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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Early in my running career I discovered the power of a reward after exercise. During the most difficult workouts I would promise myself a big bowl of ice cream. As I increased my daily running to 20 miles a day, in preparation for the Olympic trials, there were many days when I had to drag myself through some really hot runs. It was wonderful to dive into a half gallon of decadent chocolate chip mint “medicine”. But even though I was not gaining weight, I knew that this was not good for my arteries.
I never got tired of this reward and believe that I would not have finished many of the tougher workouts without my “carrot on a stick”. But as my mileage decreased, and my nutritional awareness increased, I shifted to other reinforcements. Simple carbohydrate snacks (mostly sugar, about 300 calories) did not contain significant quantities of saturated fat, and would reload the muscle glycogen better than ice cream when eaten within 30 minutes of finishing a hard workout. I found that this made it easier to run during the first 15 minutes of the next workout.

The ideal reward is often not a food. You need an satisfying experience afterward–one that can motivate you to start and finish challenging workouts. It’s even better if the reward actually helps you recover faster. Here are some of my favorites:

1. I’ve staged some of my runs near a scenic hiking or bike trail. After the run, I’m rewarded by walking through beautiful scenery, while the walking pumps the waste products out of the tired muscles.

2. On hot days, a dip in the pool can be wonderful. I add some light “water running” to my pool time, which also helps perform the same type of blood pumping as walking. I teach pool running at many of my running retreats because this activity can also be a substitute for an easy running day, when the outside temperature is too high.

3. Massage can also reward you with blood flow, as it relaxes the body and invigorates the muscles. On numerous runs, during the last year, the only thing that pushed my motivation button, was the thought of my Human Touch massage chair waiting for me. On one workout, this kept me going for 10 more miles!

4. What works on one workout may not work another time. So it helps to have several different rewards: a healthy food item, a cool down or tub experience, muscle regeneration, and a delayed gratification special reward at the end of the week or month. Many runners use my running retreats or running schools as a reward. These are fun experiences, with learning.

As you reward yourself, you gain control over your motivation. That’s a good thing.




“My mission is to help people improve the quality of their lives through physical activity, body care, and eating energizing foods of quality. The right wellness program is one that includes a balance of activities to empower the individual every day.” – Jeff Galloway


 Note: Over a million runners and walkers have attended Jeff Galloway clinics, running schools, wonderful retreats, training programs or read his books. To subscribe to his free newsletter and/or blog, visit


Jeff Galloway is a member of the Human Touch Wellness Council and enjoys relaxing and rejuvenating in Human Touch massage chairs.

Friday, December 05th, 2008

From the Desk of Dr. Alan Weidner…

Spinal Decompression has been quite popular amongst practitioners because of the benefit for lower back pain. When I was younger, I also remember the inversion therapy that older folks used for back pain…an older version of the more contemporary spinal decompression. As a practitioner, I have found the zero-gravity feature of The Perfect Chair mimics the decompression significantly enough that patients notice, in some cases, almost instantaneous relief from low back pain.

It would appear that with the seat tilting up while the back reclines, the weight of the body, combined with the pull of gravity on the torso, decompresses the vertebrae and opens up the facet joints. I would also assume that there is a decompression effect on the lumbar discs as well.

Another great advantage of the Zero-Gravity Perfect Chair is the elevation of the feet above the heart, thus enhancing return blood flow to the heart. As with most massage chairs, I have also noticed deeper breathing and improved posture in my patients, as well as decreased muscle spasm and tension.
Dr. Alan Weidner
Weidner Chiropractic PC

Tuesday, December 02nd, 2008

Holiday season is upon us…economic hard times are upon us…change in government is upon us. Lots going on right now. Stress is something that most of us feel at one point or another. There are many physiological benefits of massage chair therapy, one of which is stress relief. Now, you may think that stress is only a state of mind. Well, it is to some degree…but the effects on the physiology of our bodies is certain and measurable.

Stress triggers mental, physical, and emotional responses from the body. Some stresses are good, some are negative. Of course, we associate stress with a negative connotation, and it is these associations that I will address here. So, what are the effects of negative stress (aka “distress”)? Here is a good list to sink your teeth into:

1. Distress can lead to the following symptoms: headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping.
2. Distress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.
3. Stress elicits the release of adrenalin in the body. Sustained adrenalin can fatigue the adrenal glands. Adrenal fatigue can lead to weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, fuzzy thinking, depression, cravings, and mood swings.
4. Stress can lead to muscle tightness, tension, and spasm.

Here are some interesting facts from WebMD*:
Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress
Seventy-five to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints
Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, or arthritis in addition to depression and anxiety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually
The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

Since stress is, for the most part, a very personal situational and chosen response, there are things we can do to ease our minds of a stress reaction, like exercise, massage, laughter, etc. Here is where a massage chair comes in. Of course, we always think of massage as a pain relieving therapy, but there is a mental/emotional component to the massage chair therapy. Relaxation therapy is a wonderful tool for reducing the stress response. What greater way is there to relax than sit on a massage chair? Countless numbers of my patients have expressed stress reduction following massage chair therapy. I have seen the effects with this stress issue and it can be quite profound.

So, if you are feeling stress this holiday season…get a massage chair and relax! Your body will certainly thank you today and for years to come.

Happy Holidays!

Dr. Alan Weidner