Snap into Fitness

By Thomas Beranek, Snap Fitness

Everyone understands the holidays can be an easy time to eat more and gain the extra winter insulation that follows. While diet and exercise are important year-round, it’s important to acknowledge the middle of the holiday season is not the ideal time to start a new health regimen; stress is just as much an enemy of a waistline as a sedentary lifestyle.

Exercise is a proven stress reliever.  The central nervous system responds favorably to physical exercise, and regularly exercising to elevate the heart rate for at least 30 minutes three times a week has been shown to significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Yoga is a physical activity ideal for coping with the added stress of the holiday season.  In fact, yoga emphasizes stress reduction through self-reflection and breath control even with the most physically demanding tasks.  You are calmer, more centered, and more able to handle the day’s stressors after a session of yoga.

Don’t worry if you aren’t flexible or particularly coordinated. Yoga is not what is portrayed in the popular media.  Yoga is for everyone.  From the most petite to the burliest, yoga allows you to work up a healthy sweat for your physical fitness and an even healthier opportunity to quiet the stress in your life.

But it’s equally important to build a stress-relieving regimen before the holidays are knocking at the door and it’s suddenly impossible to imagine the time to step away and de-stress.  Taking the opportunity now to participate in a class and start a regular habit is the best way to manage the stress throughout the entire season.  Yoga offers a host of stress reducing-techniques in the classroom and beyond.

At Snap Fitness of Eau Claire, we offer a variety of yoga classes for every age, ability level, and physical goals: Gentle Yoga, Relax Yoga, and Power Yoga.  We avidly believe the benefits of yoga will help you reach your fitness goals while managing your stress.  Please stop by our new location at 1903 Keith Street, just down the road from Memorial High School, and attend a complimentary yoga class.  We can’t wait to help you through this stressful holiday season.

Exercise Your Health

By Julie Hasenberg, Highland Fitness

Is it “I’m stressed from the holidays, not sleeping, over-indulging, and not exercising season”? Coincidence? I don’t think so. When our bodies don’t receive the proper nutrition, rest, hydration, and are on high alert the majority of the time, a weakened immune system will occur, which makes us more susceptible to illness.“ You can’t underestimate the importance of good nutrition when it comes to your immune system,” says Karen Ansel, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics. “Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants—these are what keeps your body strong, and without them you’re not giving your body the edge it needs to ward off infection.”The number one thing we can do help our bodies function better is drink WATER! If you google “chronic dehydration,” you will find a long list of potential symptoms/illnesses due to lack of hydration. So carry a bottle of water with you…EVERYWHERE!

Rest and relaxation can do wonders for the body and more importantly for the brain. Try Yoga. Calming the brain has a direct effect on our body. At Highland Fitness we offer alignment restorative yoga. Vinyasa and Pilates at no charge with your membership. Exercising is crucial for physical and mental health, especially during the cold, dark months of winter. Exercise helps our mood, gives us energy, and strengthens our muscles. Schedule it just like a doctor appointment. You wouldn’t miss business appointments or kids’ activities, so grab a friend, co-worker, or trainer to be an accountability partner! So what happens if you’re exercising, eating healthy, and getting sleep, and you still end up with the grud? Richard Besser, MD, and chief health and medical editor at ABC News says, “Light to moderate activity may actually help you feel better.”  First Besser says to use the “neck rule.” If your symptoms are above the neck—sneezing, sinus pressure, stuffy nose—then breaking a sweat is generally safe. The best exercise is walking. Studies have shown that people who regularly work out tend to get sick less overall.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

By:  Dr. Emily Smith

Pregnancy can be an amazing experience as you watch your body develop to support your growing baby. Unfortunately, for many women the joy of pregnancy is overshadowed by pain and discomfort.  But pregnancy doesn’t need to be painful. Chiropractic care before, during, and after pregnancy can help to alleviate symptoms and allow for your body to function at its best during a time when it needs it the most.

Chiropractic care consists of adjustments made to correct the alignment of the spine, which allow for the nervous system to function without interference. There are a number of different techniques available, but it is important during pregnancy to choose a chiropractor who is trained (Diplomate and/or pregnancy certification) and experienced in providing care specific to this clientele. This ensures that you will have the best possible experience and optimal results.

There are many reasons why chiropractic care can be helpful during pregnancy, however symptoms/pain are not required. Pregnancy can make pain management a challenge because many medications are either contraindicated or not recommended for use during pregnancy due to unknown side effects. Addressing the source of the problem and correcting it can eliminate the symptoms and the need for medications. Some examples may include headaches, heartburn, constipation, insomnia, sciatica, back pain, carpal tunnel, and pain with certain movements. Getting adjusted throughout pregnancy can help to prevent/alleviate many of the common symptoms of pregnancy and allow for a more enjoyable experience.

Posture is particularly important during pregnancy, and chiropractic care can help to maintain it. Ideal posture allows for the weight of the head to be balanced with the ears aligned over the shoulders/hips/ankles.

• In pregnancy, the weight of the growing chest and abdomen encourage the head and shoulders to slump forward. This altered posture can lead to headaches and upper/mid-back pain, due to the muscle strain of trying to hold up the weight of the head. Knowing this, and consciously correcting this posture, can help to minimize symptoms.

• The rib cage goes through a lot of change as well, as it expands outward and moves upward to make more room for baby. This can lead to pain and difficulty taking deep breaths if the rib movement is not symmetrical.

• A pronounced low back curve is also common as the body struggles to maintain forward/backward balance. This can cause extra strain on the areas where the mid-back transitions into the low back and where the low back transitions into the pelvis. Proper movement at these spinal areas can minimize pain and decrease symptoms of constipation and sciatica.

• The alignment of the pelvis is vital in ensuring a safe passageway for baby to enter into the world. The laxity of ligaments, especially toward the end of pregnancy, makes it difficult to keep the pelvis positioned properly. Simple suggestions are to limit holding/carrying of children on the hip, sleep with a pillow between the knees, and avoid crossing the knees to avoid any unnecessary twisting of the pelvis. This attention will help reduce complications during labor, as well reduce labor time.

Pregnancy can, and should, be an enjoyable experience. Utilizing the expertise of a chiropractor can help prevent common pregnancy symptoms and aid in making labor/delivery a smooth process for mom and baby.

Dr. Emily Smith, DC, DICCP, is a chiropractic pediatric/pregnancy specialist.  Her office, Smith Chiopractic, LLC, welcomes pregnant patients and families at the Eau Claire and Menomonie locations.  To schedule an appointment call 715-833-3505 or for more information visit www.myECchiro.com.

Lose Weight with ChiroThin

By Dr James Appel, DC

The ChiroThin formula is physician created and has been specially blended to aid in boosting metabolism, suppressing hunger and cravings, reducing fat cell mass (the bad fat cells), reducing insulin resistance, increasing fullness, and detoxifying your body. ChiroThin is an all-natural amino acid. This is not an HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) diet.

ChiroThin is designed to teach you how to eat healthy. We do not have shakes or pre-packaged foods. No surgery or drugs. This is a safe and effective program to lose weight and keep it off. We are teaching people how to eat correctly, how to cook, and how to manage portion control.

Maintenance is one of the most important steps after you lose weight. This program is designed for you to maintain your weight loss every six weeks, for approximately three weeks. This is when our knowledge, experience, and emotional support are valuable.

This is one of the most affordable and effective programs around. Weekly one-on-one visits are required to check your progress. Personalized recommendations and a great support system foster improved compliance for better results more safely. Check out our website at appelchiropractic.com for more information.

Here is a testimonial of the program from Kelly in our office who tested the program before we brought it to the public:

“This is a very personal journey for me. I have battled being heavier my entire life. I have been on every diet you can imagine. I lose the weight to gain it back and never learn how to maintain it. I did not want to be that example for my children and continue this same lifestyle. Shakes and meal replacement plans are not the diet plan for me as they do not teach me how to live the rest of my life and keep the weight off. I want to be able to cook for my family and teach my children the correct ways to eat. In five months I have lost seventy pounds and fifty plus inches, I have dropped five pants sizes. I have completed over two months of maintenance without a weight gain. I have learned more in this program than I have ever learned on any other diet. I am eating healthy foods from the grocery store, cooking them correctly, and losing weight. I have never felt better about my weight loss, and I am very close to my goal, which I have never accomplished before”.

Dr. James Appel has been practicing chiropractic since 1980. A graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. His strongest attribute is his understanding of neck and back problems and how to quickly and successfully resolve these problems.

Yoga + Ayurveda = Robust Good Health in 2015

Happy New Year! Here we are again, January, a time of new beginnings and fresh starts. After all the holiday feasting, January arrives like a lovely winter stay-cation. For me it is a time to truly slow down, reflect, and to go within. It is also a time to renew and re-enliven my commitment to my good health! One way this happens for me is through yoga and her sister science, ayurveda.

Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning the “the science of life”  and is a system of natural health care that like yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago. An ayurvedic lifestyle balances body, spirit, and mind through nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle practices fostering stronger digestion, deeper sleep, and more robust health in general. By including a few basic ayurvedic practices into your daily routine, you can begin to make changes toward a more vital, more aware life.

The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj,” meaning “to join, unite, or yoke together.” By regularly including three fundamental aspects of yoga: exercise/movement (asana), breathing (pranayama), and meditation into your life you can enjoy a clear, bright mind and a strong, capable body.

Making yoga and ayurveda a regular part of your daily/weekly routine now will have direct and lasting healthful effects for the rest of your life. The best wisdom for this beginning or recommitment is simple — begin where you are now. Don’t try to begin where you wish you were, or where your friend is at. Take responsibility for your health and just start where you are. Take a weekly Beginners or Chair yoga class or starting a ten minute a day home practice, begin by picking three of the ayurvedic practices below and bringing them into the fold of your day to day.

In the beginning, it takes attention and commitment to make a new practice part of your daily life. However, as you feel better and better about the results, your priorities will naturally adjust to make space for it. Whether you’re choosing to add three morning asanas to start the day, ten minutes of breathing exercises after work, or eating regular home-cooked meals, once you have established your routine, it becomes a part of who you are and how you live!

Getting Started

Yoga: Start small, set moderate, realistic goals for yourself. One class a week (until June) or 10 minutes daily home practice (choose a regular time to practice each day) will be enough to experience benefits! It’s the quality of the time, not the quantity. If you miss a class or practice don’t be hard on yourself or give up altogether. Take a breath, recommit, and get back in the groove again. You may need extra support at first; set up a yoga buddy or teacher you can check in or practice with.

Ayurveda: Here are a range of great places to start including ayurveda in your life. Choose any 3-5 of these practices and commit to incorporating them into your daily routine for three months.

• Wake before dawn.

• Tongue scraping — Upon waking, gently scrape the tongue from the back forward, until you have scraped the whole surface for 7-14 strokes. This stimulates the internal organs, helps digestion, and removes dead bacteria.

• Drink a cup of warm water with a squeeze of lemon or lime first thing in the morning.

• Eliminate in the a.m. — try to sit on the toilet at around the same time each morning, this will help train the bowels.

• Yoga Asana — pick 3-5 that you enjoy, practice them 3-5 days a week.

• Pranayama — a simple 1:1 breathing exercise; inhale to the count of four, exhale to the count of four for 5 minutes a day.

• Lunch — try making lunch your main meal of the day without TV or computer.  Favor warm, cooked, and nourishing foods in the winter months. It is also best to sit while eating, eat mindfully, chew slowly (digestion begins in the mouth), enjoy light conversation or silence, sit for 5-10 minutes after eating, and enjoy a light walk afterwards.

• Supper — try eating before 6 p.m. and make supper, which comes from the word sup as in supplemental, a lighter meal followed by a little walk.

• Favor light reading, social activities, recreation in the evening and try to be off the computer by 7:30 p.m.

• Early to bed — try to be in bed, winding down by 9:30-10:00 p.m.

There are endless possibilities to growing more health and wholeness in your life. Yoga and ayurveda can help, and now is a beautiful place to begin! Here’s to your robust health in body and mind this year!

Tracy Chipman is a yoga instructor and Ayurveda Yoga Specialist based in Menomonie. Currently she teaches weekly drop-in classes at The CORE Menomonie, a {Going Within} winter yoga series, and offers Ayurveda Yoga Specialist consultations by appointment. For more information visit http://tlcyoga.weebly.com/