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Independence Day for Fitness

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Today is Independence Day in the United States. The Declaration of Independence was drafted in June of 1776. Signing began by July. The paper itself didn't grant independence - work continued until independence came a few years later. After getting the idea to do something, the next thing is to take action. Here are ideas for a life free from things that are unhealthy - pain, unhealthful food, and exercises that reinforce bad habits:

Freedom from junk food:

Instead of soda, put a red sweet pepper in a food grinder. Cut about an inch of fresh ginger root and add through the grinder. In about 30 seconds preparation time you will have a sweet, cool, red, slushy drink with an exotic tang of ginger. Healthy and good tasting.

Instead of refined sugar sports drinks, put a peeled whole cucumber into the food grinder or low speed blender with a whole kiwi fruit. It will make a sweet, cool, slushy, green drink.

Instead of processed peanut butter and refined sugar jelly, put fresh raw nuts and apple slices into a grinder, mill, or chopper. In less than a minute of preparation time, you have a sweet nut butter that you can spread on fruit slices, carrots, and other good foods. Try walnuts, almonds, other fresh raw nuts, and experiment with different fruit combination to make different sweet creamy fresh nut butters.

For more recipes, Healthy Martial Arts has an entire chapter on nutrition.


Freedom from overeating

Just as you can't go through red lights every time you just feel like it, or hit someone any time you just feel like it, you don't just eat anything you feel like it at any time. That is unhealthy. Some people say any denial is unhealthy. That is like saying you can just wet your pants when you feel like it. Self-control is cleaner in body and spirit:
Exercise Common Sense Discipline - Turn Down Halloween Junk Food
A Little Good Exercise, a Lot of Bad Food - Overweight Still No Mystery


Freedom from unhealthy drugs and medicines:

Masses of products crowding store shelves claim to fix this and cure that. Millions of dollars are spent. The products seem dazzling, but much is hype and many produce unhealthy effects. Then more dollars are spent on more pills and products for the new problems caused by the medicines. Many prescribed medicines cause new problems that can be avoided. Stop the cycle and save yourself time, money, and unhappiness. If it is not healthy, it is not health care:
Teen Dies After Using Muscle Soreness Rub
Human Growth Hormone
Is Your Health Food Unhealthful?
Stomach Acid Drugs Increase Osteoporosis and Hip Fractures


Freedom from physical pain and injuries:

At the Special Operations Medical Association conference two years ago, it was released that 62% of our American injuries in Iraq are "Disease Non-Battle Injuries"(DNBI) - not from combat or supporting operations, but occurring in the gym. At the ACSM conference last month, a research study reported that their American military units had 17% DNBI injuries. I asked them how they kept their numbers so low. They replied that the number was for evacuations - injuries so serious they required removal from the base. Some of the most common exercise and stretching practices are not healthy. It is not that they are not good for some people or that they are overuse or done "wrong" - they are inherently bad movements. The same high injury rate is happening to fitness and yoga and Pilates instructors and students. I wrote about this in Welcome to the Fitness Fixer. Here are some specifics on why and what to do instead:
Why So Many Aerobics Injuries?
The Stretch You Need The Least
Sitting Badly Isn't Magically Healthy by Calling It a Hamstring Stretch
Safer Overhead Military Press
Are You Making Your Exercise Unhealthy?


Freedom from neck pain:

Fixing Upper Back and Neck Pain
Nice Neck Stretch
Breasts Causing Upper Back Pain is a Myth

Freedom from mental pain:

Healthier Heart
Exercise Your Sense of Humor
Which Ancient Exercise Gives Focus and Concentration?


Freedom from crunches:

Abdominal crunches are a popular exercise, but they are not healthy. This is new and different information, I know. Crunches "work" your abdominal muscles, but not in a healthful or beneficial way, whether done sitting or standing or using a machine. Crunches also train rounded bad posture that you know is unneeded and unhealthy when sitting or standing that way in real life.

The idea that strengthening the abdominal muscles stops back pain is a myth. Many muscular people have pain. They do their crunches, then stand and move in the overly-arched spinal posture that is the hallmark sign that the abs are not even being used, and which creates one major kind of chronic pain: Fixing the Commonest Source of Mystery Lower Back Pain

Crunches do not automatically make you use your abdominal muscles to position your spine to support your back. You do that on your own: What Abdominal Muscles Don't Do - The Missing Link.

Neutral spine has a small inward curve to the lower spine, just not a large one:
What is Neutral Spine and Why Does Sticking Out In Back Harm?
Aren't You Supposed To Stick Your Behind Out to Sit Down or Do Squats?

The simple act of standing and doing all your activities and exercise without letting your lower spine overly arch, and instead keeping neutral spine, uses more abdominal muscle involvement than doing crunches: Using Abdominal Muscles is Not Tightening or Pressing Navel to Spine.

Functional abdominal exercises use no forward bending: Abdominal Muscle Exercise - Better, Different, Not What You Think

The book No More Crunches No More Back Pain The Ab Revolution explains a healthier better way to use and exercise your abs (114 illustrations 124 pages). I have a number of copies of the new 3rd edition expanded to give to military personnel as gifts. Contact me to send one (free) to someone you know, to keep our guys healthy.


Independence is Healthy:
This post included links to a few past posts about being free of unhealthy things. Click the labels below each post for more related posts. Keep the things you do, eat, and think healthy. If a medicine is not healthy, it is not health care. If an exercise trains injurious body mechanics, use the time for healthier exercises that are more fun. There are better, healthier ways. Be free.


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About the Author


M.Ed, PhD, FAWM

Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.

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