Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Doctor’s Best Advice for Injury-Free, Winter Exercise

Chiropractor Bethlehem PA cold weather runningFor many people, colder temperatures outside can mean big changes in exercise routines. Some will move their workouts indoors or hibernate during the winter months. Others, who are very committed, though, will decide to work with the seasons and find ways to be active outside. If you’re one of those people, this article is for you.

I work with many runners who’ve found their runner’s Zen spot before the winter. They came from zero running experience to running their first ½ marathon. Embracing a new direction in life and a new habit is what has set them apart as extraordinary. People who take smart care of themselves, just like the professional athlete’s do, are able to stick with their goals. This is where many seek me out, as a trained and experienced runner and Chiropractor.

In my experience, it’s important to be smart about how you exercise outdoors. While you should be applauded for getting out and staying active in the cold for a bit of exercise, it’s still important to know a few things. Without some necessary advice you may find yourself injured or soon ready to call it quits.

To help you protect yourself from frostbite, hypothermia, and injuries that can come with freezing temperatures, I’ve put together a short checklist that you can use to exercise outdoors safely this winter.

How to exercise outdoors safely in the winter

  1. Remember that Cold Weather is Often Dry Weather. Winter weather is often associated with precipitation. However, as the temperatures drop to dangerous lows—close to freezing and below—the opposite is often true regarding humidity. The air will get drier, and even if you don’t sweat as much, you can still lose valuable moisture. When exercising in the cold weather, remember to drink plenty of water, even if you don’t really feel thirsty or sweaty.
  2. Understand the Real Temperature Where You Plan to Exercise. Look up the weather on a website or app before you head out into the cold, but understand the numbers you are looking at. The general weather conditions can differ greatly from place to place locally, even in the same region. Pay especially close attention to wind chill numbers, since the combination of wind and your own movement may lead you to experience lower temperatures. The thermometer may say its 35 degrees out, but the wind chill may mean it feels closer to 20 degrees in certain areas.
  3. Dress Appropriately. It may be tempting to bundle up when going out in the cold to work out, but this comes at a cost. Thick, warm clothes will make you sweat more easily, and that sweat can leach heat from your body and allow your temperature to drop to unhealthy levels. The key, as cold weather experts know well, is to dress in layers, starting with a thin synthetic layer of wicking material, then a fleece and finally a thinner waterproof coat. The added benefit to this clothing strategy is that it’s flexible. You can always take off layers if you get too hot.
  4. Warm Up your Extremities First. When exercising in the cold weather, pay particular attention to your extremities, which are more vulnerable to frostbite. It’s especially important to cover your fingers and head. If the air is very frigid, cover up your nose and mouth, too: That cold air can damage your lungs and freeze your nose.
  5. Fuel Up. A source of energy is vital to keeping up your metabolism and keeping you warm when out in the cold. Eat a healthy amount of complex carbs and proteins before you go out, and if you’re going to be out for a few hours, then bring a snack along, too. Stay away from sugars and other less dependable sources of energy, if possible.
  6. Start Slow. Stretching and warming up will both make injury less likely and help your metabolism pick up until you are ready for more strenuous work. Always warm up before going out into the winter weather, particularly if you are planning on an intense session with lots of running or heavy exertion. Otherwise, joint and muscle injuries could result.
  7. Know the Danger Signs. Hypothermia and frostbite can creep up on you if you’re not careful. You can defend against the cold better if you recognize the signs. Frostbite occurs on exposed skin like your cheeks, nose, ears, and hands, especially below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothermia occurs when shivering cannot keep up your core body temperature and your heart and brain begin to shut down. Watch for intense shivering, sudden weariness, slurred words, and trouble with coordination.

If your joints are feeling stiff or achy, we help you get what feels like “lubrication” back into the moving parts. If you’re injured, we help you get up and moving quickly. Dr. Nicole Muschett is the “Best in Town” Chiropractor in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The Secrets about the Superfoods that Trim Your Waistline and Add Years to Your Life

Chiropractor Pennsylvania natural weight lossWe’ve been told for years that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and can improve your life. Well, it turns out that the nutritionists and health care workers that have worked to spread this news weren’t telling us the whole story.

Research shows that eating more fresh fruits and vegetables can actually extend your life, and add years to it.

Researchers from the University College London used data from the Health Survey for England to outline what habits are best for lengthening life. These habits are the same needed to trim your waistline and boost your daily energy.

The recently released study on eating habits is the first to compare the consumption of fruits and vegetables with rates of cancer, heart disease, and all-cause deaths in a nationally-representative population. It is also the first to link health benefits to per-portion quantities of fruits and vegetables, and the first to identify the types of fruits and vegetables with the most benefit.

These figures are compelling and consistent and were published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. What was found after collecting data from the eating habits of over 65,000 people between the years 2001 and 2013 was that the more fresh fruits and vegetables these people ate – at any age – the less likely they were to die.

It turns out good habits pay off. The problem is healthy, new habits are often difficult to begin. But I’ve found that the easiest way to start a healthy new habit is simply to make the decision to receive good body treatment overall. That is, get attention from a trained wellness professional who knows more about how you are doing physically than you do. Chiropractic care is the best way to get the attention you need.

Here are the research findings:

  1. Eating 1-3 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables per day decreases your risk of death in the three categories (cancer, heart disease, and all causes) by 11%, 9%, and 14%, respectively, compared with eating none.
  2. Eating 3-5 servings per day decreases the risks of death due to cancer, heart disease and all causes by 19%, 18%, and 29%, respectively.
  3. Eating 7 or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day decreases your risk of dying from these causes by a whopping 25%, 31%, and 42%, respectively.
  4. The researchers also found that fresh vegetables have a more significant effect on longevity and lowered mortality risk than fruits, with each daily vegetable portion added to the diet lowering mortality risk by 16%. Eating salad lowered mortality risk by 13% for each portion added daily, and fruit lowered mortality risk by 4% for each added portion.
  5. Interestingly, the researchers found no benefits to longevity from fruit juice, as opposed to fresh, whole fruit.
  6. Furthermore, canned or frozen fruit appeared to actually increase risk of death by 17% per portion. The researchers attributed this to the fact that most canned and frozen fruits contain high sugar levels, and that the negative health impacts of the sugar may outweigh any benefits.

What is a serving size of vegetables?

According to the American Heart Association, a serving of vegetables is 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables (about the size of a small fist), or 1/2 cup of other vegetables or 1/2 cup of vegetable juice. For fruits, a serving is 1 medium fruit (medium is defined as the size of a baseball), or 1/2 cup chopped fruit, cooked or canned, or 1/2 cup fruit juice (best if there is no added sweeteners).

Which delivery of fruits and vegetables are good (canned, dried, or frozen)?

Out of 65,226 participants (mostly 35 and older) the data shows that some types of fruits and vegetable packaging and delivery are better than others. Here’s what we found:

Worst (actually harmful): The mortality risk in individuals was worse than the control group when people consumed frozen and canned fruit rather than other varieties. This is likely due to the added sugars and additional processing in the canned fruits. Frozen fruits are generally considered safe and very healthy; however, it is important to make sure you look at the packaging of fruit products to ensure that no additional sugars are added.

Best:   These varieties of foods demonstrated the lowest mortality risks of all foods. All were very beneficial to lifespan longevity, but in going in order from number one to eight, #1 came out with the best statistics.

1)    Vegetables
2)    Salad
3)    Dried fruit
4)    Vegetables in composites – meaning dishes that are made mainly from vegetables
5)    Fruit in composites- these are dishes made mainly from fruits
6)    Pulses- legumes- dry beans like pinto beans, kidney beans and navy beans; dry peas; lentils
7)    Fresh fruit
8)    Fruit juice/smoothies

Lead author of the study Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode says of the findings, “We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering. The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference. If you’re happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good.”

Start a new habit to improve your life and longevity. A happy, healthy life includes a healthy diet, decreased pain-levels, and better movement overall. These factors improve your energy levels as well as your motivation to carry out daily, healthy and inspiring actions. Healthy eating is one piece of the puzzle, if you want to live long and feel great, whole body care is another.  We have experience in helping you move better. Give us a call to see how Chiropractic care can be a pain-free and pampering new step for you this year.

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