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Fitness & Nutrition Tips

Recovering from Deconditioning Syndrome

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By: Dr. Lonna Denny, DC

Deconditioning syndrome is a term used to describe the series of physical and emotional events following an injury or psychological trauma that causes you to stop exercising. I think at one time or another every athlete has experienced this cascade of events. You get an injury which leads to time that you have to rest, repair, and recover. This period of time may be a couple of weeks at minimum or last a year plus. During this time you are unable to do your regular workout and you’re also dealing with the pain and the loss of mobility this injury has caused. You gain weight, lose muscle tone, and possibly even feel depressed.

A few years ago I tore my ACL in a sparring competition and had to have it repaired. The subsequent surgery left my body weak and stressed out. It was amazing how after years of being an athlete and in great shape, deconditioning syndrome set in.  I was losing muscle I had worked hard to build and the white noise of pain was constantly in the background of my mind. Being in constant discomfort after surgery caused my personality to change, and not for the better. Most people are aware that stress in the mind causes ailments in the body. Less recognized is that physical pain sets a constant background of stress for the mind. It is a vicious feedback loop. That first three months after surgery was one of the most mentally challenging times I have experienced. It taught me compassion for my patients experiencing deconditioning syndrome and those that have been dealing with chronic pain for years.  Over time we have developed a strategy for helping patients get out of this syndrome. Here are a few steps:

  • Get off the pain meds as soon as you can. The most commonly prescribed Vicodin and other opiate based prescriptions will make you constipated, lethargic, and are highly addictive.
  • Make an exercise plan based around your injury. For example one of my patients was having bunion surgery which would leave her unable to walk for weeks. We made a plan for core workouts and arm workouts she could do non-weight bearing.
  • Accelerate your healing process and decrease your pain levels with chiropractic care and acupuncture. After my knee surgery, my back hurt from limping around in a cast and all of that bed rest. My chiropractor restored mobility to my back and hips through adjusting the spine. He also used a cold laser on my knee which literally over night reduced the bruising and inflammation from surgery. A few weeks later I saw an acupuncturist whose treatment reduced the tension and pressure in the knee. These two healers got me back on my feet and decreased the pain so I could get back to my life. Worth every penny.
  • Lastly, be aware that you are going to deal with deconditioning syndrome on some level after a serious injury or trauma. Make a plan, get help, and most of all, be patient with yourself. This is a transitory state, but how long you stay there is up to you.

Injury isn’t ever ideal or expected, but it can provide you with an opportunity to reflect and plan for how you’ll come back stronger. As with any stress, the right mindset can make a huge difference in the healing process and beyond.


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Fitness & Nutrition Tips

Align your Elements w/ Ayurveda

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Ayurveda (eye-yer-VAY-duh) is a 5,000 year old Indian holistic healing science that literally translates to “knowledge of life.” Ayurveda works to achieve balance and optimum health of the whole individual including the physical body, the mind, and the spirit. Through nutrition, yoga, exercise, meditation, a form of deep breathing called pranayama, and herbs, Ayurveda uses all five senses as a vehicle to bring the body back to its balanced state.

Treating the individual as a whole and not just symptoms, Ayurveda works to uncover the root cause and teaches us how to prevent it.  An important part of Ayurvedic practice is to identify a person’s ideal state of balance, determine where they are out of balance, and offer holistic interventions instead of using “quick fix” tactics to cure an ailment. Ayurveda considers physical, mental, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, behavioral, environmental, nutritional, familial, and social factors that affect us. Looking at everything that is happening in your world to find out what might be holding you back from optimal performance or health makes Ayurveda unique.

Ayurveda’s foundation is built on a simple phrase, “It depends.” It all depends on your unique, individual make up. You’re made of three energies called doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) comprised of the five great elements (air, fire, water, earth, and ether). When your doshas are out of balance, you’ll typically feel off and/or get sick. How you maintain your health will depend on which dosha(s) are most dominant in your body. Providing guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior, and the proper use of our senses, Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.

Monica Bloom started HeyMonicaB.com, a live resource for Ayurveda, intending to expose its benefits so that we can cultivate deeper health in all aspects of our lives. This ancient science has opened new doors to holistic living for millions of modern people.


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Fitness & Nutrition Tips

The Microbes Within: Probiotics & Prebiotics

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We have become a germophobic culture. We use antibacterial soap at most sinks, ultra-pasteurize our food, and even disinfect our shopping carts before we touch them. Most of us appreciate good hygiene and sanitation as much as the next person, but are all bacteria bad? When it comes to food, our digestive tracts and our immunity, the presence of bacteria is essential to overall good health.

Bacteria generally have a bad rep, so the idea of throwing a few billion down the hatch per day for your health might seem hard to swallow. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria called probiotics!

What in the world are probiotics?

Probiotics (pro + biota, combined to mean “for life”) are living bacteria that line our intestinal walls. These “friendly bacteria” not only aid digestion and strengthen immunity, they also help ward off pathogens, balance out the aftermath of antibiotic therapy, improve tolerance to lactose, clear up skin disorders, regulate emotions and mitigate depression.

The human GI tract contains more than 500 species of bacteria. This community of trillions of microbes together weighs up to 2.2 pounds and its cells outnumber human cells by a whopping 10:1- no wonder they’re so important!

If probiotics are alive, how do they thrive?

Probiotics feed on a special form of naturally occurring dietary fiber called prebiotics. Prebiotics foster an inviting, lush environment in our bodies and nourish the thousands of good bacterial species already living in our gut. Fortunately, they are found in thousands of edible plants so if you are a vegetable monger, you’re set! Green vegetables, Jerusalem artichokes, oatmeal, and legumes are particularly rich sources.

Making friends with “good” bacteria

Probiotics can be found in dairy, fruit or vegetable foods that are allowed to sour or ferment deliberately out of refrigeration. This ancient practice is called lacto-fermentation, and it not only makes food easier to digest, it also boosts nutritional value and provides many of the  health benefits described above. Yogurt and kefir, cultured vegetables, and fermented beverages like kombucha are some of the probiotic foods eaten throughout the world today.

In addition to buying the many probiotic rich products on the market, you can easily make your own tasty and nutritious probiotic foods at home to boost your health with surprisingly little effort or expense. The time and energy spent to prepare these tasty, curious delights is truly worth it. You’ll see exponential returns in your health and you may even have fun experimenting in your kitchen lab too!

Get Cultured!

Traditionally preparing foods can sometimes be a bit intimidating. Fermenting at home is not nearly as complicated or time consuming as you may think. Sauerkraut, for example, requires very little equipment, and will save you loads of money. By using a few simple ingredients (cabbage and pink Himalayan salt) plus minimal tools (a cutting board, large bowl, knife and Mason jar) a boatload of homemade sauerkraut is at your fingertips. Once you understand the process you’ll be delighted by the end product. There’s just something extra special about creating healthy foods from scratch!

 

To keep you inspired and exploring the edible microbial world, you can find tons of fantastic recipes online. Master Fermentor, Sandor Katz’s book, Wild Fermentation is a great resource that explores the fun and delicious world of cultured foods. Here are just a few ideas to start exploring: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, dark chocolate, miso, microalgae, pickles, tempeh, kimchi, kombucha.

See you Saturday!

 


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Fitness & Nutrition Tips

An Open Mind to Conquer your Mountain

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We know there are many approaches to health and wellness, and what works for some might not be optimal for others. Whether your goal is to create a positive change or to limit unwanted behaviors, hypnosis may be a tool to help you get there.

According to the ASCH, hypnosis is defined as “a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. Similarly, when our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use our minds more powerfully. Because hypnosis allows people to use more of their potential, learning self-hypnosis is the ultimate act of self-control.”

The Change Equation, a short post from William Song’s website, The Habit Project will provide an introduction to the purpose behind hypnosis.

He states that during hypnosis, with some skills and practice, you can adjust your desire to change so that it outweighs your desire to stay the same. When you’re in this relaxed state of focus, you can discover the beliefs that help you succeed and those that are holding you back.

 

 

 


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Fitness & Nutrition Tips

The Scientific Process of Fueling your Fire

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Making a change doesn’t happen in an instant. Successful change, like starting a new routine or quitting a bad habit, takes time and cannot be rushed. A full commitment and understanding of what it will take to make the change is the best predictor of long-term success. In fact, behavioral research has broken down the journey of self change into five distinct stages. Sometimes recognizing where we are on our journey toward big change can help propel us to the next milestone.

Stage 1 Pre-contemplation

People in pre-contemplation aren’t aware that they have a problem or don’t want to make a change. This stage can last indefinitely, and the best way to move forward is simply to become aware of how we can make our lives better.

Are you in this stage? Is there a part of your life you’re not satisfied with? Your health, your body, your energy level or simply how you feel when you get out of bed? What are some habits or routines you could change or develop that might help?

Stage 2 Contemplation

People in contemplation know what they want to change, but either don’t know how or can’t commit to make that change. Someone in a contemplation stage might know she’s not getting enough sleep, but might not recognize that spending time answering work emails right before bed is causing her stress and not letting her fall asleep easily and restfully.

Are you in this stage? What’s not working? If you’re not getting enough sleep, think about what you’re doing right before bed and right after you wake up. How can your morning and evening routines support a more restful and peaceful night’s sleep?

Stage 3 Preparation

People in preparation have made the conscious decision to change and are now focused on finding the right routines or habits to help them get there.  Someone in the preparation stage may want to start quitting smoking and has committed to making the change, but isn’t sure which quitting strategy she wants to try.

Are you in this stage? It’s time to develop a full routine to help you stick to your commitment. The best plans of action are mental, physical and emotional. For a change like quitting smoking, you’ll need to create a mental strategy to get through your favorite smoking times like a morning commute or after meals. You’ll need a physical strategy to deal with nicotine withdrawal, like a nicotine gum or patch. Plus, you’ll need an emotional strategy for when the going gets tough, like a supportive friend who is always on call. The sooner you can get your plans in place, the sooner you can start to make a change.

Stage 4 Action

People in action are in the thick of changing their habits or routines. The action stage takes the greatest amount of time and energy, and is best sustained when they’re fully prepared with well-thought out mental, physical and emotional strategies. Someone in the action stage may be making time in his schedule to work out with a personal trainer and to keep exercising outside of their regular sessions.

Are you in this stage? Keep the change going! Stay committed even in the face of challenges. Don’t be afraid to dip back into the preparation stage and adapt your action plan when something isn’t working.

Stage 5 Maintenance

People in the maintenance have their new habits or routines down and are comfortable keeping to them day-to-day. Someone in maintenance may have cut refined sugars or over-processed foods out of his diet and doesn’t reach for potato chips or sugary sodas at home anymore– but might have a road trip with friends coming up that will be full of car snacks.

Are you in this stage? Awesome! Way to stick with the change through action until it becomes routine. Focus on sticking with your new habits and to recognize the positive outcomes in your life.

Change is often more successful when we go through each stage with the appropriate amount of time, energy or attention. Skipping stages or rushing through stages doesn’t work long-term.

Recognizing the progression from one stage to the next is important, because it’s no small feat. If you’ve recognized what you want to change, congratulations! You’re already on stage 2. If you’re making a plan to start changing your habits, awesome! You’re on stage 3. Don’t wait until you’ve accomplished your goal to start celebrating – recognize your journey!

 

 


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