No Gym? No Time? No Excuses (Part II)

Well I’m back to continue this conversation!  If this is the first post you have read of mine, go back and look at THIS post to get started.  Today I’ll go into a few options for exercise both for cardiovascular health and for muscular strength (yes you need both as I’ve noted previously).

Today, personally I covered both in one shot.  Here’s what I did.  I walked.  I walked to the end of my block at a decent pace (it’s a long block, probably took me 3 minutes total to get there).  Then I started a light jog.  I jogged for a few minutes.  Then I went back to walking at a solid faster pace.  Then I jogged some more for a minute or two.  I went back to walking.  Finally I did an all out sprint for about 20 seconds before walking back to my house.  Total walking and jogging time was about 9-10 minutes and I covered just under a mile in that time.

I then got back home and did something called Tabata training.  It’s a great way to get resistance training in and cardio training at the same time.  One round of Tabata takes 4 minutes. I did two rounds (8 minutes total, with a 2 minute break in between).  I promise, it gets your heart rate up and I worked upper and lower body, as well as my core.  There are a lot of variations you can put together to ensure you work your whole body.  That’s the great thing about it.  You can get creative and do pushups, crunches, squats, planks, jogging in place, triceps dips or whatever you feel like doing.  My whole workout today took me less than 30 minutes.  Again HERE is the link to learn about Tabata work.  Start slowly with it and if you can’t complete a full 20 seconds of one of the exercises, it’s ok.  It really is.  Where you are physically isn’t near as important as where you are going and if you keep up your program, you’re going to great places.

Another option is something called the 7 Minute Workout app.  Here is a link to that program.  You can get this app for free and it holds your hand and walks you through the program.  It consists of 12 exercises that you do for 30 seconds (remember, if you can’t do 30 seconds of one or more of the exercises, just start where you are and build up).  There’s 10 seconds of rest in between each exercise and the app literally tells you out loud what is next, when to start and when to stop.  So simple!  If you get to where you can do the 7 minutes easily, move on to doing another round of the workout.

All of this can be done in your own home.  If you travel for work, these things can be done in your hotel room.  I meet several times a year with a group of chiropractors, and sometimes the 7 Minute Workout is how we kick off our day. There’s an endless supply of alternatives you can do that are out on the internet.  Variety is a key for fitness, and to keep from getting bored, which is a problem for me.  Whenever I notice I’m skipping a workout, I know that I’ve become bored with the routine and it’s time to change it up.  So, the final question is, what will you do for YOUR fitness?  Remember, start where you are.  Let me know what you end up doing!

Until next time…Be Well.

Dr. Bruce

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No Gym? No Time? No Excuses! (Part I)

Seriously, there is NO excuse to not exercise as long as you are physically capable of exercising.  You may not have, nor want to have a gym membership.  That’s fine.  You may be short on time.  No worries.  You may not have any equipment to work out with.  You don’t really need any.  No excuses.

Truly, if you want to be healthy, you HAVE to find a way to move well.  You MUST fight the tendency to stay sedentary.  You WILL develop more illness and disease from not moving well.  You CAN’T be as healthy as you’re designed to be without appropriate movement.

So, how do we get it done?  It’s really easy.  It can take as little as 10-30 minutes on any given day.  I am sure you can find 10 minutes to do something for your health can’t you?  Of course you can.  Just so you know, I’ve not been in our gym that we have a membership at in over a year.  We put it on hold so that when my son is in town from college we can open it back up for him to use, but we don’t plan on using it much, if at all.  And just this morning, I had a very intense workout that I completed in under 30 minutes with NO equipment.  How?  There’s a lot to say about that, and I might take more than one blog post to get this all in, so stay tuned.

First, understand that we need both major types of exercise.  We need aerobic exercise and we need resistance training.  The great thing is, sometimes those two can be combined and I’ll show you how.  But for starters, let’s think about aerobic exercise. No, you don’t have to run or take a class.  You can just walk.  But you must walk at a pace that makes you breath hard.  When at an optimum cardio level you should maybe find it hard to carry on a conversation with someone while walking.  If you can sing the alphabet all the way through easily while walking, then you’re probably not walking fast enough.  Maybe you can only get to the end of your driveway walking like that because you’re too out of shape, that’s ok.  Do that exercise regularly, then move to walking to the end of the block, then around the block until you can do 20-30 minutes like that.  Remember, it shouldn’t feel like a leisurely stroll, though you may have to start at that level and it’s ok.  Just start where you are.

To make your walk more challenging, use the concept of intervals. After warming up by walking for 2-3 minutes at a good clip, amp it up.  In other words, walk as fast as you can for an interval.  Try for one minute of walking as fast as possible.  Then slow it down to the solid pace you were at for about 3 minutes.  Then go back to the rapid pace.  Do this for 4-8 intervals, keeping the ration of fast walking/slower walking at a 3/1 ratio.  Maybe you can only walk rapidly for 10 seconds, that’s fine.  Just make your recovery time 30 seconds before you amp it back up again.  Do that interval training for only about 20 minutes.  Interval training is more effective than regular cardio where you keep the same pace for 30-45 minutes so you need less.  Note your progress and challenge yourself to do more as you go along.

Ok, for now that’s about it, but let me suggest a free “piece of equipment” to help you in your walking.  Use the free app called “Map My Walk” on your smart phone.  It will track your distance, your time, your average pace and more.  This will help you “see” your progress, and you can “friend” people on the app for accountability and even post your results to social media.  I recommend you DO post it not only for accountability, but also to inspire others to get moving and use the app too.  Life isn’t just about ourselves, but how we can impact those around us too.  I know of several people that started using the app after I started using it and posting my walks.

There’s more to cover on this topic overall, but it will have to wait til next post!

Until next time….Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Combating Your Sitting Disease

My last post was about the detrimental effects of sitting on our health.  If you missed it, click HERE.  In it I spoke of physical and physiological effects on our bodies.  Hopefully that has spurred your interest in how to solve the issue.  After all, our culture, as I stated, is now designed around sitting. We sit at work and we sit at home.  Oh and in between, we sit while we drive from home to work and back again.

So what do we do???

Start by finding ways to not sit any longer than 30 minutes at a time.  Some of the fitness bands, like the UP band by Jawbone, have a setting that allows it to vibrate on your wrist after “x” amount of time being sedentary.  That would help.  There are software programs that you can download to your computer if you find that your screen time is what keeps you sitting for too long.  One is workrave and another is Breaker.  Those are windows based options.  For those that like Macs, another software is found here called Timeout.  I don’t use either as my job has me up and down all day, never sitting for more than 10-15 minutes.

You can also set an alarm on your phone that repeats every 30 – 60 minutes.  Use that time to go get some water.  Or you can save up any physical paperwork you have that needs to be filed away or brought to someone and do it on your breaks..  You can even just decide that you will stand up and do 25 jumping jacks or squats during that break.  Look up stretches for the neck, upper back, hamstrings and hip flexors to do on your breaks.  All of those muscles need attention if you’re a regular sitter.  Just be sure you’re getting out of your chair to do them.

How about if you get stuck watching sports shows or other TV?  Use those commercials appropriately.  You know you complain about them anyway.  So, when they come on, get up and go do something.  Work in the kitchen.  Walk outside and breathe in some fresher air.  Throw the ball to your dog a few times in the backyard.  Do some of the exercises we spoke about.  Do a plank for 30 seconds to a minute (or however long you can).  Drink some water.  If you drink water regularly, you’ll have other reasons to get up and go (pun intended).

Really, it’s very simple.  Just becoming aware of your sitting habits is the starting point.  More than likely, you have the habit of sitting too much, whether at home or at work or in the car.  Evaluate your days, and choose an appropriate response.

Until next time…. Be Well!

Dr. B

Is Sitting Killing You?

Our entire culture is designed around sitting, and it’s killing us.  Period.  It is being written that sitting is to our generation as smoking was to the previous generation with regards to the one thing we do that most significantly impacts our health negatively.

Think about it.  If you’re near my age (50……yeesh) or older, how much sitting did you do as a child (other than at school)compared to now?  Not much.  We had no large amount of entertainment that would keep us sitting for long periods.  I remember in the summers I was out the door at 9:00, often with a PB and J made to eat out in the woods with my friends.  We’d hike, run, climb, shoot at rabbits, birds, chase each other, play football in the street, play baseball in back yard, walk to the local park, walk to the city pool, walk to baseball practice etc.  We’d return for dinner (or lunch if we hadn’t made the sandwiches), then head back out after dinner til Mom called us in after dark sometime.  It was a 12 hour day for the most part.  12 hours of moving around in some form or fashion.

Now we sit.  And sit.  And sit.

And then, we sit some more.

Kids today have games and iPhones, tablets, laptops, and not to mention the 400 channels on TV to keep them entertained in the seated position.  When I was a kid, Pong came out.  We borrowed it from a friend, played it for a bit, then ran outside. This lack of movement is one of the reasons the current generation of youth are the first generation in the history of mankind expected to have shorter lifespans than their parents.  Think about that for a bit.

As adults, our jobs, even many of our blue collar jobs, revolve around sitting.  We email documents to each other in the office, instead of walking the document to someone else’s office.  We work through lunch, sitting all the while.  Other jobs require extended periods of sitting in our vehicles traveling across town to the next customer.  If we travel for work, we sit in an airport for a couple of hours prior to our flight, then we sit for 2 hours of flying (or more).  We sit in the taxi that takes us to our business meeting, then we sit through meetings, sit through dinner and retire to our hotel room and sit at a desk or on the bed watching TV.

So…. what does this do to us?  I teach my patients it affects us physically and physiologically. I’ll explain these two things here.

Physically, the moment we sit down, our core musculature shuts down.  So it is constantly weakening.  That leaves us susceptible to back pain and injuries.  If you’re like most people, you’re often sitting and looking at a  screen (like now).  You’re on a computer, laptop, tablet or phone.  Your mid back is now hunching forward as is your neck.  This causes consistent stress on the upper back and neck as they work harder to keep your head in an upright position and creates headaches, neck and shoulder pain and burning between the shoulder blades.  It also contributes to the “hump back” and forward head carriage we see in people as they age.  I have seen more and more people with that syndrome at younger and younger ages as my time in practice has progressed.  Sitting like that also makes it very hard to take good full deep breaths.  Trust me…try sitting up straight and taking deep abdominal breaths……..then try it slouching down……..it’s not very effective.

Physiologically, sitting for extended periods wreaks havoc on you as well.  Prolonged sitting (sitting more than 8 hours in a day) increases your chances of diabetes by 90%.  A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who sat for prolonged periods of time had a higher risk of dying from all causes — even those who exercised regularly. In other words, even if you exercise regularly, you can’t out exercise your excessive sitting.  And, if you sit and DON’T exercise, the effects on you are even worse. Excessive sitting has been linked to dementia, and dangerous blood lipid levels (triglycerides and cholesterol).

And here’s a biggie:  Prolonged sitting, (more than 8 hours/day) has been linked to a 66%t increase in uterine cancer and a 30% increase in colon cancer.  So sitting increases your chances of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, dementia….and most likely even more than that.  That is just plain no bueno.  And chances are, you ARE one of those sitting for those extended times.

So we’ve established how bad sitting is for you……..now what?  That’s a great question.  I’m glad you asked.  I’ll touch on that in my next post.

Until then….Be Well!

I Live Well So I Can LIVE WELL

So after posting a picture of a healthy meal on my social media feed the other day, I was asked an interesting question that led to the opportunity to speak my heart.  The comment/question came from a fellow brother in Christ, and it had to do with living healthy in regards to our time on earth.  The specific question was (in summary) “Why focus on living so healthy and trying to live to 100 years old when Jesus could come back any day?”.  Fair question.  Off the mark though on the reason I do what I do.

I don’t care how long I live.  Ok, well that’s not entirely true.  I have kids that are still growing up, the oldest just going off to college.  So, I’d like to stick around spaceship earth for a while longer.  Truthfully I envision me living to 85 or 90.  But honestly, like most of you, I don’t want to live that long if the last decade or so is spent as an invalid.  See this short (literally 1 minute) video to get this point:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo6QNU8kHxI

My response came from a Christian perspective, and a perspective impacted by the book “Every Body Matters”.  I don’t eat well, move well, think well and rest well so that I can look beautiful (I’m 50 and aesthetics has gone out the window with regards to my reasons for living healthy).  I don’t attempt to live well to push death away. I live well so that I can LIVE WELL.

And iff I believe as a Christian that God has plans he wants me to accomplish (and I do believe that), then I better be ready.  I better not be hindered by degenerative diseases caused by lifestyle that keep me from being able to perform at the levels I need to (or that HE needs me to).  I don’t want to focus on how many years I can get out of life, but how much LIFE I can get out of the years He has planned for me.

But even if you don’t claim Christ as your Savior, the video link above should give anyone pause when considering lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis.  Every choice we make, good or bad, is a seed planted.  And have no doubt, those seeds, once planted, will come to fruition.  The only question is, what type of seeds are you planting most of?  That will determine the type of fruit produced in your health and well being as the years progress.  It never fails.

Remember, live well so you can LIVE WELL!

Until next time….Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Diabetes Ain’t So Sweet

I was running through social media today, searching for an article I had posted several weeks back.  I ran across an article on diabetes and someone had asked me a question about it.  Somehow I had missed the question, but it was a good one, so I’m going to address it here.

In the post I made I spoke about the stat that says that 1 in 3 kids born this year are expected to develop diabetes.  I spoke about how when I was in college there was juvenile diabetes (something you’re born with) and then there was adult onset diabetes (which is developed and is caused by lifestyle).  This second one is also known as Type II diabetes. Now it’s no longer called Adult Onset Diabetes though.  Why?  You can probably guess, it’s much more common among our young people these days.

So many people think take Diabetes so lightly.  They think, “Well I’ll just have to give myself a shot, and maybe watch what I eat a bit.”  Understand that once you have the diagnosis, your chances of blindness, kidney disease, gangrene and heart disease just went up substantially.  I’m reminded of a young early 30’s patient I had 10 years ago.  He had a prosthetic leg from the knee down.  Why?  Diabetes had affected his immunity, and an infection in his foot spread and turned into gangrene and they had to remove his leg.  Unfortunately he continued drinking 6 Dr. Peppers a day, even after my hardcore cajoling.  I saw him a couple of years later, in a wheelchair.  Why?  He had lost his other leg.  No bueno amigos. No bueno.

It’s sad for the obvious reasons, but it’s also sad because it’s simply preventable.  My father in law, a diabetic, stayed with us for 3 months many years ago, and yes I obviously survived that (as did he).  He checked his blood sugar levels daily as he was supposed to.  However, because he was eating at our house, in our way, his blood sugar levels improved daily. When he returned home, his blood sugar levels got bad again.

The solution is so simple.  Eat real food, with a focus on veggies and protein.  Real food is defined as things that either grew or used to have eyes.  (meats, veggies, proteins, nuts and seeds).  Avoid all processed foods, avoid all bread including whole wheat (that impacts your blood sugars worse than table sugar does).  Avoid artificial sweeteners for too many reasons to list here. Walk 30 minutes daily, or as close to daily as you can get.  Studies say that if we all as a nation walked 30 minutes a day, 90% of diabetes would be gone.  That’s a two step we should all be doing for health reasons anyway.  Simple, not always easy, but simple.

We as a nation try to complicate matters too much.  We run to the newest MLM that has a product that is the supposed be all end all for all disease.  There’s no magic potion folks.  It’s simple.  Eat well, move well, think well, and rest well..

Untl next time…Be Well.

Dr. Bruce

Life In The Fast Food Lane

Fast food.  Yes, we know it’s not good for us.  But do we understand how bad it is for us?  Do we understand the why behind it?  Do we truly understand its deleterious effects?  I don’t think we do, because if we did, we’d either A.  Never use it for our meals, or B.  Use it only very sparingly in a case where we have no choice but to eat it..  (And on the second point, I’d suggest that we really need to evaluate whether or not we truly have a choice. I’d bet many times we do have a choice, but it’s just not convenient).

So recently, a man named Tim Spector, a professor of epidemiology, decided to find out what the true effects of fast food on the gut are.  He used his son as a test subject (how nice).  Now before you get too upset about him using his son, his son was a college student at the time and agreed to the experiment.   He had his son spend 10 days eating ONLY McDonalds food. The results were that the good bacteria that we need to digest our food, and keep our immune system functioning well was decreased by 40%.   40%!!!!  In case you missed that, the number was 40%!!

That’s huge friends.  They are suggesting these days that the health of our gut is responsible for a majority of our immune function.  As the health of the gut goes, so goes our immunity.  And a decreased immune response doesn’t just mean you get a cold or the flu.  Our immune system fights off infections, colds, flu, and even cancer.  We’re now talking a life threatening ordeal!

The study also found that the subject’s gut bacteria didn’t immediately return to normal. It was checked 2 weeks after discontinuing the McDonalds cleanse (joking there), and his gut bacteria was still diminished significantly.  This suggests that it has a long term negative effect.  And in case you think you don’t have to worry about this because you don’t eat fast food at spots like McDonalds, Burger King and the like, go take a look in your pantry.  If the lion’s share of what you eat is sitting on the shelf, and could be there for several months and still be edible, guess what?  You’re eating fast food.

And remember, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet either.  Eat well my friends, your gut health, and your overall health, depend on it.

Until next time….Be Well!
Dr. Bruce