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Simple Habits That Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy Lifestyle Tips - Chiro Chicago IL

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean completely overhauling your life, just a few changes to your daily routine and the adoption of a handful of simple healthy habits, can be all that’s needed to start feeling healthier and more positive. If you’ve found that you’re stuck in a rut and your energy levels are not what you’d like them to be, then it’s time for a fresh start with healthy habits that can lead to a healthier mind and body. Here are six of the best healthy habits that you can use to refresh your mind and start on the right path to a much healthier lifestyle.

Drink 48 Ounces of Water Every Day

Water is essential for life, and you should be drinking around 48 ounces a day to maintain a healthy body and mind. Water helps to keep your body fluids balanced, keeps your organs healthy, and provides you with energy. Drinking the right amount of water each day also helps to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.

Sugary drinks and caffeine can be very bad for your body, especially when you drink them in excess. Switching your morning coffee or lunchtime can of soda to water, will make you feel refreshed and help to lower your caloric intake. Water can make you feel full, so if you’re drinking the right amount of water, you’ll feel less inclined to snack during the day. Remembering to drink enough water every day can be tough, so to turn this healthy practice into a habit that you’ll follow each day, it’s worth carrying water around with you and making sure that there is always a bottle of water within reach.

Get Enough Sleep Each Night

As you progress through life, your body will require less sleep; for a healthy adult the recommended number of hours of sleep each night is around 8. Many people don’t manage to consistently get 8 hours of sleep each night, which can be a detriment to health and wellbeing, as sleep is one of the best indicators of your health.

In the time you spend asleep, your body is repairing itself. Your blood vessels and heart undergo healing and your whole-body recharges. Not getting enough sleep can lead to poor brain function, hunger, and a bad immune system. For the energy you need to get through the day, it’s essential that you get a good night’s sleep! For a healthier lifestyle, make sure that you’re going to bed at the same time each night, and setting aside enough time to get around 8 hours of sleep – your body will certainly thank you for this healthy habit.

Follow a Healthy Exercise Regime

Exercise is an important component in weight loss, but the benefits of following a healthy exercise regime are not just centered around staying at your desired weight. Physical activity will help your body to stay healthy in many ways. Exercise will make you less prone to developing conditions like diabetes, strengthen your bones and muscles, and help to lower your blood pressure. Getting in a regular amount of exercise each week will give you more energy and help you to feel better within yourself, promoting a healthy body and mind. An essential healthy habit to adopt if you want to lead a better lifestyle is making time for around 30 minutes of exercise each day. This doesn’t have to be intense exercise, just enough to get your heart pumping.
If you work at a desk for long periods of time during the day, then one of the best healthy habits is to get up and get moving every now and again to break up your day and give your body a break from sitting.

Make Time for Meditation

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For the health of your mind and your body, meditation is something that you should consider trying out at least once a day. Good meditation practices will help you to manage the feelings of stress and anxiety, leading to a much happier lifestyle. The feeling of calmness that meditation provides is almost immediate, and it can help you to get a restful night’s sleep and improve your memory. A mediation session can fit into even the busiest of schedules, all you need to do is put 2 or 3 minutes aside each day to start with, and just take the time to sit, relax, and focus on your breathing.

Taking this time to get rid of your negative thoughts will provide you with a much more positive outlook, which is essential for living the best possible healthy lifestyle. You can mediate at any time of the day, but it’s important to make sure that the time is spent without technology distractions – it really can help to take a break from your phone or computer every now and again.

Have a Good Physical Therapy Routine

When it comes to the best healthy habits that promote a healthy lifestyle, having a good physical therapy routine is going to be something that impacts your body considerably. All that stress that has built up in your body doesn’t just disappear by itself, you need the help of a trained physical therapist to improve the functions of your body and ease any pain or tension that has built up.

Physical therapy can assist your body in recovering, it can reduce the amount of pain that you feel and improve your mobility. With a good physical therapy routine, you can manage conditions like diabetes easier, increase your ability to balance, and feel much more comfortable in your own skin. A healthy body will put you on the right track to leading a healthier lifestyle, so booking in for a physical therapy session is a great decision if you want to change your lifestyle and include more healthy habits.

Eat More of the Right Healthy Foods

Healthy eating is perhaps the most well-known habit among the top healthy habits, but you can never stress enough just how beneficial a balanced diet can be for your body and mind. The food that you consume is the fuel for your body and a balanced diet will give your body a little of everything it needs to function properly.

Eating a balanced diet will provide you with energy, make sure that your body is able to heal properly, and strengthen your bones and organs so you can do more and feel better whilst doing it. A balanced diet, combined with exercise, will also help you to reach and maintain a healthy body weight, which in turn can give you a positive mental boost. Major diet changes can be hard to implement, but just switching out some of your sugary snacks for healthier alternatives and eating a wider range of fruits and vegetables will help you on your way to conquering this healthy habit.

Healthy habits can be fun and rewarding to implement into your daily routine, especially when you have the promise of a healthier lifestyle at the end of the day. By including just a small number of simple healthy habits into your routine, you’ll achieve a healthier lifestyle much sooner than you might think!

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Non-Food Related Incentives to Motivate Your Fitness Goal

“Just be good and you’ll get a cookie.” “After this, we’re getting lunch!” “If I get through this project, I need a drink.” All our lives have been dotted with food-related incentives for completing tasks and goals. Though rewarding with a sweet treat can seem like a benign motivation, this habit can be detrimental to your ultimate health goals. Using food as a prize reinforces the relationship in your mind of food and happiness. While a healthy and balanced lifestyle involves occasionally eating empty calories, using nutritionally-void food as a motivator is dangerous. Junk food as positive reinforcement for your fitness goal can precipitate a negative relationship with food.


In order to meet and maintain your health goals, you must rearrange your association with food and positivity to be an association between wellness and positivity.


How to Set Goals:


The journey to a healthy lifestyle is infinite. Every day, we can strive to take care of our bodies, to nurture them with food and invigorate them with exercise. Especially if you are structuring your wellness goals with weight-loss in mind, the road ahead may seem daunting. Setting inefficient and intangible goals can deter you from achieving them. Vague goals are just dreams. Goals require an actionable path, so make sure you are articulating what you are aiming to achieve. In order to be actionable, goals have to be realistic. Creating dramatic, lofty aims that in practice, aren’t going to be maintained, is not productive. A great metric for determining if you are setting motivating goals is the SMART test. SMART is a mnemonic device that breaks down the important aspects of a goal-writing:


Specific – What exactly are you trying to achieve?

Measurable – How will you be able to determine your success in achieving this?

Actionable – In what ways can you achieve this goal?

Realistic – Is this goal something you have the resources to achieve?

Timely – When are you going to achieve this goal?


If your goals meet the SMART criteria, you are on the right track. Everything humans do is to fulfill either an intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. Though you may be intrinsically motivated to meet your wellness goals and live a healthy, enriching life, an intrinsic motivation can sweeten the pot. Enter, rewards. In this article, we will give you tangible and customizable ideas that you can use to incentivize yourself.


Fitness Goal Reward Ideas That Aren’t Junk Food


  1. Treat Yourself To a Day at the Spa


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Working out and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be tiring. It makes sense to counteract all the emotional and physical energy you spend on your wellness with a relaxing activity. After going to the gym consistently, you’re going to build up tension in your muscles. The perfect relief is a massage. Release the tension with a pampering rub. At Advanced Spine and Sports Care, we offer our patients a variety of physical therapy rehabilitation methods, including massage treatments.


  1. Buy New Workout Gear


If you’re going to get serious about your fitness goals, you’re going to need the proper equipment. Treat yourself to that Lululemon pair of running shorts after you complete your race you’ve been training all summer for. Spring for the pricey, but stylish yoga mat. Buying yourself accessories for your workout of choice will encourage you to maintain your fitness goals.


  1. Or Just New Clothes In General



If your fitness journey is resulting in significant weight loss, chances are your old clothes are starting to feel a little loose. Celebrate your healthy body and treat yourself to some new threads! Wearing something you love and showing off your dedication to your fitness goals will help foster confidence.


  1. Treat Yo Self


Marry your fitness and financial goals by leveraging your health milestones to justify purchases. Been eyeing a new pair of shoes that you just have no reason to buy? Use your wish list as a carrot to motivate your health goals. The key is to set tangible expectations so you can definitively landmark your achievements. General goals like “I want to get more flexible” are hard to convert into actionable motivations. Try instead something like, “I want to be able to do the splits.” The key to any successful goal is the measurability of it, so you can analyze your success in achievement.


  1. Equip Yourself with Tools for a Healthy Lifestyle


You put in quality time at the gym and picking nutritional meals, it’s time to put the same effort into your time off. If you are meeting your fitness and health goals, reward yourself in a way that lets you experience the fruits of your labor. Certain rewards for yourself can actually accelerate you toward your goals. If your wellness goals are more nutritionally-based, consider purchasing something that can elevate your kitchen skills. Kitchen tools, cooking classes, or a new cookbook can be the extra push you need to fall in love with your new healthy diet. If you’re more focused on the physical exercise component of your wellness, reward yourself with a fun physical activity! Working out does not have to mean a monotonous weight-lifting routine or cranking out miles on the treadmill. Spice up your routine with a spin class you’ve been meaning to try or a day trip to go hiking!


  1. Give Yourself a Break


Reward your hard work with a day off. Think of your most dreaded chore; laundry, window cleaning, washing your car, and hire a service to take care of it for you.


When making dramatic lifestyle changes, goals are essential to milestone your progress and rewards to motivate your commitment to your goals.


Your relationship with food is a key component of your overall health. At the end of the day, feeding our bodies is about nourishment so we can live our best lives. Optimally, food is both wholesome and delicious, but the ritual of eating should be associated with fueling your body, rather than reward or entertainment. Diets tend to focus on the singular transaction of what you put into your body, rather than your approach to food overall. What we put into our bodies is extremely important, but the “why” is just as key.

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Athlete’s Secret Weapon: How Physical Therapy Can Help You Train — Not Just Recover

For many people recovering from an injury or a surgery, physical therapy is the most recommended way to get back to their everyday lifestyle, but it can also be a surprising resource for an athlete seeking healthy and helpful ways to train.

As part of the greater allied health community, in which health professionals distinct from medicine and nursing rely on scientific principles and evidence-based practice, physical therapists help improve their patients’ quality of life with treatment designed to optimize the body’s mobility and function. For athletes, physical therapy can provide a range of solutions that do more than repair the body after an injury or surgery — physical therapy can help athletes train their bodies and muscles for endurance, strain and more.

Whether they’re training for a single-day marathon or a season-long sport, athletes may benefit a myriad of ways from physical therapy.

Improve Balance

Two of the primary reasons an athlete would pursue a physical therapy program are to prevent an injury and to optimize the body for success. Improving balance achieves both of these goals, as the athlete would be much less likely to experience a fall with this enhanced mobility.

According to the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, falls are the leading cause of injury for older adults, contributed by balance impairments. Through focusing on the best practices to improve balance and manage falls risk in older patients, physical therapists have also discovered ways to do so for patients of all ages, including otherwise healthy athletes. A study by Dr. Tiffany Shubert outlined a range of exercises that physical therapists may employ with patients to build their balance, including multicomponent exercise programs that incorporates several activities that target performance, balance, postural control, walking, and more. Additionally, balance training programs are designed to progressively improve a patient’s balance, which led to improved reaction times and greater efficiency in recovering balance.

Strengthen Muscles

Muscle atrophy inflicts many individuals, primarily due to a lack of physical activity, diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and more, which physical therapists help treat with exercises designed to strengthen muscles. For athletes, physical therapy programs focusing on strengthening their muscles can help them train even if they’ve not necessarily lost muscle from atrophy.

At their annual Myositis Association Conference, doctors met to discuss the importance of strengthening muscle through physical therapy, as well as some of the most recommended programs. As the physical therapists described during the conference, each patient must find the proper exercise program for them that will strengthen muscles and muscle groups not affected by their disease process while protecting the muscles that are indeed affected in order to compensate for the weakness. Proper exercise optimizes compensatory muscle efficiency and strength, which therefore maximizes a patient’s muscles’ ability to function at a higher level on a day by day basis.

Through various programs including aquatic exercises, land-based exercises, and a range of other focused exercises, an athlete may strengthen their muscles through physical therapy to forego possible injury and optimize their healthy body towards whichever goal for which they are training.

Enhance Endurance

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For athletes preparing for marathons and other activities involving long strain on the body, endurance is a primary trait to train. With higher endurance, athletes can compete for longer with lesser stress. Many individuals seek physical therapy to enhance endurance following a debilitating disease, injury or surgery, programs which athletes too can benefit from in preparation of their event.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association, endurance exercise training has been employed by physical therapists to improve economy of movement for those suffering from Parkinson disease. The study measured endurance according to the rate of oxygen consumption during gait, as cardiorespiratory fitness is generally assessed. Through aerobic conditioning exercises designed to enhance endurance for patients suffering from Parkinson disease, physical therapists helped increase patients’ economy of movement.

Over time and through specific conditioning programs, athletes can enhance their own endurance through physical therapy to similarly defend against possible injury and optimize their bodies for success.

Improve Circulation

Strong circulation is vital for athletes to consistently perform well, as proper blood and oxygen flow guarantees the body’s ability to push the body harder, compete for a longer time, and run a further distance.

Beyond adjustments to diet, there are many ways for an athlete to improve circulation, including physical therapy. Advanced Physical Medicine outlines how determined exercise is the best way to improve blood circulation, such as muscle-toning exercises, systematic programs, and regular work with a physical therapist who knows the patient’s body’s specific needs. The American Physical Therapy Association asserts that professional physical therapists use the results of evidence-based tests to determine the best ways to address the body’s needs for circulation, both at rest and with activity, including the programs to best help the body move blood through the organs and tissues and how to remove carbon dioxide and lymphatic drainage through the body.

Technological advances have also allowed physical therapists to work with athletes to improve circulation through exercises involving hydrotherapy, electrical muscle stimulation, and far infra-red heat therapy, which helps cells revitalize and stimulate blood circulation.

Increase Flexibility

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To maintain a range of motion in the joints, which permits the required activities many athletes undergo, it’s imperative to build and strengthen flexibility. Consistent stretching helps keep the muscles flexible, as otherwise they would shorten and tighten, according to Harvard health specialists.

While it’s simple enough to stretch on their own, athletes may benefit from working with physical therapists to understand which best types of stretching to work towards their own personal goals. As the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy explains, range of motion may be limited by either joints or muscles. Different types of stretching addresses either one of these parts of the body, and in a myriad of ways. Symptoms such as muscle viscoelasticity create passive tension in the muscle, while symptoms like alpha innervation create active tension in the muscle. To stretch the muscle, exercises range from static stretching to dynamic stretching to pre-contraction stretching, each involving different therapy programs.

As the journal’s study explains, athletes requiring greater flexibility for their sports, such as gymnastics and dance, may benefit most from static stretching, while athletes requiring jumping performance may benefit most from dynamic stretching.

From tools to stretch before an event to programs to enhance endurance, physical therapy offers athletes many methods to develop healthy habits and train for their big event.

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7 Ways to Be Active In Chicago This Summer

With its bold architecture, exciting events and stunning views of Lake Michigan, Chicago is one of the most exciting cities in which to spend your summer.


Chicago is packed with activities to enjoy during the summer months. With the season comes sunshine – and lots of it. It gets hot – sometimes too hot to get outside and comfortably exercise. At the very height of summer it’s important to stay hydrated, stay in the shade and wear sunscreen, but there are plenty of ways to stay active without overheating or risking your health.


With warmer weather just around the corner, we’ve compiled a list of 7 awesome ways to stay active in Chicago this summer. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or simply love the fresh air, these are the best ways to be active in this iconic city at summertime.


1 – Go Swimming


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Swimming is a great activity for when the weather’s hot. Cool off and take a dip in one of Chicago’s many swimming pools or outdoor swimming areas.


For those looking to experience swimming in a natural setting, all you need to do is head eastwards. Chicago is of course built on the shores of one of the world’s biggest freshwater lakes; and with so many different beach entry points, Lake Michigan is one of the easiest places to enjoy a cooling swim in the summertime. Oak Street beach, Ohio Street beach, and Harold Hall Quarry beach are all lovely and are monitored by lifeguards, making them great for families. You can enjoy a calming swim right alongside the city walls, then dry off and head straight into town for a well-earned drink.


For those who prefer to swim in a pool, Chicago has plenty of indoor and outdoor pools to choose from. Practice your lengths at Chicago Park District pool or head to the Olympic-sized pool at Washington Park to get in your mileage.


2 – Play Indoor Sports


When it gets really hot, it can be exhausting to be out in the sun and exercising. Chicago has plenty of indoor sports clubs where you can enjoy all kinds of activities in their dedicated (and air conditioned!) studios.


Join Chicago Sport and Social Club, where you can enjoy a range of sports all year round, including softball, basketball, in-door volleyball and floor hockey. Combining high caliber sports leagues with great social events, Chicago Sport and Social Club is a fantastic place to stay active and have fun during a Chicago summer, and throughout the rest of the year.


3 – Take Up Yoga or Pilates


Eternally popular with people of all ages, yoga and pilates classes can be found everywhere in Chicago. Both activities are great ways to get fit: they help build core strength, improve flexibility and reduce stress, and can be done outside or inside during the summer months.


Choose from one of the many high quality yoga and pilates studios including: Amplified PIlates Center, Pilates ProWorks, CorePower Yoga and (last but not least) Yoga Six Lincoln Park.


Yoga Six has both indoor and outdoor classes. In the summer though, there’s nothing like the feeling of the sun on your face and the fresh breeze of Lincoln Park while you work out, complete with iconic views of the Chicago skyline. This studio is dedicated to helping you achieve balance and streamline your fitness – the perfect place to get active during summer in the Windy City.


4 – Explore Chicago By Foot


There are few things more lovely than a walk around the streets of Chicago on a sunny day. Book a tour with Chicago Walking tours and experience everything that this eclectic city has to offer.


Explore some of the fabulous parks this city has to offer by taking a stroll from Millennium Park to Maggie Daley Park. Amble around the farmers market, visit Lincoln Park and the surrounding area (packed with cafés, bars and a zoo – enough to fill an entire summer day), or explore the long-awaited Riverwalk which takes you along Lake Michigan to Wolf Point, with plenty of beautiful sights to see along the way.


5 – Go Paddleboarding on Lake Michigan


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Stand-up paddleboarding has taken the world by storm. It’s fun, playful and great exercise to enjoy out on the water. What better place to stay active and soak up some sunshine than on Lake Michigan? Head to its breezy shores to book a day out at one of its dedicated paddleboarding clubs.


Chicago Paddle Company offer training days and sessions for kids, adults, seniors and where experienced paddleboarders can rent their own boards on an hourly basis.


For those looking for a more contemporary atmosphere, head to Chicago SUP in downtown, where you can rent boards and get lessons, as well as join excursions around the lake or book party boats for you and your friends.


6 – Cycle Everywhere


Chicago is regarded as one of the best US cities for cycling. Since the dawn of the bicycle in the 19th century, Chicago has been home to dozens of cycling clubs, and was originally one of the key distributor hubs for bikes and cycling equipment for the whole of the United States.


Nowadays, keen cyclists can enjoy the many parks and trails designed specifically for bikes. Explore Burnham Park, Grant Park and the Lakefront Trail this summer. There are literally hundreds of places where you can rent and buy bikes, including Village Cycle Center, Cycle Smithy and Edgebrook Cycle, or take a cycling tour and experience what is arguably the best way to view this iconic city.


7 – Be Active at Home


There’s so much going on in the city that sometimes it’s nice to just chill out at home. Stay active at home by engaging in some vigorous housework, gardening or check out some online fitness videos to keep yourself toned and active during the summer months – without risking the sunburn!


Staying Safe In the Sun


Summer in Chicago is a wonderful time to enjoy everything this diverse city has to offer. During the warmer months, the temperature often rises into the 90s and the sun can be very strong. If you’re out and about during the summertime, it’s important to take certain precautions to keep yourself safe from heat and sun-related risks.

  • Walk in the mornings and evenings – the sun is strongest during the middle of the day. These are also some of the most beautiful times to see the city when it’s less busy.
  • Wear sunscreen – protect your skin from scorching summer sun by regularly applying sunscreen.
  • Wear sunglasses and a sunhat – keep your eyes and head cool to avoid heatstroke.
  • Stay hydrated – very important! Drink plenty of water and carry water with you when you’re out and about during the summer months.
  • Keep in the shade as much as possible – avoid standing in the sun for too long. Chicago is full of gorgeous parks, so why not have a picnic in the cool green shade of a tree?


The birthplace of so many innovators and artists, Chicago never disappoints when it comes to entertaining its visitors and its locals; whichever of these you are, we hope you have a lovely summer in this special city. Stay safe and enjoy this unique city in all its sunny glory.

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No Gym, No Problem! Best Outdoor Running Trails In Chicago

Love keeping fit but can’t get to a gym? Want to remain active while enjoying the outdoors? There could be multiple reasons why you decide to opt for outdoor running in Chicago as your chosen way to keep active. Some of you may just prefer being out in the fresh open air, while others like enjoying the views of surrounding sights as they run. Luckily Chicago is a great city for those who love outdoor running, with plenty of trails and running paths across different terrains and surfaces to choose from.


Whatever your reasons are and whether you prefer city trails or park runs, we’ve got you covered. Check out the list of our favorite outdoor running trails in Chicago:

Chicago Lakefront Trail

Set between the famous Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive, you’re going to enjoy many sights as you run along this 18.5-mile trail. There’s a great view of the Chicago skyline for most of it. The length of the trail runs from the South Shore area to Lakeview, taking runners past a range of parks, beaches, and harbors. You’ll also spot Chicago landmarks such as the Navy Pier or the Shedd Aquarium as you pound the pavement here. The large number of amenities here make it a major attraction for tourists and locals alike, and some may find it too crowded for their outdoor running tastes, especially on warmer days.


Chicago Riverwalk

If you’re a lover of architecture, this may be the best outdoor running trail in Chicago for you. In fact the entire run could actually be compared to an architecture tour of the city. The Chicago Riverwalk is under Wacker Drive and takes you past the downtown part of the Chicago River. There’s a great buzz and lively atmosphere to soak in as you run here. And if the sight of water as you run helps you feel good, this could be the ideal outdoor running trail for you.


Lincoln Park

Many Chicagoans consider this the best part in the city. And there’s certainly a lot going on. With the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Chicago History Museum, and the North Pond Nature Sanctuary among other attractions here, you might find that that the outdoor running trail can get a little bit crowded at peak times. But there’s also a lot of positives to using this spot for an occasional run. You can take in the spectacular skyline views and lush natural scenery. There’s also plenty to do and see in the surrounding area if you feel like it before or after your run.


Grant Park

Moving on to another famous Chicago park, Grant Park has been around for a long time.  Grant Park is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city, but try not to be put off by that. This park covers a whopping 319 acres of space, leaving you plenty of room to find a serene outdoor running spot. There are plenty of running trails to explore and work your way through here. The park is also home to many well-known attractions such as Buckingham Fountains and the Art Institute among others.


North Shore Channel Trail

Though it’s located pretty much downtown, the amount of greenery surrounding this outdoor running trail makes you feel far removed from the city. It starts at the Foster and Lawrence junction and stretches towards Evanston. You will enjoy river views as you run along the North Branch of the Chicago River and the North Shore Channel. This running trail is a great choice for you if want to enjoy a bit of natural serenity in the city.   


Northerly Island

With a view out into Lake Michigan, this man-made peninsula is our personal favourite outdoor running spot in the city. It spreads over 91 acres, and despite its central location near the museum Campus it has a surprisingly tranquil atmosphere. The native prairie of the island has been carefully restored. It makes a stunning set against the spectacular Chicago skyline. If you haven’t tried running here before, we’d highly recommend giving it a go.


Humboldt Park and Boulevards

Over the 219-acre Humboldt Park, you will find plenty of outdoor running tails, restored prairies and fantastic city views. Even as you leave the park to head into the surrounding trendy neighbourhood, you’ll find a few dirt paths to run in the nearby boulevards such as Humboldt Boulevard and Kedzie Boulevard.


Bloomingdale Trail (The 606)

This concrete trail runs over 2.7 miles from Ridgeway Avenue to Marshfield Avenue.  The Bloomingdale Trail is part of the 606 park system, and is an elevated ‘rail-trail’ in northwest Chicago. You’ll be running almost 20 feet over some of the city’s most hip neighbourhoods, including Wicker Park, Logan Square, Bucktown and Humboldt. You’ll need to run up an access ramp from the street to get here, and it’s easy to get to. If you enjoy elevated views of the city, this one’s for you.


Fox River Trail

This trail features 43 miles of asphalt, concrete, and crushed stone surfaces to run on. It may be a better fit for outdoor runners who have been training for a while, as it can occasionally be a little challenging. You will see some impressive scenery along the way though, and there are also views of the beautiful Fox River. Many locals come here to bike and hike as well as to enjoy cross-country skiing in the winter.


Palos Trail System

This 25-mile trail system is made up of several different forest preserves within the Cook County Forest Preserve System. It makes a great choice for those of you who like your outdoor running off-road. There are nine trails to explore here with varying levels of difficulty, and also plenty of hills if you want to enjoy a good hike. It takes only about 30 minutes to get here from downtown, but you’ll feel completely removed from the city.


Waterfall Glen

If you’re a lover of wildlife or nature, this could be just the outdoor running trail for you. The Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve trail system runs around the entirety of the park. The preserve itself has gorgeous natural scenery, such as ravines and rock ridges carved with glacier. The 700-acre forest is home to many rare plants and some very beautiful oak and maple trees. The trail is made of a limestone surface so is fairly easy to run on. It makes the perfect choice for those who want a retreat into nature in the city.


Salt Creek Trail

Covering almost 27 miles, the Salt Creek Trail takes you from Brookfield Zoo to the Busse Woods Forest Preserve. It is connected to many other woodland areas as well as other county forest preserves. Though some parts of the trail have a paved surface, it sometimes transitions into a limestone surface. Though there are plenty of signs throughout, make sure you don’t get lost at one of the many junctions.


We hope you enjoy trying out some of the Chicago outdoor running trails on this list. Even if you’ve found a running spot that you love, it can be fun to mix it up a little and explore new spots from time to time so you don’t find yourself stuck in a running rut. Happy running!

Text Neck: Is Your Phone Use Causing Neck Pain?

Tech Neck - Postural Dysfunction - Laptop Usage

Excessive smartphone use can really be a pain in the neck—and we don’t just mean the friends who compulsively check their phones or the unaware text zombies walking around the city.

Text Neck is a repetitive stress injury or overuse of the neck. Put simply, we’re looking down at our phones too much—and this translates to potentially serious, long-term damage to our spines and in more ways than one.

What is Text Neck?

When we tilt our heads down to scroll through our smartphones (or other devices, such as working from a laptop), we’re creating a gravitational pull on the skull. With the average adult head weighing 10-12 lbs., the downward pressure that is caused by texting adds an additional 60 lbs. of weight to our spine. That’s equivalent to having an 8-year-old child sit on your neck.

Furthermore, in a normal, healthy spine, there is a subtle, gentle curve that can be seen in the cervical vertebrae. In those with Text Neck, however, x-rays have shown an alarmingly straight spine and loss of the normal curvature.

Text Next is also referred to as Textural Postural Dysfunction (TPD). But no matter what you call it, it can be responsible for daily discomfort and long-term damage to your spine.

Almost everyone experiences some type of back or neck pain at some point, and, contrary to popular belief most of these conditions are not caused as a result of lifting something heavy or from a trip or fall. In fact, around 70% of these conditions start with everyday repetitive activities such as spending time using electronic devices.

What are the Symptoms of Text Neck?

Text Neck - Neck Pains - Cell Phone UsageCommon complaints of Text Neck include headaches and neck & shoulder pain, but it can also lead to muscle strain, disc herniation and overall health problems.

How so, exactly?

Text Neck puts extra pressure on your nervous system. Our nerves are like an “information highway,” originating from both the brain and spinal cord. When these nerves become pinched or damaged from improper postural habits, problems can begin to manifest elsewhere in the body, such as pain and tingling in the extremities. Problems in other parts of the body will only subside when the root of the problem is fixed.

What You Can Do to Combat Text Neck

When someone its in a slouched, poor posture, their lower back will not be forming its natural curve. Their neck will also have a more increased curve forwards while the middle of the back will have a larger curve backwards.

This posture will abnormally stretch the spinal discs, the ligaments and the muscles and eventually pain will develop. Sometimes, it will take several months, but for some people the pain can occur in as short a time as a few minutes.

In order to combat Text Neck, start with paying close attention to your posture throughout the day. Try these steps to help you get started:

While Using The Desktop Computer

  • When using a desktop PC, the head should remain balanced on the shoulders with the curves of the spine taking a natural and balanced position.
  • The face and head should look straight ahead without any downward angle while the elbows should lie at the sides of the body. Adopting this posture when working at a computer will minimize neck and back pain.
  • Remember to take frequent breaks—set a timer every 15-20 minutes to step away from your screen and walk around, especially if you have a computer-based profession.

When Using A Cell Phone

  • When using a smartphone, users should hold their device in a higher position, keeping their elbows close to their sides to reduce the downward angle of their head. By adopting an upright posture, the neck and back will be brought into a more natural position and will engage the core, trunk and back muscles to stay in the correct posture.
  • Smartphone users are advised to either use a chair with a well-shaped back piece or to stand while using their device to promote a more natural posture.
  • Hold your smartphone or device at eye level whenever possible & Don’t text or scroll through social media in bed

When Using A Laptop

  •  Users should angle the screen upwards to maintain the optimal viewing angle and, wherever possible, putting the laptop on a desk and using an external keyboard or mouse is the best idea for promoting good posture.
  • Maintain a neutral spine whenever using technology by aligning your ears with your shoulders and retracting your shoulders.
  • Consciously create device-free time, like during meals or first thing in the morning or after a certain time in the evening.

How A Chiropractor Can Remedy Text Neck

Chiropractic adjustments can relieve neck pain and address the structural issues that Text Neck creates over time. Like many chronic health issues, they usually don’t suddenly appear overnight, meaning it will take time to for your body to unlearn habits you’ve developed over hours and hours of technology use.

Chiropractors can work to realign the spine as well as create regimens to help you improve your postural habits, so you can be healthy and pain-free moving forward.

Think you might be suffering from Text Neck? Call our offices today at 773.236.8396 to see how we can get you pain-free naturally or make an appointment here.

routine, health, wellness, body, sleep

Master the Morning: How to Create a Daily Routine That Will Make Your Jump Out of Bed

Morning and Night Routines to Help You Live Better

Does the following scenario sound familiar to you? You sleep through the alarm and wake up in a panic. You have to rush around the house to get ready, and with no time for breakfast you just grab a cup of takeaway coffee on the way to work. You arrive feeling stressed and underprepared which sets you up for a challenging day. After work, you get home exhausted, flop down on the sofa and watch bad TV all night. You don’t get to sleep until late and then wake up several times during the night, so you sleep in again in the morning. Is that you? Do you find that you’re completely burned out longer before the week’s over, but don’t know how to get out of the rut? A routine is what you need. Having a healthy morning and evening routine primes you for a successful day and better well-being. You’ll achieve more, be able to think more clearly and, most importantly, you’ll feel better. They key is discipline, and if you take the time to set up healthy and structured routines to get your day started and ended well, you’ll soon see the difference.


What Is A Routine?


The definition of a routine is a sequence of actions which you repeatedly carry out. For example, if you wake up at 6am every day, that’s a routine. If you always read the newspaper and eat toast before heading out of the door, that’s a routine too. Routines set the rhythm of your life, however just because they are a routine doesn’t make them a healthy routine. Routines have power, and if you choose to have unhealthy routines, you will end up trapped in an unhealthy cycle. Conversely, if you choose healthy ones, your life will change for the better.


So, what kind of routines are beneficial for our lives?


Good Morning Routines To Kick Off The Day


Rather than your old unhealthy routine of sleeping through the alarm and rushing around like an idiot, you can replace it with a healthier schedule to prepare you for success.


Get Up Early


Getting up early will help you to prepare adequately for the demands of the day. It will prevent you from experiencing the stress and panic of running behind, and will help you to put in place other healthy routines that will set you up adequately for the day ahead. What are the benefits of rising early? For a start, you are naturally more creative as your mind has been refreshed from sleep, and there are fewer things to distract you early in the morning. The early exposure to sunlight increases your feelings of well-being and positivity and if you use some of that extra time to meditate or work out, you will feel less stressed and more energized too.


Recite Affirmations


As part of your morning routine, you should set aside some time to recite some positive affirmations. These statements can be used to reframe the way you think and feel about yourself and the day ahead. They can help you to overcome negative feelings and will help you to visualize the good things that will happen. By saying simple statements such as:


“I will be successful in everything I do today.”

“I am a strong and beautiful person.”

“I am liked and respected by those who know me.”


By visualizing and affirming the things that you would like to happen in your life, you are focusing on them and believing that achieving them is possible, and this, in turn, enables you to act on them and make them become a reality.

Take Some Exercise


Exercise is one of the best things to introduce into your morning routine. By boosting your blood flow, releasing endorphins and strengthening the body, exercise prepares you physically and mentally for the day while also keeping you healthy. By helping to fight anxiety and depression, and by keeping your body fit, introducing daily exercise into your morning routine will improve your well-being.


Eat A Healthy Breakfast


When you were running late, you probably grabbed an unhealthy fast food snack on the way to work, or just ate nothing at all. Both of these scenarios were bad for your health. Consuming the right fuel at breakfast time has a major impact on your day, so schedule in time for a healthy breakfast that is low in sugar and low in fat, such as a smoothie, oatmeal or yogurt and fruit. This will help to curb food cravings and give you energy to set you up for the day ahead.


Good Evening Routines To End The Day Positively


Ending the day well is just as important as beginning it properly. By putting in place a healthy evening routine, you can prepare yourself for a good start the next day. Here are some suggestions for good evening routines that will set you up for a restful night.


Prepare Your Goals

Before going to bed, determine your goals for the day ahead. This will help to get the tasks that need to be achieved clear in your mind, and will allow your brain to start thinking about how you will accomplish those tasks in advance. You’ll be well prepared in the morning.


Reflect On What You Achieved


An important part of every evening should be to reflect on all of the things that you achieved during the course of the day. It can be all too easy to forget about the positives if just one or two things went wrong, however taking the time to celebrate your successes will put them into perspective and encourage you in achieving your goals.


Clear Your Mind


You can’t sleep well if your mind is still buzzing with all of your worries, stresses and fears. Before you go to sleep, you need to clear your mind and put aside those challenges for the night. You can do this by reading for a short while, listening to some calm music, meditating, writing a journal or watching a relaxing TV show. Focus on something completely unrelated to work before bed.


Be Prepared


To minimize the rush and panic of the morning, take the time before bed to prepare things in advance. Choose your outfit, make your lunch, get the coffee maker ready to go and pack your work bag. By doing these simple things, you’ll be freeing up a lot of mental energy.


Tidy Your Home


A messy home means a messy mind, and waking up in an untidy room can leave you feeling unmotivated. Put aside 10-20 minutes every night to do a quick clean up, to wash the dishes and to wipe the sink and you’ll feel more refreshed in the morning.


Sleep Properly


The key to a good night’s sleep is to stick to a set schedule for going to bed and waking up. If you have a mobile device that has a night mode, you should select this in the evenings, and minimize any blue light from device screens. Set your bedroom temperature to between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit and make sure your room is kept as dark as possible. Quality sleep means quality rest, and quality rest means that you feel much better the next day.


Introducing a routine into your everyday life may not be the easiest thing to do, but it can make a huge difference to your day. Although it will require some dedication and discipline at first, you will soon become used to it, and will begin to notice the difference.


The longer you stick to your routine, the easier it will become to stick to it, and soon it will be ingrained in your life. You will find that each day flows more smoothly, and you will become more productive, more healthy and, essentially, more happy.

diet, nutrition, pre workout, exercise

To Eat or Not to Eat? Maximize Your Pre-Workout Fuel

In the internet era, we are buried beneath an abundance of conflicting information. Even well-read students of exercise and nutrition find themselves at the crossroads of differing internet opinions. So what wisdom should you follow regarding pre-workout fuel-ups?
A number of studies have proven arguments for and against eating before meals. To keep things simple, the most important variable is workout intensity: the harder the workout, the more important the pre-workout meal. So we’re writing with the assumption that you’re about to go beast mode and embark on a pretty good, sweat-inducing workout.
What’s Happening In Your Body?
When you train/perform exercise on an empty stomach, the body does indeed seek stores of fat at the first fuel source. Sound beneficial, right? Many studies demonstrate just that. However, your body will soon move beyond burning fat to devouring hard-earned muscle as its energy source. As the body becomes low on sugar, it begins to feed on muscle tissue instead. While you’re in the gym working to build muscle, your starving body is eating it. Talk about irony.
So yes, you get the benefit of burning fat on an empty stomach. But that benefit turns into a disadvantage as the duration lengthens and intensity kicks up.
Conversely, there’s an entirely different metabolic process occurring if you’ve consumed a proper meal before training. With the right pre-workout meal, your body instead leverages its stores of glucose (blood sugar). After glucose, the body shifts to your storehouse of simple and complex carbohydrates (glycogen). Glycogen is critical in giving you the energy you need to power through your workouts and, the greater storage of glycogen, the more energy you have as fuel.
To put it plainly, eating before working out is important. And the more intense the workout, the better the supply of energy you’ll need. Can you skip a meal with less intense workouts? Technically, yes. And many do. In these cases, strenuous workouts cause the conversion of muscle tissue into glucose instead of the body leveraging glucose and glycogen from a pre-workout meal.
The consequences of skipping pre-workout meals can result in:
  • A wonky metabolism
  • Injury
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness associated with low blood sugar
Getting The Timing Right
Timing is one of the most important aspects of the pre-workout meal dilemma: the farther away from your workout you are (2-3 hours), the bigger the meal you can afford. The closer you are (45 mins or less), the smaller the meal should be. Not only is size important, but what should be consumed changes as well.
If your workout is 2-3 hours away, you can afford a larger, more complex meal, consisting of protein, fat, and carbs and totaling about three to four hundred calories. You don’t need a massive meal, you only need to feel satiated and have the right storehouse of fuel to power your workout. An egg white and spinach omelet with whole wheat toast, fruit, and yogurt gives you a nice balance of carbs, protein, and fat.
The closer your workout, the smaller and more simple the meal you should consume. The main reason for this is that you don’t want to tax the body with the unnecessary expenditure of energy from digesting a large meal. You’re also giving the body just enough time to extract the glucose from the gastrointestinal tract (GI) so your food can and converted into the necessary energy to power the workout.
Stick to a simple meal, one that is high carbs, low on fat, and has some protein in the mix. Try fruit with yogurt, or a small bowl of oatmeal, for example. Fruit, containing simple sugars, is perfect because it gives the body a quick boost of energy.
Also, gauge your food intake by the intensity of your workout. If you’re an MMA fighter and you’ve got four hours of intense training before you, you’re going to need much more energy than a Dad taking his infant for a morning stroll on the beach.
Pre-workout Meal Options
Carbs are critical to your fueling process. So when you’re close to beginning your workout, you want to ingest a carb-rich meal of around 200 calories. Bananas are a great selection: they’re filled with great, digestible carbs, and of course, loaded with potassium. Other options include a handful of fruit, yogurt & fruit, or a small bowl of applesauce.
When you’re about to eat right before training, try to narrow your meal toward foods containing simple carbs, which are quickly broken by digestion. A piece of whole grain toast is ideal, which you can supplement with simple sugars (fruit) and a little protein (milk products contain simple sugars and protein).
While not perfect, the simple sugars in refined sugar products are quickly absorbed by the body and will add energy to your body even though they aren’t the best options for nutrients. So it’s better to stick to fruit, nature’s candy. Ideally, you would eat a mix of complex and simple carbs for optimal fuel. Sugar adds a boost of energy while the carbs give you the slow-burning fuel necessary to endure your workout.
And don’t forget protein. Protein fuels your muscles with oxygen and nutrients and aids in preventing muscle breakdown during training. So an ideal pre-workout meal contains protein and simple and complex carbs.
Pre-workout food ideas:
  • Whole grain toast
  • Shakes w/ fruit, yogurt, and granola
  • Two eggs w/ whole grain toast
  • Avocado
  • Brown rice or quinoa
  • Oatmeal with fruit
  • A minimally processed nutrition bar or nut and fruit bar
  • Apple or banana and almond butter (mix of carbs and protein)
  • Whole grain toast, almond butter, glass of milk (mix of carbs and protein)
Things to Keep In Mind
Fatty foods, which you’re probably hoping to avoid most of the time, are a bad option no matter how much time you have. If you’re sensitive to certain foods or know that things like beans or broccoli give you gas, avoid them as well. Excessive burping during burpees certainly isn’t cool. And lastly, some individuals know their bodies very well. Runner’s, for example, may understand after years of training what gives them Runner’s Stomach (symptoms include cramps and vomiting) and may know how far they can push themselves on their preferred empty stomachs.
With a ton of studies on this very subject, it’s difficult to comb through them all and make sense of the opposing points of view. Suffice it to say that it is certainly possible to workout on an empty stomach and many people do it all the time either through ignorance or personal preference. However, the positives to a pre-workout meal outweigh the negatives. You can avoid hunger, push harder, and avoid the risk your body chowing on its own muscles as an alternative source of fuel. And, last but not least, don’t forget to hydrate. Liquids are important too!
sports, injury, fracture, chiropractor, physical therapy

Don’t Walk It Off: Injuries to Halt Training Over

Whether we’re star athletes, weekend warriors, or casual intramural dabblers, injuries hold no prejudice when they strike their victims. So often, we nonchalantly shrug off these injuries, barely even reaching for a bag of ice before we’re back out on the track or in the gym. Meanwhile, your body is weeping on the inside, hoping that you’ll get the idea and rest, repair, or even visit a doctor or physical therapist. But which injuries are serious enough to demand some time on the bench? That’s where we come in.

sports, injury, fracture, chiropractor, physical therapy



Tendinitis is defined by an inflammation or irritation of the tendons, the thick cords that connect our muscles to our bones. Now, even if you’ve never heard of tendinitis, you’ve probably heard of (or maybe even had) some of its nicknames like “tennis elbow” and “golfer’s elbow”.

Tendinitis arises from a multitude of activities: repetitive movements can contribute to the formation of tendinitis, or it can derive from a single, serious injury. Swinging tennis rackets and golf clubs, pitching and throwing, and even gardening or painting can all cause tendinitis. Popular locations for tendinitis include the hips, shoulders, knees, and elbows. Other factors can influence tendinitis, including gout and rheumatoid arthritis.

How To Know If You Have Tendinitis

If you’re experiencing significant pain at the tendon and any surrounding joints, you may have tendonitis.

How To Deal With Tendinitis

After stopping the activity, there are two routes available depending on the severity. For mild cases, rest the affected area and break out the ice packs to help manage pain and inflammation. Raid the medicine cabinet for anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen. Keep yourself on the sidelines until the pain resides and range of motion returns comfortably. However, if treating your case of tendinitis still feels beyond your capabilities, you should set an appointment with a doctor or physical therapist.


Runner’s Knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or “runner’s knee,” is the irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the patella (kneecap), with pain ranging from mild to severe. Often described as the most common running injury, you’ll feel a dull pain beneath the top of the kneecap that begins mildly and intensifies during a running session.


Sufferers of PFPS will feel pain during regular running/training, but especially as they are descending (stairs/downhill) and performing complex knee movements like squatting.


The general consensus is that the following causes contribute to the development of runner’s knee including:


  • Shoe selection (orthotics)

  • Muscle weakness in the quads, hip abductors, and external rotators

  • Poor flexibility in the calves/quads

  • Biomechanics, specifically the chain reaction of complex bio-movements in the hips, legs, and knees


Rest and treatment are essential to making sure no additional damage is being done. The resulting pain from runner’s knee can last for weeks or months at a time and it’s important to begin working on the problem early to reduce chances of doing further damage.


Ceasing running activities doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be unable to train, though. If continuing your regimen is important, do exercises that have little impact on knees: swimming, aqua jogging, and the elliptical machine are good ideas.

How To Treat Runner’s Knee

Some are able to remedy runner’s knee with a system of training/treatments that can be done at home, including building hip/quad muscles through various exercises (of course, avoid aggravating the knee), performing hip abductors, stretching, and foam rolling. In addition, try the following:


  • Ice the knee for 15-20 mins at a time

  • Reduce foot impact with better shoes or custom orthotics

  • Use anti-inflammatory medication


In worst case scenarios, when your own attempts to improve PFPS yield poor results, a trip to your physical therapist and a gait analysis may be necessary.


Shin Splints

Shin splints is another aggravating injury that plagues athletes everywhere. Identified by a pain that occurs at the front side of the shin bone, shin splints arise from any number of culprits: frequent stopping and starting, flat feet, extended periods of repetitive motions, or constant pounding of the feet as with jogging or treadmill walking. Together, these activities cause stress fractures in the bone and muscle, weaken stabilizing muscles, and create swollen muscles. When you feel this aching or throbbing in the shins, you should hang it up before you make the situation worse.


How To Treat Shin Splints

Rest so your shins have adequate time to heal. Icing will help to reduce swelling and ease the pain. Begin taking anti-inflammatory drugs. And look for a new pair of sneakers that better support your feet.


To get to the source and develop a program that will prevent shin splints from blowing the whistle on your workout, work with a physical therapist to pinpoint issues with posture and form that can contribute to the development of shin splints. They can also prescribe specific exercises, stretches, and movements to aid recovery and prevent future instances.


Muscle Strains and Pulls

What exactly does it mean to “pull” a muscle? Generally, we use the terms “pulled” and “strained” interchangeably; but they both actually refer to the act of tearing. When we pull our muscles, we tear them. These tears can range from minor to truly traumatic and can produce intense pain that requires serious treatment.



Muscle pulls can originate from complex training movements, as one would expect, or something as banal and commonplace as picking up a bag of dog food. They can result from:


  • Repetitive movements which overwork a muscle, like swinging a tennis racket

  • Abrupt, jerking movements

  • Heavy lifting

  • Aggressive movements and stretches

  • Awkward movements

  • Explosive demands on the muscle


Launching toward the rim for a dunk, jerking to block a slapshot, pushing yourself to cross the finish line tape—all can lead to a muscle pull.


How Do You Know You’ve Pulled A Muscle

A pulled muscle is unique in the sudden, odd, or sharp pain it produces after a movement. You know that something strange just happened, something your body doesn’t quite like. As a result, the muscle that has suffered the strain feels weaker. You feel pain when contracting the muscle in both directions. You see swelling, soreness, or redness in the affected area.


Symptoms can last from just a few days to weeks and range greatly in levels of discomfort. The worst muscle strains and pulls can put you out of commission for months and require a doctor, physical therapist, or even surgery followed by a serious rehab program.


How To Treat Muscle Pulls

Treatment varies widely based on the severity of the tear, which muscle was injured, and the resulting pain. The bigger the muscle and the deeper the tear, the longer you’re going to be on the sideline. The most important tactics for treatment include rest, ice, elevation, and compression. These practices will help reduce the pain and allow the muscle fibers to repair. Trying to exercise through the pain may make you feel like The Hulk, but we would advise against that. After a few days of rest, test the muscle: try moving through a normal range of motion. Improvements in motion and a reduction in pain are a great sign. However, if you see no improvements and the pain continues, it’s time to check in with a doctor or sports therapist.



Injuries happen. And we understand—you want to continue your training regimen. You figure that because you can still move and you’re not on crutches then it’s ok to keep going at it. As you can see, we beg to differ. When you’re the unfortunate recipient of a training related injury, do your body a favor and put yourself on the sidelines. Figure out what’s happened, then begin the process of restoring your health, whether that involves a few simple treatments and adjustments to your regimen or the assistance of a professional. If you do go the professional route, Advanced Spine & Sports Care would love to help get you back in the game!

injury, preventative, sports injury, advanced spine

Stretches Prevent and Avoid Injury

injury, preventative, sports injury, advanced spine, stretch

Stretching regularly is vital to keeping our bodies healthy, fit, and injury free. Despite these benefits, many are unfamiliar with the role of stretching in reducing muscle soreness, the buildup of lactic acids, and injury. Knowing this, the team at Advanced Spine and Sportscare wanted to put together a list of stretches that can provide you with many of the aforementioned benefits.



Quadriceps are the muscle group on the front of the thigh that inspires “leg day” dread for gym goers everywhere. One of the most basic quad stretches is The Flamingo. To execute, lean against a wall or stand up straight. Raise your left leg up at the knee, then grab your foot with your left hand. Slowly pull back on the left leg with your left hand until you feel a stretch in your quad. Hold for a few seconds and repeat for each leg.


This move can also be performed on the floor as a Kneeling Quadricep Stretch. Find a yoga mat or soft pad and plant your right knee on it. Step forward with your left leg and place your left foot flat on the floor so that your knee is at a ninety-degree angle. With your right hand, grab your right ankle. Pull your ankle toward your glutes and squeeze. Shift your weight slightly forward for a good, deep stretch. Feel that wonderful feeling? That means you’re getting a great stretch in your quads.



The hamstring is posterior leg muscle and is often overlooked when it comes to stretching. Like the quads, it’s important to ensure that you are properly stretching the hamstrings to prevent injury and counteract muscle tightness.

Hamstring Stretch: Lay down flat on your back. Use a long towel or bands and wrap them around your left foot. Keeping your leg straight, pull the towel or bands toward your body, raising your leg toward your torso. You should feel a great stretch in the hamstring. Hold for a few seconds, and repeat several times per leg.



Calf Stretch: Calf stretches can easily be performed against a wall. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and place your hands on the wall before you. Put your right leg forward while extending the left behind you. Flatten your left heel against the floor and straighten your left leg until you feel a stretch in your left calf. Hold a count for about ten seconds, then switch legs. Repeat a few times for each calf.

Heel Drops: Another great stretch for the calf muscle is the Heel Drop. Locate a raised platform—stairs, curb, exercise block, etc. Place your toes on the edge of this surface, keep your leg straight, and drop the heel down. Hold for several seconds, then switch legs and repeat for a few sets.



Back pain runs rampant in modern society, the result of many factors including poor posture, incorrect lifting, and sore or weak muscles. Regardless of origin, it’s important to protect your back and reduce the risk of injury through quality stretches.

The Standing Back Arch is a simple move executable by all ages and fitness levels. Stand straight and place your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your palms on your lower back and push your torso forward, creating an arc through your legs, back, and shoulders. Keep your knees straight. Hold for a few seconds and repeat for a few more reps.

The Single Knee To Chest stretch is another exercise that hits not only the lower back but also the glutes and the hamstrings. Lie flat on your back with your legs resting on the ground and your knees slightly bent. Take a single leg, bend at the knee, and bring it toward your chest. Your lower back should press slightly against the floor. Hold the knee against the chest for a few seconds until you feel a good stretch, then alternate. This is an excellent move to prevent injury, relieve pain, and ease tension.



Now that we’ve gotten some of the major muscle groups out of the way, let’s talk smaller muscles. The triceps, extensors of the elbow, give us the ability to straighten our forearms. The triceps rest behind the bicep, or at the posterior of our arms, and the muscles have three heads: lateral, long, and medial.

To stretch your triceps, place your arm across your chest and hold with your other arm. Hold for about fifteen to thirty seconds before switching. To hit the other heads of the triceps, hold the same pose with your arm in higher and lower positions.

Another great method for stretching the triceps goes as follows: raise your arm up in the air until it is parallel with your head/ear. Bend the arm at the elbow until it falls behind you. Reach with your other arm and tug the elbow backward until you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold this stretch for about fifteen to thirty seconds, then alternate for three repetitions on both sides.



We a few simple moves, you can get a great stretch on your pectoral muscles that can help prevent injury. Find an open doorway or narrow space between two vertical bars. Place your hands on the sides of the doors or bars. Keep your elbows to your sides and your hands about halfway between your shoulders and your elbows. Grab the sides tightly, then lean forward (step forward if you need to steady yourself). You will feel a stretch in your chest muscles. Hold for a minimum of thirty seconds, then return to the starting position. To stretch the tops of your pecs, move your elbows up to the height of your shoulders. Once again, grab the sides, lean forward, and hold. You can also perform this movement with a single arm at a time, focusing your stretch on a single pectoral muscle.

If you are without a frame to support you, there’s another great stretch you can perform. Stand straight, legs shoulder-width apart. Keeping your arms straight, bring them together in front of your chest as if you were clapping. Begin to “pretend clap,” but don’t let your hands touch. Move your arms back and forth in a clapping motion before you, then gradually open the clap wider, eventually opening your arms as wide as possible until you get a great stretch in your pecs.



The previous triceps and chest stretches also work very well for stretching shoulder muscles. But the shoulders comprise several muscle groups and a variety of stretches are needed to hit them all.

Lateral Neck Flexion: Humans tend to carry a lot of stress and pain in their upper trapezius muscles, the muscle group that extends from the shoulder blades to the base of the skull. To perform the lateral neck flexion, cock your head to the left or right, bringing the ear to the shoulder and hold for 15 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

Overhead Wall Stretch: Place your hands on a wall over your head. Stand about 8 inches from the wall. With palms planted, begin to drop your torso down. Hold for about fifteen to twenty seconds and repeat two more times for a set of three.

Rhomboid Stretch: The rhomboid stretch is easy to perform and provides a wonderful stretch to the rhomboid-shaped muscles in our upper shoulders/back. Grip a pole or fixed object. Bend at the hips, pushing your buttocks backward, and pull at the fixed object. Loosen and relax your shoulders so that you get a good stretch running from your arms to your back. Hold for ten to thirty seconds.


Whether sports heroes, weekend warriors, or home improvers, injury can come for any of us. So a good stretching regimen is great for any person, regardless of age or fitness level. And, as you can see, you can perform stretches for any muscle group in mere seconds.


If you ever do find yourself injured or in need of therapy or back care, the team at Advanced Spine & Sports Care offers a range of chiropractic services, including spinal decompression, physical therapy, and chiropractic adjustments. We’ve served the Chicagoland area for seventeen years, building our business on honesty and integrity and we would love to be of service to you.