How to stay active through the winter, and achieve all of your New Year goals

How to stay active through the winter, and achieve all of your New Year goals

There’s a common misbelief that winter is a time for hibernating, as moving less and eating more is common and almost routine. During the colder months, our primitive instincts tell us to up the calories and prepare for a cold, dark winter. The irony is that calories, especially from sweets and high-fat foods, seem to be plentiful through during this time. As the days become shorter and we experience less sunlight, our gym motivation dwindles and we get further away from taking that first step forward.

Even once the holiday feasting has come to an end, it can be difficult to break the “move less, eat more” cycle. Luckily, accomplishing your New Years Resolutions doesn’t have to be that arduous. Want to start fresh and feel better than ever this month? Follow these 6 tips for staying active:

  • Move your body first thing in the morning, and in a fasted state if possible. Though not proven in clinical studies, moving your body early in the morning increases blood flow and thereby supports a healthy metabolism throughout the day. If you can’t get in a full workout, five minutes of movement to get your heart pumping and your muscles fired up will encourage your body to maintain energy expenditure (ie: burn some cals!).
  • Engage in some type of cold exposure to wake you up! Whether it’s turning the shower water to cold for a few minutes, or stepping outside without a coat on to connect with nature, cold exposure can prepare you for the day better than a cup of coffee. Additionally, it is shown to enhance muscle recovery, wake up the brain by increasing alertness and focus, and keep the immune system strong by activating the lymphatic system and cellular defenses.
  • Have you ever caught yourself holding your breath? Shallow breathing or breath holding stimulates these sympathetic nervous system, or our “fight or flight” response. Taking deep breaths and practicing controlled and focused breath patterns can calm our nervous systems, and allow our systems and organs to work more efficiently (ie: proper metabolism and fat burning). It can be even more advantageous to focus on the breath while you’re working out! Focus on filling the belly and the lungs fully. At full breath potential, oxygen will be sent where it’s needed most.
  • We know that sitting is the new smoking, so don’t do it! We sit enough around the house, and during the winter, we definitely don’t get enough steps outdoors. Here’s the trick: don’t sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. Set a timer, get up and walk around for a few minutes, do a plank or a few bodyweight squats, take a break! Moving consistently throughout the day has been proven more effective than completing just one workout a day! Many activity trackers are very helpful in sending movement alerts when the body senses inactivity.
  • Getting out of the house and to the gym may be the hardest on this list. My best advice? Schedule your workouts for the week and post them somewhere that can easily be seen. The more often you are reminded of your plans and goals, the better! Accountability is equally as powerful. Sign-up for a workout challenge, or commit to working out with a friend for the entire month! Achieving your goals alongside a buddy has been shown to be 95% more effective that beginning a plan solo.
  • Track your heart-rate and recovery, but don’t get caught up in calorie-counting. Metrics can be motivating and informative, but always check in with how you feel above all else. Use them to guide your workout schedule, to tell you how long to rest between exercises, and how often to workout. My favorite tool is the OURA Ring, which gives you a daily snapshot of how recovered you are, how well you slept, and how hard you can push yourself that day. If you’re not recovering, you’re not getting stronger, tune into that.

“Without movement there is no life…. We should use our energy to the fullest.” – Ai Qing

Getting back into a rhythm can be painless, and simple. Habits don’t come over night, but from consistent, focused practices we can support the body in its natural processes. Your body wants to take care of you, and these tips will set you on the path towards effortless healing and goal achievement.

May your New Year be body-positive, full of movement, breath and happiness. You’ve got this!

Biological Dentistry: Tooth Meridian Chart

The Tooth Meridian Chart is based on acupuncture meridians, pathways of energy that span across interrelated body parts, glands, and tissues. Each tooth is associated with a particular meridian, through which energy flows. This information is a foundational piece of Biological Dentistry and Biological Medicine. We know there is a strong connection between oral health and overall health in several ways, including the link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, but we can’t overlook the energetic connection. If there is a weakness in a particular body system or organ, it can affect the health of the tooth that is connected by the meridian. This also works the other direction, where a problem with a tooth can affect the body system or organ that it is connected to. A great example of this is when we have seen a problematic area around a poor wisdom tooth extraction that then leads to cardiovascular issues such as an arrhythmia. Incorporating the knowledge and practices from Traditional Chinese Medicine has been a big part of the Julian Center’s philosophy of “East meets West” where we also incorporate the latest in dental technology.

Co-morbidities Associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

Lack of sleep increases the risk for many diseases. This can include sleep deprivation, obstructive sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders such as insomnia. It’s very important to understand the connection and the risks because snoring is too often overlooked

Type II Diabetes: There are 29.1 million people in the United States who have diabetes, with 8.1 million more who may have the undiagnosed condition. Your family’s medical history, the foods you eat, and your weight can affect your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. It can be surprising for you to know that your sleep also plays a big role in acquiring this disease. In fact, sleep deprivation is a significant but often overlooked risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Sleep could influence the levels of your blood sugar. If you have higher blood glucose, it can affect your sleep and can result in trouble sleeping. People who lack sleep may feel more tired during the day, which can lead to overeating comfort foods high in calories, sugar, and fat. On the other hand, a good night’s sleep can help regulate your hormones that curb your appetite, control your weight, and strengthen your immune system to reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Heart Disease or Stroke: In the US alone, heart disease is the leading cause of death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 610,000 people die because of heart disease every year while 735,000 have a heart attack. Meanwhile, 795,000 people have a stroke each year. Your heart is impacted when you don’t get enough sleep every night. Heart disease, particularly heart failure, may lead to central sleep apnea, a sleep disorder wherein the breathing repeatedly starts and stops during sleep. Central sleep apnea occurs once the brain does not send signals to the muscles that control your breathing. Some people are experiencing chest pains that interrupt their sleep while there are others who have palpitations or racing and pounding hearts that disturb their sleep. When you are not breathing during a sleep apnea episode, your blood pressure goes up. In response to the increased levels of blood pressure, the brain sends signals to the nervous system and the blood vessels tighten up to increase the flow of oxygen to your heart and brain, that can lead to restricted or cut off of blood flow to the heart that results in heart disease or stroke.

Blood Pressure: About 75 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure. Several of the risk factors include family history, excessive stress, smoking, excessive weight, lack of physical activity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and lack of sleep. Your sleep plays a vital role in your blood pressure. If you are sleeping for six hours or less every night, you may be at high risk of developing high blood pressure. If you already suffering from high blood pressure, sleep deprivation can make it worse. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night helps the blood regulate your stress hormones that cause high blood pressure. Another cause of high blood pressure is obstructive sleep apnea or a sleep disordered breathing where you experience multiple pauses in breathing while sleeping. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea may also increase your risk of a heart condition, stroke and diabetes.

Other health issues associated with OSA include depression, suicidal tendencies, erectile dysfunction, obesity, early dementia and Alzheimer’s. Snoring is no joking matter and a warning sign that person needs help as soon as possible. Please help yourself and loved ones if you suspect obstructive sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing.

Biohacking: NAD+

NAD is a hot topic right now, and for good reason! While Dr. Sambataro, Cindy and Renee were attending the annual American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine conference back in December, they heard a lot about the latest research on NAD+ so we thought it would be the perfect topic for our Biohacking segment this month.

Since aging was added to the World Health Organization’s 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases, there has been a new wave of research surrounding the delay or reversal of age-related illnesses. Among this research includes the role of NAD+ in the body. An increase in intracellular levels of NAD+ triggers changes that enhance survival, including boosting energy production and upregulating cellular repair. The process of aging has even been described as a “cascade of robustness breakdown triggered by a decrease in systemic NAD+ biosynthesis and the resultant functional defects in susceptible organs and tissues.” Typically by the age of 80 all NAD+ levels are totally depleted.

Unfortunately, our NAD+ levels plummet by middle age. When we boost levels of NAD+ we see an increase in insulin sensitivity, reversal of mitochondrial dysfunction and extended lifespan—who doesn’t want that? Well, the big question is what’s the best way to boost NAD+ in the body? This can be done by inhibiting the enzyme CD38 that degrades NAD+ and by supplementing with NAD precursors, including nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinaminde mononucleotide (NMN). Taken orally, NMN is rapidly absorbed and converted to NAD+, therefore making it an effective nutraceutical anti-aging intervention.

Other benefits of NMN include suppression of age-associated weight gain, enhanced energy metabolism, improved insulin sensitivity and maintenance of the integrity of the blood brain barrier. Due to all of these powerful health benefits, we are now offering a Liposomal NAD+ supplement at the Julian Center. Please feel free to ask Dr. Sambataro, Cindy or Renee for more information!

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