Participating in sports is a great way to stay active and in some sports, a level of physical contact is required. However, this physical contact can sometimes result in injury. Although we hope that you are able to play safely, concussions are a common traumatic brain injury that can occur in high-contact sports. This injury can be serious, and it’s important to know what steps you should take in the event that you suspect that you or someone you know has suffered a concussion.
Here are five things Dr. Luciano Di Loreto (Chiropractor) would like you to know about concussions:
- A concussion may be caused by a direct blow to the head, face, neck, or impact elsewhere on the body that transmits force to the head.1
- There are multiple ways to get a concussion such as from falling, or a car or bike accident. When it comes to physical activity, concussions have a greater risk of occurring in sports that involve body contact, collisions, and/or moving at high speeds.2
- A concussion can be difficult to diagnose because clinical symptoms and signs can change and may evolve over time. The diagnosis of a concussion is based on the assessment of a range of symptoms (i.e., headache, difficulty concentrating, feeling like being in a fog, or emotional lability), signs (i.e., loss of consciousness or balance disturbance), cognitive impairment (i.e., confusion or slowed reaction times) and neurobehavioural changes, such as irritability.2
- Recovery: When properly managed, 80–90% of concussions resolve in a short period of about 7–10 days, although the recovery time frame may be longer in children and adolescents.1
- The most important factor in concussion management is physical and cognitive rest until the symptoms resolve. From there, a step-by-step guideline is followed that slowly increases physical and cognitive exertion before returning to one’s regular active lifestyle.1
Many chiropractors with first responder training commonly work with other healthcare professionals to support sports teams. Part of their role is to manage cases of suspected concussions and refer for additional medical attention as needed. Dr. Luciano Di Loreto (Chiropractor) & Associates can also help to co-manage the recovery and return to play of athletes.
If at any point you believe someone may have a concussion, contact medical staff immediately to assess the situation. Concussions should never be taken as a light injury and must be attended to. For more information on athlete-related concussions, take a look at our blog post on Returning to Sports after a Concussion.
Source: CCA Blog
- McCrory P, Meeuwisse WH, Aubry M, et al. Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 4th international conference on concussion in sport held in Zurich, November 2012. Br J Sports Med. 2013; 47(5): 250-8. doi: 1136/bjsports-2013-092313.
- Makdissi M, Davis G, McCrory P. Updated guidelines for the management of sports-related concussion in general practice. Aust Fam Physician. 2014; 43(3): 94-9. http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2014/march/sports-related-concussion/. Accessed August 29, 2016.
There’s no sugar-coating it: North Americans sit a lot. Two-thirds of the North American workforce sits for all or part of their workday.1 When you don’t adjust your posture frequently enough, you’re more likely to experience discomfort while sitting—and you’re inviting a whole host of other musculoskeletal problems along with it.1
Today, on average, sitting takes up more than half of an adult’s waking hours.2What’s worse is that, according to Mayo Clinic cardiologist Martha Grogan, “for people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.”3 Based on current trends, researchers predict the number of hours we spend sedentary will likely increase.2
There are other health risks that come from being more sedentary: prolonged time spent while sitting or reclining can tamper with your glucose levels and your metabolism.4 It’s also a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.4 The good news is that if you break up those long periods of sitting, you can reduce your risk of having diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.4
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada5 recommends at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity—such as brisk walking or bike riding—at least five days out of the week. If you work Monday to Friday, consider adding a few steps to your commute, or taking two 15 minute walk breaks each workday.
Here are some more helpful tips to help break up your sitting time6,7:
- Create a schedule to remind you to stand up and move. Programming your day can help you stick to something you may otherwise forget to do. A good goal is 5–10 minutes of activity per hour. For example, if you have a job that involves sitting most of the day, plan to spend five minutes every hour up from your chair and moving around the office (like getting coffee, walking around the building, or taking a restroom break) and spend the other five minutes doing stretches.
- Walk around on your lunch break. Invite coworkers from your office to go for a walk with you at lunch. You can check out a nearby park or take a new route around the neighbourhood.
- Park further away and walk. Whether you’re running errands or parking at work, you can choose to park further away and walk those extra few steps to your destination.
- Walk around the house while talking on the phone or during commercial breaks of your favourite show. You might find other opportunities throughout the day too!
Little changes can go a long way to improve your posture and decrease a number of health risks. Whatever method you choose, you can also use the Straighten Up Canada app and Fit-in 15 program to find small exercises you can do during the day.
- Fenety A, Walker JM. Short-term effects of workstation exercises on musculoskeletal discomfort and postural changes in seated video display unit workers. J Am Phys Ther Assoc. 2002; 82(6): 578-89.
- Healy GN, Eakin EG, Owen N, et al. A cluster randomized controlled trial to reduce office workers’ sitting time. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016; 48(9): 1787-97. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000000972.
- Winslow, R. The guide to beating a heart attack: first line defense is lowering risk, even when genetics isn’t on your side. The Wall Street Journal. April 16, 2012. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304818404577347982400815676. Accessed November 25, 2016.
- Benatti FB, Ried-Larsen M. The effects of breaking up prolonged sitting time. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015; 47(10): 2053-61. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000000654.
- Stay active. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2016. Available at: http://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/stay-active#How-much-activity-do-I-need. Accessed November 22, 2016.
- Storrs C. Stand up, sit less and move more, researchers say; here’s how to do it. CNN. August 6, 2015. Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/06/health/how-to-move-more/. Accessed October 14, 2016.
- Sit less. The Heart Foundation. Available at: https://heartfoundation.org.au/active-living/sit-less. Accessed October 14, 2016.
When it gets cold outside, we tend to spend more time indoors doing sedentary activities and it can be difficult to stay active. It’s helpful to plan ahead and set some time aside in your schedule a few days a week to make sure you’re getting the activity you need.
To have health benefits from exercise, adults need a total of 2.5 hours of activity spread across the week, in bouts of ten minutes or more. These activities need to be moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic activities. Moderate-intensity physical activities include brisk walking or bike riding. Generally, you know your activity is moderate-intensity if you sweat a little and breathe harder than when you’re moving about day-to-day. Vigorous-intensity activities include jogging or cross-country skiing, and you’re likely to find yourself sweating and feeling out of breath.1
Here are a few tips to help keep you motivated to stay active during the winter months2:
- Plan activities ahead. When activities are in your calendar, you’re less likely to forget them. Preparedness also helps set good habits.
- Find a fun local activity, like snow shoeing, skiing, skating, or cross-country skiing.
- Dress in layers. Insulate your body. When you can keep your body warm, it’s easier to continue being active outside.
- Use your daylight hours. It’s easier to stay outside while it’s still light out. It’s easy to miss out on activities when you start them too late in the day.
- Find indoor activities at your local community centre. This could be aerobics classes, badminton, basketball, or yoga classes.
- Climb stairs. Deliberately add more steps to your day. Consider going up and down a flight in your home, the mall, or an office building more than once over the course of your regular daily activities. As little as five minutes can make a huge difference for your health.
- Visit a library to find more motivation. There are plenty of free exercise DVDs you can borrow, including dance, step, aerobics, or Pilates. You can use the return date as a deadline to pick up another one!
- Sign up for a fun run. You can often find non-competitive “fun runs” in your community that are usually between 5 and 10 kilometers. You can invite friends and family to join in!
- Find an activity buddy. Find someone willing to commit to being active as often as you are, and set a plan. That could be planning to meet for morning walks or afternoon workouts. Having a friend keeps you accountable.
Whatever your activity level is, remember to stay hydrated. It is easy to forget to drink water when it’s cold out, but your body needs just as much hydration in a snowstorm as it does in a heatwave.2
Most importantly, stay motivated. Revisit your goals (or look for tips to set new ones) to make sure you’re still on track. Plan ahead and make sure you can envision your goal as you look ahead towards the finish line.
Here’s to staying active in the new year!
- Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. 1st ed. CSEP; 2016. Available at: http://www.csep.ca/CMFIles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelines_adults_en.pdf. Accessed November 7, 2016.
- Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 11 ways to stay active in winter. 2009. Heartandstroke.ca. Available at: http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=ikIQLcMWJtE&b=4832209&ct=7596299. Accessed November 7, 2016.
As a society, we’re constantly reminded to exercise our bodies, but when was the last time you were reminded to exercise your mind? Part of a healthy lifestyle involves exercising your brain. Your brain can be trained like a muscle, and without a good workout now and then, it can eventually shrink over time.1
Sedentary activities are not only bad for your physical health, they can also be detrimental to one’s brain.1 Engaging in more stimulating leisure or social activities are a great start to keeping your brain in shape.2 This is because when you actively engage the brain, more cells can be produced, as well as the connections between them. When the body has more brain cells on reserve, research suggests that this may be able to help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.2 While more research is needed in this area of study, there are other health benefits to keeping your brain active—like boosting your memory and cognitive function—that are worth keeping in mind.2
What Types of Activities Can I Do?
Any type of stimulating mental activity can help exercise your brain. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to make sure you’re on the right track2:
- Does it incorporate new learning?
- Is the activity reasonably complex?
- Is the activity varied and interesting?
- Do you engage in the activity frequently?
Examples of Brain Exercises2
- Listening to the radio
- Visiting museums
- Taking a course
- Learning a new language
- Playing musical instruments
- Artistic/other hobbies
- Participation in leisure activities such as sports, dancing, or gardening
- Cultural activities and conversation
- Board games, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other puzzles
- Doing simple calculations
- Imaginary exercises to stimulate the senses (e.g., recalling a peaceful nature scene)
These are just a few ideas of things you can do to stimulate your brain. When you’re considering your overall brain health, you can also look to your diet, ensuring that it is well-balanced, low in fat and cholesterol, and high in antioxidants.1 Having the right nutrients in your body helps maintain cognitive function and stimulate proper brain function and development.3,4 You can also look to your physical exercise regime—regular physical activity can improve cognition,5 help memory and thinking processes, improve mood and sleep, and reduce stress and anxiety.6
Chiropractors care about your overall health and can help point you in the right direction if you have any questions or concerns about this topic.
Whatever activity you choose, remember that brain health is just as important as physical health, so keep finding new and creative ways to keep those mental juices flowing.
- Melone L. 10 brain exercises that boost memory. EverydayHealth.com. 2016. Available at: http://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/mental-fitness/brain-exercises-for-memory.aspx. Accessed November 1, 2016.
- Alzheimer’s Australia. Mental exercise and dementia. 2016. Available at: https://www.fightdementia.org.au/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet-DementiaQandA06-MentalExercise_english.pdf. Accessed November 1, 2016.
- Lim S, Kim E, Kim A, Lee H, Choi H, Yang S. Nutritional Factors Affecting Mental Health. 1st ed. Seoul, Korea: Department of Food and Nutrition; 2016.
- Rathod R, Kale A, Joshi S. Novel insights into the effect of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids on brain function. J Biomed Sci. 2016; 23(1). doi:10.1186/s12929-016-0241-8.
- Chang Y, Chu C, Wang C, Song T, Wei G. Effect of acute exercise and cardiovascular fitness on cognitive function: An event-related cortical desynchronization study. Psychophysiology. 2014; 52(3): 342-51. doi:10.1111/psyp.12364.
- Godman H. Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills. Harvard Health Blog. 2016. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110. Accessed November 7, 2016.
Vitamin D, often known as the sunshine vitamin, plays an important role in your bone health.1 It is mostly made by the body through exposure to sunlight. This is unique to vitamin D since most vitamins come from the foods you eat.1 Having too much or too little vitamin D in your body can affect the amount of calcium in your bones and can take a toll on your overall bone health:
- Low levels of vitamin D can lead to decreased bone mass (osteoporosis) which can increase your risk of fractures.1
- Too much vitamin D can lead to calcium deposits in the kidneys (kidney stones), or calcium build-up in other soft tissues like the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.2
More than 90% of a person’s vitamin D requirement tends to come from casual exposure to sunlight.3This poses some unique challenges for those whose environments limit their exposure to the sun.2 For example, in Canada and other countries in the northern hemisphere during the winter months, people are exposed to less ultraviolet light. This means in the winter in Canada our bodies produce little to no vitamin D.1 Statistics Canada reported that, in the winter months, 40% of Canadians had vitamin D levels that were below the recommended range.1 In the summer, that number is much smaller, but still a whopping 25%.1 This means that as a northern country, we often lack the exposure to ultraviolet light that is needed for enough vitamin D to be made in the body year-round.
You can get vitamin D naturally from a few foods, including egg yolks or fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel.1 In Canada, some foods are fortified with vitamin D by law to prevent the risk of vitamin D deficiency in the general population, including milk, soy milk, rice beverages, and margarine.4
This winter, increase your vitamin D intake and keep your bones strong by reading nutritional labels and seeking out products during your regular grocery shop that are fortified with vitamin D. It also never hurts to add a little bit more sunlight to your day!
For questions about keeping your bones (and the rest of your spine, muscle, and nervous system) in good health this winter (and throughout the year), you can ask Dr. Luciano Di Loreto & Associates.
- Vitamin D blood levels of Canadians. Statcangcca. 2015. Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11727-eng.htm. Accessed October 17, 2016.
- Vitamin d and calcium: updated dietary reference intakes – nutrition and healthy eating – health Canada. Hc-scgcca. 2016. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/vitamin/vita-d-eng.php. Accessed October 17, 2016.
- Holick M. Vitamin D: important for prevention of osteoporosis, cardiovascular heart disease, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and some cancers. Southern Medical Journal. 2005;98(10):1024-1026. doi:10.1097/01.smj.0000140865.32054.db.
- Food sources of vitamin D. Dietitians of Canada. 2014. Available at: http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins/Food-Sources-of-Vitamin-D.aspx. Accessed October 17, 2016.