wellbeing year after year, you learn new tricks of the trade to deepen your healing experience. But  KNOW that your nature is strong and built to heal and grow with even the littlest bit of help.  If you plant the seeds for health, your health will grow.

I am by no  means a Master Black Belt at this process of life and health and wellness but I am an ardent student. A great tool I have discovered for well-being as a patient and practitioner is chiropractic. Research studies have shown that the nerve system and the immune system are interlinked and one cannot function without the other.  One research study has shown that the immune function for patients who had been under chiropractic care was 200% greater than the group not getting adjusted.  Another research study conducted in 1992 demonstrated the neuro-immune-endocrine inter-dependency with chronically stressed patients having altered nerve, endocrine and immune response.2  In 2000, a comprehensive look at neuro-immune function was published demonstrating the inter linkage of these two systems.3

More powerfully affirming than these and many other fascinating research projects, is my 23 years in the chiropractic community. I have seen over the years that we are truly healing machines.   I have seen people heal their cancer, poisonous ant bites, allergies, asthma, and YES, the even the flu!   Our culture spends billions of dollars researching DISEASES and very little time, attention or money on studying why some people heal and how.  Even in our flu conversation, we are so focused on the small percentage of people who are dying of the flu, we are not focused on how many people are getting the disease and fighting it with ease and grace (yellow and green belters), and the people who seemingly are not getting the flu at all (the black belters).

MANY people will have the ability to get a “New Belt” this season, developing natural immunity and fighting this disease.   Will it be hard for some? Yes.  Is there something YOU can do to take your health into your own hands? There is!  We cannot control what happens this flu season any more than one kung fu fighter can control another.  But we can prepare, be smart, and be ready.  With all the fear that swarms around us, we each can master a laser like attention on our natural healing ability and seek ways to harness our own wellbeing.  May you practice the Kaizen principle of Constant Improvement and be more empowered to seek out ways to help your body to fight, to be stronger and better every choice, every day, every year.

References

1. Pero R. “Medical Researcher Excited By CBSRF Project Results.” The Chiropractic Journal, August 1989; 32.
2. Murray DR, Irwin M, Reardon CA, et al. “Sympathetic and immune interactions during dynamic exercise. Mediation via a beta 2 – adrenergic-dependent mechanism.” Circulation 1992 86(1): 203
3. Elenkov IJ, Wilder RL, Chrousos GP, Vizi ES: “The sympathetic nerve-an integrative interface between the two supersystems: the brain and the immune system.” Pharmacol Rev 2000;52:295-638.

To Drug or Not to Drug….That is the Question.

To Drug or Not to Drug.  That is the question.

For the most part, chiropractors have said no to drugs.  They look at the body and try to enhance its own natural healing ability.  In many cases, drugs anesthetize or eliminate the symptom.  Compare the body to a machine, a car for example.  If the lights on the dashboard come on, then you would not lift up the hood, unplug the wires and then get back in and see the light signal gone and think, “problem solved.”  Most people understand the principle of good gas, regular maintenance and avoidance of extreme circumstances enhances the life and performance of the car.

This article in Men’s Health Magazine  lists 8 drugs MDs would not take for themselves or their own family. Better make sure you’re not using them.

Here is the list:

  • Keflex-antibiotic that kills bacteria and your liver too
  • Nexium and Prilosec-anti-heartburn drugs that cause pneumonia and heart attacks.
  • Visine-as in eyedrops Visine… causes eye redness (I am not making this up).
  • Pseudoephedrine-sinus decongestant that causes heart attacks and strokes.
  • Advair-the asthma drug has a black box warning because it can often cause worse asthma.
  • Avendia-for diabetes increases your chances of getting and dying of a heart attack.
  • Celebrex-one of the few remaining cox-2 inhibitors left on the market still causes heart attacks in addition to the stomach bleeding and liver damage.

Along these lines, remember that you are your own best health advocate.  Put yourself in the drivers seat of your health. We wouldn’t give drugs to a healthy baby and think they would make it healthier.  Drugs can be life saving and life costing.  Seek ways to increase your body’s function and vitality.

Here is another site to help you learn more about the reactions of drugs in the body.