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Alignment 101: Why We Teach Alignment

At Advanced Balance Clinic, we teach body alignment to help get people moving better. But there tends to be confusion around the term alignment.
 
When we refer to alignment, we mean the positioning of each of your body parts relative to each other. For example, if you are standing and you look down, where is your foot pointed relative to your hip? Is it angled out, angled in, or pointed straight forward?
 
And for most people, the first question is, "why does this matter?" It seems silly to spend so much time exploring these subtle variations of your body.
 
But it is important. And there are several reasons why.
 
The human body is complicated. When we focus on alignment, we also realize this is far from the whole picture. Take chronic pain, for example. Alignment work might be a good start for some people, but pain is more complex than meets the eye. As we've discussed in the past, research shows that chronic pain has nothing to...
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Are You an Abstainer or a Moderator?

In an earlier post, we discussed the importance of finding your why and changing your mindset for better health. But this is only the first step of the process.

 
Finding better health and living life to the fullest is a journey, one which is full of layers. Knowing why you want to live a better life and changing your mindset to one of growth is the base layer. The next step is to learn more about yourself and how you form habits make meaningful change. And for that, we need to explore the difference in habit tendencies.
 
Ever wonder why some people do fine quitting a bad habit cold turkey, while others who try that approach fail within a matter of days and go right back to what they were doing? This is the difference between an abstainer and a moderator.
 
As author Gretchen Rubin outlines in her book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, there are major differences in how individuals form strong habits.
 
She caught...
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Your Health Directly Relates to Your Mindset

 At Advanced Balance Clinic, we teach health is not the absence of disease. Our mission is to bridge the gap between managing a medical condition to living a vibrant, fulfilled life. Living a life of vitality is a journey, and we're here to guide you. Healthy living looks very different for everyone.

Over the years, we realized there was one big difference in our clients who make improvement and those who don’t. No matter the diagnosis, the answer is not found in one exercise, medication, or diet plan… There is no magic bullet solution when it comes to health.
 
So what does actually make a difference?
 
The answer is MINDSET!
 
We find progress isn't made until you identify the root of your motivations, habits, and mindset. We boiled this process down into smaller pieces to help you address your health mindset. Changing your mindset allows you to take charge of your health TODAY. No matter what the current status of your health, you...
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How Your Physical Health Relates to Your Mental Health

Brain health isn't a topic discussed often enough, particularly within the medical community. On the bright side, the topics of mental health and access to mental health services have come to light in the last few years. But, the aging brain is often left out of the conversation.

There are many unanswered questions about the decline in brain health with aging. The medical profession is starting to observe the differences in adults who experience brain atrophy and those who don’t. So, we're gaining some clarity. But, there's still so much we don't know.
 
The research identified some clear patterns in those who receive a diagnosis of dementia. But, keep in mind that patterns don't always give a clear cause. We know fall risk increases with increasing mental decline. We know poor mental health increases the risk of developing dementia. We know a connection exists between muscle weakness and dementia. What isn't as clear is why.
 
This is the 2nd part in a...
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Chronic Pain Changes Your Brain

Brain health isn't a topic discussed often enough, particularly within the medical community. On the bright side, the topics of mental health and access to mental health services have come to light in the last few years. But, the aging brain is often left out of the conversation.
 
There are many unanswered questions about the decline in brain health with aging. The medical profession is starting to observe the differences in adults who experience brain atrophy and those who don’t. So, we're gaining some clarity. But, there's still so much we don't know.
 
The research identified some clear patterns in those who receive a diagnosis of dementia. But, keep in mind that patterns don't always give a clear cause. We know fall risk increases with increasing mental decline. We know poor mental health increases the risk of developing dementia. We know a connection exists between muscle weakness and dementia. What isn't as clear is why.
 
I've studied these...
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For Better Health, Be Like a Kid Again

The other night, I was watching my one-year-old son attempt to pick up a garden hose in the backyard. Starting in a deep squat, he kept trying to stand up with an object that was heavy relative to his size. Standing unsupported is a skill he's yet to master, and here he was trying this unknown skill to him. After about 50 tries, he finally got it and I'll never forget that smile on his face.

 
Watching my children grow over the last few years, I've realized kids are invigorated by the most difficult of physical challenges. Curiosity to learn about their surroundings results in physical skills like crawling and walking. The connection between physical movement and brain development is clear in children.
 
I'm not sure where we lost this as adults, but keeping this same curiosity would solve most of our health problems. Adopting a child's approach brings mindfulness to movement, paving the way for healthier aging. Here's what you can take from this example to...
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How Does Balance Work Anyway?

Ever wondered how your body keeps its balance? Well, wonder no more! This is the question we'll address in this blog post.
 
In our work, we encounter balance issues that start at any age. It's no secret that the human body is complicated. Balance is no different. Your brain relies on input from several of your body's systems to map out your position in the world. This helps you stay upright to move about your world.  
 
Your body uses three main systems for this purpose. These systems communicate information with one another through nerves. This gives your brain information about your positioning at all times.
 
Healthy balance happens on a subconscious level. We shouldn't be aware all this work is going on behind the scenes. The first hint of awareness is a sign of a problem. Balance problems arise when any one of these systems, a combination of them, or the communication between these systems start to malfunction
...
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Try This: Exercise for Grip, Core, and Shoulder Strengthening

Several years ago, a study found those who have greater grip strength are also less likely to die from cardiovascular disease. Research has also shown that weaker grip strength is associated with greater fall risk in older adults
 
So what is the lesson we can learn in this? Does this mean we should all just work to improve our grip strength to protect us from adverse health events?
 
Not exactly.
 
Grip strength doesn't exist in a vacuum. We can infer from the results of these studies higher grip strength is a good indicator of overall physical fitness. Those who are physically fit are less likely to experience heart disease and less likely to fall. The goal then is not grip strength alone, but to find activities that involve whole body movement. Hanging is essential to developing strong shoulder joints, and by proxy improve grip strength. Most of our shoulder joints don’t have the proper range and strength for overhead hanging (due to...
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All Walking is Not Created Equal

When it comes to walking, most of us have a strong preference between walking outdoors, indoors, or on a treadmill. We tend to think these activities are interchangeable from a health perspective, but are they? The surfaces that we walk on change the experience of our body and the muscles that we use.

Walking overground should be powered by the backs of our legs with our torso vertical. In order to propel us forward, our muscles generate a pushing action behind us to push the ground away. On the other hand, a treadmill forces our body to do exactly the opposite, relying on a walking pattern driven by the muscles in the front of the hip and thigh to catch yourself because the “ground” is coming toward you. Therefore, treadmill walking is not the same as walking overground.

So Why Does This Matter?

For most of us, the muscles of the fronts of our hips are already shortened due to time spent sitting every day. Treadmill use encourages further shortening and overuse of...

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The Whole Picture of Chronic Pain Isn't What You Think

As the chronic pain epidemic continues to pour over into the opioid epidemic, new research continues to break down the complexity of chronic pain. Just a few short years ago, chronic pain was viewed completely from a biomechanical perspective. When the medical community realized that treating only the injury was not only not working, but the epidemic of chronic pain continued to worsen they realized they needed to take a step back and look at the whole person. What has been discovered has been an eye-opening look at how chronic pain involves factors beyond what is happening within body tissue. Now, we take a broader look at the whole person and understand chronic pain has a multitude of origins.

The Actual Risk Factors for Chronic Pain

Over time, physicians and other professionals realized the amount of tissue damage being seen on an MRI and the amount of pain a person was experiencing just weren't matching up. Beyond that, those who underwent surgical procedures were showing...

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