Tag: wellness

Wellness Rewards

 June 1st – July 31st, 2016

The SAC culture believes Health and Wellness are an integral part of a full, balanced, and happy life. Our goal is to help you get there, one step at a time. To do this, we have to have an action plan, support, and feedback! We have created a Wellness Rewards program to help you slowly add small behavioral changes and challenges to help you form new and lasting habits

Points will be given in 3 categories: Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness. Earning points are as simple as eating a new type of vegetable or fruit, working out 60 minutes in a day, or getting 8 hours of sleep. Keep track of your points each week and we will keep a leaderboard of our Wellness Reward participants.

The top participant will win a Fitbit and all weekly point logs will be entered into a drawing to win a massage, personal training, Pilates, and swim lessons.


How to Participate:

  1. Sign up with the fitness director or at the front desk.
  2. Pick up your weekly points log.
  3. Earn points by doing various health and wellness activities each day. For every 300 points, you will receive 1 star.  For every 3,000 points, you will receive incentives.
  4. Turn your weekly point log in every Monday to be included in the overall Wellness Rewards’ star chart leaderboard.

At the end of the program, the person with the most stars will win!

5 – Each time you visit the club
10 – Do something fitness related with a friend
15 – Use a fitness APP or record your activity
20 – Try a new group exercise class
25 – 1-hour workout with a trainer, Pilates or swim instructor

5 – Eat breakfast
10 – Drink 8, 8-ounce glasses of water
15 – 4 servings of fruits and veggies (serving = 1 cup fruit and ½ cup veggie)
20 – Try a new recipe
25 – No coffee or soda

5 – Give someone a compliment
10 – Take the bus or bike for your tasks
15 – Get outside for 30 minutes and focus on calmness
20 – Unplug from technology for 1 hour
25 – Get 8 hours of sleep

For more information, please contact our Fitness Director, Jacob Galloway, at jgalloway@sacdt.com.

Wellness Corner with Dr. Li

A Personal History
I first encountered the world of chiropractic care in the same way many of you did: I was in pain, and I needed help. I first started to have low back pain when I was 15 and I woke up one morning unable to feel my legs. I was living with my aunt, a pharmacist, back then, and after some initial panicking she gave me some anti-inflammatories and I slowly began to feel better. However, the medication didn’t make my low back pain go away—it just covered it up. I couldn’t sit still in class, play sports, or function normally the way I wanted to. Because my physical ailment was invisible, my coaches, classmates and teammates couldn’t understand that I was in too much pain to run, push, jump or do anything I had been able to just a few days before. But I knew I wasn’t a “wimp” or a “baby”— I was in agony.

After a few months my mom took me to see all kinds of doctors. My medical doctor prescribed pain medications but no cure. A physical therapist failed to find out exactly what the problem was. Even after several tries, acupuncture couldn’t help me, and any relief from massages was only temporary. Finally, during the course of a conversation a family friend asked “Mike, have you considered seeking help from a chiropractor?”. I didn’t know what chiropractors did, but I would have tried anything at that point—and, as you can probably imagine, that first visit changed my life. The relief I felt after my first session was so great that I became an instant believer.
Throughout the injuries that occurred during my high school sports career and during college, I kept reading everything the libraries had to offer on the subject of injury management. After I graduated, I applied to school for both physical therapy and chiropractic care, and opted to focus on chiropractic, which had given me my life back after months of being injured and miserable.

From Pain to Passion
I truly hate that my profession often gets a bad reputation as being part of “alternative” (read: unnecessary) care, and for dragging treatment on with few results. Whilst I can’t speak for all of my peers, I have always strived to make my patients get better as fast as possible. If I cannot help you feel improvement over the course of our initial treatment plan, then I will make sure you get the help you need, even if that means finding you someone more suited to your needs.

A common feedback I hear from patients are “You are not like any chiropractors I have seen or heard of.”  My response to them is that this is because “I do whatever works for the patients!” I’m trained as a chiropractor, but with my personal experience and history of severe low back pain, continued learning and understanding that everyone is different, I have found the best approach to any aliment is an integrated approach.  In any given day I will use the traditional chiropractic manipulation on one patient, the Graston Technique technique on another, and spend time with a different patient teaching them how to lift properly from the floor.  Whilst many of us may have experienced the same low back pain I did as a teen, for each person the path that led to that pain is always quite different, which is why I emphasize individualized care and treatment. I’m just happy to now own Mobility Plus Sports Rehab, so I can practice my own personal style with Seattle residents.

Once a patient’s initial complaint—an injury or the source of pain, whether from a fall, an auto accident, a sport or something else—has been located and dealt with, and a patient has satisfactorily completed treatment, I do believe regular checkups are a core aspect of maintaining a high level of physical wellbeing. I call this the Wellness Phase of one’s chiropractic care, and I find it is perhaps the most important service we provide for our patients. By regular checkups, I don’t mean anything drastic. Periodic examinations allow for early detection of joint and muscle dysfunction before they become painful. If allowed to go undetected and untreated, minor dysfunctions can develop without symptoms until they are aggravated by work habits, lifestyles activities, or other stress factors. Many people will invest a lot of time and effort into obtaining better health—eating right, working out, and sleeping better and so on— only to let it slip away. I believe that investing in early detection and treatment is fundamental to cost-effective healthcare.

We all go to the dentist’s twice a year because we believe that our teeth need periodic check-ups and preventative cleaning. People should notice aches and pains as much as they would notice getting daily or weekly toothaches. We should feel the same way about our spine, our backs, necks, muscles and bones. Those aches and pains you might feel after waking up or working at a desk are not “normal.” They tend to indicate a fundamental aspect of how we are moving or holding ourselves is wrong, and should (and can) be located and fixed.

Dr. Michael Li, DC, DCARB
Mobility Plus Sports Rehab
Seattle, WA | (206) 441-2505

Best 5 Tips to Improve Your Fitness

There are many things that can get in the way of us reaching our health and fitness goals- lack of time, injury, illness and even traveling for work can all hold us back. Sometimes we can control these things; sometimes we can’t…that’s life. Try to make improvements in these five areas and you will see a change in your fitness.

1. Get Enough Sleep
If you want to work out hard and get the best results, your body needs rest, and lots of it. On a basic level, if you’re feeling tired you’re more likely to skip the gym. If you’ve had a good seven or eight hours of sleep, your body will run more smoothly, your mental state will improve and you’ll be able to workout harder and more frequently.

2. Clean up Your Diet
What you put in your body directly affects how you feel and how you operate. If you put cheap gas in a car it’s not going to run as well, as cleanly or for as long as it would if you chose a higher grade. It’s just the same with your body. Avoid the junk and chose high-quality, fresh, unprocessed foods. Of course enjoy your life and indulge in the things you enjoy from time to time, but make smart decisions and be honest with yourself about your choices.
3. Make Time for Exercise
Like anything in life, if you don’t make time for it then it’s very unlikely to happen. Develop a realistic plan and meet with a personal trainer to keep you accountable. Put workouts in your calendar the same way you’d schedule a haircut or a trip to the dentist. If it’s in your calendar, you’re less likely to skip and more likely to get into a consistent regimen.

4. Increase the Intensity
Doing something is definitely better than doing nothing, but if you’re looking for improved results then you’re going to have to up the intensity of your cardio. If you do the same old workout over and over, your body will very quickly become conditioned to it and your results will stall. You should be tired, you should be sweaty, you should be out of breath. Try to add in a few exercises that push you to your upper limits such as running hills, stairs, or incline treadmill.

5. Hit the Weights
I firmly believe that strength training is an important part of any fitness regimen. If you want to lose fat or change your body, one of the most important things you can do is lift weights. Diet and cardio are equally important, but when it comes to changing how your body looks, weight training wins hands down. Here are a few benefits from lifting weights:
• Help raise your metabolism. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn all day long.
• Strengthen bones, especially important for women
• Make you stronger and increase muscular endurance
• Help you avoid injuries
• Increase your confidence and self-esteem
• Improve coordination and balance

These tips can help keep you from reaching an unwanted fitness plateau. Improvements in one or all of these areas will keep your fitness goals moving forward so that you get the most out of life. Talk with a Personal Trainer at the Seattle Athletic Club to get started with your personalized fitness plan.

The Importanct of Evidence-Based Practice: The Example of Exercise for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis and osteopenia are common issues that affect the life expectancy and quality of life in nearly 40 million Americans. These conditions, which both indicate a decrease in bone mineral density, which we can consider as bone strength, occur in men and women of all ages but are most predominate in post-menopausal women. People affected with osteoporosis or osteopenia have reduced strength and resiliency in their bones leading to an increased likelihood of fractures. Fractures are linked to significantly increased all-cause mortality in older women as well as impaired mobility and quality of life so it is imperative that bone health be maintained.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is through exercise. With every muscle action and every contact with the ground, bones have some force exerted against them and they respond by becoming stronger. Increasing the amount of activity and exercise is therefore a viable way to increase bone strength. But what type of exercise will work best? A review of randomized, controlled trials evaluated various types of exercise to see which would have the greatest impact. The results varied based upon the body part. We will discuss the impact on two common sites of osteoporosis: the spine and neck of the femur. In the spine, bone mineral density responded positively to two types of exercise: Weight-bearing low force activity such as walking or Tai Chi and non-weight-bearing-high-force exercises. In the neck of the femur, a positive effect was observed in response to non-weight-bearing high force exercises. Non-weight-bearing high force exercises include exercise machines (such as the leg extension, leg press, hip abductor, hip adductor and hamstring curl) performed with almost as much weight as possible.

Look at that list of non-weight-bearing high force exercises again. If you have read my other posts or talked with me before, it is obvious that I am not a fan of those machines. In fact, some of them are on my list of top things to avoid at the gym. The motor patterns reinforced by these machines seem unproductive to me and they develop strength in very limited, non-functional actions. Worst of all, these machines allow you to develop more strength than your body can handle, which can lead to terrible movement habits and possibly injury.

In my mind, well coached and well-performed squats, deadlifts, hip hinges and farmers walks would be way more helpful for developing bone density. But, the evidence is right there, pointing at me, saying that these much-maligned-machines may have some usefulness after all. Perhaps the machines were only helpful for the subjects tested because they didn’t have good coaching. Perhaps the researchers simply found it easier to compare exercise machines. Perhaps I am a good enough coach that I can overcome these obstacles and increase my clients bone density without using the machines. So, I find myself in a quandary: Follow the evidence and use the machines or trust my own education, intuition and instinct. The question is best answered with humility. I honestly don’t know if better results can be obtained without using the machines. It seems likely to me but at the end of the day, there is not evidence to directly support it. So, I would like to take a moment to apologize to all machine advocates out there and also endorse the use of these machines for increasing bone mineral density in the spine and neck of femur.

If you have osteoporosis, osteopenia or are at risk, this discussion was likely very useful for you. But if you don’t, it still offers a valuable lesson. No expert can know everything. Even strictly within the field of exercise, there are countless complicated decisions that cannot be answered through logical reasoning and intuition. When it comes to your health and fitness, you deserve to know that you are making the best decision. Always ask your trainers, instructors and health care providers why they are doing what they are doing. Ask about the evidence they have supporting them. There are a lot of things that don’t have clear evidence-based answers but it never hurts to ask. It will make you a better client and make us better trainers.

The ABCs of HydroTherapy

Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is the application of water to promote healing. All three forms of water (liquid, steam, ice) can be used therapeutically.

Advantages to hydrotherapy are:

  • It is almost always available.
  • It is easy to learn and perform.
  • It is painless and has no ill side effects.
  • It is inexpensive and can be done at home or at the gym.

The goal of hydrotherapy is to improve the circulation and quality of blood. This is important because blood delivers nutrients to and removes wastes from tissues and organs. If circulation is poor or slow, healing nutrients cannot be delivered and toxins cannot be removed, which causes degeneration of the tissues and organs. By improving the quality of blood, more nutrients are available for cells to use and toxins are managed more efficiently.

General therapeutic uses of hydrotherapy include:

  • Pain and swelling of injuries
  • Fever
  • Elimination of toxins
  • Antispasmodic
  • Improve immune function

Hydrotherapy treatments include the following:

Baths & Showers
Baths and showers can be healthy and healing. A hot bath or shower can encourage relaxation, reduce stress, and flush out toxins. Adding essential oils or herbs to the bath can enhance the therapeutic benefits. Cold baths and showers can be energizing and stimulating. A rinse of cold water after a hot shower can invigorate, boost the immune system, and improve blood flow.

Hot Foot Bath
A hot foot bath is the immersion of both feet and ankles in hot water for 10 – 30 minutes. It is an excellent way to draw blood from inflamed or congested areas of the body. Indications for use are foot and leg cramps, sore throat, cold, flu, nausea, insomnia, and chest or pelvic congestion.

Cold Compress
The compress is an application of a cold compress to an area that is initially cooled by the water and then warmed by the influx of blood to the area. It is an effective therapy for sore throat, cold, flu, and sinus congestion when it is administered to the throat or feet. When the feet are treated, it is also known as warming socks or wet socks treatment.

Contraindications for Compress
Skin conditions irritated by moisture.

Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years, both internally and externally. Castor oil applied topically has many beneficial effects and can be used for almost any malady. The castor oil pack is a simple procedure, yet it can produce wonderful results. Physiological effects of the castor oil pack include, but are not limited to: stimulating the liver, increasing eliminations, relieving pain, increasing lymphatic circulation, improving gastrointestinal function, increasing relaxation, and reducing inflammation.

You can buy castor oil at most any pharmacy or grocery store. Apply liberally to the area to be treated, such as the abdomen. Place a flannel fabric or tshirt (something you don’t mind gettin oily) over the area and place a hot water bottle or other heating device over the fabric. This is a great thing to do just before bed, as the heated abdomen is very relaxing!

Worse than SmokaDiaBesity?

Smoking, diabetes and obesity; this ugly triumvirate of chronic health problems, nicknamed “smokadiabesity,” strains our health care system, reduces quality of life and accounts for hundreds of thousands of American deaths annually. If asked the question “what kills more people than smoking, diabesity and obesity combined?” most people would struggle to come up with an answer. But there is a more potent risk factor for mortality and most of us struggle to overcome it on a daily basis. As the figure shows, low cardio-respiratory fitness is responsible for more deaths than any other major cardiovascular risk factor. Even more startling, low fitness is responsible for more deaths than even the sum the effect of smoking, diabetes and obesity. Low fitness is undoubtedly a plague to our health.

Health Factors

These data come from a study of over 50,000 people including men (colored bars) and women (white bars). The risk factors were compared based on the attributable fraction of all cause mortality. This means that if a risk factor was not present, a percentage of deaths due to all causes would have been averted. For example, if all the people with low fitness had instead been fit, about 16% of male deaths would not have occurred.

Getting fit could very well extend your life but 30 minutes of jogging and 23.5 hours of sitting and lying is an unlikely formula for truly improving cardio-respiratory fitness. Instead, a lifestyle of activity should be sought. If you work in a sedentary job this can be a challenge. Give yourself a goal to move 10 minutes every hour at work, and schedule it in. Walking to a colleague’s office instead of emailing, walking around the block on a break and taking the stairs are great ways to give your body a break from all the sitting. Also give yourself some time to intentionally exercise using a combination of moderate, sustained exercise and high intensity, interval training. Moderate cardio exercise looks like a long bike ride, jog or elliptical excursion of at least 30 minutes. Intervals consist of short bouts of high level exercise lasting anywhere from 10 seconds to 2 minutes followed by rest. If you are inexperienced with this type of exercise or you have any underlying health conditions, be sure to talk with a Personal Fitness Trainer before adding it to the mix.

Blair, S.N., 2009. Physical Inactivity: The biggest health problem of the 21st century. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 43(1): 1-2.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month-Quit Smoking

November is lung cancer awareness month; even if you don’t smoke here are some reasons from the CDC to stay away from this unhealthy habit.

Breaking free from nicotine dependence is not the only reason to quit smoking. Cigarette smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals; hundreds are toxic and about 70 can cause cancer. Cigarette smoke can cause serious health problems, numerous diseases, and death.

Fortunately, people who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and premature death. Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, cessation is beneficial at all ages.

Smoking cessation is associated with the following health benefits:

  • Smoking cessation lowers the risk for lung and other types of cancer.
  • Smoking cessation reduces the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Coronary heart disease risk is substantially reduced within 1 to 2 years of cessation.
  • Smoking cessation reduces respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The rate of decline in lung function is slower among persons who quit smoking.
  • Smoking cessation reduces the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
  • Smoking cessation by women during their reproductive years reduces the risk for infertility. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.

The majority of cigarette smokers quit without using evidence-based cessation treatments. However, the following treatments are proven effective for smokers who want help to quit:

  • Brief clinical interventions (i.e., when a doctor takes 10 minutes or less to deliver advice and assistance about quitting)
  • Counseling (e.g., individual, group, or telephone counseling)
  • Behavioral cessation therapies (e.g., training in problem solving)
  • Treatments with more person-to-person contact and intensity (e.g., more time with counselors)

Cessation medications found to be effective for treating tobacco dependence include the following:

  • Nicotine replacement products
    • Over-the-counter (e.g., nicotine patch, gum, lozenge)
    • Prescription (e.g., nicotine inhaler, nasal spray)
  • Prescription non-nicotine medications, such as bupropion SR (Zyban®) and varenicline tartrate (Chantix®).

The combination of medication and counseling is more effective for smoking cessation than either medication or counseling alone.

Last Chance Workout

Maybe you’ve thought about hiring a personal trainer but after watching an hour of the Biggest Loser and seeing trainers perch on a treadmill and yell at people you’ve decided that’s not your cup of tea. Well in today’s blog we’ll discuss how personal training is much different than how you or the media may think of it.

  1. Our job is not to yell. Granted I love to yell at my clients (the ones that like to be yelled at, it’s all for fun people) in either a good natured way or a raised voice to get the fire lit under someone. However yelling like a drill sergeant is not what good training is about. We are teachers first and for most; yelling is not what gets things done and it’s not how people learn.
  2. Our job is not to make you workout so hard you want to scream mercy or die. Any monkey can make you sweat; any monkey can make you sore. A good training session has little to do with either of these things. Yes, you probably will sweat, and yes, you probably will be sore but that is not the goal. The goal is to teach you skills to better your health, to increase your fitness, and to keep you progressing. But it is never to work you out hard for the sake of being “a tough trainer.”
  3. Not everyone trains the same. Maybe you see a trainer with a client and holy cow does their workout look hard. That’s probably because that client is at a high level of fitness, they obviously like to be pushed, and they have goals that demand a higher level of training. But the next hour that same trainer that looked like they were training their client to join American Gladiators is now training someone how to do basic body weight movements and stretch. Just because a trainer works some clients one way does not in any way mean that all of their clients work at that same level or training style. Good training is about working with what a client has and building on fitness. You will always work within your means; you’ll start with the basics and build upon that.
  4. Not everyone wants to work that hard. As trainers we get that, just because we like to jump on boxes, punch bags, or throw weight over our heads doesn’t mean that you do. If you so choose to train, your trainer should always design workouts with your fitness levels, your comfort levels, and your goals in mind. If you want to increase flexibility your trainer will not be yelling at you to do 20 more push-ups, instead you may be doing some stretching and full range of motion exercises. You should only work within your means or to the point where your form is starting to fail. The workouts can be challenging physically and mentally at first but you should never walk away feeling like you never want to come back because it was so difficult!
  5. You may know how to do certain things in the gym but a trainer does a lot more than just stand there and count. Even the most advanced weight lifters have coaches; Olympic weight lifting athletes bring their coaches to their competitions…do you? Your money is paying for a professional to give you a smart and effective program design, quality teaching of movements, cutting edge fitness programs, knowledgeable and current information about exercise as well as answers to any questions you may have, and general support during your session and after. You should walk away from a session feeling like you’ve learned something that you can take with you and perform at home, at any other gym, outside, etc.

As you can see training is a lot more than sweating, yelling, and looking like you might die. Your trainer is training you to reach YOUR goals. Your trainer is there to support and push you to perform safe, proper movements and effective exercises.

If you have goals you can’t quite seem to achieve or if you are looking to learn something new about fitness contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway to get set up with one of the SAC’s top notch trainers today! Don’t waste time spinning your wheels or being scared, if you have the will we have the way!

Smile and the World Smiles With You!

“To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver,” is what Elizabeth Gilbert’s guru, Ketut, said to her in the award winning book, Eat, Pray, Love.

In fact, many ancient, traditional healers believe smiling washes away bad energy, calms the mind and brings health to the soul. Chinese medicine in particular believes there is a direct correlation between your emotions and specific organs. Some examples of this are: the lunges related to sadness or depression, the liver related to anger, and the stomach related to anxiety.

A hectic life coupled with physical and mental stress can leave little energy to will voluntary face muscles into a pleasant smile. However, our effort to work against gravity’s effect not only brightens the day of the recipient, but the person smiling as well.

Research has shown that chemical response to smiling and laughing will increase our happiness factor by raising serotonin levels, decreasing cortisol and adrenaline levels, reducing blood pressure and anxiety, and creating a more positive outlook on life. Dialectical behavioral therapy techniques use smile therapy in treatment of mental illnesses like borderline personality disorder.

Plus, think about the additional benefit of face exercises. Face yoga is an interesting trend that may not only fight wrinkles, frown lines and sagging skin, but may also force our perspective to rationalizing more than one simple benefit. This new trend includes exercises like the lion, the joker, happy cheeks, monkey cheeks, the prom queen, the Bugs Bunny and the truly odd smiling fish face. This simultaneously strengthens face muscles, gives you a face lift and I’m pretty sure you’ll be smiling on the inside while doing them.

Now being more aware of how the simple act of smiling can have a large impact on us, it should become an exercise in itself. So, as your day gets harder and more taxing, remember, you can affect not only others around you, but your internal environment, as well.

Client Appreciation

Most trainers are aware of how ‘personal’ training can be. It’s important for a trainer to have magnanimity and develop a sense for what a client is feeling emotionally, not just physically. Clients need motivation, inspiration, compassion, and empathy- human connection is the key to healing and growing. One thing that is never addressed is how this connection can have a reciprocal influence.

The study of epigenetics and gene expression is related to the concept of nature versus nurture, thus how much nurture is in our environment can positively affect our nature. Nurture is what attributes to if we flourish or fail. The rapport that is developed between a trainer and a client is through mutual trust and understanding. As a trainer, your listening skills become enhanced and as is the nature of most trainers, your empathy and desire to help increases as well. Forming an intimate relationship with the client is what I would view as an essential component of nurture.

As weeks, months, and years go by that relationship can grow on a whole different dimension. What I have found in the past is the client starts to know a lot about your personal life as well. The reciprocity effect can sometimes evolve into a lasting, valuable friendship. In honest reflection, I can say these have been some of the most meaningful connections I’ve had in my life. So, from a trainer to all her former and current clients, I thank you.