As soon as you learn to walk, you put on a pair of shoes and never look back. Is it time to stand on your own two feet?
Humans are not born to wear shoes, but they are a form of protection as you go about your daily business. They protect your feet from bacteria, infections, harmful surfaces and materials like glass, and uncomfortable temperatures.
However, experts say that walking barefoot can restore your natural gait, and work certain muscle groups to strengthen your body. It can offer better foot mechanics and positioning as you walk, and stronger legs to support your lower back. If your feet work better, then your core, knees, and hips can as well. You may also notice improvements in your balance.
Shoes that don’t fit properly can cause bunions, blisters and deformities, so you could say goodbye to those too. As you can see, there is plenty to love about bare feet, but that doesn’t mean you should suddenly stop wearing shoes.
You need to start slow to strengthen your feet over time. Begin with short sessions, letting your ankles and feet adjust to using different muscle groups. Participate in barefoot activities such as yoga, and go barefoot around the house. Balance exercises should also form part of your “going bare” plan.
When you decide to leave the house with no shoes, be wary of all hazards. Start on safe surfaces such as sand or grass, and ease up if you feel any pain or discomfort. If you are prone to infections or wounds, then choosing light, minimalist footwear may be a better option for you.
There are many benefits of walking without shoes, but you must take all safety precautions. Consult your chiropractor for advice, or if you plan on completing any vigorous exercises without footwear.
Work-related arm, neck, and shoulder problems cost the workforce billions of dollars every year. Could your computer mouse be to blame?
If you work in a mouse-heavy industry, such as graphic design or architecture, then it’s not uncommon to experience fatigue and pain. Weeks of mouse use without support can lead to repetitive strain injury and irritation – particularly around your shoulder region. Such pain is often a sign of a condition called ‘’mouse shoulder’’.
Mouse shoulder is caused by the repetitive, slight movements of your hands and fingers as you use your computer mouse. These small muscles become fatigued, causing larger muscles groups to compensate, resulting in more widespread discomfort. Before you know it, you’re in that much pain that you struggle with everyday tasks.
If you notice any tension or aches after frequent computer use, there are several things you can do. See your chiropractor for treatment, and invest time in setting up an ergonomic workstation.
Pay attention to your mouse, monitor, seating, and comfort. Your elbows should be relaxed at your sides, your screen and mouse centred in front of you, and your chair adjusted with armrests to support your forearms.
You may even find it useful to invest in support pads for your wrists, an ergonomic mouse that fits your hand size, and a special keyboard that promotes natural movement. Taking 15-second breaks every hour to give your arms and hands a break, is also crucial.
If you see your chiropractor for assistance, they may recommend a manual or instrument-assisted treatment method to alleviate mouse shoulder and associated pain. Every treatment plan is unique to you and the symptoms you present with. If you have any questions, or need help with your discomfort, consult your chiropractor.
Running on a treadmill to the point of exhaustion is not everyone’s idea of a good time. But could there be a more natural way of achieving your health and fitness goals?
Your daily tasks, the things you do every day, can be a source of fitness. Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, stated that high-intensity incidental physical activity (HIIPA), could be pivotal in helping overweight or unfit people improve their health. The best part is you do nothing out of the ordinary.
You can mow your lawns, play with the kids, do some gardening, or wash your car, and you’re contributing to your health and wellbeing. You don’t need to make extra time, buy equipment, or have a particular set of skills.
According to the World Health Organisation, an average person needs 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week. Anything you do to get your heart rate up, increase your body temperature, or work out your muscles, contributes to that time. At least two sessions of strength training per week are also a recommendation.
Incidental fitness works hand in hand with functional fitness, which is structured exercise that helps you carry out your daily tasks. For example, let’s say you do a lot of heavy lifting; strengthening the group of muscles involved can make this easier, and help reduce the risk of injury.
Around 60 percent of Australian women are overweight or unfit, with many saying they struggle to find time for structured exercise. Most people find it easier to be active in lots of little ways through their day. According to research, three to five brief HIIPA sessions daily, totalling onlyfive to 10 minutes, can benefit health andfitness levels.
In essence, to benefit from incidental physical activity, you add intensity to everything you do. Put a little more gusto into hanging out your washing, and run at a faster pace when you’re chasing the kids. Park further away from the office, walk fast, take the stairs, and do a little dance while you’re washing the dishes.
Remember to think of movement as an opportunity, not a nuisance, and pick up the pace next time you hit the supermarket.
Every time your parents told you to eat your broccoli, they were neglecting its much- underrated cousin, cauliflower.
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can include in your diet, but cauliflower, another cruciferous family member, is equal to its greener counterpart as a nutrition powerhouse.
Adding one cup of cooked cauliflower to your dinner plate can offer up to 77 percent of your daily intake of Vitamin C, 19 percent of your daily Vitamin K, and eight percent of your daily Manganese amount. It’s also only 25 calories, making it a nutrient-rich vegetable that doesn’t add a lot to your daily total.
Everyone knows that colourful vegetables tend to offer the most health benefits, but people are starting to understand that cauliflower is an exception to that rule. It might not be the prettiest vegetable, but it is rich in vitamins, folate, fibre, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. What’s more, you can also buy it in orange, purple, and green – with orange cauliflower offering 25 times as much vitamin A as white cauliflower. It’s clear to see why it ranks within the 25 most nutrient-rich vegetables in existence.
Cauliflower has numerous health benefits. Its vitamins and minerals can fight free radicals to reduce the risk of cancer and
heart disease, while the fibre content is beneficial for digestive health. Studies, such as a review in the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, show an association between a high consumption of cruciferous vegetables and a reduced risk of cancer.
If you need another reason to consume more cauliflower, it has great versatility. You can eat it raw, sautéed, boiled, roasted, or even in pizza dough or as a sauce base. Include it as part of your five cup minimum weekly recommendation for cruciferous vegetables, and get creative with how you serve it.
Although cauliflower is generally safe to eat, increased consumption may cause bloating and wind. If you are on blood- thinning medication, keep your vitamin K intake consistent every week.
Keep an eye out for an exciting Cauliflower recipe next week!
What began as a set of exercises for injured dancers and athletes has turned into a beneficial form of exercise for almost everyone. Could it suit you?
Physical trainer Joseph Pilates introduced Pilates into the United States in the 1920s. The purpose of this form of exercise was to help injured dancers and athletes return to their sport safely. However, the benefits and sheer variety of exercises available has made it popular with the general public too.
Pilates consists of hundreds of yoga, ballet, and calisthenic-inspired exercises that stretch and lengthen your major muscle groups in a balanced way. With regular sessions, you may see improvement in your muscular and postural strength, balance, flexibility, stress management, spine stabilisation, concentration, body awareness, and more.
Pilates is suitable for almost anyone – those who are new to it, anyone wanting to add to existing fitness routines, or those who need a safe method of rehabilitation. You can also perform the exercises with or without exercise equipment, depending on the class and instructor. Mat-based
Pilates uses your body weight and gravity for resistance, while equipment-based classes involve muscle resistance items such as dumbbells.
In Pilates, you are not worked to the point of exhaustion, sweating or straining, just intense concentration. The focus is on slow, precise, and rhythmical sets of movements, alongside breathing and abdominal control. If an exercise doesn’t work for you, or isn’t benefitting you, the instructor can re-evaluate it to find out what’s more appropriate. The individual attention of Pilates can make it a desirable exercise option for many – from athletes through to those with limited mobility.
If you believe you could benefit from improved strength, stability, balance, and feelings of wellness, then it could be time to find out what Pilates classes are near you. Most classes are held in Pilates studios, gyms and community centres, and are
usually no longer than an hour and a half. Many can offer tailored exercises to suit your limitations and preferences.
Always attend classes with a qualified instructor and ensure you have medical clearance from your doctor. Seek medical advice if you are pregnant, have had surgery, are over 40, have pre-existing conditions or disorders, are overweight, or have not exercised in a while.
Once you start Pilates classes, it’s important not to expect too much right away. Attend two or three times every week, and you may notice improvements after 10 to 20 sessions.
Australasia is home to several well-developed resorts and ample ski and snowboard opportunities, making it an ideal part of the world to live in, if you’re partial to winter sports. These many beautiful slopes are ready, but is your body?
Whether you’re an avid back-country, cross- country, hobby, or competitive skier or snowboarder, you will know just how much of a toll these exhilarating sports can take on your body. Based on Victorian Ski Patrol reports alone, injury rates sit at between 1.5 to 3.9 injuries per 1,000 visitors.
These statistics don’t take into account muscular and lower back pain that some people may experience after a weekend, or week, on the slopes. Skiing and snowboarding, while fun for the whole family, can leave your body feeling a little worse for wear come the end of the winter sports season.
Muscular pain, including in your lower back and abdomen, can occur when your body’s core muscles are working overtime to maintain your correct form – essentially, trying to keep you upright and off the snow. Doing this for extended periods in itself can cause muscular pain, but may then be made worse by heavy equipment such as boots, cumbersome jackets, and of course, the board or skis themselves.
If you fall while skiing or boarding, you may also run the risk of stressing, twisting, or jarring your spine, including the soft tissue that supports it. However, even the bumpy terrain may have the same effect, as could correcting your stance at short notice, to stop yourself from falling. In essence, skiing and snowboarding can put immense pressure on your spine – whether you’re upright or lying on the snow, post-fall.
The risk of injury and ongoing pain can put many people off hitting the slopes, but there are things you can be doing to prepare your body before the season begins. Start by exercising regularly for at least six weeks before you begin the season. Doing so is likely to put you in better physical condition.
You can also work your way up from beginner slopes through to the more challenging slopes, as a way to warm your body up to more physical challenges, as well as only attempting slopes you and your body can handle.
If you do experience back pain or muscular aches during or after a winter sports session, consider icing the tender areas, relaxing in a spa and consulting your chiropractor.
When walking in summer you get to enjoy the sunshine, and the outdoors in general. Walking in winter however, can be a completely different experience. Here’s how to make your winter walk as enjoyable and beneficial as your summer one.
Walking at any time of the year is good for your health. Not only are you getting that much-needed exercise, but you’re also improving circulation, boosting your mood and energy levels, building core strength, and helping to improve mobility.
In summer, getting out and about is easy to do.You want to be out in the sunshine, so taking a quick walk down around the block or to the park is an enjoyable experience. In winter, when the air is cold, or it’s a little bit drizzly, you may be more inclined to want to stay indoors.
While it’s all too easy to cuddle up on the couch with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate, it’s important to get the same level of exercise now as you did during those summer months. Once you’ve built up the motivation to get your walking shoes on and out the door, you’ll remember just how refreshing a walk can be, whatever the weather.
Here are a few things you can do to enhance that experience just a little bit more.
Don’t let the winter blues set in. There are several great walking apps available from the App Store or Google Play which can help motivate you. For example the Just Start Walking app allows users to map their walks, set goals based on kilometres walked, share their walk on social media and repeat saved walks. Find walking routes to suit your experience level. You may be inspired to walk further and faster, and your body will thank you for it.
As we all know life is full of unknowns, but you can take simple and practical steps now to be ready for life at any age. Currently 15% of the Australian population are aged 65 and over, and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that this will increase to 22% by 2056.
This increase in the age of the population puts additional strain on the government to provide care for older Australians.
Chiropractors are ideally placed to assist in the healthcare of Australians as they age and potentially help improve their quality of life.
According to the World Health Organization, musculoskeletal conditions that reduce mobility, dexterity and functional ability, are the second largest cause of disability worldwide. Musculoskeletal conditions can have a damaging effect on your quality of life by affecting your ability to participate in work, social activities and sports. In Australia, 3.7 million people reported back problems in 2015 alone.
With statistics like these and the burden of low back pain ranking first in Australia, it is likely that you or someone you know could suffer from back pain. Improving posture, maintaining an active lifestyle and keeping your spinal health in check can help you continue to do the things you love and always be Ready for Life!
By decreasing the amount we move each day, we have increased the severity of poor posture and in turn, its negative effects on health.6 Daily activities that we now consider common, like sitting at a desk, driving instead of walking, and even playing video games, may lead to incorrect posture.
What is poor posture?
Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting or lying down. When your posture is poor this 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. This time 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.
The Straighten Up App, developed by the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) is designed to help everyday Australians maintain and improve their spinal health. Use the app to set reminders and receive notifications about sitting right, stretching, improving posture and even staying hydrated.
An active spine is a healthy spine. This is important at any age. The Department of Health recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week. Activities such as surfing, soccer and strength training in the gym can have great benefits to your overall mental and physical health. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 56% of all Australians are not sufficiently physically active. This has a negative impact on your spinal health.
Benefits of regular exercise
Most physical activity can have great positive effects on the spine including the stretching, strengthening and repairing of muscles that help support your back. Regular exercise can also reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, build stronger bones, increase your energy, improve sleep patterns and so much more.
Just Start Walking
If the gym or sports field isn’t for you then walking is another great way to keep active. Some benefits of brisk walking include increasing your heart and lung fitness, muscle strength and endurance, and it contributes to a naturally upright posture.
Need a little extra help to get you walking to a healthier life? The Just Start Walking app is just what you need. This free app was developed by the Australian Chiropractors Association to encourage Australians to get outside and to get walking! The app allows you to not only map your walk, but track the distance and time taken.
The app also displays your walking history, so you can see your improvements, features local walking events near you and lets you share your walk with friends on social media.
The Just Start Walking app is in the final stages of redevelopment and will be available to download from the App Store and Google Play from 15 May 2019. Mark your diaries now for 15 May to download the Just Start Walking app to take the first steps towards a healthier spine and be Ready for Life!
Chiro Can Help
Your spine supports you. Growing from birth and moving with you at every stage of life. Whether you’re hula hooping in the park, jumping on a trampoline or just getting dressed, it is important that your spine is always Ready for Life.
Good posture and exercising regularly are important factors in maintaining spinal health. Visiting a chiropractor as part of your spinal healthcare regime can assist with ensuring that these practices are maintained.
Did you know
Chiropractors work in partnership with you by utilising their clinical experience, and tailoring care to your needs and preferences. This ensures the highest standards of patient-centred care.
To find your nearest ACA chiropractor visit locateachiropractor.com.au and make chiropractic a part of your healthcare routine.
Don’t give up the activities you love. Make spinal health a priority and be Ready for Life!
About ChiropracticChiropractic care is not a one size fits all healthcare option. Chiropractors carefully assess each patient individually and tailor their care accordingly. By using a variety of non-surgical techniques, such as specific spinal adjustments, manual therapy and low-force intervention, chiropractors offer a drug-free, hands-on approach to spinal healthcare.
Australian chiropractors are highly qualified healthcare professionals who study at university for a minimum of five years and are government regulated and registered. Like all other registered healthcare providers, chiropractors adhere to National Law and profession specific codes of conduct and guidelines.
They never stop training and working to improve their clinical skills. All chiropractors must undertake continuing professional development courses every year to maintain their registration, constantly learning and staying current with the latest research.
When it comes to counting steps, most people tell you the golden number is 10,000, but is it? And where did this figure originate?
It is believed it began in Japan back in the 1960s during the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics, by a company that marketed step counters. The message was that everyone should be walking 10,000 steps a day if they wanted to stay in peak physical condition. However, in reality, that figure was more about selling the step counters, instead of looking after your health.
Most people know that going for a walk is the most natural, affordable and accessible exercise type. You can put on your trainers and pound the pavement, knowing you are helping to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even depression.
What’s more, walking is something that almost everyone can fit into their daily life – making it all the more beneficial as a way to stay fit and healthy. Instead of 10,000 steps, however, Australian guidelines recommend you do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week – which is around half an hour, five days per week.
Half an hour of walking is around three to four thousand steps – less than that golden number of 10,000 and the 7,400 steps that most average Australians do every day. So how many should we do?
Summing up what wider studies have found regarding step counting, the more you do, the better the health outcome. A 2015 Australian study found every 1,000-step increase decreased your risk of premature death by six percent, and by 46 percent in those who walked more than 10,000 steps.
Therefore, if you can include at least half an hour of moderate exercise into your daily routine, or even aim for that goal of 10,000 steps, you can be doing your body a world of good.
When you’re suffering from an accident, injury, or illness, it can be hard to know which will help – ice or heat. The following information might help to clear things up.
Most people know that applying an ice pack or a heat pack can help to ease aches and pains, but there are cases where you can do more harm than good, or when one treatment may be more suitable than the other.
How do you know what will work? Before you head for the freezer or heat up the wheat bag to ease your aches and pains, ask yourself whether the pain is in your muscles or joints. Is it from an old injury? Does the pain relate to muscular tenderness or tightness?
If muscle tension is causing your pain, then heat can be effective for soothing stiff joints and relaxing muscles. It can also ease pain related to older injuries such as sprains and strains.
However, if you have a new sprain, acute pain, damaged skin or cancerous tumours, then heat is not a suitable option as applying heat can increase inflammation.
In the case of a new injury, ice can reduce any swelling or bleeding, and relieve pain. You may also find benefit in using ice for back pain, arthritis, and migraines.
If you’re not sure whether to reach for the bag of frozen peas or the wheat bag, then don’t worry. Have a chat with your chiropractor and find out which option is best to help alleviate your particular condition or injury.