My wife and I like to walk with our dog for hours on the trails around our house. We often pack a lunch and have a picnic on the trail with our dog. We like to walk a few miles every day. It is good for us, and our young doggy really enjoys it. However, I was put out of commission for walking and had to see our chiropractor in Vacaville. I was taking a TV down from the mount on the living room wall. It slipped and I grabbed it to keep it from falling on my side. I felt something in my back pull, but it only hurt for a second. I felt fine most of the rest of that day. Continue reading
The efforts of Dr. Dan Siegel, Dr. Rick Hansen, Dr. Alan Shore, Dr. Bruce Lipton, and Dr. Bassel van der Kolk are all leading mental health away from the subjective observation of behaviors to more objective brain mapping measurements.
I always like to start out my presentations and some articles with a disclaimer. Today, my disclaimer is that the information I am providing his a reflection of what we know today and is always subject to modification. As the original Buddha said “don’t take my word see for yourself, I am only human just like you.” However, the information provided by the research today is far more accurate because it is based on more objective measurements with the use of different types of brain scans.
With research shows in a general sense is that the brain operates out of two modes. One mode is a nonthreatened state that results in the accessibility of the highest brain called the cortex, and more specifically the prefrontal cortex. Prefrontal cortex (PFC) has many amazing features and according to Dr. Dan Siegel this includes the following list:
1. Body regulation
2. attuned communication
3. emotional balance/affect regulation
4. response flexibility
6. insight or self-knowing awareness
7. fear modulation/fear extinction
The second mode, the threatened state, instinctively pulls us out of our PFC and places us in our emotional brain and brainstem that modulate fear response and survival behavior. This threatened states means we lose our ability to have access to the wonderful qualities of our PFC. If we were encountering a life-threatening event, this would be an ideal situation. The lower two-thirds of our brain work much faster and reduce options, so that are reaction is done in a timely fashion to ensure the highest probability of survival. However, very few people that become emotionally reactive are faced with life threatening challenges. So the question is, why would a brain designed to deal with life-threatening encounters be so susceptible to being engaged with existential (non-life-threatening).
Answer this question seems to be answered by Dr. Alan Shore’s research on of UCLA. Dr. Shore’s research suggests that early attachment determines the wiring of the brain. Simply put, from the time of conception a child’s nervous system is open for development. The young developing brain will gravitate to its environmental influences to prepare for the highest probability of survival. Meaning, if the environment is filled with stress the brain will develop to be highly sensitive to perceived threats. In sports, we would refer to this as training specificity. The brain adapts specifically to survive and thrive in its environment. Dr. Shore and Dr. Siegal’s research both discovered through brain mapping/imaging that stress hormones inhibit growth and repair of brain function. This stress hormone influence means that the last developmental parts of the human brain (cortex and specifically the PFC) show decrease integration to other parts of the brain. As a result, the nine PFC functions are dampened because of decrease integration. This decrease integration represents itself in the form of anxiety, depression, impulsive behavior, anger, chemical addiction, a version of social situations, eating problems, sleeping problems and as Dr. Shore reported “attachment is at the root of all mental health disorders.”
So how do we increase integration? Research is suggesting mindful meditation as the foundation of integration. Intentional, focused awareness increases neural connections of the PFC to other parts of the brain. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nhat Hanh are two sources for beginning and meditation practice.
Dreams give you information about many different matters, which are all related to your mental health and your life. You can learn many important truths about you and your destiny by analyzing your dreams, and you can also learn many important details about someone else by analyzing their dreams.
Disorganized and confusing dreams reflect absurdity. When a dream is too incomprehensible and the dream scenes change too fast this means that the dreamer has a severe mental illness or is about to acquire one.
You can understand that you almost have a severe mental illness or you already have one by observing the dream images in your dreams. When they change too fast and new stories keep happening, this means that your thoughts are too disorganized and confused.
You listen to the absurd thoughts of your anti-conscience all the time. You are unable to think logically.
Well-organized dreams reflect balance, even though all dreamers are basically absurd, since everyone inherits an anti-conscience and everyone’s conscience is underdeveloped and one-sided. Well-organized dreams indicate that the dreamer has a strong human conscience, even though he/she is influenced by his anti-conscience many times.
Whenever your dreams have a logical sequence that can be comprehended based on the logic of your conscience, even if you are unable to translate their meaning if you don’t know the dream language, this means that you are somehow balanced. Your mental condition is not as serious as the mental condition of those whose dreams are composed by many different and disorganized dream scenes.
This means that the logical sequence of a dream or the sudden changes in the dream images reflect your mental condition.
Therefore, you can understand if someone is about to acquire a severe mental illness or not depending on the dream story, even before translating the meaning of the dream.
You can also observe various signs that immediately reflect absurdity even before translating all the details of a dream when you know the meaning of the dream symbols.
Only by reading a dream and verifying the appearance of dream images that reflect absurdity, you will already understand that the dreamer has mental health problems.
Now that humanity has scientific knowledge and Carl Jung gave us the right definitions about the meaning of the dream images we can understand how we can be cured. I’m proving to the world that everyone can acquire sound mental health if they will eliminate their anti-conscience by obeying the divine guidance in their dreams. Many people have transformed their personality through dream translation.
This is not so difficult now that I completed Jung’s research, I simplified his method of dream interpretation, and I simplified the process of transformation that everyone must follow in order to eliminate their anti-conscience and acquire total consciousness.
Bigger biceps are a status symbol, a symbol of personal physical power, and every bodybuilder spends a fair amount of time working to achieve the best biceps they can build. Unfortunately time isn’t always on our side, so for some workouts we need a quick bicep routine like this one…
Now, we don’t want to take a lot of time, but we don’t want to waste what little time we have either, right? So do a quick warmup set of curls if you haven’t already warmed up your biceps while training other bodyparts. Don’t overdo it – one set of 10 – 15 reps should suffice to get blood into the muscles and loosen up the joints, tendons and ligaments. Now choose a pair of dumbbells you can manage safely for 10 or 12 reps with strict form.
Note that these aren’t reps you can cheat up with plenty of momentum and ‘body English’, but rather good, strict reps at a temp of 1 second up (concentric) and 3 – 5 seconds down (eccentric). For 2 of these 3 exercises you’ll be taking body motion out of the equation entirely, so you need to choose weights that are challenging but manageable.
Do each of these three biceps exercises for 3 – 5 sets (depending on your available time), with 10 – 12 reps per set. Focus on keeping to your tempo, not trying to race through each set.
Incline Dumbbell Curls
Set the back of your bench to a 30 – 45 degree angle, then sit on the bench laying back against it with the dumbbells hanging at each side. Perform your curls through the full range of motion, finishing a full rep with one arm before repeating with the opposite arm. Keep your body flat on the bench throughout and don’t let your elbows travel forward as you raise and lower the weights.
Dumbbell Scott Curls or Dumbbell Preacher Curls
Depending on the equipment you have available, you can do these as Scott curls or preacher curls. If neither bench is available, you can also stand behind an incline bench and rest the back of your upper arm down the padded back. Use a sitting or standing position that has you leaning forward from the waist with your armpit snug to the top of the pad. Resist the urge to lean backward as you raise the weights – the reason you’re using the bench is to prevent yourself from ‘cheating’ the rep by involving your bodyweight. Curl the weight to the top, squeeze your contracted biceps hard for a second or two and then return it, under control, to the extended position.
Standing Dumbbell Curls
To finish off this quick bicep workout, use standing dumbbell curls. On the first exercise your elbow was behind the plane of your body while on the second it was ahead of your body, and this time you’ll keep your elbows at your sides. Raise the weights one arm at a time, pronating your wrist at the top, rotating it to bring your baby finger closest to your chest & shoulder, before lowering it again at a controlled pace. Do not just let it drop back down, stick to the 3 – 5 second pace.
By the end of this quick bicep workout you should be able to tell the muscles have been well-worked, and flexing them should reflect a good pump. If timing is too tight even for this short routine, you can shorten it even further by doing one set of each exercise with no breaks in between, resting for one minute and then repeating the 3 sets until you’ve done your 3 – 5 cycles.
Either way, re-rack your dumbbells and smile – your biceps know they’ve had a great, fast workout!
If you glance through weightlifting magazines on occasion, you could be forgiven for thinking it takes all kinds of pills and potions, legal and otherwise, to build any true strength. But there’s good news if you’re trying to learn how to gain strength naturally… Progressive-resistance exercise, proper nutrition and plenty of rest are all that’s really required.
In the freeweight area of any gym you’ll find 3 types of people: powerlifters training for strength, bodybuilders building for size and powerbuilders aiming for a combination of both. They may be doing the same exercises, especially the multi-joint compound exercises like squats and deadlifts, but each follows a different path in the gym.
If your goal is to get stronger naturally, you’ll be emulating the powerlifters most closely. Your exercise program will be built mostly around compound exercises, but instead of just the deadlifts, squats and bench presses the powerlifters focus on you’ll also be adding exercises for your shoulders, triceps and biceps. The standing or seated overhead press, narrow-grip bench press and standing barbell curls are all common choices.
Strength training involves lifting weights closer to your maximum ability, so longer rests between sets and exercises are necessary to let your strength, heart rate and breathing return closer to normal before starting the next set. Aim for a break of 1 – 2 minutes between warm-up sets and about 3 minutes between your heavy sets. For each exercise, start with one or two warmup sets with lighter loads to warm up the joints and muscles, then do your working sets. Five sets of five reps is common for those starting out in strength training, while more experienced lifters may go to 10 sets of 3 reps.
For a 5×5 workout, your working sets should be with a weight that allows you to do 5 reps on your first 3 sets, 3 or 4 on your fourth set and 2 to 3 on your fifth set. The weight stays the same for all 5 sets. If you can’t get 5 clean reps on the first 3 sets the weight is too heavy for you – dial it back a notch. At the opposite end, if you get all 5 reps done in all 5 sets, raise the weight A BIT starting at your next workout. Don’t go for huge jumps and risk hurting yourself – you can always go up again on the next workout if you get all 25 reps in again. For best results, aim to do 2 or 3 full-body workouts per week at first, on non-consecutive days. By your 2nd or 3rd year you’ll be lifting heavily enough you may want to do split routines, doing the whole body over 2 days, but by then you’ll know your body and it’s abilities well enough to make your own decision on that. And make no mistake – skipping workouts will hold back your progress more than just about any other reason.
The most important thing to remember is to stick very strictly to proper form on every workout – injuries, especially severe injuries, are usually the result of not performing the exercise optimally. Don’t be tempted to cheat on your form for those last few reps to try and get there faster – an injury can set you back for months, years, or even permanently. Observe all standard safety precautions, and always train with a partner/spotter.
If you’re new to weightlifting you’ll probably be able to increase the weights you’re using regularly, but over time you’ll find the gains take longer and may even stop for a while. If and when you reach a plateau like that and you’ve had no increase in strength for a few months, take a week or ten days off to let your body heal fully and then start back at it with a drop of about 20% in the weights you lift. Don’t worry, you’ll gain that 20% back fairly quickly and most likely continue on right past that former sticking point.
You’re asking your body to constantly face progressive resistance, lifting heavier than you ever have before as you gain strength naturally. For that to be possible you have to give your body what it needs – enough protein, carbohydrates and dietary fats. The amounts and ratio of them vary from person to person, so do prudent research into it or hire a registered nutritionist to help you set up your meal plan. For the purpose of this article, just realize that you’ll most likely need to eat more of each – protein so your muscles can strengthen and grow in strength, carbohydrates to power your workouts and daily activities and clean dietary fats to protect and lubricate your joints. Being deficient in any of the 3 can impede your progress, so learn to eat clean, eat well and eat enough!
In the gym you’ve tortured and torn your muscles (micro-tears) to make your body repair them and make them stronger. You’ve also taxed your ligaments and tendons extremely. So once you leave the gym after each session you need to give your body time to heal. This is why you don’t train the same bodyparts on consecutive days, and why you’re following better nutritional guidelines. But it goes well beyond that…
Most of the repairs are done by the night crew – in other words, while you’re asleep. For maximal recovery that means getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night every night. In today’s world it’s often almost impossible to do that every night, but aim to get that much sleep as many nights a week as you can. It CAN be done – skip a TV show, shut down on social media earlier, etc. And you most likely won’t have trouble getting to sleep at night – your body will be screaming for it!
Avoid going to the gym on your scheduled rest days – in fact, try to avoid additional strenuous or taxing activities as much as possible – remember you’re in repair and recovery mode between workouts. Obviously most people can’t avoid it all, especially if your occupation requires it, but do the best you can if you’re seriously looking to get stronger.
If you don’t know it already, one thing you’ll quickly learn from looking into how to build strength naturally is that for those who get the best results it’s a lifestyle, not a hobby. As with most good things in life, what you get in results will depend in large part on what you put into it. Is it easy? No. But you’ll find it’s definitely worth it!
Triceps, when properly weight-trained, make up two-thirds of your upper arm’s overall size. As such, it’s better to do a quick tricep workout than to skip it when your gym time is tight. If it’s absolutely necessary to skip a bodypart when training arms, better you should skip biceps than triceps if you’re looking to develop upper arm muscle mass.
Your triceps brachii muscles have 3 heads – the long head, medial head and lateral head. They run down the back of your upper arm, from shoulder to elbow, and are mostly involved in extending your elbow to straighten your arm. The concentric portion of each rep contracts your triceps and fully straightens your arms, while the eccentric portion lowers the weight by allowing the elbow to bend to 90 degrees or more.
While twice the size of your biceps, the triceps are still one of the smaller bodyparts and can recover more quickly that larger muscle groups like legs, back and chest. This means you can work your triceps 2 – 3 times per week on non-consecutive days, but be careful not to use heavier weights than you can manage with proper form to prevent damaging your elbow ligaments or joint.
If you’re training time is limited during a workout, use these three exercises to work the triceps, doing 3 or 4 sets of 10 reps each. Don’t rush the reps – use a cadence of 1 second up and 3 seconds down with no pause or rest at the top or bottom of each movement.
Lying Triceps Extensions
Also known as ‘skullcrushers’, lying triceps extensions start with you lying flat on the bench with your arms straight up above you, perpendicular to your body. The exercise can be done with dumbbells, a straight bar, a cambered (EZ curl) bar or the specialized triceps bar. Start by slowly lowering the weight to your forehead then return it back to the top position at a faster speed. At the end of each set, go immediately into the next exercise with no break.
Narrow-Grip Bench Press
The second half of this triceps superset is the narrow-grip bench press. If you’re using a triceps bar then you’ll automatically have a narrow grip already, but if not then be sure your grip is about shoulder width or a touch narrower. Going any narrower than that places too much strain on the wrists at the bottom of the movement, so if you find your wrists getting sore widen your grip slightly. Since you’re already lying on the bench in the proper position, lower the weights to your chest while keeping your elbows tucked close to your body, then raise the weight directly up by extending your arms. Do not let your elbows drift out to the sides as this involves the pectoral muscles of the chest more than you want it to – keep the tension on your triceps as the weight moves up and down.
Because you’re supersetting this press with the extensions the weight won’t be as heavy as you could do otherwise, so you can compensate by either doing a few more reps per set or slowing each rep down, especially on the eccentric (lowering) portion of each rep. At the end of your set rest for about a minute, then go back to the lying extensions to begin your next set. Perform the full cycle 3 – 4 times before moving on to the third exercise.
Overhead Triceps Extensions
Sit up on your bench with your feet flat on the floor and a neutral or slightly-arched lower back. Using two hands, suspend a dumbbell overhead so that it rests perpendicular to the floor – your thumbs and forefingers should be wrapped around the handle while your palms and other fingers are pressed against the underside of the top bell to support the weight. Keeping your elbows facing forward and tucked close to the sides of your head, bend your elbows and slowly lower the weight as far down as you can behind your head, then return the weight back up to directly overhead. Your upper arms should not move during the exercise but instead stay upright and close to your head.
Other Triceps Exercises
The three exercises above will give you quick tricep workouts that are effective in building more muscle, but if you need to replace any of them due to injury or other physical issues, replace the necessary exercise with dumbbell kickbacks. Kickbacks have been shown to stimulate all 3 heads during each rep, so it’s your best replacement exercise. Other triceps exercises like pushdowns, rope pushdowns, overhead cable extensions and triceps dips are good too, but save them for your workouts where time isn’t limited and you can fit one or more of them in with these three.
Studies on the architecture of the back have shown that the back is specifically designed for the rigors of walking. However, changes in how we, as humans, live mean that walking is not something that is done very often at all. Our lives have changed so dramatically that most things are available at the click of a mouse or a few key pressed on a keyboard. The majority of people in the world now work behind a desk where our bodies are not in good positions for our health. Sitting for long periods of time adds pressure to our disks in our back and the inactivity or lack of exercise eats away at the strength of our spinal and leg muscles.
Even those who do not sit often are still working in jobs that require repetitive motions and lifting things over and over. A corollary exists where the greater the load we lift the more we are risking spinal degeneration. Either one of these job types can cause lower back pain. Lower back pain is now widespread across our communities. It is easy to find a study that says we will all have lower back pain in our lives. In fact, some studies say that 90% of all people will experience lower back pain at some point.
A study was done with children in Norway and that study found that 57% of those children had experienced lower back pain. We think of children as pliable, young, fit humans, however, the studies are showing that we are making them the exact opposite. Pain can start young, and if it does start young then it tends to follow that person into their adult life.
The lower back pain seems to be related to activity levels. Activity levels seem to inhibit the ability of lower back pain to be a problem, therefore, the more physically active an adult or child is, then the less chance of having lower back pain they will have during their lifetime. A good exercise, which most people would skip over because of its simplicity, is walking.
A study of adults showed that low to moderate exercise can be extremely helpful and beneficial when compared with those people who did not engage in any exercise at all including simple exercises such as low-intensity walking. The exercising group had a variety of advantages over their non-exercising counterparts. The exercising group felt better, needed less physical therapy, and less pain medication. They worked more and they needed less work disability.
Walking also seems to carry its health effects into older ages. People who exercise also have fewer problems or lower body disabilities.
Doctors once thought that telling someone to rest in a bed for two weeks was the best treatment available for someone who is experiencing the problems associated with lower back pain. However, we now know that this practice could actually make your pain worse rather than better.
It does not matter if a person has back pain or does not have pain. It is important to stay healthy and moving in order to protect your back even if all the moving or exercising you do is walking at a low intensity. You do not need to spend a lot of money on a gym membership. You just need to go out there and take regular walks daily. Walking is a great exercise and it can help you protect your back and keep it in shape.
It has been said that the biggest weakness of the human form is the neck. The spine and head are such an important part of the body, and both depend on the neck for support. However, whenever you start feeling pain in the neck, it can make it difficult to perform daily tasks, not to mention can really ruin your day. If you are looking for neck pain relief, here are five possible causes you might not have ever expected, as well as what you can do about them.
1. Neck Pain that Radiates
If the pain from your neck feels like it is radiating or spreading down the arm, even to the hand and fingers, many doctors would suspect that you have a cervical herniated disc, or a pinched nerve in the neck. Often the pain may be accompanied by or may alternate between numbness or tingling. The symptoms may come on suddenly or gradually.
Treating this type of condition depends on the persistence and intensity of the pain, as well as the degree to which the spinal cord is being affected. Typically, these symptoms are known to be temporary and can be treated easily, and without surgery. Your doctor may prescribe medication, physical therapy, or even physical manipulation, such as massage.
2. Neck Pain Caused by Repetitive Activities
If your neck pain develops slowly over time, perhaps even over the course of a few years, or if you notice that the pain symptoms tend to spike during or after certain activities or after being in certain positions, this is typically an impinged nerve, better known as spinal stenosis. This condition usually occurs over time as the joints of the neck bones begin to weaken or age. Typical treatment includes medicine, physical therapy, exercise, or prolotherapy injections to strengthen the affected joint.
3. Pain That Lasts Months and Fluctuates
If you notice that your pain levels usually remain low and steady, but occasionally flare up and become worse, this may be a sign of cervical disc degeneration. This is especially true if certain activities or positions exacerbate your pain, or if it is accompanied by pain in the arm is well. As we get older, nearly every one will experience some form of cervical disc degeneration, although usually on a temporary basis.
Occasionally though, this pain is brought about by some traumatic event, such as an injury sustained while twisting your neck to check your blind spot while driving. While this usually leads to symptoms that go away quickly, it can sometimes lead to chronic pain. Particularly for those who frequently use the affected joint for work or recreation.
4. Neck Pain That is Worse at Night or In the Morning
Finally, there is one type of neck pain that causes patients to feel the most pain right after waking up and right before falling asleep. Typically these patients do not feel pain during the day because they are actively using and moving their neck. This is often similar to those who suffer from osteoarthritis. As you warm up the body, the pain starts to go away. Range of motion exercise, physical therapy, and massage are all helpful treatments for this form of neck pain.