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Top 6 tips to improve your overall health

At total body health Gisborne we are not just about chiropractic, we are about looking after your overall health and helping you reach your full potential for longer. Here are six hot tips to improve your overall health.

1. Be proactive

When it comes to health, we are extremely passionate about being proactive, addressing the problem before it even occurs. Today, most therapies and medicines are just bandaids or repair treatments to injuries or diseases that could have been prevented if they had been addressed earlier. Injuries such as ankle sprains or acute low back pain incidences are often just the final straw of years of neglect and compromised positions. Common diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even some neurodegenerative disease are consequences of years of a living particular suboptimal lifestyle. Our hot tip to help with these injuries and diseases is, don’t get them in the first place. Be proactive with your health and avoid the more dire consequences later on when treatment can be much more difficult, and more expensive.

2. Get adjusted

Obviously as chiropractors we view a healthy lifestyle as one that involves getting regular adjustments. If you would like more information on why we have written previous blogs and I’m sure we will write more blogs about the benefits of adjustments in the future, so go back and check them out or stay tuned for future blogs.

3. Eat Clean and less

Easier said than done, eating clean is a sure fire way to improve your overall health. But what is eating clean exactly? Eating clean is a little different for everyone, we are individuals and we are all built different. But if we had to umbrella term it, eat less sugar, processed carbs and preservatives, try to make the majority of your diet based around vegetables, fruits, nuts and unprocessed meats. Its hard to cold turkey a diet, we recommend starting small like eating one healthier biscuit option with your morning tea rather than three sugary ones, once that is comfortable progress from there. It may take a while to get to your desired diet, but remember we are in it for the long haul.

Eat less. Additionally, most of us probably eat more food than we need too, our caveman and cavewomen bodies are designed to grab all they can and store as much as they can, because we never knew when our next meal was. But… we do now, it will be 3 to 5 hours after our last meal, and then again 3 to 5 hours after that. Try reducing meal sizes, although it doesn’t feel like it, hunger is a good thing.

4. Fast sometimes

Fast sometimes. Fasting is more than just the latest health fad, there is an overwhelming amount of data coming out from scientific studies about the benefits of fasting. Just a few powerful benefits of fasting may include

  • Slowed ageing and improved longevity - many animal studies have revealed fasting to lengthen lifespan and health span (1)

  • Improved sleep - It has been shown that you actually sleep better going to bed on an empty stomach (1)

  • Reduced appetite - when trying to reduce the amount you eat this can be a helpful trick to get your stomach less used to feeling full (1)

  • Improved brain function - regardless of what we have been taught for decades, those who skip breakfast mentally perform better. There have also been studies that suggest fasting may even have a protective mechanism, reducing the chance of future neurodegenerative diseases such as alzheimers. (1)

  • Helps fight and prevent cancer - Fasting activates immune cells in your body which eat and destroy damaged cells which have been shown to increase the occurrence of cancer. There have even been studies that fasting during chemo can improve its efficacy. (1)

Although it may seem similar, when we are talking about fasting this is different to eating less, when you fast you want to make sure you get enough nutrition in meals on either side of your fast. Fasting is not about being malnourished. Fasting is going for a prolonged period without eating at all. Try aiming for a 16 hour window including sleep. This puts your body is a stressed state (but without damage) which provides the bounty of health benefits listed earlier.

5. Exercise

Move your body. Whether it’s lifting weights, doing yoga, going for a run or playing tennis, our bodies are designed to move, so move them.

A study by Ruegsegger et al. concluded that “exercise is medicine”. They stated that there was overwhelming evidence that exercise reduced the intensity and/ or occurrence of many conditions, there were too many to list but some of interest included:

  • Many cancers including ovarian, colon and breast cancer

  • Aging (that’s right, not exercising has been scientifically proven to speed up the ageing process)

  • Balance

  • Bone and ligament density and strength

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Immunity

  • Stroke

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Even pain

There were many, many more, these are just a few we found interesting (2). If you want to be healthy, move.

6. Breathe

In particular, belly breathe. As hunter gathers, it is thought that we were on our feet for an average of around 8 hours a day, and that’s not standing still at a standing desk, those 8 hours were moving around playing, foraging and hunting. The other 16 hours of the day were thought to be pretty chill, but nowhere near the relaxed slumped state we can sometimes get into on the couch when Netflix asks if you are still watching. In today’s society we are not really upright and moving as often as our ancestors, we tend to sit, a lot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can have long term negative health effects on our wonderful bodies if we don’t address and work on some of the issues our over-sitting habits can lead to. When we sit, and particularly slump, we tend to restrict our diaphragm’s ability to expand fully, our diaphragm is designed to be our primary (but not only) breathing muscle. This constant reduction of expansion possibility on our diaphragm can be likened to when a child breaks an elbow and gets put in a cast, locked at 90 degree angle for 6 weeks, once taken off its often pretty hard for the child to fully extend their arm for a while. Well, sitting is the same, except that it’s not a physical cast and we do it for our entire lives not just 6 weeks. Our bodies are great at compensating, and we do recruit accessory muscles ( the other breathing muscles) to do more of the breathing work that our diaphragm should be doing. This is acceptable in the short term but in the long term ( for many complex reasons it would take too long to into, you’ll just have to trust us for now) it can cause jaw issues, headaches, fatigue, lower back pain and many other issues.

Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, place your hands on your belly and try to take deep breathes in through your nose and lead with your belly, inhale as much as you can and then slowly exhale through your mouth slowly and controlled. Don’t get too caught up in the logistics for now, just try to make your belly do the work and breathe out for twice as long as you breathe in. This is just a simple breathing exercise, but it can be frustrating to start and may take a while to get the gist, but it’s worth it in the end. If you would like further instruction on belly breathing please contact us and ask for help.

That is our Gisborne chiropractors six hot tips to improve your health, we hope you enjoy.



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