Advice for Staying Well

Staying healthy and well is not easy. Reducing stress, sleeping enough, exercising, eating the right foods and seeking chiropractic care are all natural ways to stay healthy.

What kind of exercise should people be doing to stay healthy?

That’s a great question, Liz. You know, I have always answered that one the same because people always want to know what the best exercises are. The truth is, whatever it is, it’s any kind of exercise that the individual finds compelling. Because if I enjoy lifting weights, someone else might enjoy running, someone else might enjoy swimming. Some people may have certain limitations. It has to be something that you find compelling and that you like doing because if you don’t like doing it, you’re not going to do it. That’s the most important thing. It has to be something that you’re interested in.

It doesn’t really matter what specific type of exercise you get, as long as you enjoy it. There are different types of exercise that focus on different things. Some of the things that we need to focus on is 1) it’s always going to be your endurance. We have endurance athletes; people who could run 20 or 30 miles but they might not be able to lift up 30 or 40 pounds. You might have the opposite in a guy who is totally a bodybuilder who can bench press a Buick but if you ask him to run four flights of stairs, he’s going to be exhausted.

The thing that I always tell people is you want to make sure that it’s something you enjoy and something that keeps you in balance. It has to be part cardio to increase your endurance but you also need to increase your strength. You can’t be just all one or the other. You need to be balanced because you’re always going to need your endurance and your strength throughout the course of your lifetime whether it’s to be a high level athletic performer or just be able to get up out of your chair and run down four flights of stairs in case your building is on fire. You’ve got to look to both. You can’t just be an endurance person and just do cardio. You can’t just do weights and be strength. You need to cross-train and make sure that you hit both. The most important thing is that it’s something you enjoy because if you don’t enjoy it, you’re never going to do it and you won’t stick with it.

What foods should we be eating to stay healthy and boost our immune system?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: That is a really great question and I’ll admit that I’m not the most foremost expert in nutrition. When you’re eating foods, you got to make sure that you have a well-balanced diet and you have to make sure that your food source are clean. Everyone nowadays is drinking bottle of water. People are trying to eat organic foods. The truth is organic food isn’t more nutritious for you; it doesn’t really taste all that much different or all that much better. What is important are the things that are NOT in it. Those are the pesticides and all the chemicals and things that really make us sick.

We look at our cancer rates and they’re higher than they’ve ever been. We look at heart disease and all these other things. We need to eat healthfully. Most of the things that we need to do about our diet most people already know. You can do everything in moderation. You can eat meats but you just can’t eat high protein, super fatty meals all the time because then it’s going to have an effect on your health.

A well-balanced diet; you can work from the four basic two groups we got as kids or now the food pyramid. They don’t talk about the same things. Just getting a good mixture of food and making sure that it’s clean organic food. Not going crazy and saying, “Oh! I’m not going to eat this apple because it’s not organic,” but making sure that you get probably 70% to 80% of your calories from organic food supplies because then your food is going to be cleaner, greener and you’re going to be healthier because of it. It’s not so much because of the things that are in the food, it’s most importantly what’s NOT in it.

I’m a big proponent about eating cleaner, healthy foods. Yeah, we should stick to more vegetables and greens and not eat so much junk food or prepared food. I’ve heard it said, “If man made it, if it’s processed food, it’s probably not the best thing for you.” We just need to use common sense but really with a focus on trying to get more of our calories from organic food that are not contaminated and polluted with chemicals and toxins.

Why is it important to our health to get enough sleep?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: That’s a great question, but it’s also a nice easy one. The truth is we always feel better and more alert when we’re better rested. I want you to think about something. When we talk about health and healing, when does the body heal?

RC: Right. During sleep.

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Exactly. When you’re resting. When you’re not getting enough sleep, your body doesn’t have enough time to rest and recuperate, then you’re going to be behind the eight ball because your body is not regenerating and regrowing. When I ask people, “Specifically, how does the body heal?” Everyone looks at me with a blank stare. And the truth is your body heals itself by replacing damaged, unhealthy cells with healthy ones. The majority of that happens when we’re at sleep, when we’re at rest. If we don’t get enough rest, our bodies aren’t going to heal and we’ll never going to be the best that we can be. That is the simplest, most concise answer I can give you because it’s not so great when you wake up feeling groggy the next day because you didn’t get quality sleep.

More importantly, your body needs that time to heal. That’s why when you’re sick or when you’re injured, you feel tired and malaise because it’s your own body’s innate wisdom telling you, “Hey, today is the day for you just to hangout, relax, and rest.” Your body won’t let you go out and run a marathon when you’re sick because it knows that your body needs to heal during that time so you feel tired and malaise and that’s basically your body forces you to stay home and rest and sleep so you can get the recovery time that you need.

Can too much stress in our life prevent us from staying healthy?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Absolutely. That goes back to the thing we were talking about before. When people are under stress, you got to remember … I probably spoke to you about this before. Stress comes from that flight or fight situation. If I turn the corner and there’s a kid with a knife and he wants my cellphone and wallet, immediately my body and my brain looks at this situation and all of a sudden I feel that tingling in my spine and that’s the adrenaline. All of a sudden I get that adrenaline rush. Now, I’m sizing up this guy and I’m like, “Maybe I can outrun him or maybe I can beat him up and I keep my wallet and my cellphone.” I’m all adrenalized.

What people forget is that the second stress hormone is cortisol, and cortisol does two very important things. The first thing cortisol does, it actually shuts off your immune system because if your body is in flight or fight, it doesn’t want anything to do with healing. It’s in survival mode. When does the body really focus on healing? We already discussed that. When you’re at rest. When you’re in stress and your body is in fight or flight, your body is cranking out the adrenaline and it’s also cranking out cortisol and cortisol will shut off the immune system.

If you notice the people who are really stressed out, the people who are going under challenges, maybe their wife is leaving them, they’re in danger of losing their jobs. If you see these people at work, you recognize them because they’re always coughing and sneezing. Someone gets sick in Boston, they get sick in Buffalo, because their immune system is down so low because they’re in that constant stressful situation.

Stress is a major thing that we need to manage in order for us to be healthy. There’s no quick, easy fix for that. We have to take a look at our lives and lifestyle but exercise is really important and that will help you get rid of and burn off the chemicals like the adrenaline and the cortisol. We also need to really learn how to prevent stress and use stress reducing techniques, organizationally or meditation. There’s a lot of different things that can really help you eliminate the physical and chemicals effects of stress in your body.

It’s super important that we limit the amount of stress because if you’re in constant stress and you just think about those stressful situations, wherever your mind goes, your body goes. If your mind is thinking about those stressful situations, your body chemistry is going to reflect at and there’s going to be lots of adrenaline and cortisol. Stress is a really dangerous thing in our life and I think probably the biggest contributor to ill health today.

How can chiropractic care help people stay healthy and well?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: That’s a great question. Chiropractic is not a panacea. It’s not going to cure everything that ills you. What’s really important to understand is that chiropractic is a way of affecting the nerve system. When people have stress, tension, poor posture, accidents, falls, it creates these misalignments that we chiropractors calls subluxations.

Subluxations are when the bones are misaligned and when the bones are misaligned, they’re actually going to irritate the same nerves that are designed to protect. When the nerves are irritated, they don’t function well, they don’t communicate the brain’s information to the rest of the body, and it can actually slow down the communication and slow down all the processes that go on in the body. Your brain is processing billions and billions of events and micromanaging what every single cell, tissue, and organ needs to be doing in your body.

For it to work effectively, you have to have excellent communication within your body. Excellent communication depends on a clear functioning nerve system. You don’t have a clear functioning nervous system when the bones are misaligned and irritating those same nerves that they’re designed to protect.

As a chiropractor, we do something called a chiropractic adjustment to realign the vertebrate, get the pressure off the nerves and allow the body to function in its optimized state – functioning at the best that it can to help your body battle back and heal itself because our bodies are self-healing. Chiropractic is a really important tool to have to keep your body functioning and your nerve system functioning at its best.

There are many other things we need to do stay healthy. We talked about a few of those things; eliminating stress, having a good diet, getting plenty of exercise but chiropractic is a big key to that healthy situation and that’s why I feel it so important and that everyone should be getting checked. Whether you have pain or not, it’s truly important to make sure that you have a high functioning nerve system and a healthy spine.

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