Research is showing that increasing physical activity to strengthen your back is one of the most effective ways of ensuring great long term health says the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA), as the primary health care organisation marks World Spine Day 2017 (16th October).
Chiropractor and NZCA spokesperson Dr Marcus McAllister explains: ‘On this year’s World Spine Day we’re encouraging everyone to get Your Back In Action. Spinal disorders are amongst one of the leading causes of disability in the world today. When people cannot move or get around adequately it impacts upon their quality of life. This year, New Zealand’s chiropractors are taking the lead to inform, educate and inspire people to prevent pain and disability by engaging in physical activity and Get Your Back In Action!’
Too much time watching TV or online may lead to an early death from dementia, Parkinson’s disease or diabetes, according to Australian research published this month. The study found that engaging daily in a two hour session of either a favourite TV show or an online gaming activity increased the risk of an inflammatory disease-related death by 54 per cent.
Chronic inflammation is now considered to be central – amongst other factors – to many illnesses including the three diseases researched. Researchers at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne said the findings, based on nearly 9,000 adults, stem from prolonged sitting.
Dr McAllister explains: `If you want to binge watch the latest Netflix series or any multiple episodes in one sitting, you should get up regularly and stretch your legs. You could engage in some exercises from your family chiropractor, while you are up on your feet.’
Further to this, a major international study (the PURE study recently published in the Lancet which considered the correlation between physical activity on mortality and cardiovascular disease in 130,000 people from 17 countries) demonstrated that simply increasing physical activity is a widely applicable, low cost global strategy that could reduce deaths and CVD in middle age.
According to the largest study of its kind, Alzheimer’s disease may be avoided by following a healthy lifestyle – even if you’re predisposed to developing it. Researchers at the University of California in Irvine began the ’90+ Study’ in 2003. Tests were carried out on 1,700 participants every six months to monitor their cognitive ability. Post-mortems were conducted upon their death and it was noted that some participants appeared to have been at risk of developing Alzheimers but had ‘cognitive resilience’ and therefore did not develop the disease.
Dr McAllister explains: `Exercising, monitoring blood pressure and watching less TV are the three key factors that will help to build body-brain resilience and minimise the risk of developing Alzheimers. The researchers suggested the reason for such ‘cognitive resilience’ in those who should have developed dementia but remained free of it was due to leading a healthy lifestyle.’
The NZCA has developed a Just Start Walking programme to put a spring in your step. The Association also recommends getting a spinal check-up with your family chiropractor prior to starting any new exercise regime. An NZCA chiropractor will evaluate your spine and nervous system for dysfunction and analyse your posture for imbalances, which may be negatively impacting upon your overall health.
Some Tips on How to Get Started
- Visit your local NZCA chiropractor for a spinal system check up
- Commit to a nine week walking programme
- Start slowly – set achievable targets to prevent injury and to motivate you
- Find a friend or work colleague to walk with
- Wear appropriate footwear which is designed for walking
- Warm up with gentle stretching exercises at the start and end of your walk
- Drink plenty of water and have regular breaks and healthy snacks
- Mix it up – walking different routes, at different speeds with different inclines
- Enjoy your walking!
Dr Marcus McAllister is situated on the North Shore in Auckland, New ZealandShare