Currently viewing the tag: "fitness"


A common question patients ask me is whether stretching should be done pre- or post-workout.  My very unsatisfying answer is, “It really doesn’t matter.”  I get the gist of the question, but I think there is a misconception that stretching is a warm-up exercise.  No doubt one could stretch to warm up, but it wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice.

I usually tell my Los Angeles chiropractic clients that stretching is better suited as a lifestyle activity; consider it an exercise unto itself.  So in that regard it would be the same as lifting weights to warm up–you could certainly do it, but again, it wouldn’t be my first choice.

I think the misconception of stretching as a warm-up started several decades ago, probably well before my youth; but I certainly remember playing sports in PE class and doing forward bending stretches beforehand.  Ah yes, the bouncy toe touch…remember those?

And the best is that a study came out several years ago showing that pre-event stretching has zero benefit in preventing sports injuries.  Sigh.  Yes, tell that to the PE teachers.  For more on why stretching is a poor warm-up, please read this article.

Stretching is best when adopted as a daily routine.  Because it is an eccentric contraction, it takes strength along with flexibility to stretch, so it will require energy.  You will sweat, too–probably why some people consider it a good warm-up.  But frankly, cold stretching could actually lead to injury–something not uncommonly seen in my chiropractic office.  So I actually think stretching warrants a warm-up.  Sure, yoga classes start with some light stretching and movement to warm-up–sun-salutations and such–but understand that most classes ease you into the full-on stretches.  I’d advise you do the same.

If, however, you are looking for a quick warm-up before a sporting event, try jogging in place.  There are many variations, and I’d suggest checking out this article for a great picture showing how.  Light jogging can also be a good warm-up, but leave the sprint for the end of the warm-up.  Make sure your blood is flowing nicely before running vigorously–again, you want to decrease your injury risk.

Stretching is exercise, plain and simple.  I believe that if you would have time for only one exercise, it should be some form of stretching.  Stretching brings flexibility, strength, balance, and if done right, even cardiovascular benefits.

So, in my book, stretching is a lifestyle.  I do it every day and I recommend that for everybody.  Can you use it to warm-up?  Sure, but I’d just as soon jog in place.  And I warm-up a bit before doing any serious stretching, anyway.  It’s your call on the warm-up; but for overall health and fitness, stretching is your best bet.


Hot cup o’ tea, hot cup o’ tea…want to get in great shape, South Asian style?  Then hat kabaddi, baby.  That’s right—the sporting craze in Asia is kabaddi, a team competition that originated in South Asia as a form of combat training.*  Participants say they are in the greatest shape of their lives.  What makes it so healthful?  Check it out:

The game is played with two teams occupying opposite halves of a field and taking turns sending a “raider” into the other half, in order to win points by tagging or wrestling members of the opposing team; the raider then tries to return to his own half, holding his breath and chanting “kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi” during the whole raid.  The name — often chanted during a game — derives from a Tamil word meaning “holding of hand”, which is indeed the crucial aspect of play. It is the national game of Bangladesh, and the state game of Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh in India. ~ from Wikipedia

As one commentator put it, “It’s like a brutal game of Red Rover.”  Hot cup o’ tea, hot cup o’ tea…

It’s more like an MMA-form of Red Rover, as player do what ever they can to prevent a player from returning to his team.  Players acting as raiders hold their breath the entire time.  So the physical benefits are:

  • Endurance (from breath-holding and moving)
  • Running
  • Dodging
  • Kicking
  • Defensive skills
  • And taunting (never to be underestimated)

Watch the video below to get a glimpse of kabaddi.  Hot cup o’ tea, hot cup o’ tea…

The Indian team coach, Balwan Singh, says kabaddi is the secret to long, healthy life.  “Look at me, I’m 50 years old and I can hold my breath for three minutes.”

Kabaddi seems to be a nice physical outlet for those dedicated to the spirit, too.  Three of the 14 members of Japan’s kabaddi team at the Asian Games are reportedly monks, while five others have graduated from a Zen Buddhist institute.

“Training in kabaddi makes our bodies stronger and healthier, while Buddhism meets our spiritual needs,” said Japan’s team leader Kokei Ito.

So if you’re interested in a new form of physical fitness, one that combines combat training with endurance (and taunting), a team sport offering competition, then try kabaddi.  It will kick your butt.

*Not designed by Navy SEALs



Baby boomers are being nagged by injuries–more than the generation before them. In fact, baby boomers have more disabilities than people over age 65. What the heck is going on here?According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, conducted annually from 1997 to 2007 and including up to 15,000 individuals each year, more than 40 percent of people aged 50 to 64 reported having problems with at least one of nine physical functions, and many reported difficulty with more than one. Although health problems as a whole did not increase for this age group, physical disabilities, like trouble climbing ten stairs, did. The number of baby boomers using special equipment to get around, such as a cane or wheelchair, also increased. Hmmm…. Here’s the breakdown of the number of adults per 10,000, ages 50 to 64, who reported difficulty with various actions in the 2005-2007period and from 1997-1999 (in parentheses).

  • Stooping, bending, kneeling: 3,129 (2,875)
  • Standing two hours: 2,491 (2,321)
  • Pushing or pulling large object: 2,010 (2,024)
  • Walking a quarter-mile: 2,146 (1,954)
  • Climbing 10 steps: 1,749 (1,537)
  • Sitting two hours: 1,491 (1,445)
  • Lifting and carrying 10 pounds: 1,410 (1,387)
  • Reaching over head: 1,186 (1,149)
  • Grasping small objects: 1,128 (1,109

Experts are unclear about the cause of this trend. What’s enjoyable to read, however, are the comments posted to the yahoo news page of this report (link no longer available). Some people blame obesity, although the study makes very clear that obesity is not an important cause of the disabilities. Some think it might be processed foods, some exposure to DDT and other chemicals, while others yet to excessive television viewing by boomers. I love to see people thinking and trying to find a cause, but I have to say none of these guesses make complete sense. Here is my shot at it: Baby boomers are the first generation to really believe they can have it all–career, family, and endless health. They were the generation that pushed themselves physically, if not from day one, then by jumping on the fitness bandwagon when jogging, Tae Bo and Richard Simmons came onto the scene. Many boomers followed the trend rather than taking time to learn the proper form. This leads to injuries. Boomers also saw the greatest advances in medical technology. Hurt yourself Lambada-ing? No problem–medical science will fix it. Additionally, boomers as a whole tended to trust their medical doctors unquestionably. If Dr. Welby says to take Vioxx, then by golly I’ll do it. Um hm. So my take is that boomers pushed themselves harder physically than any generation before them (graceful agers); to that I applaud. But they relied on medical advice for their musculoskeletal issues, and as I pointed out last post, big mistake. Medical doctors are coming out of school poorly prepared to deal with musculoskeletal problems–this by their own analysis. As such, there have been oodles of surgeries–routine ones, routine ones, that’s what we’ve been told–and here we are witnessing the end result: increased disabilities. Sure one could argue that perhaps medical science saved many a crippling by this daring, if not reckless, generation. But I don’t think so. I am certain that you can have excellent function to live the life you love well into old age–I see it in my chiropractic practice every single day. So take heed Gen Xers and Millennials, take care of your bodies today–exercise, eat well, get regular chiropractic care, rest up, and minimize your intake of toxins. Learn proper form of the exercise or sport you wish to do–and learn to rehabilitate and recuperate yourself from injuries. Your physical body isn’t indestructible; it needs to be cared for like a fine-tuned machine–better than a fined-tuned machine. Educate yourself on injury prevention and proper care when you get hurt. And don’t take any one practitioner’s word as gospel. Get a few opinions and do what feels right. Lastly, don’t just choose a risky surgery because it’s sold to you as routine, even if seems like an easy way out. Conservative care can restore and preserve proper function for years to come if done right and to completion. Thank you baby boomers for paving the way through yet another uncharted territory. Younger generations listen up…and learn.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved. Web Services by David Cosgrove Los Angeles Web Design