All posts by Matt Mayston

Summer Health

Warmer and longer days in the summer can cause to relax into a ‘school’s out’ attitude, where you can experience a drop in your energy levels. Or you could be having so much fun in the sun that you forget to take care of yourself. Either way the willpower to engage in practices vital for a healthy lifestyle gets pushed to the back of your mind.

With summer comes the possibility of health issues such as dehydration, heat stroke, tiredness, upset stomach and bacterial infections. Make sure you’re on track for a happy and healthy summer with these six wellness practices that allow you to enjoy a season full of fun.

  1. Make Sure You’re Hydrated

Properly hydrating is important any time of the year, but in the summer heat our bodies lose water at a rapid rate. It is essential to replenish the lost water in order to stay hydrated. Aim to drink about two-thirds of your body weight in kilos, in ounces of water each day, eg if you are 60kgs in weight then you should drink around 60 ounces (around four pints) of water a day.

  1. Add More Fruits and Veggies to Your Diet

Eating fruit and vegetables every day will benefit your overall summer health as they’re rich in fiber, minerals, antioxidants, vitamins and other heart-healthy agents.

Try out berries, watermelon, cucumber, mangoes, sweet corn, celery, oranges and plums as each is in season.

  1. Eat Lighter

Did you know that your stomach takes longer to digest foods when the weather is hotter?

Try not to consume too much food this summer by opting for lighter meals/portions and snacks (especially at night).

  1. Get Your Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in modern society for reasons like sunscreen and our indoor lifestyles.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient needed to support your bodily functions — from bone health to your immune system to your mood. Though most of the nutrients our body needs are available via the food we eat, vitamin D is primarily acquired via sun exposure.

  1. Be Good to Your Eyes

To protect your vision at work and at play, wear protective sunglasses to block your eyes from the harsh rays of the sun. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B rays.

  1. Develop an Exercise Routine

The warmer summer months are a great time to start a new exercise routine. Try swimming, walking, hiking, cycling, jogging and other outdoor activities this summer! This will help keep your body and mind aligned.

Practice these six tips for a happier and healthier summer!

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Swim for Your Health

Swim for Your Health

Floating, front crawl, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke or freestyle – no matter how you get around in the water, swimming is the perfect cardio workout. The benefits of swimming are vast and regular pool attendance can improve your overall health.

Here are 6 amazing benefits of swimming:

  1. It’s a full-body workout

One of the major benefits of swimming is that when you jump into the pool, you work your entire body. You may think it’s only your arms and legs being worked, but that’s not the case. Swimming increases your heart rate without stressing your body, tones muscle, builds strength, builds endurance and engages almost all of your back muscles.

30 minutes in a pool is worth 45 minutes of activity of similar intensity on land.

  1. It’s easy on your joints

Another benefit of swimming is that water supports up to 90 percent of the body’s weight. Your joints only have to deal with 10 percent of their usual weight load, which lowers your chance of injury. So, if you have mobility issues with land-based exercise, you may still be able to swim to stay active. You can perform a high intensity swimming workout to get your heart rate up or perform a relaxed routine if that’s more your vibe. Either way, it’s unlikely to aggravate your joints and will help your overall health.

This makes swimming a great option for people of all ages and skill levels.

  1. It burns up calories

Since swimming is a full body workout, it is one of the most effective ways to burn calories! Swimming at a relaxed pace burns around 200 calories in just half an hour (the same amount of calories as jogging without the joint stress). And if you are a faster swimmer, you would burn even more!

  1. You can swim every day

Many people swim everyday seeing that it is gentle enough on the body that you can swim at a reasonably high intensity (heart rate-wise) every day without risking injury. Of course, rest days are always recommended.

  1. It improves your mental health

We can all agree that life gets hard and stressful, swimming regularly can reduce anxiety and depression and lower your stress levels. When swimming, it’s just you and the water; the outside world is left outside the pool. You can’t scroll on Instagram, respond to business emails, or whatever you do in your digital time, so your brain naturally switches away from these. Swimming forces you to power down from constant digital stimulation and relax your mind.

  1. It helps you get better sleep

Swimming has been linked to improved sleep duration and better sleep quality. We need sleep to allow our body and brain to recharge for the days ahead of us. Plenty of sleep also helps your body remain healthy and fight off diseases. When swimming regularly, plus good sleep time, you can improve your quality of life and mood.

Remember, regular swimming will improve both your health and outl

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Growing pains

Growing pains can go hand-in-hand with growing up, and they are something that many children experience. Although they are harmless, they can be very painful.

Who gets growing pains?

Growing pains are usually experienced by children in primary school, with experts suggesting the pains stop by the age of 12. Whilst the cause of the pain is unknown, growing pains are thought to be more common in active children and children with flexible joints.

How long to growing pains last?

There is little evidence to suggest that growing pains are only associated with growth spurts. In fact, they can be experienced over months or even years.1

What do growing pains feel like?

Understanding the child’s pain can be tricky if you didn’t experience growing pains, or if you’ve forgotten the sensation.

Growing pains mainly affect the legs and, importantly, the pain is experienced in the muscles rather than the joints. It is a throbbing or aching feeling that frequently occurs in the evening and during the night. Though it should go away by the morning, it can sometimes disrupt a child’s sleep.

Treating growing pains

There is no specific treatment for growing pains, but there are a few ways to make a child more comfortable and ease the pain. For example:

  • Gently massaging your child’s legs
  • Use hot water bottles or heat packs on the painful area
  • Run them a warm bath before bed
  • Ensure they are wearing supportive shoes throughout the day, or uses orthotics if required
  • Encourage the child to stretch
  • An age-appropriate anti-inflammatory medication
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A Parents’ Guide to Safeguard Kids Spinal Health

Every parent wants the best for their child, especially when it comes to health. Children go through developing stages and each one has an impact on their bones and spine, from the first lost tooth to the last sport injury. It’s important to check in with kids about how their back feels and get a check-up if they think that something doesn’t feel right. Just like going to the dentist for a check-up, a chiropractor will check your child’s spine for any misalignment or imbalance, and the aim is to restore the child’s natural posture and health.

There are ways to prevent children from experiencing back pain during their developing years, and it all starts with being physically active and how they carry their school rucksack. Here are four tips to safeguard your child’s spine:

  1. BAG IT LIGHT: school bags are often filled with more than what a child really needs. Backpacks are the best bags because they spread the weight evenly on each shoulder. Try to keep the backpack to a light/medium weight, filling it only with what is required. Remember to adjust the straps so that the bag so that weight is evenly distributed and the child’s spine doesn’t have to compensate.
  2. WALK ON AIR: supportive footwear is essential to maintain a healthy posture. Soft-soled shoes that have good inner arch support will keep the kid happy and balanced. It is worth considering replacing the insole that comes with the shoe (which are normally of low quality) with a soft supportive insole. This will usually make a difference to the aches and pains that a child may feel late in the day after being on their feet for most of it.
  3. EXERCISE: 21st century kids tend to spend more time in front of a screen compared to older generations, lowering the time spent being physically active. It would be ideal to set aside the same time that a child spends sitting in front of a screen, to time being physically active. Dance or run breaks are great family activities.
  4. GAMING POSTURE: Videogames tend to distract your kid from maintaining a comfortable posture while playing. If your kid is playing with videogames make sure their spine is supported while doing it.
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Healthy Postural Positions for Babies

Birth is one of the most traumatic experiences a baby can go through. It is not often known, for example, that the baby’s cranial bones move and overlap affording the flexibility required during delivery. Even after a successful delivery, a baby’s spine is still at risk.

However, there are some precautions you can take as a parent to minimize this risk both to your baby and to yourselves. Here are the healthiest positions for you to care for your baby.

Holding baby: your baby should be held close to you with the back of your baby’s head supported with your index finger behind the ear.

Bathing baby: your baby’s head should be supported using your thumb and forefinger while your free hand is used for bathing and supporting your baby in the tub.

Parent/child interaction: throwing your child up and down can actually cause spinal problems due to a lack of support as your child is being bent forward and backwards.

Picking children up: when lifting your child, you should be on your haunches, lift your child while holding them under both arms, and avoid carrying them on one hip. Preferably, your child should be carried in front of you with one leg either side of you.

Papoose type slings and carriers: unfortunately contraptions that allow your child to sit before it is naturally able to can cause major spinal problems. Most of the holding devices keep your baby’s spine in the ‘c’ shape curve it’s born with and do not allow the normal curves in the neck and low back to develop.

Dressing the child: clothing that has a tight collar can put a strain on your child’s spine in the neck and the area between the shoulder blades. Buttons and zips should be used as much as possible.

Feeding: if breast feeding, you should hold the baby at the level of the breast whilst supporting your arm on a pillow, to reduce spinal problems in yourself. You should place the baby so that it faces your breast so that rotation of your baby’s neck is minimized.

Crawling: crawling should be actively encouraged, as a lack of sufficient crawling is responsible for weak spinal architecture.

Emotional stress can also affect your baby. Domestic disharmony and maternal distress is very quickly picked up by the infant and translated into irritability, crying and unsettled behaviour. The negative effect on muscle tone, sleeping and feeding patterns is a major contributor to spinal subluxations.

As parents, bonding should be encouraged immediately for you both. Holding the infant close to your body, maintaining sustained eye contact, smiling and making soothing sounds are all important.

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Don’t Let Back Pain Spoil Your Holiday!

Think of holidays and most people will dream up images of days spent having a good time, perhaps relaxing in the sun or pursuing new interests. But how many people would wish to imagine themselves lying down indoors with back pain?

Unanticipated injury, such as back pain, can spoil a good holiday – don’t let it spoil yours. Aim to reach a good level of fitness before you go away, and when taking part in sports, make sure you know how play them properly.

Whatever physical activities you choose to engage in, bear in mind that a good number of back complaints are offset by failing to warm up properly before exercising.

Different sports have different guidelines as to how you should take care of your back. For example, when swimming it’s important not to try to keep the whole of the head out of the water, as this places considerable strain on the neck and shoulders, which can lead to problems in the lower back

Golf can present its own problems, particularly if the muscles aren’t warmed up before hand in order to cope with the rotation (twisting) of the lower back when swinging the club. Prevent this by practicing stretching and flexibility exercises before playing.

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Driving Without Pain

GPs say increasingly more patients complain of back pain caused by car journeys. Many people experience neck or low back stiffness after driving. Back pain, headaches and leg cramps can become routine, even for drivers who only drive short distances.

Modern life involves spending so much time in cars, it is imperative that car seats support our spine. Unfortunately, as the engineering and design of our cars has evolved, the comfort and ergonomic design of car seats has been neglected.

TIPS FOR COMFORTABLE MOTORING

Back and Neck Support

Driving with poor posture will cause back and neck ache, as well as poor concentration and fatigue. Sit back in the chair to support your spine. If your seat does not offer sufficient support you can buy a lumbar support or place a rolled-up towel in the small of your back to support the spine’s “S” shape. To reduce the risk of whiplash, reduce the distance between the rest and your head.

Steering Wheel and Chair Position

Adjust the wheel so your arms are not stretched or cramped, which could strain your shoulders and neck and lead to fatigue. Adjust your seat to allow you a comfortable view of the road. If you are small, jack up your seat to prevent overstraining your neck. Ensure that your feet are not too far from the pedals. If you are tall, slide the seat back to avoid cramp.

Long Distance Driving

Sitting in one position for a prolonged period will result in stress and strain on the spinal joints, muscles and ligaments. Stop for a few minutes each hour. Walk about to ease the spine and minimise aches and pains.

Getting in and out of your car

Swing your legs in and out of the car with your knees together. Never climb into or out of the car one leg at a time. After a long journey walk for a few minutes before you unload your boot. Your joints and muscles are cold and can be easily injured by such heavy lifting.

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Summer Time Sports

Summer time has arrived and with it the added need for us to take extra care of our necks, backs and spines to avoid pain and injury…

If the arrival of sunshine has caused you to pack away your winter jumpers and, instead, pull out your racket, shin pads or helmet for a bout of summer activities, remember to take note of these simple steps to ensure you steer clear of any unwanted pain and discomfort.

RUNNERS can avoid injury by regular stretching of the tendons and wearing good shoes with shock-absorbing features.

RACKET-SPORTS PLAYERS should be wary of playing through the pain of Tennis Elbow. Tennis Elbow is in fact an overuse injury, caused by repetitive movements at the wrist forcing the thumb outwards and the palm upwards. Continuing to play will only exacerbate the problem.

GOLFERS are particularly prone to lower back injuries. Graphite clubs and soft spiked shoes will help absorb the shock which can bring on back injury. Your chiropractor can suggest appropriate warm-ups and exercises, and help you work on an alternative swing.

GARDENERS commonly suffer from aches and pains, but they can avoid lower back trouble by kneeling on one leg rather than bending from the hips, keeping the back hollow whilst digging, and varying tasks throughout the day to avoid repetition injury.

DIY, like gardening, is often far-removed from everyday activities. When the sun is shining many will want to get out in the garden and get on with the long list of DIY jobs that have piled up over the winter months. Enthusiasts often injure their back by in habitual exertion, so when lifting, take the weight on bent legs, keeping the back straight.

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Lifestyle Tips for Summertime

Whilst Summer is in full swing, it’s common to enjoy the warmer weather by partaking in outdoor activities and enjoying the sun. However, various health issues can be caused by the heat, so whether it’s feeling dehydrated or spending too much time in the sun, it’s important to prepare for the warmer weather to keep our health in the best shape. Here are five tips to stay healthy this summer.

1. Stay Hydrated

Your body becomes dehydrated when your water intake does not equal your output. Fluid losses are accentuated in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp. It is critical that when you are doing any strenuous activities, that you drink more than the recommended 8 glasses of water.

2. Exercise

Summer months are the perfect time for utilising the outdoors as your own gym! Hiking, swimming, surfing, and even using jungle gyms are all great options to stay active during these warmer months. Summertime is a great way to get creative with your workouts!

3. Vitamin D

Summer is the best time to get Vitamin D because you can get it directly from the sun, without needing to take supplements. Our skin makes Vitamin D when it is exposed to direct sunlight, 15-20 minutes a day during the strongest rays will typically provide individuals with their daily dose. Vitamin D has also been shown to promote healthy bones and teeth, fight depression and help brain development in pregnancy and infancy. To determine your Vitamin D levels, a blood test can be taken at your local GP Surgery.

4. Eat Local Produce

Fresh and local produce is full of the highest value of nutrients and vitamins. Local produce is also low in calories and keeps you feeling full for a longer time. Dark coloured vegetables also contain compounds and decrease inflammation caused by sunburn. You can make this a summertime occasion by going to your local Farmer’s Market every week!

5. Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are a wonderful way to create safe, healthy, and natural products to use on the skin. Many essential oils are great at repelling mosquitos, bees, biting flies and can treat stings and bites if they occur. The most common essential oils are eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, tea tree, geranium, clove, lavender, thyme, rosemary, and peppermint. Oils can also be mixed with water, alcohol, or witch hazel, to make a diluted spray. Whilst essential oils will not prevent sunburn, they can be used after sun exposure to soothe and lessen the severity of a burn.

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Nutrition for Bones, Muscles and Joints

Choosing a balanced diet containing the right vitamins and minerals decreases our chances of developing deficiencies later on in life. The body’s structure relies on vitamins and minerals to ensure muscle tone (including the heart), healthy functioning of nerves; correct composition of body fluids; and the formation of healthy blood and bones.

A Healthy Diet Plan

Calcium

For bone, muscle and joint health try and include Calcium in your diet, which is essential for optimal nerve and muscle function and blood clotting.

Obtained from

Dairy products are rich in calcium that is easy to absorb. Non – dairy sources with equally absorbable calcium are green leafy vegetables from the kale family. Spinach, rhubarb, sweet potatoes and dried beans are rich in calcium but from these foods it’s not easily absorbed

Magnesium

Required for efficient muscle contraction and conduction of nerve impulses. Low magnesium levels in the body can affect the body’s calcium levels, putting bone health at risk.

Obtained from

Green leafy vegetables, unrefined grains and nuts. Small amounts are present in meat and milk. Large quantities of fibre in the diet and low protein intake can reduce the amount of magnesium able to be absorbed by the body.

Vitamin D

Essential for regulating the formation of bone and the absorption of calcium from the intestine. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that functions to help control the movement of calcium between bone and blood.

Obtained from

Primarily from the action of UVB light on the skin. Food sources such as cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, tuna, milk and milk products contain small amounts of Vitamin D.

Vitamin C

The structure of bones, cartilage, muscles and blood vessels is provided in part and maintained by collagen. The formation of strong efficient collagen requires Vitamin C.

Obtained from

Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, green leafy vegetable and peppers. Also important for producing strong collagen and therefore strong bone structure, is Folic acid. Folic acid is found in cereals, beans, green leafy vegetables, orange and orange juice

Antioxidants

Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant and is capable of regenerating other antioxidants like vitamin E. The role of antioxidants is to mop up free radicals (the by-products of normal metabolism). Excessive amounts of free radicals cause damage to joint surfaces and muscle cell regeneration. Antioxidants reduce the potential of these free radicals to cause joint damage.

Obtained from

Antioxidants are vitamins A, C, E and the mineral selenium and are present in fruits and vegetables, the highest quantities are found in the most deeply and brightly coloured. Cartilage that lines the articulating surfaces of all joints is critical to joint health. Cartilage is the shock absorber of joints and is continually rebuilt if a source of raw materials is available. Supplements such as glucosamine sulphate can be added to a healthy diet to assist joints that maybe showing signs of wear and tear.

Essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) also reduce the degenerative changes in tissues and cells. EFA’s are unsaturated fatty acids such as Omega 3. They aid in decreasing the inflammatory response and help relieve pain and discomfort in joints and muscles.

Obtained from

EFA’s can be found in oily fish (sardines, fresh tuna, mackerel), flax seed and linseed.

Foods to avoid…

There are certain foods and substances that adversely effect the body’s use of minerals and vitamins. High saturated/animal fats, refined foods, white flour, white sugar, white rice, chocolate, carbonated drinks and fruit juices with high sugar concentration should be kept to a minimum if not weaned from the diet completely. Meat and dairy products should be kept within a recommended weekly amount. Dairy products as calcium sources should be varied with other non-dairy sources.

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