Nutrition & Exercise News Feed - ValpoLife https://valpo.life Sat, 30 May 2020 11:07:53 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 Why focusing on your core is so important to maintaining a healthy spine https://valpo.life/article/why-focusing-on-your-core-is-so-important-to-maintaining-a-healthy-spine/ Wed, 27 May 2020 13:35:34 +0000 Porterfield Family Chiropractic https://valpo.life/article/why-focusing-on-your-core-is-so-important-to-maintaining-a-healthy-spine/ To many fitness enthusiasts, the core is everything. What is ‘core’? Core refers to your abdominal area, including your front abdominal muscles – but it also refers to the other surrounding areas of your body’s center, like your back and sides. Your core kind of holds everything together, so it’s extremely important that you keep it strong to avoid putting unnecessary strain on other parts of your body like your spine.

Regularly training your core is actually a great way to prevent back pain. Let’s look more closely at why focusing on your core is so beneficial for your back.

Core Strength – A Necessity for a Healthy Back

It’s natural to assume that the pain you are feeling in your back originates there. After all, you feel pain in your back and you know there are tons of nerves there just waiting to be irritated. But you might be surprised to discover that although the pain may technically start there, the cause of that pain could originate somewhere less obvious. A weak core can cause issues with your back in several ways:

Putting strain where it doesn’t belong.

Your body is made up of so many bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles and soft tissues that listing them all would take more than the length of this article. What all of those parts have in common, though, is that they are designed to work together to maintain optimal health and function. Your spine certainly plays a major role in the structure of your body and the joints that make up your spine can sustain injuries that will lead to back pain. But many times, the cause of your back pain is not a back injury – it’s irritation resulting from weak core muscles. The strain of moving out in your day to day life causes friction in your spinal joints, irritating nerves and fatiguing areas that are not designed to provide so much support.

When you strengthen your core, you put things back in their proper order. Your core muscles take much of the strain that comes from body movement so that strain doesn’t land on the weaker, less resilient parts of your spine.

Increasing the likelihood of injury.

When your body is healthy, it tends to operate pretty well. While injuries and accidents can definitely happen to a healthy body, they are less likely than with a weaker, unhealthy body. Having a strong, healthy core provides extra insurance against injuries to your back. You could think of it like the suspension system on your car. You don’t have to know a lot about cars to know that they need shocks to cushion the bumps in the road. Your core serves in a similar capacity. When you slip and have to catch yourself, the muscles wrapping your abdomen tighten and absorb shocks. But if you don’t have much core strength, your core can only provide a little cushion – not enough to avoid unpleasant shocks to your spine.

Is it hard to build core strength?

Not necessarily. Is it hard to develop and maintain serious abs that everyone can admire when you take your shirt off? Yes. It’s actually a full-time job, which is why only models, actors and professional athletes do it. It’s not nearly as hard to have a strong, healthy core. Simply engaging in regular exercises strengthen your core significantly because the muscles have to hold you steady while you move. And if you want, you can start doing some simple exercises that increase core strength directly – like planks.

If you would like more information about how to strengthen your core in a safe, healthy way, talk to your chiropractor. Please contact us – your chiropractic team – to learn more about improving your health!

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Why focusing on your core is so important to maintaining a healthy spine
5 Easy Stretches to Start Your Day https://valpo.life/video/5-easy-stretches-to-start-your-day/ Thu, 30 Apr 2020 20:43:42 +0000 Julia Demma https://valpo.life/video/5-easy-stretches-to-start-your-day/ 5 Easy Stretches to Start Your Day 5 Ways to Move More While Staying Home During COVID-19 https://valpo.life/article/5-ways-to-move-more-while-staying-home-during-covid-19-2/ Mon, 27 Apr 2020 13:16:35 +0000 UnitedHealthcare https://valpo.life/article/5-ways-to-move-more-while-staying-home-during-covid-19-2/ Staying at home during COVID-19 may make it harder than usual to get in your daily steps.  However, during this time it’s important for your health and well-being to stay active. 

Walking – either at home or outside – remains a generally safe option for adults and children during the COVID-19 pandemic, unless you are showing signs of the illness or have tested positive. Regardless, if you do decide to walk outside you need to abide by social distancing guidance from the CDC or your local health department.

In addition, April is Move More Month, so it’s a good time to get active and increase your daily steps. On average, Americans walk about 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, which is around 1.5 to 2 miles. That may seem low compared to the common goal of 10,000 daily steps

Keep in mind that many fitness centers are closed during COVID-19, and social distancing right now is the recommended Federal and state guidance, so, here are five creative ways to move more while you stay home: 

  1. Take a walk or jog around the block
    When the sun is shining, take advantage of it. You can still practice social distancing and enjoy the benefits of exercising in nature. As a way to start small, try tracking the steps you currently take and aim to add 1,000 extra steps to work your way up. Consider taking a series of short walks throughout the day, aiming for six separate “mini-walks” of at least 300 to 500 steps each.

    To enhance cardiovascular fitness, consider incorporating at least one “brisk walk” of at least 2,000 to 3,000 steps for 30 minutes each day. To help build endurance, work toward 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day. If you have a pet at home, bring them, too. 
  2. Try free online workout classes
    Many fitness companies are offering free online workout classes – even for non-members. Now is your chance to try out that yoga or high intensity interval training (HIIT) class you may have been curious about — in the comfort of your home.  
  3. Be resourceful 
    If you don’t have workout equipment at home, try finding ways to substitute. Run up and down the stairs a few times a day, use the wall for push-ups or soup cans for bicep curls. While it may not be the traditional workout you are used to, it still gets your body moving and muscles working. 
  4. Set an hourly alarm
    Keep yourself accountable by setting an alarm to get up and walk around the house for a few minutes every hour. Small bursts of activity may help you reach your daily steps goal. 
  5. Dance to your favorite songs
    Walking isn’t the only aerobic exercise that gets your steps in. Turn up your favorite songs and throw a dance party with your family in the living room. It’s a great way to get your steps in and brighten your mood. 

For more COVID-19 resources, click here

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5 Ways to Move More While Staying Home During COVID-19
4 simple exercises you can do at home that don’t require equipment https://valpo.life/article/4-simple-exercises-you-can-do-at-home-that-dont-require-equipment/ Mon, 06 Apr 2020 16:36:39 +0000 Porterfield Family Chiropractic https://valpo.life/article/4-simple-exercises-you-can-do-at-home-that-dont-require-equipment/ As much as most of us want to improve our physical fitness, the reality is that starting a new workout – especially a complex workout or one that requires a gym – is intimidating at the best of times. And if you are stuck in your home right now, your options are pretty limited even if you were highly motivated. But fortunately, there are a lot of exercises that you can do at home right now. In fact, some of those exercises are excellent for building strength and improving mobility. You don’t even need equipment to do a lot of them.

Here are four great exercises you can try at home without any special equipment. Try one or try them all. As long as you are consistent with your efforts, you will get stronger and better at them!

4 Simple Exercises to Do At Home

A note on starting this or any other exercise routine:

Exercise, like any new activity, requires repetition and practice to do well. Unlike many new activities, it also can feel pretty unpleasant – even painful – at first. It’s very important that you take it easy on yourself when you first begin a workout routine. Remember:

  • Form is more important than maxing out your repetitions. Only do as many reps as you can do with proper form to avoid injury.
  • Take it easy on yourself at first. Depending on your personality, you may want to push yourself really hard because you want to get stronger NOW. But that’s not how your body works. Instead, you need to push yourself just enough – generally until you are tired and struggle to do another rep with proper form – and then rest. Then repeat, ideally, three times a week. In a few weeks you will be stronger, guaranteed.
  • Get plenty of rest. The goal of strength training is to break down your muscles so that they rebuild stronger. But that only happens if you allow them to rebuild, which requires sufficient rest. Aim for at least a day of rest between workouts.

1. Plank

This exercise focuses on your abdominal area and your back. It’s called “plank” because you attempt to make your body flat as a plank of wood – kind of like the plank you would have to walk in a pirate movie.

Either place your palms on the floor under your shoulders – like a push-up – or place your elbows under your shoulders to support your upper body and rest on your forearms (whichever is easier for you). Tuck your toes under, lift your thighs and torso up and hold your body flat for 30 seconds.

2. Push-ups

Get in plank position, hands under shoulders, and lower your chest to the floor as far as you can, then press back up to plank position. Be sure to keep your elbows tucked to your sides as you go down and up. Repeat for 30 seconds.

3. Squats

Stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down like you are going to sit in a chair, keeping your back as flat as possible and extending your hands out in front of your shoulders. Go as low as you can comfortably and then stand back up. Repeat for 30 seconds.

4. Step-ups

Stand in front of a chair or bench (one that will hold your weight easily). Step up with one leg and bring yourself up to standing on the chair. Use the opposite leg to step down back to standing, then use the same leg to step up. Repeat for 30 seconds.

The aforementioned will get you heading in the right direction. However, if you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Even though things are challenging right now, we’re here for you… so give us a call!

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4 simple exercises you can do at home that don’t require equipment
Five ways to boost your immune system https://valpo.life/article/five-ways-to-boost-your-immune-system/ Mon, 30 Mar 2020 20:48:29 +0000 Porterfield Family Chiropractic https://valpo.life/article/five-ways-to-boost-your-immune-system/ For most of us, our immune system does an amazing job of protecting us from disease-causing microorganisms. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t survive for very long. When a germ tries to make you sick, your antibodies kick in and put a stop to the invasion. But the immune system is not perfect – and it can be improved with the right steps. Try out the following 5 tips to improve your immune function and better protect yourself from illness.

5 Effective Ways to Boost Immune Function

1. Diet

The immune system is fueled the same way as all of your other bodily functions – through your diet. Like a fine automobile, your immune system prefers high-quality fuel. Sure, it will still get down the road with lower-grade fuel, but it won’t win any races that way.

You should pack your diet with healthy foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins. It’s a good idea to try to eat the rainbow – choosing a variety of healthy foods throughout the week to ensure you get a wide range of vitamins and minerals.

Supplementation can be helpful, too, particularly if you don’t like vegetables. Just avoid mega doses of single vitamins. More vitamins is not necessarily better.

2. Exercise

Exercise is another pillar of good health. Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, improves your cardiovascular health and keeps your blood pressure under control. It also improves circulation, which can help your immune system process more efficiently.

With exercise, you want to aim to do things you enjoy because you will be more likely to do them regularly. And don’t go overboard. Extreme exercise can make you just as likely to get sick as no exercise at all.

3. Adequate Sleep

Most people can get behind the idea that diet and exercise are important, but some have a harder time thinking of sleep as important. Our society tends to reward overworking, late nights and hyper productivity. Some people can learn – incorrectly – that they should get only as much sleep as they absolutely need and no more so they can keep up with the rat race.

You likely need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night unless you are quite unusual. Test it out for yourself. Try getting more and less sleep over a period of a week and see how you feel. You will discover that getting enough sleep can make your life feel drastically better.

4. Minimize Stress

Stress is another factor that many people fail to take into account when it comes to immune health. Stress is corrosive to your health. It may be a slow form of corrosion, particularly with low-level stress that you have become accustomed to, but it is still corrosion. It will wear down your body and your immune system.

Seek to minimize stress. You can’t eliminate it nor should you try. But you can look for ways to keep stress at bay, like meditation, walking, gardening, painting and so on. Find ways to calm down and get some enjoyment out of your life.

5. Chiropractic

Regular chiropractic care aligns your body so that it can function at the optimum level. Your chiropractor can help iron out the kinks in your body to improve circulation and nerve function, which in turn will help improve your immune function. It’s best to get chiropractic care on a regular basis to maintain optimal health.

Contact Us to Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about how to improve your immune function, give us a call and schedule an appointment. Our chiropractic team is here to help.

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Five ways to boost your immune system
Could food help with the winter blues? https://valpo.life/article/could-food-help-with-the-winter-blues/ Mon, 09 Mar 2020 06:00:30 +0000 UnitedHealthcare https://valpo.life/article/could-food-help-with-the-winter-blues/ The change of seasons brings more than just a shift in the weather. The colder temperatures and shorter days may also create a darkness of emotions for people with seasonal affective disorder, known as SAD. SAD is a type of depression that often takes hold in late fall or early winter.

Approximately half a million people in the U.S. suffer from SAD, while 10 to 20 percent experience a milder form of winter blues.

Effective treatments include talk therapy, light therapy and antidepressant medications, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Certain foods may be another option.

In fact, one recent study showed that people who ate a modified Mediterranean diet, a type of diet based on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean red meats and other healthy foods, showed a significant improvement in depressive symptoms.

So, which foods have mood-boosting potential? Try adding these five healthier choices to your diet.

Blueberries: Snacking on a handful of blueberries or topping cereal with this fruit may bring a quicker smile to your face this winter. That’s because these berries are rich in flavonoids, a plant compound associated with decreased risk of developing depression. Other flavonoid-rich fruits include grapes, citrus fruits and peppers.

Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids: Not only are fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout and albacore tuna excellent sources of protein, these omega-3-rich seafoods have also been shown to improve depressive symptoms.

Leafy greens: Research shows that a magnesium deficiency can increase symptoms of anxiety and sadness. That’s just one more reason to add high-magnesium super foods like kale and spinach to soups, casseroles and salads.

Asparagus: This stalky vegetable shows promise in helping to manage anxiety. Broil or steam the tips or toss them into a winter soup.

Probiotics: You may be less likely to suffer from depressive symptoms if you eat foods like yogurt and cottage cheese, which both contain probiotics. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, tempeh and pickles also pack a probiotic punch. If you are considering a dietary supplement probiotic, be sure to consult your health care provider first.

Winter can drag on, but daylight hours gradually increase after Dec. 21. Why not spend your winter trying out new recipes with these mood-boosting foods?

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Could food help with the winter blues?
Free baby & me exercise class https://valpo.life/event/free-baby-me-exercise-class-4/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 23:32:33 +0000 Community Healthcare System https://valpo.life/event/free-baby-me-exercise-class-4/ This postpartum class enables new parents to share their fitness with baby ages six weeks through crawling. Our postnatal fitness expert takes you through an enjoyable workout and provides you with a series of exercises to do at home.

Baby & Me will be held on March 4 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. at the Community Hospital Fitness Pointe, located at 9950 Calumet Ave., Munster, Ind. This program is FREE, but registration is required. Call 219-836-3477 or toll free 866‑836-3477. For information on other health-related programs offered by Community Healthcare System visit our website at www.comhs.org

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Free baby & me exercise class
Walk your way to fitness with St. Catherine Hospital’s Well Walker’s club https://valpo.life/event/walk-your-way-to-fitness-with-st-catherine-hospitals-well-walkers-club-4/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 23:15:08 +0000 Community Healthcare System https://valpo.life/event/walk-your-way-to-fitness-with-st-catherine-hospitals-well-walkers-club-4/ This walking club is for adults over the age of 18. You will receive a FREE pedometer when you join. The monthly meetings feature guest speakers discussing a wide range of healthcare topics. The Well Walker’s Club meets at these times and locations:  Wicker Park Club House, 1 p.m., Tuesday, March 3, 2125 Ridge Rd., Highland and the Whiting Public Library meeting room, 1 p.m., Thursday, March 14, 1735 Oliver St., Whiting.

For more information, call 219-392-7135; For information on other programs offered by Community Healthcare System, visit COMHS.org.

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Walk your way to fitness with St. Catherine Hospital’s Well Walker’s club
Walk your Way to Fitness with St. Catherine Hospital’s Well Walker’s club https://valpo.life/event/walk-your-way-to-fitness-with-st-catherine-hospitals-well-walkers-club-3/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 23:11:50 +0000 Community Healthcare System https://valpo.life/event/walk-your-way-to-fitness-with-st-catherine-hospitals-well-walkers-club-3/ This walking club is for adults over the age of 18. You will receive a FREE pedometer when you join. The monthly meetings feature guest speakers discussing a wide range of healthcare topics. The Well Walker’s Club meets at St. Catherine Hospital, POB Conference Room, 4320 Fir St., East Chicago.

For information on other programs offered by Community Healthcare System, visit COMHS.org.

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Walk your Way to Fitness with St. Catherine Hospital’s Well Walker’s club
Healthy Eating Series: Get Your Garden Ready https://valpo.life/event/healthy-eating-series-get-your-garden-ready/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 23:07:36 +0000 Community Healthcare System https://valpo.life/event/healthy-eating-series-get-your-garden-ready/ Tips for the planting season will kick off this Healthy Eating series. Purdue Extension and Community Healthcare System registered dietitians will cover preparing the garden for planting season and choosing the right plants for your dietary needs.

This class is scheduled from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 18, at St. Catherine Hospital in the POB Conference Room, 4320 Fir St., East Chicago.

To register, call 219-836-3477. Refreshments will be served. For information on other programs offered by Community Healthcare System, visit COMHS.org

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Healthy Eating Series: Get Your Garden Ready