Minding Your Spine

By Lisa Camerlengo

When considering how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, your spine is likely not your primary focus. But according to Dr. Kenneth Hansraj (“Dr. Ken”), renowned orthopedic and spinal surgeon and author of Keys to an Amazing Life: Secrets of the Cervical Spine, it should be. In fact, he points out, approximately 80 percent of us have or will have a spinal problem in our lifetimes.

“While we exercise our abs and legs, we need to also be aware of our spinal health and take strengthening our spines just as seriously,” he explains. “Stress, lack of sunshine and vitamin D all play a role.”

Here, Dr. Ken shares his top tips and techniques for building a healthier and stronger spine with improved posture – which will help avoid unnecessary and painful surgeries:

Deep Belly Breathing: Place your hands on your belly and feel it move as you inhale and exhale. This enables your nerves to move well in the spinal channels, takes stress off the spine and, according to studies, diminishes levels of stress hormone, cortisol, by up to 30 percent. Perform this technique throughout the day, if possible.

Workplace Design and Ergonomics: The workplace can take a heavy toll on your spine. Pay attention to your back’s position in your chair. If you are hunching, leaning frequently or find yourself squinting at the monitor, you will need to make adjustments so that your body is not compensating.

Sunlight and Daylight: Be sure to get enough exposure to sunlight to keep your body’s master clock functioning optimally. People with sufficient exposure to daylight are awakened by a combination of hormones causing them to stand up straighter and focus more on their spine and posture.

Nap and Meditation: Between 2 to 4 p.m., your brain needs a nap. Napping is beneficial in restoring alertness, boosting mood, improving productivity and prolonging life. With deep rest, you are better able to achieve good posture of the spine and are inclined to have better focus, enhancing overall performance.

Exercise: Getting at least 2-3 hours of exercise per week is ideal. Walking is fantastic, since it works the spinal nerves and the spinal facet joints, which are just as important as hip and knee joints and need to be moved just as often for optimal spinal health.

Wholesome Diet: Be thoughtful about what you eat. Dr. Ken says a high-protein diet (organic meats) and fresh vegetables are best, along with a daily multivitamin, vitamin B complex, Omega-3, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to improve the metabolism of hip, knee and facet joints. He also suggests avoiding “emotional” eating and planning meals in advance to outsmart temptation to binge.

For more information, visit DrKen.us.


Melting the Pounds Away

By Lisa Camerlengo

Always on the lookout for new, fun ways to stay in shape? New York Health & Racquet Club  (NYHRC), New York City’s original health and fitness club, has the answer.

bodyART™, an NYHRC exclusive, is the first complete mind/body workout combining the elements of Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, dance and strength training. Interval training and cardio are blended with body-weight strength training techniques and tension-releasing movements to focus on mind/body balance and improve stability and alignment. Classes are offered at Manhattan NYHRC locations on Wednesdays (Cooper Square, 5:45-6:30 p.m.) and Fridays (23rd Street, 5:30-6:25 p.m.).

Looking for something a little less intense, but just as effective? NYHRC also offers the MELT Method® – a self-treatment technique created by Sue Hitzmann, a manual physical therapist and nationally recognized somatic movement educator (somatic means movement that is sensed and shaped from within). The MELT Method helps to prevent pain, heal injury and erase the negative effects of aging and active everyday living. With two adaptations of the MELT Method – MELT Length and MELT Strength – NYHRC class-goers use soft rollers and specialized balls in hands-off bodywork to restore balance in the nervous system, rehydrate connective tissues and rejuvenate the mind and body. Class schedules are available at NYHRC.com.


Fab Feet Peppermint HR

Current (Summer) Obsession: Fab Feet

No, seriously. Where have these been all my life? If you’re looking to put a little pep in your step, then please read on…

This week kicks off the official start of summer and that means I’ll be spending most of my days in flip flops and nights in shy-high heels. So, I found this super cool new product that can pamper my little piggies and keep them fresh– in a flash. I’m quite excited to share the love.

Fab Feet Peppermint Foot Cleansing Wipes by Global Beauty Care ($4.99) are absolutely amazing. They are wipes that you could just whip out in an instant to soothe and cool tired, hot feet when you’re on the go.

Oh, and if you’re a parent, the kids love them too. It’s such an innovate and useful product. They are easy to pack and also come in Eucalyptus and Menthol varieties. (The peppermint one is my fave!)

The wipes will be available in several beauty stores in the NY-area, like Ricky’s and Cosmetic World. Also, available in some NY-area grocery stores like Fred Meyer. Or you can buy them online at http://www.GlobalBeautyCare.com