From the monthly archives: "April 2011"

Wait a second…what was I just saying?  Whoa–what was I just thinking?  Probably everybody reading this has had the experience, that moment when you forgot what you were saying just moments before.  It’s called a brain cramp, and new research suggests that it may actually be a brain nap!

When we get sleep deprived, some nerve cells can actually shut off, going into a sleep-like state although the brain as a whole is awake.  I reported on this phenomenon last year, but think it’s important enough to look at again.  This shutting off of the brain was thought to be responsible for falling asleep at the wheel, too.

There was a time when neuroscientists believed that the entire brain was affected by sleep deprivation, as EEGs typically showed brain-wave patterns of either being asleep or awake.  But in a recent experiment scientists placed probes into the brains of rats, and after depriving the rats of sleep, saw areas of ‘local sleep’ despite the animals’ appearance of being awake and active.

There were consequences: The sleep deprived rats made mistakes when challenged to perform certain tasks like picking up sugar pellets (pellets were dropped).  In one experiment 20 neurons were monitored; while 18 stayed awake, two timed-out.

being-alone-513526_640 (Copy)Researchers point out that the brain shows sleep-like activity even before micro-sleep sets in.  So for people falling asleep at the wheel, very likely had neurons shutting off well before the snooze.

Once again, I believe this information is important.  Sleep is essential for proper functioning of the mind AND body, but now we know that even slight sleep deprivation can compromise health, and survival.  So be smart–get as much rest as you can–your life (or somebody else’s) depends on it.

Two more reports out today showing a further necessity for improving vitamin D levels in North Americans–specifically women and children.  The first, a study showing that women with breast cancer and low vitamin D levels have more aggressive tumors and poorer outcomes, while the second showed vitamin D deficiency is common in American children and linked with obesity.

The first study conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) tracked 155 women who had surgery for breast cancer between January 2009 and September 2010.  Researchers looked at blood vitamin D levels of the women one year before and one year after the surgery.  They found an association between low vitamin D levels (less than 32 milligrams per milliliter of blood) and poor scores on every major biological marker used to predict a breast cancer patient’s outcome.

This is the first study to look at the link between vitamin D levels and breast cancer progression. Previous studies have concentrated on vitamin D deficiency and the risk of cancer development only.

The second study looked at vitamin D levels in 237 healthy obese and non-obese white and black children, aged 8 to 18; they found most to be vitamin D deficient.  But equally interesting is that they found low D levels in these children to be associated  with higher body mass index (BMI) and fat levels, and lower levels of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

You know, both of these studies really bring up only one thought in my mind–how are there still ‘experts’ claiming that supplementing with vitamin D is unnecessary?  A story published last year in the New York Times (which shockingly, some people still take as gospel) declared just that–that recommendations for vitamin D supplementation were primarily fueled by the vitamin industry.  I’m aghast that so-called respected media outlets (?) and health authorities are passing this advice.  They paint vitamin D proponents as dangerous…really?  I guess the old adage ‘for non-believers, no proof is sufficient’ really rings true.


I hope that people are wise enough to see the evidence before us.  Simple: most North Americans are not getting enough vitamin D; vitamin D insufficiency can lead to a plethora of health problems; children are at serious risk; and we don’t even know to what extent low vitamin D levels are affecting human health.

Choose your authorities wisely, people.  Hold onto the old guard experts and expect much of the ‘same-old, same-old’ for your health future.

When giving health talks I usually ask, “What is health?“  I am amazed at some of the answers that seem to come up again and again.  The most common is disease or symptom free.  This answer comes up so frequently that, obviously, it’s what most people think, if they think about it at all.  Unfortunately, this definition or belief is probably what guides these people in their health decisions, whether consciously or not; and approaching health from this angle won’t always lead to wise choices.

The truth is that symptoms actually are health.  Think of your common cold symptoms–runny nose, sneezing, coughing, congested sinuses, fever, and night sweats.  Each one of these has a role to play in fighting the infecting organism:

  • Runny nosemucous membranes in the nasal passages and nasopharynx (orifice connecting nasal passages to the throat) release a thick, sticky substance that carries away microorganisms which have tried to infiltrate this primary entrance to our internal environment.  Think of mucus as quicksand or mud in a mudslide–nothing will escape.
  • Sneeze–a powerful blast of air, saliva, lacrimal secretions (tears) and mucus taking out anything and everything in its path.  Microorganisms entering the mouth, nose or pharynx are sneeze-blasted the heck out of there.  Consider a sneeze your body’s internal tornado, just worse.
  • Cough–similar to a sneeze, just clearing out the lungs, bronchi and oropharynx, as well as the nose and mouth.  We’ll call the cough the body’s internal hurricane–not a dang thing left unshaken; and during a coughing fit–fuggedaboutitcategory 5 cyclone!
  • Congested sinuses–infections or any other irritants, including allergens, can lead to swelling of the mucous membranes; as membranes swell, they close off the nasal passages.  Essentially, sinus congestion is the Royal Guard–try getting in, go ahead…try.
  • Fever–heats the body to incinerator temperatures, much higher than in what microorganisms can survive.  Fever is Death Valley for germs.
  • Night sweats–heat and sweat flush the external barriers out, so the skin, scalp and orifices are like a hot, wet boiler room.  Consider night sweats a monsoon for microbes.

You can see that each one of these symptoms is the body’s way of protecting itself.  And every illness/disease has associated symptoms to return the body to homeostasis.*  So why associate symptoms with sickness?

It’s because historically–at least over the last 80 years or so–medical care has focused on relieving symptoms.  OK, that’s nothing new–we all know that.  However, it is the reason why so many people still see the presence or absence of symptoms as the definitions of illness and health.  But I assure you what most consider illness actually is health.  Any questions?

*Or in the case of the body being overloaded by disease (AIDS, let’s say), it’s the body’s attempt to return to homeostasis.  Whether or not the body can return to homeostasis is the true difference between illness and health.

Look!  Up in the thighs!  It’s a bug!  It’s the clap!  It’s Super-Gonorrhea!

Aw sh@#!…look out unsafe sexers, gonorrhea is back with a vengeance.  The sexually transmitted disease is developing resistance to the drugs we treat it with here in the U.S., researchers warn.

In 2009, nearly 25% of strains tested nationwide were resistant to the following antibiotics: penicillin, tetracycline, fluoroquinolones, or a combination thereof.  In 2010, Neisseria gonorrhea started developing resistance to the cephalosporins, the last class of drugs being recommended to fight the bacterium.  Microorganisms that develop drug resistance are called superbugs, like the methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) that has plagued the U.S. over the last several years.  Do I really need to explain the dangers of superbugs?

People contracting gonorrhea often show no symptoms, but untreated clap can lead to infertility and chronic pelvic pain in women, and in men epididymitis, a painful condition of the ducts attached to the testicles that may also cause infertility.  If it spreads to the blood or joints…could be bye-bye.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 700,000 gonorrheal infections occur in the U.S. every year.  Antibiotic resistance in gonorrhea has been happening since the 1970s; but as this newest resistance to cephalosporins is occurring, it becomes serious cause for alarm.  Researchers are seeing the emergence of cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea in South East Asia.  Typically, resistant strains from that part of the world migrate over to the U.S., and then spread from West to East.

OK, one more time: NO GLOVE, NO LOVE!  C’mon people, buy some dang rubbers…and use them!  SheeshWhat the heck is so hard about that?

(In whiniest voice musterable) But I don’t like the way it feels.

You like the feel of epididymitis, knuckle-head?  Then take one for the team, why don’t you…and help stop the spread of Super-Gonorrhea.

Many people come into my Beverly Hills chiropractic office asking what they can do to stretch their upper backs.  Upper back pain and stiffness has become more common as the use of computers and laptops has increased.  I always say that the best stretch for the upper back is really a stretch for the chest, because when the chest muscles (pectorals major and minor) get tight, they can cause the upper back muscles to become overactive.

As far as I’m concerned, pec stretches are fundamental, so EVERYONE should be doing them.  But especially people with neck pain, upper back stiffness or shoulder injuries should ultimately open up their chest areas.  Watch the video below to see the best pec stretch for flexibility and upper back pain relief.

Listen up wrestlers, boxers, body builders, brides to be and anybody else who makes a habit of losing significant weight quickly–rapid weight loss can lead to mental confusionAw big deal, right?  Yes, it is–it could mean the difference between a win or loss, increase your risk of injury , or even be a matter of life and death!

Researchers at Cal State Fullerton recently looked at 16 collegiate wrestlers to determine if losing weight rapidly before a match had negative strength implications.  But what they found might have surprised them: although they found no changes in strength, the wrestlers that lost 4% or more of their body mass had significantly higher levels of confusion on the day of the competition.  No increased confusion was observed in those who lost less than 4% body mass.  No wrestler lost more than 8% of their body mass (avg. wt. loss = 6 lbs).  The study is published in the April issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

So you might be wondering why anybody needs to lose weight quickly.  Fighters must ‘weigh-in’ before each bout, so it is common to lose weight right before the match or weigh-in, to come in lighter than their actual weight.  This has the advantage of fighting a smaller opponent if you can get your weight below a certain level.  In fact, most of the wrestlers in the study lost nearly all their weight in the two days before the match.  (They were allowed to choose the desired amount of weight to lose before the match, using methods such as exercise, calorie restriction and fluid deprivation).

The drawbacks were not benign.  According to researchers, “a sport which requires split-second decision making, a higher state of confusion and tension can detrimentally affect the wrestler’s performance.”  No kidding.

Lots of people want to lose weight overnight.  Shows like The Biggest Loser only perpetuate that desire, as they demonstrate how effective rapid weight loss under controlled conditions can be.  But for the most part, rapid weight loss can be dangerous.  Most people that lose weight rapidly gain it back quickly, and the physiological changes that go along with this type of weight loss can have deleterious effects on the body–cardiovascular, neurological and mental.

I never understand when clients tell me they expect their latest weight loss plan (diet or exercise program) to net them 100 lbs. in a year or less.

What?!?! 

Yes, a year or less.

You are crazy–first it probably won’t happen and second, you don’t want it to.  A pound a week is healthy; 50 lbs in a year.  But they are convinced.

I’m not suggesting that this study has anything to do with the type of weight loss I just describe, but it does have a correlation.  Simple–any super-rapid weight loss is going to have physiological effects.  Now extrapolate that to “if it has short-term effects in athletes, what does it do over the long-term in the obese?”  I think that’s a question worth asking.

Forearms and wrists have become an interesting region for chiropractors, physical therapists and orthopedists because the number of injuries and dysfunctions in the area have increased over the last two decades.  Thank the change in lifestyle that computers have afforded us, as increased typing for most non-secretaries has taken a toll on peoples’ grippers.

From carpel and cubital tunnel to tennis and golfer’s elbow, the forearm region plays a massive role in today’s common arm and wrist injuries.  As the main gripping muscles, any activity forcing people to flex their wrist or fingers increases the prevalence of overuse injuries.  The most common cause of forearm injuries is a combined tightness/weakness typical of a muscular imbalance.

Please watch the video below to learn some easy and effective forearm workouts that you can do at home before visiting your sports chiropractor for forearm pain relief.

Hold on to your hats, peeps, but your butcher might be a chronic nose picker.  What?!?!  Yah man, diggin’ for diamonds…a snotter.  That’s because a new report says that half the meat and poultry sold in supermarkets may be tainted with the staph germ.

The Translational Genomics Research Institute in Arizona found that more than half of 136 samples of beef, chicken, pork and turkey purchased from grocery stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Flagstaff, Ariz. and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. contained Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can make people sick.  Even worse is that some meats were found to contain a dangerous antibiotic resistant strain, methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA).  If ingested it could kill ya!  The study is being published in the journal Clinical infectious Diseases.

© Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.

© Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.

Staph germs are commonly found on the skin and in the noses of up to 25% of healthy people. The bacteria can be spread in many settings, including the packing plant or in the kitchen.  Although the bugs are killed during the cooking process, and can be thwarted with good ‘ol fashioned hand-washing, it still kind of grosses me out…how ’bout you?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that staph accounts for roughly 240,000 cases of food poisoning a year.  The researchers found MRSA in three of the 136 samples.  Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials say meat does not seem to be a significant route for MRSA transmission, but health officials continue to watch and study the issue.  Scuse me while I puke.

The government doesn’t routinely check retail meat and poultry for staph bacteria; however, a two fairly recent studies showed their might be reason for concern.  One FDA pilot study in the Washington area looked at more than 1,100 meat and poultry samples and found staph in 280 of them.

The other, a study out of Louisiana State University, looked at 120 meat samples and found staph in almost half of pork chops and 20% of beef steak samples. That study, published in 2009, calculated the superbug MRSA was in about 5% of pork samples and 3% of beef.  Is nothing safe?

OK, so well now I’m grossed out.  I’m certain that we should be relatively safe…but the rotating wheel of MRSA roulette–no matter how small the risk–is of concern to me.  Stay away from the roast, Grandpa…you’re vegan now.

The only way to really sum up this story is to note that the American Meat Institute says the study is misleading.  Of course it is….but check your butcher’s nose anyway?

Beware labels that market some foods as healthier than others.  That’s my advice regarding superfoods, a term used to ascribe nutritional potency to certain foods in the same way the term ‘natural’ is used to sell anything from chickens to cereal.

A few of the foods touted as ‘super’ include blueberries and green tea, but the latest to make the grade is maple syrup.  According to recent research, funded by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (hello!), chemists have identified 54 beneficial compounds in maple syrup that “possess anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to fight cancer, diabetes and bacterial illnesses.”

Initial studies also suggest that polyphenols in the syrup may help keep blood sugar levels in check, important for diabetics, by inhibiting enzymes that are involved in the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar.

Now that’s nice, as are the findings on the phytochemical makeup of maple syrup.  But what we do with that information is also important.  For instance, creating a label such as superfood denotes a connotation that somehow it is at the top of a nutritional pyramid.  At the very least, it tells unsuspecting consumers that they’ll be healthier if they eat this food.  But healthier than what?

I appreciate this news, however, because I think we can gain a few insights from it.  First, I love maple syrup; so, naturally, I embrace the information because I know that unprocessed natural sugar is better than processed white sugar.  And corn syrup?  Forget about it–I encourage everybody to throw theirs away.  Nothing, in my opinion, is worse for the health than high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  Not lost on me is the significance of its advent into the western diet and the increases in obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  Am I calling HFCS a direct cause?  Nooooo….just noting the coincidental timing.  If I have pancakes, it’s nothing other than maple syrup for me, no exceptions.

But this is the only practical application I would extract from these latest findings.  OK, okay…if you want to put maple syrup in your green tea, or use it as a sugar substitute–fine!  Just don’t think that now syrup shots are going to be some great health practice (I know, but you’d be surprised).

Without a doubt, marketers will use these findings to their advantage; but my role is to act as a ‘snap-out-of-it’ eye opener for zombie-like behavior some people exhibit when it comes to health.  Just because a company uses the term ‘natural’ to sell their over-priced product, doesn’t mean it’s any healthier for you.  If it makes you somehow feel better to buy it anyhow, then be my guest: I’m just pointing out some realities, that’s all.

Now the term organic is a different story.  Organic denotes a way of growing produce (sorry people, not chicken), and it is tightly regulated.  A company using the term organic is subjected to fines and closure for using the term inappropriately (check this video post on just this happening in Los Angeles Farmers Markets).  But natural or superfoods?  Puh-leeze…buyer beware.*

Second principle: There ain’t no food more important than any other.  Despite what some snake-oil salesmen may push on you promising super-health, you must eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients necessary for good health.  No yet-to-be-discovered food, juice or herb will give you better nutrition than a variety of whole natural foods.  No recently or yet-to-be-discovered tropical fruit will ever be the solitary answer to cancer, gout or skunk-gum since these diseases are mutifactorial (okay, maybe not skunk-gum).  Although I will admit that blueberries will probably give you more anti-oxidants than blackberries, raspberries or strawberries, they won’t give you that much more.

So again, take these findings on maple syrup with a grain of salt: It may be rich in phytonutrients–thus prompting its hailing as a superfood–but it doesn’t mean you now need to go out and purchase the latest drinks, juices and supplements that will surely follow.

*Since 1 July 2007, the marketing of products as “superfoods” is prohibited in the European Union unless accompanied by a specific medical claim supported by credible scientific research. ~ Wikipedia

Here’s a real estate tip: You’ll find massive deals on homes and rentals located next to freeways in the near future.  How do I know?  Because recent research shows that the air around freeways is filled with tiny particles and debris that could lead to brain damage, so you’d be crazy to move near a highway or major commuter road.  Check it:

Researchers from the University of Southern California reported in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives that mice subjected to freeway air (not actual freeways) showed gradual brain damage.  Mice neurons for learning and memory were considerably damaged, while signs of premature aging and Alzheimer’s disease were detected in their inflamed brains.  And in developing mice that were exposed to freeway air, neurons did not grow as well as they did in those not exposed to the pollution.  Wow!

The real genius of this study lies in the development of freeway air recreated by scientists.  Co-author, Constantinos Sioutas, developed technology that captured freeway particles–nanoscopic particles from 12-200 nanometers, approximately one-thousandth of the width of a single human hair–in a liquid suspension, which was then used to expose the mice to for relatively short periods (total of 150 hours spread over ten weeks, three five-hour sessions per week).

Freeway air is made up not of gasoline but a mixture of paving material, weathering car parts and burning fossil fuel.  Nice!  To think we’re breathing this muck on a daily basis.  And before you take comfort in your car’s filtration system, just know that nanoscale particulate matter (nPM) passes right through these filters.  Yikes!

Senior author, Professor Caleb Finch, said:

“You can’t see them, but they are inhaled and have an effect on brain neurons that raises the possibility of long-term brain health consequences of freeway air.”

Yes, yes…I know mice ain’t man, but mammalian are we both, and what happens to our rodent ancestors could, and probably does, happen to us.  If they are exhibiting brain damage from 150 hours of exposure, then what the heck is happening to our nervous systems on Route 66?  And what can we do about it?

Well, Electric cars aren’t the answer, researchers point out, because the particulates would still be floating around in the air.  Says Finch,

“It would certainly sharply decrease the local concentration of nanoparticles, but then at present, electrical generation still depends upon other combustion processes – coal – that in a larger environment contribute nanoparticles anyway.

It’s a long-term global project to reduce the amount of nanoparticles around the world. Whether we clean up our cars, we still have to clean up our power generation.”

Human autopsies in Mexico found significantly more signs of brain inflammation and early aging among deceased individuals in Mexico City, compared to people in other cities with less pollution…and I live in Los Angeles!

So here’s my advice: Unless you’re looking for dirt-cheap housing, I’d stay away from condos with the freeway view.  We get enough polluted air as it is–nobody needs to freebase it through their front door.  As for our drive-all-day-culture…well, I’ve made it a priority to live close to work, but I do realize that not everybody has that luxury.  Perhaps to you long-distance commuters, I’d say: Stay home on the weekends, and maybe even move to the country.  Hopefully we’ll figure out this pollution mess before we all become the walking demented.

Wow!  More out of the vitamin-D-has-greater-importance-than-we-ever-thought camp: Low vitamin D levels in the blood lead to unhealthy blood vessels.  You heard right, new research shows a link between vitamin D concentrations and cardiovascular health.

A study conducted by researchers from the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute showed that participants with the lowest D levels had an increased blood pressure, and thus increased risk of heart disease and stroke.  Even more amazing is that when the participants increased their blood levels of vitamin D, their blood pressure went down.  Amazing

Here’s how they found out: The 554 participants in the study were Emory or Georgia Tech employees with an average age of 47 and in general good health.  Blood levels of vitamin D were measured.  The average concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (a stable form of the vitamin reflecting diet as well as that produced in the skin) in participants’ blood was 31.8 nanograms per milliliter.  In this group, 14% had 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels considered deficient (less than 20 nanograms per milliliter), and 33% had levels considered insufficient (less than 30 nanograms per milliliter).

Researchers monitored the blood vessels’ ability to relax by using a blood pressure cuff.  To allow blood to flow back into the arm, blood vessels must relax and enlarge–a change measured by ultrasound.  The researchers also examined the resistance to blood flow imposed by the arteries.

After controlling for factors like age, weight and cholesterol, people with lower vitamin D levels still had stiffer arteries and impaired vascular function.  Lead author Ibhar Al Mheid, MD, a cardiovascular researcher at Emory University School of Medicine said,

“We found that people with vitamin D deficiency had vascular dysfunction comparable to those with diabetes or hypertension.”

The researchers believe that vitamin D acts to strengthen the endothelial cells and muscles that surround blood vessels.  Al Mheid also believes that it could be reducing levels of angiotensin, a hormone that drives increased blood pressure, or regulating inflammation.  Wow, I wonder what these results mean for the overuse of statins?

But again, the best part: Those study participants with low blood vitamin D levels that then increased their concentrations by either supplementing or spending more time in the sun, were rechecked after six months and showed improvement to their vascular health measures and lowered their blood pressure.  Booyah!  Forty-two participants with vitamin D insufficiency whose levels later went back to normal had an average drop in blood pressure of 4.6 mmHg.  The study’s findings were reported at this year’s annual American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans.

What can I say other than “heck yes!“  Why should I care about these results?  Because it makes the universe more understandable to me.  I know with certainty that human health operates within universal laws.  I know that the increased incidence of high blood pressure today is not due to a lack of statin medication.  I also know that health is not random (genetics), and that vitamin D insufficiency is epidemic in North America.  Furthermore, it is not lost on me that blood vitamin D levels are low in many people at a time when dermatologists have scared people out of the sunshine and into big hats and SPF5000.

Here is just some more evidence that sun energy is essential to human health.  Everybody needs unprotected sun exposure on a daily basis, period.  Supplementation helps, but nothing–and I mean nothing–beats the healing energy of our life-giving sun.

Got pain?  Try some Obecalp.  A strong placebo, Obecalp can help people that suffer from things like chronic pain, chronic fatigue and depression.  The use of placebo (fake pills, often made of sugar) to treat any condition, however, is highly controversial.  German doctors are considering it as a viable treatment option anyway, so let the debate begin:The German Medical Association (GMA) has recently conducted a major study on placebos and they conclude: fake pills sometimes work better than real medicines!  No chit!  They even go as far as recommending that doctors give placebos out more often.  Now that’s something…

But not so fast–we have an ethical dilemma.  American and British authorities believe that any use of placebo without the patient’s consent is unethical.  What?!?!  Yes, Ted Kaptchuk, associate professor of medicine at Harvard University, says, “That’s what I call lying. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but it would be unacceptable in the U.S.”  Uh huh…American medicine never lies…

The GMA point out that placebos don’t come with any nasty side effects and could be the last hope for patients with hard-to-treat ailments where no good medicines exist.

Placebos work by causing physiological changes in response to the idea or belief that the patient is receiving a beneficial treatment.  It’s true mind-body healing, as the mind creates the physiologic responses necessary for healing (and I would argue that this component exists in all healing!).  So what’s the problem?

The American Medical Association warns that doctors who use placebos without telling their patients may undermine their trust and cause harm.  Further, opponents state that in health care, at least in the U.S. anyway, “we have a commitment to transparency.”  But they also admit that using more placebos might wean people off drugs that haven’t proven to be very helpful and could also save health care systems millions of dollars.

So what do you think?  Are the use of placebos to treat conditions unethical?  Should people only be given substances shown to cause physiological effects on their own through studies and trials?  Should we study the effects of the mind on the body with regard to healing even deeper, including the benefits and disadvantages of placebo?  And how about Obecalp–willing to try some for your chronic fibromyalgidepression?  Let me know.

Here is a great video showing the visceral effects caused by the mind alone:

I’m not much of an extreme sports enthusiast–like Schwinn air-cartwheels do nothing for me.  Saying that, I’m all for people living as extremely as they’d like, just understand the risks.  Take for example skydiving: Two skydivers collided in mid-air today falling to their deaths over Perris, CA in Riverside County.

According to Fire Department officials, two men, Christopher David Stasky, 42, of San Diego and Patrick James McGowan II, 42, of Menifee crashed into each other near the Perris Valley Airport around 3:30 p.m.  Civilians attempted CPR. Paramedics took over upon arrival, but the downed men were pronounced dead at the scene at 4 p.m.

Chris Stasky and Pat McGowan

These were not inexperienced jumpers.  Stasky was a rigger with Tactical Air Operations on Otay Lakes Road. The organization’s website says Stasky had 9 years experience and had made 3500+ jumps.  McGowan had worked with Skydive Perris as an instructor for almost two decades and oversaw parachuting activities at the airport.

Well just goes to show you…risks are risks.  But you’ve gotta live your life according to what drives you, and if jumping out of planes is it…then fly, baby, fly.  But for me, when asked if I’d like to skydive I’ll say the same thing I always say, “Fuhgdat!”

I’ve already shown you the basic movement required to strengthen the abdominal core,now let’s take it to another level.  The plank pose is one of the best abdominal core strengthening exercises there is, but the level you take it to really depends on your current fitness level.  Whichever level you are at currently, you will need to be proficient at abdominal hollowing exercises–so practice if you have not yet mastered that move.

There are many variations of plank pose.  The one I prefer is for athletes, yogis or anybody already having the strength to maintain the top of a push-up position.  However, anyone can do the plank pose.  Watch the video below to see the proper way to do plank pose, as well as an alternate version for those who currently have a little less strength.

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