Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A New Twist on Everyday Exercise: Fun!

Bodies need to move to be healthy. Stillness creates stiffness, which is the root of many dysfunctions and diseases. So how do you build more movement into every day? Try having fun, like the Odenplan, Stockholm train station did.

Bring back the toys!! I vote for a swing set in front of every office building. What gets your vote?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Folders by Heather Denniston, DC

I ran across this wonderful article in the Lifetime Wellness Chiropractic newsletter written by Heather Denniston, DC. I want to share it with you, since the message is so relevant.


My husband, Brent, and I recently visited my mother in Canada. During our stay, after some rigorous shopping, I politely offered to drop the two passengers off at the door to my mother's condo complex. I went on to park my vehicle. I located a suitable spot about two blocks away. I parallel parked, which I am proud to say I am exceptionally proficient at, and hopped out, slammed the door, and sprinted back to the condo to rejoin my husband and mother for a late afternoon siesta. Siesta led to dinner, DVD and an early bedtime. The following morning, we packed up and I started on the first of several trips to the car to deposit our bags before departure. Once outside, I was approaching the vehicle thinking about the long trip home when I noticed a police officer parked along side my car. I then noticed an odd substance coming from my exhaust pipe...exhaust. This was one of those moments where you hear an audible click as all synapses collide to an irrefutable conclusion. I understood what had happened. I had left the car on for the last nineteen hours.

Before I had the opportunity to imagine the many possible outcomes of my oversight from the day before I was approached by the twelve year old Kelowna Police officer. He inquired if I was the owner of the vehicle. I replied in the affirmative and then he asked if I was Heather Denniston. (Synapses clicking fervently). How could he know who I was unless he had done an extensive national data base search? He had done an extensive national data base search. He stared at me, actually all over me looking for signs of car jacking, abduction, kidnapping, domestic dispute and I am sure several other unspeakable differential diagnosis he learned during his recent matriculation from cop school that might possibly explain why a car would be left running for an entire night with no driver inside. The officer fired a litany of questions regarding where I was staying, who I was staying with, did I know where I was, what was four times four and who is the prime minister of Canada? (The final fact I am sad to report to my countrymen I did not know.) Despite my failure to answer final jeopardy I apparently passed the examination because the adolescent, after more staring, got in his cop vehicle and drove away. The expression displayed on his face through the windshield of his cruiser was somewhere between bewilderment and disgust. I stood for a long time, my car quietly purring behind me, trying to compute how a sane woman could walk away from a car that is running.

After regaling this story to a very good friend she just looked at me with a knowing look of friendship and she patted my arm and said "folders" I said "pardon me?" she said, "Folders Heather, you have too many open at one time."

As I sat across from her over lattes, listening to her wisdom, one of those foggy questions of deep personal character suddenly become clear. Almost every goofy, absent minded thing I have done in my life, and my family has a long litany of examples they could provide, has to do with too many folders open in my brain resulting in a lack of focus on the present moment.

After my good friend brought the folder problem to my attention I have been making a concerted effort to maintain a present moment consciousness. I realized I might not be alone in trying to overcome this issue so I thought I would put together a small local list of "folder-clearing" options on the Eastside.

1) BREATH: An amazingly overrated physiologic phenomena. I recommend practicing deep breathing techniques in the following breathing-friendly locations in Issaquah.

1) On top of "Poo-Poo" Point on Tiger Mountain
2) Beaver Lake Trail
3) Eastside Meditation Group

2) STRETCH: Movement has the amazing ability to stimulate your nervous system and dramatically improve focus and brain function. Check out the following best spots to stretch.

1) Yoga Barn
2)Village Green Yoga
3) Active Body Pilates
4) Shakti Yoga

3) ORGANIZE: Many of us have too many folders open because we have not organized our external environment. It is essential to establish practices that simplify our immediate surroundings so we don't constantly think we have to be working on everything at one time.

1) Debbie Rosemont
2) Robin Stephens
3) Mission: Organization Strategies & Solutions to Clear Your Clutter. Author: Amy Tincher-Durik

4) HELP! If you find yourself unable to control the busyness of business in your head you may need a professional coach/counselor to help you work through all the things you are trying to manage in this season of your life.

1) Susan Sterling: (425) 369-8224
2) Diane Burgert: (206) 540-8007
3) Nancy Logan: (425) 646-8932

5) NATURE: Hike, put your bare feet in the grass, garden, swim. Do something that reconnects you with nature. Have you ever noticed that your brain sorts things out much more effectively when you are outside communing?

1) Foghorn Pacific Northwest HikingAuthors: Scott Leonard & Megan McMorris (Available at Barnes and Noble)
2) Beginners Hiker Club
3) Issaquah Alps Trails Club:

After the juvenile police office drove away with his "I can't wait to tell this back at the station" smirk I made my way back to the condo and sheepishly explained to my mother and husband what had happened. It was odd; they both looked vaguely like the cop before he drove off.

Once Brent and I headed off down the highway, save a quick trip to the gas station to refill my depleted reserves, I spent some time thinking about folder management. I fear I will always be a trite absent minded but I am pleased to say with some of the above mentioned simple solutions there have been no further vehicle endangering incidents.

Heather Denniston DC

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Exercise of the Month: The Anti-Crunch

Crunches create back and neck strain. What’s more, they often create a poochy tummy. (When you are in the middle of a crunch, are your abdominal muscles bulging or sucked in?) To get flat abs, try the anti-crunch.

This is the mid-level version. The more advanced and therapeutic versions are below.

The key to this exercise is to keep your back and hips absolutely still. The legs are simply levers creating more resistance for your abdominal muscles.

1. Lie on your back with your neck and arms relaxed.
2. Bend one knee so the foot is on the floor and raise the other straight leg up toward the ceiling.
3. Don’t let your hips and back move. At all.
4. Lower the raised leg toward the floor, but stop before your hips shift or your heel reaches the floor, whichever comes first.
5. Raise the leg without tilting or shifting your pelvis or low back.
6. Keep breathing and repeat.

Advanced Anti-Crunch

1. Lie on your back with neck and arms relaxed. Breathe easily.
2. Raise both legs toward the ceiling.
3. Lower both straight legs toward the floor as far as you can without tilting, shifting or rotating your pelvis.
4. Raise and lower your legs as you breathe steadily.
5. Stop as soon as you cannot hold your stability.

For the therapeutic version, try the Easy Core Exercise in this article.