Diastasis Recti

Ever since having Harper, I have struggled to get my abdominal strength back.  I knew there was something I was missing so when my husband came across this book I was excited to read it.  If you have been diagnosed with a Diastasis Recti or know someone that has this book is definitely for you.  You can find it on Amazon, titled Diastasis Recti by Katy Bowman.  The book explains what it is and gives you stretches and exercises starting from beginner and going all the way to expert.  Below is a short summary of what you will find.  I hope you get as much out of it as I did!

What is it?

It is the unnatural distance (meaning abnormal to you) of the right and/or left halves of the rectus abdominus (abs) from the midline.   Usually caused by the stretching of the linea alba, which is a ligament that holds all the muscles in place in the abdomen and it runs from the rib cage all the way down to your pelvis.  To be clear a DR is not simply just a separating of muscle, but a whole body issue that lead to the symptom of your abdomen separating.

What can cause it?

Most commonly a DR is a result of pregnancy.  Not all women get it, and there are varying degrees of separation.  It can also be a result of muscular imbalances, weak muscles, tight muscles or poor body posture as a whole.  Another reason for DR’s to occur is an increase in intra-abdominal fat.

What can you do to correct a Diastastis Recti?

One of the main things Katy repeats in the book is that it is a whole body issue.  You need to treat it that way and really go back to the basics of simple stretches before getting into the more complex exercises to strengthen, which was what I was doing wrong.  I was trying to get into the exercises right off the bat, not realizing my posture was incorrect during the moves which was leading to more issues and not helping correct the problem.

Secondly, not only do you have to stretch and do exercises, but you have to eat healthy as well.  Nutrition is the building blocks of health.  We can exercise until we are blue in the face, but if we eat like crap or do not take care of our bodies, the exercises and stretches are worthless.

Lastly, our society has become extremely sedentary.  We need to get up more and move.  If we have to sit, we need to learn how to sit better. We constantly hear all day long that I don’t sit much, but if you really think about it you probably are more sedentary than not.   For example, we sit when we commute to and from work, when we watch TV or read a book, when we are eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner, using the internet, going to the bathroom, and when we are sleeping just to name a few!

Here are three stretches that Katy suggests to start with:

  1. Floor Angels – AKA snow angel, you want to keep your palms up with your elbows slightly bent.  Do not go any higher than what you can do with your ribs down on the ground!  Do this exercise 10 times moving slowly and making sure your ribs are in contact with the ground at all times!
  2. Windmill Stretch – Starting on your back, bring your knee up toward your chest and then roll your entire body to the left, until your knee rests on the ground.  Without hyperextending the elbow, reach your right hand, arm, and shoulder blade up toward the ceiling and away from the spine.  Slowly drop your arm as far as you can without thrusting your ribcage.  (move your arm between 12-6)  Do this 10-15 times and then repeat on the other side.
  3. Doorway walkthrough – if you can reach the top of the door way, hold both arms up above you for 20-60 seconds.  If you can’t reach do a single-armed version of this exercise, doing one arm at a time on the right and left side of a doorway.  (Make sure your elbows are pointing straight ahead)

With the first two stretches, you need to make sure your ribs are in contact with the floor at all times.  You do not want any gap in between the ribs and the floor. What she recommends is to prop your head up with bolsters(rolled up towels) until you ribs are in contact with the floor and as you do the exercises you will notice that you need less and less of a bolster.

Again, I can’t state how great this book was.  I have been doing these stretches for a week and I already notice a difference.  Check it out for even more details and exercises to help correct your Diastasis Recti.  If you have any questions or are wondering if you are doing any stretches or exercises correctly, come into the office and I will be happy to help!

 

 

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Dangers of Sports Drinks and What to Drink Instead

Have you or your child ever tried a sports drink or pedialyte?  Both have been advertised to be a great hydration for the body, full of electrolytes, and even better than water!  However, it turns out that they have been misleading us.  There are many harmful ingredients in these drinks that have been linked to a lot of potential problems down the line, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and ADHD.  For example, take a look at the ingredient list found on the Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange:  water, SUGAR, dextrose, citric acid, natural flavor, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, sucrose acetate, isobutyrate, glycerol ester of rosini, and yellow 6.  Basically all I see there is sugar and chemicals!?!  AND, yellow number 6 has been linked to learning and concentration disorders in children, aggravating ADHD symptoms!

One of my biggest concerns is the sugar content.  In just one 32 ounce Gaterade/Powerade there is 200 calories and 52.5 grams of sugar! That amount of sugar alone cancels out the electrolyte benefit right off the bat.  It will cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then drop so quickly that you will feel even more tired than before you had the drink!

Furthermore, according to the journal of applied physiology, sports drinks do not quench your thirst, but actually in fact just make you drink more.  They state in their research that it is actually the flavoring and salt intake that make you drink more, and in turn stay more hydrated than before.

Additionally, the acid found in the sports drink will actually erode your teeth more than drinking a can of soda!  A study done in the journal of general dentistry said “after 5 days of consistent consumption, the acid starts to irreversibly destroy tooth enamel”.

After reading all of this, you must be thinking ok, I do not want to drink that anymore, but what can I do to keep myself and my child hydrated while exercising or playing in sports or even if your child gets the stomach bug and needs to stay hydrated.  There are many different things you can make or use as your own natural sports drink without all the dangerous add-in’s you find in sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade or even Pedialyte. Coconut water is the liquid that is found inside the coconut. It has actually been nicknamed “Nature’s Gatorade.” It contains 5 important electrolytes:

  1. Potassium: The most important positive ion (cation) inside your cells; potassium regulates heartbeat and muscle function. Coconut water contains 295 mg, which is 15 times the amount in the average sports drink
  2. Sodium: The most important positive ion in fluid outside your cells, and also the one most depleted with exercise, as you lose sodium through sweat and urine
  3. Magnesium: Important for maintaining the electrical potential of your cells, proper muscle function, and preventing calcium overload
  4. Phosphorus: Plays important roles in bone health, but also in transferring energy throughout your body, helping your muscles contract, and regulating nerve function (partners with calcium)
  5. Calcium: Important for bone health (partners with phosphorous)

Now you can drink the coconut water alone or you can add it on to your own homemade sports drink.  A simple homemade recipe you can use is the following: 3-4 slices of fresh ginger, 1 cup of water plus any extra you want to add in, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 tsp of sea salt, 1-2 tsp of raw honey (not for the use of children under 2).  All you have to do is mix well, and it is ready for your consumption!  You can even freeze the concentrate for later use, and all you will have to do is add water when your ready to drink it!

Super Immunity & The American Diet

Dr. Chris and I have read “Super Immunity” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD over 100 times by now.  Each time we read it we find another valuable piece of information.  It is a good book to read if you are looking to improve your families health/diet.

Did you know that today the American Diet takes over 60% of its calories from processed foods?  Each year that percentage raises more and more.  This includes most foods made with sweeteners, white flour and oils; such as: white bread, bagels, chips, pasta, donuts, cookies, breakfast bars, cold cereals, soft drinks, pretzels, condiments, and premade salad dressings.  We as a country consume less than 10 percent of their calories from unrefined plant foods such as fruits, beans, seeds, and vegetables.  However, this is misleading because at least half the vegetable consumption in America is white potato products, including fries and chips!

What does this mean to us?  The modern diet is not just slightly derived in a handful of micronutrients, but grossly deficient in hundreds of important plant derived immunity building compounds!  Vegetable consumption is something we as a country need to start making a priority in our diets.  If we don’t make that change we are going to start seeing a lot more chronic conditions, poor quality of life and premature deaths earlier than ever before.  As I have talked about earlier, obesity has become a major problem in America.  We are the first generation who won’t live out our parents generation in age.  According to the CDC, more than one third of American Adults are obese, costing us $147 billion dollars in health care costs in 2008!  That was 7 years ago, and with the rate steadily increasing each year, the health care cost goes up!  Childhood obesity is also extremely high at 17% of Americans for the age groups of 2-17, which affected 12.7 million children last year!

So how do we change these staggering statistics? We need to not only start educating our children with the importance of eating more vegetables, but we ourselves need to start eating healthier too.  We can not expect our kids to want to eat healthy if they watch our unhealthy eating habits.  So not only do we have to be good role models for our children’s behaviors, but their eating habits too!  Get rid of the excuse, “I just don’t like the taste of vegetables”.  There are no excuses when it comes to health.  There are so many vegetables out there.  Find ones that you and your family like and try and incorporate them into your meals.  Here are some tips at eating healthier and getting your kids to eat healthier.  Start food shopping on the weekends or a day off so that you have a day to start preparing meals for the week.  We cut up all our vegetables on Sunday, and make mason jar salads for throughout the week.  Every night, we always make sure there is at least one vegetable on our plate!  We typically will snack on carrots, peppers, snap peas, or cut up cucumbers through out the day.  We always try and have a small salad for lunch or a side of dark leafy greens sauteed for dinner.  Then we always have another type of vegetable medley for dinner.  Obviously, it is going to be harder to start to change on a drastic measure so start small.  Make your goal this month to find which veggies your family likes, and at least incorporate one a day!  Then you can add on from there!