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Live Like a Champion: Chiropractic and March Madness

By Sara Butler

NCAA Basketball Duke | March Madness

It’s that time of year again -- time for college basketball fans to put their pride on the line and choose who will emerge from the big dance and win the NCAA college basketball championship! While you’re organizing your office brackets and choosing the big winner, you should think about how to organize your own life to optimize your health and wellness.

As March Madness takes hold, take a page from the playbooks of those young, fit teams of athletes and work your way to better health and fitness. It’s not just one big step that gets you there, but many small steps (brackets, even) along the way to help you claim your victory.

The First Quarter

If you want to make health and wellness a priority in your life, then you need to find a way to deal with stress -- or you won’t be making it to the Sweet 16! You can’t get rid of stress completely, but you can do small things that can help such as reading a book you enjoy, listening to soothing music, going for a walk in nature, or learning a few deep breathing exercises.

Why is learning to de-stress so important? It’s because prolonged stress is bad for your overall health. It can contribute to a variety of health problems, including:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Migraines
  • High blood pressure
  • Ulcers
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Just think, most of those symptoms are part of the tournament. Some kid out of Marquette is going to have a great shooting stroke (his name is Markus Howard and he’s a freshman shooting 55 percent from the arc). Lots of fans will go home depressed. Some team is going to get fat off the offensive boards. Migraines, high blood pressure and ulcers were created with coaches in mind.

So, protect your health by managing your stress in a healthy way, but don’t let finding the time to do it add more stress! Even just a few minutes of a relaxing activity at a time can help. If you can carve out 10 minutes, then you’re doing your body good.

The Second Quarter

It’s time to a take a hard look at what you’re eating because your diet is a major contributor to your overall health. You need a varied diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. The less processed something on your plate is, the better for your health it will be. You want natural foods like you want a natural shooter like Bryce Alford on the perimeter.

Also, watch how much salt you’re eating. It can be really easy to eat too much salt, and that can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Instead of using salt when you cook, use fresh herbs and spices to flavor your food. It’ll help you to move your health into the next bracket! It’s not called the Elite Eight for nothing (get it, Elite Ate?). Hey, indulge me -- I’m from the state that gave you Hoosiers.

The Third Quarter

To be healthy, you need to find ways to work physical activity into your day. Those college basketball players spend a couple of hours running up and down the court; do you think they take shortcuts to get into that kind of shape? No way! No one is saying you need to have the body of a 20-year-old college student to reap the benefits of exercise, but you may be surprised to find that you don’t need a gym membership to get your groove on. Instead, try to work more physical activity into your day in much simpler ways.

If you can’t find a pickup basketball game at lunch, or in the driveway with the kids, bypass the elevator and take the stairs when you’re at work. It will get your blood pumping, exercise your heart and lungs, and work the muscles in your body. In fact, if you can aim at taking 10,000 steps a day then you can make an impact on your overall health and wellness. The Final Four is not for the weak of heart.

The Fourth Quarter

At the end of the day, one of the most important things you can do to contribute to your overall health is to pay attention to your posture and see your chiropractor at The Joint regularly. The next time you’re at work or sitting in your favorite chair at home -- the one you’ll be leaping from when some kid from a 15th seed drops a bomb to knock off a No. 2 -- take a second and think about your posture. If you find that your posture in that moment is lacking, then straighten it up! Tuck in your stomach, put your feet flat on the floor and relax. At least until the big shot that salvages your bracket.

Paying attention to your posture can help you beat a prevalent problem in society today -- back pain. According to the American Chiropractic Association, 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point. It also happens to be the leading cause of disability and missed work in the United States. But you don’t have to be a slave to statistics; if you become proactive about your spinal health with the help of your chiropractor, you may be able to avoid back pain that would otherwise keep you out of the lineup! You don’t have to take on Villanova, but you have to get the kids fed or bring home the bacon. Believe it or not, that’s more important than trying to beat John Calipari or Coach K.

So, remember as you’re filling out predictions for this year’s NCAA bracket that you need to take steps to be the champion of your own health and wellness!

Now, who will face Butler in the championship?

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