During these very challenging times, I have spent many hours reflecting on the things for which I am grateful and those that are important in my life. In a normal day to day, I might be most concerned with getting to soccer practice on time, finding time for the oil change on the car, or finishing the report that I needed to write for work. Quarantine and social distancing, however, has reminded me that the safety and health of the people around me is most important.
We are all rightly concerned about the viruses and dangers that exist in our community and should take all necessary protective measures, but let’s not lose sight of where health originates. Health comes from within. Period. From an early age we prepare and train our bodies to handle what gets put in front of us. Based on those experiences we shape our ability to handle physical, chemical, and emotional challenges. Our bodies are dynamic in every way and readily adapt.
As a Doctor of Chiropractic, we most often interact with the public due to physical complaints but those mechanical issues can be far-reaching. Physical and mechanical stress can cause pain and loss of functional capacity which in turn will facilitate chemical and emotional changes throughout the body. With the incredible external environmental stress that we are all experiencing, there has never been a more important time to focus on our physical well-being.
Very few physical attributes matter more than good posture. Posture is not static however and is accentuated by the forces of gravity. The structure of your body will dictate how it is able to function and adapt. Poor posture and inactivity are detrimental to muscles, spinal ligaments, nerves, bones, and even the internal organs of the chest and abdominal cavities. While social distancing, it may not be the optimal time for full postural correction, however, it is the perfect time to make sure you are not falling into bad habits that increase postural stress.
Forward head posture, rounded shoulders, and flattened lumbar curve are all trademarks of laptop and texting posture. While at home, be smart with the ergonomics of work stations where you are not head forward and looking down for long periods. Set an alarm to get up and move every 20-30 minutes even if it is just for a glass of water. Do 5 minutes of rehabilitative exercise for every hour of repetitive work during the day which can include yoga, pilates, stabilization exercises, etc. Get outside for some fresh air whenever possible (socially distanced of course) and try to participate in 30-45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at about 60-80 percent of your max heart rate (calculated by using formula 220 minus your age).
Lastly, take advantage of the extra time that we have while socially distancing to recognize what is important to you. Celebrate health from within and please don’t forget to MOVE. Be safe and remember that we will get through this together.
Dr. Matt Hartsburg DC DACBSP® founded the Hartsburg Chiropractic Health Center in 2005. He is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Kinesiology and earned his Doctorate of Chiropractic at Life Chiropractic College West in 2003. Dr Matt is a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians® which is over a 300-hour post-doctorate continuing education program including a sports medicine residency program. Dr. Matt has treated athletes at the United States Olympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs, CO and Lake Placid, NY. Additionally, he works with USA Bobsled & Skeleton as part of the sports medicine team in Lake Placid, NY. Dr. Matt also has covered multiple international events for the Dew Tour and Nitro Circus for WMI Global, Inc. as well as the Nutmeg State Games. Currently, he acts as the Official Team Chiropractor for Danbury Westerners Baseball Team (NECBL), the Danbury Rugby Football Club (D2-3 USA Rugby), and Danbury Hat Tricks Professional Hockey Team (FPHL). He has a particular interest in the connection between posture and repetitive stress injury which is essential in treating individuals of all ages and activity levels.