Mental Clarity

One thing we tend to overlook or do not pay much attention to is our mental clarity. Do we feel focused and energized? Are we happy? Are we handling stressful situations in a healthy and calm manner?
Technology plays a big part in keeping our brains feeling foggy. Having over stimulated brains can leave us feeling a bit scattered or all over the place, which can produce rash and not very well thought out decisions. Unfortunately, the growth of technology is not slowing down anytime soon. However, that does not mean that we cannot help our brains gain back some control!
There are a few tricks to help you build more mental clarity. To start with, creating a familiar routine works wonders in motivating your brain to do its best and most focused work. This could be a morning routine, bedtime routine, or a full day routine, just stick to it and allow your brain to do its thing.
Secondly, STOP multitasking! Multitasking constantly can actually reduce productivity. Put down your phone or device and try picking 3 of the most important tasks, starting on one for a period of time then moving on to the next. One task at a time focus on getting small parts done, equally sharing out the time you have allocated for completion of all tasks.
Get a little boost! You may be eating well, exercising and even taking regular breaks from technology but still feel a little muddled, anxious or depressed, and that is common. A buildup of daily stressors over time can really drain us mentally. You may find that some supplements can help give you that extra boost you need. Check with your nutritionist for vitamins that you may be lacking.

The free, easy exercise that’s right under your nose!

Most of us can do it, and you don’t need a gym membership to sign up to this lifetime club. You know it, you love it, and you do it every day & it’s walking!
We talk about walking a lot, but that’s because we want to stress how great it is, not only for your spinal health, but overall fitness and well-being.
Just 30 minutes a day of brisk walking can increase your cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness, reduce your risk of heart disease, increase your muscle strength and endurance, and improve your spinal health.
Not only does walking create a naturally upright posture, but it restores the hydration to your spinal discs. Through everyday movement, the pressure on our spinal discs causes the squeezing out of the disc’s water, and walking helps to allow for a higher flow of circulation, resulting in increased circulation of water to the discs.
Here are some tips and tricks for first time brisk walkers:
1. Pick a time in the day and schedule it in, like you would an appointment, that way it’s a priority and not an option.
2. Pick a time that works best for you, whether it’s in the morning before the day starts, or after work to get moving after sitting down all day. Walking works around your schedule.
3. Tie walking into your commute by either parking further from your destination or getting off at an earlier stop and walk the rest of the way.
4. Grab a walking buddy! Haven’t seen your best friend in while? Lock in a time to walk and talk so you can catch up while working out.
5. Set goals! Start with 10,000 steps a day and when you start to hit those with ease move to 15,000 and so on, there’s no such thing as too much walking.
6. Take the first steps, for a lifetime of healthy living.
Extra challenge: Test yourself by ignoring your phone for the duration of the walk. That way you can practice good posture as well as avoid the dreaded neck pain caused from looking down and opening your eyes to the world around you.
So what are you waiting for? Step outside and smell the roses (literally!), and start walking your way to a healthier life.

How to Keep Your Joints Healthy

Most people think about healthy movement as the act of exercising. However, movement translates to improved brain function and thinking, stronger relationships and ultimately living your life’s purpose. It’s no secret: Human life has become structured in a way that makes it very easy to avoid movement.
We sit in cars on the way to work. At work we sit at our desks for much of the day. Then we come home and sit down to relax. Is this perhaps why our knees, backs, necks and shoulders are creaky and stiff and not moving as they originally should?
As humans, we move our bodies to express our wants, needs, emotions, thoughts, and ideas.
This means that how much we move ultimately determines how well we engage with the rest of the world and establish our larger purpose in life. If you move well, you also think, feel, and live well.
What Factors Determine How Well You Move?
While there are universal human movement patterns (walking, squatting, lunging, pulling, pushing, etc.), our specific movement patterns are unique to us, and come down to individual bioengineering.
Your body amounts to a sophisticated pile of interconnected levers:
– Muscles are attached to bones with tendons.
– These tendons connect to two (or more) bones across a joint.
– When a muscle contracts, the tendons pull on the bone.
– That contraction and pull causes the joint to flex (bend) or extend (straighten).
And how your joints move is really determined by the size, shape and position of all of those parts, along with anything that adds weight, like body fat.
– Tall people (with longer bones) may find it harder to bench press, squat and deadlift the same amount as a short person.
– Short people may not run, swim or climb as fast as tall people.
– If you’re bottom heavy, you may have better balance.
When the lower back is pulled downward, it affects all the joints below (pelvis, knee and ankle). And it also works in the opposite direction, where poor ankle or knee movement can impact the lower back.
– If you have wider shoulders, then you have a longer lever in your arms, which means you may potentially throw, pull or swim better.
– If you have longer legs, then you have a longer stride, which means you’ll potentially run faster.
How To Start Moving Better
– Pay attention to how it feels when you move. Pay Attention to your body:
– When you walk or run: How long is your stride? Do your legs swing freely? Do your hips feel tight or loose? What are your arms doing? Where are you looking?
– When you stand: How does your weight shift gently as you stand? What does that feel like in your feet or lower legs?
– When you sit: Where is your head? Can you feel the pressure of the seat on your back or bottom?
– When you work out: Can you feel the muscles working? What happens if you try to do a fast movement (like a jump or kick) slowly, and vice versa?
– Ask yourself if you’re moving as well as you could.
– Do you feel confident and capable & are you ninja-ready for anything?
– Do you have any physical limitations? Do you avoid certain activities because of them?
– When was the last time you tried learning a new movement skill?

HOW TO INCORPORATE WALKING INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE

Our lives are busier than ever. Trying to balance work, relationships and commitments, all while trying to get enough sleep, eat right and stay active can be challenging. We know it can be especially hard to find time to exercise, but whether you’ve had an active lifestyle for many years or just wanting to kick start your fitness goals, walking is the perfect, low impact exercise that can easily fit into your life. Just 30 minutes a day of brisk walking can increase your cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness, reduce your risk of heart disease, increase your muscle strength and endurance, create a naturally upright posture and improve your spinal health.

Start by setting yourself realistic goals of when you can exercise. If you know you can’t make it to the gym every single day, don’t promise yourself you will. You could start by saying “I will go for a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes, on my lunch break, at least three times this week”. The more planned and thought out your activity is, the more likely you are to stick to it. The great thing about walking is that it is flexible and can fit around you schedule. Here are a few ways to incorporate walking into your everyday routine.

Morning: Starting your day off with a walk is a great way to get your exercise done and dusted early. You might have to go to bed a bit earlier to squeeze in your 30-minute walk, but you will gain the energy you need to kick-start your day and feel accomplished.

In transit: Live in waking distance to the station or never any parking around work? Park a little further away from your destination and enjoy a brisk stroll. You can split your walk up between going from and coming home if you can’t do it all in one hit.

Lunch time: Everyone deserves a break, so commit to not working through lunch, or sitting down the whole time, and go for a midday walk. It’s a great way to clear your head, refresh yourself for the rest of the day, and get some fresh air. Grab a colleague and head out together to keep each other motivated.

Meetings: Is your day filled up with meetings? If you’re able, suggest a walking meeting. Being outdoors can help generate fresh ideas by stepping outside of your regular environment to help spark creativity and open conversations.

Afternoon/night: Sometimes it can take a little while to decompress after work. An afternoon 30-minute walk can help you relax into the evening. Use a walk to catch up with family and friends all while feeling the benefits of walking and exercise.

There are many ways to incorporate walking into your day, it’s simply a matter of finding what works for you, sticking to it, and creating the habit of putting your health first.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT FOR PROPER POSTURE

If you are one of the 50% of Australians that sit at an office desk from 9am to 5pm (or some variation of that) then you are probably guilty of sitting in that same position for most of the day, often unaware of the potential effects of poor posture on your spine!
Between sitting at home on the couch, on the train to work and in the office all day, you could only be left with around one hour to stand, walk and exercise.
While sitting down for long periods of time cannot be entirely avoided, improving your posture and staying active throughout the day can prove beneficial for your spinal health and overall wellbeing.
Here are a few helpful tips to get in the habit of practicing good posture:
-While winter is almost here, take advantage of the weather by going for a walk during your lunch break.
-Take the stairs instead of the lift up to the office.
-Take little breaks every 30 minutes by walking to the coffee machine or bathroom to keep your body moving.
-Pay attention to the way you sit at work, avoid hunching or slouching at your desk. Sit back in your chair and make sure your back is well supported by the chair.
-When at your desk distribute your body weight evenly on both hips and keep your feet flat on the floor.
-If you have a height adjustable desk, try alternating frequently between standing and sitting. If your workplace does not offer standing desks, it may be a good idea to request one.
-Take a moment to assess your office desk. Are there any elements that are putting stress or strain on your body? Keep the mouse and telephone within easy reach so you don’t have to stretch to reach them. Adjust your computer screen so that your neck is in a neutral position and be mindful of your posture while sitting.
It is easy to forget to take a break when we are busy at work. So, set an alarm on your phone to remind you or use the reminders on the Straighten Up app.
Taking these habits home with you will help put them into practice in everyday life and will also ensure that good posture and spinal care is integrated into every aspect of your life.

Benefits of Stretching, Inside and Outside the Gym

Stretching is definitely one of those things that’s easily overlooked when it comes to working out (or ever). Maybe it’s because it only takes a few minutes so you easily brush it off. Or maybe it’s because you don’t see the results of stretching that you don’t take it seriously enough. Knowing the benefits of stretching and possibly trying a stretch strap can help you better understand why stretching is important to your daily life.
Stretching is typically associated with flexibility. Indeed, stretching is an important tool for injury prevention by keeping joints and muscles in tip-top shape. However, it actually serves so much more. Stretching can improve posture, boost energy and increase your blood flow.
Is stretching necessary?
Yes. Not only is stretching necessary during exercise but also throughout the work day when you find yourself sitting for an extended amount of time. During or post-workout stretching helps to boost muscle health and strengthen joints.
Whether you’re working, traveling or lounging at home, we often sit for long periods of time. Unfortunately, this can cause your glutes to weaken along with other muscles and joints resulting in an over-stressed feeling (such as in the lower back or knees). Make stretch breaks an essential part of your daily routine.
The benefits of stretching
Why stretching is important can be felt both inside and outside the gym. Make stretching at the gym a part of your strength training regimen. Lifting weights causes the muscles to shorten; so stretching during and after a workout is necessary to lengthen the muscles. Stretching post-workout also gives muscles time to relax and reduce soreness.
When you’re not at the gym, stretching helps improve posture by lengthening tight muscles (often compromised by using computers and Smartphones). Keep your spine in alignment by stretching hunched shoulders and tight chest and lower back muscles.
If you find yourself getting sleepy or losing focus while sitting for a long time, it’s time to get up and stretch. Stretching helps to boost energy by getting the blood flowing and improving concentration.
A shorter stretching session can recharge the body; calm the mind while improving flexibility. Longer sessions such as a Pilates or yoga classes may reduce tension and stress. Incorporating both of these into your weekly routine assists the body physically and mentally.
When to stretch
Often people confuse stretching as warming up. Muscles should be warmed up by walking or riding a bike for 5 to 10 minutes, or lifting light weights for a few sets, in order to warm up the entire body and increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles.
Then during a workout focus on stretching each body part as you’re training. For example, between exercises during a leg workout, concentrate on stretching the leg muscles. After your workout, spend 5-10 minutes stretching your entire body.
As part of your daily routine, stretch your hip flexors, neck and shoulders, this is a great way to wake up tight muscles and increase energy.
Tips for stretching
Hold each stretch when you first feel resistance, then inhale and exhale as you stretch deeper. If a stretch seems too tough to do, modify and adjust your position by performing the same stretch standing up or sitting down.
Neck, shoulders, lower back, hips, thighs and calves are the major muscle groups which benefit from stretching. Keep the following tips in mind:
-Hold each stretch about 30 seconds
-Stretch both sides
-Don’t bouncing
-Breath, exhale moving into a stretch and inhale as you hold the stretch

How good is your pillow??

Is your pillow supporting you while you sleep? How do you know if it’s a good one or not? Here’s a little tip from Dr John and Dr Craig when it comes to pillow quality:

Fold your pillow in half, then let go. If the pillow springs back, itbs in good shape. If it just lays there bent like a soggy potato chip, get rid of it. Itbs not worthy of supporting your head and neck adequately while you sleep.

Check you pillow tonight!

Winter Sports Injuries

Australia is a sports-loving nation, winter is a time when many of our most popular sports for both spectators & players are in action. Australian’s just can’t seem to get enough of AFL, Rugby League & Union plus the recent surge in netball, of course there are many other popular sports that most Aussie’s play in winter such as skiing & snowboarding just to name two. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), over 60% of Australians participate in sports and exercise programs we just love sport.
The Medibank Private Safe Sports Report found that their member’s main motivation to exercise were (in order): general health and fitness, weight loss, to have fun and enjoy social benefits.
The report also revealed that individual rather than team-based activities were the most popular. This is consistent with published data from the ABS Year Book. Walking, aerobics, fitness, swimming and golf ranked among the top five participation sports/physical activities.
According to the Monash University Accident Research Centre approximately 5.2 M Australians suffer a sports-related injury each year. Surveys indicate that the most common injuries (in order) are to the knee, ankle, foot, back and shoulder. Many of these injuries arise from the very popular winter sports we play.
Statistically, sports injuries peak in the months of May, June and July. This is not surprising because cold muscles, tendons and ligaments increase your risk of sustaining injury & as well our most popular contact sports like rugby & AFL are played in these months.
The fear of sustaining a sports injury should not deter someone from participating in winter exercise/sport. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the probability of developing heart disease, diabetes, mental illness and many types of cancer (particularly breast and colon cancer). The benefits certainly outweigh the risks.
In order to reduce the risk of a winter sports injury, your Chiropractor is most likely to recommend some or all of the following:
-Get the correct advice on the right activity program for you
-Warm up and cool down
-Have the correct equipment for your activity
-Begin slowly and gradually build up to the challenge
-Keep hydrated
-Listen to your body
-Give yourself one or two recovery days each week
-Rest an injury, don’t try to work through the pain
-Progress at your own pace and don’t overdo it
-Get regular chiropractic check-ups
Before beginning any exercise program, it is advised that you visit with your chiropractor, especially if you have had a previous injury or musculoskeletal condition. Your chiropractor is trained to assess/evaluate your body and offer valuable advice to assist you in preventing winter sports injuries.
Regular exercise and chiropractic care are recommended for a healthy lifestyle.

Four benefits you didn't know you get when you workout

#1 It makes your skin look better:
Revving up your blood flow through aerobic exercises helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your skin improving the health and look of your skin almost instantly!
 
#2 Helps with recovery from major illnesses:
In a recent study done of more than 300 clinic trails, researchers found that exercise is effective at helping those recovering from stroke. For decades people suffering certain diseases have been advised not to exercise however this recent study concludes that getting your heart rate up actually helps with rehabilitation.
 
#3 Shrinks your fat cells:
Ok so we all know that one of the benefits of exercise can be weight loss but what we may not know is that by exercising regularly we are gaining a stronger cardiovascular system. This benefits you not only while youbre working out but after as well. A strong cardiovascular system produces more oxygen which helps turn your fat into energy. So if youbre cardiovascular system is in good health youbre burning fat cells outside of your workouts!
 
#4 It makes you smarter:
As we age our brain cells deplete, and although we cannot generate new brain cells exercise has been proven to slow down brain cell loss! One study shows that after only six weeks of training improves your memory and attention span!
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There are plenty of reasons to workout. If youbre looking to benefit from these reasons or others everybody should take the time to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to keep both your mind and body healthy. For only 2% of your 24hr day you reap benefits that last a lifetime! LETS GET MOVING!

Forward Fold Stretch

Forward Fold Stretch

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly bend forward from the waist. Keep your legs as straight as possible and don’t bounce.
  2. Don’t worry if you can’t reach the floor; you can even reach for a chair cushion to start if that’s what your flexibility allows.
  3. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds three times.