Life as an ogre isn’t all swamp splashing and baby eating, as you know if you’ve seen any of the films documenting the life of Shrek, America’s most beloved ogre. Fairy tales and story books have Americans believing ogres and countless other fantastical humanoids were innately strong in their day – born to super human strength and endurance. Consequently, they believe similar “truths” of strong and able bodies of this day and age. Shrek would be the first to tell you that there’s a direct correlation between his health and happiness and three basic truths about his existence. Those three truths are as follows.
- Shrek hunts and forages for food.
- He comes and goes where his feet take him.
- Shrek must protect and defend his home and territory.
Have you figured out where I’m going with this yet? You don’t get a body like Shrek without working for it. Period. Regardless of whether or not it’s the body you want, you earn the body you have. The fact of the matter is, in this day and age, the realities of every day living are quite different from 16th century times when ogres like Shrek roamed the earth. (They still roam the earth of course, but they’re confined to hidden swamps and underground caves - In hiding, completely repulsed and overwhelmed by the sense of entitlement sweeping the globe. If there were enough of them they’d wipe us off the planet, no doubt.) Population growth, urbanization and demographic transition have taken the three truths of Shrek’s existence and turned many of us into lazy, entitled, confused and unhappy human beings. How do we get back on track? Easy. Save your own life with these 3 tips.
- Be consciously aware of what, when and how you put food into your body. Hunting, scavenging and foraging hold little appeal for me, personally, but I still have two hands with which I prepare and cook my food. You can do the same. Preparing your own food has countless health benefits.
- Move with intention. If your primary means of transportation isn’t your feet or legs and you’re in a position to make a switch, make that switch. Walking, riding a bike, long boarding, whatever – commute another way. If your destination is less than a mile away, stay off the bus, leave the car in the driveway and save even more gas by leaving your fuel efficient scooter at home. Those of us not in a position for such a lifestyle switch need to make the effort to move the legs for 30 minutes every day. Too much to ask? Imagine yourself telling that to a caveman. Laughable.
- Make your home a sanctuary. Protecting your home and defending your territory like Shrek doesn’t easily translate to 21st century America. But if you take pride in your dwelling, maintaining its appearance, structure and cleanliness, you will live a healthier, more fulfilling life. Rid your house and your life of toxins that cause mental, physical or emotional stress – be it abusive lovers or harmful substances.
Follow my three foolproof tips for bettering your health and wellness (adapted from the lessons I’ve learned from Shrek’s exemplary example) and your existence on this earth will improve dramatically. It’s that or go on being a skeptic, a pessimist, a doom and gloomer. Do nothing, come and go as you are, wait until you think you’ve read the perfect formula and then act. Wait for life to hand you happiness. whack, whack, whack. I’m banging my head against the wall here! Change isn’t easy. I know that. Change comes slowly then suddenly. Producing results is uncomfortable. But you earn the body and the life you lead so stand up and take pride in what you have to show for yourself or take the necessary steps to do so. Your fitness is at stake. Not all star athlete fitness, not super human Shrek fitness, but fitness for life. How fit are you for life?
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What does it mean to be flexible? Flexibility is a measure of one’s ability to operate their joints and muscles through normal range of motion without injury. Check yourself. Take 10-15 minutes and move every joint in your body. Explore your range of motion to the fullest extent. Are you shocked to discover stiffness? pain? discomfort? Are you tight in the shoulders? Does standing upright against a wall require effort or force? Can you snow angel your arms overhead maintaining contact with the wall? If you think flexibility is just for gymnasts, think again. Move your joints daily and reclaim the range of motion you’re losing living a static lifestyle because there’s more at stake than tight muscles. When your muscles pull your skeleton out of alignment you’re inviting nerve interference to wreak havoc on your health.
Warm up Chest Opener
Warming up a muscle prior to stressing it out with a heavy load is always a good idea so before you drop and give me 20, try the following chest exercise to loosen the pecs.
Swing the arms
The easiest exercise to loosen the chest muscles is a no equipment necessary, do anywhere dynamic stretch. Simply opening and closing the arms, moving with intention, is enough to get the pectorals loose. As the gentleman to the right is demonstrating, when the arms cross in front of the chest, alternate which arm crosses over the top. When the arms go back (not shown) the elbows press back and squeeze while the arms remain parallel to the earth. Arms retain a slight bend throughout. Feel the chest cavity open and close. Using your chest muscles is all it takes to loosen the chest and lubricate the necessary joints. Little work is being done but that’s all a warm up is – using the muscles you’re going to tax so they aren’t coming into the workout cold.
Sometimes I like to swing my arms like limp noodles, backward and forward, focusing on popping my chest out, then letting it cave as I squeeze my back muscles and throw my arms behind me. Focusing on the opening and closing is effective for warming up the chest and back. With stronger clients I generally warm up the chest by having the individual perform 10-15 inclined pushups against a countertop or bar.
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Heavy Headed. Your head, when sitting perfectly atop your skeleton, exerts a specific and measurable force upon your spine and nervous system. A forward head posture changes that force and the added impact stresses out the joints of your spine – where nerves flow in and out. When the structure that houses your nervous system is under postural attack, nerve flow is impinged. Vertebrae squeeze and misalign, subluxations result. Forget sloppy posture and sore upper back and neck muscles, your nervous system is in distress! When nerve flow between the brain and your muscles, organs, and tissues is interrupted, any number of health concerns can arise. So ask yourself, how heavy is your head?
To demonstrate the effect, think of giving a young child a ride on your shoulders. When the child sits upright, holding onto your skull without squirming, you feel balanced and confident in your skeleton’s ability to hold you both upright. When the child leans, in any direction, you immediately feel unstable. Muscles contract, some spasm even, to keep you both from toppling. Imagine the effects of holding that adapted posture for an extended period of time. No thank you!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country. One in four die from heart disease.
The number one reason people are dying every day in the land of the free is heart failure. Their hearts are giving out on them. But why? They’re not so happy that their hearts are exploding – one child’s interpretation of the situation. And they aren’t love starved, either, in this land of plenty. The term “heart disease” refers to several heart conditions but the most common kind of heart disease in the US is coronary heart disease, or coronary artery disease. Plaque builds in arteries blocking oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart - that’s why people die from heart attacks, heart failure, and arrhythmias every single day. But why?
How does the plaque get into the arteries in the first place? Conscious and willing, educated and able-bodied Americans are putting it in there. What you put into your body directly affects the health of the systems and organs within your body. Think beyond the taste buds for a week and you’ll see and feel how very brainwashed you are by fats and sweets. It’s a crisis in this country, it really is. Here we are in the home of the brave, where we have all the tools and resources we need to take care of ourselves and the freedom to do it, yet we lack the courage to maintain good health.
Roughly one in three people are affected by low back pain. Why? Poor posture is misaligning spinal cords everywhere. There are three natural curves in the spine – the cervical, thoracic and lumbar curves. When our posture is out of whack – when we’re slumping, slouching, hunched, or rounded – the curves of the spine don’t bend as they were intended. Taking the spine out of alignment is one sure fire way to stress your system.
Ever ask yourself what happens when the vertebrae don’t stack up they way they were intended? For one, your low back starts to hurt. It might be time for a review of the nervous system but suffice it to say supporting your lumbar curve in a seated position will bring your low back support and comfort like you’ve never felt before. Prepare for instant low back relief. You don’t have to live with the shooting pains associated with your 40hr desk job.
There are many kinds of back supports on the market. Take a trip to your local chiropractor’s office and check out their selection. You’ll start to feel better and even improve your posture over time because you’ll train your body how best to sit for optimal function . If you can find it, I highly recommend the QiPillow, sometimes also referred to as the Qi Orthopedic Pillow. It’s pronounced chi pillow and I can’t sit down without mine.
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When the waist size of a woman is 35 inches or larger in circumference, there is a heightened risk of developing heart disease. A man is at risk when his waist size exceeds 40 inches. But how do those waist statistics measure up in pant sizes? What is a healthy pant size for a woman? Healthy pant size for a man? Excess weight stresses blood vessels and harms the heart - measuring your waist is a great way to keep the scale in hiding and stay on top of maintaining a healthy weight.
Women’s apparel sizing can be tricky since most manufacturers have their own standards for sizes. The charts below do a pretty good job of giving women a rough idea of pant size relative to waist measurement – note I put the Misses Sizes and Plus Sizes charts side by side. Sizes to the left of the circled 35″ (size 14W) are healthier pant sizes than those circled to the right, leading you to believe more American women have a healthy waist size than American women who do not right? Well the Center of Disease Control reports that the average waist size for women in America is actually 37.5 inches, the same size already circled. Not good, America. The average size of women is too large!
Men’s jeans and pants are typically available in sizes 28 to 44. Size corresponds to inches. A healthy waist size for a man is 40 inches so a healthy pant size is a size 40 or smaller. The average pant size for an American man over the age of 20 years old is a size 40. Uh oh.
Scary Take Away: The average waist size of American men and women is on the rise and heart disease is claiming more lives every year. When using waist measurement as an estimate of health, the smaller the waist, the lower the risk of hard disease.
True resting heart rate is obtained first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed and when your body couldn’t be more relaxed and still be conscious. If you’re looking to find your resting heart rate, don’t wait until after you’ve had a cup of coffee and you’re relaxing in your pajamas. Don’t head to the bathroom and pop your morning meds first, either. Take your heart rate right when you wake up, before your feet even hit the floor. Do it for three days in a row, looking for consistency to gauge the true accuracy of your reading. IF you’re looking to be super accurate. If you’re only looking for a rough idea, find your resting heart rate any waking hour – just give your body five minutes in a seated, relaxed state to prepare first.
Hey! If you ask me how to take your pulse and how to measure your resting heart rate, my method of measurement won’t change. Remember that the only difference between how you take your resting heart rate and how you take your pulse is how relaxed you are when you do it.
Taking your Pulse can be done literally anywhere and everywhere. Your heart beat is measured in beats per minute (bpm) so all it takes is a focused effort counting heart beats.
Put 1 minute on the clock and choose an artery.
- Find a good strong heart beat by placing two fingers over either your radial artery (on the underside of your wrist, in the valley closest to your thumb) or your carotid artery (just below the jaw line not far from your ear).
- When you feel a good strong pulse, start the timer. Count for a solid minute (60 seconds) to get the most accurate read, or count your pulse for ten seconds and multiply by 6.
- The longer you count the more accurate your heart rate reading will be.
What do you do for head pain?
Chronic headaches - recurring head aches that vary from mild to moderate and last for hours, days or even weeks - are not cured with medication. When we pop Ibuprofen or Advil to deal with such headaches, it’s to loosen the tight band of pressure around the head, calm the dull ache at the base of the skull or ease the crushing squeeze at the temples. Medication is all about treating symptoms and when it comes to headaches, that’s all most people think to do. “Oh I get headaches all the time,” you’ll hear people say casually. Why surrender to head pain? Headaches aren’t happenstance, they happen for a reason. If you suffer from headaches, start to probe at the root cause. Already have but to no avail? Have you tried calling a chiropractor?
Chiropractic Treats the Underlying Cause, Not the Symptoms
Chiropractors know that chronic headaches are often associated with misaligned vertebrae, or subluxations of the spine. When the vertebrae in your spine are misaligned, nerve flow is impinged. Chiropractors are trained in clearing those subluxations and restoring healthy nerve flow. Clearing nerve interference returns the body to a state of optimal function. If the patterns of nerve interference are old, working out the subluxations can take time and multiple adjustments. The newer the subluxations the easier it is for the body to self-correct with the aid of chiropractic adjustment. If you have recurring headaches, see a chiropractor sooner rather than later. Relief from chronic headaches starts with a clear nervous system.
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Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for protecting physical and mental health. Among its many host of benefits, Omega 3s get their claim to fame for reducing inflammation. Inflammation damages blood vessels and can lead to heart disease. Many people turn to the omega 3s in fish oil to lower inflammation which not only helps their heart, it can alleviate joint pain and reduce high blood pressure too. Our bodies regularly need a healthy supply of omega 3 fatty acids to support daily bodily functions like cell growth and blood clotting.
If you’re no stranger to big brown fish oil capsules, you can probably guess people’s number one complaint with fish oil as a source of omega 3s. It’s the burpy, post-supplement, fishy after taste. Burping up the smell and catching that unpleasant taste of fish oil long after ingesting the supplement is enough to turn some people away from the golden brown capsules for good. Know that you have an alternative! Fish oil isn’t the only source for omega 3 fatty acids.
Antarctic krill are tiny shrimp-like crustaceans rich in omega 3 fatty acids. (Tiny creature, gigantic role in the global food chain). Krill oil is digested by our bodies differently than fish oil and scientists believe it may be more readily absorbed. Whether that’s the case or not, the word on the street is that because it’s absorbed differently, you don’t burp up a fishy taste after taking krill oil. Cool, huh? Totally worth a try if you’re not getting your omega 3s elsewhere.