How your back can stay healthy for summer activity-
Summer is in full swing and you want to keep healthy to enjoy outdoor activity. The last thing you want to do is hurt yourself and miss beach volleyball, swimming, gardening, bike riding …. So how can you keep your back in tip top shape for summer fun?
First -don’t jump into strenuous activity without some form of warmup. And I am talking about the dynamic warm up-jog in place. jumping jacks, arm rolls. not static stretching which may do more harm than good
Second-when you are active in the sun your body needs to keep hydrated. Dehydration makes your muscles more prone to injury. Drink fluid during out door activity ,water is good as is gatorade or other sports drinks
Third- try to avoid only being active on weekends. Do some other aerobic activity during the week,if only for 15 minutes to avoid weekend warrior injuries from lack of activity than sudden bursts.
Fourth-Summer is an easy time to keep weight off, excess pounds on the stomach are a recipe for a back injury. Lighten up on carbohydrates and increase fruit and protein intake.
How your back can stay healthy for summer activity-
Anxiety is a natural, normal response to potential threats, which puts your body into a heightened state of awareness.
When felt appropriately, anxiety is beneficial and can keep you out of harm’s way… the anxiety you may feel while hiking near a steep drop-off, for instance, will cause you to be more careful and purposeful in your movements.
For an estimated 40 million US adults, however, anxiety may occur even when there’s no real threat, causing unnecessary stress and emotional pain. While many believe anxiety and stress to be the same, persistent anxiety actually evokes quite a different experience in your brain.
Anxiety in Your Brain: What Happens When Anxiety Attacks?
Anxiety does evoke the same “fight or flight” response that stress does, which means, like stress, anxiety will trigger a flood of stress hormones like cortisol designed to enhance your speed, reflexes, heart rate, and circulation. However, stress can occur with feelings of anger, sadness, or even happiness and excitement.
Anxiety, on the other hand, virtually always involves a sense of fear, dread, or apprehension. And while stress may occur due to an external source (like an argument with your spouse), anxiety tends to be a more internal response.
Further, brief anxiety may coincide with a stressful event (such as speaking in public), but an anxiety disorder will persist for months even when there’s no clear reason to be anxious. While the exact causes for anxiety disorders are unknown, your brain is actively involved.
The National Institute of Mental Health explains:1
“Several parts of the brain are key actors in the production of fear and anxiety… scientists have discovered that the amygdala and the hippocampus play significant roles in most anxiety disorders.
The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that is believed to be a communications hub between the parts of the brain that process incoming sensory signals and the parts that interpret these signals. It can alert the rest of the brain that a threat is present and trigger a fear or anxiety response.
The emotional memories stored in the central part of the amygdala may play a role in anxiety disorders involving very distinct fears, such as fears of dogs, spiders, or flying. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that encodes threatening events into memories.”
Your Brain May Become Wired for Anxiety
It’s thought that anxiety disorders may result from a combination of nature (your genetics) and nurture (your environment). For instance, if you grow up in an environment with frequent yelling or abuse.
It might make you prone to looking out for potential threats, even when they’re no longer there. In a sense, your brain becomes “wired” for anxiety, such that any potentially undesirable event or emotion becomes cause for alarm.2
Worse yet, some people are so used to feelings of anxiety that they don’t realize there’s a problem and simply suffer in silence. As anxious feelings intensify, it can lead to social isolation, physical symptoms, and related mental health problems, like depression.
Despite this, it’s estimated that only one-third of people with anxiety disorders receive treatment,3 which is highly recommended if you’re struggling with anxiety — but keep in mind “treatment” doesn’t necessarily mean drugs.
Unfortunately, most people who suffer with anxiety either do nothing or resort to pharmaceutical drugs – many of which are ineffective and capable of destroying your health and sanity further. Commonly prescribed drugs include benzodiazepine drugs like Ativan, Xanax, and Valium.
They exert a calming effect by boosting the action of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the same way as opioids (heroin) and cannabinoids (cannabis) do. This in turn activates the gratification hormone, dopamine, in your brain.
Since the identical brain “reward pathways” are used by both types of drugs, they can be equally addictive and also may cause side effects like memory loss, hip fractures, impaired thinking, and dizziness.
Ironically, the symptoms of withdrawal from many of these anxiety medications include extreme states of anxiety – some of which are far worse than the original symptoms that justified treatment in the first place.
If You’re Wired for Anxiety, Try EFT
Energy psychology techniques, such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), can be very effective by helping you to actually reprogram your body’s reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life.
This includes both real and imagined stressors, which can be significant sources of anxiety. EFT was developed in the 1990s by Gary Craig, a Stanford engineer specializing in healing and self-improvement. It’s akin to acupuncture, which is based on the concept that a vital energy flows through your body along invisible pathways known as meridians. EFT stimulates different energy meridian points in your body by tapping them with your fingertips, while simultaneously using custom-made verbal affirmations.
This can be done by yourself or under the supervision of a qualified therapist, either in person or via online video services, like Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. By doing so, you help your body eliminate emotional “scarring” and reprogram the way your body responds to emotional stressors.
Since these stressors are usually connected to physical problems, many people’s diseases and other symptoms can improve or disappear as well. If you have a severe problem, it is typically best to consult directly with an EFT professional, otherwise you might not get the relief you need.
In the following video, EFT therapist Julie Schiffman discusses EFT for stress and anxiety relief. Please keep in mind that while anyone can learn to do EFT at home, self-treatment for serious issues like persistent anxiety is dangerous and NOT recommended.
It is dangerous because it will allow you to falsely conclude that EFT does not work when nothing could be further from the truth. For serious or complex issue you need someone to guide you through the process, as it typically takes years of training to develop the skill to tap on and relieve deep-seated, significant issues.
he Major Contributor to Anxiety That Hardly Anyone Knows
Increasingly, scientific evidence shows that nourishing your gut flora with the friendly bacteria known as probiotics is extremely important for proper brain function, and that includes psychological well-being and mood control. It may sound odd that bacteria in your gut could impact emotions such as anxiety, but that is exactly what the research bears testimony to. The probiotic known as Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001, for instance, has been shown to normalize anxiety-like behavior in mice with infectious colitis.4
In a very real sense, you have two brains, one inside your skull and one in your gut (the so-called “enteric nervous system”), and each needs its own vital nourishment. Your gut and brain actually work in tandem, each influencing the other. This is why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa; as well as the reason why your diet is so closely linked to your mental health.
Prior research has also shown that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus had a marked effect on GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes) levels in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior.5
So optimizing your gut flora with beneficial bacteria is a highly useful strategy. This is done by eliminating sugars and processed foods and eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables, avoiding processed vegetable oils, and using healthful fats. Additionally, using plenty of fermented vegetables or a high-potency probiotic would be useful to reestablish a healthy gut flora.
Your Diet Plays an Important Role in Your Mental Health
If you suffer from anxiety, it would be wise to look into nourishing your gut flora, and the best way to do this is to regularly consume traditionally fermented foods, which are naturally rich in beneficial bacteria. Pasteurized versions will NOT have the same benefits, as the pasteurization process destroys many, if not all of the naturally-occurring probiotics. So you will need to seek out traditionally fermented, unpasteurized foods like fermented vegetables, or make them yourself.
If you do not eat these types of foods regularly, then a high-quality probiotic supplement can help fill in the gap and give your gut the healthy bacteria it needs. This is the first part of the equation. The second part of the equation to optimizing your gut flora lies in avoiding the many factors that can throw your bacteria equilibrium way off balance, such as eating sugar, refined grains and other processed foods or taking antibiotics.
Additionally, your diet should include a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fats, like krill oil. The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA play an important role in your emotional well-being, and research has shown a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among med students taking omega-3s.6
Exercise Is Frequently Helpful if You Have Anxiety
Some psychologists swear by exercise as a primary form of treatment for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Research has shown again and again that patients who follow regular exercise regimens see improvement in their mood — improvements comparable to that of those treated with medication.
The results really are impressive when you consider that exercise is virtually free and can provide you with numerous other health benefits, too. The benefits to your mood occur whether the exercise is voluntary or forced, so even if you feel you have to exercise, say for health reasons, there’s a good chance you’ll still benefit.
In addition to the creation of new neurons, including those that release the calming neurotransmitter GABA, exercise boosts levels of potent brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress. Many avid exercisers also feel a sense of euphoria after a workout, sometimes known as the “runner’s high.” It can be quite addictive, in a good way, once you experience just how good it feels to get your heart rate up and your body moving.
If you struggle with anxiety, you really can’t go wrong with starting a comprehensive exercise program – virtually any physical activity is likely to have positive effects, especially if it’s challenging enough. That said, Duke University researchers recently published a review of more than 100 studies that found yoga appears to be particularly beneficial for mental health,7 although I also recommend high-intensity interval training like Peak Fitness and resistance training as well, in addition to flexibility and core-building exercises like yoga or Foundation Training.
Anxiety Can Be Crippling but You Can Still Take Control of Your Health
Anxiety disorders can be debilitating and in some cases require professional guidance, counseling and treatment. Two conventional treatments of anxiety disorders that have proven to be effective for many are psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy is defined as targeting the issue through breathing exercises and small increments of exposure to what is causing your anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy on the other hand, is designed to help you deal more effectively with situations that fill you with anxiety.
By using the above-mentioned strategies, however, including exercise, EFT and dietary changes, you can often teach your body how to maintain an alert yet relaxed state, which will help strengthen your inherent coping mechanisms when faced with stressful situations that trigger your anxiety symptoms. Please do seek professional help if you need it, but also don’t underestimate your own ability to make positive, oftentimes life-changing, decisions to help you take back control of your health.
Lifehacker November 21, 2013
According to a study in England when depressed people are asked to think about themselves they showed increased brain activity in the medial frontal cortex. The basic activity of this brain region is considered to be orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals. When depressed people were told describe something that was far removed from their lives they used more positive adjectives than when asked to describe themselves. But brain activity increased in the medial frontal cortex only when they were using the negative words to describe there own self.
This gives more physiologic evidence that depressed people have negative thoughts about themselves more so than others. It can help with treatemnts for depression which effects 1/5 of the population.
5 reasons to eat an apple today
1.) They contain Vitamin C which boosts immunity and is a powerful antioxidant
2.) reduce your risk of stroke
3.) lower the bad cholesterol in your blood
4.)reduce risk of diabetes
5)prevent dementia by protecting neuronal cells against oxidative stress induced neurotoxicity
Spirulina supplementation improves academic performance in schoolchildren
Friday, November 01, 2013 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: spirulina, academic performance, schoolchildren
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(NaturalNews) Did you know that, among its many benefits, spirulina has also been shown to improve academic performance in schoolchildren?
Spirulina is the name given to more than 40,000 varieties of spiral-shaped, blue-green algae that are consumed as nutritional supplements, typically in powdered or tablet form. It grows naturally in warm freshwater lakes between 85 and 112 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because spirulina is an abundant, naturally occurring food that is high in nutrients but contains only 3.9 calories per gram, it has attracted attention as a nutritional supplement that might be able to help alleviate malnutrition worldwide without leading to the opposite problem of obesity. Adding to spirulina’s appeal, it retains its nutritional value well during processing and has an extraordinarily long shelf life.
A nutritional powerhouse
The academic performance study was conducted by Senegalese researchers and
published in the French journal Sante Publique in 2009. The researchers were evaluating the effectiveness of a government program designed to improve the nutritional status of schoolchildren with spirulina supplements. The children consumed 2g of spirulina (mixed with 10g of honey for flavor) once per day for 60 days.
The researchers compared the academic performance of 549 Senegalese elementary school students right before the beginning of spirulina supplementation with their performance two months later. The children’s average age was seven years, seven months.
After two months of spirulina supplementation, the children’s average school performance had increased by 10 percent. The results were statistically significant.
Because so little research on this effect has been done, it is impossible to be certain what is responsible for this improvement in academic scores. However, studies have shown that spirulina improves both cognitive ability and mental health, in part because it con
Spirulina may help elderly patients with anemia and immunological dysfunction
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: spirulina, anemia, immunological dysfunction
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(NaturalNews) Elderly folks suffering from anemia or age-related immune system deterioration could see dramatic improvements with regular supplementation of spirulina, a blue-green freshwater algae with an extensive track record of health promotion and disease mitigation. Researchers from the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the University of California, Davis, (UCD) learned this after testing the effects of spirulina on a group of seniors with either or both of the two conditions and seeing positive results.
Participating in the study was a cohort of 40 volunteers, each of whom was 50 years of age or older with no previous history of major chronic illness. Each participant did, however, report having suffered from some form of anemia or immunological dysfunction, also known as immunosenescence, meaning he or she was in need of regular treatment. In this case, researchers wanted to test whether or not a nutrition-based approach centered on spirulina would bring relief to the volunteers.
For 12 weeks, study participants were told to take spirulina regularly, as well as submit comprehensive dietary questionnaires outlining all other foods they ate during this time. Throughout the course of these three months, administrators tested the participants’ complete cell counts and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) enzyme activity, both of which are indicators of immune function. These levels were analyzed at baseline, week 6 and week 12 of supplementation.
Upon analysis, the research team found that, throughout the 12-week study period, patients’ mean corpuscular hemoglobin, or average hemoglobin mass per red blood cell, increased significantly in both sexes. Both mean corpuscular volume and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration increased in male participants as well, but older women were found to derive health benefits from spirulina more quickly compared to men.
“[T]he majority of subjects manifested increased IDO activity and white blood cell count at 6 and 12 weeks of spirulina supplementation,” explains the study abstract, as published in the journal Cellular & Molecular Immunology. “Spirulina may ameliorate anemia and immunosenescence in older subjects. We encourage large human studies to determine whether this safe supplement could prove beneficial in randomized clinical trials.”
Spirulina also effective against allergies, high cholesterol and cancer
There are many other health benefits associated with spirulina as well, including improved allergy symptoms, better metabolism of cholesterol and decreased risk of cancer. Many earlier studies, including one published in the journal Cardiovascular Therapeutics back in 2010, reveal that spirulina can help prevent and treat a host of diseases, including cardiovascular and inflammatory conditions.
“Spirulina has been experimentally proven, in vivo and in vitro that it is effective to treat certain allergies, anemia, cancer, hepatotoxicity [toxicity of the liver], viral and cardiovascular diseases, hyperglycemia [high blood sugar], hyperlipidemia [high cholesterol and triglycerides], immunodeficiency, and inflammatory processes, among others,” writes Kelly J. Moorhead in her book Spirulina: Nature’s Superfood.
When I watch my 22 year old son warm up before pitching i see him jog in place, do leg kicks and lay on the ground to perform pelvic twists. This is a routine I started with him about 5 years ago while still pitching in high school. Before that time I had him perform the typical static stretches with his forearms,thighs, and back muscles.
However research started to show that constant tension on a muscle may actually weaken it for 30 minutes after. Some studies also indicated volleyball players who did static stretches before games were tighter than players who did no stretching at all. However by performing dynamic stretches you are activating the Central nervous System and a larger group of muscles. This activity also serves to dilate the blood vessels in the muscles. They will be warmed up and ready to go because you are increasing their power and flexilbility .
Sports specific dynamic stretching for a pitcher would include lunges,arm rotation and straight leg kicks.
For a tennis player it would include some of these and add side to side stepping and hand walks. A runner would add heel to buttock kicks.
Warming up before activity is a good mental and physical preparation. Incorporating dynamic stretching will also help prevent pre activity muscle fatigue and keep your nervous system operating at a higher level before you engage in sports.
Melatonin is a neurohormone that is produced in the brain, primarily by the pineal gland, from the amino acid tryptophan. Its most well known functions include helping to regulate sleep and the body’s circadian rhythm.
The amount of melatonin we produce is determined by how dark or light our surroundings are. Our eyes have specialized light-sensitive receptors that relay this message to a cluster of nerves in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN. The SCN sets our internal biological clock (circadian rhythm) while also regulating sleep. When our surroundings are dark, the SCN tells the pineal gland to produce melatonin, which is thought to trigger sleep. Some melatonin is also made in the stomach and intestines.
Certain plant foods contain naturally-occurring levels of melatonin including tropical foods like bananas, pineapples and oranges, consumption of which can positively affect serum levels of this important hormone.
As we age, like most endogenously produced hormones, melatonin’s production significantly declines. This may be why many elderly individuals have trouble sleeping.
On the other hand, and much to the chagrin of some parents, there is speculation that as children become teenagers, the nightly schedule of melatonin release is delayed, leading to later sleeping and waking times.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 by: Mike Bundrant
Tags: overeating, how to stop, strategies
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(NaturalNews) One of the basic tenets of NLP or Neurolinguistic Programming is that meaning is malleable.
Meaning is subjective and open to personal interpretation. This means that you can change the perceived meaning of just about anything as long as you are somewhat conscious and mentally flexible.
So often we behave as if overeating were something positive. We reward ourselves with food, celebrate with food, self-medicate with food.
We revel in the glory of food! And it is wonderful, until we overeat. Then, all manner of hell breaks loose. We aren’t always paying attention to the moment eating becomes overeating. Yes, that moment slips right by, doesn’t it?
To help myself and you, I’ve reframed overeating to shake some sense into us.
Please bear mind that the following definitions do not refer to eating, but overeating.
Here are seven definitions of overeating to consider:
1. Overeating is not a reward – it is a punishment.
This one is inspired by the Drew Carey photo that Natural News shared recently. Carey said, “Eating crappy food is not a reward. It is a punishment.”
Eating any junk food at any time may be called overeating by definition.
2. Overeating is self-sabotage.
Beyond mere punishment, overeating is full scale self-sabotage. By eating too much too often, you feel lethargic, mentally sluggish and even ashamed or worthless.
Beyond that, you are doomed to self-consciousness, chronically worried about how you are being judged. Self-confidence seems so far away…
3. Overeating is a sign of emotional immaturity.
Children are known to lack impulse control and require immediate gratification. So many adults never grow out of these childish tendencies and would rather sacrifice their health than deny themselves a cookie.
4. Overeating is arrogant.
We glut ourselves while millions in the world are starving. We justify it by claiming there is nothing we can do, so why not consider ourselves lucky.
5. Overeating is violent.
It’s violence against your body, which is forced to compensate for the onslaught of food, taxing the tissues and organs to the point of eventual failure.
Rotten teeth, a leaky gut, fatty liver, impacted colon, exhausted pancreas, blown out knees, jammed up spine, clogged arteries, arthritic joints, a polluted blood stream and a foggy brain are the casualties of this war.
Naturally heal gastritis and gastric ulcers
By Karen Appold
Gastritis is a condition in which the stomach lining is irritated and inflamed. This lining, called the mucosa, makes enzymes and acid which break down food for digestion. It also makes mucus to protect the stomach lining from acid. If your stomach lining is inflamed, it makes less enzymes, acid, and mucus.
Ulcers, also called peptic ulcers, are deep holes in the stomach wall that can form as the result of untreated chronic gastritis. Chronic gastritis and ulcers are quite common; up to 50 percent of adults in the United States have this condition.
Most cases of ulcers and gastritis are caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which infects the stomach lining. As a result, the stomach is more susceptible to inflammation and damage from acid. This bacteria is spread among people. It’s more prevalent in areas with high populations and bad sanitation, and can be transmitted through contaminated water and food.
Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for a long time can also cause ulcers and gastritis. These include medications such as naproxen, aspirin, and ibuprofen. Other agents that can bring on this condition include radiation, alcohol, tobacco, steroids, trauma and burns, critical illness, major surgery, and cocaine.
In rarer cases, some autoimmune disorders, digestive diseases, viruses, fungi, and other bacteria may
cause ulcers and gastritis.
If you have ulcers and gastritis, you may experience pain in your upper abdomen and back, vomiting, indigestion, loss of appetite, and weight loss. In severe cases, an ulcer can cause stomach bleeding. This can show up as blood in vomit, darker stools, bleeding in the rectum, and anemia. Surgery will be needed if a hole in the stomach occurs.
Foods that Heal
You can help to heal gastritis and ulcers and improve digestive health by eating dark green leafy veggies, such as broccoli, spinach, and cabbage, which are full of vitamins and minerals. Eating low-fat, protein-rich foods can help to repair stomach inflammation. Examples include lean meats, fish, poultry, and beans. You should also eat lots of fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants. Some ideal choices include apples, blueberries, bananas, and squash. Fruit juices are another excellent choice.
Avoid foods that are acidic and irritating, such as citrus fruits, caffeine, chocolate, spicy foods, and foods made with tomatoes.
Other ways to naturally heal ulcers and gastritis include:
Practicing relaxation techniques, such as Tai Chi, yoga, or meditation.
Trying herbs, such as Matricaria recutita, which can calm inflammation, or Ulmus fulva, which soothes the stomach.
Karen Appold is a medical writer based in Macungie, PA.
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