Active Kids are Brainy Kids – Here’s Why!


Spring is almost here (according to the calendar at least!), and with warmer weather comes more opportunity for kids to get outside. This week, we are talking about why it is so important that kids have the chance to play. With the constant hustle and bustle of school activities, sports teams, tutors, classes, and homework, carving out time to allow children to just play is vital to their development.

First we should define what kind of play we mean. Children need to be allowed free, unregulated play with limited adult involvement. Think back to when you were a child and you were free to play outside, explore your neighborhood, climb trees, ride bikes, and only had to be home when the dinner bell rang. No coaches. No umpires. No rulebooks. Little parental intervention. That is the kind of play that is vital for neurological and physical development in children. I’ll explain why.

We are born with billions of neurons. These neurons are connected to a huge, intricate pattern of nerves throughout our bodies. Every thought, movement, feeling, and sensation translates into a message that is transmitted back to our brains, and processed through those neurons. As nerves are used, they grow. Just like muscle. And just like muscle, if they are not used, they do not grow.

So how does free play build the brain? Think of each of these skills as a weight to build their brain muscle! The more they “lift” these weights, the stronger their brain will get!

Problem solving: The front of the brain (the prefrontal cortex) is largely responsible for problem solving; research has shown that free play creates significant developments in the prefrontal cortex. How? When playing with limited adult intervention, children are able to work through problems on their own, often coming up with creative solutions. They are able to figure out what works and what doesn’t through experimentation, and trial and error.

Emotional Development: The prefrontal cortex also controls emotional regulation. They learn empathy. They learn to recognize emotions in others, and associate them with their own experiences. They learn perseverance and patience, accomplishment and confidence. They learn to regulate emotion by noticing how others respond to their actions.

Communication: When playing, kids have to talk to each other. Often, they will even talk to themselves if they are playing alone! They have to explain the rules, sort out problems, and negotiate. We often see young children get frustrated when they are not able to articulate their feelings, this simply comes with practice. When allowed to practice communication within a safe, non-judgmental space with only their peers, they learn what effective communication is and what is not.

-Language: When children play, they are able to actively experience language. They experience prepositions over, under, through, between. They see and touch geometry. They act out verbs jump, run, fall, spin, swing. They feel adjectives: hard, soft, wet, dry. Playing allows children to experience language on a physical level, developing stronger correlations between concepts and reality.

-Behavior: How do you feel when a business meeting runs long? You start to get frustrated. Fidgety. You check your phone; tap your pencil; wiggle your foot; adjust your seat. Anything to move. Fidgeting is your brains way of asking for movement. How much better do you feel after you have had the opportunity to stretch your legs and take a quick walk? Your brain thrives on movement. Vigorous physical movement helps expel excess energy. Research has shown that after being allowed to play outside, children are often better able to focus and less fidgety.

Motor Skills: Motor skills are the ability to perform complex neuromuscular actions; basically, the ability of muscles and nerves to “talk” to each other to make the body move appropriately. As babies grow and attempt different tasks, they are teaching their muscles and nerves how to talk to each other, and thus establish a connection to complete the action. Climbing trees, picking up sticks, building forts, throwing a ball. These actions all require children to move their joints and limbs through space. They strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The feedback the brain receives from these movements from the muscles, bones, and joints all help to build motor skills.

Balance: Spinning, falling, rolling are all actions that impact the vestibular (balance) system. In order to develop balance, children must experience balance and imbalance. Why is this important? Beyond the obvious implications for later in life, the body must understand and recognize imbalance to keep you balanced! How do you stay standing or sitting upright? Your brain recognizes the position of your body in space, and is actively working to keep you that way. Without the proper training (remember, your brain is like a muscle!), we see deficiencies in balance which often manifest in fidgeting like behaviors.

These are only a small sampling of the benefits kids get from free, outdoor play. Send your kids outside! Let them get dirty (it builds immunity)! Get out in the sun (Vitamin D)! Let them run, jump, skip, fall, spin, play. Their brains will thank you!

Play On!



4 Totally Awesome Workouts to Get You Off the Treadmill

This winter is almost a memory and we are seeing sunshine around just about every corner. This Spring though, you swear you’ve had it with the same monotonous treadmill, elliptical, bike, rinse, and repeat routine and want something new to keep fit and strong. But what?!

We’re always looking for new and fun ways to stay fit, so we did a little digging and found some really great alternative workouts to shake up your winter routine!

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Hub Parkour Training. No doubt you’ve seen the YouTube videos of people bounding off of buildings, and flipping over railings. That’s parkour. And it’s an awesome workout. Hub PTC was built by parkour athletes with the specific intent on creating a safe, dynamic space for creative movement. Head down to Hub for a free consultation. Like it? Start with the 4 class Intro package for only $60. Bonus, looking for a fun Friday night activity? They have Nerf Night. That’s right, the tiny foam projectiles from your youth are making a comeback at the Hub.

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Central Rock Gym. Whether you are a first timer, or seasoned pro, rock climbing will get your blood pumping. With locations in Cambridge and Watertown, it is a convenient spot to get in a great workout. For newbies, sign up for the intro class for just $20. First time members can get a discounted 30-day trial membership for $49 (included is unlimited gym access and equipment rental, classes, and more!). Bonus, depending on the location, CRG also offers strength and cardio equipment, and yoga, pilates, and spinning classes. (Pro tip: check out Groupon for deals on membership prices!)

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CRI Row Studio. Community Rowing, Inc. is one of the largest public rowing clubs in the United States. At their new CRI Row Studio, you can be coached by Olympic hopefuls and some of the best coaches in the city, while getting in a killer 60-minute full-body workout on the rowing machine. Classes are offered Monday through Friday mornings and evenings. You can drop in, but classes are kept small, so registering online is recommended. Classes are $20 with $5 going to support CRI’s free programming.


November Project. . You may have heard of them, since they did originate here in Boston. A truly grassroots fitness movement, the members of the November Project show up at scheduled places and times, greet each other with hugs, and proceed onto the day’s (tough) workout. Nowhere else can you train alongside Stanley Cup Champions, Olympians, professional athletes, marathoners, ultra-marathoners, triathletes, college athletes (past and present), and the average Joe who wants to get in shape. You can check out the November Project Tracker to find out when and where to meet. The best part of November Project is it’s free. Forever.

These four unique, fun alternative workouts are guaranteed to get your blood pumping and get you reinvigorated for those last few weeks of winter!

Get Moving!


6 Ways to an Extraordinary Birth

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With a plethora of pregnancy guides, baby books, and resources out there, beginning a family can be both exciting and overwhelming. There is so much to learn about pregnancy and labor, we thought we would sift through all of this information and give you 6 vital ways to ensure that you and your baby have the best possible pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

1. Fuel your body with the proper nutrition! Your body requires protein, fat, carbohydrates and micronutrients for optimal health. Fulfilling these requirements becomes even more important when you are pregnant, as you need appropriate nutrients for your growing baby and your own growth, healing and repair. Remember, your baby eats what you eat, and you want to provide the best for your baby. Prioritize by purchasing organic, non-GMO fruits and vegetables that are free of harmful chemicals and pesticides, and meats, poultry, and fish that are free-range, grass-fed and wild, whenever possible. Additionally, it’s important to increase your intake of quality fats (fish oil, avocados, coconut oil) because many important functions require them, as do many organs including your baby’s brain and nerve system. Planning ahead is key – make sure you have lots of healthy snacks when you are away from home (fruit, nuts, smoothies, etc.) and plan and prepare your meals in advance. If you still have questions about what nutrients your body needs to function at its best, click here to view Dr. Rob’s Fuel Project Workshop.

2. Prepare your body for birth with various exercises that will build your endurance and make you strong. Like nutrition, movement is an important building block for human function, and pregnancy is no exception. Modification will be necessary, but it’s really helpful to maintain an exercise routine of both cardio and muscular strength. Squat, lunge, do Kegels, etc, to make sure your body is prepared for labor, which as the name implies, is a lot of work! After all, labor no longer happens just lying down on your back. Women use laboring balls, birthing tubs, squat, and all sorts of positions that feel more natural and comfortable. So think of labor like an athletic event, and get physical!

3. Get Adjusted! Your brain and nervous system coordinate and control every aspect of what goes on in your body, including growing a baby. Detecting and removing interference to the mother’s nervous system promotes a healthy pregnancy and supports the development of the baby. Chiropractic care also alleviates the pain and ailments that can surface during pregnancy. Furthermore, research shows that women receiving chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy tend to have shorter labor times, significantly less likelihood of back labor, and their need for pain medication and medical intervention is reduced. Adjusting the mother’s pelvis also helps to create more room in the uterus for the baby to develop, and allows the baby to move into the best position for birth. In the case of breeched babies, many chiropractors are certified in the Webster technique (including Dr. Rob), which is a safe and gentle correction that removes constraint in the uterus and allows the baby to turn its head down into an optimal birthing position. You can find out more about the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy, labor and beyond by visiting our website here.

4. Take time to take care of yourself mama! Growing a human is hard work and it requires incredible demands on your energy and body. Ensure that you are getting plenty of rest, and really focus on not feeling stressed or overwhelmed, because your thoughts and emotions affect your experience and the health of your baby. When you feel stressed try boosting your mood by getting a massage, getting adjusted, exercising, meditating, journaling, yoga, or engaging in any other activity you enjoy. Remember, when you are chronically stressed, scared, or depressed, these feelings are not in isolation. Research shows that your emotions set the stage for how your baby will view the world from this point forward.

5. Find out what toxins are hiding in your home! Many products we use on our skin, hair, nails and cleaning supplies are loaded with toxic chemicals. These toxins accumulate in the body, interfere with chemical and hormonal balance and can cause harm to developing babies. An easy-to-use online source for looking up what’s in your products is The Environmental Working Replace toxic products with environmentally-friendly cleaning products and organic personal products.

6. Envision and prepare for the birth you want to have. In order to deliver a baby, it’s imperative that you feel safe, comfortable, relaxed and have a supportive team around you during labor. Think of the birth you want to have. Who do you want present? An OBGYN? A Midwife? A Doula? Your mother-in-law? (Just kidding!) Where do you want to give birth? Be sure you and your partner take a tour of many places because you want to be comfortable where you labor, whether it’s in the hospital, a birth center, or in your home. Also think about the type of birth you want – a natural birth with natural pain relief (ex. a water birth) or birth with pain medication (ex. epidural) – and see if the facility you select supports the type of birth that you envision. You should discuss these options with your partner, include all of your must-haves in a birth plan, and ensure that the hospital/ birth center staff is aware of your wishes and can support you. When you are in labor, it’s easy to feel vulnerable and out of touch with what’s happening around you, so make sure you have someone to be your advocate and ensure that you are well informed about any side effects of potential drugs and interventions, for both you and your baby. Many of the “routine procedures” administered during labor (i.e. epidurals, Pitocin, c-sections) DO have side effects. Be familiar with the side effects, so if they occur, you are not caught by surprise. Be adequately prepared for labor by knowing the different stages, emotional signposts and needs of a laboring woman, instead of “just showing up and letting the doctor and the staff do all the work.” Lastly, take advantage of birthing preparation classes that support your vision for your child’s birth and research other types of classes such as The Bradley Method and Hypnobirthing.

Overall, the best thing you can do is trust your body. Your body grew and developed a human being from two small cells, with little thought or intervention from you. Just as it was designed to grow a baby, it’s also perfectly designed to give birth to a baby, and knows exactly what to do – always remember that!

If you have any questions or would like any recommendations on books, movies or other resources, please do not hesitate to ask. We are here to support you through your pregnancy, labor and beyond!

A great resource that we always recommend to all our moms and moms-to-be is from our Australian colleague, Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani, entitled Well-Adjusted Babies which can be found here.

Best Wishes,


National Pizza Day – the Paleo Way!

It was clearly a sign that our winter recipe blog release date fell on National Pizza Day. Everyone loves pizza, but unfortunately, it is not our healthiest comfort food. We thought this would be a great opportunity to share some of our favorite Paleo Pizza recipes. Yep! We are health-ifying (is that a word? – it is now!). Yes, we are health-ifying this comfort food so you no longer have to feel guilty about indulging! Happy National Pizza Day, heres to celebrating a little healthier this year!

Zucchini Breakfast “Pizza”

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A twist on the traditional “pizza,” this breakfast boasts a one-two punch of nutrition and flavor. And let’s be serious, how can you not love veggie noodles?! This pizza is a great way to start your morning with a healthy and nutrient rich meal.

Gluten Free Pesto Pizza

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With a paleo crust, and lots of green veggies on top, this is not your average pizza! Layered with pesto, zucchini, and broccoli this flatbread pizza gives you a tremendous amount of nutrients without the guilt. Add your favorite free-range meats for a little added protein.

Barbecue Chicken with Sweet Potato Crust


Let’s face it, people love barbecue chicken pizza. It combines two all-time favorite comfort foods, pizza and barbecue. This BBQ Chicken pizza takes it to a whole new level! Using sweet potato for the crust this pizza is gluten and dairy free. Just make sure that you use a paleo BBQ sauce.

(We like this BBQ Sauce recipe!)

Roasted Fig and Caramelized Onion

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Not only is this one of the most beautiful pizzas you will ever eat, it is one of the most delicious! The sweetness of the figs and honey is perfectly balanced by the caramelized onions and the nutty walnuts. Give it a try and you won’t be sorry.

Dessert Fruit Pizza

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Since we gave you a breakfast pizza, we thought we would throw in a dessert pizza, too! You can’t go wrong with fresh berries, coconut cream, and a healthy (tasty!) walnut and cocoa crust. The dates add a perfect amount of sweetness for this beautiful, and delicious pizza!

Give them a try and let us know what you think!

Happy Pizza Day!

The Foundation Chiropractic Team