Why practicing good posture is NOT important.

If some of you are reading this and scratching your head as to where the heck do I get off saying that practicing good posture isn’t important, hear me out first. Naturally having good posture is a sign of a healthy functional brain and body. Posture is supposed to be a subconscious product of good proprioception (meaning your brain knows where your joints are in space), balance, coordination, and muscular function. Poor posture is a symptom of one or all of these areas being weak. Thinking that we can change our posture by consciously moving our body into the position we think it should be in totally misses the underlying problem.

Since having perfect posture is a sign of perfect balance and coordination, if we want to have good posture (and all of us should strive for that goal) then we have to start at the source.

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If you have to sit all day sit on a ball…preferably outside. LOL

DrTadSchexnailder 41. Work on your balance. Please refer to my previous blog post about balance, but to sum it up; Balance is the foundation under the neurological function of coordination. If you want the coordination of good posture then balance must be practiced and maintained. Just so you know that I am practicing what I preach; nearly every day I stand on a fit-ball and do slow steady squats. I am currently working on the ability to stand and squat on the ball with my eyes closed.  I also practice on a wobble board with my eyes closed and when I sit to write these blogs it is on a fit-ball.

DON'T stretch the areas of your body that stay stretched all day.
DON’T stretch the areas of your body that stay stretched all day.

2. Stretch, but think first! Stretching is good only if the muscles you are stretching need to be elongated. For instance, if your job requires you to sit all day then stretching your back, buttocks, top of your hips, back of your neck and shoulders is counter productive. They get stretched all day long!

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Instead, think about the muscles that are shortened by sitting with your arms in front of you like the front of your hips, your chest, your stomach, the front of your neck, the back of your knees. These are the muscles that need to be reminded to lengthen while the opposite muscles that need to be compress and shorten.

 

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3. Relax and do it regularly. Get a massage, meditate, or join a yoga class. Remember, every muscle has an opposite in the body. When one moves its opponent must relax in cooperation. Relaxation is the key to efficient effective movement as well as strength and flexibility. If you are fighting your opposing muscles plus gravity then you will not be able to maintain good posture. Relaxation is a practice and unless we do it regularly we can’t expect to do it well.

4. Practice good breathing techniques. Take slow deep breaths all the way down to your belly button. Short shallow breathing is a contributing factor not only to poor posture but also to neck pain, shoulder pain, memory loss, and anxiety.

5. Get lots of rest, exercise, water, and sunshine. Without these, depression is sure to follow. Anyone can spot a depressed person by their posture: shoulders forward, head down, slouching. Never underestimate the effect emotions have on our body. Set yourself up for emotional health by keeping yourself active and passionate about life. Thinking positively is good but it is hard to do so in an unhealthy body.

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6. Feed your brain. Eat lots of healthy fats and proteins while eliminating artificial colors, sweeteners, and preservatives.

7. Get regularly checked for subluxations by your chiropractor. A subluxation is a joint that is slightly chiropractic_symbol_fwdisplaced or moving in a way that causes distortion of the information coming to or leaving the brain. Unless you can move one back bone at a time then you might need some help. Your chiropractor is specially trained to do just that. Due to the amazing adaptation ability of our bodies, subluxations usually go unnoticed until they build up to the point where our bodies start to get overwhelmed. Don’t wait for the symptoms of pain or disease. Get checked and adjusted (if need be) BEFORE it causes dysfunction in other tissues.

8. Balance your brain. This is possibly more important than practicing balance with our body. A happy healthy brain increases the likelihood that we will have a happy healthy life AND body, since the brain controls the body and all. Do a cross crawl exercise where you move your arm and opposite leg in unison (Such as Right arm, Left leg). Work out both hemispheres of the brain like doing math or cross words for the left hemisphere and doing creative writing or dancing for the right. There are lots of new web sites out there that turn brain exercises into games.

Remember that posture is a symptom of brain function. Don’t focus on the symptoms and ignore the problem. As with anything health related, start from above down and from inside out.

Much Love and always stay adjusted, my friends!

Dr. Tad

Balance ~ A foundational component of your health

So this is my first official blog post. Yay! I can think of no other topic more relevant or foundational in correcting many of the problems our society faces today.

DrTadSchexnailder 2Most of the time when we read something about balance, it mostly has to do with making sure our lives are balanced, our activities are balanced, our thoughts are balanced, our relationships are balanced…. All these are all good things to do, no doubt. However none of these will be accomplished without first addressing the system that controls ALL functions of our body, the nervous system.

The more we practice our balance the more we continue to reinforce proper brain function as well as communication in our nervous system. As a child develops, the higher potions of their brain matures after and in direct relation to the ability to balance. Balance develops first! Connect the dots: keeping our balance strong will keep our coordination and brain function strong for as long as possible.

How to keep physical balance strong:

  1. Make it fun! Any chance that we have to walk, run, jump, bounce, or wiggle should be taken and done with joy and curiosity.
  2. Do more things bare foot. It is a work out for our feet. Our feet are really important for balance and posture of the whole body. Relying on arch support in shoes too often eliminates the need to use our foot muscles. As muscles go; use it or loose it.
  3. Sit less but if you have to sit make it a challenge. You can sit on a fit-ball, an inflatable cushion on your current chair, OR you could rearrange your work space to be able to stand rather than sit
  4. Do things with your eyes closed. When we practice balance with our eyes closed we are relying only on the information sent to our brain from our muscles, joints, and inner ear. If all of these are strong then we will never have to worry about falling or injuring ourselves in regular everyday activities.
  5. Pick up your toes. Keep all of your weight between your heels and the balls of your feet so that your toes are free to move.DrTadSchexnailder 9 Test yourself; when you think about it while you are standing, wiggle your toes. If you have to shift your weight to do so then you know you are off balance.
  6. Practice relaxation. When one muscle tenses, the opposing muscle has to relax in order for you to move in any way. True balance and strength are 50% relaxation.
  7. Feed your nervous system and your muscles. Talk to a nutritionist about healthy fats and proteins that are vital for brain health. Eliminate excess sugar, artificial colors, artificial flavors and preservatives as these are toxic to the brain and nervous system. Some simple suggestions are raw nuts, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, fresh organic free range meets and eggs, lentils, quinoa, and a big serving of raw organic vegetables on a regular basis.
  8. Stretch. Can you touch your ear to your shoulder without raising your shoulder? If you can’t then start stretching. Lateral bending is important for  healthy spinal curves which are vital for balance and posture.
  9. Get other people involved! We are social creatures and we need human interaction. Get a massage, stretch with some friends, challenge your kids to a balance contest, or join a yoga class. Do something for your health that involves other people and you will be surprised at how fun it can be.
  10. Get adjusted by your chiropractor.  Keeping all of your joints moving properly is an important part of brain health, balance, and posture.

Much Love!

Dr. Tad


What are your thoughts? How do you practice balance? Leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you!

Work Out While Preventing Injuries -Part 1 of 3

This series of blog post is intended to give the basic principles of a healthy workout to prevent injury in the short and long term. Whether you are a hard core gym rat or you just decided to take some steps toward greater health this will help you out. I am laying out the principles — NOT telling you what or how to do things. There is no perfect workout for everyone but if you follows these principles and apply them to the workout that you choose, then you will not only get the maximum benefit but you will also save yourself from getting hurt.

If you take nothing else away from this series take this: THINK!!!!- Any workout starts in the brain and the body follows.

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A muscle, no matter how strong, is useless if the brain cannot fully control it in the way it was designed to function. A balanced brain leads to a balanced, functional body that looks and feels great.

Unfortunately most people follow what is commonly called “gym-science” in which the biggest guy at the gym must know the most science. This is flawed because, with a few exceptions, body building is a very unhealthy sport. Having lots of overdeveloped muscles leads to more problems and less functionality in the long run. Work out for function not vanity. The healthier you are on the inside the better you will look on the outside. As chiropractic philosophy states; health flows from above down and from inside out.

  1.  Work out your connective tissue before your muscles.  Ligaments and tendons take 3x as long as muscles to strengthen. That is why strains and sprains are the most common reason people stop activity. So especially when you first start to work out do low weight and high repetitions for a few months before you even think about lifting heavy weights. The saying “go heavy or go home” is a fantastic way to get hurt, so you will likely have to actually “go home” for a while.
  2. Spend at least 10 minutes to warm up and cool down with dynamic stretching before and after each workout.  Dynamic stretching means you move your joints only with the muscles that are supposed to move them in a rhythmic motion. Static stretching where you push a joint till you feel a stretch and hold it there for 10 to 15 seconds is OK but only AFTER a workout. If you take a joint and push it passed the normal range of motion before workout then you are setting yourself up for an injury.  To get the benefits of dynamic and static stretching add yoga to your workout. But keep in mind that it is a workout in and of itself. So on yoga days don’t go out and lift heavy right after a long session.
  3. Work out your extensors 2x as much as your flexors and stretch your flexors 2x as much as your extensors.  musclesFvsEFlexor muscles pull our arms and legs toward the center of our body and they pull the center of our body into a fetal type position.  Extensor muscles, on the other hand, pull us into an upright posture and pull our arms and legs away from the center of our body.  Now most things we do in this society involve sitting in a flexed posture or reaching down or in front and thus use our flexors.  Does it really  ake sense to continue to work out our flexors since we use them so often in every day activities? Think about this; babies are born being flexor dominant and develop their extensors in conjunction with the frontal cortex of their brains, where our ability to reason occurs.  As adults, our extensors are supposed to be stronger than our flexors and our frontal cortex is supposed to be stronger than the lower, more animalistic centers of our brains. There is a reason that the stereotypical “meat head” has a low IQ and is easily angered. (If you would like to do more research on the connection between upright posture and brain health look up Dr. Uner Tan Senior Researcher, Department of Physiology, Medical School, Cukurova University, Adana, Turkey. You can start with this interesting PDF @ http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/2051587/214865967/name/REFLECTIONS+OF+A+SCIENTIST.pdf%20)  Regardless of what you start out with, over developing the flexors will lower the ability to reason and increase the likelihood of emotional reactions. Our flexors are mostly on the front of our body from the waste up and on the back of our legs below our butt. Our gluts, butt muscles, are one of the most important extensors to work out. So think about what position your body spends most of the day in, then work out in ways that oppose that position. For example; if you sit at a computer most of the day it would be wise to work out doing squats, lunges, rows, and pull-ups. Avoid doing sit-ups, bench press, and bicep or leg curls. Take extra time throughout the day to stretch your chest, biceps, front of your hips, and the front of your neck.
  4. Balance is the key to correct technique and posture. Here is the hard truth to swallow for most guys who want to lift heavy weights: If you can’t lift the weight while balancing on a fit-ball, Bosu-ball, or wobble board then, no matter what your posture looks like on the ground or sitting, you can’t lift the weight correctly. When you lift weights while balancing you eliminate the use of your core muscles to move the weight because they are fully engaged in their real job, balance, which is really correct posture. This leaves only your outer “movement” muscles to lift the weights unassisted. So not only are you working your core muscles the way they are supposed to be worked but you are also getting the maximum out of the muscles you are targeting with the lift, even though the weight will be necessarily lighter in the beginning  It is hard to have bad posture when you are standing on a fit-ball. No one should do any exercise while sitting EVER because it requires no balance!

Stay tuned for part 2 where we will talk about how much exercise you really “need” and how to accomplish your work out goals most efficiently.

As always… Much Love and stay adjusted, my friends!

Dr. Tad Schexnailder DC

Vitalistic Chiropractor