Archive | May 2013

Have you hugged someone today?

Did you know that hugging someone releases a powerful hormone in your body that increases the feelings of love, trust and generosity.  It’s called oxytocin!  Oxytocin is released from the pituitary gland in your brain, most often known when a pregnant woman goes into labor and when breastfeeding.  The release of this hormone increases uterine contractions and milk supply in lactation.  Less known, it also increases the feelings of bonding between two people.  Hugging is one of the easiest ways to release this incredible hormone and help you feel happier and loved.  The release of oxytocin is also associated with decreased levels of the hormone cortisol, which is a stress hormone (we don’t want this).

So if you’re feeling down, find someone you care about and give them a hug!  A warm, fuzzy hug!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

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I had to share this…

Hi everyone ❤

I decided to do week 1 in my Abs After 30 program.  If you are wondering week 1 is a carbohydrate purge week, meant to purge your liver of carbohydrates so that you can optimize your hormones.  (It is explained thoroughly in the ebook.)  But I just wanted to check in and say how GREAT I feel!  Week 1 is always very difficult because of the hormonal cravings you experience.  Since your body is used to insulin rising and falling in such a large swing, your body tricks you into thinking you are hungry (even after a meal).  But my will is strong as I know my health is all the better for it.  And now that I am here, I feel fantastic!  Most notably, my brain function clears and feels more crisp, sugar cravings are gone, and energy levels are at a high.

I also had a great leg workout at the gym today!  I performed squats, hack squats, and kettle bell swings to fatigue, finishing off the workout with 3 sets of pistol squats on a bosu ball with no shoes for balance.  Top it off with 10 minutes on vibration therapy, 10 minutes in the sauna, and a stretching session.

What a great week!  Hope you had a great, healthy, energetic week as well!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

You don’t want a ‘Grain Brain’!

If you have not seen or heard of neurologist Dr. Perlmutter’s new book “Grain Brain,” you need to check it out! Very educational and useful information for your health! This information supports eating right for your hormones!

http://www.grainbrainbook.com

Knowledge is power!  Take control of your life!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Stretching. The what, where, when, and how to…

I thought I’d give a run down on the most effective and satisfying way to stretch, since most times I go to the gym I see no one doing it.  First off, there are a couple reasons to stretch your muscles.  First, as many people are involved in daily repetitive postures and movements, certain muscles will adaptively shorten.  This means that if you sit all day long (for example), your hamstrings and hip flexors are in a shortened position for most of the day.   Since our body is always trying to be as efficient as possible, this sends a signal to the brain saying that these muscles only needs to be ‘this long’.  Hence the muscles adapt to the new demand.  Second, this shortening leads to altered biomechanics in the way our body functions.  The body will always try to compensate for losses by activating other muscles to pick up the slack.  But eventually the system breaks down further and further, especially when compounded with injury.  Sooner or later you will experience pain, the warning signal.  Many times the pain will vanish without a trace, but this does not mean the underlying issue is gone.  Stretching can help to re-establish the proper muscular balance in the body.  Unfortunately, it needs to be a routine to be effective.

There are a couple rules to follow when deciding to take up a stretching routine.

1. Always stretch after your muscles are warm.  This means no pre-workout static stretching.  It has been shown that this can lead to a higher susceptibility of injury during the workout.  It has also been shown that your muscles will not function as optimally.  This means you should not statically stretch before you need to run a race or play a game (something that you need to be at your best).  If you are doing a gym or home workout, the best time to stretch is at the end.  If you are just stretching without working out, it is best to take a short walk or jog first, just to warm up your muscles.  I personally love a sauna session before a good stretch.

2.  If you choose to stretch before a workout, the best way to do so is to dynamically stretch.  (Notice in #1 I said no STATIC stretching.  Static means being still, or for example touching your toes and holding that position.)  Dynamic stretching increases muscle blood flow and helps to loosen the muscle.  This would include a movement such as swinging your leg forward and backward repeatedly.

3.   Through my research, I’ve seen that the most optimal way to lengthen a muscle is to perform eccentric muscular contractions with weight.  This approach will actually build muscle fibers in a lengthening fashion.  So you will get stronger, plus added length and mobility.  This would be performed by holding weight in a contracted position, and continue to hold in that position while another person tries to pull you out.  (This can be done with the other persons strength or by standing on the weights – on a machine assisted lift.)  I have done this style of stretching/lifting most with pec flys on a pec deck machine (machine where your forearms are resting on pads and you squeeze in until your forearms are touching).   I have seen great improvements in my posture (since my shoulders were rolled forward from sitting in class during chiropractic school).

4.  Last, when stretching statically it should never be painful, only uncomfortable.  The stretch should be held for at least 30 seconds for optimal results.  And please, always listen to your body.  If it feels you have gone too far, back off.  If it feels you could go further, ease into it.

I’ve seen with many patients (and myself) how much stretching can actually help alleviate pain and assist in optimizing biomechanical function.  In this article, (http://drkristinsfitnessrx.com/2013/04/30/a-little-something-to-help-you-enjoy-your-summer-pain-free/) I talked about different stretches for low back pain.  It can be beneficial for most people, so why not start a routine today?  The only thing you have to lose is pain or dysfunction!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Female Hormonal Imbalances

‘Female hormonal imbalances are often related to stress response. The more stress you’re under, the more it unbalances your cortisol levels. Not only is cortisol your primary stress hormone, it is a primary hormone in general, helping your body convert food into energy, normalize blood sugar, respond to stress and maintain your immune system’s inflammatory response.

When your cortisol levels become unbalanced due to chronic stress, this in turn deregulates your female hormones as well.

So what types of “stress responses” will interfere with your hormonal balance?

Emotional stress

Dietary stress

Pain and/or inflammatory stress

Really, any type of stress on your lifestyle can negatively impact the way your body’s hormones function, and that includes:

Too much work

Job loss

Financial trouble

Relationship or family problems

Eating a highly processed diet, too much junk food or fast food

Hidden inflammation from exposure to chemicals and toxins in your environment

Depletion of antioxidants or not consuming enough from your diet’

Dr. Joseph Mercola