Eat right. You wouldn’t put regular gas in a race car, and you shouldn’t put unhealthy foods into your body. Pick fresh, whole foods, especially vegetables and fruits, and then add other foods as desired. Take a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, and whether you eat three squares or many smaller meals, get into a rhythm so your body knows how to process what you eat.
Exercise. You’ll have to move your body if you expect it to work right. It doesn’t have to be weightlifting or running a marathon – three 30-minute walks each week can improve your circulation, your breathing and your strength.
Rest. Work hard and play hard, but give yourself a chance to refresh and recuperate. Choose a consistent sleeping routine, and if you miss any sleep, make it up in the following days whenever possible. Check your sleep equipment, too – if you need a better mattress or pillows, there are wonderful products available at reasonable prices. Ask your doctor of chiropractic for a recommendation so you sleep your best.
Reduce stress. Even better, don’t get stressed in the first place. Take things in stride, most things are not as bad (or as good) as they seem – lighten up, laugh more and if you do feel a little stress coming on, then do something to dissipate the harmful emotions. You can meditate, stretch, pray, do yoga or martial arts, get a massage, participate in a relaxing hobby or a host of other stress-reducing activities. Random acts of kindness work pretty well, too.
Get regular tune-ups. Just like your car, your body needs to be adjusted from time to time. We all need periodic check-ups to catch problems early and get the appropriate care when necessary. Consult your chiropractor about which wellness professionals you need to keep your body working at peak efficiency – you’ll be glad you did!
As the new school year kicks into high gear, there are many little pointers that can make the experience safer and more beneficial for all concerned. Let‘s look at a few of these back-to-school tips:
1. Plan effectively. Develop a routine where you take a few minutes the night before and decide what you will need to take with you the next day. Lay out clothing so those decisions are already made when you wake up. Get up early enough to avoid rushing, this way you won’t forget things, and you won’t be scrambling to keep from being late. Leaving just a few minutes early saves your back a considerable amount of stress.
2. Look both ways before crossing the street. Unlike England, where there are actually directions on the ground asking you to look left and right before you cross, we have to take responsibility to instruct our children to carefully observe the road before walking across it, especially at busy intersections. Most of us remember our parents directing us to “look both ways” – it’s a tradition that continues to make sense and protect against unnecessary danger.
3. Watch out for the weight and size of backpacks. Children these days often load up their backpacks with books, study materials, and other kid stuff. Test the weight of your child’s backpack – it is common that children struggle with overstuffed back packs and risk injury, so take the responsibility to monitor this often overlooked hazard. A backpack should be no more than ten percent of the child’s body weight – more than that creates the potential for spinal damage.
4. Pace yourself on homework. Many students are very efficient with their homework, others not so much. Help your child develop a rhythm where the homework is done properly and at a reasonable pace. Help him or her organize so there is a game plan for completing all assignments without undue stress or hassle. If your child resists doing homework, make the case that people do homework throughout their lives, and that this is not only required for the course of study they are taking, but also as basic life training they will benefit from going forward.
5. Develop checkpoints along the way. Many children have challenges dealing with one or more of their subjects, finding others easier for them. If you help them break down their assignments into smaller pieces, they may seem less overwhelming to them, and your child will become more enthusiastic about taking small but certain steps in the direction of better understanding. We ask a lot of our students intellectually, and few are gifted in every subject – give them a helping hand in those that are less natural for them by creating little milestones that mark partial success, instead of making them complete everything before they get any gratification.
6. Kill the monster while it’s small. This expression means that we need to notice problems and issues early, so they don’t snowball into much bigger problems before they are addressed. Missing a single homework may not be the biggest deal in the world, but if a child realizes he or she can get away with it, then there will be more misses and before you know it a bad habit has developed. Squash that tendency early in the process, by observing the results and consistency your child creates and encourage a willingness to maintain that standard. Again, this is important life training that transcends the value of the particular subject matter – it’s a way to generate good work habits which will lead to success in any endeavor they choose.
Some students find school easy to handle, others do not – but it’s no indicator of intelligence overall, just a way to measure some of the key elements of education. Every child has his or her own unique positive qualities – help your child learn by following a few simple guidelines, and the process will be less painful and more productive. Happy learning!
Give Your Child The “I” Test
No, the “I” test doesn’t have anything to do with good eyesight, but it has a lot to do with vision – a vision of a healthy, happy life for you and your family.
You see, the “I” test is a simple posture test anyone can do. Just stand behind someone, and look at his or her shoulders, hips and the spine that connects them. In most people, you should see a capital “I”, with the shoulders and hips being the top and bottom lines, and the spine being the center line.
You may want to place your hands on the shoulders and/or hips to make it easier to visualize, but once you do this a few times, it will be very obvious to you. Just try it, you’ll see. This is similar to the way spinal specialists examine people for scoliosis, an unwanted curvature of the spine. Some curves are normal, some are not.
If the “I” looks lopsided or bent in any way, it tells you that there may be something out of place in that person’s structure, which can often be corrected or at least improved upon with a program of conservative chiropractic care. Safe and gentle, even children who have such imbalances in their bodies respond quickly and effectively – and there are never any drugs or surgery involved, only all natural care based on an all natural philosophy.
You probably want to get your family checked periodically by your local spine and nerve system expert, your doctor of chiropractic, but you can get a jump on any developing problems by performing the “I” test on your family periodically.
People want to know – what does it take to be healthy? What habits and behaviors are likely to lead to more vitality? How do we avoid getting sick, and spend more of our time being well? There are three basic steps each of us can take to walk the path of good health.
First, we need to learn to eat right. Providing quality fuel for this human machine is critical in maintaining and developing the best health possible. While there are many styles of good eating, there are a few simple guidelines we must all respect:
• Eat enough but not too much
• Stick with fresh whole foods over processed foods
• Avoid toxic substances like preservatives, food additives and colorings
• Strike a proper balance between proteins, fats and carbohydrates
• Drink plenty of water
• Supplement with vitamins and minerals from natural sources
Second, we need to think right, creating a healthy mindset that helps us deal with the stresses of our lives effectively. Developing supportive self-talk, practicing meditation or just quiet introspection, and sleeping sufficiently can lead to a better attitude and more happiness.
Third, we need to move right, through appropriate exercise, proper breathing, good posture and maintaining your structure and nerve system with chiropractic care. Including yoga, stretching or martial arts helps to create balance and coordination.
Addressing these three basic needs, eating right, thinking right, and moving right, will lead to a better quality of life with less illness and more productive time throughout your life. Take the responsibility to notice where you could improve, and make good decisions to enhance your lifestyle – it will pay off for you, as it has for millions of people who are adopting the wellness way of life.
Simple as it may seem, getting enough quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard and improve your health. Here are six reasons you need to get sufficient sleep, according to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch
• Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
• Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
• Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
• Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
• Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
• Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
Helpguide.org offers these tips on getting and staying out of sleep debt. While you can’t pay off sleep debt in a night or even a weekend, with a little effort and planning, you can get back on track.
• Aim for at least 7.5 hours of sleep every night. Make sure you don’t fall farther in debt by blocking off enough time for sleep each night. Consistency is the key.
• Settle short-term sleep debt with an extra hour or two per night. If you lost 10 hours of sleep, pay the debt back in nightly one or two-hour installments.
• Keep a sleep diary. Record when you go to bed, when you get up, your total hours of sleep, and how you feel during the day. As you keep track of your sleep, you’ll discover your natural patterns and get to know your sleep needs.
• Take a sleep vacation to pay off a long-term sleep debt. Pick a two-week period when you have a flexible schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and allow yourself to sleep until you wake up naturally. No alarm clocks! If you continue to keep the same bedtime and wake up naturally, you’ll eventually dig your way out of debt and arrive at the sleep schedule that’s ideal for you.
Make sleep a priority. Just as you schedule time for work and other commitments, you should schedule enough time for sleep. Instead of cutting back on sleep in order to tackle the rest of your daily tasks, put sleep at the top of your to-do list. Keeping it a top priority positively affects your health and your body.
Mother’s Day is set aside each year to appreciate the oldest and perhaps most prevalent role in our culture, motherhood. Moms are called upon to raise children, run households, be a neverending source of entertainment and diversion for kids, and address issues that no one else seems to be able to handle.
Moms contribute so much to our upbringing. They can serve as a sympathetic ear, a strong back, a willing taxi driver, an expert manager, a source of wisdom, a cheery voice, and a world class problem solver.
But one of the most important jobs that lands on Mom’s list is to oversee the family health and wellness. Mothers tend to have an intuition, a sixth sense about what’s right for their families. Often, the mother decides what the family eats, which activities are too dangerous to risk, and which doctors the family goes to.
This is why it’s important for mothers to understand the value of chiropractic care for themselves and their families. Often, when Mom begins her own spine and nerve system care with her chosen chiropractor, she opts to bring the children in for a check-up, to be sure that there are no early problems brewing, and sometimes even insists that Dad has to come in to get checked too.
Why do moms tend to care so much about bringing the family in for chiropractic care? Because mothers inherently know what’s good for their family, and keeping everyone healthy is far better than waiting to get sick and then trying to get better, which can be inconvenient, costly and painful.
It’s more logical to stay well than to have to get well, so moms all over the world bring their families in for regular check-ups and chiropractic adjustments when necessary. Faced with ongoing family decision-making, they usually just naturally know the right thing to do, so if you want to know about health, ask Mom!
Most of us realize that we live in a cause and effect world. If I touch a hot stove, my hand will burn. If I drive my car and use up all my gas without refilling the tank, I will coast to a stop. If I choose intelligent lifestyle habits and follow through on them, I will improve the quality of my life, cause and effect.
Each of us has a responsibility to observe how this cause and effect relationship influences our lives, so we can make the best decisions possible on our own behalf.
Think for a moment; many people believe that germs cause disease. But if that were true, wouldn’t everyone exposed to the germs get the disease? What could explain why this doesn’t happen? Could it be that it isn’t the germs, but rather the strength and resistance of the individual that determines whether or not he or she will get sick?
This is one of the revolutionary concepts that makes the chiropractic viewpoint on health care different. Instead of fighting germs with medicines, chiropractors work with you to get your body working at peak efficiency, so when you are exposed to germs, your body is stronger, and has a better chance of maintaining good function and good health.
How does the chiropractor do that? Your body’s control center is your brain, and the wiring system that connects the brain to the body parts is the nerve system, which is protected by the spinal bones. When this protective covering is in proper alignment, then the nerves are protected and the information from the brain gets to and from the body parts normally.
But if the spinal bones lose their proper alignment, then the nerves can be injured, disturbed or interfered with, which may or may not lead to pain right away, but surely leads to poorer body function.
If we live in a cause and effect world, then you want to make sure your brain is controlling your body properly. When your brain can connect with your body parts, it causes the effect of better body function and better health. An unhealthy spine causes bad communication, where a healthy spine causes good communication.
Your chiropractor can tell you, whether or not you currently have pain, if your spine is in proper alignment. If anyone in your family has not had a spinal exam recently, schedule a check-up as soon as possible.
Who’s In Charge of Your Health?
Who’s in charge of your health? Who makes the best decisions for you and your family? Is it a doctor or other health professional? Or is it becoming increasingly clear that only you can make the most important decisions about your own health?
For many years, the doctor has been revered, looked up to as an important role model, and that should never change. Ultimately, however, you are the one who must take the responsibility to choose your daily habits, select which professionals to consult, and make whatever mid-course corrections are required for you to have the best quality of life possible.
Yes, you may depend on doctors like your general practitioner, your chiropractor, or your dentist to give you the latest information, either about a health problem or about improving your wellness and peak performance. These experts have been trained to notice, compile, and communicate the best ideas and observations, and from there, many people relinquish their control and just accept whatever the doctor says.
It makes more sense for you to be an active participant in your own health and wellness process. Remember, the time you spend with the doctor is a tiny fraction of your overall time; what health choices are you making at all other times? What do you eat, how much do you sleep, what is your typical exercise routine, if any? How often do you visit your dentist, your medical doctor, or your chiropractor for maintenance or wellness care? Which specialists would contribute valuable distinctions to this process? Do you seek out a nutritionist, massage therapists, or personal trainers to help you take your health to a new level of excellence?
It is in no way disrespectful to differ with or expand upon a conclusion your doctor has drawn, especially if you do it respectfully. It’s not that you should ignore your professional advisors, but remember, it’s your body, and you know it and feel it better than anyone else, and ultimately you reap the rewards or pay the consequences of the decisions made, either by you or on your behalf. You can tip the scales in your favor by using common sense and following through on taking better care of yourself overall.
Clearly, in times of emergency, you need to change the balance and receive more input, but even in this situation, unless you are unable to participate, you should still play a major role in the direction of your own health and wellness care.
Putting together your team of health professionals will help you coordinate yours and your family’s health and wellness. Because the better the information you have to work with, the better decisions you can make. Developing communication among your advisors will coordinate the opinions you receive and give you the final word on what is in your family’s best interest.
The style of health care is changing, and each individual and family will be called upon to add more to health care delivery and to the conditions surrounding their own health and wellness. Stay current by reading, listening to and watching health related information, and put yourself at the top of your health and wellness decision-making team. Cause and Effect, your lifestyle effects your health. Your efforts will be repaid multifold in the form of a longer, better, less painful and more productive life.
Dr. Thomas Tuzzolino is SmartFem’s North Scottsdale Chiropractic Expert. Dr. Tuzzolino is committed to bringing you better health and a better way of life by teaching and practicing the true principles of chiropractic wellness care.
In the old days, people went to their doctors only when they were sick, usually very sick, received some advice and/or treatment, and then went home to heal, following the doctor’s instructions the best they could.
But in modern family health care, there is more to it. There are any number of health and wellness experts who don’t only help you through health crisis and emergency, but actually make recommendations about how to improve your quality of life and longevity, whether you are sick at this particular moment or not.
Developing a relationship with a team of wellness professionals is one smart way to do it, so you already have experts who know you and your family and can advise you properly, regardless of your current health status. But how do you select the right types of professionals, and once you know what you want, how do you pick someone you can count on?
Medical doctors have divided the body up into an assortment of specific specialties, with doctors whose primary focus might be the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the digestive system, or some other body part. The wellness process is a little different – you may still need a variety of specialists, but you start with the big picture – good body function.
Good body function comes from all the body parts working together in harmony, and that happens through the master system of the body, the brain and nerve system. So, you would want a chiropractor, who specializes in keeping the nerve system working well, to be on the team.
You want to keep your muscles, bones and ligaments healthy, and build strength and coordination, so you must include the right amount of the right kind of exercise, and you may need a personal trainer or exercise physiologist to help you there.
You may need to learn to deal effectively with stress, so you may want to have a massage therapist, meditation teacher, some bio feedback training or a counselor of some sort to help in that area. Often, exercise and good nutrition work hand in hand with stress-reduction techniques to create more inner peace and less irritability in common situations that might otherwise bother you.
When you improve your eating, resting, exercising, thinking, and get your body in better working order, especially your spine and nerve system that control the other systems, it is only logical that you will experience better quality of life – and that’s the point of developing relationships with trustworthy wellness professionals, to enjoy the best quality of life and greatest longevity possible.
Your investment of time, energy and capital in this process takes you closer to that end, so start building your team of wellness advisors now, and reap the rewards for the rest of your life.
Ask your chiropractor about his or her recommendations for lifestyle habits and decisions, and refine your personal and family choices to take you toward health and wellness. Many doctors of chiropractic offer a variety of these services and products in addition to their chiropractic care, while others choose to interface with other professionals in their area to provide their patients with these worthwhile experiences.
Whichever strategy you choose, appreciate the logic of a natural wellness approach, and decide which improvements you’re going to make in your habits and lifestyle choices to move yourself and your family in this rewarding and life-enriching direction.
Dr. Thomas Tuzzolino, of North Scottsdale Family Chiropractic is SmartFem’s featured health expert on Chiropractic Care.