energy

What's Stealing Your Energy? Part 2 - Posture

Bad posture is only cute on cats.

Bad posture is only cute on cats.

We've probably all heard the request to "sit up straight" and have "good posture" at some point, but it's easy to forget just how important good posture is. When you come in to the office to get adjusted, we fix your alignment, remove subluxations, and help re-balance your muscles. But outside of the office it is up to you to practice good posture along with the stretches and strengthening exercises we may have prescribed you. Having good posture is part of your care outside of your chiropractic adjustments. Practicing proper posture not only makes you feel and look better, but it will also help you increase the length of time between adjustments and will train your body to maintain proper alignment longer. Additionally, having good posture improves your energy through out the day.

Whether you're standing or seated, slumping forward and rounding your shoulders not only makes you look and feel less confident, but also makes you more tired by slowing your digestion and reducing your tidal volume (breath capacity). It also puts extra strain on the muscles and joints of the lower back, upper back and neck which can lead to quicker joint degeneration and chronic pain.

Good posture: shoulders over hips, shoulder blades down and back, chin parallel to the floor, ears over shoulders.

Good posture: shoulders over hips, shoulder blades down and back, chin parallel to the floor, ears over shoulders.

If you find yourself sitting for the majority of your day, you will also likely feel more tired than you would if you were able to move and stand more. Many recent studies have stated how bad sitting all day is for you. Fortunately, other studies have shown that getting up just once an hour for 5 minutes and walking - even as slow as 2mph - can reverse the negative effects of sitting. Consider setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up, stretch, walk around, or just check in on your posture.

When you catch yourself slouching, stand up or take a stretch break to open your chest: Place your hands behind your head.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together, bringing your elbows back as far as possible.

Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Relax and slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat 2-3 times.

Once you start practicing proper posture, it will become a habit and slouching will no longer feel normal or comfortable. So start getting the benefits of good posture today: decrease and prevent pain and increase your energy!

 

Image credits: sicknesshealth.com; blog.bufferapp.com; ehs.utoronto.ca, respectively.

What's Stealing Your Energy? Part 1 - Your diet

Everyone has days where they feel tired and unmotivated, but if you find yourself feeling tired nearly every day and need copious amounts of caffeine to get you going, chances are there may be something you're doing (or not doing) that is zapping your energy. Over the next few posts, we will explore some of the things that may be making you feel less than your best and how you can change your routine to feel refreshed and energized through out your day.

Your Diet

Energy zapper #1: Simple Sugar

You are probably familiar with the "sugar high" that is obtained after eating simple sugars (think pastries, candy, etc) followed by the subsequent "crash". This is because consuming simple sugars and foods with a high glycemic index leads to a rapid spike in insulin followed by a subsequent "crash". Say you eat a cupcake. You get a sudden blast of sugar into your blood stream and it must be moved somewhere, it can't just hang out there or it will cause damage. This is where insulin comes in. It grabs the sugars and transports them to your muscles. Insulin usually gets a little over zealous though, and takes your blood sugar down to a low level - sometimes even lower than it was BEFORE you ate. This accounts for the "crash" feeling you get after the initial high. Besides avoiding the obvious high-sugar foods like pastries and candies, watch out for "hidden" sugar in seemingly healthy foods like flavored yogurt and energy bars. Look for items with 5g of sugar or fewer.

Energy zapper #2: not eating frequently enough

Eating every 3-4 hours (or 5-6 times a day) helps maintain stable blood sugar and ensures you have enough energy through out your day. That being said, eating frequently does not mean eat whatever you want - portion control is key. Of course, the amount of nutrients and total calories that are needed varies greatly from person to person depending on age, gender, and activity level, but aim for a combination of protein, complex carbs, and good fats to keep you satisfied. The info graphic below shows some very simple examples.

Some examples of 6 small but balanced snacks

Some examples of 6 small but balanced snacks

Energy zapper #3: Too much caffeine

This seems counter intuitive at first because caffeine is a stimulant that can enhance your mental and physical performance. But like other stimulants, it is a drug that your body builds a tolerance to. This requires you to continually up your dose to feel the same effects. The added caffeine puts stress on your adrenal glands and can actually make you more tired. Consider taking a 2-3 day caffeine hiatus every month or so to reset your caffeine tolerance.

Next week we will be discussing posture and how it affects your digestion, breath, and energy level. Stay Tuned!