Keep training, be grateful and breathe
About the author
Dr. Spindler is a practicing chiropractor with 18 years experience specializing in chronic conditions and sports injuries. He has also been a personal trainer and strength coach for over 40 years with a certification as a strength and conditioning specialist. Through college and beyond he competed in bodybuilding shows, and powerlifting competitions throughout the New England circuit. He can be reached at 530-544-4400.
It’s that time of year again! You may have countless obligations like office parties, Thanksgiving dinners, and Chanukah and Christmas celebrations.
For some people the holidays are pure bliss, but for others the holiday season represents a time of self-reflection and re-evaluation. In many cases, the holidays can magnify the stressful effects of personal loss, grief and hardship.
The holidays generate a broad spectrum of emotional highs and lows. No matter where you fall within this spectrum, the holiday season is also a time where we sacrifice our physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
The little voice in our head rationalizes missing workouts, eating foods that are not healthy, and increasing alcohol consumption. We tend to over-extend ourselves both emotionally and financially. The holidays can create so much “adult peer pressure” that it’s easy to lose our perspective on what is really important.
As your doctor of chiropractic and your strength coach, here are my three easy steps to reducing “Holiday Overload.”
Make time to keep exercising.
Master the practice of stress-reducing breathing techniques.
My exercise recommendations are very straight forward. If you’re training three days per week, add one more day of cardio. If you’re already training four to five days per week and your routine includes 30-40 minutes of moderate to higher intensity resistance training followed by 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular training, stay the course.
If your training program is resistance training only, add 20-30 minutes of cardio three to four times per week even if you have to cut back on your resistance conditioning.
If your training program is cardio only, you need to begin some form of resistance training to maintain a healthy structure (start with 20 minutes, three days per week).
A well balanced workout schedule is essential for fending off the ill effects of stress. Consult with your doctor or a trained sports physician (such as myself) to determine your safe levels of training intensity before beginning or changing a routine.
No matter how much we exercise, there are other important action steps that will help to fend off the negative effects of stress on our overall health.
My favorite stress and anxiety reducing technique is the practice of gratefulness. When you’re feeling stressed or if you wake up at night with “monkey brain” create a list of things that you are grateful for — essentially a mantra. Start with simple things such as your child’s smile or the beauty of where you live.
Another stress and anxiety reducing practice is relaxation breathing. First sit or lay down in a comfortable place. As you’re doing this, acknowledge your comfort and safety.
Now simply start your breathing exercise. Two seconds in through the nose, 2 seconds hold, then 2 seconds out through your mouth. Focus on the sound of your breath and repeat until you feel calm. This technique resets your nerve system to mellow. The health benefits of relaxation breathing are endless.
At first glance these last two steps may seem a bit corny. Do these at least once per day so they become second nature. Soon this simple practice will become your effective and easy tool to keep your stress under control. This will help you to enjoy a much healthier and happier life.
Please join me 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Fit Republic for a special workout workshop on sculpting, strengthening and building the chest and upper back. As always, it’s free and open to the public.
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