If Your Dog is Fat, You Are Not Getting Enough Exercise

By this time next year I should be certified in veterinary chiropractic.  It's a year long course for both chiropractors and veterinarians. I'm excited to work with house pets like dogs, but I'm also excited at the opportunity to work with larger farm animals like horses.  

In light of my excitement and my love for animals I thought I would produce this post.  Enjoy!

The health benefits of having a dog are obvious.  Mentally they make you laugh and give you unconditional love when you are only gone for 30 minutes, they make it seem like you have been gone for 30 days.  But first I’m going to touch on the physical health benefits. Whether it is play, walking or jogging, you are forced to get off the couch and move.   Many studies have shown that owning a dog can help to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.  Increasing regular exercise, such as leisure walking can help to decrease the risk of certain cardiovascular conditions.  One study showed that pet owners have lower systolic blood pressure which is the driving force of the contracting heart, than non-pet owners.  Another study showed lower plasma cholesterol levels, as well as triglyceride levels in pet owners.   It is even reported that dogs may show adverse behaviour if their Type 1 diabetic owners are having hypoglycemic episodes which could help their owner avoid an adverse health event.   Finally, pet owners who suffered a heart attack had higher 1 year survival rates than their non-pet owning counterparts.   

More intriguing perhaps than the cardiovascular benefits are the psychological benefits of owning a pet.  Most pet owners do not get a pet to reduce sedentary behaviours but rather to have companionship and an improved quality of life.  In a study that followed just under 1000 participant for one year, it was found that pet owners had fewer doctor contacts than their counterparts without pets.  It has also been reported that certain populations of people that own pets suffer less from depression.  

The authors of one article proposed a theory of how pet companionship can improve cardiovascular health, by reducing emotional stress.  Increased emotional stress leads to a barrage of negative effects on the body.  This is caused by increased sympathetic nervous system function.  We developed this over thousands of years when we had to worry about Saber Tooth Tigers.  If you turned a corner and met up with a tiger you would instinctually fight back or run away (fight or flight).  Nowadays the Saber Tooth Tiger comes in the form of commuting, work deadlines, family stressors etc.  Short durations of this type of emotional stress is good because it can help us get away from the Tiger.  However, when long lasting, this type of stress can lead to chronic disease.  Among other things like exercise, owning a pet can psychologically decrease or limit stressful sympathetic activity.  This decreases potential endothelial dysfunction, chance of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death, as well as high blood pressure through decreased kidney activity. 

If you train with your pet make sure that they are getting adequate rest and recovery. And for the same reasons that you should be taking care of your health by visiting a chiropractor, you should also be taking your dog to an animal chiropractor. 

If you would like a great recommendation for an animal chiropractor check out my friend’s page here. 

Until next time, stay healthy my friends!

It's Not "Old Age"

Have you ever met someone who looks young for their age?

What if that vibrant 65 year old is what 65 is suppose to look like? 

I operated a practice in Wasaga Beach (a retirement town), and it’s no secret that the demographics in Newmarket and Aurora are slightly younger.

“It’s old age” (referring to their complaint), said 80% of people over age 50 who came into the our office on the first visit. 

Is it really old age? 

Fact - There are people the same age that don’t have the same problems.  

If old age was the cause, wouldn’t every one your age have the same conditions?  

Obviously conditions can be associated with age, but let’s be clear, they are not caused by age. 

Most conditions are multifactorial, with lifestyle playing a huge role. There is another major thing that most of us do, and that's delay. 

When the alarm bells are ringing (pain, stiffness, sore, achey, etc.) we tend to put the ear plugs in and disregard what our body is trying to tell us.

I mean we are all guilty of the “it will get better on it’s own”  or “it’s not that big of a deal” mentality now and again.  

As a chiropractor I have had the opportunity to get to know many great people of all walks of life. Some treat their body like a temple and it shows.  They may be in their 70’s and doing things that most people in their 40’s couldn’t fathom. 

Others treat their body less than optimally, reaching for the the bottle of over the counter meds at the first onslaught of pain or stiffness.  Short term this isn’t going to be an issue, but since our health is cumulative, our body will eventually have to repay it’s debt.  Most of the time these people are on 10+ prescriptions, and the multiple visits to the family physician and pharmacy are the only excitement they will see all week. 

With this being said there is one thing that still blows my mind, and that is how resilient the human body can be. 

People that are on walkers able to walk again, people that can’t turn their neck are able to drive again, people that thought their life was over, getting their life back again.  Truly these are what are called chiropractic miracles.  

Too often a visit to the chiropractor is a patient's "last hope" because they have "tried everything".  A lot of times it's too late to help correct the problem.  Rather than choosing chiropractic because you are out of options and your back is against a wall, start thinking of seeing a chiropractor as an option at the start rather than at the end.

The thing is age is just a number. If you fall burden to your age, you will fail to take action and your health will suffer.  Where you are now does not have to be where you are going. This resilience is what makes the human body so amazing.

No matter your starting point you can always better your future.  A few simple changes could possibly change the trajectory that you are on. 

Your Posture May Affect Your Brain Function.

Tablets, video games, and smart phones are all fun to use and can make life a little bit easier, but with regular use can be a pain in the neck— quite literally. Using hand held devices forces us into a posture where we tilt our head forward to look down. This posture has become so common that researchers have coined the terms iHunch and iPosture to describe it. What many people do not realize is that this type of posture can negatively impact your child’s overall health. For every inch that your child’s head is forward, 10lbs of strain is added to their spine, muscles, ligaments and spinal cord.  This can cause common symptoms such as headaches, neck soreness, numbness and tingling, but research also shows it can impact your child’s mood, memory, behaviour and performance. 


How Posture May Affect Brain Function. - Mood, Behaviour, Memory, Performance

The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Our spines have the very important job of protecting the spinal cord so that our bodies can function properly. When the bones of the spine are out of alignment, or when the curves of the spine are straighter than they should be, this can wreak havoc on the way the entire brain and spinal cord function. Unfortunately the posture that is assumed when regularly using hand held devices forces the neck curve to straighten, and sometimes even reverse. This problem is becoming so common that it is now referred to as “Text Neck”. And this condition is becoming more and more common in children.


Not only can “Text Neck” cause symptoms of pain in the head and neck, but this type of posture has also been related to changes in behaviour, mood, and memory. Researchers from Brazil found that subjects with a forward head posture and forward dropped shoulders was more related to depression. In another study subjects were given instructions to sit up straight with good posture during a mock job interview. Results showed that subjects who slumped had higher rates of fear, worse mood and lower self esteem. On top of that, a German study found that poor sitting posture can negatively affect memory. Preliminary research also shows that poor posture can affect behaviour and cause individuals to become less assertive. What is interesting is that as the device size gets larger it caused subjects to become even less assertive. Finally, a Japanese study from 2009 showed that students with improved sitting posture had increased academic and writing productivity. Therefore having better posture, or should we say normal posture, will increase overall performance.


What causes poor posture:

Phones, tablets, videos games, reading, sitting for long periods, computer use, injuries, backpacks


Poor posture can lead to:

Aches, pain, fatigue, nerve and disc compression, early arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel type symptoms


At home posture screen for you and your family:

If you would like to assess your posture at home, Click Here for an easy to use posture checklist.