Author Archives: Peter Braglia, D.C.

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Start With Stretching

There’s good news for those of you just starting on your fitness journey. Even the simple act of stretching can have a great impact on your health. Researchers found that a single 40-minute session of static, whole-body stretching lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow.

Static stretching refers to slow muscle stretches, which are usually performed in one position and held for several seconds. In our office, we use WebExercises for our patients to provide customized stretching recommendations.

What’s great about the results of this study (published in in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation) is that regular stretching can help to boost cardiovascular fitness in people who are unable to exercise due to surgery or poor health. So even if you’re not quite able to full on exercise – you can still take control of your health.

This study further cements what we’ve been writing about for a while now on the blog – that although it may seem intimidating and confusing when you start on your journey towards better health, it’s not. Remember to start slow, and to keep thing simple.

If you move your body way more than you currently are your health will improve – simple as that.

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simplify your health

Simplify Your Health

Today’s society has developed an unhealthy obsession with health and fitness. We’re talking about a billion dollar per year industry with a never ending supply of fad diets, gadgets, exercise equipment and apps that promise to drastically improve your health and wellness. It seems like with every day that passes it is becoming increasingly complicated to improve your health.

The good news is that it’s not. If you follow these essentials tips your health will improve – without breaking the bank or leaving you confused.

Walk More

It’s that simple. Move your body way more than you currently are and your health will improve. Walking is a refreshing alternative to complicated aerobic routines and overpriced gym memberships –  it’s free, enjoyable and already a part of your everyday life.

The benefits of walking are endless – but let’s list a few: it helps prevent and reduce the severity of chronic disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and also improves mood and mobility. The best part about these benefits is that it doesn’t take much time from your day to achieve them. Thirty minutes a day is where we see great health benefits.

Eat Clean

This one truly is simple – Eat more fresh whole foods and less processed man made foods – that’s it.

To successfully implement this into your life remember we often eat what’s convenient, and if you buy it and keep it in the house, you’ll eat it – so don’t buy it in the first place. The following are some basic ground rules to follow when eating clean. Eat more organic and/or local fruits and vegetables, and remember the fresher the food, the more potent the nutrients. Drink more pure filtered water (Divide your weight by 2, aim to drink that number in ounces). Eat a handful of raw nuts/seeds everyday. When it comes to meat and dairy – choose products where animals live as close to their natural state as possible -free-range, cage-free, grass-fed, raw milk etc.). Lower your intake of inflammatory/mucus producing foods (dairy, sugar, wheat) and instead aim to eat more raw foods that contain powerful enzymes and phytonutrients (try juicing).

Make Sleep a Priority

Sleep is often the single most undervalued behavior in our lives—and yet it is the one with the most immediate power to improve our lives in every waking moment. Getting a good night of sleep is one of the cornerstones of health, your body needs this time to repair and heal. Six to eight hours per night seems to be the optimal amount of sleep for most adults, and too much or too little can have adverse effects on your health. Research shows that inadequate sleep can have disastrous effects on your weight loss efforts, impair your concentration, and weaken your immune system.

If you’re averaging less than six hours of sleep, aim to get just one more hour a night. It will leave you feeling more physically energized, emotionally resilient and mentally clear. If sleep is an issue it’s worth noting – if you’re walking more, eating cleaner, and getting adjusted – your sleep will most definitely improve.

Remove Interference

Chiropractic care can literally change your life, and enable you to live a pain-free life full of energy and vitality. That’s because chiropractic adjustments help reduce or eliminate pressure on your nerves—the same ones responsible for your everyday bodily functions. Chiropractic will help eliminate pain and inflammation, reduce fatigue, and restore normal balance and nerve flow to all your organs, giving you the energy, drive and peace of mind to go out there and live life the way it was meant to be lived.

Enjoy the journey and do these things for the right reasons – and you’ll improve your health, fitness and quality of life.

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Why I May NOT Tell You To Stop Exercising

When you love your sport or exercise routine, there’s a sense that you would rather die than to be forced to give it up. When you see a doctor who only sees pain relief as the only outcome, then the inevitable outcome is to give up the activity that caused the injury.

However, this post is to let you know that may not be the best advice.

In fact, a recent study suggests that runners don’t suffer more long term damage to their knee joints than non-runners. The study of more than 2,600 middle aged participants found that people who ran more actually experienced less knee pain over time. In addition, the people who currently ran enjoyed less knee pain than former runners.

If you’re an athlete, sometimes the best opinion you can get is from a doctor who understands the drive, demand, and benefit of staying strong and fit. The last thing I would want to tell someone is to give up an activity that is so beneficial for their overall well-being.

Exercise is like a whole-body health tonic, impacting you down to the cellular level.

A doctor that has been physically active for years knows what the common injuries are and what can be done to address them. They know what doctors would be best to address their injuries, and can refer people to go down the same path. They can also differentiate between injuries that can be rehabbed, and things that would force them to take time off.

A doctor who exercises is also someone who probably knows what you can do to stay active while injured. I take care of numerous patients with injuries after overtraining in the gym.

Often times I can make recommendations for substitute exercises that can be performed – as opposed to stopping lifting completely. Bottom line – the next time you’re faced with a choice of reducing your activity, make sure you talk to a doctors who is active in the fitness community.

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The True Health Manifesto

Simply put, a manifesto is a statement of ideals and intentions. The Declaration of Independence is a manifesto. So is Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” The idea behind me writing the True Health manifesto was to challenge assumptions people have about their health, foster commitment to improving their health, and (most importantly) to provoke change.

This is why the picture below hangs in my office, serving as a reminder as I meet and consult with new patients.

After all, we are designed to be extraordinary. Every cell in your body is hardwired to be healthy. Unfortunately, in America the expectation is that we are supposed to be sick, and that there is always a solution (usually found in a bottle).

I hope this manifesto serves as a reminder for the untapped potential for true health and vitality available for your body.

The goal in our office is to maintain the integrity of your spine and nervous system. Instead of focusing on the health lost, deterioration created, energy decrease, immune system suppression and all the negative effects of nerve interference and not fulfilling all your health requirements, we choose to focus on the untapped potential for true health and vitality available for your body.

Normal structural alignment coupled with a healthy lifestyle means that body is the best it can be to throw off potential illness. So, we incorporate practical help and education about “how we live, how we work, what we eat” and how we exercise. That’s prevention, pure and simple.

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Your Baby’s Curve

When a baby is first born, their spine will have a convex curve in the shape of the letter C. This is called the primary curve and develops in utero. Therefore it would make sense that the ONLY “natural” position for a newborn is flexion. This is why if you lay an infant on their back (extension) their arms will flail and they think that they are falling (this is the Moro reflex).

In fact, at this stage, the baby will naturally tuck their legs into a frog leg position, thighs pulling up toward the chest, while laying on her belly or when you picked up. This fetal tuck allows your baby to maintain her primary curve alignment, reducing the pressure on the spine and hips. The fetal tuck is also the most calming position for your baby, helping them digest food better and regulate body temperature.

With all that being said, my next statement should make perfect sense – babies NEED tummy time. Not only because it is their natural position but because it is VITAL to properly develop the secondary and final curves of the spine (neck and lower back curves), a nicely rounded head, and flexible legs that move in and out of various sitting positions. Unfortunately, more and more frequently we see babies with a lack of time on their tummy and the OVERUSE of “baby containers” such as bouncy seats, swings, and (most frequently) car seat carriers that go from car to grocery store to restaurant.

While these containers can provide your baby with a safe place to lay while you tend to other day-to-day tasks, avoid overusing them and try to balance this time spent in them with the same amount of tummy time. The end result of overuse of these containers can be a flat skull, failure to develop a cervical and lumbar curve in the spine preventing them from getting on hands and knees to crawl, and tightened hips/legs.

It’s important to note that tummy time does not have to be on the floor – it can be on your chest, supported over your lap, or on a nursing pillow for younger babies. The flexion tummy time provides is very safe and natural.

If your baby struggles with and/or does not tolerate tummy time – a consultation and examination with a chiropractor trained and specializing in pediatric care can help correct any structural issues before they become a chronic problem.

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