Saturday, April 25, 2009

"The Role of Physical Fitness in Recovery from Addiction"

Dr. Larry Smith, Chiropractor

Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Addiction requires a balanced approach of the mind, body and spirit. The whole person is injured in mind, body and spirit. Therefore, the recovery of the whole person also involves the mind, body and spirit. One cannot function independently of the other. The mind, body and spirit are interconnected at all times.

Many recovery programs advocate support groups, spiritual development and counseling. These are excellent interventions to deal with the mind and the spirit, but what about the body. What is the role of physical fitness and well being in a healthy recovery program?
Does a recovering individual lead a quality life if he is physically sick? Can he honestly boast about having ten years of sobriety even when he smokes cigarettes, is 40 pounds overweight and is suffering from diabetes and heart disease?

Before embarking upon the physical component of any recovery program, it is absolutely imperative that the recovering individual obtain an accurate and comprehensive assessment of his current health status.

Some key questions that need to be addressed are:

• Is the individual capable and willing to begin a fitness program?

• What are the physical limitations of the individual?

• What is the ultimate goal for the individual’s recovery? ( To walk, to play the piano, to return to work)

• Which health professionals can help with the physical component of the recovery process?

The Four Key Components in Determining a Fitness Program are:

• Current Health Status

• Realistic Long Term Goals (e.g. Quit smoking, maintain ideal body weight, normalize blood sugar etc.)

• Incremental Short term Goals (Focusing on making small improvements day in and day out will allow you to reach your goals more quickly, easily and with less stress than any other method.)

• Utilize a Variety of Health Professionals (e.g. Medical Care, Chiropractic Care, Massage Therapy, Physical Therapy, Acupuncture, Naturopathy etc.)

What is the best physical exercise to help a person recovering from Alcohol and Drug addiction?

There is probably not one single activity or exercise that can cover all the bases. In order to develop an individualized fitness program, a fitness professional will consider the five components of fitness.

The generally accepted five components of fitness are:

1. Cardio-vascular endurance: (e.g. swimming, biking or running)

2. Muscular strength: (e.g. lifting weights or performing resistance exercises)

3. Muscular endurance (e.g. cardio-vascular activities such as walking, jogging, bicycling, or dancing)

4. Body composition: (Refers to the relative amount of muscle and fat in a person’s body. A person's total body weight may not change over time -- but the bathroom scale does not assess how much of that body weight is fat and how much is lean mass)

5. Flexibility: (The range of motion allowed by a joint and its surrounding musculature. Good flexibility in the joints can help prevent injuries through all stages of life. If you want to improve your flexibility, try activities that lengthen the muscles such as Yoga, Pilates or a basic stretching program)

The program may not include all five fitness components due to physical limitations and considerations. However, a good fitness program will allow the individual to move forward and gain strength in his overall recovery. Getting started and moving forward are far more important than satisfying the requirements of a text book or an insurance company.

I strongly believe that the physical aspect of recovery from addiction is often neglected or minimized. It is a great accomplishment to stay clean and sober for any period of time. However, a healthy recovery is a balance of the mind, body and spirit.
Let’s move forward and embrace a healthy and balanced recovery program.

Dr. Larry Smith Chiropractor and Author of: "Embrace the Journey of Recovery: From Tragedy to Triumph!"

* Thanks to Elizabeth for passing along this article!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hot Temps and Hotter Yoga

By Elizabeth Newton

The temperature topped 95 degrees today, the first real summerlike heat wave of the year. This sent most people scrambling for ice cream, air-conditioning, and dips into the Pacific sans wetsuit. But not team Active Recovery. We decided to turn up the heat even more with a class at Yogatropics in Encinitas. And we weren’t the only ones. Hot yoga at Yogatropics is a series of 26 yoga “asanas” or poses done in a heated room. The heat, 100-105 degrees is the ideal temperature, helps muscles stretch deeper and is a great way to sweat and detoxify the body. It also, as any hot yogi will tell you, relaxes the mind and feels amazing.

The temperature outside did little to dissuade the dedicated almost cult-like followers of hot yoga. The class today was a Vinyasa class, characterized by a series of asanas that flow together almost like a dance. Let me tell you it was a hot and sweaty 60 minutes. Alison was dripping wet, I got a little bit lightheaded once or twice, and hard core yogis were stepping outside (into the 90 degree day) to cool off. In the end, we made it through, although there was a bit of slipping and sliding going on at the end (not to mention an outbreak of giggles.) Afterwards we toweled off and headed over to a certain frozen yogurt shop, the perfect way to end a beautiful day and kick-ass yoga class.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

If you're ever in LA and want a good workout...

..check out Sky Sport & Spa in Beverly Hills, the luxury rooftop personal training studio overlooking LA, and train with owner and star of Bravo's Work Out, Jackie Warner, who'll be back on another show on Bravo later this year.

Although Sky Sport offers plenty of experienced (and really, really, ridiculously good-looking) trainers on their roster, Jackie's one of the best in the business, and I speak from personal experience. Moons over my hammies, I'm feeling it!

The only way to work out at Sky Sport is to do a private session with a trainer. Well worth it from my perspective, and the location can't be beat. Call 310.652.7721 to book.