An Even Stronger Core

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Mountain Climbers

How would you rate your core game? If you have ever done an online workout chances are that you have done a lot of mountain climbers, but not everyone even knows it’s  primarily a core exercise. So are you getting that fantastic core engagement you have always wanted or do you just run out of air? Done right, mountain climbers primarily focus the core and shoulders and create the much needed strength for rock climbing, weightlifting just to name a few.

Now if you just want to flail around by no means am I here to stop you (especially since I make my living off sports injuries), but since we can all use a stronger core here are the common mistakes to watch out for:

  1. Start your climbers off with a solid plank. Sticking your butt up is a big mistake, so if you forget everything else int he heat of the moment, just remember: You are a straight line from feet to head.
  2. Keep that core tight, but don’t hold your breath. Using your diaphragm to breath is core 101, so check out our Deadbug post if you are unsure how to do this.
  3. Pay attention to your shoulders by keeping them tight and over your hands. This can be the hardest bit for some, so try to minimize shoulder movement. 

If you do these regularly you will be creating a healthy, functional base that will take your core game to a whole different level, not to mention create much needed shoulder stability. If you still feel that you aren’t engaging, try going back to basics with a plank and slowly challenge it with movement. 

The Complete Deadbug Guide

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Most of the people coming through the office get this wonderful exercise yet so often I see it done wrong at gyms and fitness studios.  The dead bug is one of the best core exercises because it teaches the most important lesson about proper core engagement:  how to keep your spine stable as your limbs are moving. In other words, if you want to be able to transfer the energy from your feet into your hands when throwing a punch or a ball or swinging a bat, then proper core exercises are for you.

Before I go into any details about the exercise I need to say something you are inevitably going to ignore: Don’t stop breathing! If you’re holding your diaphragm tight while doing this exercise guess what you’re using… your diaphragm, silly! And that’s not even the best way to train the diaphragm so don’t do it.

The Technique

Alright let’s get into it. Start by lying down on your back and bracing your core tight. Really tight. Really, really tight because that’s the whole point of the exercise. Now check in with yourself and see if you’re still breathing from the diaphragm, if you are – good, you’re ready for the next step. Lift your arms in front of your shoulders and your knees in front of your hips. Is that belly still tight? Good.  Now as you gently exhale send your opposite arm away from your body and on your inhale bring them back to where they were. You  should be back at the dead bug position before you do the other side. Now send the other arm and leg away from the body and repeat about 6 times, take a 1 second break and gently building up to more reps.

The Theory Behind it

The reason this exercise is so wonderful is that it teaches you how to control that bubble inside you. What bubble you ask? If you look at the picture of the skeleton you can clearly see how the core is a bubble. It has the side walls which are formed by your abs and back muscles and the tip and bottom are your diaphragm and pelvic floor respectively. Actions like arching our back (second image from the left) too much can “distort” the bubble preventing us from engaging our core properly, so always keep that bubble tight.

To properly maintain that  bubble, you have to keep your pelvis neutral and your low back flat on the floor when you do this exercise. I put together a few pictures to help illustrate this point and show some common mistakes people do when they think they’re getting their best core engagement, but in fact are leaking tons of energy out of their system. You must feel in control of your movement and not just tagging along for the ride. Notice that my belly is flat and not bunched up, which is the other very common mistake and means that you are not using your deeper muscles.

Alright, feeling like you learned a bunch? Good! While there is more to a good, healthy and efficient core, this is everything we at Onsight feel you need to know to get the most out of your deadbug exercise. Still feel like you are missing that feeling of a strong and stable center, why not sign up for an exam with one of our doctors to see what you may be missing. 

Keep up the social distancing

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It’s been 1 week since Onsight closed on March 16, a day ahead of the City’s and County’s shelter in place ordinances. We know it’s been difficult on everyone, but we extend extra support and gratitude for those in the healthcare community who are taking care of the sick and most vulnerable people. As chiropractors, we normally work with a healthy and active population during their times of injury and physical discomfort. For now, we feel that the best way to serve our community is by joining all of you in staying at home to halt the community spread of the Coronavirus. As soon as we begin to see the plateau of the disease curve, only then will we first open up our doors to urgent patient visits. We have elevated our standard office hygiene and disinfecting protocols to match the current need. We will let you know as soon as we’re ready to resume caring for you. Stay well, get fresh air and exercise daily, and keep your 6-foot distance from others for now.

Much love,
Dr. Johanna Lelke, owner

Thank You, Hans, Florine!

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Remarkable evening of adventure story telling

We were honored that legendary “El Cap Speed Climber”, Hans Florine, visited Onsight last Tuesday for our final Free Healthy Class of the year. He told stories and showed pictures and videos of his decades of Yosemite and worldwide rock climbing adventures. His passion for sharing the outdoors with people of all backgrounds and abilities/disabilities is evident in his stories. Hans, your motivation is enviable, and you inspire so many of us around you! I’m proud to consider you a friend.

-Johanna Lelke

Read more about his 107 ascents of Yosemite’s big wall route, The Nose,  HERE.

Hans Florine: Rock climbing adventurer comes to speak!

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Fitting Adventure In: Slide/Video show & Conversation

Tuesday, Dec 5 at 7:00pm

Hard-working family man also makes time for speed climbing Yosemite’s big walls and other amazing athletic feats. How does he FIT ADVENTURE IN? Come join us for an evening of slide shows, climbing videos, and story telling in Hans’ own humble and inspirational way.

Open to the community for FREE!
Snacks & Drinks Provided
At Onsight Chiropractic: 1530A 5th St., Berkeley
RSVP on our FB Event Page

We’ve had a wonderful year full of Free Healthy Classes, and they come to a conclusion THIS TUESDAY with an evening with award-winning author and professional rock climber, Hans Florine. Beyond rock climbing pursuits, he manages a Touchstone climbing gym, cheers his kids on at track meets, and competes in Masters pole vaulting. Always candid, always motivational. You don’t want to miss this presentation!

New Massage Therapist!

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Massage Therapy Now on Saturdays & Sundays and Monday evenings at Lelke Chiropractic
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We are SO happy to announce our newest massage therapist, Pete. His online schedule is available by clicking HERE:

Peter Leopold is a multi-modal massage therapist and body worker with a thorough knowledge of eastern and western approaches to healing. He holds certifications in Active Release Technique, Fascial Distortion Modeling, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Functional Movement as well as Tui Na (Chinese medical massage), Acupressure, Medical Chi Gong and Yoga. His approach to the body is holistic, intuitive, and energetic while grounded in scientific and anatomical understanding. He is currently engaged in a full-time chiropractic doctoral program.

See his 5-star Yelp! reviews by clicking HERE!

“I’ve always been fascinated with self-actualization and human potential. I began practicing martial arts and music as a kid, yoga and meditation as a teenager, and the healing arts as a young man. I believe everyone has the right to live an extraordinary, deeply fulfilling life and I work everyday to bring this to my clients and the world around me. Currently, most of my time is occupied with chiropractic school, but I also teach weekly meditation classes, train in Muai Thai and spend time with my partner Tawny and cat Bob.”

Confessions from Marconi Beach

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If anyone knows me well, they understand that I’m in love with my summer homeland of Cape Cod. Confession #1: “Beaching it” is in my blood. Basking under the sun here on the magical sands of the Cape’s National Seashore, I’m in heaven. I just took a dip in the cold waves, then sprawled on a blanket to dry and do some magazine reading. Health literature is always a favorite, so I grabbed a recent issue of Life Extension magazine—you can find others in my office waiting room.

I was drawn to the article entitled ‘Protect Your Skin From Age-Related Glycation’. In short, glycation is a process of free blood sugar binding to proteins like collagen which are particularly prevalent in your skin. The resultant compounds are called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), and they disrupt collagen metabolism. The take home message: glycation in your skin causes WRINKLES and looseness. This article named a few familiar things that halt this unflattering glycation process, and I felt they’re worth revisiting on this lovely sunny summer day.

Who isn’t at least mildly concerned with those migrating crows feet? (A) Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption! Confession #2: I have a sweet tooth. Jay says that I have multiple sweet teeth actually. I’ve noticed that being on vacation (and very busy packing my childhood house in preparation for my mom moving permanently to our Cape beach house), I’m less likely to turn to sweet foods, breads and cereals. Dessert time is always the hardest for me. When I’m “bad”, it’s chocolate boudin off the desert menu or a few cookies from the pantry. When I’m “good”, I eat just 2 squares of dark chocolate- that seems to satiate me.

Continuing on with anti-glycation strategies, (B) limit high temperature cooking methods like deep frying and prolonged searing. And (C) consume my favorite summer crop, BLUEBERRIES. Their anti-inflammatory properties have a destructive effect on AGEs and oxidative stress in our tissues. Compared to other fruits tested, blueberries have the strongest anti-glycation powers. Remember, glycation happens everywhere in our tissues, but for vanity’s sake let’s stay on course: wrinkles and sagging. UV exposure from sunlight amplifies free radicals that even blueberry indulgence can’t combat. So protect your skin with sunscreen and a hat if you like “beaching it” too. Confession #3: I love picking and eating blueberries. Pictured here is a recent harvest of wild blueberries from the woods of my childhood off-Cape house in Southborough, MA—the one we were packing up all week in preparation for the move. Apparently wild blueberries have 10x greater potency than our larger cultivated blues.

I’ve shared a few personal notes with you today, and hopefully also inspired you to follow my recommitment to prepare low sugar/starch meals, eat plenty of blueberries, and perhaps even top off dinner with a square of dark chocolate, ok, 2 squares. Bonus: erase wrinkles and firm skin.

FYI- Life Extension is also the manufacturer of quality supplements, some of which I use and recommend. On top of the above recommendations, I sometimes use a cool product that LE makes called Advanced Anti-Glycation Peptide Serum. It’s a topical for your face and neck, full of glycation combatting natural compounds. Look it up if you’re curious. Ask me if you want the full LE article with research citations.

Happy Summer Vacation!
Dr. Johanna

Green Goodness – Blended Nutrition

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For over a year, I’ve tinkered with my “whole food smoothies” made with a Blendtec blender. You may have noticed that a mason jar of this green-gray sludge sits on my desk each morning. It has become my sustenance between an early morning breakfast and a late lunch. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked, “what’s in that?” in the most polite but quizzical intonation. Now here’s the answer!

Equipment: Blendtec or similar high-power blender.
The following loose recipe can be altered to your taste and produce availability.
Makes 2 full sized (32 oz.) mason jars—give the other to your sweetie like I do, or save it for the next day. All measurements are approximate. This is actually an important aspect because once you make a few batches, you’ll gain an easier time throwing together the ingredients without much time measuring.

Seeds/nuts/additives:
* teaspoonful of chia seeds
* teaspoonful of flax seeds
* teaspoonful of soy lecithin granules
* teaspoonful of honey
* scoop of protein powder (I use Trader Joe’s Hemp protein powder)
* optional 1/4 cup yogurt]

Fruits:
* handful of frozen blueberries
* 6-12 fresh strawberries, washed and sliced in half
* EITHER one banana or half avocado (both help make a smooth consistency)
* 1 lemon squeezed
* 1 of the following: a fist size of fresh cut pineapple, melon, apple, orange/grapefruit with as much rind as possible, or similar fruit.

Vegetables:
* 4-5 stalks of kale chopped in 1” segments
* 1 celery stalk chopped
* 1/4 cucumber sliced
* bunch of parsley chopped

Anti-inflammatory roots: Be generous with these roots, but alter to taste.
* Fresh turmeric root peeled and chopped – try thimble size
* Fresh ginger root peeled and chopped – try thumb size
* [optional 1 clove garlic peeled and chopped]

Place each ingredient into the blender as you prepare it, in the order above, then add 4-6 ice cubes on top. Finally, add cold water to about the halfway line. You can always add more water later if it comes out too thick, so until you have the science down, keep the water line under halfway. Press the “Whole Juice” preset button on your blender, and after about a minute you have your nutrition in a jar! Bon Apetit!

Aloha from Hawaii!

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I arrived late last night and have mostly positive emotions going into this relaxing vacation with a half ironman sprinkled in the mix! Having not been on a vacation since, hmmm, August, I am thrilled to enjoy this week of down time. But what would a vacation be without a big athletic challenge smack dab in the middle? I’m here with many special people sharing a gorgeous island house, and I’m so pleased that my boyfriend, Coach Jay Ridgeway, is along for the ride. He has the duty and privilege of coaching a constituency of 11 athletes from the PacWest Club and Race Teams. With all of the hard preparations behind us, let’s be honest, his principle responsibility this weekend is to greet each of us at the finish line with a Pina Colada. Among the lineup of athletes is his daughter, Emily Ridgeway, who is also my lovely office assistant. The youngest of the triathletes in our group, she has a strong potential to podium in her age group on Saturday.

The Event:
Ironman 70.3 Hawai’i
Saturday, May 30 at 6:56am local time
Athlete Tracker: real-time participant progress

I sincerely thank my patients and friends who have given me so many words of encouragement throughout this journey, right up until my last patient yesterday. I appreciate you listening to my tales of fun and dreadful training workouts. The volume of swim/bike/run has been far beyond my comfort zone, to say the least, for the last 16 weeks. The most common question by far has been, “what’s your strongest event?” To which I answer, reluctantly, running. But truth be told, I’m no stand-out in any of these triathlon disciplines. Yes, I was a Division 1 track & field runner in college, but those were SPRINTS! Since last summer (remember the disappointing cancellation of the Half Ironman in Lake Tahoe last September?) I’ve been learning to become an endurance athlete, but it’s proving to take time, dedication and patience. The typical training volume for a Half Ironman is 22 hours per week—some weeks more, some less. It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s a part-time job. For FULL Ironman hopefuls, which I declare that I am not, training is certainly a full-time job. God bless anyone who wants to take on that challenge.

I’m a little bit nervous but mostly excited to put myself to the test during Saturday’s 1.2-mile ocean swim, 56-mile bike ride, and 13.1-mile run in the heat, humidity and gorgeousness of the Big Island. In addition to the Ironman 70.3 Hawaii webpage with its Athlete Tracker feature, you can get a more intimate scope of our week’s Hawaiian festivities and race day photos on the Lelke Chiropractic (as well as PacWest Athletics‘) Facebook pages. Thanks again for your support!

-Dr. Johanna