One of the most common questions we get is – DOCTOR WHAT EXERCISES SHOULD I DO?
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This is a tricky question as prescribed exercises to support your Chiropractic care is not a “one size fits all” situation. Every patient is different, and so our recommendations will vary from patient to patient. In general, the exercises we prescribe take very little time and are painless. It is also worth mentioning that all exercises have been proven not to work if you don’t do them!
Exercise helps the human body in numerous ways. The most obvious benefits from exercise are physical. Exercise keeps you young, fit and mobile. The benefits of exercise are far reaching and often under estimated. In fact, according to the article in the Journal of Applied Physiology (March 2016) a new study has demonstrated how most health monitoring devises under calculate the number of calories burned. This journal also described how exercise keeps the body young. If you continue to exercise as you age, it slows the aging process. The Journal of Neurology (March 2016) detailed how exercise is linked to improved brain function in seniors. Exercise is also incredibly valuable by reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease in older adults (Journal of Neuroscience FEB 2016).
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Exercise can also affect our mental outlook. Regular Physical Activity has been linked to improved mental health (Journal of Neuroscience FEB 2016). Exercise has been shown to improve one’s outlook on life (Cognition and Emotion April 2016). Exercise is so effective at improving moods that the Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week to fight stress.
Without exercise we lose flexibility which can result in pain and stiffness. A stiff or inflexible spine will hinder your body’s range of motion and mobility. Without movement in your spine everyday activities become increasingly challenging. There are three areas to keep in mind while working to improve your overall health: strengthening, aerobic exercise, and stretching.
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Posture and movement are very important in pain prevention. Our spines are designed to carry the weight of our body efficiently & effectively. When you do not exercise you lose strength and put unnecessary stress on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments (what holds the body together and upright). Exercise strengthens the body, which helps to maintain a healthy spine.
Aerobic activity is very important to Cardiovascular and Musculoskeletal fitness. We recommend swimming and walking as great options for low impact aerobic activities. If you have access to a pool, swimming is a great exercise option. Swimming removes the force of gravity on your spine, and the water provides resistance. Another option is a brisk walk for at least 20-30 minutes at a sustained pace. Walking is a popular and convenient activity. There are many forms of exercise and they all can be beneficial. Pick an exercise that you enjoy and DO IT. The important point here is to move!!!!
Stretching is an important (often overlooked) component of exercise. Stretching helps with flexibility, which will decrease pain. Stretching increases blood and the flow of nutrients to the affected area. Increased flexibility assists in the maintenance of correct posture. Improved flexibility will improve your ability to do physical activities. It can also decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion. Strong and flexible muscles are able work and play at optimal capacity. By increasing blood flow, stretching brings needed nutrients to the muscle to help with healing and recovery. We can help you with specific stretches that focus on the muscles that are the most affected by your lifestyle.
Our office specializes in active care as it helps patients to get better faster. By improving the patients range of motion and addressing muscle function we are speeding up recovery and avoiding a relapse. Some patients may receive a set of simple “exercises” or maneuvers to do at home. Some injuries may require the use of specialized equipment to isolate and strength areas of the spine. Also, when combined with chiropractic care, exercise can assist with digestion, keeps muscles toned and helps promote better circulation.
An active lifestyle involving regular moderate physical activity has been found to protect against the incidence of lower back pain among middle age to the elderly.
Muscular and aerobic exercises and stretches are very important for strength, mobility, and balance of your body. Your muscles control how you move, and what you do. Our office can help you set up a customized regiment to help support your recovery.
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