Just Try Walking

by The American Chiropractic Association

While some fitness enthusiasts relentlessly seek out the latest, trendiest exercise crazes, many others are returning to good, old-fashioned walking to help them feel great and get into shape. Whether enjoying the wonder of nature, or simply the company of a friend, walking can be a healthy, invigorating experience. And thanks to its convenience and simplicity, walking just might be right for you too, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).

BENEFITS
You don’t need to become a member of an expensive gym to go walking. And except for a good pair of walking shoes, it requires virtually no equipment.

“A sedentary lifestyle has debilitating influence on people’s health as they age” says Dr. Jerome McAndrews, national spokesperson for the ACA. “Exercise is imperative.” Walking accomplishes all of the following and more:
• Improves cardiovascular endurance
• Tones muscles of the lower body
• Burns calories: about 80 if walking 2 miles per hour, and about 107 if walking 4 1/2 miles per hour
• Reduces risk of heart disease

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When the Bulbs Are Planted…

If you already feel muscle aches and pains and did not complete the warm-up and cool-down stretches, there are ways to alleviate the discomfort. Apply a cold pack on the area of pain for the first 48 hours or apply a heat pack after 48 hours, and consider chiropractic care.

Prevention is Key!

The best way to fight the pain, emotional stress, and missed work that may accompany a spinal problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The following tips will help you identify and eliminate “spinal stressors” and incorporate spinal health into your daily routine.

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Garden Fitness Stretches

• Before stretching for any activity, breathe in and out, slowly and rythmically; do not bounce or jerk your body, and stretch as far and as comfortably as you can. Do not follow the no pain, no gain rule. Stretching should not be painful. While sitting, prop your heel on a stool or step, keeping the knees straight. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh, or the hamstring muscle. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Do this once more and repeat with the other leg.

• Stand up, balance yourself, and grab the front of your ankle from behind. Pull your heel towards your buttocks and hold the position for 15 seconds. Do this again and repeat with the other leg.

• While standing, weave your fingers together above your head with the palms up. Lean to one side for 10 seconds, then to the other. Repeat this stretch three times.

• Do the “Hug your best friend.” Wrap your arms around yourself and rotate to one side, stretching as far as you can comfortably go. Hold for 10 seconds and reverse. Repeat two or three times.

• Finally, be aware of your body technique, body form and correct posture while gardening. Kneel, don’t bend, and alternate your stance and movements as often as possible to keep the muscles and body balanced.

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Pull Your Weeds, Not Your Back

by The American Chiropractic Association

As springtime approaches, weather warms up and leaves turn green, many people will spend more time outside planting bulbs, mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. Gardening can provide a great workout, but with all the bending, twisting, reaching and pulling, your body may not be ready for exercise of the garden variety.

Gardening can be enjoyable, but it is important to stretch your muscles before reaching for your gardening tools. The back, upper legs, shoulders, and wrists are all major muscle groups affected when using your green thumb.

A warm-up and cool-down period is as important in gardening as it is for any other physical activity,” said Dr. Scott Bautch of the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) Council on Occupational Health. “Performing simple stretches during these periods will help alleviate injuries, pain and stiffness.”

To make gardening as fun and enjoyable as possible, it is important to prepare your body for this type of physical activity. The following stretches will help to alleviate muscle pain after a day spent in your garden.

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Studies show:

• 55% of students carry more than the recommended 15% of body weight in their backpacks.

• Approximately 21,000 emergency room visits each year can be attributed to backpacks.
• 60% of children’s orthopedic visits for back and shoulder pain are the result of carrying too heavy a backpack.

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The American Pediatric Association recommends that students carry no more than 15% of their body weight in backpacks.

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Choose a keyboard

A keyboard that allows angle and pitch adjustments is generally best so as to avoid severely bent wrists. Additionally, a keyboard tray can fix problems such as excessive reach for the keyboard and improper wrist angles when typing.

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Position the chair

Lower the chair until feet are well supported on the ground; adjust the seat depth so there is one-to-three fingers’ space between the front of the chair and the back of the knee; and position armrests so they are one inch below the forearm.

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Adjust the monitor

In general, the screen should be about an arm’s length away and should always be placed at eye level.

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Everyday Office Ergonomics

Nearly anyone who has used a computer has experienced discomfort in the neck at some point. The most common cause is overuse of the neck muscles to hold the head up, instead of letting the spine do the job. Follow these tips to minimize discomfort in the workplace.

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