He isn’t sure exactly where the interest came from but at 6 years old Dr. Matthis (just “Lee” at that time) was certain that someday he would be a general and vascular surgeon. He supposes that his desire to become a surgeon was in part because of the outdoorsman hobbies he had growing up. He was born and raised in Kenansville, North Carolina (“God’s Country”) located between Raleigh and Wilmington. He spent a lot of time hunting and fishing and in his family the expectation was “if you kill it, you grill it.” Matthis assumes that mantra played a role in his intrigue with anatomy and physiology.
When Matthis was in 6 th grade he had the opportunity to explore his desired career tract first hand. He had a family friend that was a surgeon and allowed him to go on post-op and pre-op rounds. He absolutely loved it! A week or so later Matthis came back and scrubbed in for surgery. He had a laser focus on this career path but painful curveball was thrown at him by life, derailing his dream.
One of Matthis’ biggest champions in life was his grandmother, affectionately known as “Meme.” She lived only 5 miles down the road from him and was a huge part of his life. She always had a big smile on her face—especially when she was dancing the Charleston (which she did often). When Matthis was 17 he lost his Meme, while she was having a “routine” surgical procedure. This exposed him to the shadow side of surgery and caused him to take pause and carefully evaluate his career aspirations.
The loss of his Meme was staggering and derailed Matthis from dream. He still planned to pursue premed in undergraduate school with a biology degree but felt a bit lost when trying to envision his end goal. Sometimes it is the little things that have the biggest impact on our lives and provide redirection, for Matthis is was a little tweak to his knee.
Matthis has always been active and in high school he played baseball and also worked in construction. He managed to tweak his knee enough that it was bothersome and interfering with his work and play. His mom referred him to a chiropractor and Matthis got his first adjustment. As Matthis explained, “The chiropractor adjusted my knee and I thought it was pretty cool. She then told me I would be good at it and gave me a book. The book talked a lot about anatomy and physiology and I was drawn to it.” He also loved that Chiropractic is a history rich profession. Matthis elaborated, “I did not have a miraculous experience with a chiropractor. I did not go in lame and come out walking. The improvement was a mild improvement on my quality of life.” That self-described “mild” improvement left a lasting impression. Matthis realized that he wanted to be part of a profession that allows people to move from living mediocre lives to expressive lives, without surgical intervention. This is his goal as a doctor of chiropractic and why he loves what he does so much.
The journey of Matthis becoming a chiropractor is one laced with joy and intrigue but also contains threads of grief, all of which can be powerful motivators. Matthis has now been with Tuck Chiropractic for nearly 10 years and is a source of enthusiasm for Tuck Chiropractic, as well as the profession of chiropractic. He is a thought leader for advocating for the benefits of chiropractic care and he is also a lot of fun to follow on Twitter. He lives a life wide open—embracing each day and each moment. The answer to “why chiropractic?” for Matthis is a powerful, compelling, and personal story. It speaks volumes about the ability of chiropractic to leave a positive impact on lives—both patients and doctors alike.
When you have children, of course you want to make sure they grow up to be fit and healthy, and setting a good example is very important. Research has shown that when parents are physically active, it increases the odds that their children will be active as well.
But it can be a challenge to juggle work, family, and exercise. According to research, taking even short exercise breaks during your workday can be beneficial. But what about at home? If you’re looking for ways to stay healthy as a busy family, here are some tips:
1) Turn Chores Into a Game
Family chores are inevitable, so why not make them a fun opportunity to exercise as a family? Instead of assigning chores to each family member, turn doing chores into a game by racing to see how fast you can get the house cleaned, and trying to beat your time next week. Some other ideas:
- Conduct individual races among family members doing separate chores
- Crank up the music while sweeping and vacuuming
- Play I Spy after dinner to get the table cleared and items put away
- Take the dog for a walk as a family
2) Plan Outdoor Activities
Try setting aside one weekend a month to do something active as a family. This might include swimming in the summer, sledding or skiing in the winter, taking a long walk in the spring, or a nature scavenger hunt in the fall.
Visiting your local zoo or science museum provides physical exercise and teaches your children more about the world as a bonus. Bringing along a picnic lunch and some healthy snacks will round out the day and satisfy the hunger that often accompanies physical activity.
3) Take Classes Together
Many fitness clubs and community centers cater to families, so ask whether they offer yoga, swimming, or aerobics classes to parents and children together. If your child is too young to participate, consider classes that will help you burn calories with your baby by incorporating them into yoga moves, pushing them along during stroller workouts, or getting them used to the water with mom and tot swimming lessons.
4) Repurpose Your Family Room
Family rooms can be a center for unhealthy activities in the home: endless hours of watching television and playing video games, mindless snacking on high-calorie, low-nutrition foods, and nothing to encourage fitness or physical activity.
But there are some ways to add fitness into your family room without investing in a huge makeover:
- Set a time limit on television viewing.
- Designate certain shows as “fitness-only,” meaning you and your family will pump weights during commercials.
- Add a get-moving type of video game like Wii Fit to your collection.
According to a study conducted by researchers at the Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K., testers of Wii sports games had higher heart rates while playing, and consistently burned more calories than testers using conventional video games.
One more thing: families who eat healthful foods also tend to have other healthy habits. So, if you want to slim down, get your whole family involved and you’ll be more likely to succeed, and they’ll be more likely to enjoy their meals and clean their plates.
Even if you spend long hours at your job, the trick to juggling work, family, and physical activity is to make the most of the time you do have with your family. When you do have a block of time free, try to schedule activities that incorporate moving in the outdoors.
When family obligations like chores demand your time, figure out a way you can incorporate exercise and fun into the routine. And if you do have time to exercise outside the home, try to do it in ways that allow you children to work out, too.
It can be a tough balancing act, but is very much worth it!
Image Copyright: joannsnover / 123RF Stock Photo
Pregnancy is an amazing and joyous time for many women. There is excited anticipation as new life develops. While this time is incredibly special it is often accompanied by a variety of aches, pains, and discomforts. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association indicates that between 50-70% of pregnant women experience back pain.
What’s with all this back pain? As a pregnant woman’s belly grows, along with the baby, her center of gravity shifts forward as she develops increased weight on the front part of her body. This can lead to poor posture, “sway back” or an increased lordosis, resulting in pressure on the joints and irritation in the surrounding nerves. Additionally, the extra weight gain that the body is unaccustomed to can put extra stress and strain on the joints and connective tissue.
As if feeling discomfort and pain weren’t enough it is coupled with the fact that pregnant women are very limited in the medications they can take to mitigate their symptoms and conditions. The American Pregnancy Association recommends all pregnant speak to a physician first before taking any medications—whether prescription or over the counter. Fortunately, chiropractic care for pregnant women offers relief from and prevention of back pain, headaches, and other physical discomforts.
Dr. Jennifer Rathmann, a Chiropractor with the Blacksburg Clinic explains, “Adjustments for pregnant women help keep the pelvis aligned to prevent back pain as well as sciatica type symptoms.” Ensuring proper alignment thereby relieves the pressure on joints in the back and nerves in the surrounding area. Dr. Rathmann does not speak to the benefits of prenatal chiropractic care from a physician’s perspective only; she also chose this course of treatment for herself, during each of her pregnancies.
There are other conditions and symptoms that trouble pregnant women, which are unable to be treated with commonplace medications. Chiropractic treatments are able to help and provide the necessary relief for nausea, headaches, sinus congestion, and heartburn. If these reasons aren’t compelling enough, perhaps the fact that great pelvis alignment helps with the ease of labor and delivery is motivation to choose chiropractic care while pregnant.
Pregnant women who obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy should take an active role in supplementing that care with other preventative measures. These combined efforts will ensure optimal spine health. For example, making sure to select shoes that provide excellent support, squatting to pick things up (rather than bending at the waist), and performing gentle stretches. Walking and light activity also helps to keep muscles loose. Other suggestions include sleeping positioned on the left or right side, with a pillow between the knees to promote proper pelvis alignment.
Chiropractors are trained and equipped to treat pregnant women, and many women report significant pain relief as a result of chiropractic treatment. At Tuck Chiropractic our team is committed to providing high quality treatment for you and your growing family. Making chiropractic an integral part of your prenatal care plan is a great step towards a more enjoyable and healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Kids’ Nutrition On-the-Go
With so many things crowding the schedule, it’s so easy to grab a sugar-filled granola bar or those little corn-syrup gels shaped like fruit chews. You know they’re not the best option, but who has time to cut up apple slices when Jimmy has Tae-kwon-do at 4, Mae has a scrimmage at 5, and everyone is going to want dinner when you get home. Rather than rushing around last minute, taking an hour or so on a Sunday evening (or a less busy weeknight) can make all the difference for your child’s health and nutrition. Have your little helpers make up bags of trail mix with heart healthy nuts, whole grain sugarless cereals, dried fruits, and even dried veggies! Slice up apples and toss them in individual baggies in the crisper drawer. If your kids get grossed out by the natural browning that occurs with cut apples, add a little quirt of real lemon juice to the bag and have them squish it around once you’ve sealed it. The juice keeps the fruit from oxidizing. We also recommend this recipe for healthy granola bars that keep blood sugar running normal but keep the kids happily munching (this author substitutes raisins, craisins, or dried apricots for the dates that are recommended). Make sure the nut butter you use doesn’t have added sugar in it! All of these things can be done in an hour or less, especially if your kiddos are old enough to lend a hand, and can set you up for success for the whole week!
Firing the Electronic Babysitter(s)
It can be so tempting to let the kids plop down on the couch with the TV remote or game controller when they get home – it keeps them quiet (until Mae wants to play something different than Jimmy’s favorite Spiderman game, or Jimmy is tired of Mae’s endless obsession with Wild Kratts) and relatively out of trouble. While the detriments of screen time have been trumpeted far and wide, possibly the biggest threat posed by these activities is their lack of activity – physical movement that is. Yes, keeping Jimmy and Mae occupied on the couch for an hour or two in the evening might seem like bliss, but the harm it’s doing to their health might not be worth the peace and quiet. Make TV or the computer or the game console a privilege to be earned with limited time allowed per week. Running around in the backyard, riding bikes in the cul-de-sac, doing chores that require some physical movement could all be activities that sharpen their brains and hone their health (and maybe earn them a few minutes on the devices). Physical activity is known to improve brain function and increase synaptic connections, so if you want a little Einstein (or just a more well-balanced child) make them play outside before homework to get those juices flowing!
When your kids have allergies it can feel like they have a stranglehold on your entire family. Here are a few tips from the professionals at WebMD for less stress in parenting children with allergies:
- Vacations. Plan vacations during non-allergy seasons. If spring and summer are rough on your child’s allergies, take a winter ski trip or a fall camping trip instead.
- Summer Camps. Explore alternative camps if traditional outdoor summer camps pose problems. How about art, computer, or surf camp?
- Washing Up. Get your child in the habit of showering or bathing and washing her hair every evening to wash off microscopic particles of pollens and grasses.
- Outdoor Sports. When outdoor field sports such as lacrosse or soccer set off allergies or asthma, look into martial arts, dance, or swim teams.
- Indoor Outings. Visit library story hours, children’s museums, and indoor playgrounds if you need an activity when the pollen count is high.
Taking the High (and Hard) Road
While it might seem like kids are overprogrammed these days, with six to eight hours of school, care, or related activities being the norm, this doesn’t necessarily mean children are properly socialized. Just having your child around other children doesn’t necessarily, as you probably know, mean they learn to relate well to others. Socialization is a process, one that takes both time and investment on the part of the parent. No matter how well meaning the teacher or care provider, when they are faced with monitoring a small handful or even a dozen or more students, it can be difficult to provide the close attention and care needed for appropriate socialization. The Child Development Institute explains the various stages of socialization as they relate to children’s growth and development. Nurturing your child through the inevitable rejection from peers, hurt feelings, and other childhood moments is essential for healthy social and emotional development. The experts at the institute provide a host of resources for parents, including this informative step-by-step article of suggestions for how to help your child adapt and overcome in the social sphere.
Dealing With Trauma
Although we’d like to think we can provide our children with a carefree, nurturing environment in which to develop, as with other areas of life some situations are beyond our control. Car accidents, the death of a pet, divorce, losing a friend, natural disasters, and even something as terrible as abuse, are all part of life that our children may confront as they grow. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources available to parents, from local support groups and counselors, to larger national networks like The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. It’s easy to feel like you are alone when you’re trying to help someone process emotions they’ve never felt before, but that’s not true. Reach out and find help – we all need community when we find ourselves in trouble.
While traumatic stress can often manifest emotionally, sometimes there are physical symptoms as well. We have helped patients overcome physical pain related to traumatic incidents with the help and care of our professional team of doctors. Come visit any one of our 11 locations across Southwest Virginia for an initial consultation. We know parenting can be tough, but we’re here to help.
It may not surprise you to hear that Dr. Ray Tuck is a very busy man. As the President and lead doctor of Tuck Chiropractic he divides his time between serving patients, serving with various professional organizations, and serving the local community. It’s possible you’ve run into him at a Virginia Tech Hokie Game or maybe you are a patient that has benefited from his expertise and skill as a chiropractor. No matter how well you know Dr. Tuck we thought you might enjoy a deeper look at who is and what he is all about.
Which Tuck Clinic do you work at?
I work with patients out of our Christiansburg office but also spend time at the corporate office working.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
What is a typical workday like for you?
I get things started bright and early with a workout at 5:30am. After that I head to the office to start my workday. On Monday and Tuesday I see patients. The rest of my week varies quite a bit. I serve on the American Chiropractic Association and the Virginia Board of Medicine; I travel a fair amount serving with these organizations.
What is your favorite part of your job?
That’s an easy one! Helping others achieve their goals.
If you had to live on a deserted island and could only bring 3 items, what would you bring—and why?
A chess set (to keep my mind occupied), some swim trunks (to swim in), and my wife (well…).
What’s it like being the only chiropractor on the Virginia board of medicine?
It has been awesome to work with providers of all backgrounds with the goal of patients in mind. I am truly treated as any other provider, even though I’m the only chiropractor on the board.
How does collaborating with other health care providers (such as those on the ACA or Board of Medicine) lead to better care for your patients?
The reality is that all of us in healthcare have a responsibility to keep the patients goals at the forefront of our minds. Globally, it really comes down to three things: First, achieving the best possible outcomes for the patient’s condition. Second, ensuring the patient feels very satisfied with their experience. Third, providing care in the most economical manner. The only way this can be done is through collaboration of all healthcare providers. This is being discussed by policy makers, insurance carriers, and by our patients.
What are essential qualities for a chiropractor to possess?
A chiropractor must always remember that they are there to serve their patients. Their role is to help guide them through our current healthcare system enabling them to obtain their health goals. The chiropractor must work diligently for the best possible outcome, patient satisfaction, and economical treatments. It really is all about the patient!
What inspired you to become a chiropractor?
Witnessing first-hand the ability of chiropractic to change lives for the better. When I was 19, I asked my father for a job in one of his clinics. While at one of the clinics I saw how he helped a severely acute patient. In fact, this fellow was a copy machine repairman who hurt his lower back lifting a copier. His injury was so bad that he had to be carried into the clinic. We stayed late that night working with him and I saw him walk out. That was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. The man was made well without drugs or surgery. I was hooked and knew I wanted to be part of a profession that could improve the lives of others in this way.
What do you love most about the New River Valley?
I love that this is home. I grew up in Pulaski, earned a degree from Radford University, and now serve patients in the New River Valley at our Christiansburg office.
What do you do for fun?
I garden on my land, play with my old cars, and cook for my family.
What motivates you to stay well?
I want to be in top performance for all the people that depend on me—my family, friends, patients and colleagues.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
My favorite quote was said by Zig Zigler, “You can get anything you want if you help enough people get what they want!” It points out that you first must serve others and trust your needs will be met in the process. If you put others first and ensure their success it will result in personal success.
How to Be Consistent With Your Health and Fitness
Sometimes it’s seemingly little things that make the biggest difference. Here are some small changes to your regular routine that, if you implement them, may help you accomplish your larger health goals.
Darren Hardy, author of The Compound Effect posits this simple formula for large-scale life change: “Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results.” Hardy explains how working out for 10 to 20 minutes each day can be more effective than waiting for the two or three days a month hit the gym for a full hour or two, how using the drive-time of your daily commute to listen to inspiring and informative audio can quickly add up to the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, how packing your lunch can lead to a hefty investment income, and other small steps that produce fantastic results when sustained over time.
Little Steps Lead to Big Strides
Step #1: Drink a full glass of water at each meal
Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, Director of Nutrition for WebMD recommends regular water consumption for a variety of health benefits, including reducing your calorie consumption (by substituting water for sugary drinks like sweet tea or sodas), maintaining healthy skin, energizing your muscles, and flushing your kidneys (which reduces your risk for kidney stones). Making a full glass of water part of your meal routine can keep you more energized throughout the day, helping you to stay motivated to make other healthy choices.
Step #2: Make time for fun each week
Adding a little fun to your schedule can go a long way towards strengthening relationships, maintaining balance, and improving your overall satisfaction. Although it may not be easy, taking steps to add fun to your life is actually important. To start, try to clear your schedule at least one night a week, even if that means saying “no” to something you previously said “yes” to. Researchers Wilcox and Dew suggest that establishing a regular weekly or biweekly date night can have significant positive effects on marital or relational health due to increased communication, building trust, and creating positive memories together. Other ways to add fun to your schedule include making exercise fun by trying a new sport or joining a dance class, making time for a family dinner and game night, or just being silly – like hosting a murder mystery or going to see a comedy show. All of these encourage real “face time” with the people around you, a key to fighting feelings of isolation, loneliness, and melancholy.
Step #3: Get up from your desk and walk around at least once every 2 hours
In a more and more sedentary culture, sitting disease poses a real problem for many people. According to Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. of the Mayo Clinic, “50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours sitting per day” which can have several deleterious effects on our bodies. If you do work in sedentary position and you drive or can’t arrange for an adjustable sit-stand desk, set a timer so that you take a break from your chair at least once every two hours. Not only will taking a stretch break reduce potential risk factors for back pain and other more serious conditions (like obesity and metabolic syndrome), it also can help increase your focus and productivity. A few easy ways to incorporate more walking are:
- getting up to replenish your water bottle (which will probably result in more bathroom breaks – and more walking)
- taking 15 minutes of your lunch break to walk
- walking over to talk to someone instead of calling or sending an email.
Just a few simple changes to your workday routine can add up to better health and decreased risk of some diseases associated with excessive sitting.
Step #4: Stop the sugary drinks
As much as you may feel like you “need” that latte in the morning to wake up or “have to have” your Mountain Dew or Diet Coke, these caffeine drips actually have the reverse effect in the long run because of the sugar or caffeine crash. Your body gets used to having “energy help” which can actually reduce your metabolism. Diet drinks are no better; the key to fueling your body well is to stay away from sugar spikes (especially those caused by refined sugar or artificial sweeteners) and to maintain a relatively steady glucose baseline.
A few alternative ways to perk up in the morning or afternoon include:
- eating a cold, crisp apple (a natural source of caffeine)
- having a banana to raise your blood sugar when it dips in the mid to late afternoon (2 to 4 pm)
- reducing your carbs and replacing with veggie snacks and/or healthy protein sources (in moderate quantities).
These changes will help your body find its natural rhythm rather than depending on external sources for the energy you need. Cutting down the sugar and caffeine could also help you sleep more soundly, giving you more energy throughout the day. Be forewarned though, cutting out sugar and caffeine isn’t easy, especially if it’s been a long-standing habit. Ask for accountability and have natural alternatives (like your apple) available for when cravings make it tough to stand your ground.
Step #5: Get regular chiropractic adjustments
Routine chiropractic can be another small step toward a healthy lifestyle. Many patients may initially come in for help with a specific issue and find that their pain is greatly relieved or eliminated in a relatively short period of time. However, many people also receive periodic spinal checkups, maintenance care, or wellness care-all of which can be very valuable as preventive measures. Receiving Chiropractic care on a monthly or bimonthly basis can help you feel better by reducing pressure on nerves and improving range of motion. So, even if you aren’t suffering from any acute pain or chronic conditions, getting adjusted can still help you stay healthy and pain-free and keep you more limber and flexible.
The Bigger Picture
Changes, whether small or large, are often difficult to make. It is easy to give into the seemingly urgent demands of the moment without looking at the importance of the bigger picture. Saying “no” to Jimmy’s second sport of the season for date night or family time won’t be easy. Choosing water and an apple instead of a sports drink or diet coke could be tough to get used to at first, but in the long run, those small steps will carry you further than you thought you could go.
We’re Here To Help
As you work toward your personal goals this year, we’re here to help. Our doctors are committed to working with you to achieve your health goals one step at a time. Visit one of our 11 locations for a consultation to help you lay a foundation for personal success.
Tips and Tricks for Long Distance Runners
Runner’s World reports that seeking chiropractic treatment is a growing trend among elite runners, according to Dr. Ira Shapiro, a three-time member of the U.S. Olympic Committee medical team. In an interview with the site, Dr. Shapiro says, “I will be busy from the moment I walk into the tent [at an event], until the last athlete leaves the compound. It’s not the case of an isolated few taking advantage of my services; it’s the vast majority.”
This trend is unsurprising when you consider polls that point to about 60% of runners reporting injuries or chronic injuries—from knee pain to calf strain, shinsplints to stress fractures. Injuries can result from overtraining, not doing quality training, poor nutrition, the wrong shoes, or even something as simple as landing a stride incorrectly. While some factors are beyond a runner’s control—like the weather on race day—there are definitely some proactive steps you can take to a healthier marathon experience. Dr. Ed Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center offers several pre-race tips for runners prepping for their next distance race.
Soreness is Normal
While runners who push to greater PR’s and higher levels of training should expect some soreness, joint swelling could be a sign of something that requires more attention than an ice pack. Dr. Laskowski recommends runners have a professional evaluation if they are experiencing “pain associated with joint swelling or that causes the joint to feel unstable…. You should also seek an evaluation for pain that persists or intensifies after rest from running or pain that causes you to compensate, change your running, or change your gait.”
Drink, Eat, and Be Merry
Drinking and eating a nutrient-rich diet before the race and during training is essential to proper fueling. Dehydration can be an issue for long-distance runners with far-reaching consequences. The experts at both Runner’s World and the Mayo Clinic recommend starting a race well-hydrated with healthy carb loading three to eight hours before the start. Don’t depart from your normal routine, so how you’re training should reflect what you’ll do the day of your race. It’s also essential to drink during your run, particularly if you are doing more than five or six miles. Water with an electrolyte source, like a sports gel, or a drink that incorporates all-important nutrients like sodium and potassium should be consumed every mile or so (2 ounces is recommended—that equals about two swallows). While fairly, rare, it is important not to over-hydrate which can cause life-threatening conditions, like hypernatremia.
Pass On the Sweets
While most health professionals agree that limiting your sugar intake is a good idea anytime, cutting sugar and sweeteners out of your diet at least 24 hours before your race can help you avoid everyone’s least favorite leg – the sprint to the port-a-potty. Avoiding caffeine and high-fat foods during this timeframe can also be a great help for your digestive system.
Staying in Line
Just like the effort you put into having great shoes and gear that keeps you cool (or warm, depending on your climate), making sure everything is properly aligned is well worth the time and energy you’ll invest when you consider the benefits both for your training and on race day. Manual adjustments of ankles, knees, and the lower back can keep you pain-free and running steady as you rack up the miles.
For more information on how we can help you stay in top condition while training or after a race, make an appointment at any one of our eleven locations to talk with one of our doctors. We want to keep you running steady and reaching for your personal best.
Don’t Let Your Job Stand in the Way of Physical Fitness
We all know the importance of physical fitness, and many of us would love to spend more time at the gym, or workout and play more in the beautiful spring weather. But for so many of us, our jobs get in the way, especially when home demands and commuting time are added to the hours spent actually making a living.
For those whose jobs require long hours sitting at a desk or workbench, fitness is a particular concern, especially in light of recent studies showing the dangers of being sedentary for too many hours a day.
A research review by the University Health Network in Canada that appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting for long periods every day increases your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and death.
Sitting with bad posture can do a number on your health, too. Slouching, slumping the shoulders, and tipping the neck forward place excess weight on the spine, causing alignment problems that can lead to chronic back pain.
If we can’t just quit our jobs to get more active, what can we do during work hours to get moving and improve our physical fitness?
1) Don’t Sit Still
Limit sitting as much as you can. Consider getting a standing desk. If you must sit at your desk, take breaks often. Stand when you can stand instead of sitting, for instance when taking phone calls. Walk when you can walk instead of standing — instead of sending an email, walk to a colleague’s office to deliver a message. Check out this post for more ideas on how to sit less at the office.
2) Exercise at the Office
Beyond these changes, there are workouts you can integrate into your workday that include stretching, aerobics, resistance, and isometric exercise. Here are a few examples of exercises you can do at the office:
- Stretch at your desk. Try stretching your arms above your head, tilting your ears to your shoulders, and putting your hand on the back of your chair and twisting your torso. Here are some office stretches that can help reduce muscular stiffness and back pain.
- Find an open office or step outside for a quick cardio workout. Jogging in place, taking a lap around the parking lot, jumping jacks, lunges and squats are just a few ideas for quick exercises that won’t get you too sweaty and in need of a change of clothes.
- For increasing muscular strength, you can use dumbbells, resistance bands or tubes at your desk, or try these exercises from Men’s Fitness. They tone muscles by using the resistance of gravity, as well as isometric, or squeezing, exercises.
3) Walk or Bike to Work
If you live close enough to your office, try walking or biking to work instead of driving or taking public transportation. In addition the the physical fitness benefits, walking to work can also help get you in the right mindset for a productive work day. If walking or biking to work isn’t feasible, force yourself to walk more by parking farther away or taking the stairs rather than the elevator.
4) Get Active During Lunch
With a busy work schedule, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of dropping into a nearby restaurant or fast food joint, or ordering delivery. This usually means an unhealthy meal, and a lunch break without any extra time for yourself. Bringing lunch to work will not only make for a more nutritious meal, but it will also save you the time of waiting in line and ordering food. Use that time to go for a walk or even to the gym. Check out this article for tips on how to maximize a gym workout during your lunch break.
5) Challenge Yourself
Last but not least, don’t forget to set goals, whether that means walking a specific number of steps a day, doing desk exercises for a set number of minutes, or even bringing your lunch a certain number of days a week. It’s easy to get lost in the status quo of your work day. Challenge yourself to be active as much as possible, and set realistic goals to hold yourself accountable.
You’ll be glad you did.
Image Copyright: racorn /123RF.
Whether you’re chasing your grandchildren around the playground or chasing an Olympic gold, there’s nothing like feeling great so you can enjoy the activities that bring meaning to your life.
But sometimes, life’s aches and pains stand in the way. What then?
Athletes know the benefits offered by chiropractic: All NFL teams have an official chiropractor, and more than 50% of NCAA athletes choose alternative therapy — including chiropractic — to stay on top of their games.
What about your game? Whether it’s golf or tennis, or just taking a stroll in the park on a beautiful spring morning, is your body ready?
You don’t have to play golf or softball to see how the back, joints, and muscles coordinate to swing a club or bat. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation, or adjustment, to relieve pressure on joints and improve nerve function. They can also advise you on diet and exercise to maintain optimal health.
Even in people without symptoms, research has found that manipulation therapy increased joint motion and increased muscle strength. Here are some other examples of how chiropractic can help you but a spring in your step:
- The New Zealand College of Chiropractic’s Centre for Chiropractic Research found that spinal manipulation may prevent fatigue and boost muscle function.
- A similar study of 40 South African soccer players found that lumbar and sacroiliac joint manipulation increased kicking speed, and range of motion in lumbar extension, right rotation, and SI joint angular motions.
- Another published report found that a full range of treatment, including soft tissue therapy (massage) and manipulation, can assist with rotator cuff injuries.
- A study of various approaches showed that manipulation of the neck area produced increased flexibility at the hip.
Getting off to a Good Start
When you first get back into an active, outdoor lifestyle, overdoing it can lead to back and neck pain, and reduced mobility. Whether these come from months of cold weather, too much time in the easy chair, or taking on too much at once, a chiropractor can recommend a wide range of options including adjustment, exercise, and diet to get you and keep you healthy and active. Here are some common complaints, and how chiropractic can help.
If you don’t even want to lift your clubs or tennis racket, you’re not ready to play. Of the 22 million chiropractor visits annually, 7.7 million, or 35%, are from patients seeking relief from back pain, which can be caused by wear and tear, poor posture, diet, or lack of exercise. Studies published by the National Institutes of Health found strong evidence for the efficacy of manual treatment. Patients with acute pain showed strong evidence of improvement when compared to placebo treatment for pain, function, and health improvements. For chronic pain sufferers there was moderate to strong evidence in favor of chiropractic compared with placebo treatment for pain, function and overall health.
Neck pain is another leading complaint. Studies demonstrate that cervical manipulation increases active range of motion and decreases pain in patients with neck issues. All these improvements were maintained at 6-month follow-ups. One study showed that manipulation was 1.5 times more effective in reducing neck pain than massage-style mobilization therapy. Those receiving chiropractic care demonstrated a significant increase in joint flexibility over the group receiving other treatment.
Chronic headaches can keep you inside and in the dark, and poor posture — the same problem that can lead to backache — can contribute to frequent tension headaches. One study found that in the long run, one month of chiropractic care (approximately 2 visits per week) was more effective than a commonly prescribed drug for the condition.
A host of other conditions — even constipation, which might keep you indoors — can improve with proper treatment from a chiropractor. Chiropractic adjustments can remove blockages in the nervous system that are preventing the proper function of your body, slowing you down and keeping you planted on the couch. Getting your body in shape can help alleviate dizziness, tinnitus, osteoarthritis, stuffy ears, and numerous other symptoms.
Time to Get Moving!
Don’t let aches and pains keep you indoors when the sunshine is calling you outside. And as you head out the door with the clubs slung over your back, consider how much better your swing will be if your body is in perfect mechanical balance. You wouldn’t take off on a road trip without having your car checked out. Give your body the same essential tune-up with a visit to Tuck Chiropractic Clinic.
Want more tips about staying active and fit this spring? Stay tuned to our blog in April for a fitness-themed month of posts!
Location. Location. Location. Strategically located clinics allow Shannon to live the life she loves.
Shannon is a very busy and well-known real estate professional in the Roanoke Valley. When not working or spending time with her family she volunteers in a variety of capacities whether it is with a school organization, charitable foundations, or as a Sunday School teacher. Shannon’s story is an important one to tell because in spite of her high-demand and fast-paced lifestyle she is able to keep her health a top priority.
Shannon’s story begins many years ago, back when she was in middle school. She suffered a serious neck injury after falling down two flights of concrete stairs. At the time, she didn’t have access to chiropractic care so her neck injury was left untreated. Years later Shannon discovered the many benefits of chiropractic care and was able to get the treatment for her neck, that she so desperately needed. Shannon explained, “I truly believe, that if I had not started chiropractic care, I would not be able to move my neck.”
What initially began as treatment for a very specific injury has transformed into a means for maintaining optimal health. Shannon said, “I discovered many years ago, the many benefits of chiropractic care. My body, as a whole, functions so much better when I have consistent chiropractic adjustments.” Shannon resolved the immediate need, her neck injury, but elected to continue treatments because she knows adjustments are key to her living the life she loves. Shannon explained further:
Keeping my body in check, which I do by having chiropractic adjustments, benefits me greatly as a whole. I am a busy real estate professional, which means many hours of driving from place to place, sitting for long periods of time, and many hours of computer work, while sitting sedentary at a desk. If I were not benefiting from my chiropractic adjustments, I would not be able to continue with the long hours that my job demands.
Just like in Real Estate “location, location, location” is huge for Chiropractic care. A large reason Shannon is able to regularly get adjustments is because there are a variety of Clinic options to choose from strategically located across the Roanoke Valley and beyond. Shannon said, “With Tuck having several locations, it has helped me maintain my general well-being, my being able to stop in at any of the locations, when I am in between appointments, etc., to get my chiropractic adjustments.”
Since Shannon has visited many locations she has as a result experience treatments from a number of doctors, four to be specific. She has found the variety of doctor’s to be an asset to her health:
I absolutely love, what I would consider, one of the missions of Tuck Chiropractic, which is establishing themselves in many different communities, where their patients are able to drop in to any of the many offices, and know that their needs will be taken care of, in the same form and fashion, as if they were visiting with their primary, neighborhood Tuck doctor.
Her close relationship with the Tuck team was especially helpful when she developed sciatica while moving a heavy bird bath. This condition typically presents as pain or weakness in one leg and can also manifest as a tingling sensation or a sharp radiating pain. According to her x-rays the situation did not look good. However, with chiropractic treatments from Dr. LaBarbera she was able to avoid invasive medical procedures and medication. Not only that, Shannon’s personal diligence, keeping up with follow up exercises at home, has allowed her to live pain-free and overcome this injury.
We are inspired by Shannon’s commitment to stay on top of her health, even in the face of a fast-paced and demanding schedule. We are also thankful to be a part of Shannon’s journey to wellness. We are thankful that she trusts our doctors—across a number of clinics—to equip her to live the life she loves.
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